tv In Depth In Depth with Walter Mosley CSPAN August 24, 2018 10:03pm-11:03pm EDT
confident that judge kavanaugh will be an excellent addition to our nation's highest court. >> watched a one of the senate confirmation hearing. live tuesday september 4 on c-span three. much anytime on c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> next some book tv in prime time, the first hour of a fiction addition of in-depth with walter mosley. mr. mosley is the author of 40 bucks including devil in a blue dress and most recently, down the river and into the sea. mr. mosley, welcome to book tvs fiction addition. let's start with the devil in a blue dress. this is the book that launched the series with easy rawlings.
>> easy rawlings is an everyman for the black community in the middle of the 20th century. he has been to world war ii, his whole view of himself and world of community and potential has changed. he came back to southern texas and cannot live there because what he has learned. he and thousands of other southern black people have moved to los angeles. what we do is follow him as an under unofficial detective. he reveals what life was like in parts of los angeles. >> how did you come up with the name? >> guest: i was writing a story. a voice was speaking and it was talking about this party and how he is trying to raise money to pay rent. he talked to or about a woman he
was in love with but then there's another guy named mouse and mouse comes in and he says how are you doing. and that's where he came from. >> host: what voices he supposed to represent, easy rawlins? >> guest: it's interesting. what he represents us how the african-american voice is one of the voices in the -- of america. >> did you set out to use him as a vehicle for social commentary? >> any good novel it doesn't have to be a great novel, but any good novel that talks about any character has to talk about how the characters anchored in
society and the culture and politics. if you don't do that you don't have a real character. seems to me that everybody does that. not a lot of people were doing it with black male heroes. in doing it like that it becomes a strong cultural and social commentary. not because that was my intention but because i was the only person doing it for quite a while. >> one raises for once a black man's feelings are being expressed to make yep, that's true. it's the traditional form is this black character. i'm not trying to take anything away from either. otherwise, the people the people and misrepresenting would be
misrepresented. >> did you aim to set out and create easy rawlings is a serious question. >> not necessarily. i had written another book called gone fishing. and i sent it out and all the publishers said, it's a wonderful book but it's not commercial. it's not commercial because white people don't write about black people and black men don't read. so they like the book but they thought they couldn't publish it. they were wrong but then i wrote devil in a blue dress. when i went to the publisher they said this is great because we have black detectives but then they said we don't want to just buy one book, will buy two. the decision was made by the
publisher it wasn't my idea, but i liked it. >> and pond faith you just i describe as a gun in one pocket and a short fuse in another. >> i think a lot of our heroes on battlefront's is one of the battlefront and they have to be willing to explode into violence and defend themselves. but how they make decisions and to try to control that is the point. i think of in moby dick the cook is throwing this off the shot side and the sharks have this feeding frenzy and the chef
starts to lecture them in says angels are just sharks have learned to control their appetite. is telling the sharks they don't have to be what they are. i think that's what you have with your character. >> where does erwin does devil in a blue dress take place? >> guest: 1948 in los angeles. it's an amazing event for change. population was like 240,000, 100,000 year going to move into southern ays these black people from southern texas and louisiana, and so what you see is this amazing amount of change, more than anyplace else in the country. the city is billing, the ideas are building, the culture is building, the relation between the races is building. it was a wonderful time. >> host: and easy rawlins, world war ii veteran. what story are you trying to tell by making easy recall wince a world war ii veteran.
>> guest: world war 2 was an will. >> i think world war ii was an amazing change for black people in america. it was for everybody. so one of my father's stories was that he left to go to the word 42 and 43 with about a hundred people he knew. they were together and most of them died not from violence but from disease or an accident. but when he got back to texas, almost everyone he knew was dead already. he realized he was safer in the largest or the history of the human race than he would've been at home in his bed. that's what moved him. >> host: when he returns after
world war ii, how was he treated? how was he treated in los angeles? >> guest: it was racialized in the south. but it was still institutionalized. for one thing, there were no jobs he could get whatever his talents were he wasn't to get those jobs in texas or louisiana or anywhere. so this is probably the biggest problem. i can't make a decent living. i can't own anything that can't be taken away. still, in los angeles you have a racist police department and the police. you and if he's in the car with a white woman will definitely stop him. they can do it they want to them
and he represents something that certain people want to hold down what they're afraid of also. but there's more opportunity inside of that. any job you want almost any job you want, you can get. nobody's going to take away your property based on race. you never can have a sign saying whites only. there are things that were very different. >> you talk about his migration from texas to los angeles. this represents part of the great migration happening in our country. why did you want to make that part of the story? >> i'm from los angeles. the black people in l.a. on one of the most important streets in central avenue were all of the major music of america either started there or move through their, these people stories hadn't been told.
