As ever, Widdowson does a service to us all by writing on a subject that he believes worthwhile: this time to those of us who practice CDA and have grown complacent in its comfortable shade; a more honourable, worthier opponent (in a kindly sense) cannot be had. Widdowson is a joy to read: articulate, clear-minded and utterly logical.
In this book, Widdowson takes on the claims made by CDA that it can provide objective accounts of texts and instead shows how the proponents of CDA actually rely on prior, subjective interpretations (pre-texts) for their analyses rather than the linguistic tools they advocate. For anyone who, like me, has grown up with and admires CDA, Widdowson's elegantly-argued case is impossible to ignore. Widdowson is sporting and generous at all times(read his preface). He acknowledges the value of CDA as an approach and the many benefits it has brought to the world of linguistics. Nevertheless, it does not do what it claims to and that is what needs to be pointed out. I suspect he wishes CDA could be more than an approach. Let's hope that Fairclough, Wodak and others take up the challenge as vigorously and as in as good a spirit as Widdowson has done, and try to improve on what they have started.