conclusions or similarities between generals washington, grant and eisenhower? >> because this is a sort of ground-up look at combat, and it focuses mostly on the soldiers in the rank-and-file, soldiers you probably haven't heard of, soldiers who didn't win any fame or acclaim but who served, you know, dutifully, heroically and who made up the building blocks of the army, the readers, especially at the very top level of command, intrude into that story surprisingly infrequently. but you -- there is a constant reflection that goes on among the men from the ranks about who is leading them, what qualifies them to lead them, what they looked for in a leader? ..
themselves were supposed to display. in the 20th century, because troops are so spread out, because they're often few other comrades, it was much less important and effective combat officer to stand up, to physically modeled the kind of courageous behavior. most soldiers understood that was suicidally reckless. and so there are very few examples of soldiers looking for some foremost to a leader. sort of follow me. in fact there's an anecdote that turns up in the book where much of experience soldiers were confronted with a brand-new second lieutenant and they're cowering behind a sand bar, the new lieutenant, on account of five fall of me. the experience veterans look at each other and at the count of
five, there just brings up, raised with machine gun fire and the others hung back. what they did tend to fight in the 20 century was competent. leaders who knew the business of warfare, knew the business of leadership, knew how to use our map, you how to spot dead areas of ground, knew how to outflank in any machine gun position. it's interesting to me to find examples of junior officers or ncos who in the mid-20th century, who would tremble or cry in combat. it's not completely unheard of to find a junior officer who might call himself when the shelling started. and who at the same time maintained a reputation for effectiveness in combat, because he was a soldier who clearly knew what he was doing and who had survived for months. that kind of reputation is just
unthinkable in the 19th century. it would be impossible for a regimental captain to have found himself in front of his soldiers and still enjoy any sort of credibility as a leader. >> christopher hamner is an associate professor of history at george mason university. what you teach? >> i teach mostly american military history. >> "enduring battle: american soldiers in three wars, 1776-1945", published by the university campus press. >> you're watching the tv on c-span2. 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. >> next, jeopardy champion ken jennings presents a history of cartography and examines the ways that maps are used today. this is about 40 minutes.
>> thank you. very kind. can you guys should be okay? thanks for coming out. this is a lot of people. i have been here many times. very excited, like i got to go through a bathroom and was through a garage, some office, where are we? were in the middle of capitol hill. nice to see guys. i'm ken jennings. i think what we will do is i will talk a little bit, about the book, and then i don't how this will go but i want to do an impromptu geography quiz. it's pretty fun when we turn the signing into a game show. i don't know what c-span will think about that. we're going to do a quiz show and see how it goes. we would do some q&a and then i will sign some books. hopefully it will not be as long as it sounds because when i go to book signings i like it when the authors tears on the side of
getting home in time for -- >> jeopardy. [laughter] spirit are there any other jokes i can't finish. [laughter] you guys just yell it out. i'll set them up and you guys cannot them down. by book is "maphead." i am a map and. it sounds like a 12 step thing. like my name is ken and i'm in that they. it's true. i'm a fan of maps and all their -- anybody here a map and? the book was sort of born out of express i had a couple years ago. goes to my parents garage, a huge, huge pile of books. i know everybody's parents garage is a huge pile of boxes but my parents garage looks like the raiders of the lost ark. it's huge. my mom said it's like one more box of mine. i was going to the file trying
to find out i opened it up and post about and like a time capsule of high school. and my childhood. comic books, mixed tapes. some of you people won't know what that is. mixed tapes. and at the pub is one heavy things left. this big green world atlas, 1978. there was this word moment forming. i was like i hadn't seen it, it was like finding your beloved stuffed animal at the bottom of the box because this thing is a very meaningful campaigning for me. i stayed up all my allowance when i was seven or eight, five, even at the time i was already i could totally map here. i could read alice's for pleasure were a more normal kid would be reading clifford the big red dog or whatever. i would be paging through the atlas. it was this amazing moment and i realize i had spent many of the years since then sort of in the
closet, as it were. as a maphead. he realized very quickly especially as you get older, it's not like girls. you realize socially it's often a liability and not an asset. it's sort of a, people don't talk a lot about how much he loved looking at maps. but as i started writing the book, people would ask me what is working on. i would sort of apologetically say, this is different, sort of apologetically, a book of maps. like that would never justify any kind of event. what? it was amazing how may people were i love maps. are you kidding? many people would sort of be like i love maps. [laughter] like they were also aware of the social costs of being a bit of a cargo file.