there's a giant part of los angeles history that had been left are nobody was, talk or write about it. you don't exist unless you exist in fiction. they don't pick up history books and say want to learn something today. it's better to talk about it back all of them, john and half the people in the crowded room had migrated to houston. california was like heaven. people told stories how you could eat fruit off the trees. the stories were true for the most part the truth wasn't like the dream. life was still hard and even if you worked every day you still find yourself on the bottom. >> think they were problematic race relations with the police. but also in the sub conscious and unconscious there is a
notion for a long time that would be white. it would be with this european culture. something like you are better even if you did not work hard you are better because of what you were, not what you knew if you're very smart if you're chicano or black or asian, people would look down on you and make assumptions about what you could or couldn't two. if you did better than you should be able to do, there is anger and resentment. that was a lot to go through. is still hard today, but it was hard then for people to see what they were looking at without
putting something on it that wasn't true. >> how was it for black men versus black women? >> there's no versus. i think black men, people are more afraid of black men, more afraid of their anger and what has happened to them. the response of women these people think it's not violent. so black men have been kept out of the hero category. even in the greatest, -- people that richard wright wrote about her almost anyone. you didn't have that person to say i want to know that geyer be that guy. i want that guy to protect me.
>> host: he writing a book, industry becomes the next plantation, what did you mean? >> i don't remember writing that. it was 28 years ago. but when i hear it, it's your labor being sent to make somebody else rich. the interesting thing is i think it was more true in the 40s and the 50s that people of color suffered from working hard and not making enough. today, and america everybody suffers from it. as wealth moves towards a very small group of people that own everything, they don't care what color your or what gender you are. though take advantage no matter what. i think a lot of people are responding to that making a mistake thinking it must be the other people. it must be their fault it happen.
it's not. it's the fault of capitalism. easy rollins owns a home and it's very important to him. what are you saying with this concept of ownership? it's not just in the series of fearless jones which is narrated by character a small business owner with a bookstore in l.a. in the 1950s. this concept of ownership, who has it and why is it important? >> guest: if you go back to the beginning of america, citizen had to be a property owner. there's a political connection, a literal investment in the nation that you have citizenship with. it's true, if you're not a property owner, and your migrant. if you're migrant, you're not that important. maybe you can't vote for people don't pay attention to you. people gerrymander you out of existence. but to own property or
properties that cannot be taken away, this is my land. most people before the war that land means something. whether you are raising cattle are growing content it means something. >> host: this is a mystery novel, crimes are committed, and easy rollins has thoughts on the justice system. you wrote this and easy rollins voice. i thought it was wrong for a man to be murdered and in a more perfect world i thought the killer should be brought to justice. but i do not believe there is justice for negroes, thought there might be justice for a black man if he had the money to grease it. money isn't a sure bet but it is the closest to god i have ever seen in this world. >> guest: yes, i wrote that. i thought it then, and i think it now. when i wrote this book in at the
time it came out i think people thought there is justice. justice is not based on how much money you have or who represents you. but now but now i don't have money and i can get a fair shake. if i don't have money and i'm black, i'm not really not to get a fair shake. i think it is a truism that black people in america have known since we have been here. we came here is property. but, as time has gone on many more people have come to understand it. first they only understood it in our music and culture life. and also rhythm and blues. as time has gone on and entered into literature in general knowledge.
>> host: was that part of the motivation to write this book, to talk about the justice system. and did you choose the form of a mystery novel because of that? >> i chose the form because i like mysteries. i like raymond chandler and ross mcdonald. once i started writing about it the justice system kind of appeared. i think anybody reading my books would be able to make different decisions on things that have happened. you say well, i think this is right or wrong, as a fiction writer i am never trying to tell you what you should think. i'll tell you what easy rollins things are raymond alexander. i'll tell you what the police who are stopping him thing. but i'm not gonna tell you what you should think. >> i watched on youtube the book review of one of the easy rollins books. the woman given the book review
suggested to her audience, you need to read the whole series. could mr. mosley be from beginning to end? if you just pick up on book you don't know how he knows at a may or mouse, or mama joe. she said could there be an index for how he knows these people? >> guest: that means they see a book and want to read it and you say you have to read all 14 of the sale my gosh i have to reporting books, barely have time to read one. each book, you may not know the events that led up to easy's relationship with mouse, however you know how he knows mouse, how he feels about it, you know all of that. because i'm writing a novel not a chapter.
