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16 Reviews
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal and Revealing
This wonderful book spans more than three centuries and gives the reader insights into the thoughts of many great Americans as they wrote to their children.
This treasury of short letters also provides some background for each one. The research needed to discover these personal letters is documented. I love this collection and the way all the letters are...
Published on July 19, 2004 by V. L. Wilson

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24 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor selection of letters
Although I love books of letters, I found this anthology uninspiring and a poorly chosen group of contributors. The letters rely mostly upon the interest of the reader in the author, not the content of the letter itself. For example: Arlo Guthrie is a neat character, but in his letter to his son, when he tells him to be thankful to God -- why? Sure, It's good advice, and...
Published on September 20, 2004 by Dr. S. Zimmerman


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal and Revealing, July 19, 2004
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This review is from: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (Hardcover)
This wonderful book spans more than three centuries and gives the reader insights into the thoughts of many great Americans as they wrote to their children.
This treasury of short letters also provides some background for each one. The research needed to discover these personal letters is documented. I love this collection and the way all the letters are presented.
To quote from the author's father, David McCullough, "This is a book to pick up and read at almost any page, a book to keep close at hand, to return to for nourishment and guidance, yes, but also for reassurance and pure pleasure". I couldn't have said it any better! This quotation says exactly how I feel. I want to purchase several copies to give as gifts and as a parent, I even feel compelled to write to my own children!
All the letters provide wonderful insights into the minds of the parents, and I have several favorites; Eleanor Roosevelt wrote one to one of her sons who wanted to skip Christmas and it is so touching! As Dorie M. Lawson reminds us, letter writing is generally a thoughtful art - it cannot compare to e-mail writing.
These personal letters from parent to child are arranged thematically and within each section, they are in chronological order and printed in their entirety just as they were composed. It is thrilling to read them, especially the really old ones and all of them were written by aparent who made worthwhile contributions to America.
Here are a few of the parents whose letters are included: Thomas Jefferson to his daughter Patsy, Harry Truman to his daughter Margaret, General Patton to his son, Oscar Hammerstein to his son, and so many more from all walks of life. All of us who have children and even those who do not, will benefit from reading this rare collection of parents expressing their thoughts.
Thank you Dorie McCullough Lawson and please continue writing!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Documentation of Private Moments, April 27, 2004
By 
Marsha Wood Wirtel (Philly's Western 'Burbs) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (Hardcover)
Dorie McCullough Lawson has compiled a touching and inspiring array of letters from the famous and infamous to their children. Spanning centuries, this compilation proves that the concerns and joys of parenting are timeless and universal - from love to finances to courage to character, the authors sought to impart the same lessons to their offspring that parents struggle to teach today.
Even non-parents will enjoy the glimpse into the authors' private lives - that which took place offstage, so to speak. In most cases, the parents understood their place in history and the letters reflect that fact - Elizabeth Cady Stanton writes that she is "making the path smoother" for her daughters and "all the other girls". She describes the scene of her latest speech, allowing the girls to understand the sacrifices that their family is making for posterity. Through these letters we see that their lives weren't so different from our own - the triumphs we read about in history books came with tremendous compromises and the legends we know from television news make often painful choices between their destinies and their families.
This is a wonderful book full of insight and comfort and deserves space on every nursery bookshelf.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely. Moving, Entertaining Look Inside Families, April 30, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (Hardcover)
I'm not a big fan of the genre of letters literature, but this book completely surprised and enthralled me. The obvious hook is the eclectic group of thinkers, from Thomas Edison and Jack London to Moe Howard from the Three Stooges and Woody Guthrie. Each writer reveals a profound love of family, children, sense of humor and warmth that is collectively astonishing and heartbreaking. (...)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GLIMPSE INTO HEARTS AND MINDS, April 29, 2004
This review is from: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (Hardcover)
In this day of email and instant messaging does anyone ever take the time to write a longhand letter? What will future generations have to reference in order to learn more about us, who we were and what we thought? Well, I don't have the answer to those questions but I do know that today we can read the letters of some very distinguished people who did take the time to advise, order or console their children via pen and ink.
Yes, the writers of the letters contained in this volume are famous Americans, but they are also very much like all of us when it comes to our offspring. What a privilege it is to be able to read these letters and in that way perhaps know a little more about what was in the writers' hearts and minds.
The letters are arranged by theme, from "Continuity" to "Rules To Live By," and each letter is preceded by a brief biographical sketch.
We find Albert Einstein writing to Hans Albert Einstein, "What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys.....I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits......"