i remember in college having a roommate coming into our apartment in being a new semester having a new roommate, named sheldon. he hired upon the walls, were papered with national geographic maps. like i spent my childhood looking at maps. i should been over them and at this but instead i was like that's weird. will never see a single girl in here, for one thing. [laughter] like on the plus side, i became the second least desirable or unattractive person. very exciting for me. but i was not too to my masthead roads. i did get to meet with a lot of different people have these geographically, geeky for lack of a better word hobby. map librarian, i got to hang out in the bowels of the library in congress which is very cool. it's like three football fields of cabinets. 9000 cabinets.
george washington drew it, you know. like he could do this most amazing treasure trove. hung out with geo- caches, people using the gps revolution, using multi-billion dollars satellite to find tupperware hidden in the woods. the first geo- cache was in portland. who else do get to hang out with? national geographic kid, one more national geographic bees, washington. these kids are amazing, like a middle school and when i did a geography quiz within, a girl in redmond who won the be a couple years ago, and just for fun i gave her a geography question that i've seen on game shows,
some which i got right, some which have not gotten right. she spoke to me. she was amazing. she got one wrong. i had gotten half of them wrong. kids are amazing. i start to see as i met with people like people who into maps a fantasy world, road geeks who are obsessed with the interstate system, systematic travelers like people who go to every something on earth, every starbucks, every high point. people love a lifelong checklist of places they must step one toe in and then head back to the airport. the thing they had in common occurred to me was they are explored. they are modern-day exports. they were born too late. for better or for worse it's already explored. maps are not quite as fun when they were big wide spray spaces. there might be places left but they're the places that sucks.
these are people, things that we map now, talk about mapping now we are mapping stars, mapping the human genome but these are people who miss a time when you can map something that would surround you. a territory, a place you could explore. they reinvent exploration by making all places new. they had geo-cache filled tupperware in city park in leslie, they draw maps of new fantastic places, and they lose themselves in antique maps if they are collectors. these are sort of the equivalent of modern-day explorers i think and it's fascinating to spend time with them. i'm going to be a short segment again, short, the part of the reading that when i'm in your chest i think -- not going to speak everything but a brief section from chapter four of "maphead." this is why hang out in elaborate of congress with a map librarian. it's about the place names on
maps which is always sort of felt a special appeal for me as long as i have loved maps i've been an enthusiastic, a student of place names. maps that are not done with textbook there. what could be more solace in one of those outline maps every with only a few oil derricks or years of corn drawn on a. these are the abominations that makes kid hate geography. there may be poetry, but the personality into australia or new mexico. in 1570 i was a label does imagine measure subcontinent with tantalizing place named lance of paris, keep of the good signal and sweetest river. knowing i've been to these places that it was either that or leave an entire landmass suspiciously make it. i feel nostalgic warmth.
i've never been to these countries of course. i plan my vacations around places like land fair -- quails. st. mary's church in the hollow. and make sure to get my picture taken during our trip to thailand next to the blocklong sign of bangkok city hall. names don't have to belong to remembering. in american road atlas, folksy roads. she's quick, new jersey. dingdong, texas. most of these places came by the and honestly.
