Skip to main content

tv   In Depth Jeff Shaara  CSPAN  March 10, 2018 9:00am-12:01pm EST

9:00 am
>> is now booktv's monthly in depth program with bustling historical fiction author jeff shara. is 50 novels which include gods and generals, the rising tide and most recently the frozen hours, the military history of the united states from the american revolution to the korean war. .. david ignatius was our first guest in january. a "washington post" columnist and writer. colson whitehead pulitzer prize winner was with us last month in this month we are pleased to be joined by jeff shaara, the military historical fiction author. he is the author of books that range from the american revolution to the korean war and will talk about all of those in just a minute.
9:01 am
but we are going to start mr. shaara with a facebook comment that a year has been this is jason who has posted on our facebook page. what exactly is historical fiction? >> well, i've actually had this conversation with other authors. typically, historical fiction, you go to a real place with fictitious characters. for example, all quiet on the western front. it is an accurate historical setting but the people are totally made up. that is a little bit different from what i do. because i take you to these places with a lot of the real people. the plsignificant historical figures. many that you know where there is george washington, robert e lee -- but it is fiction because i am putting words in your mouth. my job as a tell you a story. the way to do that is not just like a textbook or names,
9:02 am
dates, and figures. it is to put you into the heads of the characters and tell you the story the way they would tell it. by definition it has to be called fiction. this is dialogue, words in their mouths and part of that is drawn from historical record but then you have to fill in the blanks. that is my job. to fill in the blanks. by definition it has to be called fiction. if i've done my homework and my research, the history is absolutely accurate. that is my job. do not play games with history cleared a lot of writers that read historical fiction do exactly that. they can do anything they want! there are a number of authors that write alternative history. where the civil war ends in the south wins. i do not do that. and my job is to make it
9:03 am
accurate and at the same time a good story. >> defense of use of a historian? >> no. first of all, any academic historian will look at me and say no, you're not a historian! you do not have the credentials. i do not have a phd in history. my degree at florida state is criminology. i had anothing to do with history. to me that is an advantage. because i'm not coming to you, for example, i did not have a repressor at florida state county who robert e lee is or who benjamin franklin is. i'm not carrying those with me when i'm writing these stories. i have to start from scratch. and starting from scratch you go back to the words u of the characters. to me that is much more interesting and much more fresh than simply reciting something i might have learned in school years ago. it is not insulted academic historians, they have a huge purpose but what i do is very different. >> diesel out of original sources? >> the original sources are key
9:04 am
to the research. it is my job to go back, autobiography, modern history books really don't communicate. biographers object to this. my autobiography, you're getting the biographers take on the characters. and they argue that with you. if you take 50 different biographies of lincoln, you'll get 50 versions. i would like to go back and hear the words coming here the voices. all of my research is, when possible original material. letters, if i will get you into the head of the character i need to know the character. that is a personal thing. very definitely the research is personal as i can make it. >> use a lot of no well-known figures, abraham lincoln, george washington, etc. but what about the private riley from frozen hours?
9:05 am
are those real people are made up? >> their composites. it is very rare to find a single, the example of agi. to find a g.i. was everywhere i need to be to tell the story could not decide make it all up i'll start with a real figure and then as i'm doing the research i find more information with a composite into this one character. the character can still take the story. everything happened. it's all accurate maybe just not to this one guy. i love the character of lucy spence. this is the siege of vicksburg. >> chain of thunder. >> when they are seizing -- the problem with these people is they are tracked along with the army. and this is really the first time i had a significant civilian character where you're seeing a point of view that is
9:06 am
very different from the typical soldier or the general. have this girl, she is 19 years old and she learns a lot arabou war and aggressiveness of what happens to people as well as the sacrifice that civilians make. it is a very different take. i have four diaries from four different women at vicksburg that were there. in the middle of it. to me that is a treasure. that is how the character comes about. >> before we get into specific books, i want to talk about some of the themes that i picked up reading three material. number one, recurring characters. it may be robert e lee in this more in that war or winfield scott. >> i love winfield scott! and most people have never heard winfield scott which is a tragedy. this is a man, first of all, he was born in 1788. he has been around a while.
9:07 am
and in the war of 1812 he was the brigadier general. literally he starts the work 1812 and 1807. he rests a couple of british people who are where they are not supposed to be and because the big diplomatic stink and they have had to quiet down but the british were pretty upset. that is about start. by 1840s, he is the commanding general of the united states army. the grand old man of the army and when the mexican war begins, scott is the leader of our troops in the field. what that means for history is that who the troops in the field are. all these young lieutenants are all the names that you know. ulysses grant, thomas jonathan jackson. long before he was stonewalled. winfield hancock, lewis armistead -- on and on. then robert e lee of engineers
9:08 am
in a blue uniform, it is winfield scott who teaches him how to be a soldier. that is a fun story to write because again, the story nobody knows. >> another theme ipicked up, a lot of politics. >> i really don't like politics. i am not political innocence that -- i have had people say to me that bothers me, it was a nudge nudge, wink wink, are you really talking about today we talk about whomever? dwight eisenhower or anybody. >> no, not at all. and there is politics in every war. who makes the work? the politicians. who fights the war? those fighting have very little to say about that. the mexican war is a example. winfield scott went to mexico purposely cut himself off from communication with washington. he and president polk can stand each other. erso he wants nothing to do.
9:09 am
you want not going to take his orders from washington. he cuts off all communication, marches into mexico and really could care less what anyone washington. a little hard to get away with that now. but that as a little dimension to the story don't get from history books. >> from the american revolution to the korean war, the role of washington d.c.. >> well, first of all, was named after?i mean, george washington -- every schoolchild knows it george washington is the father of the country. it sounds good but what does it really mean? >> i know what it really means and i have more respect is george washington than any character i'm dealt with in haiti, all of the clichcs apply. there's a reason he is on the dollar bill. i've vetrimmed disrespect for this man and of course washington's series but beyond that, because you thought the
9:10 am
mexican war and washington, work. by the time of the civil war, obviously it is washington, it is congress that divides the southern, the senators and representatives. they go to montgomery in the richmond, and washington is, it's on the border. the civil war is, the first battle of the civil war, it is right across the potomac river. also read across the potomac river is arlington. the big pillared house in arlington cemetery, that was robert e lee's home. he knows that, he can see when he is in the capital. washington is right smack in the middle of when the civil war begins. and then all the way down the
9:11 am
line. you get to world war i, world war ii, your people like george marshall here in world war ii and have eisenhower in europe. you have that break and of course to medication is a lot better. you get to the 20th century, washington can play a greater role in what's going on then he could have in the 19th century. >> another theme, behind military success or failures. >>. [laughter] failure, is interesting. there are different reasons for failures. competence, ego, narcissism, all of these terrible character traits. it is not just confined to the military, that is everywhere in culture. but when loyou're looking at so of the characters, i will go back to the civil war. when you have people like grant and sherman and their confederates certainly, robert e lee would be among those. they have these -- sheridan,
9:12 am
men whose ego and personality gets in the way of them doing their job and it creates bad things. unfortunately a war when there are better things, often men die. that is reality. it is not a pleasant part of the story but it is a story. >> after while writing about death and war -- >> definitely, i will say again talk about specifics but my last book, about career, the marines in the army, is not a happy story. and i have talked to a number o of veterans because the advantage of that story you know veterans for me to speak to. i can see it in their faces. i can hear it in their words. the way they talk to me, that tragedy, what they went through 65 years later is still part of who they are. and whether it is frostbite in their offingers or simply the
9:13 am
memories of the guy next to them. what happened to him. as i was writing the frozen hours at doctor point where the emotion of it was very very difficult. it is tough. i'm not a blood and guts die. i don't want these kind of movies and so forth but it's part of the story. i try not to make the story blood and guts because nobody really wants to read page after page of that. there has to be humor, there has to be different -- laughter is such an important part of it. but so by the end of the day the time i finish that book, i was worn out. and i had to get away from. basically i didn't do anything. i had to separate myself from it and obviously we can talk about this later when i am working on now. it is much less a war story on the cuban missile crisis.
9:14 am
i just needed something different. i think it took more of a toll on me than i ever would have expected. >> jeff shaara, is a direct link between the winter at valley forge and frozen hours in korea? >> yes. interestingly, one of the important link between the two is in the field these poor guys were suffering, in the 1770s, one would think it's logical that they are not equipped very well. they will have the clothes on the shoes and certainly do not have electricity to keep themselves warm. they are warming their hands by fire. in korea, in 1950s it is the same situation. these men orare giving willfull they are underequipped with winter clothing. there are given boots, what happens when your feet sweat? he stopped marching and it was 30 below zero, they freeze!
9:15 am
ice forms in your shoes. frostbite, all of things to happen. these gloves that they are given, the problem when you are fighting, you cut the fingertips of the gloves when you are shooting. all of that as up to just woefully underprepared for the conditions they run into just like valley forge. >> defendant the so-called gentleman rolls of those fades two. >> definitely. i think it probably happened more in the civil war first and then in world war i and then in the civil war think about, a lot of people don't realize all point. people who graduate west all of the officers, and of course on both sides north and south, all of the textbooks up to that point at west point teach tactics on napoleonic, in
9:16 am
french. when the requirements of being at west point is you learn french so you are learning these tactics which by the 1860s are 60 or 70 years old. and yet, that is all we know. the officers are telling the men, up in a oustraight line shoulde to shoulder and you walk into the guns of the enemy because an napoleons day the guns weren't very good. in the 1860s the guns were a lot better. the artillery is better. you have this -- and so the slaughter increases exponentially.it also happens in world war i. world war i breaks out, the french off into battle on horseback. you know they have all these ribbons and flags because it is the old way. it is the glory way. 1914, the germans have come up with the machine gun. machine guns and horses don't
9:17 am
go together. and very quickly the french and everyone else learn we have to do this very different way. seven there is a lot of tragedy unfortunately men die when you're dealing with changes, when the technology gets better than the tactics. >> here are some facts about the wars that -- writes about. the american revolution 1775 to 1783. -- in today's dollars $4.2 billion. the mexican war, 1846 to 1848. 13,000 deaths, 2.4 billion again. the civil war four years of that about 500,000 deaths up to $80 billion in costs. world war i, us is in it for one year lost 116,000+ soldiers. a cost of $334 billion world
9:18 am
war ii, the four years that the us was involved lost about 400,000+ americans. 4.1 trillion. the korean war, three as of that, 54,000 americans lost $341 billion. starting with the american revolution. you bring a couple of books about that. rest rebellion. what is about general wallace that he became one of your primary -- >> what we learned in school, these one sentence lessons you get on the american revolution is washington defeats wallace at yorktown and that is the end of the american revolution. no, that is not the way it happened! the french defeat cornwallis. but he has two people above him
9:19 am
-- who actually up in new york city at the time and he was on his own down there in yorktown virginia. and but he is an interesting character because it is a very good man. and he is a very good military commander and history treats him like he is a loser, i am sorry but he is a great deal more than that. and had he been in command of the british when washington was facing off against the british in manhattan, brooklyn, and of course the famous crossing the delaware river, had cornwallis been in charge, i suspect it would have been a very different outcome. again, he was a very confident general. the problem with him just like other people have written about, the people telling him what to do. and they were not as good.
9:20 am
the other part of this, this touches on what i said before about what it is that i do that is different in history books. cornwallis is a man of enormous personal tragedy. fehis wife dies during the war. he goes back to england, he has a brief meeting with king george iii and comes away from not feeling like we have a problem here. he is not quite right. but his wife died. and this is a romance good this man is in love with his wife. and he has to go back to the colonies and fight the war. carrying that load with him. again, is the three dimensions. who is this man, weiss interesting? it's interesting because he's a human being and that's what makes the story. >> this is another facebook comment. this is by john and he says, i started reading your book on the american revolution. when i got to the part about
9:21 am
george washington and long island, i stopped right there because i was certain that the americans were actually going to lose. >> there was a point where george washington thought the americans were going to lose. what people don't realize about washington is early on in the war, he lost almost every battle he was in. the colonists get chased out of the battle first of all.what we know today is brooklyn new york. they get chased up across the yo east river into manhattan by the british. cornwallis among them. and then they get chased. if you know new york city today, you have sort of the southern part of manhattan island. today it's like 30th street and first avenue. that part of the island, that is when washington lands. he is chased all the way to let me know today as harlem. while e up to the north. then he gets chased all across the hudson river. and then he gets chased all across new jersey and escapes into pennsylvania across the
9:22 am
delaware river. that is not a very good beginning for someone trying to fight a war. all of these things go backwards. then trchristmas, things change. definitely ngwhen washington re-crosses, they crossed the delaware then they recross the delaware river, surprises the troops at trenton in extra neri victory. after that there is the battle of princeton where washington also wins. and then the british went up to that this is not just a bunch of farmers. this is not something they will sweep away. that's washington. he is one that did that. it's a much more complicated story than what we learned in high school. wesley think the outcome could have been different had washington not recross e the delaware? >> definitely! >> not necessarily sswashington himself. it is the men fighting
9:23 am
underneath him. they have not been paid, there is no money to pay them. and they want to go home! when the winter passes, farms need to be worked and families at home. and his army says no we are not really doing too well here. i think i need to go away. washington does a speech, he gives to the troops and saves his army. a lot of them say, let's stick this out for a while. and then philadelphia you have -- the banker of the continental army.he puts together bags of everything they can find that relates to money. your spanish silverpoint, pieces of silver, flatware, pups. anything that has value and they sent horses labeled with this up to the washington's army so he can distribute. i am doing the best i can hear. that saves the army.
