AbeBooks' Reading Copy » letters http://www.abebooks.com/blog AbeBooks book blog Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:04:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Letter signed by Joseph Stalin sells for $4,500 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/29/letter-signed-by-joseph-stalin-sells-for-4500/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/29/letter-signed-by-joseph-stalin-sells-for-4500/#comments Sat, 29 Mar 2014 11:56:02 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20944 A letter signed Russian dictator Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) has sold for $4,500 on AbeBooks.

The “confidential” two-page typed letter dates from World War II, and is dated April 1943. It commands the creation of a ‘Major General’ position within the tank section of the Soviet military. Stalin has signed in red, “I, Stalin”

 “National Commissar of Defense, Union Socialist Soviet Republics, April, 1943,

To: Commanders of Fronts and Military Districts

To: Commanders of Tank & Military Camps

To: Superiors of Armor Tank Centers,

“Issue a position of Vice-Commander of Department into Staff # 010/418 of Administration of Tank and Mechanical Department. The Military Title is – Major General (VUS) – 1. Salary is 2200 rubles. March of Soviet Union, I. Stalin.”

In the early months of 1943, the Soviet war machine was attempting to replenish its top ranks after suffering heavy casualties in the Siege of Leningrad. Stalin seized power in the mid-1920s and died from a stroke in 1953. More than eight million Soviets soldiers and around 15 million civilians are believed to have died in World War II under his rule.

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/29/letter-signed-by-joseph-stalin-sells-for-4500/feed/ 0
110 Birthday Honk-Honkers and big Birthday Horns for Dr. Seuss http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/02/28/100-birthday-honk-honkers-and-big-birthday-horns-for-dr-seuss/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/02/28/100-birthday-honk-honkers-and-big-birthday-horns-for-dr-seuss/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 23:29:02 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20770 Happy Birthday To You! by Dr. Seuss

Theodor Geisel was an American illustrator, poet and author, who rhymed his way into the hearts of adoring children all over the world. But you probably know him by his middle name – Seuss – as in Dr. Seuss. March 2nd is Seuss’ 110th birthday – his Day of all Days, his Best of the Best.

Known for his refusal to be limited by paltry constraints such as real words, Seuss’ books overflowed with nonsense and rhythm, great honkings of joy, and an onomatopoeiac clamor that made children chortle. His mind-blowing gift for rhyme and flair for the silly ensures that his books remain cherished by little (and not-so-little) kids today.

In celebration of a man that’s left readers of all ages with endless entertainment and joy, we’ve compiled a list of some of our most interesting Dr. Seuss sales, from the classics like The Cat In The Hat and How The Grinch Stole Christmas to the obscure, like the once remaindered The Seven Lady Godivas. Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss.

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – $9,482
First edition, first printing of Seuss’ 1957 classic including an inscription, “For Stephanie – Best wishes. Dr. Seuss.”

2. The Cat In The Hat – $3,152
First edition, first printing from 1956.  The book was signed, with a beautiful color illustration of The Cat In The Hat.

Original Cat In The Hat drawing by Dr. Seuss3. And To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street – $2,000
A first edition dating back to 1937.

4. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins – $1,750
A 1938 first edition. Inscribed, “For all the Todd’s, again. Dr. Seuss.”

5. Green Eggs and Ham – $1,750
A signed first edition, second printing from 1960.

6. Signed letter including an illustration of The Cat In The Hat.  - $1,650
Postmarked June 20th, 1984, the letter was a response to a request to sign books and a question about the availability of prints.  The letter was signed as both Dr. Seuss and Theodor S. Geisel.

7. Butter Battle Book – $1,650
A signed first edition of one of Seuss’ lesser known titles.  In it he wrote, “And a Happy Birthday to You! Dr. Seuss”.

8. Fox in Socks – $1,488
A 1965 first edition of a Seuss classic.

9. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! – $1,250
A first edition signed, “For Gretchen. Dr. Seuss”. Published in 1990, this was the last book Seuss wrote.

