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Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children
Synopses & Reviews
An elegantly designed, beautifully composed volume of personal letters from famous American men and women that celebrates the American Experience and illuminates the rich history of some of Americas most storied families.
Posterity is at once an epistolary chronicle of America and a fascinating glimpse into the hearts and minds of some of historys most admired figures. Spanning more than three centuries, these letters contain enduring lessons in life and love, character and compassion that will surprise and enlighten.
Included here are letters from Thomas Jefferson to his daughter, warning her of the evils of debt; General Patton on D-Day to his son, a cadet at West Point, about what it means to be a good soldier; W.E.B. DuBois to his daughter about character beneath the color of skin; Oscar Hammerstein about why, after all his success, he doesnt stop working; Woody Guthrie from a New Jersey asylum to nine-year-old Arlo about universal human frailty; sixty-five-year-old Laura Ingalls Wilders train of thought about her pioneer childhood; Eleanor Roosevelt chastising her grown son for his Christmas plans; and Groucho Marx as a dog to his twenty-five-year-old son.
With letters that span more than three centuries of American history, Posterity is a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, wisdom, and family lives of those whose public accomplishments have touched us all. Here are renowned Americans in their own words and in their own times, seen as they were seen by their children. Here are our great Americans as mothers and fathers.
"Lawson, daughter of Pulitzer Prize — winning historian David McCullough, debuts with this anthology. Along with advice and words of wisdom, these letters offer intimate insights into the lives of 68 acclaimed Americans — actors, artists, explorers, inventors, novelists, playwrights, politicians — including Ansel Adams, Thomas Edison, Sam Houston, Mary Todd Lincoln, Jack London, Clare Boothe Luce, Groucho Marx, John O'Hara, Frederick Law Olmsted, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Laura Ingalls Wilder. The material is gathered thematically into chapters such as 'Love,' 'Loss' and 'Struggle,' and each correspondent gets a biographical, scene-setting introduction. Lawson views letters as 'the color, heart, and personality of history,' and McCullough, in his foreword, calls them 'missives of love,' adding, 'Often the authors want only to save their children from making the mistakes they have.' Among these colorful and compassionate epistles are delights and surprises. While Alexander Graham Bell copied jokes from newspapers, the Three Stooges' Moe Howard composed poetry for his eight-year-old daughter. Suffering in a New Jersey hospital, Woody Guthrie told nine-year-old Arlo, 'Don't whine to god.... Be thankenful [sic] to god.' Illustrator N.C. Wyeth cautioned Andrew Wyeth: 'There's a real task on our hands, Andy. Modern art critics and their supine followers like the flat and the shallow.' Spanning three centuries, this is a meticulously edited collection, enlightening and entertaining. An appendix traces births, death, marriages and children for each author. Agent, Luke Janklow. (On sale Apr. 13) Forecast: The April publication date positions this as an ideal graduation gift, and the elegant jacket design, combining penmanship and a postage stamp, cleverly communicates the contents to book buyers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In our age of e-mail and other disposable bits of communication, a book of carefully composed personal letters is a rare treat. [A] beautiful volume, masterfully edited by Lawson....A one-of-a-kind collection." Library Journal
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 into the hearts and minds of some of history's most admired figures.
About the Author
Dorie McCullough Lawson graduated from Middlebury College, where she majored in history. She works and lives in Rockport, Maine with her husband and three children. This is her first book.
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Biography » Rich and Famous