To the Letter A Journey Through a Vanishing World

by Simon Garfield

Biography / Autobiography The Real World

LoveReading View on To the Letter A Journey Through a Vanishing World

From desperate Roman Soldiers pleading for warm socks to ordering the shopping on line via love letters, greetings, thank you letters and literary outpourings. A wonderful ramble through the art of written communication over the centuries from those first cold Roman soldiers stuck on guard-duty at Hadrian's wall to today's world of instant electronic communication from an author who excels at providing a detailed history of letter writing, why it matters and why we should buff up our writing skills before we lose them.


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To the Letter A Journey Through a Vanishing World Synopsis

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 A Journey Through a Vanishing World Press Reviews

'[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

'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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780857868589
Publication date: 24/10/2013
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780857868589
Publication date: 24th October 2013
Author: Simon Garfield
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, The Real World,

About Simon Garfield

Simon Garfield was our Guest Editor in October 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.   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.   Author photo © Sarah Lee

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