The introduction used by Henkin was unique to the book. He utilized the story of Anthony Burns. A fugitive slave that was captured, Mr. Burns miraculously managed to write several letters from his jail cell in the state of Virginia, 1854. Mr. Burns managed to utilize the facilities postal system to communicate with his lawyer in Boston. Henkin used this story as a powerful introduction to the main portion of the book. The tome, The Postal age is broken down by Henkin into two distinct sections. Joining Network” which primarily focuses on the systematic nut and bolt spread of the postal system, how and what did people mailed and mail in a developing urban environment. The second section is “Postal Intimacy” which takes a look at the cultural aspect of letter writing styles and the cliches associated to its respective culture. Chapter Two, “Malleable matters” went on to discuss what people really mailed and how it was molded and evolved during his era of study.
Henkin spoke about the History of Transient newspapers were periodicals that were passed along by the post by someone other than the main publisher. People of that time used newspapers to relay information to recipients in very faraway places. This practice was fairly inexpensive as opposed to sending a regular letter. The postal bureaucracy didn’t agree with this practice and proceeded to shut it down. Sometime by the year 1845 Congress had actually passed an act the reduced the price of letters. This price reduction made it more attractive to send Letters as opposed to using Transient Newspapers.
Henkin really didn’t cover much of the political legislation regarding such reforms. Covering such topics might have been helpful in completely understand the nuts and bolts of Joining a Network. Furthermore, Henkin addresses the rising transitory movements that were taking place during that time of the century. He addressed in particular how the migrant men of the Gold Rush and those of the Civil War wrote letters. During those times the men of the Gold rush were constantly surrounded be the debauchery of army camps and gold mining towns.
Familial correspondence from mothers, sisters and wives became things that morally anchored these wandering men. This form of correspondence became a symbol of domesticity and moral influence. Men who had spend the previous night heavily drinking, carousing with prostitutes could open a letter from his loved ones and be swept up in a fit of repentance. The postal system wasn’t simply a form of communication but rather at times a moral anchor for those of which were a long ways from home. Mr. Henken went on to discuss the other types of the postal system