tv 2018 Tucson Festival of Books CSPAN March 11, 2018 12:59pm-3:00pm EDT
speech he would say what could this mean? maybe only 50 words some are misspelled he would photocopy the outline to write notes for any given occasion the people he should thank or new ideas but unfortunately there is no reference to the prego television commercials so we were surprised that's how he did it but he knew what he wanted to say so clearly it was easy for him to rip off the basic outline. so clearly it was easy for him to rip off the basic outline. [inaudible conversations] . . . .
the full schedule of coverage is available at the tv .org and you can follow us for behind-the-scenes photos on social media. now we are headed inside to the university's gallagher theatre for a discussion on women in the military. if the tenth annual tucson festival of books, live on the tv on c-span2. >> good morning. thank you. i love that. welcome to all of you festival goers. i am so glad you chose this program which is called war girls is your first of the day. you will hear three
extraordinary stories today and i thank you will all of the books afterward. let's get the business out of the way. this is the housekeeping part. this is the tenth annual tucson festival of books and we wish to thank our sponsors for this particular session, lucy and lucy and tucson medical center. lucy is here somewhere. there she is way in the back. thank you very much. [applause] as some of you know the drill, the presentation last for one hour and we saved 20 minutes at the end for all of your questions so you can be thinking along the time. your questions and i will in my role as moderator throat questions out and they will have conversations and i don't know how many questions we will get through but four or five maybe and they are interesting.
right after this my son was on the end nearest participating in a book tv interview in the c-span tent which is just outside and they'll be there 20 or 30 minutes and then proceed to the book signing area. the other two authors will go immediately to the book signing area so you can get in line first before eliza comes along. we hope that you are a friend of the festival because the festival is free and open to everyone in the community would love to keep it that way. thank you for being here and thank you for volunteering and thank you for donating or whatever it is. we thank you. we know the drill about cell phones, peters, candy with loud wrappers, now is your time and i think that is it.
i will introduce our free catalysts and we have a lisbon, she's award winning historian novelist, seven book and most recently hello girls america's first women soldiers. it's about during world war i they helped earn the vote and in the end they fought the us army after it refused to recognize them as a veteran after they had them in battle it's the tale of 233 of these women who mastered at the time was the latest technology which is the telephone switchboard. think about that, pretty amazing. i understand women were much better at it than the men. [laughter] sorry, guys. because of the expertise they were sent to france when the general demanded wire experts as a way of communicating came critical on the battlefield and that is where they were.
elizabeth is also the author of the hamilton affair which is a novel and she's the winner of four literary prizes and has written for "the new york times", the jerusalem post the china daily forum, la times, san diego union and reuters. that is probably not an exhaustive list either. [laughter] she holds [inaudible] chair at texas a&m and senior fellow at stanford uber institute. [applause] next to me is kate moore and kate is the author of the radium girls, the dark story of america's shining women and i learned literally shining. this is about young women who worked in the radium dialback restoring order one. they painted the dials the faces watches and they did that with luminous radium paint which at
the time, early on, was thought to be a great thing, a really good thing for you. many of these watches made it to soldiers who went to the battlefront and later it was discovered that the radium companies had made them sick, very sick, and they went after the companies who knew something about that at the time and that was a long, hard fight. the book was named book of the year 2017 by npr and barnes & noble and voted the librarians favorite nonfiction book the 2017. i'm a librarian so i loved it. british writer she's purchased numerous bestsellers across many different genres. she spent more than 15 books and her work has been translated into more than 12 languages. this is kate. [applause]
liza is a journalist and author of four books most recently coded girls, the untold story of american women codebreakers of world war ii. it's a national bestseller that reveals the secret work of thousands of women, thousands literally, who work critical in ending the war. liza is a former staff writer for "the washington post". she writes widely for publications including atlantic, politico, new york times, slate in time. again, i'm sure that is not the whole list, either. she's appeared on all things considered, talk of the nation, other television and radio shows. she's a senior fellow at new america and nonpartisan think tank and she lives in arlington, virginia just down from arlington hall were some of the army code breaking women actually worked. those are our panelists for today.
[applause] the first question i will throw to you when you all three have written books and you brought to light stories most of us had not heard before that and they're all about women and women doing extraordinary things. i'd like to ask you what to inspire these projects to. >> what inspired these projects, as you know, i'm from england and so how did i discover this piece of little-known american history? i directed a play about a while ago and as i was directing it about real people i felt this enormous responsibility to justice to the story because they weren't characters, fictional characters, these were true people and they deserved to have a production that was
authentic as i possibly could make it. i did research into the books and there's a book about their legal legacy and industrial health form and there's a book about their scientific legacy and both of them are academic book written by people with doctorate and i was astonished that there were no books that were actually about the girls because for me they were the most important part of the story and in fact these women the individual women grace, catherine had almost been eclipsed by their achievement and people only knew them if they knew them at all by this anonymous moniker of the radium girls. i thought that was wrong. i felt the individual women deserved a book that charted their personal journey because whatever topic we are writing on only really your only able to
empathize and appreciate the strength of the people we are writing about when you know their names and faces and who love them and their children in the context in which they were living. that is why i wanted to do that for the girls. having realized there was no book about the individual women i thought well, if no one else has done it why don't i and it was incredibly intimidating because it's a topic full of science and law in history and i'm not a scientist or a lawyer or a historian like elizabeth is. you know, that was quite a decision to make to take on this topic and in the end i thought well, i am a woman and i may not be any of those other things but i am a woman and i thought perhaps the radium girls deserved not another scientist or lawyer speaking for them and perhaps the best person to tell a story is just an ordinary
woman like they were ordinary women so that i can look at their lives without perspective as simple humanity and that is what inspired me to write the book and to restore them as individuals to practice memory. [applause] >> i'm an historian and often when we write history it's an odd thing that happens. i have a friend who recently wrote a book and it's a part of particular era in american history that had small biographies of seven or eight people and the publisher read it and said this is a great book and two of the characters were female and i said i thought the women it doesn't make sense. if you take that part out the picture becomes clearer and what the purpose of the thesis of this book is. the women were pieces that didn't fit for this person and i
spoke recently with one of the granddaughters of the hollow girls and we knew my grandma was in one and we knew she was in france and we had never heard about that and it didn't make sense. how did that piece and it didn't fit in the picture. it reminded me of the film and of course the book hidden figures you know if you saw that film the weren't hidden at all they want to work every day and pulled up in the cars and the same is true here. i recently saw footage that has been found from 1918 that has been incorporated into documentary about the hollow girls of world war i and there the footage shows them in a crowd much bigger than this one all men in their uniforms in france lineup in their uniforms and in the front row off to the side but basically right there he was the head of the us armed forces there are other women lined up.
how could they be forgotten and how can they not be seen later? a friend of mine who is a very eminent historian and wonderful historian was telling him about it and he said will you get a whole book out of this? [laughter] i was discouraged but not really. [laughter] then you start to feel like you have to write it and in my case these women came back and redecorated in one got the highest honor and even though they had gotten pregnant with court-martial the answer behind the fire lines and they were told they weren't soldiers. they had the uniform, they had the brass insignia and everything but not a discharge paper. when they got back some of them joined the veterans of foreign wars and for legions and then were kicked out months later
when they could produce their discharge papers. then they fought for those discharge papers and they john kennedy and richard nixon and jimmy carter and they fought and fought and with the help, by the way of the young man a young attorney and also the national organization for women and very goldwater of arizona. [laughter] those names don't usually get all put together in the same sentence mac they got the recognition 60 years later and the woman who was their leader in that campaign would been telephone operator, the supervisor for the peace conference at bursae she said i observed this model and i'm happy to get my victory metal finally only for serving in france 60 years ago but fighting the u.s. army for 60 years in winning.
