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tv   2016 J. Anthony Lukas Prize  CSPAN  May 21, 2016 7:00pm-8:31pm EDT

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>> >> the literary great to social concern that characterize the award's namesake. celebrating the gifted winners to the 19,689th fellow who i first melt met a few years later as i was a fellow. as a history enthusiast in senior executive at they
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established the prize and has generously sponsored the lucas prize projects since its creation and we are honored to have with us his daughter. [applause] and other board members. >> it is good to see you here again judging book prizes is challenging and time consuming we had a record number of entries this year that i want to a
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knowledge special gratitude to all those who are with us tonight you so much the. [applause] and also to those whose with the engineered the evening. when starting a writing career as one of the of master storytellers it was here at harvard and return to campus winning two pulitzer prize the first 1968 the two worlds of linda f. fitzpatrick that is the investigative piece of a
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teenager whose wealthy family had no knowledge of her drug life until there were found beaten to death with her boyfriend the landmark of school desegregation and busing in boston it is hard to overstate that power which holds a place of distinction in our libraries and for many journalists that i know the common ground past sir jack is a standard bearer of the narrative then it is a rare year that i did not hear a fellow's name who had the most profound impact on their development as a writer one of his great gaffes was to pare the common with the combustible there was a fine tension and
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i think that must characterize what it would be like to be in boston during bad period and indulge me a just want to read something that i think it exemplifies that in the book beginning of chapter 24 the lobster ship was a lowly one of "the boston globe" and the dismal hours between midnight and dawn to the phone on reception desk stopped ringing the only sound was the presses he wed fortify himself with coffee while he waited for there first date printed paper to come up from the loading dock with the first edition arrived october 7, 1974 he turned to the sports section pleased to see the patriots
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had butchered the baltimore colts. [laughter] came off on his finger. reaching for a tall when he heard it first. dropping to his knees you could see the bullet hole. then he heard another crash. a man clambered out and pumps several more shots into the building then the door slammed a and the car fishtailed up the boulevard. when the police arrived at 12:47 a.m. they found three holes in the window and the slug lodged in the lobby. a few inches away from where
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john was reading the newspaper. he published five important books each and examination of a critical risk of the social and political landscape with those individuals caught up in the tides of change a journalist of intestine the - - intensity that while reporting he abandoned one family midway to the seven year project because his place was not working dramatically and was absolutely brilliant to take journalism to a new level but had the doggedness of an old-fashioned police reporter and we would honor his memory bank did to linda
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and the lincoln family for the is the words that we embrace with of latest showcase as the is deemed nieman fellow the without like to invite jonathan as a journalist and author and moderate the discussion with the letter -- winning author tonight. [applause] >> the book price of narrative nonfiction on the topiof political concern to exemplified though literary grace and commitment to serious research and social responsibilities that characterize the distinguished work. this year's winner is author
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susan southard for her book "nagasaki" it was also a finalist in 2012. please join us. [applause] >> "nagasaki" will upset you and describes the indescribable to take "the reader" through the bombing of nagasaki a half century of lions and truth to deny that radiation and poisoning was real. she reaches the final
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chapter to tell the complete story without the diatribe to leave "the reader" that such a thing must never happen again. [applause] >> of finalists in is dale russakoff author of "the prize" if. [applause] the judges right in their citation to be powerfully expose howland contentions gore arrived after the pledge $100 million to public schools her account of the convergence of celebrity politicians and a
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philanthropist of students and teachers struggling through poverty is a serious portrait of the enormous challenges saving schools of investigative reporting. congratulations. [applause] history surprise adding history with expression of this year's winner is professor nikolaus wachsmann for the book "kl" and a professor of modern european history. please join us. [applause] the judges citation reads "kl" diabolical institution that evolved and expanded as
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the nazis immediate objective change. drawn on archives in virtually every country occupied by the third reich nikolaus wachsmann challenges the concentration camp and the holocaust as one in the same. as the contras -- concentration camp was the final solution most of the jews murdered by the nazis never became inmates because they were shot elsewhere or sent straight to the gas chambers. a majority of prisoners who perished in the concentration camp were not jews. the authors greatest achievement is to make the inconceivable paul poled trying those records to let
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the big demand of victimizers to have seen after scene of insufferable. rarely has anyone combined history to such powerful effects. [applause] select the finalists is "black earth" by a timothy snyder a professor at yale university but could not be with us tonight but the citation reads in the bull the provocative new approach timothy snyder takes the focus off of death camps like auschwitz of the early mass murder of those jews who occupied poland and soviet union and brilliantly illustrates how the destruction of the
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institutions of the killing of their entire jewish populations. and many if not most had died. lessening the role opens the door to chaos and violence has profound unsettling ramifications. congratulations. >> finally the of j. anthony lukas work in progress word to -- award given to political and social concern. and editor of the "washington post" won the $30,000 prize for his work called separate of race and ambition bringing legal separation to america.
