tv Robert Jay Lifton The Climate Swerve CSPAN December 30, 2017 11:40am-12:45pm EST
[inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. tv, television for serious readers. >> next, three days of nonfiction books and authors on this new year's weekend. on "after words", christopher scalia, son of the late supreme court justice shares some of his father's beaches of the law, state and virtue. he is interviewed by supreme court corresponded david savage. also on this holiday weekend, historian robert examines the political life of franklin d roosevelt.
spelman college president emeritus, beverly tatum discusses race relations in america. that is just a handful of the programs airing this weekend on book tv on c-span2. for complete schedule, visit booktv.org. >> okay. thank you everyone for being here. book culture on columbus is so pleased to host this conversation tonight. for first, a round of applause for our guest. >> thank you. >> we are also so lucky to have michael gerard here tonight in conversation. maybe a quick show of hands of this is your first time to book culture on columbus.
>> welcome. >> some of you may remember this space. 20 years ago. we will be three this november and we are so pleased to be part of the upper west side and to be a place to celebrate great important new work. in order to keep us here on the upper west side, i would encourage you to pick up a copy or two or three of tonight's book so we can continue bringing great authors and to be a stronghold for important work. you may have noticed that book tv, or c-span book tv is here so the cameras are there. during the q&a portion at the end of the talk, please wait for me too come find you with the microphone. they will have a recording of your question so the answers don't come from nowhere. a couple last procedural points. after the talk i'll bring up a little table here for robert
to sign, but you remember to pay for your book on the way out. that's the last importance step of tonight. of course, we can forget that the book culture has been around a little over 20 years. the new press has been a great partner for us in terms of bookselling, but also as a great launchpad, especially in recent times, books like strangers in their homeland or michelle alexander the new jim crow and now this new addition to their impressive catalog. since its first book in 1992, the new press has been widely hailed as a leading publisher, critics and readers have extensively praised and i can definitely vouch for that.
and that's enough for me. let me just real quick, in case you aren't familiar, robert is a psychiatrist who has written more than 20 books and edited many others including many seminal works in the field of his national book award death and life, sure survivors of hiroshima, the medical killing and the society genocide. the ultimate one with the memoi memoir, witness to an extreme century. that might be my scratch. michael gerard is the professor of professional practice at columbia law school and teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation and is directly for of the center for climate change law. he also chairs the faculty of columbia university earth institute so again, thank you everyone for coming. they'll turn it over to michael.
>> thank you all for coming. it's a great honor to be here and what i would like to do is launch straight into my first question, what is. [inaudible] >> before you launch, i'm supposed to say a couple of words. >> i'll answer your question anyhow. my book is a boo about climate change but it's not about either the science or the politics of it. it really is about our mindset and our changing mindset in relation to climate change and that's where the swerve comes in. the term is loose but persistent which begins with the ancient roman poet and philosopher lucretius who used it to talk about unexpected changes in the movement of particles which he thought made up all of matter, and many riders have embraced i
it. most recently steven green at the humanist, who wrote a book called the swerve, talking about the swerve into maternity. my argument in the book is that we are undergoing a swerve, change in collective consciousness in relation to climate and that more and more and more, and i think this is confirmed by various polls and studies, more and more we are becoming aware of the true narrative of climate change. that is, its existence, the human contribution to it, and in that way we see ourselves, even if we don't express it this way as members of a single species in deep trouble. a major expression of that was the paris accord in 2015.
