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Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience Hardcover – May 6, 2014
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"'Letters of Note' has been my favorite summer book, full of the kinds of letters I hope to find in my own mailbox, but rarely, these days, ever do."
Starred Review " Based on the blog of the same name, this collection of letters is so handsome that it looks like a coffee-table book, but it's more than that. In it, Queen Elizabeth II sends a note to President Dwight Eisenhower reflecting on Mamie and Ike's visit to Balmoral Castle: she appends her recipe for scones. The chairman of the Whitehall Vigilance Committee receives a package with a note from Jack the Ripper accompanied by half a human kidney, pickled in wine: "I fried and ate it was very nise." Gandhi appeals to Hitler as the only one who can avert the impending war. Bank robber Clyde Barrow tells Henry Ford he only drives Fords. Francis Crick alerts his son about DNA. A wife writes to her samurai husband on the eve of battle (he died in the fighting, she committed suicide) and an ex-slave addresses his former master. This treasure trove of fascinating material includes more than 125 letters from both the famous and the unknown dating as far back as 1340 BCE, many reproduced in facsimile.A beautiful collection that should appeal to everyone. Start reading it and you're lost. "
- Library Journal
holiday Gift Guide Pick "Usher has been showcasing epistles on his website for years; now 125 of his favorites, written by the likes of Katherine Hepburn, Fidel Castro and Richard Feynman, are gathered in this incomparable compendium of human relationships and emotion."
-Time Out NY
Holiday Gift Guide Pick
"Shaun Usher's glorious selection of letters from writers, royalty, rock stars and ordinary citizens, makes you yearn to find a witty handwritten or typed missive in your mailbox. Drawn from the blog of the same name, this lovely volume combines photographs, transcriptions and commentary. "
"While some might argue that the art of correspondence died with the advent of the internet, it was Letters of Note-a popular website sharing correspondence across history and spheres-that paved the way for the exceptional hardcover of the same name. The book's introduction aptly describes itself as "a museum of letters" that are as addictive as they are enlightening; featuring letters from Ernest Hemingway, Fidel Castro, Nick Cave, Elvis and more than a few world leaders.
London-based author Shaun Usher compiled the collection of over 125 letters over the course of four years and the subjects span both private and public theatrics. A letter from Elvis Presley to President Nixon is written in-flight on American Airlines stationary, in which Presley expresses his patriotism and requests to be made a Federal Agent, "just so long as it is kept very private." Each of the letters is accompanied with a contextual note from Usher that only serves to add to the fascination and potential rabbit hole of additional research readers might find themselves falling into.
From art to music, politics, history, civil rights and drawing on just about every human emotion, it's easy to get lost in the 342-page tome. Each letter tells its own stories and it is easy to find oneself interested in new subjects. Perhaps the book's greatest virtue (and that of correspondence itself) is its ability to inject individual humanity into historical events and time periods. One highlight is a letter from a free slave to his former master, kindly rejecting an offer of a job while inquiring about the family and describing his new life. These true stories-whether they're between household names or persons unknown-reflect the great importance of interpersonal communication and the beauty of long-form written conversation."
- Cool Hunting
"While a good portion of history happened out in the open, allowing it to be preserved in the history books for everyone to read for generations, still more happened in the private correspondence of people who mattered. In Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (brought to you by the creator of the blog by the same name) you'll read letters spanning across centuries, from influential political leaders, authors, actors, murderers, and more. Each one lends a unique insight into the major events of the time, whether they're wars, cultural shifts, key moments, or important discoveries. This epistolary compilation contains over 300 letters, detailing the personal thoughts of everyone from Jack the Ripper to Kurt Vonnegut."
"This new book beautifully highlights fascinating letters ...The hardcover demands prime space on the coffee table."
USA Today's Pop Candy
"Someone should write a love letter to a new book called Letters of Note. It's a splendid collection of all kinds of correspondence through the ages: Elvis Presley fans writing to the president, children making suggestions to famous cartoonists, a scientist's poignant love letter to his late wife."
- A Way With Words
"Reading through them is addictive, like dipping into a bag of variously tempting assorted candies, knowing that the next one will always bring surprise and pleasure. "
-The New Yorker
"It's the kind of book you'll go back to again and again, and find something new every time. It's a celebration of what makes us human, and gathered together, they have a powerful effect. If nothing else, it will make you want to jot down a letter of your own."
- Yakima Herald
"It is a truly beautiful book."
-The Bookseller (UK)
"Every single epistle in Letters of Note is soul-stretching beyond measure."
"An eloquent tribute to the lost art of letter writing."
GQ magazine (UK)
"...an anthology of Shaun Usher's wonderful blog of the same name. It's well worth picking up."
"...a stupendous collection of memorable missives, often by famous people - and with facsimiles, each page is a marvel...Letters of Note is quite literally the most enjoyable volume it is possible to imagine."
-The Spectator (UK)
About the Author
Shaun Usher founded the blog-based archive Letters of Note, hugely popular internationally. He lives in Manchester, England.
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Top customer reviews
If you have any interest, I'd say, please get thisboom. It is a larger format, somewhat like a coffee table book; but the collected letters inside are funny, moving, intimate, inspiring, fascinating. Unlike so many "pretty" books that are done in about 20 minutes, this one has already provided so much enjoyment - reading, rereading, and sharing with my best friend and my family. The person who compiled the letters also provides background that further brings these letters to life. Can hardly wait to receive book 2!
As I got on this page to leave my review I saw that there was a single one-star review. Curious to see who could actually hate this book (maybe, I thought, they just hate books...in which case, why buy one) I read it...only to discover that their book had arrived printed upside down. As an author myself, I have to say, leaving this kind of review does writers a terrible disservice, as many people scan "average star ratings" when deciding to purchase a book. When you review a book, you are reviewing that BOOK, not the printer, the distributer, OR the post office (as one such review I read complained that their copy had been dented in the mail).
Once again...fabulous book. Stop thinking about buying it and just do it. Now.
Most recent customer reviews
Letters by Denis Cox and reply by Allan Paul made me feel so alive. Thank you so much for creating this book.