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>> separate is the little-known story behind plus si vs. ferguson the case from the law of the land to half a century of racial discrimination they studied the ruling that upheld the louisiana law that mandated separate railroad cars for whites in and coloreds but interwoven narrative takes the story of a huge direction to fundamental questions how did it happen? why did plessey enter the whites only railroad cars to be arrested? how could a court with justices come into in the unjust decision?
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finding answers long and hard for those in the landmark case is beginning with the three main characters that wrote the majority opinion and justice john marshall who wrote the lone dissent and those who designed the legal strategy those parts were played by a supporting cast of the human story replete with ironies and consequences deeply researched and well told. congratulations. [applause] a finalist for the work in progress toward -- toward for the work entitled the new wild west good judges
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wrote the first hand account of a small midwestern town is good old-fashioned internal was and at its best. she reports on the transformation of the native american neighbors with the thousands of workers to hold up in those camps. a 21st century re-enactment that was all too familiar of 19th century america and will tell like it is to end by saying she needs to finish the job. no pressure. [laughter]
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[applause] >> nobody can be accused or those books though something of that kind. of the jim crow segregation it is hard to imagine of the elimination and with the astonishing capacity to shed light on a very complex subject so what i will do is
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talk and then ask some questions what they have in common. i hope we can take people into the process of writing these books. but how they did it. starting with steve luxembourg it was central to this foundation of that narrative nonfiction it is hard for us to understand
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but also curve problems. so that is what we are about anybody else there who wants to support the mission that is my pitch. [laughter] so to give an example of why this took longer than anyone anticipated, for your booktv completed two years ago ago, this is important. the reason it took so long but you actually chose a topic of what the nature of your topic should be.
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>> the previous editor said to me and trying to make yourself responsible. i thought i can do it. [laughter] but it makes it very difficult for the expert of one era so you have to separate out and unfortunately bay choose to many roads. from the 20th-century the question that the center
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while was this particular supreme court case is significant? >> i look at subtitles' like that and reject them because publishers like them. somebody told the story in some way of of brooklyn bridge. and rushing off with the engineer. and in the pre-internet days to see 100 other books. but not the books he wanted to write. [laughter] and their road to a couple of profs to ask and i was
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gratified that you agreed walt told from a legal point of view or a very human point of view. some of my characters the least of them have not. to add elimination to their lives. and it came from that abolitionist thought. he had a liberal bringing. and those to in his lifetime the yankee and separating
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the decision. so how does that occur? >> how does that occur? >> when your book is done and then to write to that conversation. [laughter] so historians make the mistakes but we know the outcome of the case. of the seeds that were planted that explained to us how he or she behaved. the evolution of their lifetime with the environment that they lived in.
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and with the congressional campaign. >> but there is some of history's that is one that was almost created. i don't think that is true. and how they involved at that point. and the same that pushed on him. and there is no other way to be a democrat or republican but he was tired of losing. >> as a relatively pragmatic
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political decision that is meant to be america. and it is profound. >> although the discussion about race with my research is much more lightly than i would have thought. and they were more honest of their views in the '60s and '70s than we are today. >> they did not shy away from the discussion. there were important decisions to make. to be as modern as that language to deal with public
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accommodations. it then that becomes the heart of plessey vs. ferguson. but it was the first of three such dates. it took until 1906 so does the rush to do that separately. >> a common thing in that period and the precedents to be found by the future. with the abolitionists.