so briefly, that's the beginning answer to your question. all that we talk about will be something to do with that question. >> so i would agree and that will lead to another question for robert. several years ago i was approached by the ambassador to the united nations from the republic of the marshall islands which is in the middle of the pacific ocean about halfway between hawaii and australia. he said some decade, we don't know what decade it is, but some decade we will be underwater and that raises a whole host of legal issues of a country is underwater is it still estate? does it still have a seat at the united nations? what is the citizenship of people from a country that no longer exists, do we have any legal remedies against these countries or companies that did this to us. we asked these questions, i didn't have the answer of the
top of my head. we convene the conference of scholars that led to a book with many other things but another important aspect of the marshall islands is it's the site of 79 nuclear detonations credits where the united states, where they conducted their outdoor nuclear weapons testing program. in the late 1970s when the u.s. was ready to pack up and give the marshall islands their independence, they decided to partly cleanup the area and a lot of the radiation, the radioactive material they just bulldozed into the lagoon. but one of the nuclear weapons had been a dud and it hadn't, it had led to a nuclear detonation and sent the plutonium fragmented into about 450 chunks so they sent the servicemen out to collect the chunks in plastic bags and they went to the crater that had been left by one of the smaller nuclear bombs and through the plastic bags in my crater and other stuff and put
an 18-inch thick dome over this crater of plutonium and other radioactive waste. in my first visit, i had occasion to go there and walk on top of the dome which was probably not the smartest thing i've ever done, but the dome is unfenced, unmarked, unguarded and you can just go there. the u.s. government acknowledges that a typhoon could blow it off and eventually, in any event, it will be underwater but the government, the u.s. government says that's not so bad because the radiation outside of the dome is as high as the radiation inside its of the material inside is released, no harm no foul. so, that leads. >> before you get to the next question, in a way, you and i converge in relation to the marshall islands because the marshall, the people of the marshall islands may be the
most unfortunate people in the world in the sense of being victimized by what i call the apocalyptic twins, both nuclear and climate affects and threats and their more than threats, they've experienced both of them and most extraordinary way, and some 20 years or so ago, together with some colleagues i was asked to do a report for one of the islands in terms of residual nuclear effects, but you couldn't come he couldn't separate them from climate affects and when we wrote the report, the two converged on everything they experienced or did, what they ate, what was on the island, they're going back and forth, being evacuated, returning, having no sense of the future of any different or better promise
for them so, the marshals represent the convergence of the apocalyptic twins, the convergence of the two greatest threats that we human beings face, and, in a way, what i found in writing my book, it's rather hard to look at one without looking at the other. >> and so, since the end of the cold war, most of us have not thought that much about the prospect of nuclear war. it seemed to recede, but we now have two nuclear powers, the united states and north korea that are both run by seemingly irrational men who are lobbying global missiles at each other so far. can you discuss this in a psychological relationship between fear of nuclear war in
fear of climate change? >> first, let me say that there's always a struggle to have some connection between mindset and threat. it's usually said wrongly, i think that all anxiety and fear is bad. a certain amount of anxiety and fear is appropriate in relation to both nuclear and climate threat. during the protests, especially the early '80s against nuclear weapons which was a protest against what i call nuclear is him, the exaggerated abrasive weapons to do things they really can't do, prevent war, sustain life, even the kind of worship of them as deities, which was expressed by some people, but
that protest then brought an appropriate mindset to the actual danger for at least that. of time and little was thought about in connection with climate in those days, the early '80s, early and mid- 80s. it is quite possible that this nuclear swerve which we could call it was at least partly responsible or played a part in preventing the use of nuclear weapons since nagasaki in 1945. you can't know that, but i do believe that that's part of the story. you can't look at one of these threats without looking at the other. when you go back to examine what was going on at the time of nuclear testing, ever since world war ii, you find that we were doing, and others who
tested, studies of their environmental effects. what they did to the soil, what they did to trees, various geological studies, so-called earth sciences, so that the private in nuclear threats were connected from the very beginning. we looked at them differently. what has happened in a way psychologically is that they've passed each other in the night, if that's the expression. our mindset, as you said, since the end of the cold war had little place for nuclear fear. we thought the cold war was over and things are fine. that's not the case. anybody looked at it more closely thought that maybe things were even worse because the weapons were being miniaturized and made more usable, but there was little