>> you continue on with devil in a blue dress. you focus on easy rollins in l.a. your latest book, down the river onto the sea takes place, what inspired you to write this story and about the city where you are today? >> guest: there was a political spark that started me to write these, the story. i'm thinking about black men specifically, eddie conway in baltimore, maryland were -- in pennsylvania. the man people are protesting about that got killed in san diego and the guy in new orleans. i'm thinking about all of the response to oppression in a
community that is usually not talked about. where a guy will be walking down the street and police will search him and question him and let him go. and he walks couple more blocks and more policemen stop it. as angry as he gets because he's just walking down the street, he has to make sure he never expresses that anger. if he expresses that then something bad will happen. if you add to that guy he becomes a journalist or political activist, anybody who does that they get a target on their back. they are very likely to be hurt. so, what i wanted to do was create a detective who was a policeman. even though his black, he was a police man. he's not going to feel sensitive about the man who was murdered
or killed two policemen and on death row. but as he investigates the case and sees what happens, he proves to himself beyond a shadow of a doubt that this guy probably killed him but they were definitely trying to kill him. it was as far as he could tell self-defense. then what happens when you know something like that and what kind of decisions to make and that's what i wanted to do with this book. >> reminder viewers of who -- is. >> a political activist, and journalists in philadelphia who the police say got into a gun battle with them. he said he didn't. a policeman or two died and he was sentenced to death. for me like if you kill somebody
you should pay with whatever the law has to set. but if there's extenuating circumstances they have to come out but it's true of him and of a lot of people. anybody watching this when you see somebody on top of somebody and shooting him coming think well there something wrong with this. a policeman should never be doing that. if it does happen then you have to wonder what others will think and feel and that is what the novel addresses. >> host: did you speak to ? >> no. so, how do you then grab from that story or any story they try
to incorporate? >> more than anything else a guy was being interview and he lived in one complex here and there's one with two different gangs in a policeman came and started bringing the children together so the children of opposing games could at least play football together. one of the guys was asked what he think about this and he says it's amazing that the police are helping. i'm used to the police grab me, throw me in jail. that's what my relationship with the polices. but this is general knowledge now, not just among black people but among poor white people in america. that the police become people who are trying to force you to
fit inside in order that may not be conducive to your life and lifestyle. because of that you have to write about it. down the river, even though it's about these black characters it's kind of like america and goes back to the issue of how much money you have, who's protecting you and taking care of you and who feels like you are an enemy. >> host: your next book is john woman, what is that about? >> guest: it is a novel about a guy who is a historian. a historian that starts when he's a kid. he grows up and kills a guy. in self-defense, but he killed the guy. and he completely re-creates himself, so who he was he doesn't have the same name, doesn't have the same birth certificate or anything the
same. he becomes what he has done. it's following him through this path of how he sees himself in the world around him. and he discovers things about himself, one thing is that he's a sociopath. and that has helped him in america become successful. one thing i believe is i believe that if there's something wrong with you, if your sociopath, you'll probably be more successful in america. >> how do they respond to your ideas that are not the easy rollins book? >> guest: they hated. i've had so many publishers. i give them a couple of mysteries and then say i'm in a
write a book like john woman her fortunate son, or all of these books. and when i want to give them that book they say no. go to another publisher is if you publish this book all right another mystery. they say okay. so they publish that book and a mystery. i may say only mysteries from now on. so then i go to another publisher. >> host: you have written a lot of books. do the characters in the book reflect people in your life? >> guest: that is a hard question. obviously it must in some ways. i don't write about myself or people i know, don't write about my mother, my father, but i read about worlds that are experiences. so, in a way yes but mostly no. >> was raymond alexander and how did you come up with the idea of
his character and the character of mouse. >> mouses interesting. i had a friend as crazy as mouse. he made a living hijacking liquor trucks. he would hijack a liquor truck and get cases of whiskey i would say for this for me for a week. so she said how much she oh man my father would ome, roy, and my say paying for two bottles. . . barber shop and got in a fight and said you owe me a nickel. the guy said i paid everything. the said you owe me a nickel, you going to pay me right now. so he guy says, no, and he kills him, shot him in the barber
shop. he was arrested and went to prison and spent the rest of his life there. i know what -- i was too young to remember this guy but i never knew him. don't remember him. i t but the story sparked mouse for me. mouse is a very different character. but it comes from that story. >> host: the same youtube review of your books, the woman asked if you would make a book about raymond alexander, maybe write a b book or two about him. >> guest: well, you know -- >> host: as the protagonist. >> guest: raymond is the pure sociopath. john is not a pure sociopath, you know? he belongs inside the system fot most of the things that he does, and he just every once -- a certain set of circumstancespe happen, he's going to go way b outside of the box. but only then.
