Every day, President Obama reads ten representative letters among the thousands he receives from citizens across the land. The letters come from people of all ages, walks of life, and political points of view. Some are heartbreaking, some angry, some hopeful. Indeed, Obama reads as many letters addressed “Dear Jackass” as “Dear Mr. President.” Eli Saslow, a young and rising star at the Washington Post, became fascinated by the power of these letters and set out to find the stories behind them.
Through the lens of ten letters to which Obama responded personally, this exceptionally relevant and poignant book explores those individual stories, taking an in-depth look at the misfortunes, needs, opinions, and, yes, anger over the current state of the country that inspired ten people to put pen to paper. Surprisingly, what also emerges from these affecting personal narratives is a story about the astounding endurance and optimism of the American people.
Ten Letters is an inspiring and important book about ordinary people and the issues they face every day - the very issues that are shaping America’s future. This is not an insider Washington book by any means, but a book for the times that tells the real American stories of today.
From the Hardcover edition.
©2011 Eli Saslow (P)2011 Random House Audio
"Ten Letters is a luminous book. Eli Saslow, one of the great young journalists in America, has found his way around the cynicism and superficiality of Washington politics to show the profound real-life connections between the White House and the people.” (David Maraniss)
Great book! This really gets at the heart of what Americans struggle with and allowed me to see President Obama in a different light. I appreciate that he takes the time to read these letters and seems like he takes them to heart. I liked hearing the wide range of people's thoughts and opinions about the country and it's future. This is a wonderful book and one everyone should read.
I'm not one to cry when reading/listening to books; however, there were a few times during this read that I was moved to tears. The stories these Americans tell their President come across genuine and speak volumes for the struggles many face in modern America. Initially, I was concerned the author was going to preach too much "Obama-love"; however, he seemed to be fair and include both criticisms and praise. You'll read a letter from a tea-party conservative in one chapter and one from an Obama campaign volunteer in the next. This makes for a fascinating read.
The ten letters chosen cover topics such as foreclosures, bankruptcy, health insurance, the struggling public education system, rising college costs, immigration, the environment, civility, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, veteran services, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), gay rights, bullying, and many more. The book masterfully connects current events, the stories of average Americans, a seemingly broken political system, and the office of the presidency.
Overall, it is an excellent book that is well researched and delivered. It made me want to read more letters, hear more stories, learn more about the issues, and do something. This book is a lesson in civics, paints a picture of American resilience, and examines the defining issues of our time.
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