The Essential Letters from America: the 1990s

The Essential Letters from America: the 1990s


By (author) Alistair Cooke, Read by Alistair Cooke

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  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd
  • Format: CD-Audio | 4 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 146mm x 19mm | 186g
  • Publication date: 23 August 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Bath
  • ISBN 10: 1408400782
  • ISBN 13: 9781408400784
  • Edition: Unabridged
  • Edition statement: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 199,122

Product description

Alistair Cooke was a radio legend, entertaining millions of listeners for over fifty years in his weekly Letter from America. It was the longest-running one-man series in radio history, and every show was a virtuoso performance. Wise and witty, informed yet informal, Cooke was the doyen of foreign correspondents. This varied collection of Letters contains Cooke's broadcasts on such landmark events as the Gulf War, the terrible race riots in LA, the O. J. Simpson trial, Bill Clinton's election and Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Cooke addresses topics close to his heart, such as sport - celebrating Joe DiMaggio and lamenting the threat to golf posed by commercialism and ungentlemanly behaviour - and muses on historic occasions such as the closure of the last American Woolworths store, the Commencement ceremony and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles eighty years earlier. The Letters are set in their historical context with a specially commissioned script narrated by the BBC's award-winning American correspondent Matt Frei. Whether the topics he explores are serious or humorous, Cooke's unique style of expression and analysis shines through in these classic broadcasts from one of the world's most famous letter writers and radio's greatest observer. 4 CDs. 5 hrs.

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Author information

Alistair Cooke was born in 1908 in Salford, Lancashire. His birth name was Alfred, but he changed it to Alistair at the age of 22. In 1932, he won a Harkness Fellowship to Yale and Harvard, and he emigrated to America in 1937, where he scripted a regular Letter from London missive for NBC. In 1941, Cooke became an American citizen, and in 1946 he began broadcasting American Letter for the BBC (the programme's name was changed to Letter from America in 1950). The show's remit was to introduce his adopted country to his homeland by means of 'a weekly personal letter to a Briton by a fireside about American life and people and places in the American news'. It was immensely popular, and ran for 2869 broadcasts over 58 years - the longest-running one-man series in broadcasting history. Cooke received an honorary knighthood for his contribution to Anglo-American understanding in 1973. He died in 2004.

Review quote

"Cooke's debonair, transatlantic tones are unmistakable..." FT Magazine "Such experience, wisdom and education are unlikely ever again to combine in one journalist" -- Mark Lawson