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Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President Hardcover – October 11, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385534302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385534307
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for TEN LETTERS:

Ten Letters is a luminous book. Eli Saslow, one of the great young journalists in America, has found his way around the cynicism and superficiality of Washington politics to show the profound real-life connections between the White House and the people.”
-- David Maraniss

"In this testament to the power of the written word, the country's most vexing challenges, from immigration to education, healthcare to housing, are seen through the eyes of both persons directly affected by them and one person uniquely positioned to do something about them."
--Booklist

About the Author

ELI SASLOW is a staff writer at the Washington Post, where he covered the 2008 presidential cam­paign and has chronicled the president’s life inside the White House. Previously a sportswriter for the Post, he has won multiple awards for news and feature writing. Two of his stories have also appeared in Best American Sports Writing.

More About the Author

Eli Saslow, a staff writer for The Washington Post, covered the 2008 presidential campaign and has chronicled the president's life inside the White House. He has won multiple awards for news and feature writing. He lives in Washington D.C. with his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Sienna.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 21 customer reviews
I highly recommend that all people of all political backgrounds read this book.
K. Lee
This is a very special and perceptive book for our times, and at the same time an easy and enjoyable read.
James Schuyler
It made me want to read more letters, hear more stories, learn more about the issues, and do something.
Reed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By JenM on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Eli Saslow's book is a reporting masterpiece -- a tight collection of artfully told short stories and a memoir, really, of the 10 most important issues facing our country. It feels like a novel, as if Eli crafted the most perfect characters to illustrate each issue. But I kept having to remind myself, 'This is all true. He just found the perfect people to tell these stories about America.' As a former reporter, I can't imagine how challenging it was to collect all the information that he did -- the facts, the details, the perfect anecdotes. Each chapter was incredibly easy to read. Entertaining and illuminating. And yet, I feel like each story made me so much smarter about immigration, about the wars, about health care reform, about the oil spill, about how unpaid debts can spiral out of control for some people. It didn't feel, though, like a book that was trying to teach me anything, which made it all the more delightful to feel my brain filling up with smartness on so many issues that I would say I had a working knowledge of from the news and NPR but now feel so much smarter about. I particularly enjoyed how he sprinkled little tidbits about the White House mail department and the history of Americans writing to the president throughout the book. Whether you love or despise the president and politics in general, all of it was so, so interesting.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By KG2241 on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ten Letters was a moving and inspiring read. I thought it was well-researched and represented the many issues that our country faces today. It's not a book about the president, but rather the voice of it's citizens and more importantly the hope that we all lean on.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lilly on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ten Letters is not a book about politics, it's a book about people. American people like you and me. It's a snapshot of the everyday struggles that face many Americans today. Eli Saslow gives a voice to these struggles in this wonderful book. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Goldman on October 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eli Saslow's "Ten Letters" is a well-researched, inspiring read that examines the lives of ten ordinary Americans who felt the need to write to President Obama about their unique circumstances. Each of these writers were probably not expecting Obama to actually read their letters, even less so a response. Mr. Saslow examines the process by how regular American's letters are selected to appear on President Obama's desk. The ten letter-writers in "Ten Letters" are some of the people who have received a response from the President, and more than that in some instances. This book was an enlightening read into what motivates ordinary people to write a letter to the President of the United States, and how governmental policies are affecting these people.

Mr. Saslow does an admirable job keeping the partisan politics out of this book. The only complaint I have is that the chapter on health care reform does seem to consistently try to depict Republican lawmakers as the "bad guys." Overall, this book was a worthwhile, entertaining read that I believe will help readers have a better understanding of the challenges facing everyday Americans.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Schuyler on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Eli Saslow is one of the best of our young journalists today, with his focus on the impact of important issues facing the country--the economy, immigration, war, education, health care--on people. These are "ordinary people" whom you don't generally hear about or read about in the news. What is special about each of these ten people is that all of them decided to write to the President to discuss their problems, their hopes and their fears. Saslow visited with each of these fascinating people and brings their stories vividly to life so that you care about their problems, their future and their families. He also gives us insight into the personality of the President in ways that differ from the popular perception in the media today. This is a very special and perceptive book for our times, and at the same time an easy and enjoyable read. It is well worth taking the time to explore the stories that ten Americans tell their President.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reed on November 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm not one to cry when reading books; however, there were a few times during this read that I was moved to tears. The stories these Americans tell their President come across genuine and speak volumes for the struggles many face in modern America. Initially, I was concerned the author was going to preach too much "Obama-love"; however, he seemed to be fair and include both criticisms and praise. You'll read a letter from a tea-party conservative in one chapter and one from an Obama campaign volunteer in the next. This makes for a fascinating read.

The ten letters chosen cover topics such as foreclosures, bankruptcy, health insurance, the struggling public education system, rising college costs, immigration, the environment, civility, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, veteran services, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), gay rights, bullying, and many more. The book masterfully connects current events, the stories of average Americans, a seemingly broken political system, and the office of the presidency.

Overall, it is an excellent book that is well researched and delivered. It made me want to read more letters, hear more stories, learn more about the issues, and do something. This book is a lesson in civics, paints a picture of American resilience, and examines the defining issues of our time.

Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President
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