Letters from America: 1946-2004 by Alistair Cooke - review by J W M Thompson

J W M Thompson

Across-The-Pond Life

Letters from America: 1946-2004

By

Allen Lane The Penguin Press 504pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

This fairly hefty volume contains transcripts of upwards of a hundred of the late Alistair Cooke's celebrated broadcasts. I calculate that if every one of his 'Letters from America' were to be collected they would fill about thirty equally bulky books: a reminder that while the quality of Cooke's journalistic output has been widely recognised, his sheer professional productivity is not to be taken for granted either. These talks, after all, were only a small part of his total output. Clearly it was his nature to be an astute observer of the human scene; he had trained himself to be an industrious craftsman as well.Reading the text of any of these talks, whether the famous account of

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