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Publisher's Summary

In nearly 3000 BBC broadcasts over 58 years, Alistair Cooke reported on America, revealing our country's complexities and idiosyncrasies to a global audience. He was one of the most widely read and widely heard chroniclers of America - the 20th century's de Tocqueville.

Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Alistair Cooke, a newly naturalized American citizen, set out to see his country as it was undergoing monumental change. He wanted to "see what the war had done to people, to the towns I might go through, to some jobs and crops, to stretches of landscape I loved and had seen at peace."

Working throughout the war, Cooke finished The American Home Front as the atomic bomb was being dropped on Hiroshima. His publisher thought there would be little interest in books on the war, so it was stuffed in a closet. It stayed there for almost 60 years, nearly forgotten, until it was unearthed shortly before Cooke's death in 2004.

The American Home Front is a fascinating artifact, a charming travelogue, and a sharp portrait that shows America changing from civilian pursuits to military engagement, from the production of consumer goods to materials of war. It is also a unique record of American life. Cooke travels small highways, with their advertising signs and their local typography, in an age before the interstate highway system. He chronicles the regional glories he encounters, elements of long-lost culture such as his beloved soda fountains, and the reactions of the citizens, from indifference to grief, from opportunism to resilience, under military threat.

Filled with touching personal stories of the effects of war, from a Japanese family facing internment that tries to sell Cooke their car, to the experiences of the unemployed relocating in hopes of jobs in a gunpowder factory, The American Home Front is the work of an experienced, talented journalist; it is intelligent, touching, and funny.

©2006 Alistair Cooke (P)2006 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ron
  • Lecanto, FL, USA
  • 05-01-09

one man's shallow view

This is strictly the authors observations while touring the United States shortly after the outbreak of World War 2. It is more scholarly than interesting. He never allows individuals to speak but rather drones on about what they meant to say. This is not oral history,it is observation and opinion.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • St George, UT, USA
  • 02-18-09

Very depressing

I can see why no publisher would touch this book for 60 years. It is a very depressing book as Cooke hated Americans at this period in his life and it shows.

I want my money back.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Edouard
  • Lake City, Florida
  • 04-01-17

A Disappointment.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not well spent. I wasn't interested in the author's travels and experiences at the beginning of WW II. Much of the rest of the book's content (up to the time that I quit listening to it (see below)) was about how various communities fared during the War. There was too much fluff for my tastes.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I'm going to try to finish English Grammar Boot Camp, if I can stand to. I've got maybe 5 hours left on it.

What does John Byrne Cooke bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Just a fairly good professional narration. One sign of a good narration, in my opinion, is when a person doesn't have any reason to think about it; he/she can focus on the book's content. That was true of this audiobook.

Could you see The American Home Front being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

NO.

Any additional comments?

The comments and ratings above are based on listening to the audiobook only about 2 hours. That was all that I could stand to listen to. Other people may like the book; if so, they can give the high ratings and glowing comments that I couldn't honestly give.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

very enlightening book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book for people wanting to hear a general overview of life during the second world war. It is fluent, nicely written and you can hear that it was written in "real time". But one should know it is not very detailed, as it cover a lot of cities and towns.

What other book might you compare The American Home Front to and why?

Other books that describes life during the war.

Which character – as performed by John Byrne Cooke – was your favorite?

No particular character, it is written as first person impression.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The American home front

0 of 1 people found this review helpful