Alistair Cooke, Alistair Cooke’s Letters From America: The Elections
After becoming accustomed to 24-hour campaign coverage, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed about the electoral process. So return to the good old days, when Presidential elections were, well, every bit as complicated as they are today. This special collection of Letters from America comprises Alistair Cooke’s dispatches from four pivotal elections, beginning with Truman’s surprise victory in 1948 and ending with 2000′s race. These are much more than historical documents — Cooke’s explanations of the American political process to a foreign audience were really closer to meditations than news pieces. In discussing the campaigns of Truman and Dewey, LBJ, Gerald Ford, and Bush and Gore, Cooke offered cultural critiques that were simultaneously sophisticated and accessible. His lucid and often poetic observations focused on what the elections said about the American people, referring back to the birth of the electoral process and charting the numerous sea changes since. An introduction by Jonathan Webb provides historical background and modern context for Cooke’s letters.