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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alastair Cooke's "America"
This major piece of television was produced in the early 1970's and was billed as "A Personal History of the USA" by Alastair Cooke. It has aged very well and indeed should be compulsory viewing for the modern documentary maker as it is a classic in terms of style and presentation. Modern TV programmes feature presenters making one line pieces to camera and then moving...
Published on 20 Aug 2005 by Mr. HP Bennett

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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A WASP take on American History
Nearly 40 years old as a television production Alistair Cooke's America is a masterpiece in terms of direction and condensing the History of a diverse and defiant country into 13 hours.
It should be preserved along with Kenneth Clarks Civilization(1969) as a prime example to prove to it detractors that television is not purely a vehchle for mass brainless...
Published on 17 April 2012 by One view


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sheer Joy, 12 Jan 2009
This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
If you have Alistair Cooke's America in book form, but do not yet have the 13 part documentary on DVD, be well advised to buy it. It is both a sheer joy, and a sorry reflection of how great TV documentary series were once made. Ironically and sadly the opening sequences pan New York with the Twin Towers fully in view, one of the apparently still under construction. From beginning to end, Cooke takes the viewer on a journey throughout the United States to the places where history of personal interest to the commentator occurred. And so the viewer has the juxtaposition of the present alongside the pleasure of Cooke speaking directly to camera, (and at one point illustrating New Orleans jazz history with his own excellent piano recital) while telling the story of its past - with many anecdotes included. Absolutely enthralling, with so much in each part that it might be best to view just one at a time so as not to induce information overload.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravura performance from Alistair Cooke, 2 Nov 2009
By 
Patrick D. Casey (Portland, OR, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
I remember this series from when it was first broadcast in the U.S., and I've been a fan ever since. For a number of years I've only had access to increasingly hazy VHS versions, so I am quite happy indeed to have these very well done DVDs. What I don't understand is why this series isn't available in the US on DVD.

Cooke's fascinating perspective -- an English-born student and unabashed fan of the U.S. -- adds incredibly to the depth and nuance of the production, as does his entire manner: serious of course, but he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. He is, as well, a perceptive, witty observer of the American scene and his many years experience as a BBC correspondent (and his stage experience, perhaps) make his narration an utter joy.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In a class of his own, 29 Mar 2005
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This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
For those who are aficionados of Alistair Cook's style, this is a most interesting disc. It is sectioned into parts which makes is convenient for viewing without being bonded to watching it for the whole period of play such as when viewing a film.
The sections on historical origins of the Boston Tea Party when America gained its independence, the visit to New Orleans and (the name escapes me) of the pioneer of American journalist are most interesting. All done in Alistair's memorable style, his knowledge of America is formidable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alistair Cooke's America, 11 Mar 2010
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Eric Rivera (Cherryville, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
I am ecstatic to finally find a copy of this movie. I saw it as a youth and loved it. I looked for it as an adult and only recently found it in the UK (I actually bought a region free DVD player to watch this movie). My wife and I recently read the book and started watching the movie; it is an excellent accompaniment. Alistair Cooke tells the story of America brilliantly. As an American, I appreciate his British perspective on the colonies during the Revolutionary War. He is insightful and gives details about history that aren't normally covered.

This is such an impressive documentary, it seems that contemporary movie makers have lost the art of making credible documentaries.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America, 3 Oct 2010
By 
David Rowland - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
Documentaries like this should be viewed in one sitting or as few sittings as possible for people to get the maximum impact and I did this with Alistair Cooke's "America". It reinforced the view I had from listening to his much loved BBC radio programme "Letter from America" over the years that when it comes to telling a good story Cooke has no equal. Like all good story tellers he gives you the impression that he is talking to you and nobody else and what a story he has to tell in his personal history of America.

I have always been interested in American history and like Cooke I have very mixed opinions about our transatlantic cousins. It is a country of stark contrasts - the good that exists in America and what they have given to the world is very good but their bad is very bad. I have found that as individuals Americans are usually warm, generous and likeable and yet what their government has sometimes done in the name of its citizens has been unacceptable to the extent that millions of people regard America as the most hated and feared nation in the world.

Everyone who tells the history of America (or any other country for that matter) will do it in their way and some people will argue that Cooke gives too much emphasis to certain events and not enough to others but this is unavoidable. I believe he gets the balance about right but like many historians he gives scant attention to the history of America before the Europeans came on the scene. America was not discovered, it was always there as any native American could tell you. It had thousands of years of history before the Europeans arrived but nobody seems to want to tell this story or only gives it a passing mention suggesting that it is of little or no importance.

Cooke tells his story in a relaxed and undemonstrative way, he never attempts to dominate the screen, he is a master at enabling you to make sense of complex events and he has the ability to hold your attention throughout as few other presenters can and watching him is always a stimulating, involving and fascinating experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this the perfect documentary?, 13 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
In my view it is. This is how a documentary should be made. Cooke is informative and interesting, he takes the time to allow the tale to develop and the spectacular scenery to impose itself on you: No actors endlessly repeating the same few mocked up scenes, He just goes to the places and stands there and tells you the story.or uses source material. Fantastic
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must, 11 Mar 2011
By 
J. Cattanach (Cawood, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
I was knocked out by this documenatry series way back in the 70s and decided to purchase it a week or two ago to see if my initial impression had been blurred by time.

No way.

Forget the technology of the time. It is basic but the substance shines through and Cooke is magnificent as a neutral observer of the American story. He is a most eloquent and natural presenter. I loved every moment of the 13 episodes.

If I had my way this would be shown in every school in America as an unbiased view of this great nation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alistair Cooke's America should be available in America, 18 July 2009
This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
This beautifully created series of Alistair Cooke's history of America should be seen by all American schools and households. Not available (yet?) in the US, it is a wonderful presentation! Many of his thoughts make places in the US come alive to the viewer as well as the traveler. As a former European, I learned more about the US than all the books I've read, and instilled in me a yearn to see all of the places. I first saw this series many years ago and always wanted to see it again and own it. This should also be available in the USA. It is worth every bit of the money spent, and the prompt arrival from England. Thank heavens for non-regional DVD players.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America by Cooke, 31 Aug 2009
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C. McIntyre "BigMac" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
I had looked at this series on America for some time and was pleased to see it was now in DVD format. As I had a birthday in August my wife kindly agreed to purchasing the DVD set. I am stiil working my way through the set but greatly enjoying the photography even though it was filmed in 1974. Alistair Cooke's grasp of history but with his own insighfulness is really good. He had the knack of coming at topics from an unusual angle but bringing you into the "real plot" Yes, I am really pleased with this DVD set. Thank you Amazon
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars easy listening, 5 May 2014
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This review is from: Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] (DVD)
I have been a life-long admirer of Alistair Cooke and this was a wonderful compilation of his experiences in America, told has only he could.
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Alistair Cooke's America [DVD]
Alistair Cooke's America [DVD] by Alistair Cooke (DVD - 2004)
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