9:24 am
and i think his passion for the cause in his desperate need for these people to stick with him change his history. because they do stick with him. he didn't really have a central authority, did he? >> give the continental congress. and as such not much of the central authority anyway. after the declaration of independence is signed in 1776 they do unite more behind the cause and it's funny, a lot of people don't realize the colonists do not declare war, king george declares war. and when we signed the declaration, king george says they are in rebellion, they are in a state of rebellion. okay we need to put down this rebellion. the colonists really have no idea how to do this. washington, the reason they choose washington was a virginian sitting in the continental congress, literally sitting in the corner quietly,
9:25 am
this shy man, he doesn't want to take authority when he is in uniform. in a british uniform, the virginia militia, under the authority of the british army but he is in uniform. they are saying this guy maybe you know something about how to fight a war. maybe you know something about organizing an army. he gets to boston, nobody in boston knows, who is this guy? washington has one thing going for him besides his personality. he is a big man, physically a big man. he carries that stature of someone in authority. people stop paying attention to this. and he begins to organize officers and people who are locals to boston know their own people. that is the administrative partw of washington. shthat people take for granted, it organizes an army of people who could care less about virginia and who he is. and it works.
9:26 am
and i think you can probably tell by the time of talking about this. you get excited about the stories because it's fun to get into this stuff. i don't have to make it up. the real stories are fascinating. >> jeff shaara, your book gone for soldiers, what is that? >> where have all the flowers gone? where have the young men gone? >> popular during the vietnam war. >> when i was a child, my father was a kingston trio fan. a lot of people don't know that his 1960. but that was one of the hit songs, where have all the flowers gone? it sticks with me. as we got to vietnam, the suddenness of the whole song, i encourage everyone to download this online. the essence of that song, we have all the flowers gone? the graveyards.
9:27 am
the reviewers become the flowers. the point in 1846, all of these young men right out of west point lewis about life, about war, and south things often be soldiers. and they learn that war is not romance and work is not glory and men die. that lesson carries 13 years later when the civil war begins and now the commanders, so the lessons stay with them. >> you skip writing about the word 1812. why is that? >> i had it with my publisher about that. the response i get, a lot of people asked me about 1812. it is logical to go from rethe american revolution to 1812. my publisher said at the time it is not epic enough. well, i don't necessarily agree with that. the war of 1812 was actually three stories. is the niagara, never talked
9:28 am
about scott before. you have detroit, the whole area and then you have washington, baltimore, the burning washington. francis scott key, fort mchenry. then andy jackson. it is really three separate stories which make a wonderful book in three parts. at the end of the day, in new york if they won't -- there's not much point in rewriting it. the mexican-american war. you think that is downplayed because of 13 years later? >> certainly cared about people confuse the mexican war with the alamo. i mean people think of the period prior to the civil war and had a lot of questions about that. and then that you know are you going to write about davy crockett? >> no! that was years earlier. an entirely different story! also, one parallel, and i did not set out the agenda but i
9:29 am
found out there is enormous parallel abetween the mexican war in the vietnam war. because these young men come home from their war in 1848 and they're expecting to be welcomed as heroes and parades and so forth. there can hope to newspaper stories talk about how they are butchers -- as we know today, california, rocky mountain states, arizona, new mexico, texas, all became part of our territory because of the mexican war. most of that territory with mexico. and we took it. and i love this, we, the bill passed in congress. we took of his land and we say let's write the check.
9:30 am
we wrote the check to mexico for the guilt of taking the land. but the war, talk about politicians, a definite divide in washington over paul and i and what we're doing in mexico. colonials and conquering of downtrodden people. all of this stuff, really it affected the soldiers who deserve better when they came home and i know people from the vietnam era, my era overspent on when they got off the plane at lax. coming home from vietnam. there was a lot of the same sentiment. i didn't expect to find out. >> manifest destiny played a role. >> manifest destiny played a role in working right now, the cuban missile crisis. manifest destiny. q but is, we should be able to dictate what happens. there was a sentiment in that. manifest destiny, the monroe
9:31 am
doctrine. the north america, we can do anything we want to. by the time of the mexican war and the person civil war, they broke that apart. the notion that when you know wait a minute and just because we say so, doesn't mean it is true. >> good afternoon this is booktv on c-span2 to do some special fishing addiction of "in depth". military historical novelist, jeff shaara is our guest for the next 2 and a half hours. if you would like to contact us at question for him, this is how you can do so. the numbers are in the eastern central time zone it is and you can make comments via social media, we are facebook or on twitter and we are on instagram @booktv is the best place to
9:32 am
find us. finally, you can send an email to booktv@cspan.org. those are the ways to contact us. we will filter through the numbers we will be able to see the information on the screen in just a minute. very quickly, one of the books and gods and generals was the first ones. turn into a movie. this is a prequel to his father's book and then the sql knew that came out in 1998. that is the last full measure. again, about the civil war. mexican-american war, christ's rebellion, the american revolution. and then the glorious cause is also about the american revolution. moving onto world war i, to the last man here in world war ii, there are four books about world war ii. the rising tide. the steel wave, and -- the
9:33 am
final storm cannot in 2011 about the pacific. blaze of glory came in 2012, back to the civil lowar. for @booktv offender about the civil war, concentrating on vicksburg. the smirk of don in 2014. chattanooga and tecumseh -- the faithful livening. then most recent came out last year which is about korea. what is it about the civil war and jeff shaara and your father michael shaara? >> he does answer the question. what michael shaara did, in 1974, 10 years, that continues 1964 we went to gettysburg and we were tourists. >> tallahassee florida. her father was teaching florida state. my father had been a writer his
9:34 am
young life. , sci-fi, short stories, and we went to gettysburg as tourists. and i'm dating myself, eight millimeters film on canonsburg desert 12 girls do. something happened to my father there. first of all he was a storyteller. he was a master. he knew a good story when he saw one. he started doing some research on gettysburg and he became obsessed with telling a story. it took him seven years to put the e manuscript together and t reason for that is he had to teach to make a living. because he didn't make a living from his writing which was sad. he was teaching during the day, writing at night. and he the manuscript together, it was turned down by 15 publishers in new york. and finally, a minuscule publisher picked it up. $3500.
9:35 am
my father was thrilled. here is this book coming out, this the killer angels comes out in 1974. nobody cares. the end of vietnam war. nobody in this country wanted to read a book about generals. about out of fashion the subject. then a year later this magnificent thing happens. a telegram comes my father's house, congratulations! the killer angels has been awarded the 1975 pulitzer prize for fiction. no one was more surprised by that than my father. but still a writer wednesday pulitzer prize, he has the right to believe his ship has come in. >> it was not a bestseller. >> it was never. even with the pulitzer it was not a bestseller! a crushing disappointment to him. one question i get a lot. what other historical did he write? none! and then one that was made into
9:36 am
a film, but he had no interest at all in going back to the civil war. 1988, died, only 59 years old. his second heart attack. died in his sleep. and five years after that, turn effects of the money in the film gettysburg based on the killer angels is released. the book becomes a number one bestseller, 19 years after published. i don't know if that has ever happened before. five years after my father's death. he had no idea what he left behind. the idea for doing a prequel in a single came from ted turner. the movie gettysburg was enormously successful. especially when it aired on tnt. and ted wants to do more films. i came to me, he said wouldn't it be great to take this to go before and after with some of the same characters. because it was about a film. i never written anything before.
9:37 am
i was a dealer in their points and precious metals in florida. the action of this conversation. whatever, but thanks, i will do the research. all of the sestories together t be adopted clay stampley. if it is lousy, i will ferment away. you know i don't have to worry about it. there is no fear. people ask a lot of fun have you know how to write a book i knew the kind of research my father had done. getting into the heads. i know i can do that, and represented, and the business in the family. i'm representing the father's estate in new york. english is not another one bestseller. so i am talking to a publisher there and she says, what it is that you are doing? i said i am working on a prequel it is called god and generals. for which by the way was my father's original title of the killer angels.
9:38 am
and for some reason he rejected it. i thought about that about halfway through. this is perfect, is the perfect title iv and trying to create here. so the publisher said, sent us e the manuscript. really? okay. send them the manuscript this is a september 1995. the phone call i got back was we don't care if it's a movie. like the book.we think that you are a writer. here's a contract. my whole life changed with that and gods and generals comes out, it debuts on the bestseller list. now there are allusions of the great american author alive, i know people wanted more of the killer angels. critics companies life. leaders of company stock. all of the country i am trying. people are intelling me is a go try. but it's a competition. gods and generals stays on the best song list. then, the publisher wants the sequel. now i am scared out of my
9:39 am
because i'm wondering am i a one-hit wonder? you know that music clichc. now there are expectations. now there's pressure. write another book. start on the sequel. the same result. i became known, my editor started fielding questions from people. he is the civil war guy now. so children this idea and that idea and so forth. and my editor put that aside, you are a good storyteller. a nice thing to have but then okay, we did the civil war, we finished this now what? >> them into the mexican war story because the characters are so similar. the ersame names. almost a prequel to the prequel. then the american revolution and the publisher is like, american revolution? who cares? that was the response.
9:40 am
this is what the publisher said. i ported this. this is not me saying this. there are sexy wars in their unsexy wars. the civil war, world war ii is sexy, world war i is not. the american revolution is not. my response was, isn't that my job? to make it sexy? and again i hate the term but if it's a good story, that is my job to tell a good story. select the civil war and thought i was done with that. 2011, the centennial of the civil war comes around. 150th anniversary. and all of the letters i had gone from people in mississippi and tennessee consent you know, we're sort of tired of hearing about robert e lee in virginia. like that is the homework. what about everything else? what about what happens on the mississippi river? you're right, once i started working with that i realized
9:41 am
there's a story here that i really would like to tell. and again it is the characters, it is the people, sherman, chris monkey is the , theme, he is the connecting string to all four of the books. and but the battle of shiloh. i've never been there. south-central tennessee, really the middle of nowhere. this is a fascinating place to be.it is 95 percent original. i got excited about that. the story blaze of glory, is about shiloh and then good idea with the centennial, have a book, and the hundred 50th anniversary of the actual event. 2012, 1862, silo, vicksburg. which by the way is going on at the same time as the battle of gettysburg. i am sort of paralleling.
9:42 am
>> exactly, he is implemented vicksburg it is one of the finest hours. and again, that story so overshadowed by what happens in gettysburg. one reason for that is, compared to dc, baltimore, philadelphia, we both the media, look at what vicksburg is. again, perimeter middle of nowhere on the mississippi river. i made the i knew what happened that vicksburg is more important than what happened in gettysburg. i have to be careful when i say that. but to the war, the conquest of the mississippi river, changes everything. great story. and from there, going to chattanooga common lookout mountain and then it is promising to me to be important to tell, gods and generals and killer generals, there is more to the story. and so i got very excited about that. the war in the west, i'm very i' happy about but now, that being
9:43 am
said, i think that's all i can do on the civil war.and i have people write me and say, there is what happens in the trans-mississippi, you know, a bunch of things that happen. i'm kind of on to other things right now. i have seven books with those characters. and i need to focus on something a little different at least for now. >> jeff shaara, how valuable were the newspapers of the times for your research? embry able to get a hold of sherman's diaries? >> that is two very separate questions. the newspapers at the time were not all that valuable because one of the great complaints we hear every day with bias in the media, you have no idea! i mean he had newspapers, during the presidential
9:44 am
election of -- your paper is not just taking sides suddenly and discreetly but blatantly taking sides. and so when you are reading a can tell whether it is in charleston or richmond, compared to whether it is in philadelphia or new york. just by the tone of the writing. factually, research wise, it is not that useful. it is my federal dimension sherman's diary, his own memoir. vehis letters, there is a book about this that of his letters. from his wife, his friends, he is telling what he thinks. he doesn't know hundred 50 years later someone like me is going to be reading his letters. and that has held all the way through every book i've done. collections of letters and diaries, it's like writing a diary. who is he writing to? himself! you don't think somebody like me is ever going to read that so you're honest.
9:45 am
and honestly is doing a lot of the myths and the pr, the public relations part of it and to get some of these people really thought and sherman is not the most attractive guy personally, his thoughts are pretty objectionable but he won the war. and that is an interesting combination for me to deal with. >> now, here is what i got about one thing i got about a little bit of insecurity. is that a fair assessment? >> very definitely. and i think today's definition, sherman is a manic-depressive. on one hand, he is a full in the china shop. on the other hand he collapses in doubt and you know one newspaper in cincinnati labels and as insane. i've actually use the word. no, i do not think he's insane but i think he has some problems.
