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The Times Great Letters: Notable correspondence to the newspaper

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The Times has the most famous letters page of any newspaper. This delightful selection of over 300 items of correspondence over the last century shows precisely why. As a forum for debate, playground for opinion-formers, advertising space for decision-makers and noticeboard for eccentrics, nothing rivals it for entertainment value. By turns well-informed, well-intentioned, The Times has the most famous letters page of any newspaper. This delightful selection of over 300 items of correspondence over the last century shows precisely why. As a forum for debate, playground for opinion-formers, advertising space for decision-makers and noticeboard for eccentrics, nothing rivals it for entertainment value. By turns well-informed, well-intentioned, curious, quirky and bizarre, since 1914 it has taken the temperature of the British way of life and provided a window on the national character. Among those who have written to The Times to have their say are some of the major political and literary figures of the modern era, including Margaret Thatcher, Benito Mussolini, Graham Greene and John Le Carré. There are contributions, too, from Agatha Christie, Alastair Campbell, AA Milne, Yehudi Menuhin, Theresa May and Morrissey. If you want to know why kippers are dyed, who first turned up their trousers, how to make perfect porridge or just how to have a letter printed in The Times, this infinitely witty, diverting and memorable anthology should be, sincerely, yours.


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The Times has the most famous letters page of any newspaper. This delightful selection of over 300 items of correspondence over the last century shows precisely why. As a forum for debate, playground for opinion-formers, advertising space for decision-makers and noticeboard for eccentrics, nothing rivals it for entertainment value. By turns well-informed, well-intentioned, The Times has the most famous letters page of any newspaper. This delightful selection of over 300 items of correspondence over the last century shows precisely why. As a forum for debate, playground for opinion-formers, advertising space for decision-makers and noticeboard for eccentrics, nothing rivals it for entertainment value. By turns well-informed, well-intentioned, curious, quirky and bizarre, since 1914 it has taken the temperature of the British way of life and provided a window on the national character. Among those who have written to The Times to have their say are some of the major political and literary figures of the modern era, including Margaret Thatcher, Benito Mussolini, Graham Greene and John Le Carré. There are contributions, too, from Agatha Christie, Alastair Campbell, AA Milne, Yehudi Menuhin, Theresa May and Morrissey. If you want to know why kippers are dyed, who first turned up their trousers, how to make perfect porridge or just how to have a letter printed in The Times, this infinitely witty, diverting and memorable anthology should be, sincerely, yours.

27 review for The Times Great Letters: Notable correspondence to the newspaper

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve Wiggins

    This book was recommended to me by the author of one of the letters contained in it. The idea, which Anglophiles will appreciate, is to make some of the more interesting letters submitted to The [London] Times available to be viewed selectively. The British outlook is already apparent in the selection of the title The Times, as if London alone could claim the definite article. And these letters hold up some of the best of British ideals as well as some of the more quirky aspects of the once worl This book was recommended to me by the author of one of the letters contained in it. The idea, which Anglophiles will appreciate, is to make some of the more interesting letters submitted to The [London] Times available to be viewed selectively. The British outlook is already apparent in the selection of the title The Times, as if London alone could claim the definite article. And these letters hold up some of the best of British ideals as well as some of the more quirky aspects of the once world-wide empire. A series of letters concerning cricket will leave many non-Brits scratching their heads, and the set of letters about the trireme may annoy some with its assumed erudition, but series of letters about women's rights and how to make oatmeal properly can be enjoyed by anyone. Although books like this are great for selective reading, this one rewards a cover-to-cover approach. Arranged chronologically, it covers many, many years, and pulls out just a few of the more memorable moments and includes the opinions of not a few very famous writers. Having lived in the United Kingdom for over three years, this book was like going home. For colonials who appreciate British humor and self-importance, it will be great fun. I couldn't help but be reminded of my own letter accepted for publication in The Scotsman back in my Edinburgh student days. It would never make such a collection, but it stands as a reminder that newspapers are places to express opinions. This book will bring that home to many who like to be reminded of what life was like before claims of "fake news" poisoned the well for everyone.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    This was a book as marvellous as I expected it to be, although the contents are notedly longer and generally more serious than the rival volumes from the Telegraph. Here are some sterling and noted names giving their thoughts free of charge to the pseudonymous 'SIR' and his readers. Arthur Conan Doyle asks for WW1 soldiers to be equipped with bulletproof 30lb steel shields, only to pop up later concerning the benefits of baseball. H G Wells guns at length for PR, a hundred years before the LibDe This was a book as marvellous as I expected it to be, although the contents are notedly longer and generally more serious than the rival volumes from the Telegraph. Here are some sterling and noted names giving their thoughts free of charge to the pseudonymous 'SIR' and his readers. Arthur Conan Doyle asks for WW1 soldiers to be equipped with bulletproof 30lb steel shields, only to pop up later concerning the benefits of baseball. H G Wells guns at length for PR, a hundred years before the LibDems failed to get anywhere with it. Montgomery is here on standards in skiing. From less famous names we get how to cook porridge, and the horrors of girls being witness to greyhound races and betting. Trouser leg turn-ups are discussed ad infinitum, as are the origins of marmalade. A reader's daughter takes the chance to auction herself off in marriage. Triremes feature a lot more than you'd expect, only for things to return to flipping porridge again. This is not as trivial a book as such a summary would suggest, for it's real social history – the very construct of the letter, and the fact that The Times still managed to shunt a hyphen into the word 'today' until 1960. Oh, and any author would die for the character name Primrose Feuchtwanger, but she's on these pages. There's a welter of other obscure, inventive and interesting titbits alongside her. A lovely volume to browse.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sharley

    I so wanted to love this book. I have this romantic idea of these letters reflecting history and life but mostly it just comes across as pompous know it alls that remind me why I do not read them when they’re in a newspaper let alone a book..... having said all that I do think if you are fan of the times letters and have more patience than I it is amazing to read them as one collection

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.S. Watts

    A mildly diverting book for dipping into occasionally or for reference (though unfortunately it is not themed by topic), but a bit of a drag if you choose to read it through cover to cover.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Norman Hill

  6. 4 out of 5

    Taragh

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Coakley

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angela Rutty

  9. 4 out of 5

    S

  10. 5 out of 5

    Miss M

  11. 5 out of 5

    The Logophile

  12. 5 out of 5

    Simon

  13. 4 out of 5

    Iona Kroussoratsky

  14. 4 out of 5

    Felix

  15. 4 out of 5

    J

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael H.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Brown

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vincent

  19. 5 out of 5

    Slithy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tom Hockin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gazmend Kryeziu

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rupi Singh

  26. 4 out of 5

    Garini Katia Yunita

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anonymous

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