Ravings From The Bog


1940s American Journey
August 13, 2008, 11:42 pm
Filed under: America, Books, Culture, Entertainment, History | Tags: , , ,

I’m currently enjoying Alistair Cooke’s American Journey. It’s a bit of a time capsule written between 1942 and 1945, when the BBC asked him to travel across America and assess the effects on of the war on ordinary Americans, from miners to lumberjacks, Pullman porters to peanut farmers and even Japanese-Americans interned in stark desert prison camps.

It’s very easy to read and gives a real flavour of the diversity of the American people and their attitudes to the war and each other. Revealing passages cover thinly veiled racism but the main message contained in the book is the strength of organisation behind the behemoth that was, and is, the military-industrial complex of the US. 

All sorts of Norman Rockwell-type images flash into view as he describes a vanished America of drug stores and soda fountains – great for the Americana fan.

I’m already looking forward to Penguin’s Letter from America collection based on my enjoyment of this book.

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