the wilderness was, indeed crockets cathedral. >> you can watch this and other programs online. and now from the 11th annual national book festival on the national mall here in washington, isabel wilkerson presents a book.el .. [applause] >> thank you so much for that beautiful introduction, and thank you so much for every one of you here you should this tent -- under this tent to hear me speak. it means so much to me, it's so emotional, actually, for me to be here in washington d.c. i'm a daughter of washington d.c. i would not exist, literally, if it were not for washington d.c.
washington, d.c. was the other sun for my participants, s-u-n. it was the other sun, and it's what drew my parents from the south, deep south, to here in the hopes that life might be better for them. and so washington, d.c. n many respects, was the inspiration for this book. this is the book, this is my copy. this is my copy of the book. you can see it's very well worn. it's called the salad, actually. it has been all over the country and to europe. and it is my version of it. this book took me 15 years to write, to research and to write. it took me 15 years to get to the point where i could stand before you today and talk about it. and that's why it's so special to me. and if this book were a human being, it would be in high school and dating which is quite frightening. [laughter] but there you have it.
that's what it took. the reason why i wanted to immerse myself in something that a lot of us think we know but really, truly don't is because almost every book begins with a lot of questions. and i had these questions. where did we come from and what did it take for us to get here? what was the world that the seem in this book left? what would propel six million americans to leave the only place that they'd ever known for a place that they'd never seen in hopes that life might be better? what did it take for them to get out? be how did they choose the places that they went? how did they make a way for themselves where they landed? and why didn't they talk about it? and the goal for the book was to have all of us think about and ask ourselves what would we have done had we been in their places, what would we have done? now, the subtitle of the book,
the book is, of course, called "the warmth of other suns," and the subtitle is "the epic story of america's great migration." so it would appear that it's about the great migration, but in actuality this book is really about the forebearers of all americans really. these people are proxies for someone in all of our backgrounds, wherever we might have come from, who had to have done what these people did, the people in this book did, just for us to be here today on this soil in this lace at this time. in this place at this time. somebody had to make this great leap of faith in order for us to be here, someone in all of our backgrounds. if you think about it, how many of us know or are related to or do descended from someone, say a great grandmother from ireland who crossed the atlantic and then met and married a great grandfather from ireland -- from italy, ireland, too, parts of
ireland, from lithuania, latvia, russia, poland, asia, other parts of the world and created whole newlinages? that is what happened during the course of the great migration. people who never would have met otherwise, would never have met actually met and created whole new lineages in the north, the west. this is one of the greatest underreported stories of the 20th century, but it also was an unrecognized immigration within the borders of our own countriment it began during world war i, and it didn't end until the 1970s, and it is the result of this that the mass majority of people that you might meet, african-americans that you might meet in the north, midwest and west are actually descended from this migration. and that's because when the migration began, 90% -- 90% of all african-americans were in
the south. by the time the over in the 1970s, half of all african-americans were living outside of the south. that's a massive relocation of an entire people. and so this is in some ways the universal human story of longing and fortitude and courage that is what, in some ways, made the country what it is. what these people did, though, had a different tone to it because these people were defecting a caste system that existed within our country, a system that controlled their every move. in some ways they were defecting and speaking political -- seeking political asylum from a world that's almost unimaginable to us today which is why i wanted to be able to understand what it was that they left and understand the magnitude of what they had done. these people were, in some ways, forced to become the only people in our country's history to have
to leave the land of their birth and to go someplace within the borders of their own country just to be recognized as the citizens to which they had been born. so i want to say a little bit about some examples of the absurdity of the world that they were living in. for one thing, it was against the law for an african-american, for a black person and for a white person to merely play checkers together in birmingham. against the law. someone must have seen a black person and a white person playing checkers together this birmingham, and maybe they were having a good time, maybe too good of a time. and someone must have seen that and said to themselves, the entire foundation of southern civilization is in peril, and we cannot have this and actually sat down and wrote this as a law. throughout the south in courtrooms, there was actually a black bible and a white bible to
swear to tell the truth on. a black bible and a white bible to swear to tell the truth on. and what that meant was that the sacred text, the sacred scriptures that many of the people in that region built their entire spiritual world view on was not acceptable for the two races to touch. and i found out about this through reading a newspaper article in which it was referred to not because of the absurdity of it, but because it had actually disrupted a trial that was in progress. because they could not find the black bible for the witness to take -- to swear to tell the truth on. so that meant the bailiff and the sheriff had to search the whole courtroom in order to find the bible for them to be able to resume the trial. and i've been asked since i've talked about this, well, were there different versions of the bible that they were to be, was there a king james version for
