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American history
letters

Letters of the Century: America 19001999

 
 
Author
Lisa Grunwald & Stephen J. Adler, eds.
Publisher Dial  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9.15 x 7 x 1.55 inches
ISBN 9780385315937
Pages/Publication Date 741/2008
Daedalus Item Code 73003
List Price: $18.00
Sale Price: $5.98
You Save: $12.02
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Description
The blurber at Daedalus had a hard time putting this book down long enough to blurb it. It is a collection of more than 400 letters written by presidents and performers, writers and social critics, artists and scientists, as well as those who are unknown but speak for many. The letters form a first-person, in-the-moment history of 20th-century America, with each decade summarized in headlines. Hemingway writes to Fitzgerald in almost a self-parody of clipped syntax about his version of Heaven. Mencken describes the circus surrounding the Scopes monkey trial to a friend back in Baltimore, while Bartolomeo Vanzetti writes a farewell to Dante Sacco's young son on the day before he and Sacco are executed for a murder they didn't commit. A rumrunner gets caught with a boat full of liquor, and writes a warm, reassuring note to his wife that the Coast Guard then confiscates as evidence. Frank Lloyd Wright not only defends his engineering but also chastises his client and the future resident of Fallingwater, Edgar Kaufmann, for going behind his back to another engineer. Dorothy Parker writes a short missive to Gerald Murphy about the goings-on at a Selznick International Pictures board meeting, and Groucho Marx lets fly with three original pieces of comedy in the form of letters to the Warner brothers, who insist he not name the upcoming Marx Brothers picture A Night in Casablanca. Student Mark Rudd identifies the "Generation Gap" in a letter to Columbia University president Grayson Kirk. Just a few years before her suicide, Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Sexton writes an exuberant letter for her young daughter to read when she turns 40. Rock Hudson writes five anonymous letters to past lovers that he has AIDS, a young Bill Gates appeals to computer hobbyists to not share software, and Jimmy Carter addresses a letter "to the cosmos" to accompany a Voyager spacecraft on its journey.
 
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