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>> i interested in both. >> but narrowing the definition of the 14th amendment if they had ruled the other way they were different justices of precedents if you will i never of they were bound by presidents but if they would like to come to a different conclusion we like to think they were wrong or bad bets they were correct. >> who was plessey and why was he at the center of the case? >> the second of two young
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men selected to enter the white car and preparation for the test case before it goes to the supreme court. he was not arrested or manhandled as a result. they wanted to test the case and it would be long it wanted to know how many they were supposed to have. the reason they had the to test case they screwed the first one up first they won the supreme court in louisiana said you could not cross state lines see you
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could not tell mississippi or alabama how they should design their railroad cars with interstate railroads. meant to say over the states and the state. >> but do they say that? >> the conductor knew he was supposed to arrest them but because he looked white the you cannot enforce the law if you cannot tell the color of the people you are asked to separate. he looked white and was in the white car.
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>> now moving on to have a glimpse of the future and then a the western reserves is the most famous advocates by the 1890's. and those reconstruction novels determined to make the civil war become real and finish the job. he was run at a town with the social justice warrior
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end then he ends up in the case somewhat by accident but the only city in the country would have been new arlen's because in charleston and richmond but this was free before the civil war after was regarded became black as a third class. and they are very subtle about it. with the constitutionality.
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>> it was another 60 years before brown vs. board of education and as a result of this case have seminal a moment that was. but now we move into another seminal moment not just american history but to of japan and in the world and susan southard book "nagasaki". >> en is those that are the
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survivors of the nuclear bomb. and focusing on a few characters as one type of foam and how did you find them? >> before i began the book back in 1986 and was in washington d.c. and he was on a speaking tour provide know-how that unfolded but i must have given him my business card the next day i got a call asking if i could step in to be the interpreter for the final two days.
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it was transforming because he spoke no english so reading the of translation was easy but of all the time in between our present hours of the time we had together he was 57 then. and was phenomenal. >> actually went to nagasaki the following year and the survivors but i wasn't working on the book yet. when i decided to write the book in 2003 i knew he would be a character and i
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contacted him again but i contacted the museum the peace memorial hall and the nagasaki foundation for the promotion of peace to try to find survivors i can interview and in 2003 and that two more survivors. and i collected hundreds of testimonies looking beneath the atomic bomb i knew there others that i needed to give some representation that by people does not represent the hundreds of thousands to
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get a family story to have an amazing story of her family what happened to her and her family in the aftermath 13 years that is a long time you're almost under my plan. [laughter] >> how many trips did you take? that is very difficult to do in a different language. into also speak japanese. >> for the book i went five times.
