About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Title: Memories of the Great and the Good
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Publication Date: 1999
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Slightly Chipped
Edition: First Edition
About this title
Deploring the current fashion for psycho-biographies, not to mention porno-biographies, of the famous, Alistair Cooke offers celebrations of people he has met during his sixty years of journalism, people he calls the Great or the Good, people who, he believes, have left the world a better or more interesting place.
Here are memories of a weekend with Dwight D. Eisenhower, an afternoon with P. G. Wodehouse, another with Duke Ellington, several nightcaps with Jelly Roll Morton, and recollections of Erma Bombeck, Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock, former House Speaker Tip O'Neill, producer George Abbott, global yachtsman Francis Chichester, presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and George Bernard Shaw; along with longer portraits of Churchill, Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and golf great Bobby Jones.Review:
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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