mouse lives outside the box. and if you're a sociowhere path live willing outside the -- is sociopath livingte outside the box, it's t not interesting because you know h what he's gog to do. i've never had a story pop up about raymond all by himself. >> host: who's jackson blue? who is he based on? >> guest: jackson blue, he has c lot of my characteristics in him. him and paris minton. they're both really smart, they really hike the sedentary intellectual pursuits, you know, reading, writing, thinking, j debating. he's's technologically really brilliant. hete knows everything about computers before computers know them themselves. and i like writing about those characters because, you know, it's rare -- i mean, there's so many things that are not written about black men, but one of them is, well, this guy's a genius. he can do anything. he's also really a coward. mean, he's afraid of his own
shadow, and his shadow goes a greatdi distance.s but he's completely frightened of it. a and i like that also because, you know, not a everybody has to be big and strong and courageous. they, you know, he's small and scrawny and afraid of anything. and iny also, i like that character. you know? especially because he's also a genius. >> host: he's a computer -- as you say, computer genius. you were a computer programmer? >> guest: yes. i was not a computer genius, but i was a programmer. [laughter] and i liked, you know, kind of giving him that problem. >> host: i think in one of the books e.z. rollins says about jackson bluee that he only kept -- he had book shelvest every in his home whence he made -- once he made it, and he only kept books that he was going to read twice. do you have that. same -- >> guest: yeah. it's kind of a way, you look at yourt book shelf, and there's 12 books t that you've got on the p that you haven't looked at them
for 12 years, and they're not doing anything on the shelf, but you know if you give them to, you know, a used bookstore or a library or just put them outside in a p box, people will pick thm up and read them.oo and that's books are for, they're not to just sit there on the shelf. >> host: why is that important? reading? >> guest: well, i think reading is important because it's closest thing that we have to active thinking. you know, i love music, i love film and movies and stuff likeos that, but those things are much more passive as a rule. but when you're reading, you're actually creating the images that you're reading about and the thoughts and the ideas and the systemss of thought. and so when you're reading like that, your mind is getting exercise that it doesn't get doing anything else other than working and learning and work, youg know, from experience or being educated by somebody closo
to you like your parents or a a boss who's concerned about you. >> host: was there a message that you're sending about education and the importance ofo reading in your books? because e.z. rollins realizes that he needs to read more. he say toss his son who wants ta drop off the high school, yes, but you need to read with me every day, and then you need to explain to me what you've read in your own words? he has this character, jackson blue, who is a reader. >> guest: yeah, well, there's no competing with jackson. [laughter] if you read, you won't end upja being jackson blue anyway. if you didn't start off like him, you're not going to endit like him. but, you know, i think it's anbo interesting thing to talk about and to support that the mind is a really important sphere and that we have to pay attention tt that mind, and there are only certain ways that we can do it. and also, you know, it's just, you know, so much talking about especially black men in america, you know, they're brutish,
they're primal, they're, you know, really sexual, all these things. you know, all the things i'm happy about. but, oh, yeah, presumal, brutish, sexual, but also i like reading. the history of the, world is interesting to me. and i think that, you know, this isis always -- i've always known in my life, you know, really intelligent black men who could, who could read and discuss and may, you know, with ideas with otherh people. and that's, that's really. important. ii think everybody should be writing, not just me, you know? it's not the only thing that i think, and it's not, you know, n don't -- if somebody says in order to be a writer you have the read, i'd say, you know, i'm not sure that's true. the greatest novelist in the lineage of the west is homer. he was blind and illiterate. but he knew how to tell stories. i think that telling of stories is more important for a writer