the white witnesses and maybe the american standard for the black witnesses? and it turns out it was the same one, but they could not touch the same text. i've been all over the country talking about this, the absurdity of the world that they lived in, and i find that one of my most challenging and beautifully challenging audiences happen to be high school students. and so i try to make it come alive for them as i do for the be reader. and i came upon, well, it's in the book, but the one i settled on that seemed to be the difference for them is one that is based upon a question i'm going to ask you. i'd like to see a show of hands of those of you who in the last week have been driving and actually passed another driver on the road. yeah. yeah. i mean, really. the two people who didn't raise their hands, you know you must
have done it in the last couple weeks. [laughter] and, it's funny, when i ask the question, seem to be a little quizzical like, is there a new rule that i don't know about? [laughter] as far as i know, it's perfectly legal. but if you were african-american during the era of jim crow which began in the late 19th century and did not end until the civil rights legislation of the 19 1960s which meant it went on for more than three generations and into the life span of many, many americans alive today, if you were african-american, you could not pass, you could not pass a white person, a white motorist on the road no matter how slowly they were going. and that alone would probably account for a couple million right there wanting to say, i'm leaving. and so when i tell this to the high school students, i was sharing that with high school students in hawaii, actually,
and i heard this murmuring in the back of the room where someone said, well, i would have honked. [laughter] and when they said that, i had to say, now, let's start again. [laughter] let's start again. if you could not pass individuals on the road, you most certainly could not honk. and so then someone else said, well, knowing that maybe they weren't supposed to make any noise, well, i would have tailgated them. [laughter] and i would say you couldn't pass them on the road, and you couldn't honk, you couldn't tailgate either, and isn't it in some ways a beautiful thing to realize that this is so far removed from the reality of young people today because of all that's happened in part because of this great migration that they cannot fathom the world that propels this great movement of people. now, a little bit about this caste system that they were living in.
this caste system was created in many respects to insure the economy of the south. the south relied on not just the supply of cheap labor, but an oversupply of cheap labor. in order to plant and chop, tend and harvest the tobacco, the cotton, the sugarcane and the rights that were the staples of the southern economy. and they needed to make sure the people were ready and available and oversupplied so that the labor costs would be as low as they possibly could be. many of the people, of course, were working, were working not even being paid, they were working for the right to live on the land they were farming, they were sharecroppers. and so they were in a very difficult fix all along. this migration did not begin until something happened that would effect the entire world, and that was world war i. there have been people who want
to believe for many, many, many decades, but they didn't leave until the opportunity arose and world war i began. and it was world war i in which the north had a problem. the north needed hay boar, and that's -- labor, and that's because there were, there was a loss of labor, of people who had been european immigrants, who'd been working the foundries and the factories and the steel mills of the north, and they had a great need for labor, and they began to go to the south to find the cheapest labor in the land, and that was african-americans in the south. again, many of whom who were not working for pay, but for the right to live on the land they were farming. and so what that ended up doing was, it meant that african-americans in all of the major northern cities that we know were actually, they arrived at the express invitation of the north. that is how this began. the south, however, did not take kindly to this poaching of their cheap labor. they did everything they could to keep the people from leaf
leaving. they would arrest the people on the railroad platforms as they were preparing to go on the northbound platforms. they would alet's them from their -- arrest them from their train seats, and when there were too many people to arrest, they would wave the train on through so that people who had been waiting for months and months and months to get to freedom had to figure out how were they going to get out. this migration is so huge, though, that i decided to tell the story, "the warmth of other suns," from the standpoint of three individual people. the three represent the six million. and those three people are amazing, extraordinary individuals in their own right, and they each follow the three major trajectories of this my tbraition. this migration, like any migration s not a haphazard unfurling of lost souls. it was an orderly redistribution
of people along the most direct routes to what they perceived as freedom. and so that meant that when you're in the north even now, you can almost tell where a person is from on the basis of the city that they happen to be in the north. and that's because people followed three distinctive routes, and the routes that brought people to washington, brought my parent here, was the route that took people from florida, georgia, the carolinas and virginia to washington, d.c. which was the first stop, then on to philadelphia, new york and on north. there was a second stream that took people from mississippi, alabama, arkansas, tennessee to chicago and cleveland and the entire midwest. and then there was a third stream that carried people from louisiana and texas to california and the entire we've coast. in other words, every migration is in some ways a referendum on the place the people have left, and it's a show of belief and
