I've been waiting months for this to come out; I swear like a sailor and my love of etymology and words in general draw me to books like these. This one was excellent.
In the introduction Byrne sets the expectations for the reader; not all the chapters are focused on swearing specifically - or how swearing is good for you, but all the topics she discusses are topical to swearing, and all of them contribute to our understanding of why swearing can be fun, powerful, and offensive - often all at once!
There is a lot of science here, written by a woman who is a scientist first and a writer second, and a lot of studies make up a good portion of the narrative, with humor to keep the reading easy. Even when the chapters aren't geared directly at the benefits of swearing, they are fascinating. In a slim volume of under 200 pages, she covers the interrelationship of pain and swearing, Tourette's Syndrome (a tragic, eye-opening chapter that she describes as 'the chapter that should not be in this book'), swearing in the workplace, other primates that swear (so good!), gender and swearing, and finally, swearing for the multi-lingual. All fully cited and fascinating. With citations/notes, a bibliography, and an index in the back.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and should have saved it as a suggestion for The Flat Book Society, dammit! Though I was never going to be able to wait that long to start reading it; luckily it was good enough to re-read someday soon, so perhaps it will find it's way to the voting list anyway.