Alistair Cooke’s letter from America released

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November 4, 2012 by dontbringlulubook

Alistair Cooke

Alistair Cooke

The BBC has put an archive of Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America on the internet.

Alistair Cooke broadcast his first “letter” in 1946 with his last being read in 2004, a month before his death at the age of 95.

He missed only three of the 15-minute weekly broadcasts over those 58 years.

It was commissioned after he proposed to the BBC “a weekly personal letter to a Briton by a fireside about American life and people and places in the American news”.

Cooke is credited with teaching the British to love, or at least to appreciate, America, at a time when there was a tendency to regard it with disdain or suspicion.

The show was listened to across the globe via the BBC’s World Service. It was heard in the UK on BBC Radio 4.

Born in Salford in 1908, Cooke lived with his second wife Jane White in New York.

In 1973, he received an honorary knighthood for his contribution to Anglo-American understanding, and a year later addressed the United States Congress on its 200th anniversary.

The archive, with audio and transcripts of more than 900 broadcasts, is online at bbc.co.uk/letterfromamerica.

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