faith that this new place will be better. and the beauty of any migration is that people follow certain streams so that it's almost a predictable outcome as to where they will go. in the same way that if you were to go to minnesota, you'd find that there are a lot of people from scandinavia because that is where that migration stream left them. now, this migration as any migration often occurs not because of the individuals themselves. a lot of them have already suffered in some ways whatever it is that they had to face in the south or wherever they happened to be coming from. any migration which is how all of us ultimately got to where we are happens because someone across the atlantic, across the pacific, across the rio grande decides they want something
better for themselves, but more importantly for their children and the unseen grandchildren and the unseen great grandchildren, meaning all of us. and that means they had to make a great sacrifice in order to do that. and in many respects what this does is it means that these migrations are n some ways, leaderless revolutions that occur one person added to another person added to another person being able to change history. and that is what happens when you have large masses of people leaving. now, one way this migration changed our cub was it was the very -- our country was it was the very first time in history, american history, that the lowest caste people signaled they had options and they were willing to take them. there had been efforts to resist the problems and the challenges and the restrictions, and in some ways the violence of the south for many decades. but it wasn't until world war i that the people began to act upon that.
this was the first time in our history that the lowest caste people showed that they had options ask were willing to take them. it also meant that, you know, the civil rights movement would have happened ultimately, but this propelled the civil rights movement to happen even more quickly than it would have otherwise. and that's because while there had been resistance all along, there had been very little attention given to it in this many parts outside of the south. and many of those efforts at changing the south were crushed before they could even get started. and so when these people left, they began to exert pressure on the north to take notice just by their being there. if you think about american history and how america gets involved in conflicts in other parts of the world, you realize that a lot of time america gets involved when there are a large
percentage of people, a large enough group of people from that part of the world whether northern ireland or parts of the middle east who by their very presence can exert pressure on the united states to intervene. and the same happened with this great migration. by having large numbers of african-americans in new york, in washington, d.c., in chicago, in boston and be all these other places in the north where there was great industry, where the media were based, suddenly the cameras and the attention and the reporters began to go down and pay attention. it's as if trees for falling, but no one was there to hear them s finally there were. this migration, also this outpouring of millions of people, people who had been the life blood of the workers in the south, this outpouring of people did other things. it served notice to the south whether it wanted to hear it or not that something was happening and that they were going to have to address it. in many respects they actually
became harsher on the people who were there. in other cases they began to loosen. but ultimately, it created a safety valve for those who decided to stay. those who decided to stay now had options that they had never had before. suddenly, somebody knew someone in the new world as was the case for people who lived in other parts of the world and had relatives in america. they also were sending money back home to help support the effort, to support their families as all immigrants do. and so all of these things combined helped to propel, accelerate the move towards civil rights. and finally, many of the people who stayed would off visit -- often visit people in the north. they would visit the relatives they had. everybody had an uncle, an aunt, a minister, someone they knew who was now in the north, and they would come and visit. and they would see how freer
these people were in the new land, and they would go back and say to themself, why can't we have here? and unone of the most important people who ever said that was martin luther king who had the opportunity to go to boston university from georgia and to, where he met his wife, coretta scott. he would never have met her had he not been a part of this movement. and he was one of those people who sauer the freedoms -- limited though they might have been in those days, but freedom nonetheless -- and he went back, clearly, as that was an inspiration for him to go back and lead the final battle for freedom. and so this migration had many impacts north and south. but i think to me what i want, what i would love people to take away from this book is beyond the fact that, first of all, there are three amazing stories of people with great fortitude,
courage and great sense of humor, just amazing people who i had the privilege of getting to know. ida may who was a terrible cotton picker. you don't think about people being good or bad at it, but, you know, not everybody's cut out for that. [laughter] and i also think about george starling who had, who -- ida mae left mississippi for chicago. and george starling who attempted in his small way to try to get little better wages and treatment for people who were picking citrus fruit in florida. and as a result of his small and quiet effort t to try to do that, ended up having to knee -- having to flee for his life from florida to harlem to safety because there had been a lynching that was planned for him. and finally dr. robert joseph pershing foster who left for california because he could not practice surgery in his own
