These are quotes from all the reviews published in print media that I’m aware of, as well as a few online comments:

The Times (UK):
the-times-logo-1024x533.pngBabel is a story not of nouns and consonants, but of empires and continents’; ‘eye-opening and thoroughly entertaining’; ‘wonderful company: chatty, informative, enthusiastic’. (Full text – subscribers only.)

guardianThe Guardian (UK)
‘A fascinating guide and a celebration of linguistic diversity and bilingualism.’ (Full text.)

NPR‘… a book that’s as joyful as it is educational, and above all, it’s just so much fun to read.’ (Full text.)

Slate’s Lexicon Valley (US):
Lexicon ValleyJohn McWhorter: ‘Dorren is really good at taking something that could be listy and instead making it interesting.’ Babel ‘keeps you going page by page’ and ‘should be (among) your stocking stuffers for the holidays.’ (Full text at 36:20.)

Mail on Sunday (UK):
The_Mail_on_Sunday‘… a wonderfully eloquent writer. You couldn’t wish for a better guide to the wonders of the world’s bewildering array of tongues.’

The Irish Independent (Ireland):
Irish Independent‘Smart, punchy prose.’ ‘I loved this book’ that ‘gives us a fascinating insight into what [as monolinguals] we’re missing out on in the linguistic jungle.’ (Full text – registration required.)

WFPWinnipeg Free Press (Canada):
‘Dorren (…) makes a great effort to keep readers with him as he delves into the complex world of linguistics. Usually he succeeds.’ ‘Fascinating book’.

The National (UAE):
The_National_Newspaper_Logo‘Like Lingo before it, Babel is witty and informative, with linguistic jargon kept to a minimum, and page upon page of surprise facts, fascinating insight and droll analysis.’ (Full text.)

Geographical (UK):
geographicalBabel is written in a deft and entertaining manner.’ ‘(Dorren) has done a great job of condensing much unreadably serious scholarship into plain English.’ (Full text – recommended!)

Newsday (US):
Newsday‘Dorren explores the culture and the quirks of each language with infectious curiosity.’ (Full text – not accessible from EU.)

Kirkus (US):
KirkusDorren proves to be a genial, fascinating guide to the modes, manners, and curiosities of the most-spoken languages in the world. (…) A deft, spirited exploration of the connection of language to a nation’s identity and culture.’ (Full text – incorrect cover picture!)

Booklist (US):
Booklist‘Dorren teaches readers a great deal about how languages survive, evolve, and spread’, ‘delves into social and political dynamics affecting speech and writing.’ ‘A fascinating foray into global linguistics.’ (Full text – subscribers only.)

Shelf Awareness (US):
shelfawareness‘An engaging and informative whirlwind tour of how major world languages are created, used and changed.’ (Full text.)

PWPublishers Weekly (US):
‘Dorren educates and fascinates’ with ‘this wildly entertaining linguistic study’. (Full text.)

The Big Issue (UK):
Schermafbeelding 2014-11-17 om 19.03.31‘Enthralling,’ ‘exciting stories and illuminating history lessons’,’riveting’.  (Full text – scroll down.)

Morning Star (UK):
Schermafbeelding 2014-12-02 om 16.53.22‘Fascinating.’ ‘Babel’s real charm (…) is that each chapter has a different structure and takes the reader on a journey that intersects with factors such as nationalism, religion and gender politics.’ ‘A paean to the sense of allegiance created by a shared language.’ (Full text.)

The Sun (UK):
the_sun_logoNot one to review books like this, The Sun has nonetheless run a (quite accurate) news story headlined ‘English’s global dominance under threat as new tech will let you can speak [sic] to anyone without learning foreign language’. Who’d have thought it. The story was based on an Australian article at


The Church Times (UK):
‘… not only a treat for lovers of language and cultural history, but an invitation to marvel at the variety and difference that can be found in humanity.’ (Full text.)

SaipanSaipan Tribune (Northern Mariana Islands, US):
‘Dorren (…) has a good touch for meshing historical narratives with slice-of-life language examples and with some slightly wonky linguistic observations.’ ‘I think many Saipan Tribune readers will find it of interest.’