9:46 am
definitely the insecurities, his first great battle, the first combat experience in the civil war iis manassas. it is a disaster for him. the trips collapsed, he collapses, scramble and retreat. he carries them around with him. after that anytime he runs into the enemy he blows up their numbers. it is a familiar theme if you know george mcclellan. and those guys over there, there are a lot more of them than you think. sherman carries that almost in a neurotic kind of way. and he is afraid. when he gets into battle and even after shiloh and things begin to go every now and then there is that moment. when the old ghosts come back. and i mean anyone who has mental issues i think can relate to this day my father had similar issues to this. the notion that all of a sudden
9:47 am
the fear, and it compiles. and what happens in a couple of times, he is human. he is not a marble statue. and that is my job. to tell the story. what he accomplishes historically is magnificent. but when he goes along the way, you have the story. >> jeff shaara is our guest. we are putting the numbers back on the screen will cycle through our social media. we have someone on the phone. you want with jeff shaara. donald are you with us? >> yes. good afternoon. i should like to know if -- has had influence you or kenneth roberts. as you might know the third installment, march 1917,
9:48 am
redfield was published in november. the history of the russian revolution. clin the artistic endeavors, similar to yours. again, kenneth roberts for -- have they had any influence on you? and if you're familiar with -- and we might think of -- >> we appreciate the call. with enough file with the latest with the red wheel. i have not esread that but i am familiar with the theories. war and peace, we start talking about other people who write historical fiction, it surprises people to hear. because i get asked a lot of questions and griffin, there are a bunch of people who do
9:49 am
what i o do and did it first. i do not read them. there is a reason why, i'm scared to death of being accused of plagiarism. and i don't read novels. if i pick up your novel in a particular line of dialogue or something sticks in my head and later on, tries out entirely by accident in my own book that is a pure definition of plagiarism. in an accusation like that can cost my career. to read how someone else tells a story where there is a story i want to tell or just something entirely different, a military story or -- that doesn't do me any good. i don't want to know has somebody else tells the same story. because i don't want to copy. i don't ever want to be accused of copying somebody. so i mean, i know that sounds strange. i don't read other peoples
9:50 am
works of fiction. but that is why pay because i don't want to ever be accused of ripping somebody off for more importantly, legally quoting someone or using a line of dialogue because that could cost me literally my career. >> jeff shaara we have this beautiful graphic appear on the wall. very descriptive illustrations, who does this for you? >> i work with my editor. the idea, when we start early on, this actually goes back to the killer angels. and sorted the style that my father's book uses, because things, these are novels, choose a photograph on the cover or the face of you know, whether it is george washington or dwight eisenhower or whoever, if use an actual photograph, and makes you look like is a textbook or nonfiction. so the idea is to use a painting.
9:51 am
it gives the whole feel of the book a little bit more of a lyrical sense. i love this one, the steel wave which is a second my world war ii books at normandy. if you look at the image on the cover of that book, it's a famous photograph, the library of congress. i mean, i cannot tell you how many books have used that as cover art. while the people of the of the department of random house, they took that photograph and made into a painting. so actually looks like a painting. i definitely, i work, my books, jeff's own us design a cover without me having some approval in that, -- >> it is fun to see how your name has grown in size over the years as well. >> i had thnothing to do with that.i appreciate it. it is a very nice thing. it was rise to rebellion. my first book on the american revolution. because up until that point, the title of the book is at the
9:52 am
top and my name is at the bottom. rise to rebellion suddenly, my name is at the top in the title of the book is down below. that was a shock. and i think that's the way it works. the marketing department has decided to do things differently. i get a big kick out of that. >> james is in florida. you are on with jeff shaara. >> what a great show. mesmerizing! i have just two things. number one, when we won the revolutionary war. the troops -- the second thing, what happened to to all of the thousands of british troops? were they prisoners of war? the big event in when? do they become settlers?what happened to them? i never knew. >> i will answer the second question >>first because the first one is a little more dramatic and i really like to talk about that. the british now, your two different kinds of troops fighting. the british and the british
9:53 am
mostly went back to england. they don't have a lot of a say-so and what they will do. they tell them to get on the ship and off they go. on the other hand he -- a bunch of them stayed here. a lot of the german troops settled in the carolinas, they went out midwest, they eventually were in wisconsin and minnesota.and been an enormous german population. some of that came from them, they likely here. the weather was better, a lot of them stayed here. by large, the british, most went back to england. now, when the british troops laid down their arms to, this is cornwallis at yorktown. again, it is not really the end of the war but it is enormous victory for washington. i love the scene because the french are right there. the general is beside
9:54 am
washington. the french are in these perfect white uniforms, it seems odd but they are right. -- is magnus -- magnificent. when cornwallis -- he would not surrender his senses colonel out with his wsword. to surrender the troops. and the world turns upside down, that is pretty well documented accurately. but the scene when this man comes out and he marches out and the french troops on one side of the road and the continentals on the other side, he comes out and he is looking for who to give a sword to. he sees all of his grandeur and he walks up to him with the sword and he says, no. that guy over there and he points to washington. and of course he knows his job.
9:55 am
that is -- i get emotional talking about it. it may sound silly but that is one of the great moments in the history of this country. when the french and the british recognize this is who is in charge. i love that! i love the scene in the glorious cause. i love that moment! >> the next call for jeff shaara comes from john in new york. >> thank you for taking my call. i would like to put this in context. correct o start with a statement. when we read history, we always read in retrospect. we have the assumption that what happened was inevitable. when we really know that there are so many twists and turns that had lincoln in one direction and it would have had a completely different result. i am asking you, as one who writes about factual matters
9:56 am
but as a novelist, why does lincoln, when the states wanted to secede, why does -- over the next four years, given what we know about the industrial power of the north, what we know about the south was so dependent upon slavery. it was a one crop culture. basically. what, based upon your knowledge of history and imagination might lead you to think what might have happened rather than the four years of war and almost 600,000 deaths, what could have happened? could the south have sustained itself against this great power? the industrial power of the north? >> thank you john. >> i think it is possible south could have sustained a stop but
9:57 am
not on its own. it was basically a state of serious hostility between the north and south. the south was relying on england. england, france, the rest of europe. that was the marketplace for their cotton. eventually, tobacco as well. so the south might have survived. then also, the people in england, they saw the south as -- this is our opportunity to get our colonies back. it was virginia, the carolinas, georgia. come home. we will embrace you again, we are a natural trading partner, we have a bond based on economy and i mean, this is interesting because who knows what would have happened. the notion of four years, there was no war. would lincoln have been assassinated? no. we have won reelection? probably not. that changes everything. that changes the entire history of the world. and of course, the northeast,
9:58 am
you're probably right that they could have survived on some level because they had the money and the industrial capability. you raise an interesting question of what would have happened to the south. the south, had become british colonies again they would have become what we know of as europe. the southern states that wanted their r own independence. see might have had the republic of south carolina you know, the mississippi or and, then what happens? conflict between mississippi and alabama. we have conflict from north and south carolina. yes, the whole world i mean would be an entirely different place today. i want to mention something about the first part of your question. because you talk about conclusions. i love, my job is to avoid that at all costs and the best example i can give you of that
9:59 am
is normandy. the d-day invasion. the chapter from dwight eisenhower was point of view, june 16, 1944. eisenhower does not hear anything, there is nothing for hours after the invasion has taken place. you think he is not going mad with that? in his pocket, there is a letter that he gois written prepared to give to read to the newspapers accepting full responsibility for the disastrous defeat at normandy. they have no idea if we are going good now, we know what happened. we are starting the end of the war for the germans. in 1944 we had no idea what was going to happen. and if i give you a conclusion or sort of a nudge nudge, wink wink, we knew it would turn out all right -- that is not very accurate storytelling. >> we need general erwin rommel
10:00 am
in the rising tide in your first book on world war ii. comes back in a way. i was nervous, it is one thing when, the something once my father. ... and south. there are no bad guys. not john wayne and the guys in the black hats. going back to the revolution, you had the first book it is wallace and in the second buffed -- and that is okay. world war i, the red baron. when you get to world war ii, it changes everything. because the bad world war ii changes everything because the bad guys are the best. in the character when i found out rommel was not a bad guy. he is not a nazi. he never joined the nazi party. he's a german hero from world
10:01 am
war i. he's awarded the iron cross what he does in the first world war northern italy, a legitimate german hero and he hates politics. he comes to hate hitler and he comes and meets hitler and realizes this guy, he can't win to what he is doing. again, it makes them human. normal is an outstanding officer, and understanding soldier and the material he wanted and the manpower he wanted first to north africa where he's up against the british and against the past he changed everything. hitler treats, like a stepchild and because there was hitler looking? russia. he has all his resources and focus on feeding the russians and rommel is down there in north africa with nothing. then he makes such a pain on himself, for in the side, they take him in campaigns in north
10:02 am
africa once i finish they put them in a backwater of the [inaudible] to get them out of the way. they put them in a place called normandypu so when we invade, jn command of the german forces at normandy is rommel. he was a natural fit to come back in the next book. >> i loved his character -- >> again, i'm nervous about the political implications of saying this but he was a good man. he is not a nazi and he is not, yes, he fights in the german army. yes, he answersno to hitler bute was not that clichéd. he's not like one of the minions around hitler. he was a good soldier and it makes for a really good character. by the way, i love this piece of trivia. his wife's birthday is june 6, 1944. he goes home and is not there
10:03 am
when the allies in the. how might history change then? it's part of the story. >> host: share that one of the scenes that you can pick up in your books. the relationships you have rommel in hitler, jefferson davis, macarthur and truman, polk and his generals speak to is the story. again, it's not about names, places, facts and figures. the characters are the first part to me of what story i'm going to tell. g like to tell you this is interesting because this regiment lost so many men on the sale or it okay, that's a piece of thewh history but that's not what draws me to the story. what draws me to the story is the people. you mentioned a couple of tandems that we could talk about it length but that is what is fun for me. it has to be fun for me. not fun for me and i don't get passionate about the story you
10:04 am
will not want to read. it starts with those personalities. >> host: let's hear from vic in california. >> caller: hello. i am curious, i wonder have you ever thought about writing a book about [inaudible] it's an incredible story of an american defeat and wondered why you haven't taken it on as a topic. >> guest: that's a very good question and hopefully i have a good answer for it. what i was doing world war ii and i started in the trilogy it could just have easily been a trilogy set in the pacific. i chose europe and i just chose europe. i like the characters and the like eisenhower and again rommel and there were a number of general patton -- and i did the trilogy i began to hear from marines. the marines were not happy with my trilogy in europe. i started getting e-mails that
10:05 am
europe was this europe stuff and were not in europe. yes, okay.hi there was this other more halfway around the world so i did a fourth book what i call my four book trilogy on the end of the world in the pacific, the final storm with open our in the bombs. it's the end of the war in the pacific. lately, talking to a publisher we talked about the idea of going back and taking another lookut at the pacific in the second world war. you talk about stories -- iwo jima has been done a bunch from john wayne all the way up to clint eastwood, the two-part segment but there is midway in pearl harbor and there is the end of the war and guantánamo mail and a lot of stories and i'm having a conversation with my publisher right now about
10:06 am
going back and doing another trilogy and that would be -- pearl harborod is a good place o start obviously. it's where it starts for us then immediately thereafter what you are talking about -- by chance i was in a hotel in kansas city where they have the annual gathering of survivors of the [inaudible]. i knew nothing about it and i knew nothing about it and this was years ago and i was talking to this hoteluc and i see the stuff in the posters and these are guys who have a lot of bitterness because nobody paid much attention to what happened to them and they are not especially fans of douglas macarthur. macarthur leaves them. i shall return well, that is what he is talking about. when he leaves and goes to australia. he's leaving those are the kind. that is a tough story and very differently -- i don't know i could do an entire book just on that but that very definitely
10:07 am
could be a piece of another story starting probably with pearl harbor. >> host: i want to point out the math we do showed two reviewers is general macarthur's map that he had in the pacific. what about newspaper in contemporary accounts during world war ii in korea -- with a more valuable? >> guest: probably so because the american public was not kept informed, much more so than ever had been before and there was not because you didn't have to sides in the same country so that you have the rich newspaper in the philadelphia newspaper fighting each other over who was candidate or his general is a good guy. he didn't have any of that. we were very much united in this country in the effort against the enemy and whether the enemy wase the japanese were the germans so very definitely the newspapers and i've read the papers while they are not is useful fromm a research point of view is not detailed enough
10:08 am
certainly what they did is kept the home front informed it's not always good news. i've read papers and it surprised me in a good way that they were telling the truth. there wereer setbacks and probls in they were being honest about it. it wasn't all just glossing over like we are winning vietnam but generation, the evening news, when it seems like every day wey are winning and why is that were still going on. it wasn't like that of world war ii. they were reporting the good, the bad and the ugly. that was a nice thing to see is a work in public for getting an accurate idea. >> host: this is an e-mail from everett jones. could you talk about the hostility to the us generals in the mexican war and president pope had very different agenda. >> guest: zachary taylor, first of all, at the beginningip of te war which was worth were began to hold more and maybe you can
10:09 am
look at as an excuse for starting the war is whether the border of texas with mexico would be the rio grande river which we know it today or the other river hundred miles north. the mexicans wanted that hundred miles and the settlers in texas continues earlier had defeated santa ana during the texas revolution they wanted that hundred mile gap should be there's and that was the start that started the mexican war. the mexicans moved into the area and the militia got together and zachary taylor wasf down to tes and takes command of these people in a fight three fairly significantsi battles and it cod go either way. he wins a couple of them and a lot of casualties and boys are dying and american young men are dying and for the first time in quite a number of decades and in washington, this man is about taylor in command of the army he goes down to the gulf and he takes command from taylor and
10:10 am
taylor is left up in south texas to manage things there and the war moves away from taylor. taylorro is a legitimate americn hero and becomes president of the united states and he does get his due and i don't know if iat would call them enemies, really, the scott and taylor. scott had every right to do what he did and he leaves taylor where he is and goes into the gulf of mexico and eventually goes to mexico city and wins the war. polk is a whole different story. he is strictly a politician. he's in washington and is looking out for his own agenda and he cannot stand winfield scott. when scott c invades the coast f mexico he can't stand polk any more than the public likes him and he cuts off medication. polk is telling them what to do
10:11 am
and takes a while were to get from washington down to the gulf of mexico. t scott uses that as an excuse that i can't wait for you to tell me and i'm cutting off all medications he goes in land and there's a telegram and nothing. scott is on his own and he becomes quite a hero for doing that andte paul is left out in e cold. lately there's been a resurgence of interest in james k polk, a couple books written about him and good, that's fine. he gets his due but taylor's is the real hero to the american public. >> host: later, president taylor exactly. he dies quickly in office in poor healthh but scott runs for president later and loses. he never gets the affection of the american people the way that taylor does. >> host: when you look at the number of deaths in mexican american war two years of war, 13000 deaths, pretty substanti
10:12 am
substantial. >> guest: yeah, and again the weaponry is not very good but getting better. the artillery is not very good but getting better. the tactic stay the same and some of that, i don't know how much of that what percentage of that is due to [inaudible] because the medicine and it evolved enormously in the civil war. prior to the civil war battlefield conditions are just horrible. the wounded man stands a any infection in his stead. very little chance and there's typhoid and scarlet fever and they are going through the countryside in mexico where there are no sanitary conditions. it's a difficult place to fight a war and i have no doubt that that number is accurate but i'm wondering how much of that is based on disease or wounded soldiers who died from the infection. >> host: next call from jeff comes from jerry in illinois.
