A Portrait in Letters, 1800-2000

Book - 2004
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Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada : Anchor, 2004, 2003
ISBN: 9780385658744
Characteristics: 536 p. : ill ; 24 cm


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Jul 07, 2015

This book is a moment in history, personal glimpses of what people were thinking (some personal, some touching, some funny, some horrifying) at different periods of our history from 1800 to 1999. Or as Gray states,"history as it was being made." The book is complimented by various maps, sketches, photos and Gray's own notes and comments which adds to the enjoyment and historical context. The book contains letters from many unrecognizable people but also many famous names like Frederick Banting, Louis Riel, John Diefenbaker, Emily Carr, Sir Wilfred Laurier and includes a diversity of topics like The Family Compact, Quebec separation, Indians, television, the Hudson Bay Company, the Springfield Mine, Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
A very interesting book that does not have to be read from front to back but rather can be read by topic or by a specific time period (e.g. 1800-1850).
One of my favorites was very funny letter #182 by the lady who didn't enter the Mrs. Chatelaine contest because "she isn't a perfect housekeeper, a faultless mother, a charming hostess, a loving wife, or a servant of the community. Besides being glamorous as a model, talented as a Broadway star and virtuous as a saint".

Feb 21, 2015

Everyone should read the letter by Louis Riel on Page 176. It is richly sardonic and beautifully written, and deserves to be read again and again, for the sake of pure enjoyment.

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