A good letter used to be worth more than a fine bottle of wine. Great writers turned letters in small masterpieces, and a lot of people wrote every day to friends and family. Now letter-writing is a dying art. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, why letters still matter. Also, does e-mail have any enduring value?
Andrew Carroll founded the Legacy Project, which collects soldiers' war-time letters. He also edited an anthology called "Letters of a Nation." He tells Jim Fleming that letters from ordinary soldiers can be more revealing that the words of the generals, and that they should be preserved and treasured. Also, Kate Montgomery and Hilary Lifton tell Steve Paulson about the letters they exchanged while Kate was living in Africa. They've published the correspondence in a book called "Dear Exile" and started a web site called dearexile.com.SEGMENT 2:
Robert Thompson, President of the Popular Culture Association, talks with Judith Strasser about the virtues of e-mail: it's more legible than script and more egalitarian. Despite its informal grammar and spelling, it's giving new life to the written word. Also, novelist Isabel Allende tells Jim Fleming that her first novel "The House of the Spirits," began as a letter to her grandfather; and that letters allow the writer to express thoughts and memories in a way that a video camera cannot.SEGMENT 3:
Tony Hiss tells Steve Paulson that he got to know his father, Alger Hiss, by means of the wonderful letters he sent from prison. Hiss believes his father will someday be vindicated of the charge of being a Communist spy. His memoir is called "The View from Alger's Window."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-10-31-B.
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