cheese quake is an indian word meaning up on those. dingdong texas was four a ringing bell in bell county. take the 50 a letter welsh village. it was plain old land fair and to the 1860s when enterprising local terror concocted a longer name hoping to bring in tourist revenue. perhaps the town needed to buy a vowel. sometimes the kant's winmain is to go to more than 30 years after the king show went off the air. the former moscow, pennsylvania will probably be called jim thorpe as long as the former olympian is still buried there. half.com oregon went back to being halfway, oregon.
joe, montana is just montana. such gimmicky name swaps have drove me the wrong way. would you still at a face on the side of mount rushmore? the town by what they -- bible belt residence does not like it. for every half.com oregon taking paychecks in a new high school computer, there is a bug cold road. the novelty soon worn off. prank calls, skeptical deliver you liars, busloads of pictures while many of the and. the street was named for a communal brain bill, or water. but history didn't matter. in 2009 the neighbor collected
the 300-dollar fee. change the name to archer way. it's hard for americans to understand the pages and that can get bound up in names. we are young country. we can afford the gulf of mexico iis and call the gulf of americ. if america ferrera announced she was changing her name to candidate would be okay with. we would get on with her life. but elsewhere it is a national identity. grease gun so angry about the name of the newly independent republic of macedonia because historically macedonia was an area of ancient greece that blackballed them. hottest red is out of the ron --
out of tehran. iran's went bonkers. under the influence of the u.s. zionist and the oil dollars, the society has distorted and undeniable historical reality, wrote the tehran times. all publications and journalists were banned. resourceful internet users from the persian global university sent e-mails. hundreds of angry reviews of the atlas and even the phrase and arabian gulf. try persian gulf. spent national geographic i did a correction the tensions in the gulf war still run high over the issue. has even threatened to ban any airline that doesn't the right thing.
the closest american equivalent to this kind of pride is the way we use names to convert committees. in my neck of the woods, the tacoma suburbs. and a retirement mecca. to pronounce these names, the way they're spelled brands themselves a clear list of tourist. or worse, california transplant. [laughter] i can say the real pronunciation but then under washington state law i would have to carry. i guess the pronunciation actually i sort give it away by doing it out loud. you have to imagine that. but one thing that struck writing the book is although the headline she did about geography are scary once about how 10% of
american college students can't find canada on a map or can't find the pacific ocean or can't find their butt with both hands, or whatever, the fact is headlines exist is as i detailed some part of our culture believes geographic knowledge is important. it into port in part of our cultural literacy. there's this vast untapped amount of goodwill toward geography. i like to think i'd like to think there were signs we are living made in some new golden age for maps. that maybe in the age of google earth and real-time mapping of traffic and weather and smartphones that will show you on a map where your friends are in real time, all the amazing mapping innovations in the last 10 years, franklin maps have been evolving for centuries. maps said labor reich is ever to be as exciting and sexy to the average person as they for whatever reason always appeared to me. that's my hope anyway. that's the hope of maphead. she would do a geography quiz
show here? what you think? >> yeah. spent here's my plan. i have here in my magic bag provide a copy of maps i like to give away. i also have kevin jennings bobble head. [laughter] extremely rare to the utter lack of demand. people say like the nonexistent government is in canada? this was made in canada as a promotional item. again, no one wanted them but me. i have a garage full. it's a free prize. i think for anyone that answers the question right, i asked the wife what kind of candy we should have. cheeselike nerds. [laughter] very sweet. thank you. so i think my plan year so far as i have one, i've done this for treated books before i'm going to shut us in question.
if you question picnicking unanswered, shout it out. if you are quick, i hope you're quick because they will be a bag of nerds heading at your head. this is the time you've got to be alert. after we do a short number of these we will see if the room and me together can get through our gifted geographically, people have been during the preliminaries and will get if you a few finalists appear to do a final round. how about that? for example, i would rate a question like this and do you have the intellect what message would be heard. it might be something like in what state is lake okeechobee. i heard it right over your. don't try out my on. you don't have to answer in the form of a question. [laughter] you guys already skipping jeopardy by being here tonight. it's the age of thibault. no one is missing.
