Saturday, August 23, 2008

Title inflation: for books, the more words the better in the era of Google
Thanks to internet search engines, pithy book titles are being ruined by ever longer, keyword-heavy subtitles

Ian Williams writing in, Friday August 22 2008

In a hotel in Louisville once, I overheard the guests in the lift. They were attending the Kentucky state convention of colonic hydrotherapists. At the time, I wondered: What do they do in their hotel rooms between sessions?

Last week I wondered if I could get them into joint session with the American Publishers' Association, whose members definitely need their colons washed out.

I had been writing an essay for the Common Review in Chicago on second world war revisionism and had just finished the bibliography.Check out some of the titles I cited. Clive Ponting's Armageddon: The Reality Behind the Distortions, Myths, Lies and Illusion of World War II; Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilisation; Patrick Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost its Empire and the West Lost the World.

You will note: Notwithstanding the fall of empire, there is a rampant high tide of colonisation. You will also detect an agenda. These books are trying to tell or warn potential buyers that they will not be getting the conventional "good war" fought by the "greatest generation".

David McCullough's publishers felt no need to rename his book 1776: The War in Which the Brits May Not Have Been Quite as Evil and King George Not Quite as Tyrannical as Our School Histories and Walt Disney Told Us.
To read William's full essay link here.

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