awareness of nuclear danger, increasing awareness of climate danger, and then in people's mind, because this is a psychological tendency, they became interchanged. i did a study with a colleague at city university in john jay college some years ago in which we interviewed people about nuclear fear and they interchanged in the same paragraph or the same sentence nuclear fear and climate fear because they both had to do with a fear of the end of everything, that apocalyptic fear. so those are some thoughts in relation, so in the meantime, climate change has occupied more of our mindset and nuclear fear of little less. but that is not a stable situation. nuclear fear is very deeply in us and it stimulated when
danger of their use emerges as now in relationship to north korea. those are some thoughts in relation to your question and observation. >> so one difference is that no one denied that nuclear weapons were dangerous. some people said that a nuclear war might be survivable but no one denied they were dangerous. there are people who deny that climate change is a problem and the most recent pew poll found that 78% of democrats believe that the climate is warming and that humans are largely responsible, but only 24% of the republicans. it has been, the people who don't believe in climate change have been characterized as a tribe there are many tribes out there, that's been characterized as a tribe. is there some way to either
change the views of the tribe or move a lot of people out of the tribe? what do you see as the future. >> first i would say that actually, there were lots of denial about nuclear weapons being dangerous. if you read edward teller, some decades ago with their projections of siting, surviving, even winning a nuclear war and rebuilding one society, and they did this without irony, they advocated various policies that could lead to a nuclear war with the assurance that we can survive a so this was a form of saying we should never restrict the size or amount of the weapons because if you don't keep up
with it, you fall behind. what's most interesting, for our subject tonight is that it turns out that herman con and edward teller were also early climate deniers. it's a similar mindset which has to do with a radically anti-communist, and obsessively anti-communist position, a sense that there is danger coming from our enemies which we must always deal with by creating more and better and bigger nuclear weapons and complete faith in science and technology. in this case, in the weaponry. i was surprised to find that some of the same people i had, whose work i had examined in relationship to worship of nuclear weapons or nuclear is him were early climate deniers, and then i would say,
i speak less and less of climate deniers and more of climate reject there's now. so much has the swerve of consciousness has taken place that it's virtually impossible to live in our world and not have some part of one's mind aware that there is such a thing as global warming, climate change, and human contribution to it. as well as its relation to carbon omission, but one can add reject that knowledge, suppress it in another part of one's mind for the mind can do these things, these contradictory things. they can reject it because it's inconsistent with one sense, one's antigovernment and governance point of view, as we see with trump and many of his cohorts right now.
also, with one's worldview in general and one's identity. one must reject it even though, in one part of one's mind, one knows that it does exist. this kind of process goes on. my argument in my book is that not even trump, no person or no group is larger than this climate swerve which is a massive shift in awareness and sense of climate danger so even they have difficulty sustaining a rejection of climate change. we can talk about this if you would like. >> while i would like too, to what extent, i asked the question about the tribe and changing the views of the tribe. there are some people whose
change. there is a larger population of people who are on the fence and who waiver between some sort of scattered idea of climate images, are they changing, are we contributing to them and a more formal awareness of cause and effect of the existence of climate change and contribution to it. and agitating for them, not only truth telling but activism from both below and above and one has to take to the streets
government, it is hard to predict anything in these areas. i do think climate is different from gun control in one sense. climate envelopes everything, there's nothing we do or experience that isn't related to the climate issue. the issue i'm obsessed with for half a century or more, even the nuclear issue is not as all-consuming as climate. in that sense climate is always with us and the new were images of the kinds of hurricanes i mentioned and the fires which are devastating and worse than ever and any on record and other manifestations of climate change, change our relationship to climate. we used to think and still do
and still some truth in king climate damage is a gradual sequence of more and more danger as effects evil but that is an outmoded view. climate danger is already with us, you know that about islands that threatened to fall into the sea, countries that can no longer exist or questionable existence as nations. in these hurricanes that i mentioned and the drumbeat of information, droughts, floods, hurricanes, storms, high sea
levels, all this comes closer to us and i don't think we can rid ourselves of it. i think climate politics has already been changing, several republican groups asking their party connect with climate change, there's an economic approach which says the carbon economy is not reliable and you find more reliability in the revolutionary growth of the economy which involves renewable sources of energy and that was unexpected. there are lots of indications that the swerve is occurring and is affecting political ideas. in my book i don't make any predictions, people say how can you be so wildly optimistic?
