The Feb. 11 Style piece "Nouvelle Hampshire" began with a simple declarative sentence: "New Hampshire is a fraud." I respond in kind: your article stinks.

I will say one thing, the author faithfully carried out his editor's obvious instructions to write a wholly negative article about the Granite State. There wasn't even a hint of balance or objectivity.

The Post editors would do well to read The New York Times, where a straightforward piece on New Hampshire appeared Feb. 7. The headline was "Prosperity (for Better and Worse) Spreads in New Hampshire." Now that, at least, has some sense of journalistic balance.

One by one you maligned the natural beauty of our state, its people, its economy, its conservative values and its success. Okay, if you don't like it, don't return. New Hampshire's 1 million residents, more than half of whom are refugees from places where you would feel much more at home, like the People's Republic of Taxachusetts, know you are all wet. So do the hundreds of thousands of tourists who flock to our state year-round to enjoy its beauty and atmosphere of freedom. We dearly love our New Hampshire!

Yours is an acute case of sour grapes. If you can ever get your envy under control, come back and have an honest look. Meantime, take a flying leap. -- Gordon J. Humphrey The writer is a Republican senator from New Hampshire.

As an 84-year-old (non-codger type), four-generation New Hampshirite, I am appalled by Henry Allen's article, "Nouvelle Hampshire." He writes off the state as "self-conscious, phony, drab." The Post underscores his theme with two photos: one of a typical New England church, captioned "The image," the other of a typical (of any state) sign-riddled strip of a shopping area, captioned "The reality."

What earthly point was there in going to such lengths of completely negative editorializing? If Allen's message was to raise the dander of some New Hampshirites in the Washington area, he achieved his point.

-- Jane S. Cumming

I feel sorry that Henry Allen had to go through such an intense emotional trauma because New Hampshire didn't live up to his storybook impressions. The world is a tough place even for Washington Post writers, and I certainly hope that that realization won't produce any more invective about the places that some people choose to make their home. -- Steven J. Webster

As a native of New Hampshire, I was amused by Henry Allen's trite and ignorance-laden portrayal of the Granite State. It represented only the latest in a long-running series of attempts by media sociologists to attack and discredit what they most deeply fear: representative democracy at its finest.

If Allen had only put aside his liberal paranoia and paid closer attention to the substance of life in New Hampshire, he might have discovered a state in which the economy flourishes, the schools educate and the citizenry plays an active and educated role in political affairs. If New Hampshire is as awful a place to live as Allen suggests, how does he explain the steady migration of former Massachusetts residents into the southern tier of the state, admittedly in search of a more serene and pleasant, not to mention less heavily taxed, existence?

The New Hampshire primary plays an essential role in the presidential selection process, despite Allen's overstated protestations to the contrary, precisely because of its size and political sophistication. In an era of mass-media politics, in which candidates pay exorbitant consultant fees to "package" their message into 20-second commercials and convenient evening news sound bites, New Hampshire remains a place where political success depends on personal appeals and in-depth give-and-take. A candidate's message, or lack thereof, is subjected to microscopic scrutiny by the eyes and ears of New Hampshire in ways that could never be repeated in larger states; it is one of the last remaining places where the firmness of a handshake or the sincerity of a personal response carries infinitely more weight than any amount of Madison Avenue packaging.

-- Norman J. Harrison