10:13 am
>> caller: hello, jeff shaara. i'm fascinated with mexican war and as an american i feel very guilty about the way we took all that territory and then give them a token payment. we're still living the patients of that today. the mexican american relations have never been like canadian-american and in our current political climate it is right up to date. daca so i have an unanswerable question for you. [laughter] we can'tca give california back but how can we work the situation. >> guest: you're right it's an unanswerable question but the way we treat the mexicans during the war and immediately after the war is you mentioned early on manifest destiny and the monroe doctrine.
10:14 am
we are entitled to what we know today as arizona new mexico, rocky mount state and we are entitled to that and you look at thatid today and it's an archaic idea and yet at the time that was our theme in this country and we were from atlanta in the pacific and everything in between belongs to us so we were pretty much justified taking whatever we want obviously, today that sounds pretty awful. at the time it was what this country was all about and it was where all her energy was. it is interesting because i was nervous about what kind of response the soldiers would get in mexico and what will i hear from mexican historians and i was extremely gratified to hear that patrol santa ana we talked with the alamo and santa ana was the bad guy in the alamo to texans and tenan years later hes in command in mexico again and
10:15 am
he's in charged but the other character inn the story there is that point of view and i was afraid that i didn't want to picture him as a cartoon because that is not fair to the man. i have the more and only translated into english in 1988 called the eagle and he paints himself as a cartoon. he takes the responsibility for everything that goes right and blames everything everybody else for everything that goes wrong. that's his personality and so i put a little bit of that into the story and i was nervous how would historians take that i got letters. i love that. got letters from professors in mexico city who said yes, you got it right. it was outstanding. unfortunately, this being what it is the stories of war stories more often are not fair and the
10:16 am
spoils of war in mexico and the reason the gentleman mentioned the talk of payment it was a token payment and a guilt check. it was the spoils of war. you can justify it or not how would thewo world be different f the united states was half the size it is today, unanswerable question. >> host: to jeff shaara, after seven books on the support how do you feel about robert lee? >> guest: i knew this was coming. it's a hot button topic today. robert e lee the man to write him as a character and get into said on a very personal level this is a man with seven children and get advice constantly to every one of them. his letters are almost telling his children what you should and should not do because he's never home. his wife is a tragic figure. very lee is an unhappy woman who hates the fact that her husband is never home and she lets him
10:17 am
know that which is interesting. as a general in the field lee is i wouldn't say he's unparalleled. i think grant is a better general and i think sherman was a better general but only allows the confederacy to survive for as long as he does because he knows how to retreat. that is not a slam. he knows that he doesn't have the manpower and doesn't have the arm especially when he's up later in the war against grant and he knows. he knows that i use it as the title of the third book from abram lincoln's gettysburg address but lee understands is meant to give the last full measure if they're going to survive this war. he knows they will not win and yet he also knows he owes it to his men and his men love -- they would not let him. even if you wanted to. there was all of that and the man of dignity and the man of
10:18 am
integrity and the fact that after the war he will not light his own memoir and will not write a memoir because you pass judgment on other people and he won't do it. it's up to other people to tell the history he says. they wanted to be governor of virginia and that could easily walk into the governor's mansion he would do it goes to washington college reestablishes what is today washington lee university in lexington, virginia. he reestablishes a school to educate young southern men to help them fit back into society and to give them an education and a job and an opportunity for them to assimilate themselves back into the country. all that is good. now, there is the other side. the other side is lee takes up arms against his country. iny. those days his country, in his mind was virginia today it's hard to relate to that. he takes up arms against his country and fight for a cause
10:19 am
that clearly, very easily, is very little argument is the wrong cost he's on the wrong side of history. i will say this because i remember at some point today i get them to misspeak i have heard that i've grown up and in the south and i grew up in tallahassee, florida i grew up by southerners and the seven law is not fought over slavery but it was fought over states rights. over the rights? over the rights they were fighting for? the white, paramount was to keep place. you can dance around that if you want to and i know this will get some people mad at me but i'm sorry, i've given this a lot of thought. the civil war, again, you can define it anyway you want to but at the end of the day when the principal product of the war ending the way it did slaves
10:20 am
were freed and had the south won the war. likelyul the slaves would not he been freed. thirty years later and i've had this conversationn with people who know more about the industrial revolution that i do and things like the cotton gin and the electric engine and all that slaves might become obsolete as the ending of the plantation and that maybe but that's 30 years later but the slaves were freed when the war ended and leave is today is much as i admire the man and how much fun i had writing him and getting into his head and seeing the war. his eyes he was on the wrong side of history. and that's not an insult and i'm not slamming anybody. i respect enormously people who particularly to embrace their own history but i am sorry.y. you lost the war. you can embrace the romance of
10:21 am
some of the characters, stonewall jackson is one of my favorite characters and you can embrace that but the war was wrong. the work was being bought something that had it succeeded thedn entire world would be very different place and probably a much worse place. onone man's opinion. >> host: you watching tv on c-span2. this is our monthly in-depth program and this year it's a special fiction addition of in-depth and this month it is military historical novelists. jeff shaara as our guest and david is calling in from alabama. >> caller: thank you, gentleman. i'm having a great time watching this. i had a different subject but if i can i would like to comment on what he just mentioned about robert et lee. specifically it is worth noting he was on record denouncing
10:22 am
slavery as a moral and political evil. he made other comments in this letter to his wife that we would find more problematic in this modern era but he is also on record in congressional testimony after the war in response to a congressman's accusation that he had fought a war for the preservation of slavery and his response was sir, so far from fighting a war for the preservation of slavery i rejoice that slavery is abolished. i don't think can put robert ely in the category of the proslavery southern elite. that being said and it is arguable, i understand but what i really want to talk about related to the atlanta campaign and one of the statements made by confederate commander
10:23 am
majohnston that is one of the tantalizing what if of history during the campaign and as the confederate army retreated toward atlanta obviously jefferson davis was getting concerned and the people of atlanta were upset and in response johnston made a comment i can hold atlanta forever. obviously he wasn't given the chance to do that and you can say about joseph e johnston that he never saw an impending battle that he didn't try to avoid and that might be a slight exaggeration but if you look at it in the context of the election the confederate army in georgia have been able to do the sherman what lee did to grant in virginia lincoln would have a hard time getting reelected.
10:24 am
grant suffered enormous casualties and lee remained undefeated in richmond remained in her hands and lee held richmond well into the following spring, not just the election. >> host: david, you seem to have a -- >> caller: johnson had been given that opportunity support for we get an answer you seem to have a pretty deep knowledge of the civil war. >> caller: well, i have studied it all my life and in an unofficial capacity. i'm a buckeye guest speaking good point about johnson. i agree with what you said about lee. it's not that simple and not cut and dry, good guy, bad guy. i started out talking about leasing that as a human being and as a man of dignity and integrity it is hard to fault him but he has ended up on clearly the wrong side of
10:25 am
history. johnston is a character in particularly the fourth book of that series the war in the west which deals with sherman's largess and by the way at the end is the real end of the war which is not appomattox, two and half later joe johnston offers a surrender to sherman north carolina a lot of people don't realize that. pulling out pieces of trivia but johnston understands as he is backing up toward atlanta and he is driving richmond crazy. jefferson davisn can't stand te fact that johnston is not out there sucking sherman in the jaw and beating these yankees out of georgia and johnston is instead the master of the tactical retreat. that ends up getting fired. davis, you know, the joke in the richmond newspapers that johnston is so good at retreating that he will get to
10:26 am
have his army in bermuda. i'm not making that up. he is relieved of his command because they can't read about another treat. johnston understands as he backs up but what does sherman do, sherman goes around. sherman is the better general and johnson knows he has limited resources and sherman has all kinds of resources and sherman knows exactly what he is doing and at the end of the day johnston is relieved of command. unfortunately forfo the south ad for atlanta his replacement is john hood and he takes word from returns okay, i will fight and marches his army out and sherman had on three times and is blasted three times. his army is basically destroyed and when the sherman does take atlanta he walks in and there's nobody left because his army is skate to alabama to get out of the way and you can't blame all that on joe johnson. johnson certainly had his flaws
10:27 am
and the vicksburg campaign and what he did to pemberton is a terrible thing with another whole story but i admire johnston because at the end of the war when sherman meets a face to face those are scenes i reallyjo enjoyed writing because here is two men with very different costs dealing with the same problem and we have to end this war and how we do this and it's a great scene, great piece of american history. >> host: speaking of general pemberton, he was a pennsylvanian and a confederate general. >> guest: i love the story and i assume this is really accurate but he marries a virginian. his wife is from virginia and the war breaks out she tells him you are going down and you will fight for the south. one can only assume what that meant for the relationship and i won't get into that but pemberton because he's a pennsylvanian and eventually he becomes and he doesn't show much confidence throughout his entire
10:28 am
command life but he's in command at vicksburg which at the time is a backwater and they put them out of the way and suddenly he's in the middle of things in his own army knows this man is from pennsylvania and there's always that little undercurrent of distrust and the rumors fly of one pemberton finally surrenders his 30000 men to grant when it vicksburg falls there are a lot of people to this day say well, you know, that was the plan all alongg that pemberton really was a yankee in the skies and he knew -- no,e i don't buy that. wasn't a good general and it's a shame for those men surrendered but he tried it is interesting that he was one of those northerners who went south. >> host: allen, virginia, you are on with author jeff shaara. >> caller: thank you very much. pleasure to talk to you.
10:29 am
i have two questions. nsi was wondering have you ever considered writing a book on the french and indian wars and dealing with washington and products in fort pitt and fort g to gain and all of that and ao about a book dealing with the barbary wars. i'll hang up and listen to your comments. thank you very much. >> guest: the french and indian war particularly was one of those conversations i had with my publisher. but in any war, war of 1812, spanish-american war. the response as i said earlier the publisher decided they weren't epic in a pit you can make big arguments in the other direction and i think he was in pittsburgh is probably very close to all of that and i understand. never say never. it is a possibility down the road but the barbary idea keeps up a few years ago and it's been done and there's a film of the barbary pirates and a lot of people had no idea were talking about.
