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Good American Reading

Keep your patriotic fervor going as you come down from your Independence Day celebrations! I love this book:

Letters of a Nation is the compilation of letters to and from figures throughout U.S. history that Mrs. Hughes introduced to us in 11th grade English! You’ve got love letters between Abigail and John Adams; the epistles of Founding Fathers, politicians, generals and soldiers; one from a housewife to Ms. Magazine on her husband’s chauvinism; and an inquiry from Mark Twain to the Gas Company (in the section titled “Letters of Humor and Personal Contempt”–surely my brother Will’s favorite chapter).

Israel’s favorite is Sullivan Ballou’s final letter to his wife before the Battle of Bull Run, where his life would be lost the next day:

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

It’s fascinating and wide-ranging stuff. A great book in that it’s so easy to pick up and peruse, read a letter or two, and come away with a genuine, personal snapshot of a moment in our history, as well as some food for thought to chew on for awhile.

Since Israel loves U.S. history, I ordered Letters of a Nation and gave it to him as a fun out-of-the-blue gift during the first year we were dating. He gushed over the book and told me it was the best and most thoughtful present he’d ever received. He loved exploring all the letters.

Flash forward to last weekend. This book came up in conversation and I reminded him of his sentiment that it was the BEST GIFT EVER. He responded, “No, I gave that book to you!”

It’s what I get for being ornery lately and trying to cash in points from nice gestures three- and four-years old!

Even so, you should read this book or give it to the history lover in your life, who is sure to appreciate it!

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4 thoughts on “Good American Reading

  1. what’s funny about this, is that that is my favorite book and also my favorite letter in it. so beautiful. do you remember we read this in high school? i think it was ms hamner’s class maybe?

    soooo awesome. this just proves i would love izzy. that is my favorite book to give people too. whether they like history or not.

  2. Men! You can’t shoot ’em and you can’t leave ’em by the side of the road!
    Just for the record – I remember when you read this book in high school.

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