Reading this book was realitively easy, as most of the letters are one pagers. You could read and if interruptions came up you could always continue at a later time.
The book has letters from the Civil War (both North and South soldiers and citizens), World War I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Somalia and Bosnia. For the most part, the letters are in chronological order and take you on a walk through American and World history through the eyes of soldiers and other American Citizens. There are letters from several popular and distinguished persons long before they became well known.
For me the most difficult thing about this book was reading a series of letters from a soldier to his/her (yes, there are female soldiers) family back home, only to learn that he or she was killed in battle a short time after writing their "final" letter home. This book is a must read for anyone interested in history.
t's good to find a book that puts the carnival of carnage known as war in perspective, and such is the case with "War Letters", a collection of correspondence from just about every great and not-so-great conflict in American history.
The editor, Andrew Carroll, does a superb job of mixing the types and plights of the American servicemen and women who pour their hearts into the pages of these letters. Examples: a man who writes a last letter before his hanging for participating in John Brown's Raid at Harper's Ferry; a WWII soldier who describes the horror of liberating the Dachau Concentration Camp; a Gold Star mother writes to her son, thirty years after his death in Vietnam.
The editor also sets up the letters nicely with italicized lead-ins that provide historical perspective.
As a whole, love of country is somewhat evident in these letters, but even more prominent and common is love of family.
War represents the despicably vicious side of mankind, and it's a poignant irony that the experience yields some of the most tender, loving and eloquent phrasings ever placed on paper.