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Bob Hope’s letters with American troops during WWII chronicled in book: It ‘affected his entire life’

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Fox News:

The star’s daughter Linda Hope and family friend Martha Bolton teamed up for Dear Bob: Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World War II’

When Bob Hope passed away in 2003 at age 100, he had conquered vaudeville, Broadway, radio, Hollywood, and even television during its infancy – but his greatest achievement wasn’t fame.

The star dedicated much of his nearly 80-year career to entertaining the troops, both at home and abroad, USO.org reported. Whether it was performing on the front lines, befriending injured soldiers or personally writing heartfelt letters home – he was committed to using his talents to give thanks for their sacrifice.

Earlier this year, Martha Bolton, a family friend who once wrote jokes for Hope, as well as his daughter Linda Hope, teamed up to write “Dear Bob: Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World War II,” which chronicles personal letters, postcards, packages and more sent back and forth among the comic and the troops.

“I found it very moving to re-read these letters again,” Linda told Fox News. “… I was reminded of the scope of dad’s involvement with the men and women he entertained, here at home and abroad.  It reinforced the reality of how those relationships really affected his entire life.”

Fox News spoke to Bolton about bringing the book to life and Hope’s great love for our servicemen and women.

Martha Bolton: We actually started working on it when Bob was alive. I had come across the letters he received from G.I.’s over the years and I was just so overwhelmed by its historical significance. I thought they also gave a look inside his heart. And there was so much there. There were funny letters, but also moving letters. It spanned the whole human experience. And it really showed Bob’s relationship with the G.I.’s.

I remembered I talked to Bob and asked if he ever considered putting these letters together for a book because they were so incredible. He agreed. But he also said that they were so close to his heart that he didn’t know if he could get through them again. So he suggested that Linda and I work on it. And we did.  

And it was quite the project. At the height of World War II, Bob was receiving 38,000 fan letters a week. So there was a mountain of material. And he kept them all in these banker boxes… And unfortunately, Bob passed away. But we never gave up on the idea of working on this manuscript. We knew one day we would finish it… So we poured ourselves into this project and the process of selecting which letters to include in the book. But I’m very pleased with the results. I think, especially right now, we’re all looking for hope. And these letters give the same feeling that Bob gave all his life. That we will get through anything together.

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