Book Review – Letters of Note Compiled by Shaun Usher
December 2, 2014
This spectacular collection of more than 125 letters offers a never-before-seen glimpse of the events and people of history—the brightest and best, the most notorious, and the endearingly everyday. Entries include a transcript of the letter; a short contextual introduction; and, in 100 cases, a captivating facsimile of the letter itself. The artfulness of Shaun Usher’s eclectic arrangement creates a reading experience rich in discovery. Mordant, hilarious, poignant, enlightening—surprise rewards each turn of the page. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, portraits, and relevant artworks, this handsome hardcover is a visual treat too, making Letters of Note an utterly distinctive gift, and an instant classic.
Let me just say that I LOVED this book, and I think nearly everyone I know could appreciate the value of the letters contained in this collection. The letters cover such a wide range of topics and a wide range of people, that you don’t quite know what to expect as you flip to the next page. Some of the letters have such immense historical significance, while others will bring a tear to your eye as you read. This book is unlike any other book that you will ever read!
I love that Usher took the time to provide an introduction to the letters (sometimes it was essential to understanding the value of the note), and the inclusion of actual copies of the letters gives the book such a unique layout. He saved you the trouble of traveling to a hundred different locations to track down such a variety of original writing.
I’m actually having a hard time narrowing down some of my favorites for you (if I included them all, I might as well sit down with you and read the book to you ), but if you can only check out a few, here are some I would recommend: Queen Elizabeth II’s handwritten letter to President Dwight Eisenhower which included her scone recipe, Clementine Churchill’s letter to her husband Winston about how he is not as nice as he used to be, Amelia Earhart’s letter to her soon-to-be-husband detailing the reasons she is reluctant to marry, the man who wrote his son about his discovery of DNA, and finally a letter a woman wrote to her in-laws which detailed the death of their brother. Seriously, I wish I could go on because there are so many more!
If you take the time to check out Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (I checked my copy out from the library), please let me know. I’d love to chat about this gem with someone!!!!!