Letters to Uncle (and Auntie) Sam: a preface

Between 1951 and 1954, the great Indo-Pakistani writer Sadat Hasan Manto wrote a series of nine comic letters addressed to Uncle Sam, none of which were mailed, he said, because he could not afford the postage. Three of those letters, translated from Urdu into English, can be read at these links:




A few years ago, during the U.S. administration of the Previous Guy, it occurred to me that perhaps I could write a few such letters myself, not to Uncle Sam, but to his wife, Auntie S., from whom I might get a more sympathetic hearing than I was likely to receive from her husband. I did in fact draft one, which I never sent, because, to be honest, I could not afford the postage.

Tomorrow, for your weekend reading pleasure, I will post my (so far) one and only letter to Auntie Sam, along with a magnificent photo-portrait of the lady by the immortal photographer Weegee.

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Let me know if you enjoy it, and if you think it might be worth my writing another letter, or letters, to the new Auntie, so very different from the Previous Lady.