Letters from Listeners, 1970

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Excerpts from letters written in response to the 1970 marathon reading of War and Peace:

“This is to congratulate you on a brilliant idea, brilliantly produced. The translation of the book is very beautiful. I did not want to miss a single word of it. I was so fascinated by the whole thing, that I could do nothing but listen to the radio for 5 days.” —Ruth Frankel (Riverdale, New York)

“The original concept was splendid, the plans must have been prodigious, and the reading relaxed, wholly absorbing, and timely…” —Mrs. Helen Thorp (Fort Lee, New Jersey)

“Please accept this contribution of …for the War and Peace project. It was a magnificent program, which kept me completely involved for the entire broadcast – causing many nights of very little sleep. I do hope you will be successful in saving this program for future broadcasts…” —Will Barnet (New York, New York)

“I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed War and Peace. Had both eyes operated on, so could not read, and listened to great chunks of WAR AND PEACE with great pleasure." —Nancy Eveleigh (New York, New York)

“To all you crazy people down there who had the fantastic idea of putting the whole of Tolstoy’s War and Peace on radio—thank you all! I, like most everyone else, I guess, thought it was crazy when I first read about it…I’m not a radio listener, so I really had no idea of listening. But, on Thursday morning, while painting some kitchen chairs, I decided to tune in just out of curiosity. Well, you were around page 200 by then, I think, and after listening for about an hour, I was really hooked. I practically walked around the apartment with the radio grafted to my ribs.... Except for some of those readings in the wee small hours, I stood steadfast. My children would find me in the morning, like some pitiful drunk who’d had one-too-many the night before. “It’s not still on, is it, Mommy?” They’d ask me, in disbelief." —Mrs. Mary Anderson (New York, NY)

"Divine insanity! I can’t turn you off. Tolstoy. War and Peace. Outta sight! We’re eating nothing but borscht and blintchikis. I’m drinking vodka, my wife is dancing a trepak over in the corner.... Hurrah! Words, words, words. Everything makes sense again. It’s your finest hour, our finest hour. WAR AND PEACE, peace, peace.” —Lowell Harris & Inga Swenson (Tenafly, New Jersey)

“Thanks for helping two middle-aged-nicks bridge the gap to the “NOW”. A special thanks for keeping us stoned without drugs on your super trip through War and Peace.” —Nyea and Nat Schwartz (Beechhurst, NY)

"War and Peace and your reading of it was a wonderful experience. I was unfamiliar with your station, but am now an avid supporter… ” —Linda B. Miller (New York, NY)

“I wish to thank you for a wonderful and moving experience. Our family enjoyed it, even our young children appreciated the poetry and rhythm of the work. It was truly magnificent.” —Carol Foglia (Oakdale, NY)

“This was a truly community effort.... I expect we will never again be the same, any of us. You, the producers, those who read, and the thousands of us who listened and were deeply moved by Tolstoy’s feelings being brought into our ears and minds by the minds and voices of such a diversity of our fellow human beings. This event drew us together, expanded our consciousness, and opened up far-reaching new possibilities." —Mrs. Jimmie Elmer (Bronx, NY)

“I experienced a very special sensation of being present at something extraordinary…” —Lillian M. Brest (New York, NY)

"The universality of the book is unbelievable, and in hearing the amazingly graphic descriptions of the preparations for battle, and the battle themselves, we envisioned not just the Napoleonic Wars, but all wars, including Vietnam.... On another level, your reading is providing many of your younger listeners an opportunity to experience great humanistic writing.... WBAI has added unexpected richness to our lives." —Milton and Harriet Schulman (New York, NY)

“Your Tolstoy reading, I am sure, will take its place along with the few beautiful things that happened in New York, like the electric power blackout and Mayor Fiorelle Laguardia’s reading of the funnies during the newspaper strike.” —Arnold Eagle (New York, NY)