than reading other stories thatr people, you know, write. thatat doesn't mean that reading isn't important, it just means that it may not make you a writer. >> host: and what about what you read? because you wrote in blind faith that the librarian and e.z. rollins -- e.z. rollins comes into the library to get some help are -- help from the librarian, and she's reading catcher in the rye, and she has a scowl on her face. he asks her do you like the book, and she says, well, i do, but i can't imagine some black kid or latino kid reading this book, how are they supposed to relate? >> guest: it's true. >> host: whining about his life. >> guest: oh, yeah, i didn't like my car. man, if i had his money, i'd be happy. why he kills himself, i don't understand why anybody would kill themself if they've got all this t money. they've gotey a nice big house and, you know, and that's a notion. a but, you know, i mean, i think that i don't have any limit on
what you should read because what you like and what you don't like, who knows what it is. you know? it's not defined by your gerund, by your race -- by your gender, by your race, by your class. you might just love reading charles dickens or the idiot. okay, fine. but you should read what you love thehe, you know -- love to read. and if you open a book and say, wow, this story really draws me in, then read it. if it's a comic book, fine, you know? if it's george elliot, fine. i don't care. >> host: another character that is throughout the series is etta may. >> guest: yeah. >> host: who is she? >> guest: etta may is that woman who has the strengths and the weaknesses that black women have had to carry since they got
dragged over here. children that they can't keep or control, men that they can't keep or control, lives that they have to hold together whether they can control what's around themng or not. there's a strength thats defines -- this is not all black women, of course, but etta may is that ideal women. you know, which is why both mouse and e.z. love her and why she loves both of them. the problem is that she loves mouse more, and he's more of a problem than e.z. would ever be. but you can't help who you love. >> host: and mama jo. >> guest: yeah, mama jo is thatj kind of mystical and spiritual moment that i think that a lot of us have and create because there's -- without it we becomel less because the society defines us as less. but if i believe that i can reach a place that you can't
understand, that gives me ground. it gives me -- it's like owning property, because i understand something about the world that you couldn't possibly understand. and is whether that's true or not doesn't even matter. >> host: after devil in a bluedr dress, you wrote a red dress. the book jacket says readerske will find e.z. deep into the political, legal and moral tarca pits of los angeles in the early when red baiting and blacklisting were official policy and racial tensions boiled. what were the political, legal and moral tar pits of that time? >> guest: well, it's interesting because, you know, my mother, you know, was jewish, and, i mean,, born jewish, and her family had come here around 1908, 1909, 1910, first to new york then they migrated to los
angeles.s these people were people who understood the plight of black people in america because they had almost the exact same experience in europe. youy know, they had loved in ghettos. people hung them, people burned them, people called them a different race, excluded them from society in general. but a lot of them, because of that, weree communists. and they were part of the revolution. they were behind the revolution. the revolution didn't like them, but theyhe were a big part of creating it. p and one of these characters is a guy who's living in los angeles who has decided to give secrets that america has to everybody. and becausee of that, he was being run down. i mean, it wasn't somebodyas who -- it was somebody who
actually had doneon what he thought was right. the government thought it was wrong. it was against the law. and e.z. got very involved in whatn was happening with that gy and his daughter.in >> host: so what is red baiting? what is happening at this time in our country and in l.a.? >> guest: well, you know, that'g the thing. if you were -- you know, we hated the russians in the late 30s, and then as soon as stalin realized that hitler didn't really like him, we made a deal with them, and they became our allies, and a lot of people supported russia and russia's really heroic battle againster germany. but then as the '50s came, those same people became a great target. so anybody who had been a socialist, who had belonged to a group, maybe had been friendsod with somebody who might have one day done it were really oppressed by mccarthy and by almost everyone.
