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Made in America
by Bill Bryson

Bryson traces the origins and permutations of nearly every word you've ever wondered about in the English language. Ever wondered why people "paint the town red" or where the phrase "high five" came from? Why is 12PM known as noon? All these questions are answered in great detail in this book.

But this is not just a boring dissertation on word origins, it is a veritable history of our country, but told in such a way that makes you terribly interested in all the boring stuff about American history that you were taught in school. For instance, Bryson is not afraid to talk about racist language and sexual language when he is explaining how things really were, whereas most, if not all, of our textbooks have sidestepped the real America of the pre-1900s in favor of a conveniently prudent and non-racy society. In fact, it was much different, and Made in America proves it with facts.

Christopher Moyer
November 17, 2003