i'm not wildly optimistic. i'm modestly hopeful. there is a difference. i'm not pessimistic either. i am modestly hopeful that this change has begun and be translated from mindset from political action. >> host: picking up on your observation about the technological optimism of deniers of climate change and deniers of the un-survivability of nuclear war. and observation many people who don't want governmental action on climate change believe more nuclear power, more nuclear power plants are a major part of the solution. if we had more nuclear power plants everything would be fine. in the face of all economic evidence that these are wildly uneconomical and more expensive than anything else and the same people say if it does turn out to be a problem we will be able
to geo engineer out of it with artificial volcanoes, aerosols into the upper atmosphere, serious work being done on that. any observations on that view of technology? >> i have been much preoccupied as you have been. for one thing, there is one central figure in this, james hansen has been a hero. early on he testified before the senate in the late 80s. he was the first to disseminate news about climate change and our own impact, our own contribution to it and he has been an activist ever since. he came a few years ago to the view that only nuclear energy could save us, because of his record he couldn't be dismissed nor should he be dismissed. he is absolutely wrong, but he has been a figure who
represents this problem, i spent six months in hiroshima interviewing survivors of the atomic bomb. it is the same technology as the bomb, no different, the same technology. nuclear technology is the most dangerous of all of our technology. to turn to a new form of nuclear is him seems the worst idea. they do all sorts of risk studies saying there isn't much risk if you study it mathematically, there's very little risk. the problem is even though there is relatively little risk mathematically, once something happens as with fukushima or chernobyl before that, it can be devastating, it can harm or threaten, radiation affects hundreds of thousands, millions of people from one meltdown. yes, the faith in technology,
the notion of geo-engineering that you mentioned. it is what i call a rescue technology. you ask the technology to do what you don't want to do humanly even though it is necessary to take human action to deal with the problem and you have the assumption that technology can take the place of human action and it can't. >> host: the technologies that would spray aerosols in the upper atmosphere and keep out some of the sun are really, i would say, chemotherapy for the planet. if you are very sick and have no other alternatives, you will go to that. it may work, it may kill you, but if it is all you have left, you will try and the danger is people will think this great solution is out there. no one would say it is okay to smoke. if i get lung cancer i just
take chemotherapy, but we hear that with respect to climate change. >> and we don't know about its dangers. after all, we are trying to change the temperature, lower the temperature just like nuclear winter. it may not be so good for the planet which in fact it could be terrible. >> one mother of an environmental impact statement if we had to study all the impact. i want to ask about personal responsibility. we hear a lot of talk about recycling, eating less meat, trying to take mass transit, flying less. all these other aspects of personal consumption. to what extent do you think those activities contribute to the swerve and make people more conscious of their environmental impact, or do they divert attention from the major issues, or do they make
people think i have done my bit, don't need to do anymore. >> they probably do all those things but in general my sense is it is fine for people to look at their own, look at our own lives, to lower our carbon imprint and see what we can do to heat or cool our homes that doesn't consume a maximum amount of energy. it is consistent with the general consciousness or awareness of the climate issue. but it cannot be a replacement for the large universal adjustments that have to be made, that paris, there is a recognition on the part of just about all of humankind that we do indeed have a problem of climate change or global warming and it needs action on the part of everyone. what i think of is this.
