Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History Of The United States Postal Service by Devin LeonardNeither Snow Nor Rain: A History Of The United States Postal Service by Devin Leonard

Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History Of The United States Postal Service

byDevin Leonard

Paperback | February 24, 2017

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The United States Postal Service is a wondrous American creation. Seven days a week, its army of 300,000 letter carriers delivers 513 million pieces of mail, more than forty percent of the world's volume. It is far more efficient than any other mail service-more than twice as efficient as the Japanese and easily outpacing the Germans and British. And the USPS has a storied history. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, it was the information network that bound far-flung Americans together, fostered a common culture, and helped American business to prosper. A first-class stamp remains one of the greatest bargains of all time, and yet, the USPS is slowly vanishing. Critics say it is slow and archaic. Mail volume is down. The workforce is shrinking. Post offices are closing.InNeither Snow nor Rain, journalist Devin Leonard tackles the fascinating, centuries-long story of the USPS, from the first letter carriers through Franklin's days, when postmasters worked out of their homes and post roads cut new paths through the wilderness. Under Andrew Jackson, the post office was molded into a vast patronage machine, and by the 1870s, over seventy percent of federal employees were postal workers. As the country boomed, the USPS aggressively developed new technology, from mobile post offices on railroad cars and Air Mail Service to mechanical sorting machines and optical character readers.Neither Snow nor Rain is a rich, multifaceted history, full of remarkable characters, from the stamp-collecting FDR, to the revolutionaries who challenged USPS's monopoly on mail, to the renegade union members who brought the system-and the country-to a halt in the 1970s. An exciting and engrossing read,Neither Snow nor Rain is the first major history of the USPS in over fifty years. The United States Postal Service is a wondrous American creation. Seven days a week, its army of 300,000 letter carriers delivers 513 million pieces of mail, more than forty percent of the world's volume. It is far more efficient than any other mail service-more than twice as efficient as the Japanese and easily outpacing the Germans and British. And the USPS has a storied history. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, it was the information network that bound far-flung Americans together, fostered a common culture, and helped American business to prosper. A first-class stamp remains one of the greatest bargains of all time, and yet, the USPS is slowly vanishing. Critics say it is slow and archaic. Mail volume is down. The workforce is shrinking. Post offices are closing.InNeither Snow nor Rain, journalist Devin Leonard tackles the fascinating, centuries-long story of the USPS, from the first letter carriers through Franklin's days, when postmasters worked out of their homes and post roads cut new paths through the wilderness. Under Andrew Jackson, the post office was molded into a vast patronage machine, and by the 1870s, over seventy percent of federal employees were postal workers. As the country boomed, the USPS aggressively developed new technology, from mobile post offices on railroad cars and Air Mail Service to mechanical sorting machines and optical character readers.Neither Snow nor Rain is a rich, multifaceted history, full of remarkable characters, from the stamp-collecting FDR, to the revolutionaries who challenged USPS's monopoly on mail, to the renegade union members who brought the system-and the country-to a halt in the 1970s. An exciting and engrossing read,Neither Snow nor Rain is the first major history of the USPS in over fifty years.
Devin Leonard is a staff writer atBloomberg Businessweek. Previously a senior writer atFortune and a staff writer for theNew York Observer, he has also written for theNew York Times,New York magazine,Wired,Capital New York,Men's Journal, and thePhiladelphia Daily News. He lives in New York City.
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Title:Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History Of The United States Postal ServiceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.23 × 5.5 × 0.92 inPublished:February 24, 2017Publisher:Grove/AtlanticLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802126405

