The definitive survey of Alistair Cooke’s brilliant career as a newspaperman
Few journalists have covered the American scene as thoroughly as Alistair Cooke did. In addition to presenting the Sunday-night Letter from America broadcasts for the BBC, Cooke was the Guardian’s chief US correspondent for more than a quarter century, filing daily dispatches about the former colonies for his British readers.
Selected and introduced by Professor Ronald A. Wells, the pieces in America Observed showcase the full range of Cooke’s omnivorous interests and impressive reportorial skills. From baseball to Billy Graham, Harry S. Truman to Chappaquiddick, he depicts the defining characters and events of the American century with elegance and insight. “The Untravelled Road” is a poignant and perceptive snapshot of the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama. “The Legend of Gary Cooper” eloquently summarizes the unlikely career of America’s leading man, and “A Woman of Integrity” delivers the news of Marilyn Monroe’s death with empathy and honesty. “The Ghastly Sixties” is a concise, candid, and ultimately inspirational chronicle of that turbulent decade.
Remarkably prescient and endlessly entertaining, the journalism collected here is some of the twentieth century’s finest.