10:30 am
thomas jefferson during his reign and had a problem with piracy in the mediterranean and maybe -- that's not high on my list because the research there would be interesting because how you get the other side? how do you get accounts from the people from [inaudible the pira? french and indian war is more possible. it's up to me to commence my publisher that this might be an audience. >> host: bob in thousand oaks, california. >> caller: yes, hello. questionn for mr. sierra and hello. >> host: we are listening, go ahead. >> caller: one of the criticisms of the generally was his decision to send a picket into thent center of the union line t gettysburg rather than going around the right flank of the
10:31 am
union army. my take on this is you live in the gettysburgla area and i thik you're familiar with photography of the land and the stations. >> guest: very much so. >> caller: when my father worked on the prince miniature bike in 1939 they had to send the workers will because they had no accurate mapping of that area. had to bring in surveyors and cartographers and it was wesley's decision based on the fact that he didn't know where the hell he was at and didn't want to take a chance? >> guest: at least defense that would be a nice response but it's not -- no, it was his decision and my take is different. think about two months before we had jackson. lee had jackson and jackson's audacity one a lot of fights. i think it was a case of wishful
10:32 am
thinking on lee's part that he had that spirit and energy in his men. as we know it if you read the killer angels or seen the film, gettysburg, the biggest advocate for going around lee's army and going around the union army was long street. that was probably true. my father takes that as gospel and i still don't have any reason to dispute that and i think there were a number of commanders under lead said why are we going straight at the middle we should go around them and also one reason you go around is you cut off the union army fromap washington which was part of the point. well, as i think what happened lee is looking at this across from him, first of all, he trusted his artillery to break up the union position. it did not work. they tried and they put alexander in command of the
10:33 am
artillery and they unleashed a horrific bombardment on the union center and anyone watching the binoculars think we smashed a pretty good hole there but they didn't. that is one huge problem right there. also, i think, part of these weakness at this point is he relies on his own fate that god is on our side and in every war that i've ever researched god is on somebody site. and to people across the line from each other each day god is on their side. there's a problem with that. i put that in a couple of different ways depending on the war and one man in the pancreas is what happened is it's pretty obvious god turned away and didn't want to t see what was happening here. we'll get into that. lee had faith in tremendous faith that god's will would
10:34 am
prevail and they were going to win it would be god's will. today that seems to be an archaic way of looking at things but you can't separate yourself today from whatth those people believe and lee had absolute faith that god was looking out for his people and believed that it would work. it was a catastrophic mistake and probably lee's worst day is a field commander. >> host: bob in thousand oaks, toyour comment as well. >> caller: i have a personal connection to the battle of gettysburg. when they sent my father home that was in january of 1939 and i was born in october of 1939 so do the math. >> host: bob in thousand oaks, let's try fresno, california this is john. [laughter] >> caller: hello. , i have a question for you concerning the civil war that never made any sense to me. after the war finished why
10:35 am
weren't thet southern generals tried for treason? >> guest: there is a good reason for that and the primary reason and this is from a carryover from abraham lincoln. lincoln believedin that we needo bring everybody back together again with the least amount of punishment that we can have. as you will know jefferson davis was the one man singled out for the most punishment but by and large and part of this was grants doing but send the soldiers home and let them go back and work their farms. to just punish the south or to make criminals out of the peopl. who lead the army there will be no feeling. lincoln preached healing and had lincoln lived. first of all there would've been no reconstruction and the reconstruction would t have been very benign compared to what it turned out because lincoln very
10:36 am
much wanted -- i mean, maybe it's idealistic to say let's all be friends but that's overstating it butut let's get e country back together again and let's getth the country working. to drag it out with military trials and to place blame and possibly hang people that would have created enormous bad blood in the south more than already existed and probably would not have been constructed. again, i point to what lee did after the war and going back to washington college and turning it into a straight educational institution and to help southern men find the place in their society of how much more constructive is that then had we had a trial where lee's name get dragged through the mud possibly hanged as a traitor and some people would say it deservedly so that what would that have done to help the cause after the war? maybe that's oversimplifying it but that is what i feel. >> host: letter from j in
10:37 am
clifton, virginia. >> caller: greetings, gentleman. i have a question but if i could begin with an homage to your father. when i was a young captain of the army advanced course we were assigneded the killer angels and had to write an essay and analysis of it and i wrote about lee. and his qualities as a general during gettysburg. i have followed you in your rise as an author because of that start with reading the killer angels and a wonderful historical fiction as you said earlier. my question though is a little tricky and about confederate monuments and how they are treated today. it's a tough issue and i did go to west point and we studied ala these wars you might be familiar with the old west point atlas of american war. >> guest: ioi have it.
10:38 am
[laughter] >> caller: i figured. all these battles some of the generals that you mentioned and now we are going through a reconciliation, i guess and what are your thoughts on how we treat or study the south and these old warriors and how do we treat themha now? >> host: what are your thoughts untrained hear from jeff? >> caller: there's a military side of s it and a political sie and as someone who has studied for it west point and then as an officer iff have always been attracted to the leadership components and studying -- you talk about washington something i never knew earlier in the program. how's personality -- cornwallis
10:39 am
you talk to him. if the individuals changed history in the moment and we studied in the fraud and so forth and so i do want to remember them because it has happened but many people say well, maybe you want to have monuments to nazi generals and it's a prickly issue. i've always thought when we have fort hood, fort bragg, we have these braddock road here in you do? what i work in alexandria and we monuments they are to confederate soldiers still. it'sso a complicated issue. i don't know if there is a good answer except that it is american history. >> guest: it is a completed history and there are only completed answers. those who tryt to make simple answers are generally wrong.
10:40 am
you know, one thing you didn't mention when you talked about the cultural and military the historical. erasing history is a bad idea. d i don't care if you're in germany studying the nazis, study hitler in russia and study stalin and learn what they did and understand where they came from and it's no different here. you need to study the civil war and study bedford forrest or jefferson bragg and don't just erase them from the textbooks for know who they are. you do that and you do everyone -- you not making yourself better in a moral high ground by failing to teach young people the civil war was about and who these people work. that being said, monument and again i mentioned this earlier, the south lost the war. no country that i know of, no
10:41 am
culture on this earth allows federation of the losers of the war the way we do. think about that. there is no statue of hitler that i know of legally and hit germany in a torn down the saddam hussein and they tore down the statues. and yet, okay, so, if someone is offended and not someone, if an entire group of the citizenry is offendedou by a statue that doesn't mean the statue should just be destroyed.of for so, it might be a work of art and maybe something spectacular. move it. if defends the government having it in the town square in new orleans or enrichment or wherever it might be, put it in a museum or on the battlefield or in the confederate cemetery. he will not tell me you can pile up the cemeteries because we need to get rid of those people. learn what happened and learn
10:42 am
who's on the statue and why it's important and don't just destroy it but yes, it's one thing to have a specific government of the town recognize whomever, jefferson davis as a hero, hello, i have a problem with that. he's onpr the wrong side of history but to raise it into just if were not to have anything to do with that customer i won't get into the slippery slope thing about they want to take down statues of christopher columbus and defined funding for the jefferson memorial in washington because jefferson owned slaves. i'm sorry, jefferson wrote the declaration of independence. look at that. when we pay attention to the whole man and not just single out the bad. it is education and that is what matters to me. e if i put words in the mouth of robert e lee or stonewall jackson or any of these other
10:43 am
confederates is not because i am confederate it's because i'm looking at the history and i want to know what happened in the details and i want it to be accurate. erasing all of that, i'm sorry, there is no difference, we react outrageously read about isis destroying in syria from 500 -year-old beautiful religious monument because they don't agree with what that monument says. i'm not equating necessarily people who want to remove statues buto the principle of s the same thing. you don't like the history, get rid of it. no, don't do that. >> host: let's hear from steve in new port richey, florida. please, go ahead you're on with jeff shaara. >> caller: quick question. how about oliver wendell holmes, rooted in the civil war, kept his buddy uniforms in the office
10:44 am
and goes on to write the decision in the 20s. it be an interesting character for you since you were discussing screenplays. the question is this. christian bale in hostile, question about ptsd. these are civil war veterans were now fighting the calvary in the indian wars and melancholy a and taking away and one was killed in the south and you talk about the extent of ptsd from the civil war and how it was treated and also in the movie they showed the foreigners in the calvary frenchman, irishman, can you discuss the extent of foreigners in the united calvary during the civil war and after as well. thank you a lot. >> guest: completed question. first, ptsd is a fairly modern has p been defined in a fairly modern times. one of the problems with soldiers and this is happened in, iha would imagine, just abot every war fought the war ends
10:45 am
and they come home and he's trained in appeasing young man, 18 -year-old, 19 oh man who's been trained for quite a while to be a soldier with everything that entails now he's not. now is to get a job and whether it's the vietnam vet or the civil war vet or member that is to and a lot of the soldiers had a very difficult time adapting to that and to this day again, today we have identified it and we put a name on it and there's an element of treatment. back in the civil war there was no treatment. understood and again go back to the revolution and it was one of those things that the poor soldier and the poor young man had to suffer inside himself what that meant to no longer have that role and there is no good answer to that.
10:46 am
the calvary in our war one of the things about this country and goes back to the american revolution as well we are a multipart. much more when my family came over from italy but even in the civil war you have the irish you had the sleeves and germans and british certainly and a few italians but fewer latin or spanish than you have later but they are a part of our army all the way through the war and that didn't to start in the civil war. you guy comes from germany and speaks no english and ends up being a commander under washington in the american revolution. love that story. i have not and i know the film you're talking about and i haven't seen it but i have a
10:47 am
feeling that is basically. accurate betrayal of what it's likete for the calvary after the war. suddenly they have nothing to do and that heightened sense of alertness when you are under threat goes away. where does it go customer that's a tough question. >> host: you've been in the movie business and one of your books got made it to the what is a process like for you? speak you have to be careful here. i learned in hollywood it is the author's job to stay out of the way. people assume and logically so that my movie based on my book i must have been right there telling this that and the other it doesn't work that way. i would see things that were being done wrong or mispronunciations and pieces and i would chime up and be told we appreciate your input and i was much ignored.
10:48 am
the film they made a major motion picture out of our book and cannot be anything but a good thing. i know writers who would give up an arm to have a film for made out of the book. i don't want a film like a spoiled brat but it was a very questioning process because if you saw the film gettysburg and read the killer angels the film gettysburg is about 90% of my father's book. almost word for word and i think myd father would have been thrilled. guys and generals is about 10% of my book. that was a surprise. i didn't really understand and i understand that we've got a screenwriter, director that has her own vision of what they want to do and that is their job. it's not up to me unless you're jk rowling or steven king where you haveon absolute control over what gets put on the screen it's always going to be different and always going to change. i wish -- and again, there are
10:49 am
many fans of guys in general and i've heard from them but i wish it had been a better because had it been a better film we would have finished the trilogy. ed turner was ready to make the last full measure and in fact if you watch guys and generals at the endqu it says stay tuned for the rest of the story because the sql the last full measure because gods and generals is not a commercial success they dropped the project and the last full measure will never be made and that's a shame. however, if it was made or films were made out of any of my books going forward i promise you i will be more involved. >> host: have you auctioned any of your books. >> guest: there's an option right now on the other four civil war books of the series in the west and i don't have any idea if anything will happen to that. it be wonderful if they did at the korea book. i think to me it lends itself
10:50 am
obviously to a film but it's not up to me and people right to my website and say why haven't you made a film because of your mexican war story it would make a great film but it's not up to me. you're talking about 60 or a hundred million dollars in the budget for 600 gods and generals is $60 million. i don't have that and someone elsemo wants does and they wanto film me a call but that is what it comes down to. it can be very frustrating that i will say this i'm in the book business. i like it. it's been good to me and i've been fortunate and it's a hold different animal, the movie business. >> host: this isou david posting on facebook. >> guest: i'm not sure i agree
10:51 am
with that. i would say the civil war is what secured our national independence and secured the united states as a country. there is an argument and i am not the expert because i haven't done research there's an argument that we lost the war of 18. we did not win the war. yes, we had francis scott key and the star-spangled banner and andrew jackson and the battle of new orleans which he won after the war was over, by the way. he did not know that. but you can make an argument that the british won that war and again i will not get into that debate but i do agree with the fact that it is an epic story of the story that would be interesting to tell and never say never. >> host: it was in 2007 that jeff shaara spoke at the national book festival gala the night before and we want to show
10:52 am
you a portion of that. >> mr. president, mrs. bush, doctor and mrs. billington, thank you for this invitation to be here. it has been a journey for me not to hundred years but it has been a journey and my journey started with my father man named michael change the way the people looked at civil war in this country. most of you like me learn your history from textbooks you probably left school hating history. what my father did in the killer angels was to take you to the battle of gettysburg and put you in the heads of the characters in the main players, robert e lee, james wong street, and tell you that story not the way you read it in your history textbook
10:53 am
but to tell you the story the way they would tell you the story. michael did not live to see his greatest success and we won a pulitzer prize for the killer angelsls because he passed awayn 1980. by his later the movie gettysburg isqu out in the killr angels becomes the number one bestseller. he didn'tt live to see that. in writing the prequel in the sequel to his great work well, there was a certain terror that comes with that and there was no competition and this is not about the father or the shadow of the father. it's simply about less a lesson father tommy. we talk about these people tell a good story. being a child in my father's house and sitting at the dinner table that is my memory. not hearing him give a history lessonhi that would not have interested him any more than interested me but to tell the story ofbe joshua chamberlain on little round top and tell the what it was like during
10:54 am
pickett's charge those men to walk, walk across that field into the guns of the enemy and when the man next to you goes down you keep walking. that is a story. going back to the american revolution it was a marvelous discovery for me what i discovered was where we came from and i know george washington and ben franklin and john adams but i did not know the story and there is a story. going forward and going to the mexican american war story no one knows and i like that in the like telling you a story no one knows. winfield scott, the greatest motor leader in the 19th century in this country most people had never heard of the name the man taught robert e lee howto to be a soldier for one thing. going to world war i blackjack purging, there's a name you sort of no, the red baron. i was appalled when i went to the country for my book on the first world war to the last man, how many people thought the red baron was a cartoon character. [laughter] is not the way history should be
10:55 am
taught. when i started looking at world war ii i was really nervous because, as i say, i like to tell you stories you don't know. what can i tell you about world war ii you don't know. hollywood alone has given us so many stories on world war ii. john wayne alone has given us so many world war ii stories and all the names and all the famous names and all the names of places well, we know all of that. when i began to research the rising tide was the first of a trilogy in the war in europe. the story covers america's first involvement inor north africa ad sicily. that is the story most people do not know. what most people don't realize is we go to north africa and we don't doup too well. we come up against the sky named rommel and rommel sends us pain from the battlefield and it's not quite inauspicious beginning for american soldiers in the second world war. but there is a man, a man who
10:56 am
was one of the key voices of the story and i feel it's somewhat appropriate to talk about this man tonight because of the setting. it's like these and attend white house and car. he's long before he was president eisenhower dwight eisenhower is the man in charge. he's an administrator and that's a charitable description for someone who might otherwise see himself as a fighting general is not george patton. is not a man out leading and eisenhower never leaves troops on the battlefield, ever. he unites the americans and the french and creates an army and defeats the finest fighting army that thisnd world has ever seenp until that time and that is hitler's germany. he went. how humans is part of the story. this is an exterminate honor to be included in this. i see this. i am walking an enormous footsteps because if my dad, michael had lived in the second
10:57 am
project is only 59 had he lived he would be writing these books, the audience he could not find the killer angels is the author he has found these books and he deserved that. thank you very much. [applause] >> host: jeff shaara, did you have a chance to meet the bushes after that? >> guest: yes, before and after. first of all this is not about politics and this is not about being overr pumpkin or democrat butca on the president of the united states invites you to come to an event because he's a fan of your books, that's pretty good. actually i will say in the interest of bipartisanship the presidents have said that to meet which is a pretty neat thing. event that was at the library of congress and laura bush had put together a national
10:58 am
book festival and that was the seventh of her eight festivals. what an amazing event. just tremendous. i was speaking in black tie and i noticed my tie was crooked and i've heard that "after words" but have congress was there, half the cabinet is there. afterward i sat next to the present and that's not an accident. my main entrée name jack was on the table next to his out of 400 people. that is pretty cool and we talked for two hours but everything but politics. we talked about the books of mine hewe liked and baseball and his daughter had was coming out with the book at that time. jenna had written a book and he was cautioning her that you will get blistered because no one will believe you wrote the book. it was an interesting conversation and id thought a tinytl little anecdote desperaty came to the table and they played taylor chief and as he i
10:59 am
met him down below in the basement and as he came up he held his hand out and i took his hand and i put my arm on his shoulder and he is ripped by the way and i was impressed..by i realized at that moment the secret service agent somewhere just flinched. don't grab the president and i put my hands away and that was an extraordinary living. >> host: you've done a bit of your talk talking about your dad and he said he is your greatest influence. >> guest: he was a four pack a day smoker and died to make his first artifact he was 36. he wrote about it and he won an award for writing for the ama and article in the evening post about his first heart attack and he was dead for 55 minutes is by that. it was an extraordinary thing because he was only 36 probably
11:00 am
but in each t9 it caught up with him and he died in hiswi sleep. you know, he created a lot of good work and published four novels and 70 short stories and won a pulitzer prize. but he never saw the kind of attention that has come to me. i take that very seriously. ... pulitzer prize publishers didn't to that all that much. so he never heard from fans, people -- i have a web site. there was no such thing as a web site when he was writing. i hear from people all the time, direct contact just like the phone calls we're getting here. he never heard that. the gentleman that was required to read killer angels when he was in the service, oh, yeah, it's been required reading in if you're a military officer you have read the killer angels. he had no idea. so, if he were if he were alive he would be 90.
