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Mar 10

Letter from America

Dad recently wrote me an email which got onto the topic of Alistair Cooke:

Years ago, whenever I could, I would tune to the BBC on short wave radio [from Singapore], and listen to Alistair Cooke’s Letter From America, with its accompanying static and waning and waxing signal strength (no internet radio then). It was a 15 minute weekly radio broadcast by him touching on his observations in America. He was a Britisher who emigrated to the States in the 1930s and settled in New York. His program started in the 1940s and ran continuously for nearly 60 years till just before his death in 2004 at a ripe old age of 95.

A few years ago, I bought a book which is a compendium of some of his “Letters to America”. Reading it, somehow it was not as enjoyable as hearing him speak on the radio. Thankfully throughout all these years he never manage to lose his British accent.

After 58 years of broadcasts, Letter from America remains the longest running speech radio show in the world. This is Cooke’s first letter and his last letter. There are audio links on those pages too so you can hear his voice. Good stuff.

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