Alastair Cooke's Letter from America: 1946-2004 is a defining collection from his legendary BBC Radio broadcasts that guides us through nearly sixty years of changing life in the United States. Alistair Cooke's Letter from America interpreted nearly sixty years of changing US life for the rest of the world. Covering key moments from the assassination of Kennedy through Vietnam and Watergate to September 11, Iraq and anticipating the 2004 elections, this book provides a defining collection of Letters from his legendary BBC Radio 4 broadcasts. Encompassing portraits of the great and the good from Charlie Chaplin to Martin Luther King and topics as varied as civil rights, golf, jazz and the changing colours of a New England fall, each Letter contributes a captivating portrait of a nation - and of a man. 'Cooke was the special relationship'
Daily Mail 'Such experience, wisdom and education are unlikely ever again to combine in one journalist'
Mark Lawson 'There is never going to be anyone else like Cooke, a chronicler of amazing times'
Daily Telegraph 'The range of Cooke's experiences was awesome but he always had the personal touch'
Jeremy Vine 'No one else succeeded in explaining to the English-speaking world ... the idiosyncrasies of a country at once so familiar, and yet so utterly foreign'
Independent Alistair Cooke (1908-2004) enjoyed an extraordinary life in print, radio and television. The Guardian's Senior Correspondent in New York for twenty-five years and the host of groundbreaking cultural programmes on American television and of the BBC series America, Cooke was, however, best known both at home and abroad for his weekly BBC broadcast Letter from America, which reported on fifty-eight years of US life, was heard over five continents and totalled 2,869 broadcasts before his retirement in February 2004, far and away the longest-running radio series in broadcasting history.
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Alistair Cooke was born in Manchester in 1908 and educated at the universities of Cambridge, Yale and Harvard. Throughout his long career he worked as a journalist and broadcaster for many different organisations including the BBC, The Times and the Guardian, and won numerous awards for his work. He is best known both at home and abroad for his weekly Letters from America, far and away the longest-running radio series in broadcasting history. He died in March 2004, just a few weeks after his retirement.From Publishers Weekly:
Erudite, dry, calm, utterly confident. Such was the voice that millions of Americans were familiar with when Alistair Cooke (1908–2004) hosted PBS's Masterpiece Theatre. What those millions might not have known was that Cooke broadcast a weekly radio essay, Letter from America, on the BBC. These pieces showcased Cooke's hard-eyed impressions of the American scene, its players and victims, its edges and contours, its movers, shakers and fools. In this tightly edited collection of those essays, Cooke's voice is present throughout, his mid-Atlantic inflection indelibly stamped. A journalist by trade, an aristocrat by aspiration, Cooke lived and reported from New York, covering the U.S.'s rise to global superpower. Some of the early essays have a fish-out-of-water tone, and the writing is at times claustrophobic, hemmed in by language better suited to a London gentlemen's club than the rough and tumble of bursting-at-the-seams postwar New York. As the years pass, the writing becomes looser, more New World than Old. Cooke's politics turn more conservative; he idolizes Reagan and looks dimly at the unkempt Democrats. He frets about the future of America, never more so than in the wake of 9/11. Still, throughout, Cooke feeds on the unfettered optimism of his adopted country. Never glib, snide or contrived, Cooke captures the expanding soul of a nation and people. Photos.
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