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Letters of the Century

In more than 400 letters from both famous figures and ordinary citizens, Letters of the Century encapsulates the people and places, events and trends that shaped our nation during the past 100 years. Here is Mark Twain’s hilarious letter of complaint to the head of Western Union, an ecstatic letter from a young Charlie Chaplin upon receiving his first movie contract, Einstein’s letter to Franklin Roosevelt warning about atomic warfare, Mark Rudd’s “generation gap” letter to the president of Columbia University during the student riots of the 60s, and a letter from young Bill Gates imploring hobbyists not to share software so that innovators can make some money... In these pages, our century’s most celebrated figures become everyday people and everyday people become part of history. Here is a veteran’s wrenching letter left at the Vietnam Wall, a poignant correspondence between two women trying to become mothers, a heart-breaking letter from an AIDS sufferer telling his parents how he wants to be buried, an indignant e-mail from a PC user to his on-line server... Letters of the Century creates an extraordinary chronicle of our history through the voices of the men and women who have lived its greatest moments.

The Dial Press, 1999

 

Letters of the Century

The Dial Press, 1999

 

In more than 400 letters from both famous figures and ordinary citizens, Letters of the Century encapsulates the people and places, events and trends that shaped our nation during the past 100 years. Here is Mark Twain’s hilarious letter of complaint to the head of Western Union, an ecstatic letter from a young Charlie Chaplin upon receiving his first movie contract, Einstein’s letter to Franklin Roosevelt warning about atomic warfare, Mark Rudd’s “generation gap” letter to the president of Columbia University during the student riots of the 60s, and a letter from young Bill Gates imploring hobbyists not to share software so that innovators can make some money... In these pages, our century’s most celebrated figures become everyday people and everyday people become part of history. Here is a veteran’s wrenching letter left at the Vietnam Wall, a poignant correspondence between two women trying to become mothers, a heart-breaking letter from an AIDS sufferer telling his parents how he wants to be buried, an indignant e-mail from a PC user to his on-line server... Letters of the Century creates an extraordinary chronicle of our history through the voices of the men and women who have lived its greatest moments.


 

Reviews of Letters of the Century

A jumbo Christmas box of a book. — The New Yorker

Entertaining and informative, a social history made for browsing. — USA Today

Renders a more definitive portrait of America’s past 99 years than would all the centennial books laid decade to decade... an exceptional bedside companion.
— Time Magazine

Hits every marker in what we consider the course of our national history: social, economic, political, cultural, and military... A trip down Shared Memory Lane. — Boston Sunday Globe

Wonderful. The perfect time capsule. This is history as it was being made in the words of the people who were making it. History has never seemed more alive. — Tampa Tribune

Fascinating, cleverly conceived, and well-organized, Letters of the Century invites readers to hear the ring of unaffected truth and succeeds brilliantly.
— Biography Magazine

You can dip into this volume anywhere and find something intriguing; an irresistible collection of voices. — Columbus Dispatch