tv In Depth Jeff Shaara CSPAN March 30, 2018 9:00pm-12:02am EDT
historical fiction author jeff shaara that tells the military of the united states from the american revolution to the korean war. >> host: welcome to book tv on c-span2. this is our special fiction edition of in depth. all year long we've invited offers on to talk about their books and work. david ignatius was the first guest in january, "washington
post" columnist, pulitzer prize winner with us last month and this month we are pleased to be joined by the military author. the author of books that range from the american revolution to the korean war. we are going to talk about all of those in just a minute, but we are going to start with a facebook comment a viewer had posted on our facebook page. what exactly is historical fiction? >> guest: i'd had this conversation with other offers. typically on the western front, the badge of courage is an accurate historical setting for ththatthe people are totally ma. it is a little bit different from what i do because i take you to these places with a a lot
of the real people whether it's george washington, robert e. lee, dwight eisenhower, but it's fiction by definition. my job is to tell you a story and the way to do that in the names, dates just a few to the heads of the characters and tell the story the way they would tell it. you're hearing dialogue and words in their mouths. part of that has gone from the historical record but you have to fill in the blanks and that's my job is to fill-in the blanks but it has to be called fiction. if i've done my research, the history is absolutely accurate. that is my job. a lot of the writers that write
it's much more fresh than reciting something i might have learned in school years ago. it's a huge purpose in our culture but what i do is very different fromto that. >> host: do you use a lot of original sources? >> guest: it is my job to go back and biographers object to this, with a modern biography is getting to take on who the characterer is that if you take0 different biographies of abraham lincoln you will get 50 different versions. i would rather go back and hear the words. so all of my research whenever possible our original memoirs, collections of letters.
i need to get to know the character, and that's a personal thing. you use a lot of well-known figures, but what about from pittsburgh or from the frozen hours are those real people or are they made up? >> of a single example of a g.i. that's not saying that i make it all up but as i'm doing the research i find out more information and composite key te events into this one character so the character can still play the one-story everything happened. it's all accurate. lucy is an excellent example of
a. it's the first time where we are seeing a point of view that's different from the typical soldier in the general. you've got this world that's 19-years-oldd and knows about e gruesomeness that happens as well as the sacrifices made. it's a very different take. i have four different diaries of those who were in the middle of it. before i get into the specific books i want to talk about the feed i picked up reading through your material they are returning
characters. it might be robert e. lee in this war or that war, winfield scott. >> guest: most people have never heard of winfield scott which is a tragedy. first of all he was born in 1788. he's been around a while in the war of 1812 is a general and starts the war of 1812 in 1807 and it causes a big diplomatic staying and they have to play to down but the anecdote by the 1840s the commanding general of the united states army when the mexican war begins, scott is the leader of the troops in the field and what that means in
history is who those troops in the fieldd or all of these lieutenants right out of west point are all the names you know, ulysses grant, thomas jackson longe before he was stonewalled, louis armistead, james walk straight, on and on and then one in particular, robert e. lee in a blue uniform and its winfield scott who teaches him how to be a soldier. that is a fun story to tell because it is a story nobody knows. >> host: and i think i picked up, the politics. >> guest: i don't like politics. i am not political in the sense people say to me it is a sort of nudge nudge wink wink when you talklk about whomever, dwight eisenhower or passion or somebody. no, not at all.
as a leader and a commander of troops and then as president probably any character i've dealt with and all the clichés apply and i have enormous respect for this man and the city of washington. but beyond that, washington is what i just said but that doesn't work. first of all they go to montgomery and richmond to create the confederacy and washington is at the border. and also right across the
potomac river is arlington with a house at arlington cemetery that was robert e. lee's home. theould see it when he's in capital of washington is writes back ingh the middle -- right smack in the middle. then you've got eisenhower in europe. you get to the 20th century. another theme behind military success. it's interesting there's different reasons for failures. ego, narcissism, and it's not just can't find to the military.
we are looking at some of these characters when you have people like ulysses grant, sherman and we would be among them, but then you've got the full sheraton's, men whose ego and personality get in the way have been doing g their job and it creates bad things and then often die uselessly and that is a reality part of the story. >> host: does it square on you after a while writing about the war and tragedy? >> guest: i will say again talking about specifics, my last book frozen hours it is not a
happy story. i've talked to a number of veterans. i can see it in their faces and hear it inbe their word the way they talk to me cut the tragedy of what they went through 65 years later is still a part of who they are and whether it is frostbite in their fingers or the memory of what happened to him, as i was writing the frozen hours it got to the point where the emotion of it was very difficult. now i don't watch those kind of movies but that's part of the story. nobody really wants to read page after page of that. there has to be humor. good laughter is such an important part of it by the end
of the day by the time i finished u the book i was worn t emotionally. i had to get away from it. i basically took six months where i didn't do anything. i just had to separate myself from it. we can talk about this later it's much less of a n war story. it took more o more of a toll oe than i expected. >> host: is there a direct link between the winter at valley forge and frozen hours in korea? >> guest: yes. one of the linksis for between e two is that they were suffering in the 1770s one must think they are not equipped very well, they don't have good clothes, electricity, they are
warming their hands by a fire and in korea in 1950 it's the same situation, these men are under equipped with their clothing and given boots that tt makes your feet sweat. what happens when your feet sweat you stop marching in it's 30 below zero euphrates with ice inside of your shoes. with all the things that happened, there are these same things and the problem with gloves when you're fighting how do you pull the trigger on your rifle all of that just adds up to th be our just woefully underprepared for the kind of conditions they run into just like valley forge. >> host: do you find that it changes throughout the year? >> guest: that probably happened in the civil war more
first and for separate reasons but think about a lot of people don't realize all the people who graduate of west point, all the they areand of course officers on both sides, all the textbooks up to that point is that west point teaching tactics are napoleonic. one of the requirements is that you learn french so you are learning these tactics which by the 1860s are 60 orre 70-years-old and yet that's all they know and so the officers are telling their man you wind up with a straight-line soldier to -- shoulder to shoulder and say the guns were not very good. but in 60 day guns and artillery are a lot better and it can go either direction. so the slaughterex increases
exponentially. that also happens in world war i. when world war i breaks up, the french government to battle on horseback because it is the old way. the germans have come up with and horses and they don't go together. the french and everyone else learns they have to do this a very different way so there is a lot of tragedy. unfortunately men die when you're dealing with changes. when the technology is better than the tactics. >> host: here are some facts written about. and the revolution that lasted from 1775 to 1783, 4,435 plus today's dollars have about 2.4 billion. the mexican war 1846 to 1848,
14,000 deaths, 2.4 billion again and then four years of that about 500,000 deaths per year up to 80 billion in cost. strld war i the u.s. was in for one year while the 116,000 plus soldiers at a cost of 334 billion world war ii the years the u.s. was involved with 400,000 plus americans, 4.1 trillion now the korean war three years about 54,000 americans lost $341 billion. starting with the american revolution, you've written a couple of books about that, and the glorious cause. what was it about general cornwallis but he became one of your primary characters?
>> the one sentence less than day you get is that he beats him and that's the end of the american revolution, thaamericat the way that it happened. yes washington and the french defeat cornwallis at yorktown but he's not the commander of the british army coming years down the ladder and has people above him and us in new york otk city at this time cornwallis was sort of on his own down there in yorktown virginia. and he is an interesting character because he is a very good man and good military commander. history treats him like he is a loser. had he been in command of the british when washington was facing off against them in brooklyn, manhattan and then of course the famous crossing
delaware river of trenton, had cornwallis been in charge i suspect that it would hav therea very different outcome. again, he was a very competent general. the problem for him just like with so many of the other people i've written about some of the people telling him what to do, they were not as good and the other part of this touches on atwhat i said before about whatt is but i do that's different, cornwallis a is a man of enormos personal tragedy. his wife dies during the war. he goes back to england and has a brief meeting with king george 3 and comes away from that feeling like we have a problem here, it's not quite right but his wife dies and this is a romance, he is in love with his wife and he has to go back to the colonies still and fight the war carrying the load with
them. again it's the three dimensions, who is this man, why is he interesting, well because he's a human being and that is what the story. >> host: this is another facebook comment by john adam and he says i started reading your book on the american revolution and when i got to the point about george washington in long island, i stopped right there because i was certain that the americans were actually going to lose. >> guest: there was a tight george washington thought that they were going to lose but loot people should realize early on in the war he lost almost every battle he was in, the colonists get chased out of the battle of brooklyn first of all and what we know today as brooklyn new york they get chased across the east river into manhattan by the british cornwallis, and then they get chased. if you know new york city today it is that the sort of southern
part of manhattan island. today ispa his 30th straight. that's part of the island he gets chased all the way up to the north end o and then all acs the hudson river and then all the way across new jersey and skip over to the delaware river. while that isn't a very good beginning for someone trying to fight a war. then christmas things change and surprised the group had an extraordinary victory which washington also wins in the inte british wake up to the fact that this isn't just a bunch of farmers, this isn't a rattle we are going to sweep away we may have more on our hands.