[laughter] how could you not to tell their story? [applause] >> part of the reason the story i am telling was untold for so long is because during world war ii code breaking was a top-secret operation and when the us army and navy recruited thousands of women, school teachers and recent college graduates who were apt in math and linkages they were taken of her and told they couldn't tell anyone what they were doing at these barbed wire sprouted complexes and they were told that if anyone asked what they were doing they would say that they were secretaries and they sharpen pencils and filled in paul's and emptied trash cans and because they were women people believed them. people believe the work they are doing must be trivial and wasn't important. that we the ideal intelligence because they took them at their
word and that they could be interesting and they wouldn't get grilled for very long when people asked them. after the war there were work shortened the war by a year and save thousands of lives. the united states had an even larger code breaking operation than the british did. we worked with bletchley park and uneasily at first but then very closely. we had more than 10000 women and they weren't allowed to go overseas but some would and after the war they were told thank you for your service and you did a great job and some of them got medals and they were told never to show them to anybody and women followed instructions just as they had they didn't tell anyone what they had done in my central character former schoolteacher
after the war both of her younger brother survived the war and they had top-secret security clearances in their jobs after the war and the guys got together and bragged that the top-secret security clearance but she was unable to tell them that she had also had top-secret security clearance during the war and had done by the work and that possibly save their lives as well as the lives of so many other men. women went for decades and decades and one of the woman was married to a man who would say to her whatever you did during the war it wasn't important and they had to listen to that. they kept the secret and most of them took the secret to their grave in the code breaking operation during world war ii was incredibly successful also became our national security agency, our nsa and they knew that the agency's origin story was female. it wasn't a secret within the agency and there had been
internal classified history of some of these women and one historian in particular had written an internal history in which he interviewed some of the women who had stayed on with the nsa and pointed out that they were former schoolteachers which is so incredible. that history was ultimately declassified and i came upon that history and went to our museum and talked it to an nsa historian and curator in both women and so the federal historians and federal employees they had been waiting for someone to come along was interested in the story. they sat with me for hours at a time when i was completely ignorant of the code breaking and all that technology and science that went into it and when i looked back at that transcript it is so mortifying in some of the questions that i
was asking that they were very patient. what was daunting, once they laid out for me whether i could find women who were still alive and who could tell the story whether i could find enough of the paper record to document the recollections and i was daunted by that and the story was so irresistible that i had to plunge in and do it if it was doable. i found the doctor and i had to convince her she would not be put in prison if she finally spoke about her work and her son was there and he had been trying to pry this information out of her for decades. were both there taking her on in convincing her to tell us the story. she very much wanted to do even as though she still believed that she wasn't supposed to and i came saying the nsa would like you to talk about the story and this is a good story to tell.
it's another piece better than edward snowden or an antiquated but you know, she wanted to talk about her role in the war and finally get to say she had a top 30 clearance and she was part of one of the most important code breaking operations of world war ii. i kept telling her that to impress upon her thinking of japanese supply ships and she had of hard time getting her head around how this endeavor was. it turned out to be possible to find about 20 women to talk about their work and since my book is published i've heard from at least 20 more and many of whom are online. i heard from hundreds of children, adult children reacting like that is what my mom was doing. she said she was a secretary. what women didn't know as they had been released from their
code of secrecy in the 1980s but no one had tracked them down individually and said it's okay to talk. they eventually became aware that memoirs are being written and books attend movies like the imitation game are being written and they were writing about the role of code breaking but this had been left out of history. both surprising to me in addition to being visible was there was a vast paper record and i had to get some of it declassified and it existed already in the national eye cards and it had been overlooked. so -- you. [applause] >> the women that you are all writing about were working with whatever the latest technologies have to be at the time and they happen to be in the forefront like us right now thinking about artificial intelligence and it was the same kind of thing and
can you talk a little bit about how women worked with those technologies and how to use them to make significant contributions they did? >> we will rotate. [laughter] >> the telephone was this amazing new technology and this is the first time telephones have been used in a war. it meant that you could be instantly comedic and he was soldiers in the field. they could tell you from the fire was coming in or suddenly there's an opportunity to advance and commands were given off by telephone and radios didn't carry voices yet and it took [inaudible] and they were insecure in terms of security medications so telephones for it and it took the army to realize
that it took a doughboy and that was the world for a world war i infantry soldier and we say g.i. they would say doughboy and they found that on average it took the doughboys about 60 seconds to connect a call because it was very fast pace and you to talk someone in figure out where to send it to your handling national secrets in your hand. they were military operations orders to advance a retreat and it took the men about 60 seconds. these conversations were in french, by the way, and you're talking french to officers and soldiers and working with french operators to malign to some extent so the doughboys did not always speak french so it took them about 60 seconds to connect a call and took the women on average ten seconds. in wartime the difference between ten seconds and 60 seconds is your life. they found general pershing had the operations board for women
like in the major battles they didn't trust men to handle those particular calls. you had men overnight back behind the lines because calls were slower and they said the women had better nurse and i thought that was hilarious. they said the women had better nurse but that is what they found. their ability to manipulate this new technology and to use it with great efficiency was terribly important and by the end of the war these 233 women handled 26 million calls, 156,000 a day. >> during world war ii many of the civilian women were breaking codes for the us army were also members of the us signal court like your women as well and during world war ii most of the messages were taking place over radio transmissions although not by voice but by morse code. there was a dizzying number of
code and systems that they the germans were using the famous enigma cipher which was a machine that was in every u-boat in use by the army and air force to cipher german messages and to scramble the letters so that the letter a would go to a series of presentations and emerge as a complete letter. there were women who were recruited from colleges who were adept in math and languages that you could do the math and you could divide early computer programs and they would look at a garbled message and they would conjecture what words might be in it and whether it was the weather report from the bay of biscay they would look for [inaudible] might be expected to appear in the message and then they would look at the letters they were seen and they would have to do the math and devise a mathematical program to determine how the machine and
the settings changed every couple of days how the machine might have transformed as an a that emerges as an x and they were entering them into giant machines and date in ohio and the rotors had been wired by women recruited by the navy and many of whom work former telephone operators because they were also dexterous and, you know, on intimidated by machines. medications? telephone operators were traditionally female in this country in part because women were believed to be more polite to callers so that is one reason why mitigation on the field was a female occupation. that was just one cipher system and the japanese were using massive codebooks for the most part the naval code in the japanese army they would take a word like [inaudible] and they
would render it as a four or five digit code like add another set of numbers to it from an additive book and that would be the set of numbers that were radioed. women who were adept in math and also in linkages would look at the series of numbers and they would strip out the additive which is a form of decipherment and they were hacking into enemy can medications and this is early cyber and they would subtract out the number to get to a likely co- group and then again they had to get into conjecture that likely means hiroshima or aviation or whatever the supply ship would be caring so there's a lot of decision and math but then there's a lot of guesswork. at this time only 4% of american women went to college and that was because there were so few occupations that would hire college educated woman but they were recruited into this operation and schoolteachers
