For year's legendary broadcaster Alistair Cooke brought America to the rest of the world with incomparable wit and wisdom. This is his classic 'personal history' of America, guiding us through centuries of changing life in the USA.
Beginning with his own arrival in America as a graduate in the 1930s, Alistair Cooke discusses the explorers who put their new-found land on the map, the pioneers who tamed the Wild West, the soldiers who fought for independence and the tycoons who built fortunes. From the Mayflower to the gold rush, the jazz age to Pearl Harbour, with figures as varied as Buffalo Bill, John D. Rockefeller and Martin Luther King, here is the defining portrait of America.
©1973 Alistair Cooke (P)2010 AudioGO Ltd
As an avid listener to Letter from America (broadcast in the sixties and seventies, I was eager to listen to this book and was not disappointed. It tells the fascinating story of the discovery and colonisation of the US, the formulation of its constitution and its rise to economic power. Beautifully written and read in Cooke's own lyrical tones. Lovely
I don't know much about American history and thought this book would be interesting. But I got lost very quickly and found it dull in parts. I gave up in the end.
I really enjoyed the first half of this book looking at the early history and founding of America but by the time we reached the 20th Century it started to drag. This is curious because this is the period of history that Alistair Cooke actually lived through but I don't feel he brought that much to this section in personal experience. The epilogue, a curious rant against consumerism felt out of place. Narration was solid, but not the sort of voice I'd seek out for any other work.
Cooke has gained worldwide fame for his splendid weekly "Letter from America" which lasted for many decades. In this book he provides a succinct yet masterfully insightful panorama of America history from pre-Columbus to about 1970. It was based on a TV series he made for the BBC. He has the gift of vision and discrimination - he can cut through the glory a folk hero and an assassinated president while shining a worthy spotlight on neglected characters who are somehow less appealing to the modern American psyche. The narrator is superb and captures Cooke's style and eloquence quite brilliantly. Cooke is said never to have written a poor sentence, and that statement is proven yet again. Eminently listenable and thoroughly enjoyable. I only wish he had not stopped in 1970.
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