the jeopardy folks have us about alex signing up to assigning. this outrage like why are you here? who's hosting jeopardy? [laughter] everything is under control. what country's longest river is -- i don't know. i heard it again over here first. right here? your neighbors ratted you out. which canadian province is wild? rose country. >> alberta. >> over here someplace. thanks for the cooperation. until 1995, what was the english name of india's most populous city? i hear tell that i. it's actually bombay. the current mumbai -- i heard it
here somewhere. thank you for not getting hit in head. and i don't know what the liability issues. in what country are, bobby, boudin, bali -- >> india. >> right here in the front row. a very nice. if you just killed a 3000 non, what part? over here. british airways. traveled to know if anyone in texas and what state do you enter first. >> oklahoma. >> over here. no one has lost an eye yet. this is going very well.
the judges are keeping an eye on you. what country's most important forest is basra? >> that was sort of tough. separate -- is there a -- which of the nations of the former u.s. lobbyist on member of thew e.u. right here. where are wilkes and palmer land? way in the back. one row. what city sits beneath sugarloaf? >> rio. >> very nice. that was a terrible throw.
that is not an error on the play. cleveland, ohio, said so which of the great lakes? someone here was quick. you don't want to be sitting in front of him. [laughter] i feel your pain. what canadian territory has a name meaning our land? over here first. there's a rebellion over here. with somebody over here first? two things of nerds. the dog now connects the mediterranean with what other -- over here again.75!(qhx to you guys think the people in front are getting too many? isn't like the speed of sound? of the four large islands of japan, which is farthest north. heard it right here.
also, seattle best jeopardy contestant. there are some other jeopardy contestant in the house tonight. tom, how are you doing? [applause] >> i haven't gotten any questions yet. spent on jeopardy if we play for money instead of nerds you are done very well. name any one of the lesser antilles or an island? >> aruba. >> and that was a better throw from last time. i almost killed the person behind you. but i then did the romans called -- >> ireland. >> the world's largest desert is
not that hard. >> and our degussa with it. technically speaking that guys going to be eating nerds all night. the definition of a desert, scientifically nothing but the amount of precipitation. and it's too cold there. there's not a lot of precept. what island lies due south of -- >> hong kong. >> will you pass that back to hong kong? [laughter] starting to get a pretty good sense of our finest. what countries biggest tourist attraction is the ancient city of petra? he's one of my friends about at writing the book was a bit of a math nerd. thanks for coming. what was the largest country by area in africa? >> sudan.
>> that might have been tom. >> last question. what specific country's largest island is -- somebody said fiji. home to the capital city. ever go. go deep. all right, i think our final us have probably gotten to be right here at least, probably right there, sir, does anybody want to -- may be right here. these are people who got multiple ones. you are obviously very good. there were many, many, come on out. let's hear for our three finalists today. [applause] i guess this might act as a massive tome your name. chris. where are you from? and now living in the area. you didn't come all the way just for this?
frank from redmond. >> thanks for coming. >> cliff. >> i'm sure the google guys are excited at a book coming out. [inaudible] >> i thought you might. the guy from mountain view, like you seen the answers. he may have it on a smart phone right now. here's what we're going to do. i'm going to read the question slowly. we know the answer, say your name, sort of like established who is in first and then get the answer. you guys help me keep score. we will do 10 questions. here's your first question. early explorer is also called the platte river by the name -- yes? the i'm sorry river. [inaudible] >> the answer is nebraska river.
when i say very nice, i mean you lucked out. one point in the middle for frank. what country's largest cities our conception own -- >> chile. >> that's right. just in case of a tie, say your name. question three, what you state has a capital city of the three word name? there we go. and some order those are right answers. frank, you don't by chance work for microsoft, do you? [laughter] what name is shared by the tallest mountains in cyprus and greece? correct. chris on the board.
francs reign of terror may be over. which was the only 13 original u.s. states not to touch the atlantic? >> pennsylvania. >> very good. you are on the board. still anybody's game at the half. which african country officially administered the enclave of cabinda? >> morocco? >> it's not. no penalty for wrong answers but you only get one. >> algerian? >> angola. question seven, the island is the northernmost extent of what mountain -- [inaudible] >> chris is in first. of what mountain range? sorry.
