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In Their Own Words Letters from History by The National Archives

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The way we communicate has changed. Today, many of our interactions are digital, but until recently writing letters was the norm. Drawing from over 100 miles of records held at the UK's official government archive, The National Archives at Kew, this collection of letters, postcards and telegraphs will shine a spotlight on a range of significant historical moments and occurrences, recapturing a lost world in which correspondence was king.


In Their Own Words Letters from History by The National Archives

The book includes letters from: Karl Marx, requesting UK citizenship, an anonymous writer purporting to be Jack the Ripper, Josef Kramer, the commandant of Bergen Belsen, from Winston Churchill to President Roosevelt requesting US support against Hitler, Clement Atlee to Harry S Truman following Hiroshima, the spies Burgess and Maclean, as well as the 'real Charlotte Gray' spy, Christine Granville, amongst others. Topics covered include: the Monteagle letter that warned about the Gunpowder plot, letters from the Wright brothers trying to get the War Office to fund their aeronautical research, a despatch on the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Christine Keeler's Russian/British love triangle that begat the Profumo affair, US disapproval of British trade with Cuba, a letter reporting on the first day of the trial of Nelson Mandela, the anonymous letter that framed the Krays.


'The reader is guaranteed a different and compelling story every time, making this book something to treasure. It's like holding a piece of history in your hands.' All About History magazine

'All human life is here. Penned by the ordinary to the extraordinary, each letter reveals a hidden story. These compelling snapshots in time tell us how we became the nation we are today.' Family Tree magazine

'This brilliant selection gives an intimate glimpse of key moments in history - from a widowed medieval queen negotiating remarriage to Karl Marx requesting British citizenship.' The Lady

About the Author

This title is authored by a group of specialist archivists at The National Archives, each of whom has a particular area of expertise in a different aspect of the past.

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Book Info

Publication date

25th August 2016


The National Archives

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Conway an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


304 pages


Biography / Autobiography
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General & world history
Diaries, letters & journals



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