10.The Seven Lady Godivas, with a typed and hand-signed letter from Dr. Seuss. – $1,250

The Seven Lady Godivas was one of Seuss’ few attempts at an adult book. It was a flop when released in 1939 and eventually remaindered. The book was republished in 1987. Dated May 18th, 1978, the included letter reads:

The Seven Lady Godivas by Dr. Seuss

Dear Mrs. Moorhead:

Thank you for your interest in my ill-fated 7 Lady Godivas. In answer to  your questions:

1. The other 9,950 copies were “remaindered”.  That means they were disposed of Newsdealers and cigar stores where they were sold for what they would bring, which was something like 25 cents a copy. 2. It is sort of a “collector’s item” today. Occasionally I hear of a copy that changes hands for about one hundred dollars.

I am very flattered to hear that you are one of the select-and-exclusive-few who really seemed to enjoy it.


“Dr. Seuss”, Theodor S. Geisel

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/02/28/100-birthday-honk-honkers-and-big-birthday-horns-for-dr-seuss/feed/ 1
A Letter from E.B. White – Charlotte the Spider was Real http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/16/a-letter-from-e-b-white-charlotte-the-spider-was-real/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/16/a-letter-from-e-b-white-charlotte-the-spider-was-real/#comments Fri, 16 Aug 2013 16:10:06 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19510 charlottes-web-white

And now, in news to delight children and adults alike, it turns out there really was a Charlotte the Spider in E.B. White’s life. The news comes from a 1952 letter White wrote to his editor when asked to provide background as to what inspired him to write Charlotte’s Web. His explanation reads as follows:

I have been asked to tell how I came to write “Charlotte’s Web.” Well, I like animals, and it would be odd if I failed to write about them. Animals are a weakness with me, and when I got a place in the country I was quite sure animals would appear, and they did.

A farm is a peculiar problem for a man who likes animals, because the fate of most livestock is that they are murdered by their benefactors. The creatures may live serenely but they end violently, and the odor of doom hangs about them always. I have kept several pigs, starting them in spring as weanlings and carrying trays to them all through summer and fall. The relationship bothered me. Day by day I became better acquainted with my pig, and he with me, and the fact that the whole adventure pointed toward an eventual piece of double-dealing on my part lent an eerie quality to the thing. I do not like to betray a person or a creature, and I tend to agree with Mr. E.M. Forster that in these times the duty of a man, above all else, is to be reliable. It used to be clear to me, slopping a pig, that as far as the pig was concerned I could not be counted on, and this, as I say, troubled me. Anyway, the theme of “Charlotte’s Web” is that a pig shall be saved, and I have an idea that somewhere deep inside me there was a wish to that effect.

As for Charlotte herself, I had never paid much attention to spiders until a few years ago. Once you begin watching spiders, you haven’t time for much else—the world is really loaded with them. I do not find them repulsive or revolting, any more than I find anything in nature repulsive or revolting, and I think it is too bad that children are often corrupted by their elders in this hate campaign. Spiders are skilful, amusing and useful. and only in rare instances has anybody ever come to grief because of a spider.

One cold October evening I was lucky enough to see Aranea Cavatica spin her egg sac and deposit her eggs. (I did not know her name at the time, but I admired her, and later Mr. Willis J. Gertsch of the American Museum of Natural History told me her name.) When I saw that she was fixing to become a mother, I got a stepladder and an extension light and had an excellent view of the whole business. A few days later, when it was time to return to New York, not wishing to part with my spider, I took a razor blade, cut the sac adrift from the underside of the shed roof, put spider and sac in a candy box, and carried them to town. I tossed the box on my dresser. Some weeks later I was surprised and pleased to find that Charlotte’s daughters were emerging from the air holes in the cover of the box. They strung tiny lines from my comb to my brush, from my brush to my mirror, and from my mirror to my nail scissors. They were very busy and almost invisible, they were so small. We all lived together happily for a couple of weeks, and then somebody whose duty it was to dust my dresser balked, and I broke up the show.

