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on 25 February 2004
An enjoyable,amusing and not to be missed compelation of the letters and replies of Henry Root. Whether you have five minutes or an hour to spare this book will keep you amused from start to finish. A must for the avid complainer or tongue in cheek writer wishing to improve their written skills. A book that the reader will pick up time and time again and wish it was just that few pages longer.
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on 11 June 2011
I don't know what makes a legend but the writer of this book, who's prose may have matched the skill of Wodehouse and wrote the funniest book of the 3rd quarter of the 20th century should be a qualifier and he would be if more people had heard of him. Put simply, this book of wind up letters to political movers and shakers of the day, academics, police chiefs and tv celebrities (Mr Root's snarky eye ranged wide) is always funny and more than occasionally hilarious. Most innocently replied, adding to the fun.

It's perhaps too late for legend status as in 2011 the book has the feel of a historical document, with many of the recipients of Mr Root's letters forgotten or unknown to a younger generation. As well as letters to Mrs Thatcher, Angela Rippon and Patrick Moore, recipients included James Anderton (then the notorious Manchester Police Chief) and The Lucy Clayton Model Agency. Where are they now? However, the still living targets won't have forgotten Mr Root, especially the majority who replied to his outrageous assaults.

Willie Donaldson, the creator of Henry Root, wet fish millionaire and man of letters, lived a more than interesting life (a crack addicted prostitute's pimp and would be theatre impresario) and I would recommend Terence Blacker's biography "You Cannot Live As I have lived and Not End Up Like This". Yes, it's a strange corner of literature, but always great fun.
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on 4 April 2016
I actually read this book Many years ago when it came out first as well as the original one. Wonderful timeless wit and hilarious piss-taking of gullible people.

I wonder in this day and age of lawsuits if one would get away with it now!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 September 2014
Along with 'Book of heroic Failures' the laugh out loud triumph of the 1980's. That is has dated, I grant you, but writing a magnificent letter to Brian Clough about his players expectorating then giving him a pound for a Swiss international; to ex Rugby playing S African diplomat Danie De Villiers and commending him for not 'playing' his opponents balls (!); to Mrs Thatcher admiringly as a mother...well he deserves the accolade granted by Glenda Slagg herself, Lynda Lee-Potter, woman of a million hypocrisies and thought this "about as funny as pushing someone fully clothed into a swimming pool". Real name Willie Donaldson and by his own admission a terrible impresario (P. Cook for one was 'his'), he stole this idea for wind-up letters from Lazlo Pap in the U.S.A. and made something wittier of it. Often hilarious, invariably well-written and sometimes inspired. Even if you do not remember James 'God's Copper' Anderton you will enjoy Root's mucking about with him...and addressing General Zia Ul Haq, the fearsome one time P.M. of Pakistan with the soubriquet The Strong Man is a masterstroke, as is his supreme rudeness to Esther Rantzen when she doesn't pay for his unsolicited and terrible 'jokes'. A brilliant wheeze nicely done.
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on 4 August 2009
I'm sure everyone has had an experience of something extremely irritating, or extremely wonderful, where there doesn't seem to be an appropriate way of moaning at, or congratulating someone. Henry Root found his way - mostly to wind people up - and his way works wonderously. One wonders how these people fell so massively for his wind-ups, although it's clear that in certain cases it was purely good grace which led to the replies. But, to use that awful cliché, it's definitely a laugh out loud book.
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on 26 July 2012
I love the Henry Root Letters. If I'm ever sent to a desert island, I'd like to take these with me. I read them years ago, lost my original copies and recently bought them again via Amazon Marketplace. No praise is too high. Sadly, Henry Root himself - the late William Donaldson - is no more. But his books, and his fabulous sense of humour, live on. I bought my 80-odd-year-old mother a set, and she laughed herself to sleep. If you're feeling a bit low, treat yourself to a copy. I've seen attempts to reproduce his approach in recent years, but no-one has ever come close. And, I don't think they ever will.
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on 25 September 2013
this takes me back a few years
Henry Root irritated the rich and pompous for years
delightful tongue in the cheek letters
book in excellent condition
lightening delivery
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on 24 August 2013
Root lead the way with this type of book . Those who have followed have hit the spot with varying degrees of success . Cooper , Ravenscroft and some others did not quite do it . The best of the new breed in The Broadbottom Letters . The Broadbottom Letters
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on 14 July 2011
I bought this book after reading the authors amazing lie story. It was still very funny despite being of the 80s and a little dated, you would probably not be allowed to 'get away' with some of it these days, mores the shame.
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on 10 November 2013
So not pc, but this is a very funny book. I went to work for a few mornings tired from laughing after reading letters to my partner. Henry Root would be locked up if he wrote those letters today!
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