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Ten Letters

The Stories Americans Tell Their President

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Every day, President Obama reads ten representative letters among the thousands he receives from citizens across the land. The letters come from people of all ages, walks of life, and political points of view. Some are heart­breaking, some angry, some hopeful. Indeed, Obama reads as many letters addressed “Dear Jackass” as “Dear Mr. President.” Eli Saslow, a young and rising star at the Washington Post, became fascinated by the power of these letters and set out to find the stories behind them.

Through the lens of ten letters to which Obama responded personally, this exceptionally relevant and poignant book explores those individual stories, taking an in-depth look at the misfortunes, needs, opinions, and, yes, anger over the current state of the country that inspired ten people to put pen to paper. Surprisingly, what also emerges from these affecting personal narratives is a story about the astounding endurance and optimism of the American people.

Ten Letters
is an inspiring and important book about ordi­nary people and the issues they face every day—the very issues that are shaping America’s future. This is not an insider Washington book by any means, but a book for the times that tells the real American stories of today.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 15, 2011 – Saslow, staff writer at the Washington Post, samples the American mood by surveying the letters sent to President Obama in this disappointingly superficial survey. Every day, 20,000 Americans write the president, and the White House mail staff selects, and the president reads, 10 letters and e-mails each evening—he considers them “his most important daily reading.” The author selects 10 such letters, tracking down their writers, and reporting on their backstories in an effort to personify, if not dramatize, issues—including health care reform, failing schools, gay bullying, and immigration reform. As Saslow notes, “the unmistakable message” of these missives is that America is struggling, but while he notes that the White House mail staff picked the most representative 10 pieces daily, he neglects to reveal the basis for his own 10 selections. The president claims that he “learned more about key issues from some letters than he did from his own staff” and admits revealingly that he is often frustrated that he can’t help the letter writers on an individual basis and be their “social worker” and “advocate.” There is much that is moving in such passages, but the writers of the letters—and the issues themselves—do not emerge clearly enough to sustain our interest or really edify us on the issues at hand.

Customer Reviews

Great stories!

What a great book, filled with uplifting stories of my fellow Americans. We are fortunate to have such an amazing President!

Ten Letters
View In iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: United States
  • Published: Oct 11, 2011
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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