"When the wisest language maven of this century takes on the wittiest (and most curmudgeonly) of the last one, the result is fantastically entertaining and insightful. You can dip into this book for pleasure, but you will also learn much about language, style, and the dubious authority of self-anointed experts."
—Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct and The Stuff of Thought.
"What fun to see an exceptionally commonsensical modern language critic give a famously crusty old one his due! They should sell tickets."
—Barbara Wallraff, author of "Word Court"
"There is much to admire in this little book: the thoroughness of Ms. Freeman’s research, her level-headed analysis of Bierce’s strictures, and — perhaps the enduring lesson — her insight into the foibles of usagists. If you as an editor or manager have the authority to set yourself up as a tinpot despot on usage (as I was for many years), put this book before you and learn humility."
—John McIntyre, "You Don't Say"
"Freeman, with her extensive explanations, comes off as the more practical and knowledgeable, but much of Bierce’s greatness lies in his biting, snooty formulations. 'Ancestrally vulgar,' he’ll sniff about one word, rolling his eyes … or 'irreclaimably degenerate.' What fun!"
—Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn, "Book Bench," The New Yorker