Alistair Cooke


BBC broadcaster Clarke, who had Cooke's cooperation, tells the story of Cooke's peripatetic life entertainingly.

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BBC broadcaster Clarke, who had Cooke's cooperation, tells the story of Cooke's peripatetic life entertainingly.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Clarke, a BBC television and radio journalist in London, rarely brings Cooke (b. 1908) to life on the pages of this new biography, already published in England. To lots of Americans, the British-born Cooke is known primarily as the urbane, erudite host of Masterpiece Theatre. But that incarnation did not begin until 1971. Long before that, Cooke had established himself as a print and broadcast journalist commentator, specializing n helping his native citizenry understand their rebellious and remarkable colonies of long-ago. Cooke arrived in the U. S. in 1932 not to become a journalist, but rather to study theater at Yale. Nobody, including Cooke, realized then that America would become his adopted home for the rest of the century, and that he would become its interpreter to a significant part of the world. Journalists are usually outsiders, dependent on what insiders will tell them. That means biographies of journalists are difficult to write compellingly, because the subjects are rarely primary actors. Clarke's accounts of how outsider Cooke did, and did not, cover the administrations of various U.S. presidents are, for the most part, stultifying. Clarke is more successful when examining Cooke's personal life. He discusses nothing scandalous or even lewd, but there are moments of insight, such as the 20-something budding intellectual adopting the name "Alistair" to substitute for the Alfred chosen by his parents; his inability to deal sensibly with money, whether poor or relatively wealthy and his occasionally tense family life. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Alistair Cooke is one of the most recognizable broadcast personalities in America, a man whose career in journalism spanned the 20th century. The depth and breadth of his associates, from Charlie Chaplin to Leonard Bernstein--not to mention presidents and leaders of industry--made him better informed on America than most Americans. Although Letters from America, his observations on American life for the BBC, was his life's work, he is best known as the host of Masterpiece Theatre. BBC Radio presenter Clarke successfully executes the formidable project of displaying this great journalist as a human being, struggling financially, perpetually cadging cigarettes from BBC producers, and laboring to be a parent. We see Cooke the amateur bootlegger, the unemployed correspondent, and the drama critic working hard to find his legs as a news commentator. This excellent biography of a man who rose from modest beginnings to the highest ranks of society is strongly recommended for public and college collections.--Robert Moore, Raytheon, Sudbury, MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
BBC radio presenter Clarke recounts the life of the prominent British journalist, widely known as the host of and author of the weekly . Working in print, radio, and television, Cooke became the foremost commentator on American life, first for the British press and eventually for the whole world. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Peggy Constantine
Without fawning or criticizing, Clarke has written a straightforward, mostly chronological biography of one of the notable men of England and the United States of the 20th century.
New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611451092
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/1/2001
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 5.00 (d)

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