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all my research with psychologist and historians and archivists i spend a lot of time in the library i don't read japanese well so most sources were in english except the original interviews which i did in japanese. >> what i found interesting and to prevent the truth from coming out and to do a book about hiroshima and for a reporter as "the chicago tribune" and what happened to that report? >> when macarthur enter japan he issued a the
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japanese press go. he said the you could not talk about it but there was so many rules ultimately nothing could be said in the media about the atomic bombings. so nobody else knew what was going on so he snapped his way down so the european press was allowed to go to certain places with a junket
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to the and interesting place to escape to make his way down. the trains for the story ended to a camel long time to get to nagasaki and then pretended to be an american official and had to submit with the censorship office where everything had to go through. but this is an amazing book. and it is a carbon copy of
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all of his writings. >> at the time of the japanese surrender and had nothing to do with nagasaki. by the russians getting ready to intervene. is that the necessary? [laughter] >> that is a big question. i cannot say to that level it is somewhat close because of those documents were
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destroyed between the surrender and the occupation we don't have the record but basically there is no evidence that the nagasaki bomb had anything to do with the surrender. and the russian invasion of manchuria and 11 hours before are one of the key things and they found out 30 minutes after it occurred and it didn't come up in the debates of what to do. it is close the door isn't completely shut. >> but the character say he doesn't hate americans just
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the war. >> it is hard for me to speak for all of them for those that have died since the bombing so i don't know. civic of all of the characters that our alive and is their hostility to discuss this? >> as i would look at the final ones i did have one cancel and she decided she never met an american and did not want to. as a childhood friend of
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somebody else interviewed and they said you should have this interview bin she canceled. so i cannot say across the board and i just want to say without the spoiler alerts just for the record. >> there is a new museum in nagasaki. at the time i was visiting but hiroshima was less willing to contextualize. but day had a context of japanese militarism. what do sure cents of how they come to terms with this
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part of their history that americans have not come to terms with the toll the bomb >> you may know about the smithsonian museum debacle in 1995 when there were going to exhibit to make ted delivery of the bomb but provide some photographs and artifacts of the survivors and ultimately the military spoke up and protest and it was shut down. so in nagasaki similarly in
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1996 it was going to include more of the military atrocities and it was slammed down by the right wing of much drastic actions so it is unresolved in both countries to some degree but it is hard to speak for an entire city because the young guest would be 71 this summer and the oldest of the ones that i know our 89 or 90 there is a whole number of generations that followed and is very much anti-nuclear city and
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they're all educated with the peace education program in every school very interesting to be a part of that a few times but i don't know if they have resolved the great harm their nation has caused or that their military has caused the same way adults think we have. >> the with the health effects but if you were within 1 mile the chances of getting cancer were near 50 percent? >> i am afraid i don't remember there were so many aspects. >> but there was a lot of fear of the genital problems but that has not happened as
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much as there was a tremendous amount of radiation and cancer as a result of radiation and as late as the 1960's the american press said that was not the case. >> you are right everything in their research from japan in united states after the war is by distance and shielding and it is quite a complicated factor who got sick and who didn't and even then it is arbitrary it seems so i don't remember saying anything about the '60s in the of books. >> i worked at the
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"newsweek" and they printed that steady that there was no long-term radiation. >> is absolutely remarkable how blatant that denial was and in the media. and because of the official narrative the government created of the bomb to close down the fact that for the people that survived the war never ended because they thought they were burned from the inside out.
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>> japan may find itself under pressure to go nuclear heidi think they would feel about having their own nuclear capability or how president obama will be perceived when he goes to hiroshima? >> for state think he will be very welcome and that is my sense i wish to ago to nagasaki as well. i think he will be very cautious with his remarks as to initiatives little controversy as possible that is money cents of everything so far of leading up to the announcement but as far as going nuclear japan is not a unilateral country but that
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people really like their peace constitution and to me it would be hard to imagine a nuclear weapon being built there is really beyond my imagination that the people would ultimately allow that. >> the nationalist? i know they want to get out from under that. >> i am afraid i don't know i did not study that well enough to answer that correctly but they don't want to be dependent on the united states for that protection i think. >> you went in a different direction that instead of
