Andrew Radford, Syntactic theory and the structure of English: a minimalist approach. Cambridge textbooks in linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1997. Pp. xii + 558. Hardback £50, US$69.95, ISBN 0 521 47125 7; paperback £16.95, US$24.95, ISBN 0 521 47707 7.
Until recently I was convinced that by far the best textbook ever written on Generative Grammar was Perlmutter and Soames' Syntactic argumentation and the structure of English (1979). Unfortunately, the theory advanced there died out. As concerns its successor, namely GB-theory, I still believe that Andrew Radford's pioneering Transformational syntax (1981) is one of the best introductions to Chomsky's Pisa lectures, despite the plethora of competing textbooks that have appeared over the years. Now that Radford has presented his most recent book, Syntactic theory and the structure of English, I am inclined to believe that it should be considered a competitor to Perlmutter and Soames' book. Not only the similarity to Perlmutter and Soames' title, but also the pedagogical and systematic orientation of the new book invites comparison. As both books meet the highest standards with regard to clarity of expression and exposition, I recommend Radford's book as the best textbook for up-to-date syntactic theory, and I am convinced that it will play the same influential role as an introduction to the Minimalist theory as did the 1981 book for GB theory.