it is a question, one way of looking at it is it is an evolutionary question. for us to adapt to this danger of climate change, the organizing principle is the human species, that is the group we must see ourselves as part of because if we can't get our species through this problem then we all go down. if it comes to that. we used to have a toast in the doctor's anti-nuclear movement which was made either by an american, an american or a soviet physician, they were the dominant groups and no matter who made it, the toast went this way, i drink to your self and that of your leaders and
that of your people because if you survive we survive, if you die we die. that same toast of commonality and shared faith applies to climate even though we like to deny it because the effects may be seen first in southern hemispheres, some geographical areas are more vulnerable than others. it is an illusion to think we are not all part of it. the adaptation has to be a species adaptation rather than an individual or family or even national and this raises the question of what responsibility we have and it isn't so much to look into our own carbon imprint though there is nothing wrong with that is it is to use
that professional knowledge to bring to bear on climate change. it is called witnessing professionals and through the lens of what we know from our own profession to take a stand, we should be ethical professionals who are committed to activism on this score and that is our greatest requirements and right now there is malignant normality where what seems to be a normal presidential term or normal national set of arrangements is malignant and abnormal through any governance standpoint. we have 2, as professionals, recognize the malignancy of what goes for normality, speak up and take a stand, that is our responsibility. >> can you expand on what to do
in various professions to effectuate that? >> we should look and about what we know. and part of the duty to warn movements of psychologists and psychiatrists, we have the obligation to tell the country what we know about donald trump's psychological patterns that render him unfit for the office and there are other ways, legal issues as you know very well, there are medical issues and public health issues, there are ethical issues and philosophical issues, there is no one who can't connect through something on the order of his profession,
his or her professional knowledge, to bring to climate change. people often feel too helpless, we can speak out and we don't use the possibilities of protest and speaking out to the extent that they exist for us. a witnessing professional consists of and we need more of that feeling and action. >> host: many of us in the legal profession have stepped up not only against climate change but all the lawyers who immediately went to jfk over the immigration ban and other things, large number filed against everything the epa and trump and pruitt are trying to do. >> we need a larger ethical
sense as professionals. when i interviewed people in hiroshima, i was doing a scientific interview study of people exposed to the atomic bomb. i was also bearing witness to what a weapon, a small nuclear weapon by present standards had done to the people in a city, one plane, one bomb, one city, that kind of witness and there are parallel forms of witness in every profession that can deepen our knowledge. this extends to a view of scholarship and activism. i believe in rigorous scholarship but i don't believe scholarship and activism, never the twain shall meet a certain forms of german academic
tradition insist upon and other traditions insist upon in this country. rather i think activism gives purpose to scholarship and scholarship can do depth to activism. they feed each other and the richer force for it and i do believe the witnessing professional must combine them in her or his efforts in relation to climate change. >> host: one of the professions, their job to witness is journalism and a few months ago new york magazine ran a cover article by david wallace, the uninhabitable earth, economic collapse, a son that cooks us, climate change could wreak sooner than you
think and presented an apocalyptic view of the future and led to a lot of controversy. most people thought it was mostly scientifically accurate, if units you can pick that led to a lot of controversy about whether such a stark picture of a possible future apocalypse is a positive step in positive movement or paralyzes people. >> we struggle with the same kind of issue in the anti-nuclear movement. for one thing, in reading literature about that article, there is some question whether as bad as things would get even exaggerated them in that piece but apart from that in the doctor's movement we went on what we call bombing runs. we go to major cities, new york, boston, los angeles, chicago, london, cities in europe and in each case, one or
5 mt bomb would do if dropped in the center of that city and the answer was always the same was a certain number of people, hundreds of thousands or millions would be killed, there would be radiation effects and no medical facilities would remain. we are saying, the problem -- the won't be any medical stuff. we found that could depress people and it wasn't exactly good news but we also thought about it seriously and came to realize you can tell people hard truths if you give them some hope, to indicate what they might do and there were lots of things to do in terms
