War Letters

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Letters sent by soldiers in time of war may get wrapped in a ribbon and cherished, or stuck in the back of a drawer and forgotten.

They disappear in the piles of old papers that get tossed in the dumpster when the family moves or grandmother dies. Or they get discovered by a granddaughter who weeps to read how her gruff grandfather wrote so tenderly to his future bride. War letters are different from any other form of correspondence. Written in the face of danger, when nation and writer are both in jeopardy, they provide a first-hand, first-person window to the realities of war and the complexities of human relationships.

The Connection is reading between the lines of American war letters: tattered scraps from the Civil War, an email from Bosnia.
(Hosted by Jacki Lyden)


Andrew Carroll, editor of “War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars.”