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Alistair Cooke was born in Manchester in 1908 and educated at the universities of Cambridge, Yale and Harvard. Throughout his long career he worked as a journalist and broadcaster for many different organisations including the BBC, The Times and the Guardian, and won numerous awards for his work. He is best known both at home and abroad for his weekly Letters from America, far and away the longest-running radio series in broadcasting history. He died in March 2004, just a few weeks after his retirement.