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Albert Jack’s Red Herrings and White Elephants was a huge international hit and was on the bestsellers list for six months. His second, Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep was another success: selling over 70,000 copies. He is also the author of That's Bollocks! (all the strangest, sickest, funniest and most unforgettable urban legends as told in Jack's inimitable style) and Albert Jack's Ten-Minute Mysteries.
From the wireless to the computer, and from hula hoops to interplanetary travel, inventions and discoveries have changed our lifestyles in ways that would have astounded our ancestors.
Albert Jack will make you aware, very aware, of the blood-thirsty origin of many an “innocent” nursery rhyme. Tales of war, wooing, monarchs, religion, disease and disaster are embedded in those rhymes used to sooth and amuse children over the centuries. Prepare to be amused and amazed at just what can be revealed by something so innocent as Three Blind Mice. Like for Like ReadingThe Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Iona & Peter OpieMother Tongue: The Story of the English Language, Bill Bryson
'It is tremendously good fun winding up the Scots. It is terribly easy, particularly Scottish politicians. They can take things far too seriously.' Jeremy Paxman* It's 700 years since England fought Scotland at the Battle of Bannockburn. Miraculously - we still don't understand how - the Scots actually won. It's pretty much the only time they've ever beaten us at anything. So has there ever been a better opportunity to celebrate seven centuries of winding up the Scots?Exploring everything from food, class, the empire and the weather to language, love and landscape, Thistle vs Rose is a hilarious miscellany of Anglo-Scots rivalry. Introduced by bestselling popular historian Albert Jack, it features quotes, jokes and trivia from Stephen Fry, Bill Bryson, Jimmy Carr, George Mikes, Michael McIntyre and many, many others.* published alongside Susan's Morrison's rival Ebook 700 YEARS OF WINDING UP THE ENGLISH (9781473604933) *
Did you know that the Cornish pasty was invented to protect tin miners from arsenic poisoning, or that the word 'salary' comes from Roman soldiers being paid their wages in salt? Why do we eat goose (or turkey) at Christmas? Is the Scotch egg actually from Scotland and what did some retired crusaders have to do with French toast? Who was the original Earl Grey and what sauce was inspired by Parliament? What dish was invented by Greek bandits on the run? Why were hot cross buns seen as magical and what's so rebellious about a haggis or medicinal about a gin and tonic? Did you know what the romantic history is behind the Bakewell Pudding? Albert Jack tells the strange tales behind our favourite dishes and drinks and where they come from (not to mention their unusual creators). In the colourful, wonderful vein of Schott's Food and Drink Miscellany, Albert Jack's What Caesar Did For My Salad is bursting with fascinating insights, characters and enough stories to entertain a hundred dinner parties. Albert Jack is the author such bestselling titles as Pop Goes the Weasel, Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep, and The Old Dog and Duck.
Did you know that an assassin is a hashish-eater and a yokel a country woodpecker? That Dr Mesmer mesmerised patients back to health or that Samuel Pepys enjoyed a good game of handicap? While we're at it, what have spondulics to do with spines or lawyers with avocados? In It's a Wonderful Word, bestselling author Albert Jack collects over 500 of the strangest, funniest-sounding and most delightful words in the English language, and traces them back to their often puzzling origins. While brushing up on your gibberish or gobbledygook, discover why bastards should resent travelling salesmen, why sheets should remain on tenterhooks and why you should never set down a tumbler before finishing your drink. From blotto to bamboozle and from claptrap to quango, Albert Jack's addictive anecdotes bring the world's most colourful language to life and are guaranteed to surprise and entertain.
This is a book for everyone who has ever wondered why pubs should be called The Cross Keys, The Dew Drop Inn or The Hope and Anchor. You'll be glad to know that there are very good - strange and memorable - reasons behind them all. After much research about (and in) pubs, Albert Jack brings together the stories behind pub names to reveal how they offer fascinating and subversive insights on our history, customs, attitudes and jokes in just the same way that nursery rhymes do. The Royal Oak, for instance, commemorates the tree that hid Charles II from Cromwell's forces after his defeat at Worcester; The Bag of Nails is a corruption of the Bacchanals, the crazed followers of Bacchus, the god of wine and drunkenness; The Cat and the Fiddle a mangling of Catherine La Fidele and a guarded gesture of support for Henry VIII's first, Catholic, wife Catherine of Aragon; plus many, many more. Here too are even more facts about everything from ghosts to drinking songs to the rules of cribbage and shove ha'penny, showing that, ultimately, the story of pub history is really the story of our own popular history.
Albert Jack's Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep is a compulsively readable, highly enlightening look at the phrases we use all the time but rarely consider. The English language is crammed with colourful phrases and sayings that we use without thinking every day. It's only when we're asked who smart Alec or Holy Moly were, where feeling 'in the pink' or 'once in a blue moon' come from, or even what letting the cat out of the bag really means that we realize that there's far more to English than we might have thought. Luckily enough, we now have Albert Jack. And rather than resting on his laurels after the enormous success of Red Herrings and White Elephants, he has continued his search around the world, exploring the origins of hundreds more phrases. The fascinating stories he has uncovered come from the rich traditions of the navy, army and law to confidence tricksters and highwaymen, from the practices of ancient civilizations to Music Hall and pubs. Determined to chase each shaggy dog story to the bitter end, his discoveries are even stranger and more memorable this time round. From the skin of your teeth to the graveyard shift - you'll never speak (or even think) English in the same way again. Albert Jack has become something of a publishing phenomenon, clocking up hundreds of thousands of sales with his series of bestselling adventures tracing the fantastic stories behind everyday phrases (Red Herrings and White Elephants), the world's great mysteries (Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs) and nursery rhymes (Pop Goes the Weasel).
Have you ever wondered what phrases such as 'square meal', 'load of old codswallop', 'egg on your face' or 'in the limelight' mean? Where do they come from? Have you ever taken a moment to wonder what we say actually means? The origins of hundreds of common phrases are explained in this irreverent journey through the most fascinating and richest regions of the English language. In a book that takes you all over the world, from nautical origins to food and drink terms, once you have learnt one phrase, you will be eager to learn them all! From the drop of a hat to the bitter end - you'll be surprised and intrigued and you'll never speak English in the same way again.