America (BBC with Alistair Cooke)

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[edit] General Information

History Documentary hosted by Alistair Cooke and published by BBC in 1972 - English narration

[edit] Cover

Image: America-Cover.jpg

[edit] Information

Through his BBC Radio series, Letters From America, Alistair Cooke reported on every aspect of life in the United States for over 50 years. In 1972 he wrote and presented Alistair Cooke's America, his critically acclaimed TV series, which became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, generated a best-selling book and earned Cooke an invitation to make the principal address during the bicentennial celebrations of the First Continental Congress in 1974. Cooke died in March 2004, just a month after his last-ever letter from America.

[edit] The First Impact

This episode covers the entire country, from Yale to New Orleans to the west coast, as Cooke recounts his first journey there. There's a stop-off at the Mayo Clinic on the way.

[edit] The New Found Land

Columbus discovers the West Indies, and the Spanish move up into California in search of the seven cities of gold. The French move south from Canada.

[edit] Home From Home

English settlers make their way to Virginia, but their enterprises continue to be run from London. Representative government is born. Another group, this time of Puritans, miss their intended target by hundreds of miles.

[edit] Making a Revolution

The imposition of taxes, to pay for a protective force for the colonies, is rejected by the colonists themselves. This sows the seeds of revolution, which begins badly for the locals. But they had not counted on a patrician and stubborn farmer named George Washington.

[edit] Inventing a Nation

Once the British have been sent packing, the colonists must decide how to govern their new country. Not satisfied with historical models, they invent their own, not without conflict.

[edit] Gone West

Settlers begin to push west into the unknown territories. This episode discusses the need for salt, the forcible removal of the Indian tribes and the trek across the country to the goldfields.

[edit] A Firebell in the Night

Cooke traces the roots of the Civil War in the cotton gin and the need for cheap labour. The war leaves a lasting bitterness in the South.

[edit] Domesticating a Wilderness

This episode tells of the settling of the west with boom towns born from gold and silver mining, the railroad bringing goods and people more quickly to the interior and the rise of the cowboy. The Indians object.

[edit] Money on the Land

Chicago becomes the world's biggest grain market. The need for new technology spurs inventors such as Thomas Edison. Steel, railroads and speculation bring great wealth to a few men, like Rockefeller, Carnegie and Morgan.

[edit] The Huddled Masses

Cooke looks at the sharp increase in immigration in the late 19th century, as people fled persecution, famine and conflicts in Europe to try to forge a new life in the land paved with gold. A new class of poor factory workers is created, causing new tensions.

[edit] The Promise Fulfilled and the Promise Broken

The boom times of the 1920s lead to much wealth on paper, corruption (Harding) and blithe indifference (Coolidge) in government, and a frivolity that would come crashing to earth with the depression.

[edit] The Arsenal

The history of the American armed forces in a nutshell. The response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor from American industry and the Manhattan Project are discussed. Cooke also has a look at the formation of the United Nations.

[edit] The More Abundant Life

This last episode looks at current trends in American society, from the move to the suburbs to those who went back to nature in search of the simple life. Cooke also looks at race relations. Some of this has not turned out the way he envisaged, as he admits in a prologue to this episode which must have been recorded sometime during the Reagan era.

[edit] Screenshots

Image: America-Screen0.jpg

[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: xvid
  • Video BitRate: ~1780 kbps
  • Video Resolution: 640״80
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 4:3
  • Audio Codec: ac3
  • Audio BitRate: 192 kbps @ 48kHz
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • RunTime Per Part: ~50 mins
  • Number Of Parts: 13
  • Part Size: ~700Mb
  • Source: DVD
  • First Broadcast: 1972-73 (BBC2)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Ripped by bongomaniac

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