that was pretty much the only occupation that a college education could count on but schoolteachers had to have a wonderful liberal arts and had latin, french, math, physics and they proved remarkably adept at market getting especially. >> in contrast to life as a heron the rhenium girls to not have those liberal arts education and they weren't college-educated in the rhenium girls tried to be poor working class women and the daughters and granddaughters of immigrants and most of them were teenagers. fourteen or 15 or 16 years of age and in fact records show that some of them were as young as 11. they were at the cutting edge of technology because the material they were using so were talking about the first world war chip in the radium style began to mean because these women were not just painting watches and clocks they were painting arrow
nautical dials and so the instruments that would light up at night in ships and planes and automobiles so when america joined the first world war the industry explodes and radium was an incredibly new technology and new element at the time. it was only discovered in 1898 though by the time where it 1917 and hadn't been around for 20 years and because of that it was still such a new substance and karen hinted in the introduction that people thought it was safe at the time so part of the roles of the rhenium girls that they played in handling the new technology was through their sickness and through that termination not stay silent about what it happened to them. they taught the world that radioactivity was not, as was
thought of the time, the answer to human immortality. people literally on articles in the archives were newspaper headlines were urging its readers to eat radium tablets because the newspaper said and i quote, it would add years to our lives. the radium girls proved that perception was wrong but of course at the time they were working in tile painting and it's important to say that the techniques that these women were using and were taught was to put their paintbrushes between their lips to make a fine point because the numbers they were painting were so tiny they needed to suck on their brushes to make sure the bristles were [inaudible] so they were ingesting radium and they weren't stupid about it. one of the radium girls said the first thing we asked was what this stuff for you and they said
you will be fine and it's not, you know, it's not dangerous. to be publicly safe. women thought that was true because the newspaper articles i talked about in a new the men and women of chicago and new york were drinking radium water and they thought it warded off ill health and the recommended dose was five or seven glasses a day and radium wasn't advertising in chocolate and cosmetics and you can buy luminous face creams and powders and soaps but it's also important to say that even at the time the dial painters are working it isn't entirely unknown radium is actually dangerous. they thought the women were safe and the rating water was safe in the cosmetic with safe because it was only a tiny amount they were be using. in fact, even in radiance discovery they knew a large amount was incredibly dangerous.
madame curie said in 1903 that he would not dare to leave himself alone in a room with a kilo of peer radium because it would burn all the skin off his body and destroy his eyesight and probably kill them. part of the shocking thing of the story of the radium girls is that literally next door to the dial feeding studio where the women were sucking on their brushes and swallowing the paint you have the male lab workers dressed in lead aprons in wielding ivory -tipped tongues because they thought radium was dangerous for them. women at the forefront of technology they didn't realize it at the time and again, it's a story of ordinary women who did extra ordinary things because radioactivity is not safe and it will not add years to your life and it will shorten it drastically. and yet because these girls and
resulting years did not they bought for justice and brought it to the public knowledge that obviously protected millions of people and the people read the book or you will read it you'll see the stories that it does not it's not just world war i but goes into world war ii because then dial painting got even bigger. the radium companies personnel in world war ii increased by 1006 100% and because of the original radium girls those dial painters were safe and they protect workers in the manhattan project and they had assigned a legacy even into the 1950s when the atomic arms race is going on in there are atomic test above ground things to the rhenium girls who ultimately decided it was not a good idea to keep doing that because as a radium girls they prove that if you swallow a radioactive substance and ingested and it
gets into human butane as was happening in the 1950s because of those atomic bomb test that is a very bad thing and thanks to them we have the knowledge. >> indeed. [applause] i love the image for the new how dangerous it was there's a description of them in the workplace where it would get over their hair and clothing and skin and they like that because they glittered and when they went to speakeasies later that evening they really did shine they literally shined. if you can imagine that image. do you see any connections between the histories of the women you have written about and current events, events that are happening right now? >> i absolutely do in the sense that women that i write about in my book and cyber security and working early computers the code
breaking machines that we develop they were early computers and so much of our stem work were pioneered during world war ii because we needed computers to calculate weapons trajectory and break code in a cipher system that is women who were working these systems, grace hopper with the united states navy was working with the computers and other women were working with the armies first computer and my women were doing running early code breaking computers and doing cyber security. again, because their work was top-secret because they were written out of history people forget that women were the forefront of developing these stem technologies and we are having these observed debates today about do women belong in the stem field and why are more
women in silicon valley. you may remember the google engineer question whether women are biologically suited to do work in the tech sac or do computer coding. it's enormously relevant to the conversation and it's unbelievable to me that we are still having these conversations but i hope that books like hidden figures and rise of the rocket girls in these wonderful books about the contribution could be brandished during those conversations. >> i like that world hundred word brandished. good work. >> stories are important and as kate was saying how did we come to learn that radium was so horrible because these women told their stories and for women today telling their stories about things that happened helps us as a world be better and move the marker of justice forward.
merle egan was this operator couldn't take it lying down in the army kept saying you're in the army and she said yes, sir, i know what that means in which got out of the army she felt it was important to continue to try to get the story out and for 60 years she said when she was in her late '80s she's 91 to finally gets her victory metal and in her late '80s she said do people always ask me why do i keep this up and she herself got discouraged. as you can imagine, but she kept trying anyhow and she said i do this because i love my country and i want my country to be worth loving. so, it was her patriotism as well as her sense of the injustice women that kept her moving this forward and stories like this are important for all of us. >> in inclusion in the military is still very much alive tech it as well. >> yes, absolutely. burch marshall one of the reasons why the women's army corps was formed in the 1940s
and it later integrated with the whole army in the 60s and 70s is because george marshall knew the hello girls. they took his phone calls. >> i think as well and there was a case in 2016 where they went very some of the female veterans or something. >> one more time. yeah, 2016 these women -- they finally got recognized along with the women of world war ii were known as the wasps, women's heirs of his pilots. barry goldwater got so interested in this because he had been a pilot in one were to come as well. he couldn't believe women pilots of world war ii didn't get what he got in so he advanced their legislation and the hello girls and the wasps when it together on the same piece of legislation that goldwater sponsor. then in 2016 arlington announced you know, were running out of space. the wasps weren't real soldiers anyway so they won't be buried here. as recent as two years ago and i'm sorry if i forget the name
it was in arizona comes with who again went to congress and said over time these were soldiers and again legislation was passed in 2016 signed by president obama and their status as a true full soldiers was restored yet again. >> absolutely just like these wonderful authors of said history does have [inaudible] today. when you read radium girls and the reason for the story is so wanting is because we see parallels time and again throughout history and the story happens hundred years ago but in fact you can see parallels and what happened in the tobacco industry for example. this isn't just the story of women getting second saying it was the radium that hurts us and everyone says well done for bringing this to attention. thank you so much. of course not in that is not what happened. radium industry there were hundreds of products and it was a terribly lucrative and of
course people don't want to hear a story that affects the bottom line and so the story of the radium girls is a story of a cover-up. the story of corporations putting profit for people and the story of people trying to silence these women and discredit them and shun them and ignore them and conveniently, for them of course the women were being poisoned and dying. there is such a cynical company is trying to string out the legal cases before they can get justice so there are parallels we see today and it serves as a warning to history that in fact we really need to stay vigilant about things. i didn't know when i wrote the book that we would come to that it would be published in a time when regulations are starting to be rolled back and for me it's
super important that we listen to these warnings because ignore them is to do so at our peril. i think, as well, the story is not it's relevant as a warning. health and safety is seen as bit of a joke and no one this lesson reminds us that that legislation came in built on the body and sacrifice of people that came before us and to respect those rules. it's also a warning but also an inspirational and message for us of what you can achieve and what these ordinary women achieve through strength and dignity and courage and a refusal to stay silent.
