This is a wonderful book, dealing with the letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, following a chance reference in Avis's husband's column to knives. They build up a real friendship through many long letters, which continued all their lives, although the book centres around the years of writing "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1". Fortunately for us, the friendship deepened when they actually met! However, the letters contain much, much more than "just" queries about the book, publishers etc. It is a potted history of the politics of the US during the McCarthy era and also of the European scene, where Julia and her husband Paul, were based during this period. They are both widely read women, in touch with movers and shakers and linked in to journalists and politicians on both continents.
This is an important book to read if you love Julia Child's cooking and "Julie and Julia" and are interested in the social context in which "Mastering" was developed and first appeared, with its details about the relationship between the three authors of Vol 1 as well as the politics of publishing. Definitely a book for those who wish to set Julia's long cooking life in its social and political beginnings.