Letter from the mental states of America

Alistair Cooke presented the longest running radio show in history. The BBC’s Letter from America was a weekly report, where Cooke reflected on life and news in the United States. It ran for just shy of 58 years.

Despite the massive ‘psychologisation’ of society during the years Cooke was broadcasting, from 1946 to 2004 no less, Cooke rarely addressed matters of the mind and brain directly.

However, he did occasionally touch on these issues and the shows are well worth listening to.

As the BBC has just put almost the complete Letter from America archives online so I’ve collected some of the highlights.

Link: George Gallup (1901-1984) – 9 November 1984
Link: TV Violence – 13 April 1986
Link: Narcotics, interdiction and Colombian drug lords – 08 September 1989
Link: American public schools – 03 January 1992
Link: Aphasia and studying the human brain – 15 October 1993
Link: Timothy Leary (1920 -1996) – 7 June 1996
Link: New York: How are you Doing? – 3 May 2002

I’ve linked to the transcripts, but listen to the linked audio if you have the chance. Cooke had a distinctive voice and a calm style that underscored his often insightful commentary.

Link to Letter from America archives.

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