it's a lesson for us in and inspirational one that if you ban together with like-minded people in a fight for what you think is right and you stand up for your rights even though it might take decades you can make extraordinary things happen and i think one of my favorite stations from the book comes from grace breyer and she was asked why she was bringing suit against this company when she was facing certain death and there's not much money available and why is she doing it. grace said it is not for myself that i care. i am thinking more of the hundreds of other girls to whom this may serve as an example and i think that altruism is extraordinary and i think when you meet the radium girls in the book they are an example to us all and the story does have resignation today and i hope that people do take the example of the radium girls and whatever your personal fight for justice is and they'll take inspiration
from their courage and strength and fight your own personal battle what you think is right. [applause] >> now, it is your turn. if you have questions i will ask you to come to the microphone. there is one at the front of each child here and we won't be up to hear you probably and if you have questions or need assistance getting to the microphone, let us know. or we can make the microphone come to you. >> i think it was, liz, you talked about the role that the war girls had with the suffragist movement and could you talk about that a little bit? >> women became soldiers before they became voters. that is not completely out of sync. that was true of african-american men as well. that was true of men without properties so fighting for your country has been historically a step towards becoming full
citizens. this was at the time the women's movement had been trying to get suffrage for 70 years and they said they felt like they were in a rut that was worn deeper every year. what women did in world war i so important in changing all kinds of men's minds including the minds of the president, woodrow wilson who had opposed of federal suffrage movement. after he.the 14 points which is our goal for world history and set the stage for the 20th century in our world today and the day after that he went to his colleagues in congress and said we need to fight for the vote for women. he told the congress how can we ask intake everything women are capable of giving and still say we don't see what title that gives them. we can't be the last to learn the lesson is by this time to the other countries had enfranchised women. he pointed out that women had
been at the skirts of the battle it was time to recognize that. >> sir. >> thank you for a wonderful presentation. ms. moore, i wonder if you could comment a little more broadly interestingly in a panel like mysteries the social revolution for women in employment caused by world war i in england, in britain and i wonder if you could give me a little more on that? >> just as elizabeth writes in her book where women did it come to the fore and they got opportunities and we were saying it was an echo of it again and i think with that opportunity comes risk of the radium girls and what happens "after words" with people trying to not recognize what the contribution
of women have given and it's interesting because having more say in the workplace and it gives women strength and obviously we have heard how women were soldiers and the dial theaters were literally sacrificing themselves unwittingly for their country before they had the vote as well but equally because of that opportunity and the financial benefit that they had in the increased confidence that women had i think that feeds into other elements of society as well. would the dial theaters have embarked on the fight for justice if they hadn't been employed and if they'd all been in the home it's an interesting question to know whether or not that is true and i don't know that answers your question but it was a revolutionary time for women and we possibly still see the echoes of that even today.
>> yes, i would like to reiterate how wonderful you all and i will but i was curious about the decoders. could you tell me where the navajo, the american indian came in before or after? >> yes, the navajo code talkers were also an example of wartime been a national emergency at the time of inclusion, right? a time when because the usual suspects are now out fighting absolutely in the men who would've been recruited to do this work were literally unavailable that the us government is willing to bring in marginalized groups and avail themselves for their communication skills. the navajo code talkers were men mostly in the pacific in the marines were doing cyber security and encoding our military messages in order that we can transmit our messages in a secure language that the enemy didn't know and couldn't break. that was one group and there
were also women in including in the theater for as mostly as wax but they were doing september cyber security as well. they were working to encode our military message for starting our practices to make sure that they were secure in some cases women are creating dummy traffic in order to persuade the enemy that we had troops where we didn't have troops before the d-day landing and there were women creating dummy tried to convince the germans with land at [inaudible] and there were women who were doing the same work but the code talkers were doing and i did find one oral history of she was trained in the navajo language as well in order to do the code talking and i wasn't able to verify that but she did know about it and mention it in her oral history. there was ultimately a communications training center set up at mount holyoke and she said she was trained at mount
holyoke and taught navajo. there might have been overlap between those groups. [applause] >> while we continue to have men saying the stupidest things. [laughter] even today, could you talk about are there statistics on what percentage women make up now within the code breaking and intelligence for the us and ms. moore, you may know robin, i don't know. >> i don't know the two suspects are at the nsa but after the war so many of our intelligence agencies were born out of the war. the nsa, the cia, you have 17 intelligence agencies now and women make up an increasingly important sector of that workforce. what happened immediately after the war is that most of the women were sent home and most were told thank you for your service get married, go home, raise children in a couple of women who wanted to use the g.i.
bill, they were navy waves and wanted to apply to architecture school and were denied to make room for returning men. there was an effort to put a genie back in the bottle. there was a world of women who stayed with the work after the war and eventually made up a generation of women at the nsa who pioneered code breaking and there was a woman in charge of cuban for breaking which was brought out of the backwater in the cuban missile crisis and she handled the code breaking during the cuban missile crisis. and rose to become the first military director of the essay and the conference room is named after her. there was an important worker women stayed with them and most of them did not get married or have children because that was the real dealbreaker and that was when you were expected to stay home. there was an early generation who rose to the ranks were among the first super grades at the nsa and then there was falling
off because women weren't recruited in the same numbers to be the next generation and it really took a set of at many agencies a set of lawsuits has women fought for inclusion in these intelligence agencies to build back the numbers. the numbers are pretty good and getting better but in the private sector in fields like cyber security which are extremely lucrative they are notoriously hostile toward women right now. >> i don't know the figures but -- [laughter] yeah, probably. >> thank you for writing about the women. i have loved reading a number of books on this topic and my question the woman who smashed code and the girls of atomic city and some of those books, too, do you speak with the authors of these other books and, you know, in your research and sharing that information and i see those names mentioned throughout, throughout the
different books so it's so important that we hear the stories in a variety of ways. thank you for writing your books. >> thank you for the tucson festival of books for bringing us together in this room. [applause] >> i had not met either of these women in no, we don't generally work together on these things. >> now, we have secret meetings. [laughter] >> no, i don't think i was invited. [laughter] >> all of our books were percolating along at the same time but it is i'm very so very grateful for all of these great books that are be produced and i do think that the publishing industry and the historical profession is more receptive to these books now that other books exist and that the reception has been so warm to them. i also this is a bit of a term of art but i really admire both of these other authors -- is
hard to manage a cohort and often as a writer it's hard to manage a cohort, a book about it cohort of those who you will make decisions of how you propel the narrative and decisions and these women in periods were working as cohorts. it was in an individual effort and that can be a harder book to sell also because you have to convince the publisher that you are capable of writing about a cohort. i think all of the books are reinforcing each other in convincing the publishing industry that it's a viable thing. >> absolutely. just as you say you work individually as a writer and it's a lonely profession at times but i did reach out to the authors who had previously written about the radium girls and they had died very young and she wasn't around anymore but he was around an incredibly
generous and he granted me an interview and he shared research materials with me and he was helpful in helping me in letting me he was very helpful and we chose the same topic but told in a different way and what was wonderful and meeting him was to see how passionate he was about these girls and in bringing this girl to life. we know he had chosen to tell it in a different way and he was helpful to me in bringing my more creative nonfiction focusing on women version to life. i was grateful for that. >> i think it's time for maybe one more question. >> you mentioned throughout the conversation that these histories have been forgotten and rediscovered and we can learn from the past so what have you found that worked in the past really women involved in science, technology, engineering and math and keeping them there what were the challenges after the second world war?