11:01 am
the last 23 years of my life would have been very different because these would have been his books to write. >> host: we want to show our viewers your favorite books as you sent them to us. joshua chamberlain, the passing of the army's ulysses s. grant, the permanent memoirs. and henry butcher, my three years with eisenhower, and earnie p le, here's your war. >> guest: there's a theme. i don't read novels because i'm scared to death to pick something up that sticks in any head and i could be accused of plagiarism. those weeks have played pivotal role in hi research in whatever particular story they apply to, and i mention one specifically which for country and corps. about her grandfather, he grandfather is the commanding general of the first marine
11:02 am
division in korea. he is one of the main voices in that story. she wrote this biography of her grandfather. read the book. i didn't know her and i was blown away. i want this man to be the voice in the story. i found out where she lives and i contacted her by ash i wrote her a letter actually and said, introduced myself and i said, i'm really interested in more about this man and what i said was, i promise you i do not exploit -- i'm not looking to some expos expose junk. she wrote back and said i know who you are, i've read most of your books and her husband is a marine, career marine and she sent me three audio cds of her grandfather, who did not write a memoir but did an audio memoir. she sent them to me. i have his voice. so if somebody wants to contradict something the does in the book, i'm sorry issue can
11:03 am
get him to tell you. i just love that. that's the best example of that personal, getting into the head of the character, and all of these books do that. >> host: so, the frozen hours, you can use direct quotes from the general. >> guest: yes. i've tried to use direct quotes in all of the books i've done when the quotes are available. ulysses grant there are plenty. a bunch of robert e. lee. the more modern you go, the more there is. pershing, highs eisenhower. patton papers, some you can't repeat. that's crucial to the research. >> host: is it fire say you avoid foul language in your book as much as possible? >> guest: yes. and there are two reasons for that. one, i was -- when gods and generals cam out, i'm on tour and sitting in a -- this young man says to me, there is anything in your book objectionable for my child to
11:04 am
read? i hadn't thought of that. and i thought for a minute and said, no. actually there's not. and since that point -- that made -- when i realized, okay, children -- we're talk about eight-year-olds holding my book in their hand. what an extraordinary thing. and then i have high school teachers were using my books in their classroom. okay, i'm not censoring myself but if i can tell you'll the story of a young marine -- now, you can tell me what 20-year-old marines talk like. yeah, i get it. but if i can't tell you that story without bombing you with severe profanity, then i'm not a very good writer. if i have to rely on that to get the feelings and the passion across to you, i need to go find another job. so, it's interesting, though -- what i said to people. you will not read any language
11:05 am
in my book you do not hear on network television. not cable television. on network television. i still get grief. i still get people writing, why do you have to rely on such foul language. what foul language? there's really nothing in there. but people have different sensitivities and i get that. but i'm very proud of the fact that these books are -- teachers are using these books to teach history. that blows me away. also adds to my responsibility, to get it right. don't play games with the fact to make the story better. tell an accurate story. if a 15-year-old or 16-year-old is relying on that story to learn something about the civil war, the american revolution, get it right. no, the language thing is -- i didn't set out with that as an agenda like i'll keep it clean. it's not clean. but at the same time, i don't need the shock value. if do. >> i'm a lousy writer. >> host: at the same time, going
11:06 am
back to your comment about your books being used in schools, you said at the outset of this program that you are not a historian. >> guest: i actually -- at was a book festival mere in d.c. and i had somebody get in my face and say you said they're using your books to teach. you can't use a novel to teach history. the person really was upset about that concept. and my point about that is, okay, first of all, what i've heard from the teachers, if you can give the student a character they can relate to, somebody they get interested in, they'll learn the history and won't even realize they're learning the history, and then i hear from the same teacher who says we were using this tookbook over here and the whole class fell asleep. i get it. you need names, dates, places, facts and figures for a kid to pass a test but if you want the kid to learn history and have an interest in and pursue it further, give them a story, something they can relate to and it was the teachers who inspired
11:07 am
me, again, what i said before, get it right. don't play games with the fact, tell the story accurately. it's a novel because you're there and because you're hearing the dialogue, but everything happened and it happened the way i tell you. >> host: what is your writing process? your books four, five, six hundred pages long. >> guest: all the research first. to do a little research and a little writing and then go back -- that wouldn't work for me at all. i have to get the whole picture. part of that is going the ground. i've got a funny story about that. in every case -- started with my father, taking to us gettysburg as kids. walk in the footsteps. really something to be gained. if i'm going to describe a hill to you that the rifle in his hand is going into the guns of the enemy, it's better if i've been on that hill. instead of seeing a picture in a book. that being said, i really -- when i started working on korea, i wanted to go to the reservoir.
11:08 am
i did not know, i'm embarrassed to admit, that the reservoir is in north korea. the state department actually talked to a fellow from the state department who said to me, quote, we can get you in, i waited for the rest of the sentence. there was no sentence, and my wife said to me, no. so that wases on the of that. east not been to the chosen reservoir which i wished had. that's a big part of the research. walk the ground, go there, see it, feel it. almost a mystical thing. feel what these people went through by being there. and then when i feel leak the story is ripe -- that's a word i'm told people who want to be writer -- how do you know when to stop researching. he the story is ripe, ready to come out. and when you sit down to -- the hardest thing is looking at the blank computer screen, page one. chapter one, page one, you're
11:09 am
looking at blank. my father was a piece of paper. for me it's a computer screen. he the first word, and -- what happens amazingly -- anybody who is a writer gets this -- you write the first words and then the second word and then the third word and the next sentence and then neck thing you know you have four pages. that's cool when that happens. if it doesn't happen, you're not ready yet. go back and take another look. but that process, when it -- i've often said it feels like the story is writing itself. i'm just a conduit. these people are real. they exist, what they did existed. i'm not making it up. aisle just a conduit. this story is out here somewhere and it's coming through me, through my fingers to the page. that sounds that mystical thing and i'm not quite that way. my father said during the write offering the killer angelled, he was visited by every character in the book. that's not a good thing. he said that to a newspaper reporter, and the problem its
11:10 am
comes out in frowned and sound like he is a skit friendic but i know what -- a schizophrenic. he when i'm writing a seen, i'm there telling you the dialogue. it's magic. hate to use the word. that's the magic of it ex-when it's ready to go and comes out like that, there's no more fun for me than that. >> host: how did you end up living in gettysburg. >> guest: i was going there from 1939 when the movie gettysburg came out. i was going out to do bob sign examination various -- book signing and various things to promote the film and i came back when gods and generals came back, logical place to do a book signing signing and twice a area i would go there july, an varies of the battle, and then november 19th , the anniversary of the gettysburg address. so twice a year i would go there and twice a year i would stay in
11:11 am
the same little boutique hotel. and the manager of the hotel, the woman who i became friends with over 22 years, and we would talk twice a year for ten minutes and there came a point five years ago, almost six years ago now, when we were both in a position in our lives where we could actually talk a little more, and so i -- we started doing that on the phone, and then i win to visit and we had our first date at the 150th 150th anniversary of the battle of anteedum. we had our first date, and about a year and a half later we got married. her daughter was in high school, and it made sense to me that, okay do not pull a child out of high school. so i moved to gettysburg and our daughter now is at temple university and doing extremely well, and so -- it's a family affair. that's really how it happened.
11:12 am
because of the woman i love. >> host: back to calls. let's fresh from gordon in taylorsville, kentucky. >> good afternoon. mr. campbell, c-span is truly a national treasure. >> guest: i agree. >> caller: i enjoy your program. s. mr. shaara, i was raised in the same neck of the woods as you. didn't realize you're from tallahassee. i grew up in albany, georgia. i studied history in bill lyle. he was the expert on the common soldier of the civil war and his classes were very popular for that reason. i put away the stem of the civil war after i went to work for 40. >> but i'm getting back into the
11:13 am
subject now because there's so many parallels with what is going on in america compared to today with a lot of disagreement in our society, and if we study this history, i believe we can learn some lessons from it. lessons of compromise, and -- but my question to you regards shallow. always heard that grant, when he got off the landing at pittsburgh -- pittsburgh orpits field. >> guest: pittsburgh. >> caller: yeah. he had his hat shot off but i just read several other books, too, and i've never found that actually in literature. do you know if that's the case or not. >> guest: that's very -- when grant landed at pittsburgh landing, what's wag called, it's
11:14 am
pitburg without an hatch. he ran into hundreds of union soldiers who had run from the front line and were hiding under the banks of the river. the river was fairly elevated right there and you had caves and nooks along the river, and a bunch of union soldiers threw down their guns and were withering in fear so it's unlikely anybody would have shot at him. was horrified what he saw and realized we have problem here and how he debt with that problem is a big part of a blaze of glory and i tell that story. i love the character of grant, and i would agree with you. one thing i hear a lot is, oh, my god in this country we have been so divided and never been so angry at each and poorlyized -- polarized right now. hard to argue when you go back to 1861 and see when he started a full scale war against each other.
11:15 am
god forbid that it that will not happen now but we have been through this before and we need to study our history and learn where we came from. >> host: jeff shaara, vicksburg, if you go there today, can you see the caves and get in the caves where the towns people fled to? can you get a sense of the battlefield as it were. >> guest: you can get a sense of the battlefield. one of the things vicksburg -- every on the bluff overlooking the mississippi and across from the river is absolute flat swamp because it's the delta. you're looking into louisiana, and so the battlefielder is very well preserved. a place any civil war person should make a visit. the actual caves were -- they were just holes in the group. 150 years they filled and have been covered up. one thing they have done
11:16 am
vicksburg, they're cutting the trees. if there are no trees there then, there shouldn't be trees there today so you can get a feel for what it really looked like. when i was there 12 year ago, doing a tour and ranger would apologize, theirs a big ravine over there and there was this, that and the other. can't see anything because it's solid woods and he said the controversy was, well, the park service should not be in the business of cutting down trees, and the response was, this is not a park, it's historical park. not just for trees. this is at be history and they've been doing this at gettysburg, i so applaud that because it makes such a difference when you're trying to see through the eyeballs of them people who were there you really get a sense of that now at both places. >> host: when you tour a pick location, you go anonymously? go in as jeff shaara? >> guest: both.