hometown of monroe, louisiana. and that was a journey that i recreated myself by renting a buick as he had. he said, if you'd seen his buick, you would have wanted it too. [laughter] and i recreated that journey. i wanted to be able to see what it was like to drive that are without being anal to stop -- able to stop. during that era african-americans in the 1940s, 1950s and into the 960s could not be assured of a place to rest, to get gas, to recharge their batteries, to be able to even eat, to get a meal. so they had to take great care, planning and caution. after a certain point be one could stop, but he had a very difficult time. so i attempted to recreate that journey. i rented the buick, i had my parents with me as tour guides, and we got to this dangerous, frightening part of the journey where you're going through the
desert, and it's night, and i had not slept for hours as he had. it had gone on for many, many, many hours and into the night without being able to rest. and my participants were with me as i was about to rear off the road. -- veer off the road. and at that point we're in the mountains, and we're seeing the signs that say 80 miles to the next gas station. i mean, it is a forbidding area and terrain in be parts of our country. these states are countries unto themselves. but i was veering off the road, and my participants said, you need to stop the car, and if you won't stop the car, let us out. [laughter] we will tell you about it. we'll tell you everything that you need. and so we stopped the car in yuma, arizona, because it was no longer 1953, things had changed so much. we have a long way to go as a country, but things have changed so much that we had no trouble finding a place.
we had a choice of places, and that actually made me feel even more empathy for what he had gob through because he had not had that option. this migration is so inspirational, i think, or should be or could be to all of us if we think about it, pause this was a leaderless revolution. there was no one, as in any migration, who sounds the day or the hour of any migration movement. these were individuals who made decisions that they thought were best for them and their children and unseen grandchildren. in be some ways it renews one's faith in the power of the individual decision. it's almost as if they realized within their bones that there were too many people, too many of them concentrated in one part of the country, one region of the curve. they said, there are too many of us here. our very, our work is devalued, our very live are devalued.
perhaps we will fare better elsewhere. and is they set out on journeyses that took them from portland, maine, to portland, oregon. they went all over the united states within the borders of their own country as immigrants would even though they had not been truly immigrants. and so when you think about this, you think about the fact that it took this great migration for this group of people, the lowest caste people to, ultimately, gain the independence that they had deserved all along on many respects. if you think about it, these people one added to another, added to another were able to do as individuals what a president of the united states could not do; abraham lincoln. did what the emancipation proclamation could not do. they did what both houses of congress could not do. they did what the powers that
be, north and south, could not or would not do. they freed themselves. they freed themselves. and that is, in some ways -- [applause] thank you. that, in some ways, should be an inspiration, i think, if aural of us -- for all of us who benefit in ways that are even hard to imagine from what the people did. in some ways what they did helped to open worlds up for people that we now view as icons of the 20th century. ultimately, changing 20th century culture as we know it and literature. toni morrison whose parents migrated from alabama to ohio. had they made the decision to not do that, she would have been raised in a world in which it was actually against the law for
african-americans to go into a library and take out a library book. and you kind of need to be able to get a library book now and then if you're going to become a nobel laureate. people such as richard wright and august wilson, lorraine hasn't bury. almost all of their work was devoted to if you think about the content of their work, was devoted to understanding this migration and the impact that it had had on the country and on themselves. it said a whole -- it fed a whole world of art and culture that we now view as 20th century culture, but actually is the culture and art that grew out of this great migration. all of the works primarily of bearden and of jacob lawrence, if you can recall all of those -- are manifestations of the great migration. 20th century african-american, and that's american culture, is hard to separate from the culture of the great migration
because it is the children who had been freed from the strictures of jim crow who were four free to -- who were now free to explore and be their truest creative selves as a result of their participants. when you think about jazz, you think about miles davis whose parents had migrated from arkansas to illinois where he had the luxury of being able to spend the hours it would take to become the mast err of his -- master of his instrument and to create a whole new form of music. and you think of thelonious monk whose parents left north carolina for harlem and had -- what would have happened had they not made that decision when he was 5 years old where he would get a chance to flourish in the way that he did. and then you think of john coltrane who also kim from north carolina, ended up in philadelphia where, believe it or not,s that is where he got his first alto sax, his first
