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How The Post Office Created America


Edited by Ann Godoff

The definitive history of the US Postal Service, the least appreciated and analyzed of America’s great institutions, and an examination of how this remarkable organization created America.

The Post Office, Winifred Gallagher argues, has been not just a witness to but a foundational influence on much of the history of the United States of America, particularly for women and African-Americans, who participated in the nation’s formation via the Post Office in pivotal ways. How the Post Office Created America tells this story, tracing the role of a unique institution and its leaders, such as Benjamin Franklin, the Crown’s first postmaster general–a position which for a great deal of America’s history was a member of the cabinet, and as such politically important and influential. Taking in all the major events in American history, from the Declaration of Independence to the Civil War to the advent of the Internet, Gallagher tells a vitally important story.

This fascinating and original work of history brings to life a uniquely American institution, one without which our democracy as we know it would not have been possible. Gallagher casts her eyes forward, arguing compellingly that now, as we arrive at a fork in the road with the advent of the Internet, more than ever before we need to ensure that the future of the postal service is not squandered.

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Other books by Winifred Gallagher



Praise

“[How the Post Office Created America is] an ode to a little-heralded but flagship government enterprise. [Gallagher] reminds us, echoing the historian Richard John, that the post office forged a communications revolution just as far-reaching as the later telegraph and internet revolutions.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Gallagher delivers…fascinating anecdotes. Engaging, well-written.”Washington Post

“Impressively researched…Gallagher connects the transformations of the Post Office with broader economic, socio-cultural, and political changes affecting the country.”The Nation

“Fascinating…. This readable book relays the complicated history of an institution that is thoroughly integrated into American life.”Library Journal

“Invigorating.”O, The Oprah Magazine

“’The history of its Post Office is nothing less than the story of America,’ Ms. Gallagher’s opening sentence declares, and in this lively book she makes the case well.”Wall Street Journal

“Gallagher makes a strong case for [the post office’s] historical importance in this brisk history.”Publishers Weekly

“Long the most important activity of the federal government, the Post Office knit together America’s geographically spread out democracy. Winifred Gallagher fluently illuminates not only the fascinating, picturesque past, but also the various possible futures of the American postal service.” —Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

“Winifred Gallagher’s How the Post Office Created America is a book of amazing revelations. Gallagher writes with great wisdom and verve. Highly recommended.” —Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America

“Winifred Gallagher makes a big claim in the first sentence of her new book—‘The history of the Post Office is nothing less than the story of America.’ And then, in a sweeping tour of American and postal history from the colonial period to the present, she makes us all believers. Highly recommended for students, scholars, and those who care about this nation’s past.”—David Nasaw, author of The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy and Andrew Carnegie

“At first glance, a book on the history of the post office seems an unpromising prospect for a page-turner. But I found it so fascinating that I could hardly put it down. This book is a winner, based on deep knowledge and research that will reach a broad audience with a story that will enhance their appreciation and understanding of the post office and its contribution to American life.”—James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Tried by War and Embattled Rebel

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