that's washington, he's the one that did not cite the more complicated story than that we learned in high school. >> host: do you think the outcome could have been different if he hadn't crossed the delaware at that point? >> guest: it's not necessarily washington himself but those under him. there is no money to pay them and they want to go home. when the winter passes the farmers need to be worked into their families are home and the army says we are not doing very well here. i think i need toys go away. washington has a speech he gives to his troops and saves his army. they say okay we will stick this out for a while and then they have the sort of banker of the continental army whoba puts together bags of everything they can find that relates to money
or claims in the spanish silver coins, pieces of silver, anything that has value and they send them up to distribute this. i'm doing the best i can here, that saves the army and i think his passion for the cause and his desperate need for these people to stick within changes history because they do stickk with him. >> host: he didn't have a central authority he was recording back to did he? he? >> guest: the continental congresss and it isn't much ofa central authority anyway. after the declaration of independence is sign in 76, they do fall behind the cause. it's funny a lot of people don't realize they do not declare war on king george. when we signed the declaration,
king george is a rebellion come in a state of rebellion. they had no idea how to fight a war for the army. in washington and the reason they choose sitting in the continental congress literally sitting in the courtroom quiet as a shy man he doesn't want to take authority that he's in uniform and a british uniform a member of the junior militia under the authority of the british army but he said unit for. maybe he knows something about how to fight a war and organizing the army. he gets to boston and everybody says who is this guy. he had one thing going for him besides his personality, he's a big man physically. he carries that sort of stature.
people sort of start paying attention to this end he begins to organize those that know their own people that the administrative part people take for granted. hehe organizes an army out of people who could care less about virginia and who he is and it works and you can probably tell by the way i'm talking about this to get excited telling these stories because it's fun to get into this stuff, it's not dry history and i don't have to make it up. the real story is fascinating. >> host: your book this is the quote isn't it? where have all of the young men gone popular during the vietnam war. >> guest: my father was a big fan and most people have no idea who they were i understand in
1960 and above is one of their big songs and stuc that stuck wh me. yes, definitely as we got into vietnam, the sadness of that whole song and i encourage everybody to download online. the essence of the following where have all the flowers gone at the end they've gone to graveyards. over three through the process it is a very sad song. but the point is in 1846 all of these young men are clueless about life and for so they go off to be soldiers. war is not romance or glory and saicemetery is 13 years later wn the civil war begins. >> host: you skipped writing about the war of 1812 why is
that? >> guest: >> guest: the response people ask me about 1812 was logical to go from the revolution of 1812 by publisher said at the time it isn't epic enough. i don't necessarily agree with that. it's a campaign with phil scott, that whole area and then you've got washington, francis scott, fort mchenry and facilities three separate stories which made a wonderful booknd in three parts they wouldn't go along with that. at the end of the day if they won't print it there isn't much point. >> host: the mexican-american war, a little but downplayed because of 13 years later? >> guest: certainly come into a loand alot of people confuse a
the period prior to the civil war and i have a lot of questions about that. are you going to write about db crockett flex know that his earlier at a different time and story. also, one thing that was parallel i didn't set out with an agenda that i found out there was an enormous parallel between the mexican war in vietnam war because it wasn't popular and these young men come home from the war in 1848 and are expecting to be heroes with parades and so forth but they are coming home to newspaper stories talking about how we have just abused the government of mexico and what people don't realize is the map of the united states as we know it today, california, the rocky mountains dates, arizona, new mexico, texas all became part of our
territory because of the mexican war. the guild and congress over that, i love this. we were able to check. the bill passed in congress and we one of the very war. ith think the number was somethg like $15 million we wrote a check to the government of mexico to assuage them for taking the land. but the unpopularity of the war talking about the politicians there was a divide in washington over the colonialism and all this stuff that affected the soldiers and i know people from the vietnam era that had a lot
of the same sentiment. >> host: manifest destiny played a role. >> guest: i'm working right now on the manifest destiny. we should be able to dictate what happens, there is a sentiment about that. manifest destiny, the monroe doctrine, and with that we can do anything we want to. then of course the notion that wait a minute, maybe just because we say so doesn't that true. >> host: good afternoon again this is booktv c-span t c-span2r special fiction edition of the monthly set, military, historical, novelist guest for the next two and a half hours if you would like to contact us and have a question here is how you
can do so. (202)748-8200 if you live in east and central time zones comezones come748-8201 in the md pacific time zone and you can also leave a comment on social media or facebook or twitter and we are on instant graham@booktvs the best place to find us. and finally you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. those are the ways to contact us and we will be searching through the numbers and you can see all that information on the screen in just a minute, but quickly want to give you a list of the books and what they are about, gods and generals was the first one which of course turned into a movie. this is for his father spoke to her angels and then the sequel came out in 1898 and that's the last measure about the civil
war, mexican-american war, the rise to rebellion the american revolution, and defend the glorious causthe gloriouscause n revolution. move on to world war i with to the last man. world war ii, there are three books about world war ii, the rising tide, the wave, no less than victory and the final storm, which came out in 2011. that's about the pacific. a blaze of glory came out and a chain of thunder about the civil war concentrating on vicksburg, chattanooga and william tecumseh sherman the civil war again and the most recent came out last year which is about korea. what is it aboutbo the civil war
and jeff shaara and your father? >> guest: you just answered it. in 197 1974 wow, back up ten ye, we went to gettysburg and we were -- tallahassee florida my father was teaching and had been a writer all of his life, sci-fi,is short stories, no interest in history at all. i was 12-years-old and we went as tourists and there was me climbing on canyons. something happened to my father. first, he was a storyteller and he knew a good story when he saw one and he started doing some research and became obsessed with telling that story. it took seven years to put the manuscriptpt together into the reason for that is he had to
teach to make a living. he could never make a living from his writings which is a sad statement said he was teaching to them and writing at night and keep the manuscript together and was turned down by 15 publishers in new york and finally this little minuscule publisher picked it up, $3,500 my father was thrilled. here's his book coming out 1974 but nobody cares. nobodyk in this country wantedo read a book about generals and it was a subject that a year later the spectacle something happens. a telegram comes to my father's house. congratulation. the killer angel has been prized the 1975 pulitzer fiction. now, no one was more surprised by that than my father but still, a writer with a pulitzer prize, he has the right to
believe. but it was never even with the pulitzer it was never a bestseller. what a crushing disappointment to him. a question i get a lot farther with works that he writes? on. he went back and wrote more sci-fi and a baseball story, the love of the game which kevin cosner made into a film again after my father's death that he had no interest at all going back to the civil war. 1988 he died, 59-years-old and second heart attack, died in his sleep and five years after that ted turner puts up the money for the film gettysburg based on the killer angels and the book becomes a number one bestseller 19 years after it was published. i don't know if that's happened before, five years after my father's death. he has no idea what he left behind. the idea for a prequel and sequel came from ted turner.
the movie was enormously successful and he wanted to do more film. they came to me and said wouldn't it be great to go before and after because it was aboutre a film. i've never written anything before, i was dealing with rare coins and precious metals in florida. i thought about it and thought you know maybe this is something i would like to try to do, and film director, we had this conversation we didn't really come up with anything but you'dd research and i will put it together for a story play if it slows they, weevil threw it away they don't have to worry about it. that's why there was no fear. people ask me all the time how did you know to write a book. i knew the kind of research my fatherou had done so i knew howo do that.
now i'm a businessman of the family representing my father's estate in new york and killer angels is now a number one bestsellers of the people in random house would take my phone calls when talking to the publisher and she says what is this that you are doing and i said i'm working on the prequel which byy the way was my fathers original title for the kerry angels and for some reason he rejected t it. i thought about that about halfway through it was a perfect title for what i'm trying to create here. the publisher said send us the manuscript. really? okay. this was september 1905 int 190e phone call i got back was we don't care if it is a movie we like the book. here's a contract. my whole life changed with that. gods and generals come out and debut on the bestseller list. delete.