and those people were the first, i think, you know, so-called w white americans who began to h understand how you could be singled out, tortured, arrested, imprisoned, kept from having jobs more something you believed in -- for something you believed in, foror something you were. >> host: and how is this impacting h african-americans at thisng time? >> guest: well, less and less. there's some very famous ones like paul robeson and people like that, i think harry belafonte had some problems, his friends did . you weren't successful, it really wasn't -- the house un-americanan activities wasn't going to call in a janitor who had, you know, the communist h manifesto. they didn't get any kind of political currency off of that. a lot of us were like, uh-huh, right. you could say anything youan was nobody was listening. but if you had an important jobn
if you had an important position, if youou had -- if wht you said impacted many americans, hadic any kind of cultural, political impact, then you were treated poorly. y most poor people it kind of went right over. >> host: were race relations>> shifting at this point, you know, red dust is taking place in the 50s, early '50s? >> guest: you know, the thing about america and shifting racea relations, they're always but they never, like, get solved. s it's all shifting, shifting, it's shifting, but still you have people wandering around saying i'm'm white even though t doesn't even make sense to say you're white. ii mean, in europe there were no white people. there were, you know, britons and ten different races there, the druids and the pitt, the celts, i mean, it goes on and on, the scots.
and, you know, there's the spanish and there's the greeks and there's the scandinavians.nd the scandinavians didn't think they were, like, the same race greeks. they knew they weren't. i mean, even the greeks and the romansew didn't think they wered the same race.s but they came to america. they were oppressed. they wantedil to kill the indias because they owned the land, it was theirs, so they needed to get rid of them. and they enslaved black people to build the land. and so, because they had so-called red people to, you know, to slaughter and so-called black people to do a lot of the worst kind of labor, they needed a race. so they said, well, we're white. i mean, that's the only way it makes sense because even, you know, if you have blue eyes or green eyes or brown eyes or what kind of hair, what kind of bodyf shape, what kind of -- peopleeo are different. they're differenter physically, but so what, you know? so i think that's, that, for me,
is what's most important. but these so-called white people said, well, you know,w, we're a race. we have a common history and aom common language which, of course, was not true. and these people over here are and something lesser. and t that, unconsciously that stays with people, and it stays with life.e. and so it's like are impossiblep to get better as long as you're saying, well, that's a black person and that's a white person, you know? because both of those things are not true. there's no truly black people, there are no truly white people, you know? there's just, you know, various shades. you know? as we relatede to each other. and so. to say, you know, that things are shifting or changing, yeah. things get better, people maketh laws, we do all kinds of things, we get a president, you know? but still underneath it there's a problem that can always, as was the case with the jews in
europe, fall backward into chaos. >> host: i want to invite ourch viewers to call in and join us inl this conversation. walter mosley, our guest here on this special "in depth" fiction edition. eastern, centraln part of the country, 202-748-8200. mountain/pacific, 202-748-8201 as we make our way through most of the 50 books that mr. mosley has written fiction, and he'sls also written some nonfiction as well. so we'd love for all of you to joinn us in this conversation on this sunday afternoon. i asked the question because -- about red death and if race relations are shifting, because e.z. rollins notes in the book that he's seeing more black mene of author at this time, black cops.ps >> guest: yeah. that he is seeing it, t but also at the same time he's w recognizing what you have to give up in order to move of into
that level of authority. because e.z. is a guy, he does favors for people in his community.ni he, there's nobody telling him who youyo can do favors for or w you can do favors. he makes every decision about what he's doing on a case by case level.y- that's it. you know,th and he can do what's right. and and i think that he also recognizes that people have h power, which he likes, they have to h give up some of their choi. and that becomes the thing for him. and i think, you know, the thing for me it's why i say, well, yeah, things shift. but because we still believe in the basic untruths of it, they never get solved. >> host: the backdrop of the book iss the church. >> guest: uh-huh. >> host: during this time whatle role -- or even today, i guess -- what role does the church and the preacher play in
black americans' lives? >> guest: in the entire world, the more oppressed you are the more religion takes a primary role in your life. because you need an absolutely form of organization to hope for a better time in this world or beyond it, and you also need people whoe will organize around you so everybody will eat, everybody will get food. and this is hopeful, it doesn't always happen.so though in the black community we were so shoved together, so so segregated that the church was really one of the only ways to be organized. we didn't have political organization because you had no representation outside of the community. so the church becomes one of the strongest forms of us being able to take care of ourselves and to find, you know, consolation. >> host: how did it influence
