August 10, 2016

Books: How the Post Office created America

Christian Science Monitor - When Alexis de Tocqueville toured the United States in the 1830s, he was impressed by many aspects of the fledgling country, but one institution in particular stood out to him. He was astonished by the scale of the country’s postal system, which was already the most expansive in the world. He noted that even in the deepest forests of Michigan, settlers could receive mail from anywhere in the country within one week.
In her new book How the Post Office Created America, journalist Winifred Gallagher argues that de Tocqueville was right to view this institution with amazement. Gallagher argues that far from merely existing as an important part of American society, the post office actually shaped American history and did much to create the United States that we know today. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of communications and transportation history in the United States, as well as a poignant love letter to an institution that, not for the first time in its history, is teetering on the edge of peril.


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