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Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience Hardcover – 26 Oct 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 319 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Unbound; Main edition (26 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782112235
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782112235
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 20.3 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (319 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Funny, tragic, brilliantly incisive, historic, lyrical, romantic and studiedly offensive, this stupendous compendium of letters ancient and modern is my book of the year. You will never tire of it" (Stephen Fry)

"A gloriously presented compilation" (Financial Times)

"Open the pages of the anthology and the appeal is immediately obvious" (Observer)

"It is inspiring, and often sad, funny, and occasionally quite surreal" (GQ)

"The literary equivalent of a box of chocolates - bite-sized and pure addictive pleasure . . . The result is beautifully produced, with photographs and colour facsimiles of much of the correspondence. A gorgeous Christmas present" (The Sunday Times)

"Addictive, like dipping into a bag of variously tempting assorted candies, knowing that the next one will always bring surprise and pleasure. Usher has an evident knack for selecting letters that land with the force of a good short story, with personalities and dramatic arcs emerging swiftly, from just a page or two. Many of the writers are famous people, caught in a moment of accessibility and rawness or off-the-cuff virtuosity" (New Yorker)

"Quite literally the most enjoyable volume it is possible to imagine. Every page is a marvel" (Spectator)

"A wonderful collection of magical missives . . . It'll have you reaching for pen and paper" (Evening Standard)

"As a guide to letters that deserve a wider readership, Usher's compilation is hard to beat" (Scotland on Sunday)

"A truly extraordinary reading experience" (Big Issue)

"It is hard to see how Letters Of Note could ever be surpassed" (Mail on Sunday)

"The volume is so well-produced it could become an heirloom, passed down through generations" (Huffington Post)

"Witty, tragic, educational, inspirational" (The List)

"This wonderful volume features letters for the great and the good, including Mick Jagger, Roald Dahl - and the Queen, with her personal recipe for drop scones! Some are witty, some are wicked and others will move you to tears" (Bella)

"A book that's an ideal Christmas gift" (Metro)

"This year's Christmas gift? For sure" (Evening Standard)

Book Description

The eagerly awaited book based on the inspirational, poignant, hugely popular and utterly addictive website www.lettersofnote.com, with 20% new content

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an absolutely beautiful book.
I was nearly put of by the price, but I'm glad I wasn't. It's a real meaty tome and needs to be a hardback.
Some of the letters are absolutely fascinating, such as Gandhi pleading with Hitler to avoid war, or Hilter's nephew writing to Pres Roosevelt after he was refused entry to the US Army.
Others are humorous, moving and downright incredible, giving a real insight into historical figures or points in history.
It's also beautifully illustrated with pictures of the original letters and other images.
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Format: Hardcover
One of my books of the year, I think I can say. It sounds rather lofty - a collection of letters from history - but I haven't reacted to any one book with not only tears and laughter but also feelings of great admiration, warmth and hope for mankind.

Currently my colleague is reading it too, at my recommendation and feels just the same.

So how does one book manage this? Collected together are letters from various points in time, from various countries and famous and not-so-famous people. The letters themselves are often included. One is an original cuneiform letter from Ancient Egypt. Another a simple note in a long-dead language. one you won't forget shows a coconut shell, that John F Kennedy wrote an SOS note on in World War 2 when stranded on an island, that eventually brought rescue (and eventually made a White House paperweight).

I dare you to not cheer as the former slave refuses eloquently to return to his former owner without guarantees and back pay. or to smile as the editor of the Sun convinces a young writer that there IS a Santa Claus.

I cried reading the Elephant Man's doctor's words, Virginia Woolf's suicide note for her husband. Scott (of the Antarctic)'s letter "to my widow". Letters from mothers abandoning their babies at foundling homes. The Titanic telegram - no loss of life expected.

I laughed at the note condemning Fawlty Towers, one encouraging President Nixon to eat his vegetables, a reply from a 'Top Scientist' to a boy's rocket design.

All of humanity is here. Hitler's nephew wanting to fight against his relative. A Japanese kamikaze pilot writing home. Queen Elizabeth sending a drop scone recipe. Crick explaining the recently discovered DNA stricture to his nephew.

Need I say more? The content speaks for itself. A book you can dip into or read again and again. It would make a precious gift and really is quite a beautiful object in its hardback, illustrated A4 state.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had my eye on this book for ages but was put off by the £20 price tag. I was lucky to have snapped it up in a lightning deal and now that I own it I think it is well worth £20. I don't think I've ever read a book that has been so touching, fascinating, funny and sad at the same time. Some of the best letters inside were written by ordinary people and the letters by celebrities and historical figures are wonderful too. It is a beautiful book and would make a lovely gift. I've been raving about it to everybody!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed taking this book to bed every evening and reading a few letters at a time.

As well as delivering tasty snapshots into the minds and times of people involved in events significant and trivial in the past, the book gathers stories that are impossible not to pass on to friends, colleagues and family.

It's a hefty tome, tastefully outfitted with pictures and copies of the original letters (which are often all but illegible, but only more charming for it).

I believe this would make a brilliant, thoughtful gift for many; the greatest trouble this collection has brought to my life is having to resist sharing every story with those friends set to receive a copy for Christmas.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just received my copy, purchased for my mother for Christmas. She is an inveterate letter-writer but not online so has never known the joy of following Shaun Usher on Twitter. This book has been perfectly produced; I am going to buy more copies as gifts, and one for myself. Letters of Note ought to fascinate anyone who can read, frankly. A brilliant bit of publishing and definitely deserving of a wide readership.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of the site for a while and was delighted when the book was released. I bought it as a present for my mum and she loves it. The letters are beautiful & varied, and well presented in the book with a picture of each of the original letters as well as a transcription as some are hard to read!

I think I am going to buy one for myself!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sit back, relax, and transport yourself to another into other peoples lives via their words..the art of beautiful letter writing is becoming a lost one... these letters are heartwarming, funny, some will bring tears and they all tell a story. And bonus is you see the actual written letter...oh the handwriting back in the day! I love this book (which is quite substantial in size) and recommend to anyone who enjoys good writing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fascinating and unusual book because in several cases there is a picture of the original letter alongside the transcript. Often the handwriting tells you as much as the content. Letter writing seems to be a dying art so these letters are a poignant reminder of how important it once was in day to day communication. There are some surprises : some of them are beautifully written and eloquent, others quite blunt but all of them reveal the personality behind the pen. A good mix of well known and not so well known writers including the Queen with her recipe for scones and teenagers writing to the president to save Elvis from an army crew cut!
I hope Shaun Usher brings our another one soon.
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