To The Letter: A Journey Through a Vanishing World

Author(s): Simon Garfield

Writing & Reading | Letters, Correspondence & Dairies

To the Letter tells the story of our remarkable journey through the mail. From Roman wood chips discovered near Hadrian's Wall to the wonders and terrors of email, Simon Garfield explores how we have written to each other over the centuries and what our letters reveal about our lives. Along the way he delves into the great correspondences of our time, from Cicero and Petrarch to Jane Austen and Ted Hughes (and John Keats, Virginia Woolf, Jack Kerouac, Anais Nin and Charles Schulz), and traces the very particular advice offered by bestselling letter-writing manuals. He uncovers a host of engaging stories, including the tricky history of the opening greeting, the ideal ingredients for invisible ink, and the sad saga of the dead letter office. As the book unfolds, so does the story of a moving wartime correspondence that shows how letters can change the course of life. To the Letter is a wonderful celebration of letters in every form, and a passionate rallying cry to keep writing.

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From Simon Garfield, the bestselling author of On the Map and Just my Type, comes a wonderful journey through the history of letter-writing and our relationship with the mail.

* [Simon Garfield's books] are always riveting, entertaining and a joy to possess. To the Letter is no exception. Garfield takes us on a wonderful historical tour of letters... with many hilarious digressions along the way Bookseller, Booksellers' choice: October * Every so often someone writes a book about an obscure subject and uses it to illuminate the rest of the world ... this is one of the best Evening Standard on JUST MY TYPE * A great book ... Simon Garfield's new book is a rollicking sweep through map history, packed with curiosities and written with verve ... On the Map will inspire you to take a trip to somewhere new Independent on Sunday on ON THE MAP * Fascinating, delightful, illuminating. The diarists soon become like old friends ... and make our wartime past seem no more distant than yesterday Mail on Sunday on OUR HIDDEN LIVES

Simon Garfield is the author of fourteen acclaimed books of non-fiction including On the Map, Just My Type and The Wrestling. His edited diaries from the Mass Observation Archive, Our Hidden Lives, We Are At War and Private Battles, were bestsellers, and his study of AIDS in Britain, The End of Innocence, won the Somerset Maugham prize. He lives in London and St Ives, Cornwall.

General Fields

  • : 9780857868589
  • : Canongate Books Ltd
  • : Canongate Books Ltd
  • : May 2013
  • : United Kingdom
  • : November 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Simon Garfield
  • : Hardback
  • : 1113
  • : 809.6
  • : 464
  • : Integrated black & white; photographs throughout