At the present time, three of Charlotte’s granddaughters are trapping at the foot of the stairs in my barn cellar, where the morning light, coming through the east window, illuminates their embroidery and makes it seem even more wonderful than it is.

I haven’t told why I wrote the book, but I haven’t told you why I sneeze, either. A book is a sneeze.


A book is a sneeze. Love it.

Made available via the excellent Letters of Note

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/16/a-letter-from-e-b-white-charlotte-the-spider-was-real/feed/ 0
Mailer to Hemingway: “I suspect you’re even more vain than I am.” http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/10/mailer-to-hemingway-i-suspect-youre-even-more-vain-than-i-am/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/10/mailer-to-hemingway-i-suspect-youre-even-more-vain-than-i-am/#comments Fri, 10 May 2013 15:50:34 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19135 I love this letter that Norman Mailer sent to Ernest Hemingway in 1965, along with a copy of his novel, The Deer Park, which had been rejected multiple times for years before finally being published:

TO ERNEST HEMINGWAYdeer-park-norman-mailer

—because finally after all these
years I am deeply curious to know
what you think of this.

—but if you do not answer, or if you
answer with the kind of crap you
use to answer unprofessional writers,
sycophants, brown-nosers, etc., then
f*ck you, and I will never attempt
to communicate with you again.

—and since I suspect that you’re even
more vain than I am, I might as well
warn you that there is a reference to
you on page 353 which you may or may
not like


via the ever-wonderful Letters of Note.

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/10/mailer-to-hemingway-i-suspect-youre-even-more-vain-than-i-am/feed/ 0
Harper to Oprah: A Letter from Harper Lee to Oprah Winfrey http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/08/harper-to-oprah-a-letter-from-harper-lee-to-oprah-winfrey/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/08/harper-to-oprah-a-letter-from-harper-lee-to-oprah-winfrey/#comments Tue, 08 Jan 2013 17:42:30 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=18096

Harper Lee,via

I’ve always admired and respected Harper Lee for being the best literary one hit wonder I’ve ever come across. There is something so noble and restrained about doing something extremely well, and then stopping. I always felt as though she put every ounce of every word she had to say into To Kill a Mockingbird, and then realized she had said enough, and was finished. Like pushing one’s plate away when one is full, even if it still holds bits of cake.

That said, I’m sure I’m not alone in wistfully wishing from time to time, because I loved her writing and ideas so very much, that she had written, would write, just a little morsel more.

This is indeed a morsel, and nothing more than that, but I was nevertheless grateful and happy to come across it.

It is a letter from Harper Lee to Oprah Winfrey, written in May of 2006, when Lee was 80. Lee writes about her love of books, her history of reading and its importance in the life of a small-town child, and her belief that “some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal”.

Here is the whole transcription:

May 7, 2006

Dear Oprah,

Do you remember when you learned to read, or like me, can you not even remember a time when you didn’t know how? I must have learned from having been read to by my family. My sisters and brother, much older, read aloud to keep me from pestering them; my mother read me a story every day, usually a children’s classic, and my father read from the four newspapers he got through every evening. Then, of course, it was Uncle Wiggily at bedtime.

So I arrived in the first grade, literate, with a curious cultural assimilation of American history, romance, the Rover Boys, Rapunzel, and The Mobile Press. Early signs of genius? Far from it. Reading was an accomplishment I shared with several local contemporaries. Why this endemic precocity? Because in my hometown, a remote village in the early 1930s, youngsters had little to do but read. A movie? Not often — movies weren’t for small children. A park for games? Not a hope. We’re talking unpaved streets here, and the Depression.

Books were scarce. There was nothing you could call a public library, we were a hundred miles away from a department store’s books section, so we children began to circulate reading material among ourselves until each child had read another’s entire stock. There were long dry spells broken by the new Christmas books, which started the rounds again.