>> well, obviously in my case women were unwitting scientific pioneers. for them it wasn't a case of taking that out. i'd like to pick up on something that liza said earlier in first answer was that these histories are there and they are waiting for someone to listen. all the records were there and i reached out to the family members they were grateful that someone was finally interested in the relatives and wanted to tell a story that focused on them. what i would say is if there are any budding writers out there these histories are there and it just takes someone willing to listen to them. >> there are 100 positions at the army wanted to fill initially for these women and they were wire experts as they were called and 7600 women volunteered for 100 jobs. it wasn't hard to find women who wanted to do it.
there had to be a welcoming atmosphere and that goes back to what eliza is saying about science and technology. there are patriotic women who would love to do this kind of work and welcoming them, i think, is a lot of what it is about. half of the men in world war i volunteered in all of women did. >> i honestly don't know what i could add to that. it's a wonderful quota for this. the only other thought i've had during the conversation in terms of relevance to the modern-day we talked about pay also in the importance of equal pay for women and all of these women certainly the women in my book and i'm sure kate is well and probably your women as well they were volunteering out of patriotism and the desire to serve the war effort for women to be in the military they were volunteering because they needed work. their pay was important to them it is important to their families and that is why they were young girls and their
supporting their parents and siblings and there's a lot of talk today about make america great again and go back to an era when women didn't need to work but there's never been an era when women didn't need to work. significant cohorts didn't need or want to work. a lot of my schoolteachers took this work not knowing they're going to be doing because they were making $900 a year teaching school and they would make $1600 a year working for the us government for the war department. money matters. equal pay is also an important lesson. >> we have more than two minutes left -- do we have a few more? >> i'm from illinois and we are two states away from ratifying equal rights amendment. if anyone is here from illinois call your legislators, your state legislators and tell them to vote for the [inaudible] because we are having all of these arguments against it.
again. [applause] >> i just want to say you guys are complete inspiration of what you are writing on but what will you write on next? [laughter] >> i'm currently researching another american history topic not yet and because i work as a professional writer i'm also a ghostwriter and i write lots of books in the uk so i got a new book coming out in may called caged bird which i go stroke which was the incredible story of a woman born into a cult in london and lived in it for 30 years she managed to escape so i got lots of other things coming on but i am researching another topic. >> i write historical novels as well as history books so we next book will be another historical novel and the hamilton affair was the preceding one but it's
about and i don't even want to say it because it's so exciting but not to tell you her name but it was a woman who fought in the american civil war and applied for a pension from the us government and 30 years later it was finally granted. >> i'm poking around in the archives as well looking for my next historical topic and then i want to research how kate produces so many books. [laughter] >> if you have a quick question we have time for one more. >> very quick, i hope. any research psychological, sociological, why the women were so much more proficient than the men? any thing that says why that was? >> us census bureau in 1900 was writing about women in this new profession that they totally dominated and they didn't really
know why they said the telephone companies have found that women had better manners, that they were good at doing all of these tasks simultaneously. we would call that multitasking. i'm not sure there's never been a study to show that and of course we now have automatic dialing but they certainly found that women, as i said, their nerves could take all that input simultaneously. don't you think it's because there are so many fields that were denied women that women were coming forward and volunteering to do his work were super qualified, right strike men to go into many professions. >> right, when my great heroine disgrace, wonderful, spunky, delightful woman, hilarious in fact but absolutely passionately dedicated which was a graduate of barnard college which was the single mr. luce my college and the best job she could get was being a telephone operator.
>> that was our first panel of the day we have a full day of live coverage from the tucson festival of books ahead. coming up a panel discussion on the republican party, authors talking about politics and working with president and immigration the full schedule for the day is available at spee 23. we will be taking your phone calls about women in the military specifically of world war ii who came out and did a lot of the work during the war effort
she is making her way out here and will join us and just minute but here on the campus of the university of arizona now in its tenth year the tucson festival of books was founded and directed by a gentleman who spoke with him yesterday about the festival. >> build finer we are at the tenth annual tucson festival of books on the authors, how how many days how many people attending and how many events? >> actually it starts friday night with an author table dinner with 900 people we celebrate that with a keynote be granted founders award actual festival saturday and sunday we estimate 135,000 people, 400 authors, 320
exhibitors it is a festival in every sense of the word. >> you have been involved since the process 12 years ago. >> we have good friends that live in los angeles they always raved about the l.a. book festival we said we will take a look and then we said we think we could bring this back to the community and we did we went to the arizona daily star which is our newspaper, university of arizona and other people in the community and said we don't know how big we will make this the let's try it and it works out perfectly the tucson community was ready culturally. >> doesn't have a certain kind of theme or does a very? >> it is diverse. we try to create diversity with c-span talking about
history and political current events, science there is a fiction category nonfiction, children's area, we try to touch a little bit of everything. we have science city and hands-on opportunity for people to experience science for the everyday man. >> this is all free how is it paid for? >> by sponsors. everything is free. the whole year preceding we are soliciting sponsors and donations a lot of that money comes back to the community over the first nine years we have given $1,650,000 back to support literacy so that makes us very happy. >> by trade you are a contracto contractor? >> homebuilder and contractor. >> where does your love of books come from?
>> i was a late bloomer but my mom was a fanatical reader and would read into all hours of the night and read two books at a time. i got a little bit of that i read all the time now but when i was younger i didn't read as much as i should have. >>host: your wife brenda said we are happy being number three this is the right size why do not want to get a lot bigger? >> we want to make sure we manage this properly with people in place to do the things that make this successful so and c-span comes here they are taking care of the authors are taking care of and the exhibitors all feel like they are directed and managed properly. if we get too big we can lose that. >> over the course of your ten years with the digital age how has that impacted what you do?
