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Women's Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present Paperback – April 8, 2008

5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Letters of the Century, Grunwald and Adler offered an epistolary romp through American life in the 20th century. Now the husband-and-wife duo turn their considerable talents to the letters of American women. Some of the letters capture grand historical events—e.g., Abigail Adams gushing to husband John about a July 1776 public reading of the Declaration of Independence. At the other end of the timeline are a handful of letters written on or shortly after 9/11. But many letters dwell on the everyday—sickness, loneliness, childrearing. Some of the letters are by obscure women, and some—such as a February 1861 note from "A Lady" warning Abraham Lincoln of a rumored assassination plot—are anonymous. As the editors note, for most of our history, "women simply had no public forum.... Letters... were among their only outlets for recording what they saw, and how they felt...." This is a delightful collection of belles letters in the most literal sense of the term, and a worthy successor to the editors' previous volume.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–This collection of more than 400 entries begins with a letter written by Abigail Grant, accusing her husband of cowardice in battle, and ends with an e-mail by Wall Street Journal correspondent Farnaz Fassihi on the stark state of affairs in war-torn Iraq. In between, a wide variety of compelling subjects is covered. The letter Amelia Earhart presented to her husband on their wedding day detailing her terms for the marriage is included as are the send-a-dime chain letter sent more than a billion times during the Depression and a letter addressed to Michael Powell, head of the Federal Communications Commission, complaining about the winner of Fox Network's 2003 American Idol competition. The book is divided by time period, and each section is illustrated with black-and-white graphics representative of the age. The letters are accompanied by information about the topics included, biographical details about the author and the recipient, and other interesting facts.–Debra Shumate, Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; Reprint edition (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385335563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385335560
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #547,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lisa Grunwald is the author of the novels The Irresistible Henry House, Whatever Makes You Happy, New Year's Eve, The Theory of Everything, and Summer. Along with her husband, Stephen J. Adler, she edited the bestselling anthologies Women's Letters and Letters of the Century. Grunwald is a former contributing editor to Life and a former features editor of Esquire. Find her on Facebook, at Lisa Grunwald, follow her on Twitter at @lisa_grunwald, or at www.lisagrunwald.com. Follow The Marriage Book at @themarriagebook and www.themarriagebook.com.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler, the powerhouse couple behind LETTERS OF THE CENTURY --- and now WOMEN'S LETTERS --- make history both accessible and captivating, presenting it in the format of correspondences written throughout our nation's history. With this epistolary approach Grunwald and Adler illuminate the events that molded and defined America.

LETTERS OF THE CENTURY looked at the writings of men and women over the course of a century. With WOMEN'S LETTERS, the editors have narrowed their focus and broadened their time frame, but by no means have they restricted their scope. Indeed, by presenting letters written solely by women --- to their sisters, their husbands, their friends and lovers --- Grunwald and Adler have only heightened the impact of their detailed and meticulous presentation of history.

In school we are forced to memorize the "dates, monarchs, generals and macro issues" and thus we associate history with a kind of teeth-grinding tedium and exam-related anxiety. History can be overwhelming and alienating --- much of what we learn about the rise and fall of civilizations, the birth and growth of nations, felt utterly separate and un-relatable when we were in school, and that feeling of being divided from our nation's past has endured. By drawing us into the minutiae, WOMEN'S LETTERS renders the "macro issues" both lucid and graspable. There is something deeply revelatory and ultimately reassuring about this conception of a past.

Beginning in 1775 and ending in 2005, the letters collected in this volume deal with themes that are vastly different and yet transcendent. They are snapshots of the lives of women from a wide range of educations, experiences, racial and economic backgrounds.
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Format: Hardcover
Reading someone else's old letters can evoke universal feelings and can even bring to life a time before we were born. This is what happens in "Women's Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present," edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler. In more than 800 pages, the editors compiled women's letters from 1775 up to and including the current war in Iraq. The letter writers include slave owners, slaves, politicians, movie stars, moms and daughters. There are love letters, a "last will and testament" and eyewitness accounts of historic events. For me, the most unusual was from Marilyn Monroe, who taped a handwritten note to her stomach before having her appendix out, begging her doctor to "cut as little as possible." I also got caught up in the World War II letters from a Japanese American wife housed in a separate internment camp from her husband. This is a fascinating way to see America through its cultural and political changes and observe the changing roles of women.
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Format: Hardcover
Women's Letters: America...Present is a wonderful look into America's history told beautifully by scores of women. This should be required reading for every high-schooler across the country. The depth and breadth of the writers and their experiences is an unforgettable journey. I adored the letters from the young girls; was heartbroken and elated along with each author; and brilliantly reminded of our dedication to family, country, God, and the struggle to find our own voices. I read a letter or two each night, and often read long into the night, unable to put down the book. There are a few long letters that drone on, and eventually I skipped past them altogether. Some of the letters are difficult to read, as the letters have been printed as they were written, so there are some with little to no punctuation, stunted grammer and misspellings. I did, however, appreciate the editor's committment to maintaining the integrity of the writing, and that committment gave it's own voice to the letters, in turn strengthening the author's voice. This book rates 5 out of 5 stars - I'd give it more if I could!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my mother, who enjoys it very much. Its easy reading, but powerful, insightful, and uplifting. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter's American history class in college was presented only through letters written about the era, and I was envious of her reading "live" history at her age. Now I have it, and from the unique perspective of women. The book is approprate for both genders, but girls and women of all ages in particular will be moved in ways textbooks can never do. The editors have done a great job in the variety of walks of life and experiences. It inspires me to write my own perspective for my grandchilren.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my mom. She had brain surgery 3 1/2 years ago. Before her accident she was an avid reader, and loved American History. I bought this book for her, per the letters were short enough that she wouldn't forget what was happening in the "story", and I knew if she would be more likey to try reading more. Wow! She loves it, and her friends even read it when they come over. My mom is reading again, it might take her a half hour to read a page, but that does not matter. This book has change my mom, Priceless...
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating way to reread the history of Amerca through women's eyes.Though the letters are written by different women from different
classes, one can readily continue the time frame. The story of the young girl who is sent on a mission to George Washington;the story of the treacherous trip via sailing vessel are both compelling. Highly recommended to women to read about the bravery of our foremothers.
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