The Great Typo Hunt is a humorous, insightful tale of adventure, misplaced apostrophes, and the open road. It describes how the authors took a two-and-a-half month drive around the United States to fix typos in public signage, toting an arsenal of typo correction that included markers, Wite-Out, and chalk–and how they were later summoned to federal court for defacing a historic sign at the Grand Canyon.
Besides detailing the comical adventures of typo correcting, the book shows how the pursuit of typos led them to broader social issues, such as cultural homogenization, race relations, workplace repression, and education. There have been books about spelling and grammatical errors, and there have been books about quixotic road trips, but theirs is the first to combine the two–not to mention the first book about fixing typos rather than complaining about them.
"[THE GREAT TYPO HUNT], where editor meets road trip, is entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking, and one that any lover of language, travel – or both – will probably enjoy."
–The Boston Globe
"[A]n illuminating hybrid of travelogue, English usage textbook and sociological experiment."
"[C]omplete with breezy writing, mock superhero prologues, and a serious mission to return phonics and proofreading to places of honor."
–Christian Science Monitor
"Part classic road-trip narrative, buddy-love saga and state-of-the-nation survey, it's also an adventure thriller for grammar fiends, travel porn for copy editors and other enforcers of linguistic propriety."
"Deck and Herson show the reader that adventures in language needn’t be limited to the computer screen or printed page. In their view, the real excitement’s out there on the open road, and they want you to share it."
"[B]reezy and fun....most interesting when it delves into issues of class and race...and in its discussion of the plasticity of the English language."
“This pair of kooks, with their high standards and principled civil disobedience, give me hope for the future of humanity.”
–Steven Pinker, Harvard College professor, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct and The Stuff of Thought
“A compelling read! Deck and Herson have brilliantly combined the exploratory curiosity of the travel writer, the human interest of the story-teller, and the explanatory detail of the language specialist into an original, humorous, and engaging narrative. Anyone interested in language standards, attitudes, and education should read this enticing book.”
–David Crystal, author of Just a Phrase I'm Going Through and By Hook or By Crook: a Journey in Search of English
“Only Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson could make the complete decline of the English language so entertaining. It's heartening to accompany these two young men on their quixotic quest to identify and rehabilitate the typos, spellos, and prepostrophes that threaten to bring down civilization as we know it.”
–Richard Lederer, author of Anguished English
“With sly humor and pitch-perfect tone, Jeff and Benjamin take us on a hilarious ride in a '97 Sentra around the U.S.A. in search of malapropisms and misprints on everything from menus to marquees, bumpers to billboards. It's a spell-checker's On the Road, a Strunk & White Odyssey, a charming Travels with My Dictionary with two young men who start as linguists and end as friends.”
–Michael Malone, author of Handling Sin and The Four Corners of the Sky
“In this seriously funny--and seriously thoughtful--book, a simple typo hunt becomes something more: an investigation into the deeper mysteries of orthographical fallibility. To err is human; to correct, divine!”
–Patricia T. O'Conner, author of Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English
“A funny and obsessive adventure that any language lover will appreciate.”
–David Wolman, author of Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling
JEFF DECK has worked in Washington, D.C., and Boston as an editor. He enjoys speculative fiction books and role-playing games, as well as drawing comics.
BENJAMIN D. HERSON grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and lived in the D.C. area for seven years.