i'm under no illusions as the people's army good try but it's a competition. gods and generals stays on the bestseller list and then the publisher wants a sequel. now t i'm scared out of my mind m.i. a one-hit wonder that musical cliché now there are expectations and pressure, write another book. i became known fueling questions from people show him this idea and that idea and so forth. my editor put that aside you are a good storyteller which was a nice thing to hear but then it's
like okay we did the civil war and finished the trilogy so now what. i went back and did the story because the characters are so similar, same names almost a prequel. then i went back into the publisher thought who cares. that was the response and this is what the publisher said, and i've quoted this, there are 60 andd unsexy wars. the civil war is, world war ii, world war i is not. the american revolution is not. my response was to send back my job, and again i hate that term but if it's a good story that's my job is to tell a good story so i left and thought that i was done with that. 2011, the centennial comes around, 150th anniversary and
all the letters i've gotten from people in mississippi and tennessee said we are sor here f tired of hearing about robert e. lee and virginia, what about everything else, what about what happens in the mississippi river? i start looking at itt and realized there is a story here that i would like to tell and again it's the characters amidst the people. he is the theme. the battle of shiloh. it's 95% original. i got excited about that. the story a blaze of glory the idea is to have a book come out in the year that the 150th
anniversary of the actual events, soce 2012, 1862, 2013 yu have expert which by the way is going on at the same time that gettysburg.f he's in command in one of his finest hours and that story is so overshadowed by what happens and the only reaso reason his lk very gettysburg is compared to dc, baltimore, philadelphia that wewe would call the media centes of today look where pittsburgh is, again putting much in the middle of nowhere. and i made the argument what happens at vicksburg is more important than what happens at gettysburg. i have to be careful where i say that, butto the conquest changes
everything. and from there going to chattanooga, lookout mountain so it seemed important for me to tell , the rest. the last measure is in the east but this story i got very excited about that. i'm very happy about it but now that being said, i think that is all i can do on the civil war and i had people write to me and say ther there's what happens ie mississippi, there's a bunch of things that have been. i'm kind of onto other things righon to other thingsright nown books with those characters and i need to focus on something different at least for now. >> host: how valuable are the newspapers of the time to yourle research and were you able to get a herd of sherman's diaries?
scenic those are two separate questions. the newspapers at the time or we not that valuable because one of the great complaints that we hear every day is by bias in the media. you have papers taking sides not just suddenly and discreetly but blatantlyen taking sides so when you read a newspaper youg can tell whether it's in charleston or richmond compared to whether it's philadelphia or new york justify the tone or just by the, so factually research why is it is not that useful. it's much better and you mention his own memoir is a book about this big guy won't shows the letters writing than to his wife and friends he's telling what he thinks he doesn't know 150 years
later somebody like me is going to be reading his letters. and that has helped me in every book i've done is the collections of letters and diaries. who's he h writing than two clis himself. you don't think somebody like me is ever going to read that, so you are honest and that is what cuts through a lot of the sort of public relations part of it and to get to what these people really thought and he's not the most attractive guy personally. some of his thoughts are pretty objectionable, but he won the war and that's an interesting combination. >> host: here's what i got about william sherman. able with insecurities is that a fair assessment? >> guest: i think by today's
definition, he is a manic depressive. on the one hand she collapses into self-doubt and one newspaper in cincinnati labeled him as insane they actually just the word. i don't think that he's insane but he does have problems. definitely the insecurity. his first battle from his first combat experience it's a disaster for him and his troops collapsed. he carries around with him. they are conflating the numbers of those guys and sherman kerry is that.
the latest though it sounds fascinating. i have not read it but i am familiar with the series. when you start talking about other people that write historical fiction, it surprises people to hear because i get asked a lotsu of questions and there's a bunch of people who do i do i don't read them. there's a reason why i am scared to death of being accused of plagiarism and a if i pick up your novel in a particular line of dialogue or some praise sticks out in my head it's the pure definition of costs me my career. to read how someone else tells a
story or just something entirely different that doesn't give you a good. i don't want to copy, i don't want to be accused of copying somebody. i know that sounds strange i don't read other people people's of fiction but that's why because i don't ever want to be accused of ripping somebody off or quoting someone or using a line of dialogue because that literally could cost mee my career. >> host: we've spent this beautiful graphic up here, very descriptive illustration. >> guest: i work with my editor.
because these are novels or whomever it might become if you use an actual photograph it makes it look like it's textbook or nonfiction so the idea gives the whole feel of the book more of a lyrical sense. the second of my world war ii books if you look at the coverage it is a famousus photograph in the library of congress and i can tell you how many books have used that while random house is wonderful they took that photograph and made it into an' painting so it actually looks like a painting but i would never allow any of my books for somebody else to
design a cover without me having some approval on that. >> host: it's fun to see how your name has grown in size. my namee is a top end of the title is down below. that was a shock to. they decided to do things differently. ihe get a kick out of that. >> host: atlantic florida, you were on with author jeff shaara. >> caller: just two things when we won the revolution the british troops laid down their arms to tune into the second
thing is what happened to all those thousands of british troops that when they get back to england whatever happened to them? >> guest:. they don't have a lot of say-so and off they go got a bunch of those people stayed here. they settled in the carolinas and went west. they settled eventually and wisconsin and there was an enormous german population. if the weather was better maybe but by and large they went back
to england. when they laid down their arms this is cornwallis at yorktown but it's enormous for washington.rk i love the scene because the french are beside washington, they have these perfect white uniforms with various magnificent stuff on him if to surrender his troops and turns upside down and that is pretty well documented but the scene when he comes out and hear the french troops on one side and
the group on the other side, a guy comes out and is looking at the grandeur and says no and he points to washington. i get emotional talking about it but that's one of the great moments in the country where the french and british at the same moment recognized this is who is in charge. i love that scene. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i would like to put my question in context and start a stateme
statement. what have end was inevitable. there were so many twistsso and turns that if lincoln had called in to wonder actio to one corred have a completely different result so i'm asking as one that writes about factual matters why does the link in secede over the next four years given wha but wo know about the industrial power and what we know about the south slavery that was a one crop culture basically. based upon your knowledge of history and your imagination,
what would bring you to think what might have happened rather than four years of the war in over 600,00000 deaths what could have happened? could this hous house have sustd itself against this great industrial power of the north? >> guest: i think it is possible to south could have sustained itself but not on its own. it was basically a state of hostility between north and rels and the rest of europe. there were people in england who saw the south as an opportunity to get the colonies back. virginia, the carolinas, a.
