Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language

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Part diatribe, part cool reflection on the state of Australia's public language, Don Watson's Death Sentence is scathing, funny and brilliant.

 
Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language, Don Watson

Part diatribe, part cool reflection on the state of Australia's public language, Don Watson's Death Sentence is scathing, funny and brilliant.

‘ ... in public life the language has never been held in less regard. It withers in the dungeons of the technocratic mind. It is butchered by the media. In politics it lacks all qualifications for the main game.'

Almost sixty years ago, George Orwell described the decay of language and why this threatened democratic society. But compared to what we now endure, the public language of Orwell's day brimmed with life and truth. Today's corporations, government departments, news media, and, perhaps most dangerously, politicians – speak to each other and to us in cliched, impenetrable, lifeless sludge.

Don Watson can bear it no longer. In Death Sentence, part diatribe, part cool reflection on the state of Australia's public language, he takes a blowtorch to the words – and their users – who kill joy, imagination and clarity. Scathing, funny and brilliant, Death Sentence is a small book of profound weight – and timeliness.

Available Formats

  • Paperback
    $19.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9781740512787
    Published: 01/11/2004
    Imprint: Vintage Australia
    Extent: 208 pages
  • Hardback
    $32.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9781740512060
    Published: 03/11/2003
    Imprint: Knopf Australia
    Extent: 208 pages
  • EBook
    CHECK RETAILER PRICE
    ISBN: 9781742744643
    Published: 01/04/2011
    Imprint: RHA eBooks Adult
    Extent: 204 pages
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"Watson makes aneloquent, elegant, and sometimes scathing case for taking back language from those who would trip it of all color and emotion and, therefore, of all meaning." - Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist

"many lessons and insights in this book" - Leigh Buchanan, Harvard Business Review

"[Watson is] always clear and precise, even when exposing the verbal pollution that passes for wisdom in the public realm." - Toronto Star

"Don Watson has written a fine and necessary book. Any citizen who neglects to read it does so at his or her peril." - Lewis H Lapham, Harper's Magazine

"[a] marvelous polemic..." - forbes.com

"Captures the powerlessness and frustration we feel when confronted by meaningless words delivered with authority." - Los Angeles Times Book Review

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Don Watson

Don Watson

Don Watson's Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister, won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year. His Quarterly Essay, Rabbit Syndrome: Australia and America won the Alfred Deakin Essay Prize. Death Sentence, his best-selling book about the decay of public language won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year. Watson's Dictionary Of Weasel Words was also a bestseller. American Journeys won the Age Non-Fiction and Book of the Year Awards. It also won the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Award for Non-Fiction.

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