Sam Houston tells Sam, Jr. of a mother's love: "Your Ma loves you more than she does any one else, so you should love her, more than any one." While John Adams sends a note of caution to John Quincy Adams: "...Go and see with how little Wisdom this World is governed."
In moments of discouragement Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote to Georgiana Stowe: "Why have n't I written? Because, dear Georgie, I am like the dry, dead leafless tree, and have only cold, dead, slumbering buds of hope on the end of stiff, hard, frozen twigs of thought, but no leaves, no blossoms...."
"Posterity" offers a collective portrait of who we were. It's a book that can be picked up and enjoyed a page at a time, and it's one you'll want to refer to again and again.
- Gail Cooke
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GLIMPSE INTO HEARTS AND MINDS, April 29, 2004
This review is from: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (Hardcover)
In this day of email and instant messaging does anyone ever take the time to write a longhand letter? What will future generations have to reference in order to learn more about us, who we were and what we thought? Well, I don't have the answer to those questions but I do know that today we can read the letters of some very distinguished people who did take the time to advise, order or console their children via pen and ink.
Yes, the writers of the letters contained in this volume are famous Americans, but they are also very much like all of us when it comes to our offspring. What a privilege it is to be able to read these letters and in that way perhaps know a little more about what was in the writers' hearts and minds.
The letters are arranged by theme, from "Continuity" to "Rules To Live By," and each letter is preceded by a brief biographical sketch.
We find Albert Einstein writing to Hans Albert Einstein, "What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys.....I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits......"
Sam Houston tells Sam, Jr. of a mother's love: "Your Ma loves you more than she does any one else, so you should love her, more than any one." While John Adams sends a note of caution to John Quincy Adams: "...Go and see with how little Wisdom this World is governed."
In moments of discouragement Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote to Georgiana Stowe: "Why have n't I written? Because, dear Georgie, I am like the dry, dead leafless tree, and have only cold, dead, slumbering buds of hope on the end of stiff, hard, frozen twigs of thought, but no leaves, no blossoms...."
"Posterity" offers a collective portrait of who we were. It's a book that can be picked up and enjoyed a page at a time, and it's one you'll want to refer to again and again.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Display of Humanity, July 8, 2004
By 
tides24 "tides24" (West Seneca, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (Hardcover)
To often, we think of historical figures as cardboard characters, names in a textbook. In this wonderful book, they come alive as thinking, feeling human beings, sharing their innermost thoughts with their children. No matter the era, or the fame of the writer, the humanity is what one remembers. Perhaps the greatest tribute I can give Dorie McCullough Lawson is the fact that I have since read, or am reading, biographies of N.C. Wyeth, Theodore Roosevelt, John J. Pershing, and Harriet Beecher Stowe...all because of what I learned about them from her book, and the letters therein. "Posterity..." is a book to treasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gift for Parents, New and Old, March 21, 2007
By 
Holly Christensen (Akron, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (Hardcover)
I've stopped giving redundant, briefly used, baby items to new parents. Instead, I buy them Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children. The connection to the commonality of parenthood, that feels so unique and precious to many who've encountered it, resonates throughout this collection. Except for Jack London's contribution, you'll smile as you read most of the letters that editor Dorie Mccullough Lawson has included in this peerless treasury.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Living Your Best Life" study group is enjoying this!, October 2, 2013
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I belong to the "Living Your Best Life" study group at the Oshkosh Senior Center, and we are all delighted with this book. We read and discuss a section each week, and have enjoyed the first 3 very much. The book introduces several "Great Americans" that few of our members were familiar with, which has sent several of us to the local library to read some Sherwood Anderson, for instance. I would have given a fifth star if more great women were included--Elizabeth Cady Stanton's letter to her daughter was my favorite thus far, but most sections have only one woman, 3 have none, and two have two. I realize this reflects the relative absence of women from mainstream history texts, but I had hoped the past several decades of research in women's history had reached a wider audience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great advice, July 16, 2008
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This review is from: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (Hardcover)
this book is a joy to skim and read in bits -- lots of worthwhile advice from famous folks
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5.0 out of 5 stars For 3 minutes or 3 hours - the inspiration is inside this book, July 7, 2014
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Listening in on handwritten letters from "Great Americans" to their children - this book was inspiring, heartbreaking and humbling. This book is still on my bookshelf and I pick it up to be inspired on themes of Love, Strength of Character, Struggle and Work - among others. Reminder that parenting is universally bewildering - no matter the century.

A keeper.
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Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children
Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children by Dorie McCullough Lawson (Hardcover - May 2004)
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