alto sax. can you think about so many people in sports from jesse owens to jackie robinson to even current-today people such as magic johnson and on and on and on and bill rustle. none of them, very few of them would have even have had the opportunity to become the legends that we know them to be had their parents not made the sacrifice to leave the only place they'd ever known for some place far away so that their children could actually benefit from that. so one of the things i want to leave you with before, before taking your questions are two things. one is the short passage that is the end graph to this -- epi graph to this book. it's the epigraph, the words of richard wright who was, obviously, one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century who wrote "native son," and was,
himself a person who participated in the great migration. these are his words and the words that give the book its title, and these were the words that he was thinking as he was preparing to leave mississippi for the first time and venture forth to a place we'd never seep called chicago. here's a proxy for all of the access to have we may have who lead this great leap of faith. he wrote: i was leafing the south to fling myself into the unknown. i was taking a part of the south to transplant in alien soil. to see if it could grow differently. if it could drink of new and cool rains, band in strange winds, respond to the warmth of other suns and, perhaps, to bloom. it's a prayer, really, for sustenance and survival and protection on the road ahead
which can be in some ways an inspiration for all of us wherever we happen to be, whatever the journey may be and wherever it may take us. and i want to leave you with this moment, this idea. .. someone had to have experienced this moment for us to be here. .. >> that moment of departure means they are the young persons in all our backgrounds standing at the railroad platform or at the dock about to board a boat
across an ocean or about to cross a border of some kind to get to t united in the russian are about to cross a border of some kind torr get to the united stateshe and at that place, at that platform or at that dark with the fewther people who had beena important in raising that individual. there would have been a mother,e father, a grandparent, and on,ad whomever might ban who was with responsible for their even been there, and that person could not make the w crossing with this young person. did that person did not know whenoud they receive this out again, anr that child did not know when there was the the person who raise them ever again. remember, there was no skype. there was no e-mail.
there were no cell phones. there were no guarantees. and the next time that they might hear that mothers or the h father, that person who raised them might be a telegram. that is what they're using in those days, a telegram saying, that if father has passed away when grandmother is very ill. you're to come back quickly ifet you are to see them alive. see her alive. and that moment had to have happened just for all of us to be here.ite of i find a great sense of all atoo the courage and fortitude of what it took for them to make that a sacrifice. this book in some ways is a police that we redefine what wed call heroes in this country. we redefined what we consider leaders because all of us havesr it within our own dna, theople
answers to so many questionse that may play guess because of h what people went through before an order for us to get here do today. naturally believe that the messes of all this is that if these people could do what they did with absolute nothing, thend that means thato, we've, there's nothing that we can do. there is nothing that we cannoth do, and, in fact, there areto t things that we must do toyo make that sacrifice worth it.lause] thank you so much, and a happy to take questions. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. [applause] [applause] >> thank you.
>> let's see.nique, which side. >> what did you find unique, no where the above the altar of a destination where african american people so as to migrate? mivat specifically, what did you find out about your family is h motivation to choose to come to washington d.c.? sto >> well, actually, i have to say that i'm a journalist first ande therefore the stories are primarily about the larger migration, and wanted to tell it 33 people so that the reader that could identify with these protagonists, see themselves in the people that have written roa about, feel that they're in the car with dr. foster is about toh drive off the road, seemay and themselves as they're sitting on the train s with aiden made wite
her two children and there has been as they're setting forth for a place and never seen. but one of the realities and one of the reasons why i have suchoa intensive all and appreciation r and gratitude for what any immigrant are migrant has to go through is that the places thaty they go often want the labour, y need the labor, but oddly enougt sometimes the don't want thew do people. that is -- i mean, how do you have both? and so that meant that all ofat the people streaming into theseo major industrial cities during the era of the great migration n which went on from world war onh and so well and so thehallens ty 20th-century in the 1970's, all of them have many many challenges that they had to faco if there were going into places their labor was needed but there were often brought in as strikebreakers, pitting onehe s
against the other, emigrants against native born migrants from thein south. was and so their arrival in the a cities was often quite harrowing for them. they had come from a place where believe there not every four days an african american was lanced for some perceive toto sw breach of the caste system that i described, and they arrived it places where they did not have to so much worry about that on o daily basis, they had to worry about whether there would be able to get work. where they might be able to live.the they were consigned to places that were overcrowded and where there were overcharged for this subdivided tenements where for they're living, and so life was very hard for them. one of the reasons that i findcs such an inspiration from what immi they went through in all ha emigrants is because foreigne's immigrants failure is not an option.