of anti-nuclear protest and attitudes from above similar to what we think about in relation to climate. and the climate scientists have been crucial as being prophetic survivors for us but i also think we should constantly looked toward what might be done even if it is bungling through and there will still be a lot of suffering. and the most catastrophic form of climate affects. that is always the balance. truth and a possibility of action and hope. >> host: there's a group called climate central with photo simulations of what may be cities around the world look
would look like with 2 ° of climate change, for degrees of climate change and so forth and some are quite stark. there are a lot of things that can be done, a project called decarbonization, involved that plots out how to move away from fossil fuels toward clean energy and efficient energy and the trajectory of what happened with the climate. having said that a few minutes left, i would like to invite people in the audience to raise questions, you have the microphone. >> longer for that. >> truth speaking truth, i have been thinking for some time, how do you speak to children? i have children and find
psychological literature results-oriented, and recruit them in the activist army. >> there is no single way, holding back and we do better, according to their age and readiness, when we thought about this in the anti-nuclear movement, and tells the truth about it, and anything from the kids that they hold one back, and nowadays that is even more so because kids have access to so much information you can be 5 or 6 years old and have some sort of computer information about lots to do with climate change. the general principle is to tell them the truth, tell it early and in a way indicate
what you stand for as a parent in relationship to larger approaches like paris to keep the species going. that is my general sense. >> i read your book. it is really marvelous and your op-ed from two sundays ago was very moving and inspiring. who did you have in mind as your audience in writing the book? what are your hopes for it? >> i don't write books with specific audiences in mind, i say what i can in non-technical language but i do that in other ways too. this book has the virtue of
being very short. i would like to say it reads like a novel. more than danielle steel. hopes for the book, i hope it gets around and one thing about climate change, nobody can cover all that it entails. any single person can approach it from a particular vantage point and mine is from the vantage point of having been so immersed in nuclear threat from so long but looking at larger human issues or what i call symbolic immortality or larger human connectedness. and people will respond to that and some glimmer of hope, in
the achievement of as much as we have to do. >> could you explain correlation you were mentioning in terms of tendency for people who are antigovernment to be climate reject his or vice versa? >> that is a terrible problem, there's an antigovernment tradition in this country, mostly right-wing and it is embraced has a way of rejecting climate change. it is an antigovernment stance. we see with the present administration antigovernment stance, very little government and so that is a big problem because you must have very active participation in governments as indicated at
paris and follow-up conferences in order to do anything in the direction of adaptation for the species. often the antigovernment attitude is inconsistent. some of the most antigovernment people come from texas, but houston was demolished by hurricane they certainly wanted a lot of government aid and government funds, future recovery, it is a continuing struggle to help people understand governments to constructive things or should and we need them particularly for situations like this which threaten all of humankind. the last thing i will say to your question is in general we shouldn't be blinded by even
radical antigovernment people and their radical rejection of climate change. i don't believe any person or group is larger and this swerve i'm speaking of of human awareness and this will be around and is taking shape and will be with us and we carry through our protests. you never reach a moment where everything is fine, everybody works for a sensible policy toward climate change but as a continuing process and their collaboration. >> in the back? >> to your point of rejecting
versus denying climate, perhaps it is too painful emotionally to grasp that my daily activities are the cause of climate change because it doesn't jive with my internal view that i am a good person. in terms of getting out these hopeful messages, what is the best way forward to get folks to accept their responsibility toward this issue and also persuade them to change? >> i don't believe there is any one best method, we have to do it everything all the time and what we as individuals and as of a particular discipline or whatever we have to offer, yes, you are right saying it is difficult to realize the way
each of us lives so comfortably in heating or cooling, houses or apartments, in traveling, even the way it affects climate change. it was difficult to accept and we do well to take in truth despite the opposition to truth that is so paramount in our government and people take in hard truths, if they can find a way to act in a manner they consider to be constructive and contributes to what i call species adaptation. >> is there anyone else in this room who is a conservative
besides myself? i would like to address this as a conservative who actually believes in climate change. i think just to challenge your thinking a little bit, i think what you just said is very correct. if people see a way that makes sense, it helps and believe it is real. one of the problems in the way climate change is presented, the solutions that have been presented to conservatives strike them as extremely left-wing. if you talk about a carbon tax or subsidies or government regulation it all sounds to a conservative like more taxes, more spending, bigger government but i found if you come up with new solutions
