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The Book of Letters

The Book of Letters

Paul & Audrey Grescoe
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Hardcover - Used

Non Fiction, History, Canadian

Telephone calls cannot be bundled and tied with ribbon and stored for decades in a bottom drawer. E-mails can’t take us back to our ancestors’ ways of behaving and thinking and viewing the world. Letters - fresh and enduring, each one unique - tell us things about ourselves and our past that television documentaries and history books can only hint at.

This is the first English-language collection of Canadian letters, dating back to the days before Confederation. Carefully selected from personal collections, archives, and museums, succinctly introduced to establish context, the letters in this collection range from heart-rending accounts of toil to the impassioned grandiloquence of premiers, from an escaped slave’s chastising of his former master to an ardent nationalist’s excoriation of a prime minister enamoured of free trade, from the atrocities of war to the sweet delights of young love. Stephen Leacock entertains his father. Marshall McLuhan educates Pierre Trudeau. Frederick Banting’s jilted lover says a bittersweet farewell. And countless unheralded Canadians open their hearts, share their thoughts, and tell their secrets.

Reading other people’s letters is much more than voyeurism. In The Book of Letters, Paul and Audrey Grescoe perform a kind of literary archaeology, systematically disclosing layers of the past to reveal who we were and how we came to be who we are. Like the best oral history, like the most illuminating narratives of our past, it’s destined to become a classic addition to our understanding of what makes Canada and its people unique.