11:17 am
one thing about the civil war is i would not go in anonymously because i would get all kinds of help. i could get -- if i told somebody -- set up in advance, jeff shaara is coming, needs a tour, working on a book, it opens doors and you get behind the scene things, and that people won't see. i don't want to make it sound like i'm hot stuff because i get that, but it helps. you'll get tidbits and pieces of information you might not get otherwise if you're on a bus. never get off the bus. i i tell people, walk -- use your feet, walk on the ground go out there. it makes a big difference. >> host: sneaks -- next call from bob in houston, texas. >> en, whence i read gone for soldier is piqued my interest in the mexican war, subject i knew very little about. one of your easterlier callers remarked about how looking back at history we think things are
11:18 am
northwestable and they were not that inevitable at. i found any reading a quite a few european military observerss who thought that mexico would at least hold its own or possibly win the war. could you comment on that. >> guest: should there are. -- sure. there are number of quotes in the back of the book. military observers -- they're paying attention to what is happening to a major event and when scott cuts himself off from all communication and marks inland from the gulf of mexico, people assume he's dead. i mean, there's no way he's going to -- he only has 10,000 men, and they're never going to be hear from again. going to be a military disaster, ridiculously stupid thing to do. it flies in the face of what everybody has ever been taught and then he wins. and when he wins, all these same observers -- this was genius, this was wonderful, fabulous job. so, yeah, it's interesting to
11:19 am
realize even then -- 180, 190 years ago, how much attention is being paid to these things around the world. >> host: jeff share remarks this is an e-mail from felix in brewster, madd. did you notice that jeff raised both generals cromwell and sherman who were noted for attacks on civilians, farms, foodstocksstocks and other nonce noncome.com bat tenant, and before the end of world war ii these were called war crimes. >> guest: cromwell i don't think we talked be he meant corn wall. >> guest: i would disagree with that take. and first of all, shermon has a reputation that has been imbellished in the south, particularly in georgia, particularly, as being savage, brutal. i'm sorry, that's not accurate.
11:20 am
there are brutalities, most definitely. civilians, plantations burned? yes, definitely. were things ransacked? definitely. sherman did not authorize any of that and i can get deeply into that. identity rather deal with the greater issue. i mentioned this earlier. sherman and grant share something. they won the war because they understood -- you seattle me the question before about a gentleman come -- what was -- gentlemenly war. what sherman understood is -- there's a letter and i don't have access notice front over my but a letter that sherman burns a town in mississippi during the siege of vicksburg. the towns people are begging him, please, don't burn our town. we don't have any soldiers here. this isn't a military target. and sherman says, if you -- if all you know of the war is the occasional box that comes home with one of your sons and you have a funeral and the kid goes
11:21 am
the ground, you forget about it the next day, you don't have a contact with the war, you have no reason to make it stop. i'm going to hurt you. and he does. and that principle is -- okay, everyone has to hurt. if it's just the soldiers -- world war i, fought on the western front in a mo man's lan stretching from belgium to see swiss border. nicer no bombing of cities, no b-17s. the war guess on for four years. because the civilians are not hurting. war -- and i'm sorry -- this is a brutal reality -- war affects everyone. not just the kid with the rifle in his hand. and if the civilians back home are not aware of what that kid is going through and they're not feeling that pain, the war will just keep on going.
11:22 am
that was an awakening we head in the late 1960s, vietnam. because we had tv cameras. here's what is happening and it's in your living room every night with walter cronkite. look what happened? people react with outrage. if it's quiet and you read a newspaper story, just keeps right on going. so, first of all, i disaggrieve with the statement that after world war ii, all of this was recognized as war crimes. the allies bombed the british and thens particularly bombed german cities, bombed them to oblivion. we fire-bomb done the outrage over japan is hiroshima. we had already fire bombed tokyo and destroyed 15 square miles of tokyo. it's war, and sherman flood this in the civil war particularly better than anyone fighting it. one recent i admire the man and say he ended the war. how much longer would it have
11:23 am
gone on had lee been allowed to escape grant in -- i'm drawing a planning -- peteersburg. schumacheran understood, if you want to end the war you end the war and it's not a war crime, i'm sorry. >> host: reading the missile outfield october, 12 days to world war 3. you mentioned earlier that your writing your next book on the cuban missile crisis. chronologically, the vietnam war comes next. >> guest: chronologically. yes, cuban missile crisis and i'm excited about this, what a story. that's my -- i mean, i was ten years old. i remember -- i've said this so many audience -- i ask the question how many remember duck and cover? i was in third grade when they come into the classroom and say, okay, in the event of nuclear war, get down under your desk,
11:24 am
put the book over your head and we'll lows the curtains. i'm not making that up and i had a neighbor with a fallout shelter, the big hole in the ground this, concrete block that in the event of nuclear article no down any fallout shelter. knock could answer the question, how long do you stay there? a day, week, a year? ten thousand years? i have no idea. it was -- the time we were living inch that's that facetious part of it. young people, you have no idea how close we came to world war iii. and that's serious because we would not be here today. and that is what cuban missile crisis is about. i'm having fun with that. vietnam, i've been getting so much input from vietnam vets about their story, and it's a story that needs to be told a
11:25 am
certain way, and what i'm struggling with there is what that story would be. you have a war that basically lasts almost 15 years. i'm not going to do the political story. i don't would to do the nixon, lbj, macna marry remarks westmoreland story i. want to get out with the grunt but i'm having a hard time finding the good store. not that they're not great stories but how they end and when they end, where nothing happens or end where we took that hill and then the next day we give them the hill back into we have to fight for it again next week, what's interesting about that story? and this -- i'm not talk about the heroism of the individual or medal of honor recipients. there's some phenomenal stories but i'm struggling with what the story would be. i'm up to my ears in cuba right now but vietnam -- i'm-i have to work on that. >> host: this is an e-mail from
11:26 am
a gentleman named ray sessling but an e-mail from ed of plymouth, massachusetts. world war ii marine veteran of okinawa with the 6th marines 22nd ridge gent and writes: jeff, thank you for your excellent story telling and accurate account of my personal experience as an 18-year-old marine in the final storm. i also enjoyed reading no less than victory, and i'm now reading the rising tide. my question is, have you ever eaten a k ration? you write about them a lot. >> guest: i write about them a lot because they allhead had them. yes, i have and i probably didn't enjoy it anymore than mr. dent didment however, if you're -- he's on okinawa, if you're in that situation in a muddy foxhole -- plenty of those -- and somebody is shooting at you and that's all you've got to eat so be it.
11:27 am
probably appreciated it a lot more than i did at an army base when there's nobody shooting. i have to say, when i get letters like that, there is nothing that makes me feel better. makes me feel more gratified for what i do. mr. dent notwithstanding -- i when i did my book on normandy, on the steel wave, i got a book from a guy who was in the airborne. i write from a character in the c47, flying at 3:00 in the morning over the english channel to drop down into what was water and drowned a bunch of guys, and the guy said, you put me right back on that plane and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck and made me remember things i never wanted to remember. you got it right and i know because i was there. what it better than that? if i ever need any reinforcement that i'm doing my job, there it
11:28 am
is, and i'm so honored that anyone who did -- who walked the walk, who did the deed, would page the time to tell me to say anything to me, and it's like that -- i'm not worthy thing. but to recognize that what i'm doing is useful and is accurate and is maybe helping him to cope with some of the horrific memories he no doubt is carrying around with him, then i'm really doing my job. i'm so pleased to hear from people like that. >> host: did you interview ed? i think i received a couple of e-mails from the other gentleman in the past on mr. dent's behalf. >> host: he must be mid-90s now. >> guest: yes. it would have to be. okinawa was 1945. >> host: he was 18 then. so -- >> guest: exactly. >> host: yep. newt gingrich sent out a tweet
11:29 am
when the frozen hours came out. it says that jeff shaara's the frozen hours is a remarkable reminder of the dangers of intelligence and strategic errors in korea. >> guest: very nice. thank you. i had not seen that. we could talk a long time about that. i was nervous about the character of douglas macarthur because a lot of people in this country absolutely worshiped the man. wondered how many people would write me and say, how dare you, because the take from general oliver something i, the take of the marines about what macarthur told them to do, based on miss absolutely dismal intelligence reporting, his intelligence service -- without getting deeply into the story because here's the book. but macarthur -- first of all,
11:30 am
what happens to the americans in korea is -- early on is disaster. the north koreans sweep away everything in their path, including us, down to one little corner of south korea, the perimeter. what macarthur does then is the greatest thing. the invasion, stroke of genius. invades south korean port above where the north koreans and are get behind them to cut them off. it works. the north koreans end up -- fish supply lines are cut and stream back into north korea and then macarthur could have won the war or put it back to where it started, send the north koreans home, not good enough for him. he decided to keep going north and crosses the border. the marines leading the way in one -- two prongs of this and they're doing great. north korean army is defeated and they're not much of a force anymore, and the marines begin
11:31 am
to discover, as they get further and further north, that suddenly they're having skirmishes and fights and capturing prisoners and they're not north korean. they're chinese. why we capturing chinese? well, macarthur's intelligence says, you're not, or if they're chinese, they're few vons who have come south to fight for their friends. that's the intelligence report. oliver something i and the marines chit what the frozen hour is about. the 15,000 marines advance right into a trap, the jaws that by 125,000 chinese troops under the command of general lung, a that's what the story is, the frozen hour, around the reservoir. macarthur has no idea. he and his intelligence people
11:32 am
are in complete denial that the chinese have in fact entered the war, not just entered the war, they sent hundreds of thousands of troops south into north korea and we were clueless. that -- the cost of that was catastrophic and i was nervous about telling that story the way i i've presented it. i expect nasty letters from people who -- supporter-of-macarthur. i go one, goo in my face about three weeks ago in dallas, you bee mr.. ed -- besmirched of great amerin hero. and i was at one event and there was a guy with a walk, sat down and i said this and he spoke up and he said, well, i can think of 15,000 marines that hated his guts. i was so happy to hear that. thank you. i appreciate that. i'll take that and give mow
11:33 am
credit -- what happened in korea is avoidable but how much of war is avoidable? i think that's probably the case. >> host: was america in any way prepared in 1950 for -- >> guest: absolutely not: world war ii -- 1945, the war endeds, we are by far the strongest military the world has ever seen, what do we need them for anymore? we sent them home. marines particularly. the marine corps downsized and president truman toys with the idea of eliminating the marine corps altogether. and there's a lot of lobbying in congress and so forth to prevent that from happening. 1950, a lot of these marines are home, their bellies -- don't quite fit in the uniform anymore, they have wife ask kid, and suddenly we need you. they're called back up. and of course they're trained but they're a whole bunch of
11:34 am
people that go into korea who have no training. not even time for boot camp for some soldiers, and that's not a good thing. so that's how the war begins. goes on from there. >> host: let's hear from john in pullman, washington. good afternoon. >> caller: good afternoon. i have two quick questions for the gentleman. one, when lincoln freed the slaves why didn't he free general grant's free slaves? and secondly, in a different war, has he ever considered doing a book about daniel morgan? that would make a very interesting short novel. >> guest: first of all, damage morgan, that's a chapter in the glorious cause. i have done that story. that's in my second book on the american revolution. you're right. it's a great story. i lord daniel morgan, and that is a huge victory for the
11:35 am
colonists. i'm not sure what you mean by grant's -- grant did not have slave. grant's father-in-law at the beginning of the war -- grant's father-in-law, dent, did own slaves and was pro slavery, and that -- and grant had a problem with that. but grant never owned slaves and so i'm not sure exactly what you mean. there were certainly -- there were colored troops marching with grant various times in the war, but they were not endin -- indentured. that were free troops. i'm not really sure what that implies. >> host: if you can't get through on the phone lines we have several social media sites. @book tv is our handle for twitter, instagram, and facebook
11:36 am
as well. plus we have e-mail, booktv@c-span.org, and i'm going run through e-mails. this is from ron, when will mr. shaara tackle a novel about anteedum. >> guest: anteedum is in god's and generals am couple of champ tedder from chamberlains and hancock's point of view. you can't have too many battles. if you have too many battle -- that's one of the flaws in the film of gods and general. showing battle scene after battle scene and the audience gets numb. you can only have two major battles in any film or book. really -- the audience just -- you get numb to the details. so i treated anteedum a different wayment you see it
11:37 am
from the rear from. chamberlain's both of view and then the aftermath. so you get the impact of what happened there u.s. and not having the bullets whistle by your ears. >> host: this is john in hattiesburg, mississippi. when it comes to the first world war book to the last man, did you originally plan to write multiple becomed or was it always going to be a single book. >> i appreciate someone finally mentioning "to the last man." probably my best book. probably my favorite book other than maybe the korea book. originally, yes, should have been two books. in new york, random house didn't believe that there was an audience for two books on world war i and insisted i compact it into one book so it's me longest book. a book about a character almost no one ever heard of, the finest flying ace we ever produced. the man who taught eddie how to
11:38 am
fly a plane if love that story. the red baron, on the a side, not a cartoon character. he is the real guy, and he is a wonderful character. and, then you have black jack perk and -- pershing and the marines and people don't know what role the marines play. they win a fight and save paris. so, yes, i really enjoyed that story. i'm glad it was mentioned because i do nothing like most people -- knew nothing about world war i. >> host: but you're the civil war guy. shouldn't be writing about world war i and the korean war. >> guest: will, the civil -- when i leather civil war the first time and went back and did the american revolution, my publisher was nervous. anybody going to care about the american revolution? second of all, you're the civil war guy. what i found out is a whole bunch of people that care about the american revolution and don't care about the civil war.
