Letter from America: 1946-2004Paperback
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- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 544 pages
- Dimensions: 127mm x 196mm x 28mm | 386g
- Publication date: 2 June 2005
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0141020156
- ISBN 13: 9780141020150
- Illustrations note: ports.
- Sales rank: 183,481
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.
For over half a century, Alistair Cooke entertained and informed millions of listeners around the world in his weekly BBC radio program "Letter from America. An outstanding observer of the American scene, he became one of the world's best-loved broadcasters, and a foreigner who helped Americans better understand themselves. Here, in print for the first time, is a collection of Cooke's finest reports that celebrates the inimitable style of this wise and avuncular reporter. Beginning with his first letter in 1946, a powerful description of American GIs returning home, and ending with his last broadcast in February 2004, in which he expressed his views on the United States presidential campaign, the collection captures Cooke's unique voice and gift for telling stories. Gathered in this volume are encounters with the many presidents Cooke knew, from Roosevelt to Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, both Senior and Junior. His friends are warmly recollected-among them Leonard Bernstein, Philip Larkin, Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin, and Katharine Hepburn. We observe a variety of political landmarks-the Vietnam War, Watergate, Cooke's remarkable eyewitness account of Robert Kennedy's assassination, through to the scandals that surrounded Clinton and the conflict in Iraq. His moving evocation of the events of September 11 and its aftermath remains essential reading, while his recollections of holidays and sporting events remind us of Cooke's delight in the pleasures of everyday life. Imbued with Alistair Cooke's good humor, elegance, and understanding, "Letter from America, 1946--2004 is a captivating insight into the heart of a nation and a fitting tribute to the man who was for somany the most reassuring voice of our times.