As we grew older, we began to realize what our books were worth: Anne of Green Gables was worth two Bobbsey Twins; two Rover Boys were an even swap for two Tom Swifts. Aesthetic frissons ran a poor second to the thrills of acquisition. The goal, a full set of a series, was attained only once by an individual of exceptional greed — he swapped his sister’s doll buggy.

We were privileged. There were children, mostly from rural areas, who had never looked into a book until they went to school. They had to be taught to read in the first grade, and we were impatient with them for having to catch up. We ignored them.

And it wasn’t until we were grown, some of us, that we discovered what had befallen the children of our African-American servants. In some of their schools, pupils learned to read three-to-one — three children to one book, which was more than likely a cast-off primer from a white grammar school. We seldom saw them until, older, they came to work for us.

Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it.

And, Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up — some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.

The village of my childhood is gone, with it most of the book collectors, including the dodgy one who swapped his complete set of Seckatary Hawkinses for a shotgun and kept it until it was retrieved by an irate parent.

Now we are three in number and live hundreds of miles away from each other. We still keep in touch by telephone conversations of recurrent theme: “What is your name again?” followed by “What are you reading?” We don’t always remember.

Much love,


via the ever-marvelous Letters of Note

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/08/harper-to-oprah-a-letter-from-harper-lee-to-oprah-winfrey/feed/ 0
A 1917 Letter: Dear Winston Churchill: OMG! http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/08/10/a-1917-letter-dear-winston-churchill-omg/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/08/10/a-1917-letter-dear-winston-churchill-omg/#comments Fri, 10 Aug 2012 18:05:45 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=17156 We at AbeBooks do so love a good literary letter. This 1917 example to Winston Churchill, written a year before the end of WWI, includes an early usage of “OMG”. It also includes a lot of exclamation marks. Lord Fisher (I assume naval fleet Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher) was an enthusiastic writer, also seemingly randomly (unless there is a secret code that my civilian brain cannot begin to guess at) assigning capitalization to various words.

It also includes lines from the Pope poem ‘Eloisa to Abelard’, published 200 years before the writing of this letter.


I AM here for a few days longer before rejoining my “Wise men” at Victory House –

“The World forgetting,
By the World forgot!”

but some Headlines in the newspapers have utterly upset me! Terrible!!
“The Germal Fleet to assist the Land operations in the Baltic.”
“Landing the German Army South of Reval.”
We are five times stronger at Sea than our enemies and here is a small Fleet that we could gobble up in a few minutes playing the great vital SDea part of landing an Army in the enemies’ rear and probably capturing the Russian Capital by Sea!
The is “Holding the ring” with a vengeance!
Are we really incapable of a big Enterprise?
I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis – O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) – Shower it on the Admiralty!!


There you have it, ladies and gentlemen – we are perhaps witness to the early origins of LOLspeak. OMG!

…from the always magical Letters of Note, of course.

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/08/10/a-1917-letter-dear-winston-churchill-omg/feed/ 0
Kubrick & Clarke: The Letter That Resulted in 2001:A Space Odyssey http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/07/27/kubrick-clarke-the-letter-that-resulted-in-2001a-space-odyssey/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/07/27/kubrick-clarke-the-letter-that-resulted-in-2001a-space-odyssey/#comments Fri, 27 Jul 2012 19:28:45 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=16992

Another great find from Letters of Note, this time of the science-fiction variety. In March 1964, legendary film director Stanley Kubrick (who by ’64 already had Lolita, The Killing and Dr. Strangelove under his belt, among others) wrote to also-legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (who had already been Hugo-nominated by then), proposing a meeting to discuss possible collaboration on the ever-elusive “really good” science-fiction movie.

The result was a solid eight-hour talk, and the result of THAT was 2001: A Space Odyssey four years later. The novel and the film were developed concurrently, with the novel actually being released after the movie. The story was based partially upon previous works by Clarke, like the short story The Sentinel. Read on for the incredibly cool correspondence from Kubrick.


