Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

4.8 5
by Shaun Usher
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"'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."
-The Advocate

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. "
Newsday

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"

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."
-Uncrate"

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"

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."
-Brain Pickings"

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."
Quartz"

...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)

Library Journal
★ 06/01/2014
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. VERDICT A beautiful collection that should appeal to everyone. Start reading it and you're lost.—David Keymer, Modesto, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452134253
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
05/06/2014
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
92,131
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Shaun Usher founded the blog-based archive Letters of Note, hugely popular internationally. He lives in Manchester, England.

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Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I opened this book last night and could not put it down. The scope of these letters runs from the horrifying (letter possibly from Jack the Ripper) to the charming (letter from an eight year old boy to Richard Nixon commiserating with him about his pneumonia.) The intimacy and honest revelations about and by the rich, the famous, the ignoble, the humble, the obscure, the better knowns and the lesser knowns make for fascinating reading. I can see myself return to this book time and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. The arrangement of the letters keeps drawing you in; you cannot quit reading. It gives such insight and entertains. Of course, it makes you laugh and cry because it is the essence of the people.
JessicaCoffee More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars. I really, really enjoyed this. There are so many amazing letters with such great details from such a huge timeline. LoN isn't one those coffee table books that you read in about an hour and never look at again. It's one you flip through for days on end, savoring letters from (for example) Queens or tyrants or rock stars to presidents, authors to fellow authors, wives to their deceased husbands, parents to their children, illustrators to fans, and so much more. (One of my favorites had to be the dam letter... I laughed so hard! Another that totally shocked me: a letter from Abe Lincoln's son to someone confirming a strange tie to John Wilkes Booth's brother.) I learned so much from this book and truly enjoyed being able to see the very letters themselves. Not all had originals shared with them, but most did (either version was just as intriguing).  It's obvious that Shaun Usher took a lot of time not only to acquire so many letters, but he also made sure to find out the background and proper context which seriously made the letters all that much more entertaining.   I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys books with letters, learning about American (and other country's) history, loves behind-the-scene facts about presidency, or simply wants a conversation piece in their home. I guarantee this will spur many a conversation!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
aij More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful. I find it hard to put down once I pick it up. There's always another letter I just have to look at before i lay the book aside until later. And then another... The illustrations add a great deal of enjoyment to the content of the letters.