>> i'm not sure that it has maybe in your business but although we do partner with the arizona daily star so they have created a nap now the ticketing process so digitally, yes if you are into a digital world more adept than we were the first three years with a lot more access. >>host: what do you do over the next two days with your planning comes to fruition? >> i try to listen to the authors i peek at blue and listen for a few minutes then leave i'm interested to see how the venues fill up and authors perform are they getting proper information before they start is the venue itself set up properly? >> we have been nine out of your ten years we love coming
to the desert and so do your attendees thank you very much for the interview. >>host: live coverage from the tucson festival of books continues the book code girls the codebreakers of world war ii now joins us on our outdoor set to take her calls liza, how do you find history like this? do you just stumble on it next. >> yes. i read a declassified history written by a nsa historian that is the descendent of wartime code breaking they knew it was largely female one was declassified then i talked to agency historians who introduced me to the larger
story then i had to track down the women to get them declassified. >> hidden figures came out around the same time so how was that they came out at the same time? >> i think of them as the hidden figures i think it is extraordinary they have been untold up until now. i think we are in the era there was a disservice to the rest of the authors letting people think that they that this really happens the rooms were dark but now the lights are going on and we realize they have been here doing important work all along. >>host: and you have first-person accounts. >> in some cases i had to convince them they would not
be put in prison. they were very, very good about keeping their secret. >>host: francine. here is a quote she's the one that got that slb yamamoto saying only ed dm woman could have figured out that blinking code. >> there was something about that irrational that the japanese were using it was a code breaking effort to put together the itinerary of yamamoto ahead of the japanese navy the mastermind behind pearl harbor and putting behind his itinerary and they shot his plane out of the year. >>host: francine? >> guest: there were men in the pacific then women at the code breaking facility working as fast as they could to put together his itinerary and a
group of women from wellesley that was involved and they record that cheering went up when they learned the plane was shot out of the air. >>host: liza mundy what are the logistics moving women to washington, housing them? >> washington was transformed by thousands of women taking the trains, landing in union station, looking for housing, eventually barracks would be built in dorms would be built but it was a scramble for boarding houses or an attic groups of women there -- living together in group houses are living together for the first time. it was a very hard job with a lot of stress and urgency but in the off hours there was a lot of fun the first time they had ever been on chaperones you can imagine.
>>host: code girls is the book liza mundy is our guest our guest is calling in from hawaii please go ahead. >> caller: can you hear me? this isn't directly about necessarily the code girls although i'm sure what you said happened to them and i listen to the other two ladies but have you heard from any of the other two or three ladies who put the bug in your ear about the code girls what we know of called the funny uncles? the men who did not go to war and the children who had to stay at home and live with them and a very nasty sexual experience for many of the
wives their husbands were fighting but things were going on at home fighting world war ii on a whole different level and stories are just now coming out for example from my class and my classmates and i am 75. so those horror stories are just beginning to come to light have you heard about them at all? >>host: any comment? >> guest: not those particular stories that i believe them. it was a time of enormous dislocation and social change i am sure there were vulnerable women at home and getting on trains traveling for thousands of miles most of those had a wonderful time with a highlight of their life but it was very chaotic into motorists.
>>host: colorado you are on booktv. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. my older sister was living in washington d.c. and she was a code breaker she flew to england and worked over there until after world war ii was over or not and she never talked about it. it was always a secret to the family. i just wanted to tell you that i was really interested in listening to all of the ladies especially the one from england. it was so much fun to hear their conversations and the accent of course and their stories of when they were
codebreakers. >>host: thanks for calling. liza mundy right before this began i told you my aunt did this in world war ii and would not talk about it. >> guest: thousands did this work it was top-secret you cannot have the enemy know that you break into the code system because then they will change it and all your hard work is lost. women were told during the war if anybody asks what they did they were to say they were secretaries they emptied wastebaskets and they work and importantly and they continue that after the war they were told nobody could ever know and nobody told him in the 80s when they were released so most of the women took the secret to their grade. >>host: because it's funny our guest said the same thing and you heard this in your
research. >> from so many families all that is with she was doing. she said she was a secretary she probably wasn't particularly if the work was secret. >>host: las vegas please go ahead. >> caller: i'm watching c-span as i do every weekend and a few weeks ago there was a spotlight on world war i the codebreakers and an american gentleman did you ever hear of anything of this person?
>>host: i apologize i cannot remember what book that is we did cover some books on this topic including hidden figures and rocket girls and now of course code girls. let's try ohio you are on booktv from the tucson festival of books with our 3012 -- with author liza mundy. >> caller: i am a veteran from the middle 60s until i retired in the mid- 90s. >> guest: thank you for your service. >> caller: thank you for your book. the women and men working on that schedule were they part
of the navy? >> guest: yes. navy. >> caller: i heard the women in world war ii was that the old security group headquarters and were told if they ever would reveal anything they would be shot. >> guest: exactly. you got it. >> they didn't tell us but they did if we were captured greens were around who would shoot us but none of us we took rosemary seriously though and the association chapter had a debate at conventions of other agents on this agencies when is it okay and the answer was it is never okay to leak classified material it wasn't
subject to the 12 year intervals we just didn't talk about it. i thought when the secret came out in the 70s i was appalled and outraged i didn't think anybody should be talking about it and i still don't i think it is fine to keep it secret but in the 60s and 70s a lot of the material from world war ii was completely classified and rightfully so because some of our enemies in the 60s and 70s were using those same systems because i didn't know any better and that was fine with us. >>host: thank you. we will leave that they are. liza mundy are we still using some of the intelligence we learned from world war ii today? is some of it still classified
? tee3 some of the records are still classified yes. i worked very hard as i could many these years later a great deal of this should be declassified. i certainly agree with the caller during wartime that is something you don't want to have happen but i do very seriously in my interviews i had to persuade them they would not be put in prison but they had trouble bringing themselves even under certain words like a noun and a verb they were told never even to say certain words because of the enemy heard you on the street and you said overlap or security or cryptanalysis then they would know what was going on and then in these compounds which department of homeland security is now is where the
codebreakers were working for the u.s. navy. >>host: why women? >> guest: the men were unavailable at was a national emergency we availed ourselves of native american communication linguist and we did the same for women we needed educated people with math and language that can learn very quickly i literally found memo in the national archives when they were recruiting codebreakers typed up new source, women's colleges men are unavailable let's see what the women can do. >>host: from your book the committee on naval affairs argued admitting women into the navy would break up homes and go backward in civilization. >> there was a nervous controversy getting women into the military during world war ii because those codebreakers
were women accepted for volunteer emergency service their first gig ever to include in the u.s. military there was son in world war i but this is a larger number with a lot of resistant from the older admirals they didn't want them the navy blue but gray or tan but the women who were pushing for inclusion understood even uniform color was very important to signal they were fully part of the reserves they were reservist called into action. it was a momentous time. some people i interviewed their parents didn't want them because there was rumormongering they could be prostitutes or entering for the benefit of the men but very quickly the families were very proud of their daughters who were members of the amy
and nerve money --dash navy. >> caller: congratulations on your work liza mundy with the mandatory declassification and getting that done. i thank you can tell that my voice i am very, very knowledgeable on what that takes and you need to take about when you're done with this interview. i know what you went through. number one. number two i have two relatives of mine that are cold war vietnam era and peacetime era individuals that were unclassified jobs in their branches and they are superduper secret so understand what you have gone through again. congratulations. what would you advise an
