Book Review: Ten Letters

| Tue Oct. 11, 2011 5:00 AM EDT

Ten Letters

By Eli Saslow

DOUBLEDAY

To keep a finger on the pulse of everyday America, President Obama reads 10 letters from the public each day. Some begin "Dear Jackass" or "Dear Moron." Others are written with style and sensitivity. Eli Saslow, a reporter for the Washington Post, tracks down and profiles 10 letter-writers from all over the map—a military officer serving in Afghanistan, a cash-strapped college freshman, a leukemia patient—whose missives affected the president and even influenced his decisions. "I will tell you," Saslow writes, quoting Obama, "my staff is very evenhanded, because about half of these letters call me an idiot."