Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language

Author(s): Don Watson

Words and Writing

Part diatribe, part cool reflection on the state of Australia's public language, Don Watson's Death Sentenceis scathing, funny and brilliant.

' ... in public life the language has never been held in less regard. It withers in the dungeons of the technocratic mind. It is butchered by the media. In politics it lacks all qualifications for the main game.'

Almost sixty years ago, George Orwell described the decay of language and why this threatened democratic society. But compared to what we now endure, the public language of Orwell's day brimmed with life and truth. Today's corporations, government departments, news media, and, perhaps most dangerously, politicians - speak to each other and to us in cliched, impenetrable, lifeless sludge.

Don Watson can bear it no longer. In Death Sentence, part diatribe, part cool reflection on the state of Australia's public language, he takes a blowtorch to the words - and their users - who kill joy, imagination and clarity. Scathing, funny and brilliant, Death Sentenceis a small book of profound weight - and timeliness.


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Don Watson's Recollections of a Bleeding Heart- Paul Keating Prime Minister, won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year. His Quarterly Essay, Rabbit Syndrome- Australia and America won the Alfred Deakin Essay Prize. Death Sentence, his best-selling book about the decay of public language won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year. Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words was also a bestseller. American Journeys won the Age Non-Fiction and Book of the Year Awards. It also won the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Award for Non-Fiction.

General Fields

  • : 9780143790983
  • : Penguin Random House
  • : Penguin Books
  • : 0.154
  • : March 2018
  • : 196mm X 129mm X 20mm
  • : Australia
  • : March 2018
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Don Watson
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 427/.994
  • : 208