In the tradition of "Letters of the Century," this rich collection of letters is at once an epistolary chronicle of America and a fascinating glimpse ...Show synopsisIn the tradition of "Letters of the Century," this rich collection of letters is at once an epistolary chronicle of America and a fascinating glimpse into the hearts and minds of some of history's most admired figures.Hide synopsis
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Fascinating as history, packets of life's wisdom, even as gossip!
I wished I'd had this to read as an adolescent, some of these great minds made superb recommendations to their children. I really can imagine some mistakes averted. A wonderful gift for adolescents and teens.
I was surprised by the comparative gentleness and sensitivity shown by General Pershing and others one might have expected to be austere or tough in contrast to the abusive letters written by some of the very emotional writers: F.Scott Fitzgerald, Jack London, and -no surprise here - Eugene O'Neill. Here more light is shed on their narcissism than on wisdom passed along (ie, Fitzgerald shaming his adolescent daughter for social climbing, which was certainly a primary pursuit of his adult life, and painting himself as the sober, hardworking, thrifty victim of his selfish wife and daughter.). But Anne Sexton, from whom one might expected disturbance or at least darkness as a poet who took her own life, wrote her daughter a letter that was loving, life-affirming, and written to shield her in the pain that lay ahead.
Many others were amazingly kind in times when strict and rigorous demands on the behavior of the young were customary.
The only disappointment in the book was the inclusion of a little inappropriate political PR: a letter by Barbara Bush written for publication and one by George H.W. Bush. Letters offered for publication by living political figures don't give believable insight into the writer's character and lack the authenticity that this otherwise historical collection offers.
Aside from those two letters, I recommend this book without reservation to anyone interested in history, humanity or codes for living.
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