11:39 am
and then this other up -- i say this with all humility. a lot of the self par people followed me to me american revolution. what a nice thing that is and then i hear from people, they like the civil war booked but read they ever world war ii stuff and they're like, oh, didn't know about that. that's -- so, when you get a following like that -- i don't take that for granted. that's really nice thing. so, i get the letters, when you going to go back and do x story on the civil war? and franklin, tennessee, good one. and there's a bunch of them. all i can say is, never say never. >> host: two civil war questions. bob in murphy, north carolina, it's amazing to me that a lock in depth discussion of the civil war and grant is hardly been mentioned. >> guest: grant is -- okay. i'll set the record straight. grant my favorite general. schumacheran was under grant and
11:40 am
when grant meets -- i love write neglect last few measure, grand's first meeting with lincoln and lincoln doesn't quite know what to make hover this guy and grant don't know what to make hover this guy and they sit down and lincoln explains to him, if you will just fight, i'll leave you alone. do what you have to do. i'll send you all the help i can send you. will not tell you what to do. grant so appreciates that and the result of that, well, as they say, is history. in the earl 1864. grant makes mistakes, certainly. coal harbor. catastrophic mistake. 8,000 casualties in 30 minutes. but, yes, he wins the war. grant and sherman between them are responsible for the union victory happening when it happened. >> host: john, i am a civil war re-enactor, what is your favorite one-minute civil were story to the at the story. >> guest: b reenacting if: i a
11:41 am
end the scenes story. on the set of the film gettysburg, every time they set up a scene, it's choreographed. and people walking by. and they're on horsebook going third cam are and tear talking and the conversation goes on and at the problem is this here that continue sheen is on has a mind of its own and suddenly goes off and they cut. well, it's not just cut and go back. they have to take this wagon and put it over here and -- this big involved thing. after three times, the director is really getting frustrated with this stupid horse and finally we were running out of daylight, shooting a scene, and the horse is minding -- the cameras are running, they're clicking down the -- how many seconds it has to be, just as they're about ready to finish the scene, in the background
11:42 am
behind them an old stone building, phone rings in the building and one of the reenactors yells out it's judge stewart. he's going to be a little late. i if you in the at the story that's funny. if you do you meant to the story, i just wasted your time. reenact ares honever a sense of humor. >> host: arnold from north carolina. you're on with author evershaara. >> caller: good afternoon. it's to go to talk to you, mr. shaara. i've read your books and your father's books. your father's book is what got me started and being like a civil war buff because in my small town here in north carolina, mon independent front of the courthouse that dedicated to the 50th north carolina regiment and i never knew that until i read your father's book what was all about. the 55th insure north carolina regiment was at the high water mark at the battle of gettysburg
11:43 am
before they were mode mowed down. why was lee such a great civil war tactician or engineer of some battles when he saw so many battled especially the one where -- before he thought -- he watched the union soldiers get mowed down and -- through the whole war. captain mecheing into this kind of situations and nobody learned anything. just one after another. boom. and -- coal harbor, they all attack possible positions and got mowed down. i really enjoyed -- a shame they hadn't made that trilogy last full measure. i miss that. >> guest: well, thank you. >> caller: have a good day. >> guest: we town on this early. that's the only wail the generals knew how to fight a war. that's the way they were taught. there was no -- it was unmanly
11:44 am
to hide behind a tree. and after -- when you get the wilderness in the war of 1864, they called -- longstreet, lee the queen of spades because they wanted to dig trenches with their shovels. after -- you couldn't get enough shovels. guys realizing, standing up there looking at that guy pointing a musket at may head may not be the best flies be. i'd rather be in a hole and maybe it's not unmanly to hide from the guns. but, up until that time, the soldiers are doing what they're told. the generals have learned how to fight by reading books on napoleon, and napoleon stood his men up -- they had the bayonet. wasn't the musket that was any good. it that thing on the front of the musket that would stab a guy. we didn't have them.
11:45 am
guys coming at you've with a bayonet, what are you going to do? you're going to run. at the weapons got better the tactic didn't change and the slaughter is history. we know what happened as a result. finally, like the word was passed a little late, the tactics started to change. >> host: going through your books, the importance of supply lines. >> guest: well, sure. supplies -- it's easy to throw numbers around, like oliver smith, in korea, 1,000 marines and they're march -- 15,000 marines and marching north on one little skinny road. snow, ice, all over. how are they eating? they have a backpack and what is in the backpack? it's two days, whatever in the backpack is gone. what happens then? the doctors, corporationsmen with the back damages. plasma freezes. you can't -- the blood is frozen
11:46 am
and you can't use it. guys putting morphine in the their mouth to thaw it out enough to inject it into a guy in agonizing main. every commander of any army in the history of the world, you don't hear about that. not as glorious and fascinating. but every good commander knows that is important is what is happening back there. where the supplies coming from. we have feed these guys and treat them, and yes ex-defer fitly. that's a huge part of every one of these stories. >> host: john is in california. john, good afternoon. >> caller: hello. >> guest: yes, hello. >> a question for mr. shaara. i, too, the immortality of of te
11:47 am
mexican-american war. on st. patrick's day i honor -- from tex and joined me mexicans and helped defend mexican cities from a monastery in mexico city. >> host: all right, thank youment. >> guest: i'm happy to comment. i don't know i would celebrate that because what you're describing -- very brief history lesson here. a lot of the americans that go into mexico -- mexico at. that time is a very catholic country, there's small catholic churches and americans are not catholic. there are few of them that are. some are irish, the irish catholics. immigrants. some or simply catholic worshipers in general. they are very uncomfortable realizing they're going into a catholic country and doing what they're doing, and so there are a number of them -- the number is disputed probably about 80, perhaps, and give or take, who
11:48 am
dessert the american lines and go over the mexicans. i have a problem because it's one thing to say, i quit. you're fighting for a cows don't believe in. i'm going home. they don't go home. they go to the other side and pick up a rifle and shoot back so you have americans now killing americans. they're captured. they're captured, number of them are hanged. winfield scott has to make the decision what to do with these. he april. one thing to desert. it's another thing to pick up the rifle and kill your own. so, celebrating that, i don't know that it agree with that. you can make the argument that there's april immorality there, as the gentleman said but it's -- what the immorality against killing one of your own or killing anyone for that matter. >> host: according to the veterans administration and the congressional research service,
11:49 am
4400 americans were killed in the american revolutionary war. the cost of that war was 2.4 billion in current dollars. mexican war, 13,000 americans 2.4 billion. the still war, half a million, and the estimates are all over the board on that one. 79, $80 billion. world war i, one year of u.s. involvement, 116,000 deaths, 334 billion. up to world war 2, 405,000 deaths, $4.1 trillion in cost. and today's dollars. korean war, 54,000 deaths, $341 billion. davis in washington, dc right here in the city goer ahead.
11:50 am
>> caller: mr. share remarks thank you. from the beginning you talked about shilo being 59% authentic, i think, and many of the other places, the battlefields and the memorials have all been and still are cared for by the national park service. i'm curious, when you go to these places, many times the national park service focuses on the history in terms of facts, the name of the regiments and who was where and when they moved and so on. yet their archives have tremendous treasures, everything from the mantle clock from the uss arizona to the war in the pack, and he bible with the bullet holes, or even lincoln's coat that he wore at the time
11:51 am
fords theater, and i'm just curious how all of this has been informed now or have you then advantage of that information as you try to get into the heads of all these people you write so well below. >> guest: thank you. the short answer is, yes. absolutely. the park service -- to their credit, they have limited resources. when you good doh! a lot of the visitor centers there wail he exhibits and museums and gettysburg has a good one. where you can see a lot of these art artifacts but win you talk about the ground it's hard to have the resources to tell the story the way i tell it. don't mean to sound facetious. but if you go to the book store, maybe they'll have my books on same. that being said, no, it's extremely -- it's one reason guy to the ground. one -- i will tell you, shilo -- the impact, the thing that got
11:52 am
to me, there's monument at shilo to me men of the 16th 16th wisconsin who lost -- there's stones -- six flag bearers of the 16th wisconsin. that means is that every time somebody carries a flag and gets shot another guy pick it up and carries it. six of them. all six were killed. there's a monument. i so respect what the monument told me about what the men went through. exhibits -- i pick up tidbits all over the place from things exactly like that. so, no, very definitely that's why try to go to the ground in every book i've done. >> e-mail from susan. a lot of discussion about the blurred line between create consecutive nontsk and historical fiction.
11:53 am
how do you distinguish between the two onraws? do you invent secondary casualties or would doing so constitute playing with the facts in way you do not allow yourself. >> guest: i'm not sure what the nonfiction -- what that term actually means. i still believe i'm wright historical fiction. the facts there are and the facts are accurate, and as i've said before, and i've beaten this to death all over the country, it's a novel by definition because you're there and hearing the dialogue. occasion lay second -- not even a secondary character -- a tertiary character, somebody way down will serve a function, regardless of what that character may be, but all of the characters, the primary -- the voices. the voices you hear, they're all based on real people and as i said earlier, when you hair an eisenhower and patton, that's easy, and easy to research. it's the anonymous guy you never heard of, that's tougher and
11:54 am
those tend to be composites of several people. so the experiences all happened. they're all accurate. they may just not have happened to that one guy and that's really -- in my world, that is what i do. now, other people writing the same kind of thing can go all over the place. >> host: todd, retired colonel, u.s. marine corps, who is your favor rift character to research? >> guest: -- favorite character to research? >> guest: a marine probably wants to hear about puller. i had a lot of fun with chesty puller and he is in he frozen hours. great character. in all seriousness, going back to beginning, my favorite character, benjamin franklin. i know. i get that response. >> host: didn't see that coming. >> guest: exactly. i mentioned earlier when you're writing grim stories, world war i comes to mind. you need humor.
11:55 am
i hate the term comic relief. it's not comic relief but it's the reality of human beings. you need that character who makes you smile and makes you laugh, because if there's a lot of bad stuff going on, after a while you don't want to read anymore bad stuff or just you become numb. you become immune to it. franklin is that character for me in the american revolution. he is funny. i love the man. one way that question has been asked, would you most like to have lunch with? strange way of asking it. benjamin franklin, absolutely. >> host: chuck, lake hair roarhead, california, you're on the air. >> caller: yes. jeff, michael medved tells the story as young man he was hitchhiking through pennsylvania and he slipped on the grounds at gettysburg, and he said the ghosts of gettysburg just scared the crap out of him. what can you tell us about the ghosts or war?
11:56 am
>> guest: first of all, the ghost searching business in gettysburg is an industry. i think there's something like 13 different ghost tours companies and they do a landmark business. i'm not necessarily a subscriber of that. i do know people that have had very intense experiences and i won't go into details on that. i will tell you a funny story. going back to the gentleman who was the re-enactor. we had a man playing hood, mag is in sent horseman in full uniform air. had to move the horses from one side of the battlefield to devil's den and they were going to put the horses in the attraction running out of daylight and he said we'll just ride. so he and his staff, all good horsemen so rather than going through the trouble, they resident just ride across the battlefield. manage you're sid and irma and
11:57 am
from iowa and here comes general bell hood and his staff righting -- riding across the batel field. and they were in full even form and just looked like the general. i wondered how many people thought they had a major ghost experience seeing that. i'm not ridiculing that at all. believe me. that's very serious thing to a lot of people and there have been some interesting experiences that i've heard of around that town and i'm sure there oar writes it's revolutionary war sites where there's the same kind of thing. don't necessarily -- i've never had an experience like that. might be interesting if i did. that might change my whole perspective but a lot of people do. >> host: does it add significance that ike's farm is at gettysburg. >> guest: yes. i i'm doing an event there at
11:58 am
the eisenhower farm doing a book signing. it's beautiful. absolutely beautiful. ike thought it was beautiful. he that's why he and maime settled there. and he loved theaire. after world war ii and after his presidency, he retired there and -- my wife as a rayner at the -- ranger at the farm. it's a really neat piece of ground and anybody who wees do gettysburg doesn't realize it's. there are and you can tear -- you can take the tour. it's world while. >> oo it's really pink inside. jeff shaara's most recent back is the frozen hours. about korea. came out last year.
11:59 am
his next book is on the cuban missile crisis. he has seven books on the civil war, 15 books in total, his web site is jeff shaara.com and he has been our guest on this special fiction edition of "in depth." next month is novelist war tell moseley. >> welcome to tucson, arizona, and the tenth annual tucson festival of book hosted by the university of arizona. and this year the festival organizers are expecting over 130,000 people to attend the 350 so author programs that are
12:00 pm
being held this weekend. now, booktv will be live all day with author events and call insure programs -- call insure programs you can talk witness scott kelly, david k. johnston and mel lisa, military historian, max boot, and financial times columnist, edward luce. the fell schedule is on booktv.org and if you follow us on social media you can get behind the scenes photos and videos, i@book tv is our address on facebook, twitter and inextra gram. starting now from the gallagher theater, financial times columnist, edward luce is joined by charles sikeses and journalist joe for a discussion on politics and democracy. and you're watching book tv on c-span2, live from the tucson festival of

27 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on