ISBN - 13:9780802126405

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Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Praise forNeither Snow nor Rain:Named a Favorite Book of 2016 by theWashington Independent Review of Books'Delectably readable . . . [Leonard] has a zesty prose style, a great sense of humor, a fine eye for the telling anecdote and a lucid way of unraveling some of the controversies and challenges our postal service has faced in its 224 years of existence. Leonard's account offers surprises on almost every other page . . . [and] delivers both the triumphs and travails with clarity, wit and heart.'-Chicago Tribune'[A] sweeping and entertaining history . . . offers a host of interesting anecdotes.'-New York Times Book Review'Intensely readable . . . Colored by entertaining and lively retellings, including the exploits of the Pony Express and of Wells Fargo . . . Leonard mines important moments from the history of the postal service.'-Nation'Engaging [and] well-written.'-Washington Post'Neither Snow nor Rain . . . serves up a colorful array of visionaries, hucksters, daredevils and crackpots . . . What's most remarkable is the way [the] book makes you care what happens to its main protagonist, the U.S. Postal Service itself. And, as such, it leaves you at the end in suspense.'-USA Today'A lively examination of America's most ubiquitous public institution . . . Captivating and thoughtful.'-Washington Independent Review of Books'Answers every question you've ever had about the United States Postal Service . . . Surprises abound. Who knew, for instance, that some early-20th-century families sent their children by parcel post to save on train fares?'-Week'A good, quirky history book . . . Lively, fun . . . Leonard delivers a lot here, and moves fast as he entertains . . . Remember how exciting it was to get birthday cards in the mail?Neither Snow nor Rain is that much fun, and I think you'll enjoy it. If you're stamping around for something different to read, you'll love every letter.'-Journal Record'Equally rollicking and relevant . . . this is history on an epic scale . . . Engaging and concise . . . Leonard writes with a hard-nosed understanding of the organization's current problems, but also sympathy and a fair amount of hope.'-Strategy & Business'[A] delightful surprise . . . Devin Leonard's book is a treasure; one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read. [Leonard] brings history to life, fleshes out bureaucrats and makes us deeply care about the post office . . . Magnificent . . . [A] definitive book . . . Whether you read this by swiping or turning, just read it.'-Newark Star Ledger'Surprisingly fascinating.'-Gist'Leonard doesn't shrink from discussing the issues facing one of the nation's oldest services. He tosses in a fair amount of postal lore, and one doesn't have to be a history buff or a stamp collector to appreciate his tales . . . A compelling [story] worth reading.'-Deseret News'Lively . . . brisk [and] informative . . . A spirited look at the business and impact of delivering mail.'-Kirkus Reviews'An engrossing account of a once-vital service that may soon be nothing more than a memory.'-Mental Floss (25 Amazing New Books for Spring)'Devin Leonard's marvelous history of the United States Post Office recounts the American experience from a singular and highly entertaining angle. Along the way, you'll encounter a visionary founding father, glad-handing rogue politicians, terrified biplane pilots, firebrand union bosses, and children with postage attached to their overcoats mailed cross-country as parcel post. I dare you to put it down.'-William J. Bernstein, author ofA Splendid Exchange andMasters of the Word'Devin Leonard has achieved something astonishing. He has taken the Post Office-too often disparaged as the carrier of 'snail mail' in this age of instant communication-and delivered a vivid and surprising story filled with indelibly drawn personalities including a founding father, an obsessive nineteenth-century smut-hunter, the swashbuckling pilots of the earliest, nearly suicidal airmail service, and many others. With crisp prose and unflagging narrative drive, Leonard reveals the forgotten history of the institution, and makes abundantly clear, the story of the Post Office is also the story of America.'-Fergus M. Bordewich, author ofThe First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government'Devin Leonard has given us a fast-moving, richly detailed portrait of the U.S. Postal Service-a system far more important to the country than is generally understood. Any devout fans of Cliff Clavin will be both proud and horrified by what Leonard unearths, but ultimately readers will be cautiously optimistic about this institution's future.'-Brad Stone, author ofThe Everything Store'A wonderfully written and insightful history of a great but beleaguered American institution. Devin Leonard brings the story of the Postal Service to life with memorable characters, from Benjamin Franklin to Franklin Roosevelt and many others, with cameos from the likes of William Faulkner and Ethel Merman. Who knew that the Postal Service had such a colorful history? Luckily, Devin Leonard knew it, and now so do we.'-Terry Golway, author ofMachine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics'InNeither Snow nor Rain, Devin Leonard tells the fascinating (yes, fascinating!) story of an endangered species, the US Postal Service. Leonard's well-told story, which shows that mail delivery is a critical part of a functioning civilization, will be eye-opening to those who think the USPS should go the way of the buggy whip.'-Bethany McLean, co-author ofThe Smartest Guys in the Room andAll the Devils Are Here