Alistair Cooke's America Author:Alistair Cooke Hardcover edition, fully illustrated. — This book arose out of a series of television programmes Cooke wrote and narrated in the early 1970s. When it was published then, it was warmly greeted - especially by American critics, which is not surprising for it is warmly appreciative of the author's adopted country. Those familiar with Cooke's weekly ... more »radio 'letter from America' will know what to expect, and will get it. This is no dry-as-dust recital of facts - the text is informed by the author's wit and remarkable powers of communication, and is intensely readable. It is reprinted without alteration or expansion: Cooke declined to 'update' it, quoting Malcolm Muggeridge: 'the invention of the atomic bomb makes the Sermon on the Mount neither more nor less profound than it is.' He was probably right: he is not the kind of writer who spends much time on idle speculation about the future, or on moralisation, but simply presents the past to the reader and leaves him to draw any conclusion he chooses. He has been well served by his picture researchers, and many of the images are as strong as the text, showing the nobility of the landscape and of many of the men who shaped the country, but not shrinking from the darker side of America's history - from a watercolour of slaves huddled together among the bales and barrels of a slave ship in the 17th century to the appalling photograph of young white men and women giggling and dancing below a tree on which the bodies of two black men are hanging. There is no better popular history of the USA. (Kirkus UK) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As the United States adjusts to its role as sole superpower in a world of shifting allegiances, it has never been more important to understand what makes the country work. It is 30 years now since Alistair Cooke's award-winning 'personal history of the United States' appeared on TV and in the bestseller lists. Since then empires have fallen, reputations have been made and lost and 'globalization' has entered the dictionary. Time is a stern test for historians and this highly perceptive and wonderfully readable account has proved itself a classic. ALISTAIR COOKE'S AMERICA traces the history of America from the eve of discovery by European explorers to modern times: the young nation fighting for independence and forging its identity; the indomitable spirit of those who set out to tame the West; the fate of slaves and their masters; the 'huddled masses' who came seeking a new life. For this new edition, Alistair Cooke has written a compelling introduction and final chapter, bringing the story up to date with the inimitable wisdom that has engaged his audiences and readers for over half a century.« less