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Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children Paperback – 22 Apr 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; Reprint edition (22 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767909046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767909044
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 556,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Each letter has a distinct tone, from congratulatory to scolding, which shines a light on one facet of each great American's personality. A one-of-a-kind collection." --"Library Journal"

"Years ago, parents wrote to their children letters of instruction about duty, industry, propriety--a ritual that has largely disappeared from American life, and this book reminds us of why we should be sorry about it." --"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette"

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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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In this day of email and instant messaging does anyone ever take the timeto write a longhand letter? What will future generations have toreference in order to learn more about us, who we were and what wethought? Well, I don't have the answer to those questions but I do knowthat today we can read the letters of some very distinguished people whodid take the time to advise, order or console their children via pen andink.
Yes, the writers of the letters contained in this volume arefamous Americans, but they are also very much like all of us when it comesto our offspring. What a privilege it is to be able to read these lettersand in that way perhaps know a little more about what was in the writers'hearts and minds.
The letters are arranged by theme, from "Continuity" to "Rules ToLive By," and each letter is preceded by a brief biographical sketch.
We find Albert Einstein writing to Hans Albert Einstein, "What Ihave achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be therefor strangers but especially for my own boys.....I am very pleased thatyou find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion foryour age the best pursuits......"
Sam Houston tells Sam, Jr. of a mother's love: "Your Ma loves youmore than she does any one else, so you should love her, more than anyone." While John Adams sends a note of caution to John Quincy Adams:"...Go and see with how little Wisdom this World is governed."
In moments of discouragement Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote toGeorgiana Stowe: "Why have n't I written? Because, dear Georgie, I amlike the dry, dead leafless tree, and have only cold, dead, slumberingbuds of hope on the end of stiff, hard, frozen twigs of thought, but noleaves, no blossoms...."
"Posterity" offers a collective portrait of who we were. It's abook that can be picked up and enjoyed a page at a time, and it's oneyou'll want to refer to again and again.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great ispirational book , It provides a perspective of how great man think and the kind of legacy the want to leave. Definitively is a book to promote to read in total or in part even at school
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal and Revealing 19 July 2004
By V. L. Wilson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This wonderful book spans more than three centuries and gives the reader insights into the thoughts of many great Americans as they wrote to their children.
This treasury of short letters also provides some background for each one. The research needed to discover these personal letters is documented. I love this collection and the way all the letters are presented.
To quote from the author's father, David McCullough, "This is a book to pick up and read at almost any page, a book to keep close at hand, to return to for nourishment and guidance, yes, but also for reassurance and pure pleasure". I couldn't have said it any better! This quotation says exactly how I feel. I want to purchase several copies to give as gifts and as a parent, I even feel compelled to write to my own children!
All the letters provide wonderful insights into the minds of the parents, and I have several favorites; Eleanor Roosevelt wrote one to one of her sons who wanted to skip Christmas and it is so touching! As Dorie M. Lawson reminds us, letter writing is generally a thoughtful art - it cannot compare to e-mail writing.
These personal letters from parent to child are arranged thematically and within each section, they are in chronological order and printed in their entirety just as they were composed. It is thrilling to read them, especially the really old ones and all of them were written by aparent who made worthwhile contributions to America.
Here are a few of the parents whose letters are included: Thomas Jefferson to his daughter Patsy, Harry Truman to his daughter Margaret, General Patton to his son, Oscar Hammerstein to his son, and so many more from all walks of life. All of us who have children and even those who do not, will benefit from reading this rare collection of parents expressing their thoughts.
Thank you Dorie McCullough Lawson and please continue writing!
5.0 out of 5 stars Parental advice that transcends time 3 Jun. 2016
By Maggie Korslin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting to read these heartfelt letters that are so timely even for today's world.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 Jun. 2016
By chiefnac - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
he is out best historian and one of the great writers ever
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Display of Humanity 8 July 2004
By tides24 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To often, we think of historical figures as cardboard characters, names in a textbook. In this wonderful book, they come alive as thinking, feeling human beings, sharing their innermost thoughts with their children. No matter the era, or the fame of the writer, the humanity is what one remembers. Perhaps the greatest tribute I can give Dorie McCullough Lawson is the fact that I have since read, or am reading, biographies of N.C. Wyeth, Theodore Roosevelt, John J. Pershing, and Harriet Beecher Stowe...all because of what I learned about them from her book, and the letters therein. "Posterity..." is a book to treasure.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great advice 16 July 2008
By A. J. Tothacer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this book is a joy to skim and read in bits -- lots of worthwhile advice from famous folks
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