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doing a the more conventional tony lucas approached to minimize that narrative technique of collecting half a dozen characters you decided you would do something different >> i thought about it. >> why did you decide not to? >> if i could go back that i would find the idea to tell the story through the history and the stories of those individuals the more work on this the more realize that is the way to go because evenfall people
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of the of representative story one important thing to say that your experience enormously depending on your background for your age and your gender which campy were taken to we're you end up in the hierarchy so you can see we are dealing with a huge number of groups that were victims and wanted them to tell their story as comprehensive as i could of bader the inmates do not survive so how do i give
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them a voice? i had to find other ways to make their story as part of the narrative from what we do have. >> it is such a mammoth work of the synthesis of what you accomplished so brilliantly to keep "the reader" going to feel you had to introduce certain humane voices? >> i thought about what might tone should be or the language but the decision i took early to take myself out of the narrative if i
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could to let the prisoners or those perpetrators speak to put those stories and to the narrative i was surprised the more work cry did hominy prisoners in the camps themselves tried to write their experience or leave evidence of their life inside for their loved ones in families and friends with secret diaries or secret photographs and gave immediate insight at the time for what they thought at the time and the rumors around the camp like a choir of different voices and in
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some of them cropped up again and again. >> there is so much in this book i did nine know and i thought i knew a lot especially how many 27 main and 1100? over how many countries? and tell us about those differences. >> how long do i have. [laughter] >> the reason the book is so heavy they be sugar to paper back. [laughter] >> it is such a broad question. >> you said it was the only one of the camps part of the
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final solution most died outside the camp at auschwitz is having a different category from that >> is a good starting point because it is almost synonymous with the concentration camps from what most people associate now the three things are important to say there is more than auschwitz auschwitz's the single most deadly place there is no other site in german controlled europe and auschwitz but yet most are killed elsewhere with special death camps which
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operate differently than separately but there's also more to auschwitz it was not said that does up the camp to murder the jews it was set up it was is polish opposition but even when it becomes a death camp and then becomes the major death camp they always have multiple functions medical experiments and so one so there's more to auschwitz them off holocaust and more to the concentration camps in auschwitz. . .
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as part of this larger story. which try, i hope to to bring home to readers just how dynamic and different the system was. i said before that was not the typical prisoner. there's no typical camp so in 1933 it was a run down munitions factory, we have 100 or 120 of those men that treated fairly humanely. they sleep in the same building, none of them think they are going to be there for very long.
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in 193939 it's a completely different scene. several thousand prisoners have uniforms and suddenly you have this tear which we associate with the camps. then in 1945 we have 30,000. all over europe, no longer just german. we have dead and half dead prisoners all over the camps. even at a place like that it has changed completely. a lot of prisoners died after liberation. >> at 1. i think you said 10% and a couple of the camps died after they were liberated, they were so weak. >> my guesstimate is about 30,000 survivors do not survive the first week or month of liberation. the book, the the main chapter of the book ends with liberation , there is a scene in
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which i describe to prisoners, a german prisoner who embrace and they cry and there is great elation, the americans are here, finally they're free. it was after the book which is about the most unimaginable for, on an offbeat note if you will, schadler's schiller's list happy end if you will, what i said in the epilogue is i told the story of these two men. it's not a happy ending. they both end up in america but one of them works as a per professional doorman and he goes up to europe and dies. the other one does not fare much better. these stories are part of the camp too.
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it would've been tempting to and with this moment of liberation but you can read about it and see it and there are a lot pictures. there's a picture in the book of celebrating prisoners were cheering and so on. but this kind of jubilation does not last for long. >> there many holocaust survivors in the united states and they were issued the blue card which is it interesting which helps those who may be did not a family here. the became like that man who played santa claus for a while i may have had hard lives in the united states. but i was also really struck by how little justice there was in that some workers in the camps, prison guards were over punished, some were often
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inmates who were charged by other inmates, some of them were actually executed whereas others got free and they somehow averted justice. like they set up these camps that may well been death camps considering the death toll. >> and it's not just the businessmen and so on, it's also the guards, most of them get away, polish colleagues have tried to follow from nash wits guard, i think 6000 or or 6500 or so survived the second world war. and maybe 15% of them and up in court. you you can do the math. the great majority don't.
