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Women's Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Presentby Lisa Grunwald
Synopses & Reviews
Historical events of the last three centuries come alive through these women’s singular correspondences—often their only form of public expression. In 1775, Rachel Revere tries to send financial aid to her husband, Paul, in a note that is confiscated by the British; First Lady Dolley Madison tells her sister about rescuing George Washington’s portrait during the War of 1812; one week after JFK’s assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy pens a heartfelt letter to Nikita Khrushchev; and on September 12, 2001, a schoolgirl writes a note of thanks to a
New York City firefighter, asking him, “Were you afraid?”
The letters gathered here also offer fresh insight into the personal milestones in women’s lives. Here is a mid-nineteenth-century missionary describing a mastectomy performed without anesthesia; Marilyn Monroe asking her doctor to spare her ovaries in a handwritten note she taped to her stomach before appendix surgery; an eighteen-year-old telling her mother about her decision to have an abortion the year after Roe v. Wade; and a woman writing to her parents and in-laws about adopting a Chinese baby.
With more than 400 letters and over 100 stunning photographs, Women’s Letters is a work of astonishing breadth and scope, and a remarkable testament to the women who lived–and made–history.
"In Letters of the Century, Grunwald and Adler offered an epistolary romp through American life in the 20th century. Now the husband-and-wife duo turn their considerable talents to the letters of American women. Some of the letters capture grand historical events — e.g., Abigail Adams gushing to husband John about a July 1776 public reading of the Declaration of Independence. At the other end of the timeline are a handful of letters written on or shortly after 9/11. But many letters dwell on the everyday — sickness, loneliness, childrearing. Some of the letters are by obscure women, and some — such as a February 1861 note from 'A Lady' warning Abraham Lincoln of a rumored assassination plot — are anonymous. As the editors note, for most of our history, 'women simply had no public forum.... Letters... were among their only outlets for recording what they saw, and how they felt....' This is a delightful collection of belles letters in the most literal sense of the term, and a worthy successor to the editors' previous volume. Agents, Liz Darhansoff and Kathy Robbins. (Sept. 27)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the editors of the classic anthology "Letters of the Century" comes a unique portrait of American history told through the letters of famous and everyday women alike. High school & older.
About the Author
Lisa Grunwald is the author of the novels Whatever Makes You Happy, New Years Eve, The Theory of Everything, and Summer. She is a former magazine editor.
Stephen J. Adler is editor in chief of Business Week magazine and author of The Jury: Trial and Error in the American Courtroom. Grunwald and Adler live with their two children in New York City.
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