[inaudible] youtube can type at this point. you need to answer every remaining question. this is tough. i could not have answered this before. which of the seven stand countries in central asia is completely surrounded by the other. >> i'm going to say uzbekistan. >> you are correct. you are still in it. what cold is known as cortez? >> the gulf of california. >> correct.
it all comes down to this. how many world nations have the word being in their name? >> three. >> three is not correct. >> for. >> it is for. [applause] >> very nicely done, you guys. i was going to give you the rest of nerds but there's only one left. i think you guys have enough. one more question. in what u.s. state is the iasi river? >> mississippi. >> i heard it up here first,sn frank. let's give these guys a big and. [applause] >> very impressive. we will do, doesn't have any questions i did not get to?
>> what are the four guinea? >> and new guinea. i don't know what the hard-won is. i think there are all hard once. any questions about -- [inaudible] >> she is famous. i have a labrador retriever who could not be with us here tonight but it's getting more stable with age. unicom the same thing that is sort of -- it's awesome and our dog. any other questions? [inaudible] >> about my education. sort of screwed up a lot in school. [laughter] know, you're asking if i cheated. that's not what you want to hear. we moved overseas when i was like seven or eight. might back out of job outlaw for entry. i went to an international
school in seoul, korea. i later attended university of washington and brigham young university in utah. either degree in english and computer science. i am a very happy english major who decided the nice to pay the bills in time to time. the joke i heard is what's the difference bring a large pizza and an english major? the pizza can feed a family of four. [laughter] so i got a double major was working as a programmer when i got the call to be a jeopardy. thanks to jeopardy, i do have a second act and i'm a writer and it's been great. >> do you know the answers to the questions are where you just tired of? >> i get asked that all the time but i've got to say can it's like the worst conspiracy theory ever. i don't know if you've ever quit a job where getting like 60 k. an hour or something, but the
kind of job it is very high retention. a lot of people told me that was an easy question. if you're going to come it after you can save some time, i've heard it. but there are always easy if enough and there never easy if you don't, i guess. [inaudible] >> i promise i didn't. i did not throw jeopardy, sir, i promise. too much respect to ever do that. any other questions? [inaudible] >> i do live in the area, actually. i am a local one. [inaudible] >> am i allowed to go back to jeopardy? it sort of one to a customer. you get one loss and that's it. i got an unfairly nice chance anyway. i guess it's possible. i got to go back last year when
ibm had the evil supercomputer. i guess it's possible at some future point google will teach dolphins how to play jeopardy, and then i will be back. there was a hand up over here that i missed. [inaudible] >> recommendations -- i've been working on a little something. that was going to be the second reading. but you may be the first person ever to mention flash fiction on c-span. [laughter] >> i'm going to make you offend some people. do you use mapquest or google? what's your choice of? >> are you asking if i bing? who here will be offended? anyone? all these technologies are great and i pretty much only use google. [laughter] >> i'm on my schools knowledge board.
what do you have working for most knowledge possible spit kits for knowledge? when people ask me like how do you know all that stuff, i always feel like i don't have a good answer. i don't have a system or a tie-in book of mine with my picture on a i can direct them to. i think most jeopardy people would say they got on the show not any kind of system or weekend of cramming but just my lifetime of being a curious person to various, very aware of the world around them. like interested in everything. not like most people when we can get into the stuff we're into by the other stuff goes in one ear and out the other. somehow whatever the secret is that makes them interested in everything. if you can become one of those people is interested in everything, you always have something to connect it to. whatever you here, you want to know what. you will have things in there somewhere too tight onto. it won't go through the crack.
