Who’s Got Mail?: The History of Mail in America

Abrams. May 2023. 240p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781419758966.
Gr 4-8–This engaging story of the postal delivery service in the United States shares the history of an essential democratic institution considered so foundational to American life that its existence is mandated in the U.S. Constitution. Even early American leaders so wary of centralized government considered a federal postal system necessary to keep citizens informed regarding local and national happenings. Because its mission is to serve all Americans, wherever the postal service has expanded, it literally paved the way for improved transportation and infrastructure. Osborne illustrates with photos the many ways the mail has been delivered, including mules still trekking down the Grand Canyon! American history and the service provided by the postal system are intertwined. Osborne recounts how the postal service has become one of the most diverse workforces, with many overcoming discrimination faced by women and people of color. Chapters and inset text boxes focus on the experiences of women, Black, Asian, Latinx, and Native American workers and shine a light on an employer that has changed over the centuries to reflect the neighborhoods it serves. This may not be the most popular subject, but everyone uses the mail service, and Osborne’s meticulous research results in a fascinating history.
VERDICT With first class writing, this extremely readable postal history gets delivered with an enthusiastic stamp of approval.

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