your life? were yource parents religious as you were growing up? >> guest: no. they wanted to be. my parents, actually, they were so funny. they said we really wanted to. one time we really discussed religion because we kindau of hoped it was true, but we decided it wasn't. at the same time, my parents both worked for the board ofen education in los angeles, sova they sent me to a private baptist school. it cost $9 a week to go there, which i guess was a lot of money then. and they sent t me to this baptt school because it was all black kids and all black teachers. they taught african-american history in the 50s, and they really wanted -- they liked me. and the best thing about, the most important thing for a child in education is that you'reha loved. it's really, it's so funny because you'd'd think, well, did they learn their math, did they learn their english? well, yeah, but first they felt loved, and they felt a part of things, not outside of things. and they knew that wouldn't happen to me in the public schools in los angeles, so they sent me to this private school. >> host: and what impact did
that have ont you? do you think it impacted who you are today? >> guest: i'm sure it did,, buti don't known' how. career? in your >> guest: i'm sure itit did, bui don't know how. i mean, honestly. i was never religious. i never, i never believed in anything, you know? we would read our little bible verses and go over to the church now and then. it was nice and i loved it, you know? but, you know, and i don't know. you know, the biggest impact is by your parents, and that happened, and then my childhood friends, i'm sure that was very, important. there are some things, you know, i always tell people that aha novel is bigger than your heard, and that if you can think about the, you know, the perimeter of the entire novel, then it's not a novel. and i think it's true about life too that there are many things that have impacted me and changed me and made me who i am, and it's kindm of difficult for me to know what those things are. >> host: another aspect of this book, and it carries over
throughout the e.z. rollins series, is alcoholism. and e.z. rollins is struggling with it, a lot of the characters in the book are struggling with addiction, and you wrote in a c later -- you wrote in a lateroo book liquor shines when the light hits it, reminiscence of precious things like jewels andl gold. whiskey isol a living thing capable of any emotion that youy are. and whiskey is solace that holds you tighter than most loversha can. >> guest: i think it's true. i think a lot of people will agree with that. you don't have to be black in america to think that i need to self-medicate. but i was really, like, i drank much -- when i was young, like 16 to 21. i almost died twice, and i quit for 40 years. i started again, but i quit for 40 years, because i thought,on quod, i don't want to die, you know? -- god, i don't want to die, you know? i always liked it. even when i'm writing there about it, i always liked it, but
i knew it's such a danger. what it can do is it can destros you. and it has the potential to destroy you. it also has the, you know, i think my father drank every day, and i'm absolutely sure that because he drank, there are people he didn't kill. i'm absolutely sure of that. >> host: why do you say that? >> guest: because he was enraged that, he was a really proud man. he was very successful in anything he coulder do. he could do almost anything, and he was very social. people -- he was a good leader. but he was a black man in america in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '30s, '40s, and all of that time he was treated as less. he was talked down to. he was pushed aside for people who weren't as good as he was. you w know, people who live like that, they're angry. a lot. >> host: and alcoholism -- orlc maybe not alcoholism, but alcohol --
>> guest: uh-huh. well, you know, he was about - o go see this guy who he knows was going to get this trouble, and, you know, he has a drink, and the guy talks to my father and left. if he wasn't drinking, he might have killed him. he never drank when he went to work, at work, but, you know, when he got h home, just to blow off steam he would. and i think that's true for so many people in america, for so many drugs, you know? and the issues is, -- the issue is how we live our lives. the way our lives are organized are not the way human beings should live, youho know? the whole idea like wake up every day at a certain time, and i go off to work, and my kids gr somewhere far away to be educated, and i work really, really hard, you know? i don't make quite enough money to assure a good life, but i m make enough money to get from day-to-day to day. you know, this is not the kind of way w that people should liv. >> host: how should they t live? >> guest: i think that, you know, you live in a society y where you create enough that
everybody has a littleme something, that the future is assured, that all -- that the maintenance and protections are there. some people willre have more, somel people will work harder, some people will build a second story on their house, you know? but i think that the idea that we're, you know, tennessee ernie ford had that song and he says, you know, i owe my soul to the company store. you know? i think that that's true for most people in this country that i live in. i don't know, i'm not in any other countries, i don't know.om but i think that you, you're j really just deeper in debt every day, you're a little deeper in debt. that's what he says also in thad song, another day older and deeper in debt. and that's, i think, a problem that a lot of people have and why a lot of people, you know, drink alcohol, smoke done, do opioids. d smoke dope. it dulls the pain. >> host: why did you quit? >> guest: why'd i quit drinking?