would lincoln have been assassinated, no. that changes everything. that changes the entire industry of the world and the northeast would have survived because they have the money. had they become britishave theyh colonies again it's very likely europe because you have all these states that wanted their own independence. mississippi or what happens then you get conflicts between mississippi and alabama or with
north and south carolina. the whole world fo world would n entirely different place. but i want to mention something about the first part of your question because you talk about for gone conclusions. the best example i can give you of that is the invasion. i write from the plaintiff view in 1944 eisenhower doesn't hear anything. you think he is not goin he's nd with that? in his pocket is a letter he has written prepared to read the newspapers accepting full responsibility for the disaster defeat. they have no idea, now we know what happened and it started at
when you get to world war ii it changes everything because the bad guys are the bad guys and the character what i found out is he is not a bad guy. he is not a. he never joined the party. he is a german hero. is award of the iron cause. he's a legitimate german hero. he hates. politics. he comes to hate hitler and when he meets with hitler he relies us this guy, we cannot win doing what he's doing. again it makes him human. rommell is an outstanding officer an outstanding soldier. the material he wanted in the manpower he wanted in north africa where he's up against the british and up against us it would have changed everything but hitler treats him like i stepchild because where is
hitler looking? russia. hitler has all hisd. resources d all his focus on the russians and rommell is in north africa with nothing. and then rommell make such a pain out of himself they take them on one side of the campaign to north africa and put them in the backwater of the war. they put them in a place called norman zoe and we are there in june 6, 1944 the german in command of the german forces at normandy he was a natural fit to come back in the next book. i love the there've rommell. and i'm nervous about the political implication of saying this but rommell is a a good ma. he is not a and yes he fights in the german army, yes he answers
to hitler but he is not that cliche not like one of the millions around hitler. he's a good shoulder and it makes for good character and by the way rommel's 50th earth day june 6, 1944. he is not there when the allies invade. history changes then. it's just part of the story. >> host: jeff shaara that speaks to another one of the themes that you take up in your books relationships we have rommell and hitler. we have pemberton and jefferson davis. macarthur and polk. >> guest: it's the story. it's not about facts and figures. the characters are the first part. what's the story i'm going to tell? i'm not going to tell you what's really interesting because the
regiment has so many men on the field. what draws me to the story but what draws me to the story or the people and you mentioned talking about it at length. that's what is fun for me. has to be fun for me. it's not fun for me i don't get passionate about the story and you are going to want to read it it starts with those personalities. >> host: betsy from california. >> caller: yes, hello. i'm curious i wonder have you ever thought about writing a book about vuitton and corregidor. i just think it's such an incredible story of an american defeat and wondering why you haven't taken that don is a topic. >> guest: that's a very good question i have hopefully it did question for you a bit when i started during world war ii i started doing thear trilogy and
this would have been a trilogy set in the pacific. i chose europe. i like the character and i like eisenhower and begin rommell. and i did the trilogy. i began to hear from marines. the marines were not happy with my trilogy in europe. what is this europe stuff? we are not in europe. there's this other war halfway around the world so i wrote a fourth book on the end of the war in the pacific called the final storm which deals with okinawa at the end of the war in the pacific. now, just talking to my publisher we talked about the idea going back and taking another look atgo the pacific in the second world war. you talk about stories. iwo jima has been done a bunch. from john waynene all the way up
to clint eastwood to the two-part set of but there is midway and there's pearl harbor and then there is the corregidor war in the wattle canal and on and on. there are a lot of stories. i'm having a conversation with my publisher right now about going back and doing perhaps anotherh trilogy. pearl harbor is a good place to start for us but immediately thereafter what you are talking about and but in and corregidor by chance i was in a hotel in the city where they had an annual gathering of survivorsanf the attendant corregidor. i knew nothing about this and i'm work-- walking through the hotel and i see this stuff, the posters and these there some guys that have a lot of that are nice because nobody paid much attention to what happened at them. they are not especially that's
what he's talking about when he leaves and goes to australia leaving those guys in bataan and that's a tough story. that definitely could be a piece of another story for pearl harbor. >> host: i want to point out to our viewers general macarthur's map that he has in the pacific. what about newspaper in contemporary accounts during world war ii and korea. were they more valuable than they were earlier? >> publicly so because the public was informed much more so than they ever have been. he didn't have two sides in the same country but you have the philadelphia newspaper in the richmond newspaper and whose general with the good guys, they
didn't have any of that. the effort against the enemy and whether the enemy was the japanese or the germans. those newspapers are not as useful from a research point of view because they are not detailed enough.ta certainly he kept the home front informed it was noise good news. i have read the papers in sort of surprised me in a good way that they weren't telling the truth. therewere sub back then were problems and they were being honest about it. they weren't like we are winning like vietnam and my generation when it seemed like chico every day it seemed like we were winning. it wasn't like that of world war ii. they were reporting the good the bad and theer ugly. that was actually kind of a nice thing to say because the american public was giving
inaccurate idea. >> host: this is an e-mail from everett jones. mr. jeff shaara talk about the hostility between the u.s. generals in theho mexican war ad president polk. >> guest: zachary taylor first of all in the beginning of the war which is in south texas which is where the war began. the whole war can be looked at as an excuse for starting the war. the border of texas and the rio grande river which we know it today or the settlers in texas who 10 years earlier had defeated santa ana and the texas revolution, they thought that hundred mile gap should be theirs. that was a start. it started the mexican war to the mexicans moved into that area out in the texas militia got together. zachary taylor goes to texas and takes command of the people. they fight three fairly significant battles and it can
go either way. he wins a couple of them and voice are dying, american young men are dying and for quite a number of decades. so winfield scott in washington who is above tailoring command of the army he goes down to the gulf and he takes command from taylor and taylor is left in south texas to u manage things there and the war moves away from taylor. taylor is a legitimate american hero and becomes president of the united states. and i don't know if i would call them enemies really. scott had every right to do with the dead and tea leaves taylor and goes into the gulf of mexico and eventually goes too mexico city and wins the war. now polk is a whole different
story. polk is in washington and he offers his own agenda and he cannot stand winfield scott. scott invades the coast of mexico. he can't stand polk any more than polk likes him. polk is telling him what to do and it takes a while for word to get from washington to the gulf of mexico. he uses that as an excuse. i can't wait for you to tell me. there's no telegraph, nothing so scott is on his own and he becomes quite a hero for doing that. polka sort of left out in the cold.ld there's an interest in james k. polk. and that's fine, he gets it too but taylor is the real hero to the american public. >> host: president taylor. >> guest: president taylor and
unfortunately he dies early in his presidency poorr health. scott never gets the affection of the american people. >> host: when you look at the number of deaths in the mexican-american war three years of war, 13,000 deaths. >> guest: again it's not very good but it's getting better. the artillery is not very good but it's getting better. one thing, i don't know what percentage of that is defeat because again you are talking about a part of the world, medicine involves enormously during the civil war. prior to the civil war of the battlefield admissions are just horrible. there's typhoid, there is scarlet fever. you know they are going through the countryside in mexico and
there weren't sanitary conditions. it's a difficult place to fight a war and i have no doubt if that number is accurate but i'm just wondering how much of that is based on disease or wounded soldiers who died of infection. >> host: the next call for sub tree comes from jerry in illinois. hi jerry. >> caller: hi mr. jeff shaara. i'm fast day with the mexican war and as an american i feel very healthy about the way we took all that territory and gave them a token payment and we are still living with the implications of that today. the mexican-american relations have never been like that comedian-- canadian american and dark current political climate with daca. i have an unanswerable question for you.
we can't give california etc. back with how can we and meeleye eight the situation? >> guest: you're right it's an unanswerable question so i can answer it. the way we treat the mexicans during the war and immediately after the war again you mentioned early on manifest destiny the monroe doctrine. we are entitled to know what we know today. mexicowh california the rocky mountain states and texas we are entitled to that. today it's an archaic idea and that was our theme in this country. we went from the atlantic to the pacific and everything in between belonged to us. we are pretty much picking anything we wanted obviously today that sounds. awful. at the time is what this country was all about and that's where all of ourur energy was. it's interesting i was nervous about what kind of first wants
the soldiers would get in mexico what would i hear from mexican historians plex i was extremely gratified to hear even my travels in santa ana. talk about the alamo, 10 years later he's in command in mexico and he's in charge as the bad guy again. he's not the only character of the story. i was really afraid, didn't want to portray him as a cartoon because that's not fair to the man. i have this memoir. it was only translated into english in 1888 and he paints himself as a cartoon. i love it. he takes the responsibility for everything and he blames everybody else for whatever went wrong. i put a little bit of that into the story andhi i was nervous.