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in the early postwar period many months and years, there are a large number of trials. they're very haphazard, but there are trials. most of the big wigs are tried. but most of the ranking five get away and by the time you get to the late 40s, early 50s which have the cold war, it's no longer politically talk about the past, everyone wants to move on in the east and west. in both in east germany and west germany they see these trials fall by the wayside. >> so i want to talk about technique. everybody has their own little quirky system, it might be certain kind of software, it might be a ritual that you use for writing, what is your secret sauce, and how do you get that. >> i have no technique mac well
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for me it was all structure, i would have to -- first of all ahead of the researcher i hired a researcher for 11 of the 12 years that i worked on the book because i am not a trained historian. >> you could have fooled me. [laughter] >> thank you. but she contribute a great deal in finding documents that i would've never known how to find. and so that was my system. so i would read hundreds of books and i would mark them and i either, my researcher or other people that i hired part-time would scan and i would put them in categories. so every chapter had maybe 30 or
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40 small categories of the primary survivor stories, the the main characters and then all of the other hundreds of survivors who are not names but their stories are woven into the narratives, the u.s. perspective, the japanese perspective, the medical perspective, the social and psychological, the rebuilding of the city, all of these different things, i would -- so i would read the major sources and all the minor sources i would divided up and then i would have that i would have to read again and say what is the story and how to do it meant i would have to decide what is the structure, how are they all interrelated. the level of trying to find how to write that narrative for me was the greatest challenge. in my editor had a great deal to do with some chapters helping me
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restructure in a way that would hold the story well, hold all of those components well. there's the personal narrative and then there's the exposition that is needed to flush out, like you are saying 12 people can't tell the story of postnuclear survival. >> nick, you need to speak. [laughter] >> i was tempted at the beginning, it would have made my life easier if i was structured dramatically. that i had a chapter on labor, chapter on on time, a chapter prisoner relation, a perpetrators, that would have made it easier to write in a way. but it would not have worked because as i tried to say before, these concentration camps even though they existed for sure. of time they were incredibly
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dynamic and the nazis first invented camp system when they come to power and then reinvented again and again. so you can only tell that story in a chronologically way. and that made made it that much more difficult to see these without repeating myself all of the time. what really helped me was the first structure. i decided then a few years in on a very strict structure which i have to conform to in a way that was a film movement in the scandinavian country coming denmark, 16 years of dogma, i'm not sure but if you remember this. they had very had very strict rules about what was allowed. in a sense i tried to approach it in a similar way. one chapter had three sub
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chapters, each subchapter had other subchapters in so on. and that forced me into a rhythm, it forced me into not overwriting because the book could have been. >> you know actually i interviewed the director a couple of weeks ago in london. i think it was an extraordinary and he told me that for whatever reason the country that did not do particularly well was germany. >> so the concentration camp in germany, i'm not done yet. >> i won an award for not writing a book. [laughter] so i'm not sure i'm an authority on how to finish one. [laughter]
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>> i would say that a lot of writers want tips from people like us. i i have read the same story that you have about i get up in the morning, i do my yoga, every 500 words before breakfast and then i take a walk, and i set a goal for myself of 1600 words a day. or whatever that total is. i think that's nonsense for most writers. but what really bothered me when i did my first book was it sounded like a recipe for daily failure. nobody wants to feel every day. so for me, i use the word math, and quite mathematical, i have 23 chapters of my book, i my book, i have to finish by the state, that means i have to fail once every month. and when i say a deadline i'm going to write one chapter month and i can only fail once a month.
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[laughter] it makes me feel much better. >> i'm trying to still get my head around to work in progress, and the term that i came from work in progress is what you told an editor when they came up to you and said i read your lead and it's not very good and i say it's a work in progress it's a work in progress. [laughter] >> the thing is so many people had great ideas for books and you were a finalist for the work in progress in 2012. >> i think so. >> and beth who wrote factory man which is going to be a tom hanks movie on hbo, she said she could not have finished her book without the work in progress award. you got a lot of help from some other people, so how did you do that i know in your acknowledgment you head maybe
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half dozen people who supported you in some fashion. did you go out and get grants? how did. >> i had support on so many levels. i got a few grants, small, once a got the contract with the viking nurse was to finish in a year and i hired a team of translators to help me with all of the interviews that would've taken me another five or six years to do. i had my researcher and i borrowed money, my parents are here, they help me a great deal. i had to borrow a lots of money from family members and against my retirement which -- so the work in progress award is to keep people from having to borrow money from their parents.