>> host: uh-huh. >> guest: because i kept almost dying. i almost drove off the side of the mountain. iw decided that was enough. i'll stop now. >> host: why'd you start? >> guest: because i knew i wasn't going to do it anymore, so i could. i do like drinking. i don't want to be drinking every day and drinking myself into oblivion, that kind of stuff. >> host: you wrote in one of your nonfiction books, 12 steps toward political revelation, about addiction and how it relates to political oppression in consumerism. >> guest: i did, yes. yeah, i think that -- well, and that book i'm trying to say the system tells us these are theea realities of your life, youve know? t and this is how you should be. this is how you should be at work. this is how you should be in school. this is how you should be in relationships. this is how you should be, you know, to your betters. but i think there's a wholeha other set of rules that we immediate to have and to
satisfy. you know, i haven't written that book in a while, so i don't remember the steps, but i do know that there's a system out there that doesn't really care about us in general. to understand that, to control that system. >> host: what's the system? >> guest: well, it's,>> it endsp being people with the most power. it ends up being the people who pay the politicians give them the money to have, to be in a situation of control. like i remember once i donated i think it was like a lot of money, like $10,000 or something to a senatorial candidate. and i just s did, somebody asked me to, and i said, okay, i'll do it. and so then same person came up to me and said, well, we're having lunch with the candidate. i said, who's we? well, there are ten people who gave the $10,000.0.
and so they're going to have lunch, and their going to be able to -- they're going to be able to talk to this person. i wenten and we talked. and i realized, i said, wow, what would i get if i gave $100,000? like, what do i get if i gave au million dollars?ho my power should be no more than my vote. that's the ideal america, right? my power is my vote. your power is your vote. but if you have like $100,000, you know, $ and if you're a corporation or a very rich person, that $100,000 doesn't00 mean anything, you know? just give it. but that person knows, well, when i need re-election, i've got to -- there's all these other people who vote, but i'm going to come back to the person who gave me that $100,000. that is kind of what -- i'm not saying anything new here, right? the problem with america where people confuse democracy with capitalism. you know, they're two different systems. they're both fine, but they need to be separate.
money shouldn't enter into my government. you know? they should takeme money from m, but they shouldn't -- in order to, like, do taxes and stuff. but not me donating or helping or letting them use my airplane or whatever i do. or the job i give them after they get t voted out. >> host: well, there's a lot more to go through with your booksr and a lot more topics to bring upp as well, but let's listen to what our viewers have to say as well. let's go to steve who's in richmond, virginia. steve, good afternoon. >> caller: hi. goodd afternoon. >> guest: hello.. >> caller: hi, mr. mosley. i have been waiting for the longest timeen for almost all yr novels to at least say hello to you. i am one of your best readers, and my question since i have the wonderful opportunity to listen to youon on air and be able to talk to you is have you gave much effort to get into other writing styles whether something
like theme gentleman named turte dove who does alternate history orr things of that nature? or even things that are even more into science fiction these days? i'll take your comment off the air. >> guest: well, you know, i've written 14 books of science fiction. i've written at least 10 literary novels, probably 24 mysteries, 5 or 6 books of nonfiction. i'm working now with a fellow mystery writer named gary phillips trying to develop a western series. we'll see if n anybody, you kno, in hollywood wants to buy it. .. hollywood wants to buy it. i've written in almost every genre that i want to write in. i haven't written a romance novel but i don't really want to. so, yeah, but i think if you look at the different books, there's a lot of science
fiction. one is called "47", about a slave on a plantation in the 1840s who meets this alien and who forms a bond with this guy, called john, and >> economist discusses her book, educator, why democracy is the feeling economic growth and how to fix it. she's interviewed by jason berman's. >> he wrote a book quite a lot about politics and draws on political science is born out of frustration. i talk about this in the book.
after i write my interest in economic background is in there is a host of deeply structural long-term problems that the global economy has to contend with. the things that demographic shift with the impact technology would be with the jobless underclass and incoming inequality. it certainly the top three big issues. and yet people were charged with overseeing it's very short-term in their frame. >> watch afterward sunday night at nine eastern on c-span twos, but tv. >> best-selling novelist, david is the next in