how would mexicans particularly historians like that? i got two letters from historians from mexico city who said, you got it right traitor was outstanding. unfortunately history being what it is the spoils of war often are notta fair and the war in mexico last people said the reason the gentleman mentioned the token name, the guilt check. it's the spoils of war and you can justify it or not how it would be different if the united states was half the size it is today an unanswerable question. >> host: the seven books on the civil war how do you feel about robert e. lee? >> guest: i knew this question was coming. robert e. lee them in get into his head on a very personal
level his letters are to his children. he is never home and his wife is a tragic figure. marylee is an unhappy woman who hates the fact that her husband is never home and she lets them know that which is really 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 is a better general. leo out the confederacy to survive because he knows how to retreat. that's not a slam. he knows he doesn't have the manpower especially later in the war when he is up against grant said he knows the last full measure which is equipment from abraham lincoln i use it as a title of the third oak of a trilogy because he understands
his men have to give the last full measure of a are going to survive this war. he knows they are not going to win and yet he also knows his man love him and they would not let them quit even if he wanted to. there's all of that. a man of dignity, man of , the fact that after the war he will not write his own memoir. he's going to pass judgment on other people. he wants other people to tell the history he says. he runs for the governor of virginia. that's a slam dunk. he could easily walk into the governor's mansion because the washington college and reestablishes what is today washington university in virginia. he establishes that school to educate soldiers to get them back into society and give them an education a good job in opportunity to assimilate
themselves back into the country. all that is good but now here's the other side to the other side he takes up arms against his country. his country and his mind were virginia. today it's kind of hard to relate to that. a cause that very easilybe could be an argument tt it's the wrong call. he's on the wrong side of history. i know the question will come at some point today and i hear it every time i speak. i grew up in tallahassee, florida. i grew up surrounded by southerners and the civil war was not fought over slavery, it was fought over states rights. what were the rights they were fighting for? one of them was paramount's two slavery. you can dance around that if you
want to and i know some people will be mad at me but i'm sorry it given it a lot of thought. the civil war again you can define it however you want to put at the end of the day one of the principle products of the war ending the way it did the were freed and had the south won the war likely the would not have been freed. 30 years later and i had a conversation with people who know the industrial revolution better than i do the things like the cotton ginin in the electric engine. you had mechanization. that's 30 years later maybe but the were freed when the war ended and leave today as much as i admire the man and how much fun i had writing about him and getting into his head he was on
the wrong side of history. that's not an insult. i'm not slamming anybody. i've respect anonymously people, southerners particularly to embrace their own history and i'm sorry, you lost the war. you can embrace the romance of some of the characters of walt jackson. he's one of my favorite characters. the war was wrong. the war was fought for something that hadn't succeeded. the entire world would be a very different place and probably a much worse place. >> host: you are watching tv on c-span2. this is our monthly "in depth" program in a special fiction edition of "in depth" and this monthh its military historical novelist set three and her
guests calling in from alabama. hi david. >> caller: thank you gentlemen and having a great time watching this. i had a different subject that if i can i want to comment on what mr. shaara just mentioned about robert e. lee pearce specifically is worth noting he was on record denouncing slavery as a moral and political evil. he made h some other comments in that letter to his wife and more in this modern era but he's also on record in congressional testimony after the war inte response to the congressman's accusation that he fought the war for the preservation-- preservation of slavery. his response was sir so far fighting a war for the preservation of slavery i rejoice that slavery is abolished. i don't think we can put robert e. lee anna camp of the
proslavery southern elite. that being said and it regarding google i understand, what i really wanted to talk about related the atlanta campaign and one of the statements made by confederate commander joseph e. johnson that i think is one of assorted tantalizing what-if's of history during the campaign and as the confederate army retreated towarde atlanta jefferson davis was getting concerned. the people of atlanta were upset and in response johnson made a comment, i could hold atlanta forever and obviously he wasn't given a chance to do that. you can say about joseph johnson , he never saw an
impending battle. that might be a slight exaggeration. if you look at it in the context of the election if the confederate army and georgia would lead into grand granting virginia lincoln's going to have a hard time getting reelected. grant suffered enormous casualties. richmond remained in confederate hands.er we held richmond well into the following spring not just the election. had he been given that opportunity. >> host: david before we get an answer from mr. shaara you have a pretty good knowledge of the civil war. >> caller: i sort of have studied all of my life in an unofficial capacity. so i'm above. >> host: thank you very much.
>> guest: first of all i agree with what you are saying. no, it's not that simple. it's not cut and dried good guy bad guy. started talking about lee saying as a human being he's a man of dignity and integrity but it's hard to fault him. he has ended up on clearly the wrong side of history. he's a character particularly in the fourth book of that series the war of the west. johnson and by the way the real end of the world which is not appomattox two and a half weeks later bill johnson offers a surrender to sherman inn north carolina. a lot of people don't realize it but i love throwing out pieces of trivia that johnson understands and he's backing up towards atlanta and it drives him crazy per jefferson davis can't stand the fact is he's not
out there stocking sherman and leaving these men out of-- he says it's a tactical retreat but that gets him fired. the richmond newspapers, johnson is so good at retrieving he's going to have his army refused him. i'm not making that up. the people just can't read about another retreat. johnson understands and he backs up. what is sherman dataquick sherman goes around him. johnson knows he has limited resources. sherman has all kinds of resources. sherman knows exactly what he's doing and at the end of the day johnson believed. unfortunately for the south end for lambda his replacement was john doe could. john felt it says i will fight any marches in on the allegheny facing sherman head on.
his army is basically destroyed. sherman does take atlanta and there's nobody left. hood's army escapes to alabama to get out of the way. you can't blame all that on johnson. i mean johnson certainly had itt flaws. he had his flaws during the vicksburg campaign andwa what he did in pemberton was a terrible thing, not the whole story but i admire johnson. at the end of the war when sherman meets him face-to-face here are two men with very different cloth dealing with the same problem to end this war. how are you going to do this? it's a great piece of american history. >> host:t: speaking of pemberton is a confederate general. >> host: and i love the story. i assume this is completely
accurate. his wife is fromly virginia. she tellsfe him you were going o fight for the south. pemberton because he's a pennsylvanian and he doesn't really show much confidence throughout his entire commanduc life. at thet time it's sort of a backwater and i put them out of the way. army is in pennsylvania. there sat under curling of distrust and the rumors why, pemberton finally surrenders his men to grant in vicksburg. there are a lot of people to this day they say you know that was the plan allth along. pemberton was a yankee in the skies and i don't buy any of that.
it's a shame for those men who surrendered but he tried. he's one of those northerners who went south. >> host: allen from pittsburgh, pennsylvania.a. thank you for holding. you are on with jeff shaara. >> caller:uc thank you very much. a pleasure to talk to you. i have two questions there two questions. was wondering have you ever considered writing a book on the french and indian wars and the washington and all of that and also about a book dealing with the barbary wars. i will hang up and listen to your comments. thank you very much you. >> the french and indian war in particular was another one of those conversations i had with my publisher. we talked about the french and indian war, the war of 1812 in the spanish-american war. and as i said earlier, the publishers decided they were not epic enough. you can make big arguments in the other direction. i think because the john lives
in pittsburgh it is probably his cost all that and i understand. never say never. it is a possibility down the road. the idea came up and it was done and he had the pirates. a lot of people have no idea what we are talking about. thomas jefferson during his reign, we had this problem with piracy. and maybe, it is not high on my list because the research there will be interesting. because trying to find some original, and how do you find that? i do get accounts from the people from the pirates? i don't know how that would work. the french and indian war is little more possible. it just depends on, it is up to me to commit my publisher that there might actually be an audience. >> esquire, bob from california. good afternoon. >> yes, hello.
i have a question for mr. shaara. in a comment. hello? >> yes, go ahead. >> one of the criticisms of general lee was his decision to send pickett incident center going to gettysburg rather than going around the right flank of the union army. now, my take on this is, live in the gettysburg area and i think you're familiar with the typography of the land and for station. >> very much so. >> my father worked on the pennsylvania turnpike in 1939, dexter had to send the workers home because they had no accurate mapping of the area. they had to bring in surveyors and with the decision, was lee just basically he didn't know where he was at and didn't want to take a chance. >> no, it would be nice. in his defense, that would be a
nice response. but it was his decision. my take is a little bit different. think about, up until two months before, lee had jackson. and jackson's audacity won a lot of fights. and i think it was a case of wishful thinking on the part of lee that he still had that spirit and energy. as we know if you had read the killer angels and using the film gettysburg, the best advocate for going around the army and run the union army was -- that is probably true. my father takes that as gospel. and i don't have any reason to dispute that. and i think there are number of commanders under lee, why are we going straight at the middle? we should go around them. and also one reason you go around is that you cut off the
