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The American Home Front: 1941-1942
The American Home Front: 1941-1942
The American Home Front: 1941-1942
Audiobook13 hours

The American Home Front: 1941-1942

Written by Alistair Cooke

Narrated by John Byrne Cooke

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

In nearly three thousand BBC broadcasts over fifty-eight years, Alistair Cooke reported on America, revealing our country's complexities and idiosyncrasies to a global audience. He was one of the most widely read and widely heard chroniclers of America - the Twentieth Century's de Tocqueville.

Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Alistair Cooke, a newly naturalized American citizen, set out to see his country as it was undergoing monumental change. He wanted to "see what the war had done to people, to the towns I might go through, to some jobs and crops, to stretches of landscape I loved and had seen at peace." Working throughout the war, Cooke finished The American Home Front as the atomic bomb was being dropped on Hiroshima. His publisher thought there would be little interest in books on the war, so it was stuffed in a closet. It stayed there for almost sixty years, nearly forgotten, until it was unearthed shortly before Cooke's death in 2004.

The American Home Front is a fascinating artifact, a charming travelogue, and a sharp portrait that shows America changing from civilian pursuits to military engagement, from the production of consumer goods to materials of war. It is also a unique record of American life. Cooke travels small highways, with their advertising signs and their local typography, in an age before the interstate highway system. He chronicles the regional glories he encounters, elements of long-lost culture such as his beloved soda fountains, and the reactions of the citizens, from indifference to grief, from opportunism to resilience under military threat. Filled with touching personal stories of the effects of war, from a Japanese family facing internment that tries to sell Cooke their car, to the experiences of the unemployed relocating in hopes of jobs in a gunpowder factory, The American Home Front is the work of an experienced, talented journalist; it is intelligent, touching, and funny.

Release dateMay 1, 2006
The American Home Front: 1941-1942

Alistair Cooke

Alistair Cooke, KBE (1908–2004), was a legendary British American journalist, television host, and radio broadcaster. He was born in Lancashire, England, and after graduating from the University of Cambridge, was hired as a journalist for the BBC. He rose to prominence for his London Letter reports, broadcast on NBC Radio in America during the 1930s. Cooke immigrated to the United States in 1937. In 1946, he began a tradition that would last nearly six decades—his Letter from America radio appearances on the BBC. Cooke was also beloved as the host of PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre for twenty-one years. He wrote many books, both collections of his Letters from America and other projects. After his death, the Fulbright Alistair Cooke Award in Journalism was established to support students from the United Kingdom seeking to study in the United States, and vice versa.

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Reviews for The American Home Front

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Enjoyable but I found the narrator all too easy to tune out while doing beadwork. I had to go back and listen again more than once. It was a wonderful portrait of a moment in time- with any number of fascinating details. Highly recommended for the WWII buffs out there.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    The American Home Front was written by Alistair Cooke during World War II, rejected by publishers in 1946, and stowed in a closet until it was unearthed just weeks before the author died in 2005. Born in Britain, naturalized as an American citizen before the war, Mr. Cooke decided to take a trip around the US in 1941 and 1942 to discover how the war affected the country. A miasma of disappointment surrounded me as I read this book, as I was continuously wishing the author had approached his subject in a different way. Rather than concentrating on regular people and their stories, he chose to write long descriptive paragraphs (great for a travelogue) about some of the areas he visited, occasionally interviewing people, then stitching it together with long-winded opini on what he was seeing (great in a memoir) and going off onto tangents that may have pleased him but did little for me, his reader. Granted, he was really writing for my parents (or, rather, his parents’ generation in Britain), but I can’t believe they would have found it any more interesting.I thought some information was curiously missing (like the make of the car he bought in California and traveled in for the rest of his journey and just who the “we” were that he referred to). Some areas, like Chicago, were glossed over in a few paragraphs (why bother?!) He could have concentrated on a few of the more interesting and enlightening areas and not written about The Great Circle Tour. Yes, I did enjoy learning about some of the industries and areas that were affected by the war (who knew there was a great demand for MOHAIR?). I just wanted more. I kept on thinking that if the Internet were available at the time, this book would have made a so-so blog.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Entertaining and insight of American at war.