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Memories of the Great & the Good

COOKE, Alistair

92 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1862053421 / ISBN 13: 9781862053427
Published by Pavilion, London, 1999
Condition: fine Hardcover
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About this Item

255 pages, tall 8vo, blue boards with a silver-stamped spine, dust wrapper. London: Pavilion, (1999). A fine copy in a near fine dust wrapper. Inscribed on the half-title page: "For Simone, Good-est (!) of friends, Greatest (most perceptive) of readers! Love x Alistair/Oct 14/99.". Bookseller Inventory # 219397

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Memories of the Great & the Good

Publisher: Pavilion, London

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: hardcover

Book Condition: fine

Dust Jacket Condition: near fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title


Rare book


Alistair Cooke writes in the preface to this collection of 23 biographical sketches, "Most of these pieces tend to find, and rejoice in, what is best about their subjects." That is not to say that the distinguished British print and broadcast journalist (resident for many years in America) is starry-eyed about the men and women he profiles: George Bernard Shaw was a crank; Frank Lloyd Wright a prima donna; General George Marshall an appalling public speaker. Yet Cooke's smooth prose and keen insights explore the larger issues his subjects' stories raise and invite readers to appreciate the people who have made a difference. Franklin Roosevelt's visionary leadership was possible because of a gentleman's agreement with the press inconceivable today: they never printed a single photo of him in his wheelchair. FDR's vice president, John Nance Garner, was a Southern politico who understood only power and back-scratching: "There is one man left who is like him," Cooke wrote in 1967, "Lyndon Johnson"--cogently and simultaneously nailing LBJ's strength and weakness. Politicians and statesmen preponderate here (Cooke's Winston Churchill portrait is justly famous), but the author covers writers (P.G. Wodehouse, Robert Frost), performers (Gary Cooper, Duke Ellington), and columnists (James Reston, Erma Bombeck) with equal shrewdness. --Wendy Smith

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