individual who may want to write a book i have been talking to defense review i have a good relationship with them. and considering doing something like that. and how difficult that is and what are the pros and cons and i will take your answer off the air. >> guest: it doesn't matter if you are an author or not if you are applying for freedom of information act are mandatory declassification act that is the beautiful part of the law that you don't have to be anybody as anybody can do it a lot of people put in the foia request file that request
and take advantage of this great law that obligates the federal agencies to make this available and also will be patient because some of these requests can take years. >>host: years? how long did you work on code girls? >> guest: three-year start to finish i did get a loss of records declassified but i'm still getting letters that if you are still interested from what you filed two years ago let us know of you are still interested. i am still interested. >> caller: thank you for taking my call thank you for bringing the untold story to light. were there any african-american women doing code breaking? >> guest: thank you so much for asking that question. yes the navy was not willing
to admit african-american women they did not until 1945 but they were paranoid about background but the army did there was an african-american unit at the army compound in arlington virginia that was a secret unit that worked as the private sector they decrypted their communication and wanted to know if they were having relations with hitler or mitsubishi the civilian army that was breaking the unit so i'm so glad the caller asked. >>host: that is an untold story. >> it was very hard to get records about that unit and i'm hoping maybe there is a family out there who knows their mother or grandmother
did work as a civilian for the army during the war at arlington hall. >>host: do have a website? >> guest: it is tee12.com contact the author button i love to hear from people. >>host: pensacola florida go ahead. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. my mother worked in d.c. as a code secretary we never knew exactly where or anything is there a list or how do we find out if in fact that might have been her job? >> that is what all the women told their families they were secretaries. on my website there is a tab called resources i do have instructions there you can file a request civilian or military personnel it is all a
matter of public record i had a researcher that i worked with her name is on the website you can do-it-yourself and you can file a request it is wonderful you can get the college transcript and background welty report on --dash and the loyalty report. >>host: alabama you are on booktv. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. >>host: please go ahead. >> caller: i do have a bit of history the army air force was using aerial surveillance to collect information to
bring into the girls and my father was the pilot of one of those aircraft but to make things even more interesting is when i became old enough to join the air force i was put into the same type of organization and i did that for 40 years. are you there? tee7 thank you for calling in and sharing your experience. >>host: were their male codebreakers as well? >> guest: absolutely the women were confined to washington d.c. literally on the compound that many joined the women -- the military hoping they would go overseas. the army was a little more willing to do that but for the most part they stayed in washington so i went to europe or pacific but the men were out there in the pacific and atlantic working with women as well to the callers.with the
pilot so the japanese would not know we were breaking their code system, planes would be sent up at the japanese army and navy's they think they would be spotted by the airplane but in fact it was code breaking. that was another way they would work together with the pilot. >>host: the war is ending 1945 what happens to these women. >> guest: at least 11000 probably more son have come and gone but for the navy they were there for the duration. after the war for the most part they are told take you for your service you did a great job. you saved thousands of lives, you you shortened the war but never tell anybody what you did the navy women were given a medal and told never to show
anybody they were actually released from their oath to secrecy and to track them down but however there was the wartime code breaking from the nsa and those that actually came out of the war one of the women who rose to become the first deputy director of the nsa it was an important generation of women with cyberintelligence. >>host: were they given veterans benefits? in theory women qualified for the g.i. bill or the wac. one of the women working for the navy she wanted to be an architect wanted to use the g.i. bill but they all turned
her down and said we are holding the spots for returning men she said i was also a member of the navy and they said to bad but she couldn't tell them about her work or what contribution she had made. >>host: code girls chapter ten is entitled pencil pushing mamas thinking of japan. >> guest: that is a poem one of the codebreakers wrote. >>host: life coverage from tucson festival of books continues the c-span bus is now here on the campus of the university of arizona we have bookbags you can see technology if you want to take a tour now we will head back
into the gallagher theater here on campus up next to an panel on the republican party with craig shirley and charlie sykes life coverage on booktv. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome to the tenth annual tucson book festival if you were here with us in gallagher hall and watching us live on c-span today. i am the executive director of the national institute of civil discourse here at university of arizona. thanks the tci advisors for sponsoring this session. [applause] the presentation will last an hour time for q&a and immediately following the
session craig shirley will participate in a booktv interview just outside this building. kathy and charlie will go directly to the book sale tent to sign books. in fact every book that is purchased at the festival goes to literacy programs this is the perfect time to do that. we hope you are a friend of the festival family and if not please join. out of respect please turn off your cell phones. a quick introduction, today we have an abundance on our panel three outstanding authors all who have written several books and each of the books they talk about today come from distinctly different genres. kathy kramer the director for public service at the university of wisconsin
madison her book on politics of resentment rule consciousness in wisconsin and the rise of scott walker is a superb example of quantitative and qualitative research to understand voters. many of you recognize charlie sykes from his time on msnbc started when his name came to our attention by conservative radio talkshow host in milwaukee wisconsin he has written a polemic how the right has lost its mind. a reagan biographer is
presenting two books ronald reagan and every authorized biography the making of a reagan conservative. [applause] i will start asking the authors and the impact they hope it would have. >> it is a joy to be with you all. i am a scholar of public opinion with the conversations that i have liar people getting things wrong or making the choices that they are?
in my mind if you take that to the extreme we are not capable to have that democracy so instead of asking what are they getting wrong how are they understanding their world? so the book is focused on wisconsin but people in rural small towns research was in wisconsin and to listen to people so i wrote the book so look at what the small places in my state to understand the feeling that many people have about not being respected and overlooked how that comes from
real experience hoping for something better i hope the impact it would have to understand this concern of feeling like you deserve more wanting better for yourself people would understand not from people deserved to be treated this so i want to have a broader understanding. >> why did you decide to write this book? the mick actually started working on the book before the election with a different impact basically it was this book trying to figure
out what the hell happened? what the hell happened to people that i thought understood or had certain values that we saw played out in 2016 as part of a conservative movement for more than 25 years going from william after buckley junior to sean hannity that is not a renaissance. [laughter] [applause] that is a disaster. movement that goes from ronald reagan to donald trump has taken a very strange turn. frankly as i sat there and watch this happen in real time i was struggling what is going on. is this radical continuity? was this a cartoon version?
is this a hostile takeover? with a healthy conservative movement that is harder to sustain the dysfunction in the conservative movement was clearly a pre-existing conditio condition. [laughter] but my dissolution and to work very closely with the conservative leaders and 2016 was like invasion of the body snatchers one after another may be not so bad to embrace this narcissism. may be this con man is the era
of ronald reagan and maybe it's not so bad. you have this compromising values i can tell a lot of you are as old as i am i am old enough to remember when republican actually said character matters. do you remember that? that moment there was a moment i was watching cable television and education secretary says get over your moral vanity i will use the word i was actually thinking that he wrote the book of virtues the book of freaking virtues and now donald trump
so to watch a movement that claimed it was about fiscal restraint and small government and free trade in american exceptionalism that would be offended by the idea russia was attacking our democracy remember when conservatives thought that would be a bad thing? but now we saw an embargo by people that i worked with then you get diverse desire and things that you want and you conservative judges and tax cuts and regulatory reform but then you find out the cost is greater than you expected. so i sat down to answer the book what did i miss? what did i ignore?