time for a couple more questions. >> i have a gender question. i noticed the three finalists were meant. [inaudible] do you have any observations because he's asking about the possibly of a gender gap and in geography knowledge and mapping. if you've ever heard anything, you know this is the fodder for war of the sexes. the idea that women can't read maps and man can't ask for directions. the national geographic bee is more concerned than, say, some crappy stand up ray romano is about this. there's research about why this is. it is a big gap in their final. the year i went there, there were two girls and 50 odd boys. this is not ideal for the in market wise. they would like to think that geography can appeal to anyone. the year i went, at the time is
the two least pakistan, alaska and one. they did research. they're hoping to find explanation like the questions are biased. the girls get more nervous. they found there is a small but measurable gap geography knowledge between boys and girls they get trying out. they are not sure why it is. it doesn't necessarily mean that the brains are wired differently. although i guess that's a possibility. brain chemistry might be different. there's good research to show we treat boys and girls very differently from birth, even as little tiny babies we toss the boys around more. they experienced places at a younger age. we let them explore more. it's possible we are sending our kids to you, the boys, will be interested in exploring. you, the girls, will not. that's the state of the research right now. in the back.
>> geography just doesn't have the same data used to, facts, 30 years ago when i was in school. [inaudible] what can be done to correct that? i think you said that 40% of college students in the u.s. and canada -- [inaudible] >> things like that happen all the time, i'm sure. he's asking about geography education and if that is taken a hit in recent years. isn't like 1000 degrees in your? the answer is yes for a couple of reasons. the main reason especially as primary, primary, secondary education in the '70s the social studies know what happened whereby lots of different social sciences thought why don't brain give you some of our staff? they could have economics, they
could have civics and political things, whatever other social sciences there are. so the final tradition of teaching geography from a map in front of a clash which we now associate with old time 50s schoolmarms became a thing of past because he got replaced by social thing. the u.s. is now the only country in the developed world were a kid can go from preschool to graduate with a master's and never crack a geography text. there have been good things to come out of social studies revolution. there's been some cause. when we stack up against other countries we are next-to-last among the nations that national geographic tests. no developed nations to great like they're also a surprising that when you look at how many people, even someplace, how may people in sweden can't find the pacific ocean on a map. but the u.s. is much worse off than most, say japan and the
european countries in the developed world. it's a problem and they think gps might make it worse. we're not going to open a map anymore. we have a talking box that tells us where to turn. occasionally you see news reports where people are turning into rivers or the river tracks or whatever. we always believed the box. that's a problem. we have time for a couple more questions. we will take one more question. better be better than all the other questions put together. >> other than going through the library of congress, are you able to go through any of the other ancient maps and other countries? >> to i go through ancient maps? i did, i went to the london map fair, which was very cool, sort of the leading place to buy and sell antique maps in your. it's where all the great explorers of the age of guys in
pith helmets came back to show their stuff. these guys finance sir edmund hillary's expedition and robert scott's expedition to the pulpit and stanley livingston, all the stuff happened there. so that was very cool. beautiful maps, obviously. another place applying, i was talking about this he of the day, the map gallery in the vatican in rome. i don't know if you've been through the vatican. beautiful mural size and ginormous maps of every region in italy lined the wall. i guess it's where the pope would wait for his audiences, wait to see. the idea duty as intimidated by the extent of his holiness' earthly realm as was pondering his have an influence or so i am a sucker for old maps. it's something coming in maps are beautiful but to look at some maps from the 1600s and he reminded of how many people sacrifice are probably lost their lives so this coastline could be drawn more accurately or whatever, it's a very
powerful thing to me but i would like to thank you all for coming out tonight. i will sign books. i really appreciate you coming. i would like to thank elliot bay for putting this together. [applause] thank you so much. >> for more information visit the author's website, ken-jennings.com. >> nice, john grisham accepts the harper lee prize for legal fiction. after accepting the award the author speaks about being a lawyer and the role that law place in contemporary fiction with a panel at the national press club in washington, d.c. this is a little over an hour. >> everybody got quite as i guess we can begin. that's my cue.
