Books: Letters: Of The Century

Edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler

Historians should step aside for this husband-wife team, he a Wall Street Journal editor, she a novelist. Their treasury of more than 400 epistles renders a more definitive portrait of America's past 99 years than would all the centennial books laid decade to decade. Some entries are moving (Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 letter from a Birmingham, Ala., jail), some comical (fugitive Clyde Barrow's 1934 note to Henry Ford, praising his "dandy" V8 getaway car). They add up to an exceptional bedside companion.

--By Jesse Birnbaum

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