what just happened and because i started before the election leslie out the preconditions for recovery and even afterwards to say what is the future of the conservative movement? is there a conservative movement that will not be tainted or talks a fight or morally repugnant? and that is still the ongoing process even watching the conservative movement on a rolling basis to enable and acquiesce to a was unthinkable a couple years ago. [applause] >>host: you have been a dedicated reagan scholar and author and you clearly made a
shift of focus on newt gingrich so share with us why and what impact you hope to have with your last two books. >> sometimes i think i write books to keep off the streets and out of the pool halls. but reagan and gingrich has been very misshapen and misrepresented by history by conservatives and liberals so it was my idea and dedication my friend said right what you know about we worked with him for eight years we were there from the beginning of the revolution the rnc the election and reelection my wife ran c pack every year and reagan was there it is not what it used to be you actually used to have panels and intellectual debate about missile-defense and balanced-budget versus tax
cuts. [laughter] but both men are and were controversial and because of that that invite disinformation so i wanted to write about reagan because his legacy was in danger of slipping into your relevancy. my books are not open i in interviewed everybody from carter to mondale these are works of history not opinion. everything is documented and annotated. so i find them compelling figures of history with reagan because the reagan revolution truly was a revolution against the established order and the status quo but there is a dialect to american presidential history every
generation or two there is an upheaval against the established order starting with jefferson and adams with the sedition act then jackson with bank of america and lincoln and roosevelt institution of the trust and roosevelt with the institution of wall street and then reagan the washington institution the small part also banks but also anti- washington and regaining power to the american people in trump falls in a dialect that makes the 2016 election very interesting. trump himself may not be a figure of history andrew jackson at 150 years for a decent biography to be written about him by schlesinger and it may take 150 years to be written about donald trump and set aside his flaws, which are
many and character flaws which are many but his election in it of itself, the nomination are important in the standpoint of history. but reagan remains a compelling figure of history even trump does not understand him the other day he attacked him in pennsylvania on his trade policies he was free trade that it is a fundamental misunderstanding of his trade policy at his core he was anti-communist wanted to beat the soviet union at his core he knew free trade with china and mexico would strengthen our alliance and economies to make them much more resilient to communist takeover as a soviets were trying to do in
central america and nicaragua so for trump to attack reagan on trade is a fundamental misunderstanding also reagan understood going back to his time at eureka college that during the depths of the great depression many people believe it was aggravated by republican congressman and senator to create huge trade barriers to the importation of goods but all that did was send the united states deeper into a deep depression. eureka college explained to him that the depression was brought about was made much worse by that so thereafter he was very much a part of free trade. it isn't just about free trade at the cheapest price but also national defense and making alliances with people you want to join with you to oppose
aggression or subversion as the cold war the soviet union in this case so the reason i write reagan books and i continue in my next book right now i'm finishing a biography of george washington's mother who is a fascinating figure of history completely misunderstood nobody has ever done a biography of her who was america's first first lady i am enjoying this so much but after that this will probably be in search of reagan i got my idea from my old friend who is the official biographer of churchill who did in search of churchill and this would be to address the misunderstanding mischaracterization of what reagan really was who at his core was a child of the enlightenment according mode -- quoting pain and thoreau a small l libertarian
champion individual rights and privacy and dignity and this has been misunderstood in the 30 some years of the presidency that is why i write these books and why continue to write today. [applause] >>host: shipping line -- shifting to go deeper into content so with our founding fathers and documents that were built into the nation they created some intense conflicts one of those was world and urban that has changed over the centuries but is still held deeply with us and clearly in the last election it was an extraordinary wake-up call for the entire political media establishment who basically completely lost touch so in your book you do an extraordinary job of a concept
called world consciousness tell us about tha that. >> is just a fancy social science term for a sense of identity was a small town person they are saying i identify as a real person but people like us or people around here or places like this but that identity combined with a sense of not getting their fair share or one was attention, resources and respect it sounds like this. now picture me doing this research. twenty-seven committees from across the state big places in urban and small-town rural areas driving around the state in my volkswagen jetta with
the wisconsin accent a social scientist walk into a gas station and i say hi i am kathy. from the university of wisconsin madison do you mind if i join you? they welcomed me in for the most part very nice and friendly and opened up to me but at the same time they are telling me all the decisions are made in madison and communicated out to the rest of us and we have no say in regulations that are affecting our lives so they don't give us our share of attention sources talking about talks taxes they spend are tax dollars on themselves are in milwaukee we don't see them in
return and in light of the presidential election was a feeling of not getting one's fair share of respect because people were saying those people making the decisions affecting my life they don't know what they don't know what life is like in a place like this and they don't even like us they think we are uneducated or racist and sexist and homophobic and is normal phobic and they felt they deserved more so in all of those ways identity ours on the short and of the stick that is rule consciousness. [applause] >>host: charlie when i read your book i was struck by a quotation that you alluded to this in your first remarks so
what did you specifically learn about how it happened? it was based on the belief of limited government, individual liberty, free market, traditional values and civility. and now finds itself embracing bigotry, political and transients, demagoguery and outside falsehoods. what did you learn how we went from there to this? >> that pretty much summarizes it. [laughter] how the right lost its mind how? the conversation i also talk about when i sat down after the election basically asking each other how did this happen and he made the .1 of the things we learned fiscal conservatives free-trade conservatives this
intellectual brand was much smaller than we thought it was. a lot of these beliefs were piecrust then over a larger more dissatisfied political base that is one of the things that i learned one of the things i talk about in the book that politics has shifted to become more tribal and that explains what is happening. using the term colt of personality you know what i'm talking about but a lot of the conservatives i hung around with talk about american exceptionalism and what conservative ideas of empowerment and dad approach to inclusiveness for paul ryan before donald trump to realize
we were under the impression politics was about ideas and policies. in fact it is increasingly becoming more and cathy's book makes this very clear it is more identity and tribal loyalty we are pulling back a lot of the explanation is how do you go from the party of ronald reagan the shining city on the hill we are welcoming people from all over the world the author of the mud of the most sweeping amnesty ever going from that to donald trump building a wall that mexico will not pay for and they say were fine with that? it is a shift to tribal loyalty that if something makes liberals heads explode i must be for it if it causes tears so we have negative
partisanship built in for many years partially during the obama years and democrats have their own version of this that is their problem they became very clear what they were against but not sure what they are for some and the guy comes on the scene insulting everybody and is willing to scapegoat people initially just taste but they were willing to accept it also those various gatekeepers who betrayed the movement whether talk radio or fox news the role of the media changing the way conservatives process information and that moment when it really hit me in 2016 and i say this somebody who was in conservative talk radio which i thought was a good thing that we created an alternative reality to
delegitimize fact based historical media to the point we now really are two nations we don't really communicate like donald trump or other people are immune to information or fax we are post- factual political environment that is so fundamentally different than what we need for a democracy. one of the tidbits i continue to be fascinated by is when ronald reagan was president people think the nostalgic high point of conservativism there was not the robust conservative media infrastructure we have no on -- now. no rush limbaugh or hannity or fox news or breitbart.
he could act in the environment he was able to talk to democrats and discuss ideas in the environment not ranting push for power and ratings and quips that has contributed that is not a simple answer or a simple question. >> but really those media only came to be through the 1990s and post- reagan. >> rush limbaugh did not appear till the final moments of the reagan administration he did not have fox news until 1996 breitbart 2006 think of all the things we have now that did not exist back then so the political environment is very different. >>host: craig clearly your biography delves deeply historically and in a way we
see that intensification and polarization recall hyperpolarization and the complete loss of civility in politics one of the interesting things that you point out is that the beginning of polarization goes back to 1964 nominating goldwater or when the democrats nominated mcgovern so this is all accelerated but there are some streams of history you could add to the conversation that would be valuable? >> so to address charlie's misinterpretation of reagan on amnesty but one thing that has been missing from this conversation is the absence of the discussion of hillary clinton when she called millions of