union army from washington. which was part of the point. well, i think what happened is that lee is looking what is a freshman. first of all, he trusted his artillery to break up the union position. it did not work. they tried, to put alexander and the command but they unleashed -- anyone logically watching through binoculars, they smashed a pretty good hold there. that is one huge problem right there. also i think, part of lee's weakness at this point is his, he relies on his faith. god is on our side. and everywhere that i have ever researched, god is on somebody's side. and people from each other, each believe that god is on their side. while there is a problem with that. and i have gone over that a
couple of different ways. depending on the war, one man says what happened is pretty obvious. god turned away and just didn't want to see what was happening here. we won't get into that. but i think that lee had faith, tremendous faith that gods will would prevail. there was going to win and it would be gods will. today, there seems to be that that is an archaic way of looking at things. but you cannot separate yourself today from with those people believed and lee had absolute faith that god was looking out for his people. in believed that it would work. it was a catastrophic mistake. and probably lee's last day. >> bob, use of the atomic as well? >> yeah. i have a personal connection to the battle at gettysburg. they sent my father home in
1939 and then i was born in 1939 so do the math! >> let's try fresno california. this is john. >> hi. jeff, i have a question concerning the civil war that never made any sense to me. after the war was finished, why weren't the southern generals tried for treason? >> there is a very good reason for that. the prime reason, this carryover from abraham lincoln. lincoln believed that we need to bring everyone back together again with the least amount of punishment that we can have. and as you well know, jefferson davis was the one man singled out for the most punishment. by and large, part of this was grant sending soldiers home, let them go back and work the
farm. punish the south or to make criminals out of the people who lead the army. there is going to be no healing. lincoln preached healing. and had lincoln lived, for his mother would be no reconstruction. it would have been very benign compared to how it turned out. because lincoln very much wanted -- benin maybe they would say let's be friends that's overstating it but get the country back together again. let's get the country working. to drag that out with military trials and to place blame and possibly hang people, that it would have created enormous bad blood in the south. more than already existed. it probably would not have been very constructive. again, i point to what lee is doing after the war. and going back to washington college and turning it into a first-rate educational institution to help seven men find a place in their society of how much more constructive is that and if there was a
trial where lee's name was dragged through the mud and possibly would have been hangs, what would that have done to have helped after the war? i'm a member that is oversimplifying it but that is what i feel. >> let's hear from jay in virginia. >> greetings jarman. i have a question. but if i could begin with a homage to your father. when i was at the army advanced course, we were assigned the killer angels and had to write an essay analysis of that. i wrote about lee and his qualities as a general during gettysburg. i followed you and 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 there was a little tricky. it is about confederate monuments today. i did go to west point. we study on these wars. might be familiar with the old west point atlas of american war. >> yes. >> i figured. all of these battles, some of the generals that you mentioned and now we are going through a reconciliation, i guess. what are your thoughts on how we treat or study the south and these old warriors, deceased and had to retreat them now? >> what are your thoughts before we hear from jeff shaara? >> there is a political side, a cultural side in the military
side. as someone who studied the war and at west point and then as an officer, i've always been attracted to the leadership components. studying these, you talk about washington and said things i never knew earlier in the program. how his personality, he talked about wallace. individuals, if they change history in the moment, and we study and they are flawed and so forth, i do want to remember them because it happened. but many people say that you want to have monuments to nazi generals and is a very prickly issue. i've always thought of fort hood, fort bragg, we have these roads here would you do? do you go back? i work in alexandria, we have
monuments after confederate soldier still. it is a very complicated issue. i don't know that there is a good answer except that it is american history. >> you're right. it is a very complicated issue and they are all complicated answers. the people that try to make simple answers are generally wrong. one thing you did not mention we talked about the culture and the military, the historical period erasing history. that is a bad idea. and i don't care if you're in germany studying the nazis. studying hitler, russia or -- study stalin and learn what they did. and understand where you came from. it is no different here. you need to study the civil war and study who it was. nobody's people are. do not just erase them from the textbooks. if you do that then you are
doing everyone -- you're not making moral high ground by failing to teach the young people who these people were. that being said, if a monument, again, i mentioned this earlier. the south lost the war. no country that i know of, no culture on this earth allows generation of the losers of the war. the way we do.think about this. there is no statue of hitler that i know of. they tore down starches of saddam hussein. and yet, if someone is offended. not someone but an entire group, if the citizenry is offended by statute, it doesn't mean that it should just be, the statute might be a work of art or something spectacular.
move it. if it is offending you know the government having it in a town square in new orleans or richmond or whatever, put in a museum. put it on the battlefield, put in a confederate cemetery. don't tell me going to go plow up all the old confederate cemeteries. learn what happened. learn what, who was on the statute, why is it important? learn that. don't just destroy it. yes, it is one thing to have the government of the town recognize whomever appeared jefferson davis, as a hero. i have a little problem with that. again, is on the wrong side of history. but to embrace it? we're not even going -- but to erase it? we are not going to get into that. if you want to defund funding for the jefferson memorial in
washington, because jefferson owned slaves. i'm sorry, jefferson wrote the declaration of independence. why don't we look at that? one would pay attention to the whole man and not just single out the bad? is education. and that is what matters to me. if i am putting words in the mouth of robert e lee or words in the mouth of the stonewall jackson or any of the confederate is not because i am confederate. it's because i am looking at, i want to know the history. i want to know what happened. i want to know the details and i wanted to be accurate. erasing all of that, that is no different, we react with outrage will be made about isis. destroying some 500-year-old beautiful religious monument in syria. because they do not agree with what the monument says. well, i'm not equating necessarily people who want to move starches to isis. but the principle is the same thing. you don't like the history, get rid of it.
number don't do that. >> me of steve from new port richey, florida. please go ahead. >> i have a quick question for you. how about all of those wanted in the civil war kept -- that would be an interesting character for you. and my question is this, just like a movie with christian bale. i have a question regarding ptsd. these are civil war veterans now fighting the cavalry of the indian wars as they are winding down. they had their guns taken away, one kills himself. can you talk about the extent of ptsd and the civil war and how it was treated? and also, in the movie they show a frenchman, irishman. if you discuss the extent of foreigners in the united states
cavalry during the war and after. >> that is a complicated question. first of all ptsd is a fairly modern, it has been defined in fairly modern times. one of the problems, and this happened i would imagine in just about every war. the war ends, he comes home, he is trained, in 18 or 19-year-old man trained for quite a while to be a soldier with everything that entails. now, he is not. now he has to get a job. and whether it is a vietnam veteran or the civil war veteran or whomever, that is tough. and a lot of the soldiers had a very difficult time adapting. and to this day. today we have identified a. the elements of treatment after
this civil war there was no treatment, no one understood. and go back all the way up. it was just one of those things that the poor soldier, the poor young man had to suffer inside themselves what that meant to no longer have that role. there is no good answer to that. the cavalry, in our world, one of the things about this country, we are a melting pot. much more in the late 19 century when my family came over from italy. but in the civil war you had irish, you had germans, you had the british, certainly. fewer italians but fewer lessons in fewer spanish but they were part of our army all the way through the war and that didn't just start through the civil war.
you have someone that comes from germany and speaks no english and ends up being a commander in the american revolution. i have not, i've not seen it. but i have a feeling that it's basically a pretty accurate portrayal of what it was like the cavalry after the war. suddenly they have nothing to do. in that sense of alertness goes away. where does it go? that's a tough question. >> you have been in the movie business. what was the process like you? >> after really careful. i learned in hollywood, is the authors job to stay out of the way. people assume and logically so
based on my book i must have been right there telling them this that in the other. it really doesn't work that way. i would see things that were being done wrong or mispronunciations and names. and i would be told thanks we are appreciating your input but pretty much i was ignored. they made a major motion picture. how is that a bad thing? i know people that will give up an arm to have a film made out of their book. i do want to sonic a spoiled brat but it was very frustrating process because if you saw the film gettysburg and read the killer angels, the film is about 90 percent of my father's book. i mean almost word for word. my father would have been thrilled. gods and generals is about 10 percent of my book. that is a surprise. i didn't really understand.
you have this film director that has a vision of what they want to do. and it's not up to me. lester jk rowling or stephen king, we have absolute control over what gets put on the screen, is always going to be different. it's always going to change. i wish, and again, another mini fans of gods and generals i appreciate that i've heard from them but i wish it had been a better film. because had it been a better film we would have finished the trilogy. they were ready to make the last full measure. the fact that you watched this at the end, it says stay tuned for the rest of the story. for the sequel. because gods and generals was not a commercial success they dropped the project. answer the last full measure now likely will never be made. and that is a shame. however, if it was made, if films remained out of any of my books going forward and promise you i will be more involved.