ehey have to succeed because there is now back above home. the people back, looking to seeo if they can make it and often nt licking for help or often t dragging back home about someone that they know who's gone up north, and they're looking to them to see.h they had to make a go in on their own.and my heart goes out to all that pl they went through and all that any immigrant goes through, andw this book in some ways, a proxy for anyone who's ever gone through that. this side.erewere >> good afternoon. thank you for that great book.oe weeks after i read it i realize that there were no illustrations are pictures of the people, and i know you drew good word. p i think you for that. but it hit me why there were no pictures.eously a >> there were no picturesgre because my editor and nine simultaneously agreed that we want to do to picture yourself e and not be distracted by what you saw.more we wanted to see yourself, but
more importantly yourwe grandparents, your great-grandparent's to myt parents, and yourself.thank so he wanted it to be a universal human story, and that's what we believe it was. thank you so much. [applause] [applause]gratio >> night. my family came from virginia the from philadelphia. as part of the migration. i'd >> is a classic. >> new york is the next trainan? stop.you the two-stage down. bo so why do you think they did not go on to canada? you mentioned the within the borders. he said that a couple times.>> canada was clear. ring maybe whatever.e why not canada? >> the question was what didn't they go on to canada as thatey occurred during the underground railroad. and one of the reasons is because they were american. bors they were american citizens, ane
it's my belief that theyns t whi believed that within the borders of the country there should bewa recognized as citizens to wasor the headband. they had descended from people h who have been in this country for centuries. group, even to this day africanwer americans who are descended froo slaves as a group have lived wil fewer years as free people than in slavery, and it will take another hundred years before the balance is made even. that is how long slavery existee in this country. in some ways i believe it was the sticking of a claim of their citizenship in this country.nute >> i am going to ask you to thil think is a will wilkerson.and in seven minutes the composition will continue with book tv. there will be taking live callss and answering more of your questions. i'm going to put you on hold for about seven minutes. please stay with us and thank you so much.
>> thank you. [applause] [applause] >> part of the 2011 national book festival here in washington d.c. to find out more visit el o.c. duct of such books fest. here's a look get some of the upcoming book paris and brussels over the next month. the fifth annual santa fe antiquarian book show takes place this weekend. it features local authors as well as antiquarian book collections of photographs. the book festival in new jersey teachers over six blocks of booksellers, activities, and other interviews. october 1st. in october 9th portland, ore., house the book fair, the largest literary plateau in the pacific northwest. a october 14th, the seventh
festival books and natural tennessee. the of the lineup includes william barnett, david grow, and timothy johnson. let us know about book fares and festivals in your area and we will happily add them to our list available on booktv.org. mls. >> so, here's my question. written in a breezy popular style. has a breezy some optimism to a. you're right at one point, and i'm quoting here, the capitalist culture will allow us to make a houdini style escape from climate changes most devastating impacts. what makes you so sure that? >> my mother always told me to avoid wishful thinking. i always try to be provocative to see if folks are wait. i take climate change very
seriously, and now that my two minutes is of -- [laughter] i love good jokes. folks to my take climate change very seriously, and my optimism is really -- the core of my optimism, and i don't want you to walk away thinking i'm an optimist is that we anticipated challenge. carmines, will the 7 billion people, perhaps night, if enough of us are scared and aware of the challenge the climate change poses the beginnings of addressing doom head-on is anticipating a problem. our best minds, the great minds of usc, maybe if ucla faculty, in a world where we have 79 billion people anticipating major challenges and anticipating that there will be a market justice votes to using their blackberry right now to text my exciting points, and a world where there is a need for climate change innovation that
demand creates supply and some my optimism is not now you bushel thinking, but if we anticipate that i like the titanic if we can see the iceberg head, if we are free of the iceberg, this is the beginning of lead time to take pro-active jones the will of many of us to adapt to the scary scenario. >> thank you. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. here's a look at the best-selling nonfiction books according to usa today as of september 28. topping the list is jacqueline kennedy, a collection of seven historic interviews with the former first lady. second is heaven is for real, the father story of this 3-year-old son's journey to heaven and back during emergency surgery. underdog. it tells the story of a blind man and his guide dog stuck on the 70th floor of the world
trade center's tower one on my 11. jaycee dugard, the still life above the 18 years she's been in captivity. followed by an unbroken, the story of an olympic runners survival and will work to. former vice president dick cheney is six the list of his personal and political memoir. he recently discussed his book on book tv in beacon was the program on line. thomas friedman, that used to be yes. seventh. and eric greece is book, a. the moral life of henry l. axes ninth. tells the story of a woman who sells our culture than 1951 and have since spin years and numerous medical studies. and tom rathman wraps up the list. a guide to finding annualizing personal talent. for more best sellers go to "usa today" that.
