Couple of great books for Vail Valley to read |

Couple of great books for Vail Valley to read

David LeVine
Vail, CO, Colorado

Does the name “Alistair Cooke” register with you? Well, he is an Englishman who visited America and fell in love with our country, became a U.S. citizen when he was 33 and remained here until his death in 2004; he was then 96.

He is best known for his roles as the host of both “Omnibus” and “Masterpiece Theatre,” as the author of a television series entitled “America,” and the writer of more than 2,800 “Letters from America.” Those were heard on the radio and published in some 50 countries between the years of 1946 and 2004.

Well, while browsing in the Avon library I came upon “America,” which is a written version of the TV series of the same name, and it is the book that I want to first tell you about.

It is our nation’s great history organized in a most beguiling and memorable manner. It is not chronologically in order, but rather it is organized by topic. There is a section on the settlements and influence of the Spanish. Then there are chapters about the English colonies, the war for independence, the pioneers and the western migration, the influences of mass immigration, and six or seven other subjects. It is a fascinating book, written in superb fashion and one that I believe will add to both your knowledge and pride in our country.

And then since I was so turned on by America, I chose to read “Reporting America,” which is a compilation of some 88 of his “Letters from America” with a magnificent introduction written by his adoring daughter, Susan.

Again, his use of the English language is superb and the twist that he puts on some very familiar episodes of our history is exciting.

Each letter is only three or four pages long but encapsulates a personality and/or an event in a most memorable fashion. Typical of the subjects are the lives of Louis Armstrong and Joe Louis, the murder of Bobby Kennedy and the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon. Once again, I think that your interest will be captured and held.

Incidentally, both books are available in the Eagle County library system. So please enjoy!

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