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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Two Hundred Years in the Life of an American Town

The voices of America's past and present live on in this timeless portrayal of small-town America, which, through two hundred years of letters to one town's newspapers, evokes the most memorable moments in our history and the passions they engendered.
Since the days of the Founding Fathers, the citizens of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, have recorded their impressions of such dramatic events of national significance as the ratification of the Bill of Rights, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the rise of Andrew Carnegie, the assassinations of President John F. and Senator Robert Kennedy, and the Clarence Thomas hearings -- as well as their opinions on genuinely local concerns like building good schools and roads, seeing the sights at the Bloomsburg Fair, romantic intrigue in a trailer park, and finding a home for a lonely puppy.
By turns hilarious and contemplative, here is a book so genuinely representative of the American experience that each page will bring memories of home and family, friends and neighbors, and our own hometowns sharply -- and honestly -- into focus. Beneath it all, Letters to the Editor is about how a community negotiates with itself, how it talks and how it listens.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684848532 | 
  • June 1998
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

This Gentle Hint

THE HAND OF ART


Mr. Ingram,

There are few villages more beautifully located than Bloomsburg, and very few, I imagine, of the same size and population, in which more business is transacted. But what matters the delightful situation, unless the hand of art be employed in giving a cheerful and neat aspect to its streets and dwellings?

There are but few, very few dwellings, whose fronts have been touched with the brush of a painter; and but few also who have the advantage of pavements. This is certainly nothing but sheer neglect. The cost would be trifling to each owner of property,... see more

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