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This is the Extraordinary Record of an Extraordinary Friendship. Despite the tremendous difference in their ages - Justice Holmes was seventy-five and Harold Laski only twenty-three when they met in July 1916 - the two men took to each other immediately. From Laski's first "thank you" note after his visit to the Holmes summer place at Beverly Farms, their correspondence deepens into a vigor¬ous and intimate exchange.
The exuberant mind of Laski was a perfect counterpart to Justice Holmes' sober wit, and Laski's account of his social, intellectual, and political doings - always given with vividness and humor and at times with blistering malice - aroused in Holmes interests and even indiscretions which his more strait-laced jurist friends could not stir. On the other hand, Holmes' sound guidance made of Laski a loving disciple of the spirit - in spite of all their differences of opinion in the realm of political theory.
Both men were superb letter writers, possessing talent for graceful, witty, and incisive expression, and sharing a catholicity of interests. Here they correspond about the people, politics, and passions that made history between the two World Wars; they discuss their personal philosophies and beliefs; they write about their tastes in books, pictures, and music; they confide their choicest anecdotes and exchange tidbits of international gossip. They comment on subjects ranging from Winston Churchill to Charlie Chaplin, and from the future of communism to the eating habits of the Dutch. The jacket of the second volume gives excerpts from their letters.
For anyone who finds enthusiasm for ideas and values contagious, these volumes make truly exciting 'reading. The Holmes-Laski Letters are edited by Mark DeWolfe Howe, who was editor of the Holmes-Pollock Letters and who is Justice Holmes' official biographer.