If ever there was a time to make a case for the United States Postal Service’s necessity in American civic, political, and cultural life, it may have already passed. It may then come as no surprise that two surveys of the history of the USPS are out this year: Devin Leonard’s intensely readable Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service and Winifred Gallagher’s impressively researched How The Post Office Created America: A History.
The aim of both writers—Gallagher, a former psychology editor at American Health, and Leonard, a staff writer at Bloomberg Business—is to remind us how the Post Office has so deeply and inextricably shaped the political and cultural life of America. Our mail service—still one of the largest and most efficient in the world, easily outperforming Germany and England—has had an incredible, but often unacknowledged, impact on transportation, communications, and technology in American history. Gallagher, whose study is not short of pronouncements, opens: “The history of the post office is nothing less than the history of America.” Read more.