good afternoon. as being at the university of alabama law school i'm pleased today to welcome all of you to the inaugural celebration and presentation of the harper lee prize for legal fiction. harper lee of monroe bill alabama attended our law school in the 1940s and published "to kill a mockingbird" in 1960. the book eliminate them of responsibility of lawyers to fight injustice and empower them to represent the wrongly accused. since its publication "to kill a mockingbird" has influenced generations of college graduates, aspiring to practice law to go to law school. last year on the occasion of books 50th anniversary we contacted harper lee who graciously authorized this award. to on an author whose work best exemplified the positive role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change. the price is grounded in the character of lawyer atticus
finch and his principal and courageous representation of tom robinson. on september 21, 2010, u.s. attorney general eric holder honored our law school when he came to tuscaloosa, alabama, to help celebrate half a century of "to kill a mockingbird" and to help us to establish this award. our law school is a very special partner in this, the aba journal which is read by about half of the nation's lawyers monthly. about half a million lives. let me now call upon jack to make some remarks. jack is executive director for the apa. [applause] >> thank you, dean. it will surprise you i know that occasionally the american bar association does things that are controversial. when we're asked about the university of alabama to partner with them and this award winner able to do something that totally uncontroversial. honoring harper lee is a great
idea, choosing the writer who highlights the role of lawyers in society, is a great idea. so we were able to define a role for those with the universe of alabama school of law. we were honored to do so. it's especially fitting that the first winner be john grisham who could have won the award a number of years ago have been award exists at the time. he's a very deserving winner. we are delighted to present can. we know there will be many future winners are going to be quite deserving as well. will some people are inspired to write a good story about lawyers. a particular book you will, the confession, i know many of you have read it, especially timely, remarkably good job. it does not very good story. this is one of those good things to do that we're delighted to be with. dean, thank you and universities about him law school for the opportunity. [applause]
>> as you probably know our ceremony is occurring this week at the same time as the national book festival here in d.c. which is sponsored by the library of congress so we'll ask roberta schaefer, the law vibrant of the a law librarian to make a statement. >> thank you, dean, and other distinguished guests. i'm delighted to be celebrating with you today the inauguration of the harper lee prize for legal fiction. and i will note that today's can situated between two other important events that happened close in time, one was the celebration last week of constitution day, and saturday in addition to kicking off the library of congress' 11th national book festival we will also be kicking off the annual banned books week. as many of you know, to killing a mockingbird has had a high place on the honor roll of banned books for many, many years.
i'm here representing the lighter of congress by think i'm actually representing libraries in general. when all the honors are given and all the book tours are over, although i guess for some they never stop, books along with other intellectual treasures come to libraries to live long and rewarding lives out and to offer explanations of the past, and inspiration for the future. they sit on shelves here today either physical or virtual, alongside works in other media, and by other writers whose ideas may support or challenge the idea in these fantastic knowledge capsules. and these collections of knowledge challenge us to consider instead he married subjects, looking at topics of class, color, code, legal or
social codes, communication, and even our closing, as young scout in "to kill a mockingbird" often protests what women have to wear. books, activision, are somewhere in between, ask us to look at ourselves and our society every day. and many may even ask, are we killing the mockingbirds? at the very same time that they try to entertain and educate us. our libraries, personal, public or even congressional, our constant reminders to our children, our judges, our lawmakers, our fellow citizens, and even our adversaries, of our cultural value and other legacies that we want to be remembered by. this afternoon we are honoring two great authors. harper lee and john grisham.
