Bloomsbury Dictionary of Euphemisms John Ayto Bloomsbury Reference (www.bloomsbury.com) ISBN 0-7475-5045-X Introduction: Its a dictionary of Euphemisms. Surely I don't have to explain to you why this is possibly the greatest, most desirable book ever written/compiled. Pros: IT'S A DICTIONARY OF EUPHEMISMS! Plus it's *not* just a dictionary, oh no. In addition to listing and explaining common euphemisms, it is written primarily in a narrative style, explaining the relevence of the items listed, detailing the role of euphemism, as well as offering a commentary upon the origins and contemporary use of particularly powerful examples (the section on war being particularly interesting at this point in time). Cons: Like the pope, this book cannot be faulted. Like the pope, it hides in a rather silly looking contraption, in this case the cover. Yes, I'm onto covers again. In this case there's a dreadfully pedestrian illustration of light emerging from behind a partially darkened Earth which is set within complete darkness. Yeah, sole beacon, gotcha. Nice one. I know I labour this point throughout my reviews, but I believe that any cultured and civilised society needs to respect and appreciate aesthetic quality. Unfortunately, it would appear that the marketing department at Bloomsbury thought it would be a good idea to ask some self-consciously 'profound' adolescent to design the cover to this book. Also, it's printed on rubbish paper, which means it feels like some horrific romance novel in the hand. Conclusion: Despite the cover, this is a remarkably entertaining book as every bit entertaining as it is usefull. Second only to the full edition Oxford dictionary in terms of creating a sensation of glee, awe and love at the power of language (and don't give me any grief over the relative merits of Webster's or Collins, I don't want to know - find the full multi-volume Oxford English Dictionary and behold its sheer beauty, both aesthetic and functional. The sight will make you weep like a bereaved child as you recall your wrong headed preference!).