Less Than Words Can Say, by Richard Mitchell

30 Jan

You can download this book in ePub format, for free, from the Internet Archive.

“The wittiest, the most brilliant and, probably the most penetrating discussion now available of our growing American illiteracy. This book must be read at once…” — Clifton Fadiman

“If English is saved, he will be one of its saviors.” — Edwin Newman

“…by far the most entertaining, intelligent, and above all, the most important work on the deplorable state of American English…” — Thomas H. Middleton

In Less Than Words Can Say, Richard Mitchell lets rip the most devastating expose to date of our rampant misuse of English. A Don Quixote — Savonarola might be more apt — of language, he wages war on its perverters, from teachers and deans to politicians and bureaucrats, whose consistently overblown prose offers us inanity in the guise of wisdom.

Mitchell’s cantankerous crusade indicts government agency “chairs” for the intimidating and obfuscating “legalese” of their profession, obsequious grantseekers who supplicate foundations in time-honored cant, and aspiring academics who speak in the Divine Passive.

According to Mitchell, this bureaucratic jargon is turning us into a nation of baffled, inept, frustrated, and — ultimately — violent people, and the public schools are to blame. For the past thirty-five years, they have taught children to socialize rather than to read, write, and cipher — the only disciplines that foster clear language and logical thought. Mitchell’s alarming conclusion is that our schools are turning out illiterates who will never manage their lives — because, lacking the power of language, they can’t think.

Richard Mitchell was a professor of English at Glassboro State College and editor and publisher of the controversial monthly publication The Underground Grammarian.