>> have you optioned any of your books? >> there's an option right now. i don't have any idea if anything will happen to that. it would be wonderful if it did. the career book i think lends itself fabulously. but it is not up to me. and i get tickled about this. people like my website and they say why have you made a film out of the mexican war story? it would make a great film. it's not up to me. you are talking about 60 -- if someone was to make a film and they have that money that me know! that's really what it comes down to. it can be very frustrating. i will say this, i am in the
book business. i like the book business. it has been very good to me. i've been very fortunate. the movie business is a different animal. >> this is david kimball posting on facebook. publisher was wrong about the war of 1812. it would've been an interesting book. what i understand the revolutionary war won our national independence. the war of 1812 secured -- >> i'm not sure i agree with that. i was in the civil war is what secured our national independence and national security united states as a country. there is an argument. and i am not expert because i haven't done the research. there's an argument that we did not win that war. we have francis scott key and the star-spangled banner. andrew jackson in the battle of new orleans. when she has won. after the war was over by the way. but you can make an argument that the british actually won
that war. again i will get into the debate but i do agree with the fact that is an epic story. and it would be interesting to tell and never say never. >> well, 2007 jeff shaara spoke at the national book festival gala the night before. want to show you little portion. >> mr. president, mrs. bush. thank you so much for this invitation to be here. it has been a journey for me, not 300 years but it has been a journey. [laughter] my journey starting with my father. a man named michael who changed the way people looked at the civil war in this country. most of you likely learned your history from textbooks, you probably left school hitting
history. what michael shaara did in killer angels is to get you the battle of gettysburg and pre-and heads of the principal characters, the main players, robert e lee, john buford, -- and tie the story. not the way you would read it in the high school history textbook but today the story the way they would tell you the story. michael shaara did not live to see his great success. he passed away in 1988. five years later the movie gettysburg comes up with the killer angels becomes a number one bestseller. he did not live to see that. in lighting the prequel and sequel to his great work, there is a certain terror that comes with that. there is no competition, this is not about the father, the shadow of the father. it is simply about the lesson my father taught me. which is that if you're going
to talk about these people, tell the good story. being a child in my father's house sitting at the dinner table, that is my memory. not hearing him give a history lesson. it wouldn't have interest in him any more than interested me. but to tell the story of chamberlain. tell the story of what it was like during for those men to walk, walk across the field into the guns of the enemy. and when the man next to goes down, you keep walking. that is the story. and going back to the american revolution it was a marvelous discovery for me. what i discovered is where we came from. i know george washington and ben franklin and john adams. but i did not know the story. and there is a story. going forward, the mexican-american war, no one knows about that. i like telling a story no one knows. and most people never heard of
-- the man who taught robert e lee how to be a soldier for one thing. going to world war i, persian. the red baron. there is a name you might know. i was appalled when i went around 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] >> not the way history should be taught. when i started looking at world war ii i was really nervous. because when i say like it's a story that you don't know, what to tell you about world war ii that 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. all of the names and all of the famous places, we know all of that. when i began researching the rising tide is the first of a trilogy. the war in europe. the story covers america's first involvement in north africa and sicily. that is a story most people do
not know. what most people do not realize, we go to north africa, we do not do too well. we come up against this guy named rommel. he sends us fleeing from the battlefield. it is not quite an auspicious beginning for american soldiers in the second world war. but there is a man, who is one of the key voices of the story. and i feel it is somewhat appropriate to talk about this man tonight because of the setting. the man is dwight david eisenhower. dwight david eisenhower is, long before his president eisenhower, he is the man in charge. he is an administrator. i mean that is a terrible description for someone who might otherwise see himself as a fighting general. he is not george patton. not a man leading. in fact eisenhower never leaves troops on the battlefield ever. eventually he unites people and
he creates an army and defeats the finest fighting army that the world has ever seen up to that time. and that is hitler's germany. and he wins. and how he wins is part of the story. it was an incredible honor to be part of this. i am walking and had my father lived he would be writing these books. the audience he could not find with the killer angels is the audience that has found these books and he deserved that. thank you very much. [applause] >> jeff shaara, did you have a chance to meet the bushes after
that? >> yes when the president denies this invites you to come to an event because a fan of your books, that is pretty good! and actually, i will say in the interest of bipartisanship, three presidents have said that to me which is a pretty neat thing! but that event, it was at the library of congress. you know laura bush had put together the national book festival. that was 1/7 of her eight festivals. what an amazing event! i noticed while i was speaking my time was quick and i heard that afterwards. half of congress was there. after the cabinet was there. and afterwards, dinner, set next to the president. that is not an accident. my name tag was on the table next to his. out of 400 people. that was pretty cool! we talked for two hours about everything but politics. we talked about the books of mine that he liked. we talked about baseball, we talked about his daughter was just coming out with a book at
the time. jenna had written a book and he was cautioning her that you're just going to get blistered because no one will believe you wrote the book. and so, it was an interesting conversation. i had a tiny little -- when he came to the table. he and laura came down she went that way and he came over to the table. and i had already met him down below. as he came up, he held his hand out and i took his hand and i put my on his shoulder. and he is ripped, by the way. i was impressed! and i realized at that moment, a secret service agent somewhere just flinched. don't grab the president! [laughter] i pulled my hand away. it was an extraordinary evening. >> well, you spent a bit of your talk talking about michael shaara. he said he is the greatest. >> certainly! michael shaara, a four pack a day smoker, died, had his first
attack when he was 36. he wrote about it. actually won an award for an article from the saturday evening post about his first heart attack because he was dead, 55 minutes! and he survived that. that was an extraordinary thing. because he was only 36, probably. but age 59 it caught up with him and he died in his sleep. and -- you know, it created a lot of .. >> he never toured in his day in te '70s, even when the 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 every military academy, if you're an officer, you've read the killer angels. he had no idea. so if he were alive though, he would be 90 years old this year. but, i mean, if he were alive the last 23 years of my life would have been very different, because these would have been his books to write. >> host: very quickly, we want to show our viewers your >>host: we will show the viewers your favorite books. >> this isel a theme as i
mentioned earlier i am scared to m death to pick up something in my head those all played a pivotal role in my research and i mentioned one specifically it is about her grandfather commanding the first division in korea that she wrote a biography of her grandfather and i was blown away. i contacted her and found that where she lived in a row her letter actually itf. introduce myself and i want to learn about him i promise you i will not exploit him i just want to tell the story.
sheve said i know you are i have read. and she sent me three audio cds of her grandfather so somebody contradicts something in the book i can tell you. i love that. that is an example of getting intos. character. >> and you use a quote? can i try to use direct quotes when available. there is a bunch, from robert e lee. but encouraging eisenhower that is some good stuff and
that is crucial to the research. >>host: is it fair to say you avoid foul language as much as possible? >> yes. there are twond reasons in october i was sitting in a van and said is there anything your book objectionable? and had not thought of that. and i said no. actually and since that point i didn't realize even eight -year-olds, upholding my book in her hand and high school teachers okay i'm not censoringnt myself but if i cannot tell you the story then
hau can't tell me what twenty-year marines talk like i get it. but if i cannot use that without severe profanity than i'm not a very good writer if i cannot get across the passion of the facts that i need to find another job. you will not have any language that you would not hear on network television. not cable. why do you have to rely on that? that is what i hear but we all have different sensitivities and i am very proud these teachers are using these books to teach history. it also adds to my responsibility don't play games with the facts just to
make the story better. or for 15 or 16-year-old was alive they can learn something about the civil war but no, i did not set out to do that to keeple it clean it isn't clean but i don't need that shock value and if i do i am a lousy writer. >>host: going back to your books being useful you set at the outset you are not a historian and do not consider yourself a historian. >> i was at the book festival here and somebody got in my face said you cannot use a novel to teach history and was very upset about the concept but my point was if you can give the student somebody that can interest them or they can relate to fill learn history
not even realize that. then the same teacher uses a textbook and the whole class falls asleep. i get it you do an evening's and places and facts and figures but you want people to learn history and to pursue to learn that. something that you can relate t to. to play games with the fax to tell the story accurately because you hear the dialogue everything happens the way i tellos you. >>host: what is your writing process? they are about 500 pages long? >> all the research first. i have to get the whole picture and by the way part of that is i have a funny story
starting with my father walking in the footsteps there is something to gain if i am trying to describe to you he has a rifle in his hands it is better if i have been on that hill. that being said when i started working on korea i really wanted to go to the reservoir. i did not know i'm embarrassed to admit that is in north korea. i talk to the state department to i said we can get you when and my wife said no. so really i wish i had but know that is part of the research there is something
mystical about feeling that. >> when i feel the story is right then how do you know? it is ready to come out. and the hardest thing is looking at a blank computer screen chapter one page one my father was a piece of paper for me it is a computer screen. but what happens amazingly if you are writer you get it right the first word then the second and then the next sentence the next thing you know you have pages that is cool that that happens if it doesn't happen and you are not ready yet.ce f but that process it is like the story is writing itself i am just a conduit.
i'm not making this up i am a conduit it is coming through me and my fingers it sounds more mystical i am not quite that way my father said he was by the character that is not a good thing to tell a newspaper reporter but i get what he meant. if i am there i hear the dialogue it is magic when it is ready to go in comes out like that that is more fun for me. >> first of all from 1993 i
was doing book signings and then gods and generals and doing a lot ofo book signings with the anniversary of the battle and the anniversary of gettysburg address i was doing all types of events twice a year i would go there and say there to the manager off the hotel that i became friends with over 22 years and i would go back twice a year in now five years ago we were in a position where we could talk a little more. so we started on the phone on the 150th anniversary of antietam our first date then
we got married her daughter is in high school so it made sense do not pull a child out of high school son our her daughter is at temple university doing extremely well. it is a family affair it is truly how it happened. >>host: now back to the calls we have a little less than an hour left with our guests tee9 now we will hear from her neck caller. >> caller: >> good afternoon. is a pleasure. i was raised in the same neck of the woods from tallahassee
i started history with the common soldier of the civil war. and studying the civil war getting back into the subject now because going on in america there is a lot of disagreement in our society and we can learn some lessons but my question to you is when they got them off into pittsburgh yes, pittsburgh his hat was shut off.