they can be assured that as long as we have libraries, their work will continue to be honored. thank you very much. [applause] >> ilooking around this room we could recognize him a special guest today. i know it members of the federal judiciary. you ought us with your presence but if you want to single out i'm sure mr. grisham will do it later on, we have many representatives from random house. signee, gene and gene and the rest of john's publishing team and we want to recognize you with a round of applause as well. [applause] >> and we had outstanding committee that selected this book. we had so many books nominated. we a group in tuscaloosa and elsewhere that narrowed the field down to three books and we had an outstanding selection committee. i'm going to go in alphabetical order. david baldacci who is a best
selling author, his first novel was published in 1996 was an immediate bestseller. he has since published more than 20 novels and seven original screenplays with his wife, michelle, is known for their philanthropic work promoting adult literacy. he received his jd from the university of virginia. to my left and my dear friend morris dees, a graduate of university of alabama law school, cofounder and still remains chief trial counsel for the southern poverty law center in montgomery, and probably of anyone else, instead of alabama single-handedly shut down the kkk in alabama. also want to recognize mr. robert grey, a graduate of washington and lee law school. he has worked with us on several projects. we are going to claim you as an alone. he was former president of the aba and a partner in the prestigious firm of patton and when. two members could not be with
us. jeff toobin who has worked with us on other things on our award, cnn senior analyst and contributor to "the new yorker" magazine, just a few days ago we learned that linda fairstein couldn't be with us. she's also a pass on crime novelist and former prosecutor, so let's recognize the selection committee. [applause] >> in a few minutes david baldacci will lead a panel discussion of the book that we are honored today, the confession. so want to take a few minutes telling you about the author of the confession, mr. john grisham but i which which is part of the repeating facts off you know more famous person, john grisham was originally from arkansas. graduate from university of mississippi law school in 1981 and practiced law for nearly a decade, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury. he also served in the mississippi house of
representatives from 1983-1990. as difficult as all of us lawyers know it is to practice law, he somehow wrote every morning before the crack of dawn and published a time to kill in 1980. his next book the firm spent 47 weeks on "the new york times" bestsellers list and was a best selling novel, the best selling novel of 1991. to more of his books immediately claimed the number one spot on that list, the pelican brief and the client. mr. grisham has written about one legal fiction book a year, nine have been turned into movies, and he's also written about other diverse subjects such as baseball, an aging football quarterback and christmas. mr. grisham's nonfiction book, "the innocent man," symbolizes and i understand cavanagh is his commitment to the goal of exonerating the wrongly convicted. and he is much involved today actively in the innocence project national.
in 1996 he took a break from writing to fulfill a promise he had made to represent the family of a railroad brakeman who was killed when he was in between two cars. he on his client a jury award of $683,000, and his own lawyering in the case reminds us of some of the best lawyering in his book. it is now my great honor to present the inaugural harper lee prize for legal fiction the john grisham. [applause] >> hithank you, dean, for this award. and thanks also to the university of alabama school of law. to the aba journal for cosponsoring the award.
thanks to harper lee for giving her blessings what we are doing here today. a special thanks to the incredibly intelligent, insightful, well read and a student panel of judges that chose my book. [laughter] you guys are really sharp. many of us, especially those from the south can remember the first time we read "to kill a mockingbird." for me, i was in the ninth grade, ms. tubbs english class. i was 15 years old in 1959 when we read the story. for the first time that class had black kids in it. and it prompted some discussion that were not always comfortable. as a child, as a kid reading the book i was entertained by the adventures of scout, jim as they tormented boo radley and watched
surreptitiously the trial of tom robinson. reading the book as an adult, i was more impressed with the dignity and courage of tom and his lawyer, atticus finch, also mr. gregory peck. and i was astounded by the injustice of that error. that trial was 75 years ago. and for those of us who observe the legal system and write about it, we are still confronted with injustice and inequality in a system that often convicts innocent people, since been to prison, and even executes them. unlike many, i cannot say that atticus finch inspired me to go to law school. i don't know what i was thinking when i went to law school. but i do recall ye