March 31, 1964

Mr. Arthur C. Clarke
[Address redacted]

Dear Mr Clarke:

It’s a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial “really good” science-fiction movie.

My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:

The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.
A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Roger tells me you are planning to come to New York this summer. Do you have an inflexible schedule? If not, would you consider coming sooner with a view to a meeting, the purpose of which would be to determine whether an idea might exist or arise which could sufficiently interest both of us enough to want to collaborate on a screenplay?

Incidentally, “Sky & Telescope” advertise a number of scopes. If one has the room for a medium size scope on a pedestal, say the size of a camera tripod, is there any particular model in a class by itself, as the Questar is for small portable scopes?

Best regards,


Stanley Kubrick

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/07/27/kubrick-clarke-the-letter-that-resulted-in-2001a-space-odyssey/feed/ 0
E.B. White’s Love Letter About His Dachshund http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/06/04/e-b-whites-love-letter-about-his-daschund/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/06/04/e-b-whites-love-letter-about-his-daschund/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 21:27:44 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=16465 It’s easy to love a man who loves his dog.

In 1951, E.B. White, author of the beloved children’s stories Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little got in trouble with the SPCA for allegedly not paying the tax to license his daschund, and thus “harboring an unlicensed dog”.

The letter he wrote them in return is marvelous and delightful, and makes him sound like not only a heck of a good dog owner, but also a man with a healthy sense of humor and appreciation for the sublimely ridiculous:

12 April 1951

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
York Avenue and East 92nd Street
New York, 28, NY

Dear Sirs:

I have your letter, undated, saying that I am harboring an unlicensed dog in violation of the law. If by “harboring” you mean getting up two or three times every night to pull Minnie’s blanket up over her, I am harboring a dog all right. The blanket keeps slipping off. I suppose you are wondering by now why I don’t get her a sweater instead. That’s a joke on you. She has a knitted sweater, but she doesn’t like to wear it for sleeping; her legs are so short they work out of a sweater and her toenails get caught in the mesh, and this disturbs her rest. If Minnie doesn’t get her rest, she feels it right away. I do myself, and of course with this night duty of mine, the way the blanket slips and all, I haven’t had any real rest in years. Minnie is twelve.

In spite of what your inspector reported, she has a license. She is licensed in the State of Maine as an unspayed bitch, or what is more commonly called an “unspaded” bitch. She wears her metal license tag but I must say I don’t particularly care for it, as it is in the shape of a hydrant, which seems to me a feeble gag, besides being pointless in the case of a female. It is hard to believe that any state in the Union would circulate a gag like that and make people pay money for it, but Maine is always thinking of something. Maine puts up roadside crosses along the highways to mark the spots where people have lost their lives in motor accidents, so the highways are beginning to take on the appearance of a cemetery, and motoring in Maine has become a solemn experience, when one thinks mostly about death. I was driving along a road near Kittery the other day thinking about death and all of a sudden I heard the spring peepers. That changed me right away and I suddenly thought about life. It was the nicest feeling.

You asked about Minnie’s name, sex, breed, and phone number. She doesn’t answer the phone. She is a dachshund and can’t reach it, but she wouldn’t answer it even if she could, as she has no interest in outside calls. I did have a dachshund once, a male, who was interested in the telephone, and who got a great many calls, but Fred was an exceptional dog (his name was Fred) and I can’t think of anything offhand that he wasn’t interested in. The telephone was only one of a thousand things. He loved life — that is, he loved life if by “life” you mean “trouble,” and of course the phone is almost synonymous with trouble. Minnie loves life, too, but her idea of life is a warm bed, preferably with an electric pad, and a friend in bed with her, and plenty of shut-eye, night and days. She’s almost twelve. I guess I’ve already mentioned that. I got her from Dr. Clarence Little in 1939. He was using dachshunds in his cancer-research experiments (that was before Winchell was running the thing) and he had a couple of extra puppies, so I wheedled Minnie out of him. She later had puppies by her own father, at Dr. Little’s request. What do you think about that for a scandal? I know what Fred thought about it. He was some put out.

