New book details Bob Hope's 'mind-blowing' correspondence with soldiers during WWII

The late Bob Hope had a lifelong commitment to our servicemen and women. No one entertained our troops like he did.

Hope's daughter, Linda, and his first female staff writer, Martha Bolton, are helping to share personal stories with letters from long ago in the new book "Dear Bob: Bob Hope's Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World War II."

During World War II, Hope was often in dangerous territory, bringing laughter to the brave troops protecting our country. The servicemen wrote him all the time and his secretary carefully looked after those letters.

As a child, Hope's daughter Linda once asked his secretary: "What's in those boxes?"

She answered: "That's history."

Their letters, his responses and lots of stories in between make up "Dear Bob."

"It's history, but it's such a part of Bob's heart and we just wanted to put it out there for everybody to get a little peek inside," said Bolton, who wrote and compiled the book with the help of Linda. "The depth of his relationship with the G.I.s was just mind-blowing to read that in the letters. It just made me that much more, and Linda as well, determined to share this with world."

As kids, Linda and her siblings would sometimes complain, wondering why Dad wasn't coming home for Christmas. Their mother, Dolores, knew just want to do.

"She used to say 'Listen, be very grateful for what your Dad is able to do and the happiness for a few minutes that he's able to bring to the men and women who are out there protecting our country'," Linda said.

Those military members often wrote to Hope to say thank you and share their personal stories.

"If they didn't have any paper, they'd write it on a paper bag, they'd write on toilet tissue, they'd write on a coconut. I mean, they go to him any way they could," said Bolton.

The Hope family has carried on Bob's legacy, still helping veterans through The Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation.

"It's very gratifying work to try to do that and do it in Dad's name. Many of them don't even know who Bob Hope is or was but it still...warms my heart," Linda said.

That's something the new book, which will be available on March 15, may do as well.
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