>> i think that probably everybody in this room that is wearing a uniform and even the people that are in a year because of the warrior ethos among wage or another. you think back to when he joined the press made the decision that probably had something to do with that. either you were -- you felt like you really have the warrior ethos, high-school athlete or a competitive person and you were looking for a venue where you could use it in the senate want to join the most of the unit conjoint or maybe you fell that there was the absence of that new life. it might have been addressed or wondering, am i going the right way, heading for jail armor heading for some kind of a life that is not, you know, going to bring out all that is the meet. so use it to yourself, well, want to go somewhere where this kind of code of honor exists and where it can be taught to me.
so i think that's -- i think. i'm putting myself in your mind. i think that's the reason. why i joined and why acting -- i hope that's what you guys are to. here is the other thing that is really hon. of making that choice is in america today it really is a choice. i mean, if we were born in a sense barba or ancient macedonia there would be no choice. the warrior ethos would be the only thing there was. here as were talking yesterday, you get 100 percent of the armed forces these days coming out of 1 percent of the population. and so that is a real choice that everybody made here, particularly if you think about it the values of civilian society, and i'm not knocking anything here, but quite opposite to the warrior eat those values. so the conscious choice to choose the warrior ethos for yourself is a pretty amazing thing.
that me just talk about the values for one second. think about it in civilian life, probably the paramount value is freedom. individual autonomy that a person can be whatever they want to be, rock star, donald trump, president of the united states, whenever they want to be, and that is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. that is held out, and rightly so. that is kind of what makes america great, but when you choose the warrior eat those tv becomes the value. service so that you can wear your hair in a ponytail if you choose to and you can't decide until feel like to point for another couple of months or don't feel like to point all. that is one value. a second value at the greater culture of large holes of really high his money, wealth, the pursuit of, you know, of florence and celebrity so that somebody like donald trump for somebody like that is lionize
drop the culture right now we would get rich in this room from what you're doing instead of money. but the warrior culture offers is honor. in fact, there is a great story about when the nation story. up to you a few pages stories. hope will obviously. when the syracuse in sicily were under siege by the athenians the spartans came to their aid. the way the spartans call whenever they help to another country they never sent money and a never sent an army. they just send one-man, a general. he would kick the mall into shape. so when he came to syracuse, syracuse was of very wealthy city in sicily. they had a really virtually no army. so he had to somehow foreman army out of these crazy civilians. and so when he went to pick his officer corps he gave these
distractions. he said search for men who care not about welfare or power, what you crave honor. i would guess that that is pretty much what is filling this from here. another difference between that civilian values and the warrior eat those values is in civilian life people want the creature comforts. they want air-conditioning. when an easy life. take a poll is 20 pounds. whereas in the warrior culture and diversity, though willing embrace of diversity is a huge part of it. the rougher the better, and when people tell stories and a warrior culture it's always the most hellish story possible. i know i am a marine. when marines talk about their history they don't really talk about the great victories.
