Review Do I make myself clear? Why writing well matters (a review)

original work by HAROLD EVANS reviewed by BARRY TOMALIN

Former editor of the Times, Sunday Times and President of Random House Publishers in New York, Harold Evans is one of the most prestigious of international newspaper editors. I had the honour and privilege of interviewing him for the BBC while he was still at the Sunday Times and admired his simplicity and clarity of explanation while sharing his liking for George Orwell’s essay on style in Politics and the English Language. Orwell indeed appears in the introduction, praised for ‘indicting bad English for corrupting thought and slovenly thought for corrupting language.’ However, as Evans goes on to say, ‘For all its benefits the digital era Orwell never glimpsed has had unfortunate effects, not least making it easier to obliterate the English language by carpet-bombing us with extravaganzas of marketing mumbo-jumbo.’ This is a book about style, how to write simply and clearly but also using words and images that are memorable. It will be of great value to teachers and students at CEFR B2+ and C1 levels and also to near fluent non-native speakers and to native speakers interested in improving their writing skills. It uses up to date references from international politics and business and shows how to edit them for great simplicity and great effect. Therefore, it is also useful as authentic material for CLIL classes in global politics, business and for teaching academic writing and journalistic skills.

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