Alistair Cooke, the journalist, writer and broadcaster, lived from 1908 to 2004. For most of his life he lived in New York, and witnessed the great depression (and booms), almost countless changes in government and the causes and aftermath of WW2. He was personal friends with many of the great and good of the century, both in the US and UK. This vast knowledge helped him create the quaintly incisive, “Letter from America” which I’d listen to, lying in bed on a weekend morning.
I wonder what his comments on current affairs would be now?
I can imagine his purposeful meanderings through history, leading us to a killer comment or startling revelation on the current subjects of the moment – the election of a new president with the potential of a black man or female religious fanatic at the helm, the largest economic crisis for generations, a probable shift in the worldwide balance of power, two increasing stalemated foreign conflicts, an ineffectual presidency, and so on.
I would relish his comparisons between our current problems and events from the past. Maybe he’d be right. Even if he was wrong he was always thought provoking.
This is his last “Letter from America”. Within a couple of days he’d announced his retirement and in only a few weeks he was dead and cremated, (although his bones had a scandalous extra adventure of their own). Co-incidentally, it was on the lead up to G.W. Bush’s last election. Oh if things had been different!
It’s not one of his best, but it was his last.