based on conservative ideas like supply-side tax cuts is one i have been working on that you can persuade conservatives that this is something worth doing, i want to point out you mentioned texas. texas may be one of the biggest states in the country but one of the leaders in wind energy. they have done very well. so if you present economic opportunity and a handful of more conservative approaches you can make progress with group. >> maybe there is something wrong with both of us because i agree with most of what you said. maybe the primary issue is to render this matter that is neither liberal, radical more conservative. it is a question of human survival or the danger of our
civilization because climate changes so real and is progressing as scientists tell us that a more rapid pace and we thought at first. i hope we can come together in recognizing this particular issue goes beyond any political position one takes so i agree with your emphasis on economic aspects of it and that is why a number of conservative thinkers are speaking out now saying they want their group to recognize climate change, and the economics of a carbon economy being threatened and the better economics of renewable energy sources to be developed in texas and other places. it is an issue we should struggle to make beyond any
political position. that is what i emphasize and agree with the need to come together around the issue that threatens us all. >> could i just ask you to elaborate on the meaning of the word hope in your subtitle? how would you describe yourself as hopeful and what you are talking about? >> pessimism is the certainty that things will turn out badly. optimism is the strong expectation they will turn out okay. hope involves the possibility of our achieving what we are talking about, my book
guarantees nothing but does say there is hope in the mindset i see is taking shape. and earlier title of it was mind and habitat because it is about the mindset in relation to what we are doing to our habitats as human beings who have in some ways taken over the evolutionary process. our habitat has become the entire earth, but we only use a part of nature that we need and which we are destroying. hope involves our capacity, evolutionary as one might say political way, capacity to ceased destroying our habitat, a glimmer of renewal and bring
>> more than 10,000 women who were breaking the codes, the german naval codes, japanese naval codes, japanese army, they were reading signals all over the world including some out of north africa so it was a massive effort to recruit college-educated women secretly so women at the seven sisters were tapped secretly, called into private interviews with astronomy professors, they were asked two questions. do you like crossword puzzles and are you engaged to be married? a number of them actually lied at the second question and said they were not because whatever they were being invited to do sounded more interesting than waiting around while their fiancé was fighting and risking his life in the war.
the women came to washington, those women joined the navy and joined by a listed women who had not had the benefit of a college education who came from california, oklahoma, all over the country and they were also routed into these code breaking compounds in washington and the army was recruiting for codebreakers of its own and they hit upon a strategy to send handsome young army officers throughout the south and the midwest recruiting schoolteachers because they wanted women adept at languages and math and as a woman in the 1940s if you had a great liberal arts degree, the only job you could expect was teaching school and they, marriage was the theme. they were trying to lure the women to washington with the expectation of making a marriage to anthony an officer like the one who was recruiting them but a lot of these women were interested in getting out
of hasty engagements they felt pressured into when the war started so those women pack up their suitcases and came to washington as well. the reason this story has been told for so long as the women were told they would be shot if they talked when they were in washington. it was wartime, the work was top-secret and they had security clearances. to talk about their work would be treason so they were told to tell people they sharpened pencils, emptied waste back is that is wastebaskets, that they were secretaries, that is what they did and continue doing after the war and people believed him. they were the ideal intelligence officer at the time, they believed whatever they were doing could not possibly be important. >> all of these authors appeared on booktv. you can watch them on our website booktv.org. >> i have been attacked by everybody, the right wing, the russians, the trump campaign, i have been attacked by the
kansas campaign and i can add to that list the clinton campaign. >> the day on c-span's. a former democratic national committee chair donna brazile talks about her life and politics. >> i was here in washington dc not far from here. hillary was very excited. she met a young state senator who was running, she had roots in illinois, met a young state senator. my friend, we were on the third floor, she said you -- chino barack obama. i didn't know barack obama. i knew danny davis and harold washington, rahm emanuel, the daily family but haven't heard of barack obama. we met him in the spring of 2003 and let me say this. the rest is history. >> q and a sunday night at 8:00