but the story is rare

joh2001smile

Senior Member
Chinese
This is from the prologue of a book about Gilat, a communication company. I wonder what's the logic line of the word 'but'. Does that mean the story of Gilat is the least written topic or it is very important, namely, very informative/inspiring to general readers? From my standpoint, I prefer to use 'therefore'.
Context:
Few are the business books that are written for a general reading audience and even fewer are the books on Israeli companies, but the story of Gilat is especially rare. Only a handful of companies have endured such a meteoric rise and subsequent fall: from a peak value of $4 billion, Gilat nearly hit rock bottom....
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It means that it is the least-written-about story.

    The sentence discusses three groups of diminishing sizes; few books about business are written for the general public; among them, the books are written about Israeli companies forms a smaller group; within this group, books written about Israeli companies with stories like that of Gilat are extremely rare.

    We surmise from this that the book is written for the general public, that it is about an Israeli company, and that company had an especially unusual history.
     

    joh2001smile

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Cagey,
    Thank you, I guess I understand the general logic line now, but I still don't quite understand why 'and' or 'therefore' is not used instead of 'but'. To me, 'and' or 'therefore' seem more natural and logical.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    'Therefore' introduces a result. What follows 'but' in this sentence is an additional fact about the book makes it even more rare; it is not a conclusion drawn from the previous two facts.

    You are right that 'and' would work to connect what follows with what went before in a list; it would be the more usual choice. However, the effect of using 'but' as the conjunction instead of 'and' is to imply a kind of contrast. I would say that the underlying idea is approximately: "Some books are special for this reason, some books are more special for this reason, but this book is even more special for this reason." The but means something like "you thought those were special, but this one really is."

    I hope I explained this well enough. If not, please ask.
     
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