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[laughter] >> so we have about ten minutes or a little more to take some questions. yes mark. >> if i could sneak in a couple of questions, i was curious about the hidden diaries, where did you find these, did did family members give them to you. >> most of them are published, some of them are on published in the sites, i went to a lot of memorial sites,. >> there are no longer hidden there just hidden at that time. >> have to imagine this includes notes and letters written by jewish prisoners for the nazis to work and it gas chamber nosh with two hidden notes and little body else which they buried in the ground. there is a a camera which was smuggled in, and that
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still exists, but there are also some prisoners who managed to write very long diaries undetected. there's a new region prisoner who literally it is just being republished. a a lot of his material is no longer in print. and some are very long diary because he's reveler relatively privileged as a norwegian. wanting a fix in my mind is a scene that describes unimaginable suffering. and he writes after that in his secret diary, my language was exhausted. he does not have any more words to describe the four. i don't know about you folks but that is something which echoed around in my head a lot. >> when he said i have no words
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and i think that had a huge impact on the american public and. >> it there's another diary of a female male prisoner, in oshawa it's and she kind of writes about how in 1944 they argued women in auschwitz, hungarian jews who talk about how their suffering could ever be commemorated. our explained to to somebody who wasn't. they think, could it be film, could it be music, art, how could, how could we ever explain what happened to us? and in the end they come to the conclusion that they can't. there is not not a way to really capture this. >> i just wanted another question to susan. did you go to u.s. government
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people were just the archives? if you went. >> i did not go to u.s. government officials, no. just archives. i was trying to see what the happening in the u.s. and how the u.s. was proceeding but i had to stay focused on the survivors. >> anybody else have a question or,. >> i think it was about a week ago i read an article in the new york times about how many of their survivors are living in poverty now, how's that possible? >> the question is about how many survivors are living in poverty now. nick you might be able to answer it. there's an organization in the
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united states called blue card which is dedicated to helping poor holocaust survivors. the reason is that a certain number of cases they came here after the second world war, they they do not have family here, they were from europe. they were accepted as refugees so they did not have the family support structures. some of them did not make much money over the course of their lives. now they are elderly and they need some help. we have dentists who are involved to will provide dental care for holocaust survivors through the blue card. you would not think it would be a problem. you would think that the mainstream jewish organizations would take care of these folks, but they kind of slipped through the cracks and it has been a problem for a while because in the last while if you're
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interested, get in touch with the blue card. >> [inaudible question] >> it was a constant struggle to get even some kind of compensation or pension from the authority, i mentioned before the survivor who comes to america works and goes back in the dim poverty. one of the files i found and i managed to track down his institution file, his claims to the german authority. again and again attention was not paid to him, he then writes a letter i found in 1979 where nine where he writes to the german authorities for literally
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something along the lines of it would probably be a picture everybody if i killed myself. then you would have one complaint less to deal with. this is not an isolated story. >> this is like the u.s. claims conference for the last 20 years. others have been involved in trying to get more money, but it does not end up being very much money for an individual holocaust survivor. >> i know people who were in their 40s and there parents and they got tested every week year. so how do you reconcile the government ignoring it so early and now they do this a very extensive testing. >> in japan. >> to the children, grandkids and survivors. >> which i was surprised as i only i only heard the ignoring story. >> japan resisted providing
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healthcare benefits, it was the united states that denied radiation altogether. yes and research continues, this massive lifelong studies for both the aging survivors, their children and their grandchildren, because as you said the children, there have been no scientific data that there is been an outcome but they're not sure it's going to skip a generation. so there still question. >> i think the other thing that everybody knows is the nuclear weapons we have now are 100 times the power that they were nagasaki, or more. >> i am very curious to know how you felt personally with the horrific event that were described to you when you were
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interviewed about staying true to the goal and telling the bigger picture and being true to your project. how did you handle that when receiving all this information, from people who had been so traumatized and continued this, what did you do personally, how did you deal? >> my main way with that i grew to love the survivors that i got to know. i knew their stories far better than their children did for example. some of their children speak and read english and they've learned so much about their parents. so because i cared about them so much and how different each one