they talk about the worst casualty scenarios like he was gina, the reservoir, that kind of thing. diversity, the willing embrace diversity is one of the great warrior virtues. i'm trying to think of one other than i can slip into my mind. oh, i wanted to say one other thing about special forces troopers. in my opinion i think that you guys are the pinnacle of the worried those because not only our special forces soldiers possess the military skills which, you know, we all know how difficult that is. they possess the characters kills. particularly working with indigenous forces and insurgencies, something like that, that is the highest level because a small group of men have to go wind into a completely foreign culture and
exercise influence without authority, not able to make people do what you want to dubai money or power anything, but only by really personal magnetism and personal honor and personal integrity and personal warriors. that is about as high as it gets , and i salute everybody for that. let me get in so little bit about what i think the worry recesses. i'm going to start with some stories from this book. for a quick little one-minute stories about aids and sparta. when i talk about the warrior ethos here today and really talking about a classic old time ancient warrior ethos, which one of the things i hope when we get into some questions i really would love to hear what you guys say about a modern world with rules of engagement and some of the dubious players were people have to get. this is old school. these are four quick stories
about the spartan women, anxious martin women. always touch with women. these stories come from plutarch, a book called borrelia. part of that call sayings of the spartan women. if not ever read this as things of the spartans to my highly recommend it. all these little nuggets. a messenger returns to spotter from the battle. the women all gather around and to find out what happens. and to one another the messenger says, mother, you're all the sun, i'm sorry to tell you, was killed facing in the meat. the mother says she is my son. he says to her, years son is alive and a merit. he ran away from the enemy. she says he is not my son. since story, another messenger returned from another battle. among other approaches and that
says, harold, how ferris our country. harold burst into tears and says to my mother, i'm so sorry to tell you, all five of your sons were killed facing the enemy. she says, you fool, i did last year about my sons, i ask about a country. he says, but, we were victorious. she says and i am happy and turns around and go some. then there's story, somehow, i don't know how, but to spartan brothers were fleeing from the enemy back toward the sea. their mother happened to be coming down the road. this may be slightly apocryphal. she sees them coming, loesser's gets up over her head and then says kuwaiti to think you're running to? back here from whence he came and we don't know the end of the story, but hopefully they turned around and went back the other way. then the final spared mother story is the shortest one of all. it's one of the spartan mother
who answer son and shield him. as he is sending off to battle and says come back with this on a. so that, that to me is a really hard core culture. you know when the women, when your own mother is kicking you in the, something to that. i'm going to refer back to this story. a reason why we told the "the warrior ethos" probably evolved out of the primitive hunting man and the virtues of were needed for the little homonids armed with only a couple of little spears to take on mastodons and stuff like that. i think that it was really designed originally to my think, to accomplish two things. once overcome fear, they got in the battlefield, and to make people work together. and so since fear and if he is
probably the most primal emotions, self preservation, other emotions and other things had to be brought and to counteract. i think that's why my feeling of what the worried this comes from. there were three things, at least three things that were recruited to counter fear and to make people work together. that was honor, shame, and love. let's start with same as for a second. a lot of times people don't think of shame as a positive. certainly almost every great warrior culture is a shame based culture whether it's the samara culture where someone suffers dishonor they have to a kill themselves. certainly pushed in mali is a shame based code of honor. i would certainly say the marine corps is a shame this culture, and certainly spira was a shame
based culture. among other things, going back to the stories when you think about the mother whose son was alive but had run away from the enemy and she says, he is not my son. that is the kind of real -- you know, that is an application a shame to make people go forward into the faces here. a great story about alexander the great, a season is second. when his army was in india and they have been fighting for ten years almost the army was ready to revolt. they were tired, wanted to go home, had enough. so alexander, it was a serious moment. alexander called the whole army together. he stripped naked in front of them. you could see across the sole body just one wound after another. he had been one do with peres and javelins', rocks, big
boulders. everything possible. he said this man, looked at these wounds on my body, all got for you and in your service. young notice that they are all on the front, nothing in the back. he says i will make you a deal. if anyone that you can stand for from the army, pier and stripped naked beside me, and if you're was a greater than mine altar in the army around right now, what. not a man came full word. on a burst into a chair and begged his forgiveness for their want a spirit and begged him only to lead them farther ford. so that is kind of great, but what that really is is the application of shame to make the men go forward and to kind of some in the spirit. in sparta they used to have pretty young girls have diesel anthems of shame that they used.
if someone failed in action and came back to the city, number of things would happen to them, but the party and cows used to gather around the menacing new standard songs of ridicule. that would, you know, for next time the guy would be sure he didn't pay and other words, shame is a technique to make the application of shame worse than fear of the enemy. okay. less talk about this for a second. the flip side, the opposite of shame. honor is, as we know from tribal cultures, and assure you guys know this a lot better than i do , in a postion culture honor is the most prized possession. much more important than money, land, women. as long as the man as honor is okay. if he doesn't have honored man was is not worth living. so honor is that high