Sincerely yours,

E. B. White

Via the ever-wonderful Letters of Note. Excitingly, Letters of Note have a book coming out in November. We’ll let you know when we have it.

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/06/04/e-b-whites-love-letter-about-his-daschund/feed/ 0
A Letter from Ernie Hemingway (and Other Authors Who Went to War) http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/29/a-letter-from-ernie-hemingway-and-other-authors-who-went-to-war/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/29/a-letter-from-ernie-hemingway-and-other-authors-who-went-to-war/#comments Tue, 29 May 2012 18:58:39 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=16398 We have a feature exploring the post-war writing of authors who went to war. Many young men with an urge to write have gone to war and then produced a masterpiece on their return.

One such young man was Ernest Hemingway, who fought in World War I. This letter to his family about his experiences in the war was written in 1918, just three months after Hemingway was seriously wounded by shrapnel while driving an ambulance in Italy. He was 19 years old and still stationed overseas. It’s hard to imagine many 19 year olds with this kind of self-awareness, maturity and acceptance about the world around them.

18 October 1918

Dear Folks:

Your letter of September 24 with the pictures came today, and, family, I did admire to hear from you. And the pictures were awfully good. I guess everybody in Italy knows that I have a kid brother. If you only realized how much we appreciate pictures, pop, you would send ‘em often. Of yourselves and the kids and the place and the bay—they are the greatest cheer producers of all, and everybody likes to see everybody else’s pictures.

You, dad, spoke about coming home. I wouldn’t come home till the war was ended if I could make fifteen thousand a year in the States—nix. Here is the place. All of us Red Cross men here were ordered not to register. It would be foolish for us to come home because the Red Cross is a necessary organization and they would just have to get more men from the States to keep it going. Besides we never came over here until we were all disqualified for military service, you know. It would be criminal for me to come back to the States now. I was disqualified before I left the States because of my eye. I now have a bum leg and foot and there isn’t any army in the world that would take me. But I can be of service over here and I will stay here just as long as I can hobble and there is a war to hobble to. And the ambulance is no slacker’s job. We lost one man, killed, and one wounded in the last two weeks. And when you are holding down a front line canteen job, you know you have just the same chances as the other men in the trenches and so my conscience doesn’t bother me about staying.

I would like to come home and see you all, of course. But I can’t until after the war is finished. And that isn’t going to be such an awful length of time. There is nothing for you to worry about, because it has been fairly conclusively proved that I can’t be bumped off. And wounds don’t matter. I wouldn’t mind being wounded again so much because I know just what it is like. And you can only suffer so much, you know, and it does give you an awfully satisfactory feeling to be wounded. It’s getting beaten up in a good cause. There are no heroes in this war. We all offer our bodies and only a few are chosen, but it shouldn’t reflect any special credit on those that are chosen. They are just the lucky ones. I am very proud and happy that mine was chosen, but it shouldn’t give me any extra credit. Think of all the thousands of other boys that offered. All the heroes are dead. And the real heroes are the parents. Dying is a very simple thing. I’ve looked at death and really I know. If I should have died it would have been very easy for me. Quite the easiest thing I ever did. But the people at home do not realize that. They suffer a thousand times more. When a mother brings a son into the world she must know that some day the son will die, and the mother of a man that has died for his country should be the proudest woman in the world, and the happiest. And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered.

So, dear old family, don’t ever worry about me! It isn’t bad to be wounded: I know, because I’ve experienced it. And if I die, I’m lucky.

Does all that sound like the crazy, wild kid you sent out to learn about the world a year ago? It is a great old world, though, and I’ve always had a good time and the odds are all in favor of coming back to the old place. But I thought I’d tell you how I felt about it. Now I’ll write you a nice, cheery, bunky letter in about a week, so don’t get low over this one. I love you all.


via Letters of Note.

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/29/a-letter-from-ernie-hemingway-and-other-authors-who-went-to-war/feed/ 0