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was like you are saying, and trying to capture their unique experience and because i cared about them so much as older adults that is what help me stay grounded. it doesn't mean that i always felt grounded. there were many times where i cannot bear it anymore. but that was my touch point, all the time having their photos as i knew them at the time of the writing and as older adults having them right in front of me to look at and remember their energy, and way of expressing themselves, the way some of them began to care for me as a human being. there was a a relationship there. that is what help me the most. also, i i will just say one thing. we had to be very, in our selection of photographs we decided not to publish some of the worst photographs. it was not like we were always
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going as quite as bad as it was actually. >> to end on a more cheerful notes, you devoted your entire career and that the only book you have written on this, how do you stay cheerful amid the subject matter? >> well -- it's not always easy. among the most difficult challenges really are two try to keep your empathy for the people you are writing about but also you have to have some distance in this material to write it. if i broke into tears every time i looked at these testimonies i
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would not be able to write. it is a tricky line you walk. another tricky challenge for me in this book was to make a decision about what stories i would tell them which i could not tell. each prisoner experience the camp in their own way. each of those stories deserves to be told. but i cannot tell them all, and that in some ways was the hardest thing in this book, to leave some of these incredible stories out. sometimes not writing about it is harder than writing about it. >> so. >> so the titles of all these books for c-span viewers who may have tuned in the middle seat can go out and buy them. steve luxemburg's is going to be called separate. it is not even to the printer yet are finished yet. but look for it.
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[laughter] net nick walk-ins book is called "kl" and susan's book is called, "nagasaki, life after nuclear war". thank you for everybody for coming. [applause]. [applause]. [applause]. [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] >> when i tune in on the weekends it's usually authors share their new releases. >> watching nonfiction authors on book tv is the best television for serious readers. >> on c-span they can have a longer conversation and dive into their subjects. >> book tv weekends, they bring you author after author, after author that spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love book tv and i am a c-span fan. >> listen liberal, that's how it's supposed to be said, the! it is important because what we're talking about here, and what i'm talking about in the book is sort of an massive wave of public anger that is out there in this country. it is brought on by, leslie blunt about it, the failure of the democratic party. by the failure of these guys in a situation for success was perfect. the book is not a another collection of another gripes,
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complaints about gridlock in d.c. or how appalling it is that our country is so polarized. the failure that i'm referring to is bigger than things like that. with the exception of a global warming and nuclear war, it is basically the greatest public problem we face in our lifetime. president obama himself has said that any quality is defining challenge of our time. that is a pretty sweeping statement. but when you think about it, it, it is not anywhere near sweeping enough. inequality, this word that we like to word is a shorthand for all of the things that have gone in recent years to make the lives of the rich so much more delicious, year-over-year for the last three or four decades. also for the things that have made the lives of working people so wretched and precarious in that same period.
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inequality is visible in the ever rising cost of healthcare and college in the coronation of wall street and the slow, plating of where ever it is you happen to live, you catch a glimpse of inequality every time you hear about someone who had to declare bankruptcy when their kid got sick or when you read about the lobbying industry that dominates the city i live in, washington, dc. or the weird new political requirement we have that all of our candidates either be chosen for us by billionaires or else be billionaires themselves. so inequality is this kind of euphemism that we like to use for the appalachia vacation of the war that we live inches it's harper's magazine.'s magazine. so i can say that. appalachia vacation. so inequality is the way speculators and even criminals get a helping hand from uncle sam while the vietnam vet loses his house. inequality is is the reason some people find such
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enormous significance in the ceiling height of an entrance or the content of a beer while others will never believe in anything again. now, look. it's the republicans of course who bear the primary responsibility for our modern plutocracy. i've written many books about this. this is what is launch us on this era of tax cutting and wage the press and that live in. they are the ones that made a religion of the market and bought ferociously to open our politics to the influence of money at every level. i think that just blaming the republicans and then getting back into the partisan war is not good enough any longer. i think it is time that we understood that the things that have been describing our, they represent a failure of the democratic party as

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