but i have read several other books is that the case. >> it's not. when grant landed pittsburgh without the h on the end. there was a fight going on right there. and through hundreds of unionve soldiers and hiding under the banks of the river. and to have caves along the edge of the river and then quivering in fear on the shoreline but he was horrified at what he saw and realized we have a problem here and how he dealt with that problem was a big way of how i tell the
story one of the things that i hear we could never be so angry at each other it is hard to argue going back teen 61 god for bid that would not happen now but we have been through this before. and to learn where we came from. >>host: if you go there today can you get into the case of the townspeople? you can't get a sense of the battlefield it overlooks the valley and across from the
river is flat swamp you are looking at louisiana because 150 years and they are cutting the trees there was not trees there then so there shouldn't s be today seeking in a field of what it looks like an arrangement apologize and say that is a big ravine but you can't see anything but it was solid once.d and the controversy was the park service is in the business of stop cutting down trees but this isn't a park it is a historical park isn't
trees but it is history so i applaud that because it makes a difference if you try to see through the eyes of the people that were there you get a sense of that through the eyes of the people that were there you get a sense of that speed to a specific location do you go it anonymously? >> i would not and then to be set up in advance and it would really open some doors behind the scenes. i don't want to make it sound like i am hot stuff but you never get off the bus.
>>host: next call comes from bob go ahead. >> caller: i read gone forec shoulders -- soldiers so looking back it seems like things were inevitable. but one of the things i found in my reading of it could hold its own or when the war. >> there are a number of quotes and i put them in the back of thehein book if you are paying attention to what is happening when scott cuts himself off from all communication it will march in land then people think he is dead there is n no way.
he only has 10000 men he will never be heard from again. this is a disaster ridiculously stupid thing to do and he wins and all of thesee observers thinks he is genius and he did a fabulous job. [laughter] it is interesting to realize even then 190 years ago how much attention is paid to these around the world. >>host: jeff shaara an e-mail from massachusetts did you noticeal jeff praised both generals, were noted for their attacks on other noncombatant entities they were called war crimes so what is it about
sherman and cromwell? >> i thank you meant cornwallis. g >> i would disagree with that. first of all sherman has a reputation that is embellished in the south and in particular georgia. to be savage and brutal. i'm sorry. that's not accurate. there are brutalities most definitely in plantations burned most definitely. i could get deeply into that and i will not r hear but i mentioned this earlier shermanan and grant they won the war because they understand with gentlemen in combat genuinely but what sherman understood i don't have access to in front
of me but during the siege of fixed for t there is a town in mississippi they are begging him please don't burn our town we don't have any soldiers thisan is not a military target and sherman says for that occasional box that comes home from your son and you cry and have a funeral that is the end of it then you forget about it if you don't have a contact with the war you have no reason to make it stop so everyone has to hurt. not just the soldiers. there it was fighting on though western front from belgium and the swiss border there is no way that would happen with world war ii but
it goes on for four years. the civilians are not hurting or i'm sorry war affects everyone not just the kid with the rifle and if civilians back home are not aware with that kid is going through or feeling that pain it will just keep on going. the biggest awakening we had like in the 60s with vietnam. w here is what is happening in your living room with cronkite you should be acting with outrage if you read a newspaper story just, keep on going. so i disagree with the statement it is recognized as war crimes by the allied bomb that they bombed german cities
the outrage over japan is if we use the atomic bomb we destroyed 15 square miles of tokyo where is the outrage for that? sherman understood this in the civil war in particular and why i say that how much longer would have gone on? how long could that have gone on? sherman understood to and the war you have to end the war and i admire him for that. it is not a war crime i am sorry.y.f >> 12 days to worlder war three the next book is on the cuban missile crisis then the vietnam war comes next.
>> yes. the cuban missile crisis i'm really excited about i was ten years old i remember how many of you remember duck and cover? in third grade they come into the classroom to say in event of nuclear war get under your desk put the book over your head. [laughter] i am not making that up. from the fallout shelter or the big hole in the ground then you go to the fallout shelter. thedy seemed to answer question how long do you stay there? a day or a week or a year or 100 years? it was the time we were living in but to be facetious with many school groups you have no
idea how close we came to war and that is serious because we would not be here today. fast for that is what the cuban missile crisis is all about. vietnam i have been getting so much input from the vet about their story it is told a certain way but if you have a war in the last 15 years i want to do the nixon lbj mcnamara issue but i don't know what the story would be. i'm having a hard time finding a story. so if they end when nothing happens then we have to go fight again next week what is
interesting about that story? not talking about the individual there are phenomenal stories but what that story would be and time will tell imf to my ears in cuba right now but vietnam i have to work-m on that. >> we have an e-mail gentlemen from plymouth massachusetts world war ii veteran of okinawa 22nd regiment says thanks 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 your book and i
am now reading your third vocabulary actually ate the rations? >> yes i have. >> but on okinawa in that situation in a muddy foxhole somebody is shooting at you that's all you have too eat then so be it. you probably appreciate that a lot more than i did at the army base but i have to say when i get letters like that nothing makes me feel better or more gratified for what i do. >> so i did write that on normandy i was in the airport writing from the character from the english channel that
ended up being water and the uy said you put me right back on that plane and made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck you madeno me remember things i did not want to remember. >> what's better than that? there was any reinforcement of doing my job there it is and i am so honored anybody who didn't walk the walk or do the deed could take the time to tell me to say anything like i'm not worthy. to recognize what i'm doing is useful and accurate may be helping somebody to cope with a wicked memory no doubt he is carrying around and i am so pleased to hear from people like that. >> did you interview?
>> no. i did go see onos his behalf. >> okinawa was 1945 he was 18 then.>> exactly. >> when the frozen hours came out if you have ever seen it we will show it to you it is a remarkable reminder of strategic errors in korea. >> very nice. thank you. i have not seen that. i can talk a long time about that. i was nervous of the character because a lot of people in this country will absolutely worship the man i don't want them to say how dare you based
and macarthur could have won theor war but not good enough for him. he crosses the border and in the marines leading the way the army is defeated then the marines began to discover that they were having skirmishes or fights and they are not north koreans.s. wire recapturing chinese? macarthur's intelligence comes back to say no you are not and if you are there is a few volunteers they are friends. that is the intelligence report so that is what the
frozen hours is all about they advance right intoe a trap of 125,000 chinese troops it is around the reservoir in north korea. i but macarthur has no idea they are incomplete denial with hundreds of thousands of troops. and the cost of that is catastrophic. and expecting nasty letters from people i have a guy in my face and to besmirch the great reputation of a great american hero.
then to march at various times in the war but they were not indentured they were not slaves they were troops so i'm not really sure what that implies. >> if you cannot get through on the phone go to social media.ci at booktv is our handle on instagram twitter and facebook plus e-mail we are going to several of the e-mails this one is from ron what about a novel about antietam? >> in gods and generals there is a chapter one thing i learned early hate to describe is a war book but if you have too many battles that is one
of the flaws of gods and generals it is battle scene after battle scene the audience gets numb to that you can really only have two major battles in a book or you get numb with the details. so a treated antietam in a different way from chamberlains point of view then you can see the aftermath from hancock's point of view so just not having the bullets whistled by your ears. >> gettysburg mississippi when it comes the books did you plan to write multiple or was it always going to be a single book? >> the last man is probably my best probably my favorite but originally yes in new york
random house did not believe there was an audience over to books so they said i should contact that into one book you have the red berry -- the red baron there was a wonderful story and wonderful characters flying ace the best we ever produced in this country teaching rickenbacker how to fly a plane with the red baron on the other side. he is a real guy into real character and then you have the marines people don't realize what of all the marinesth played so maybe you have heard of that so yes i really enjoyed that story because ie knew nothing like most people.
>> but you are the civil war guy. [laughter] >> the civil war what is interesting the first time going back to the american revolution my publisher was nervous with day care? and second you are the civil war guy. to find out people care about the revolution and don't care about the civilam war it was a beautiful thing and i say this a lot of civil war people followed me from the american revolution that i hear from these people they like the war books but it is the world war ii stuff. i don't take that for granted. so they say when you going to go back and do thiss story? there is a bunch of them but never say never.
>> more civil war questions very quickly it is amazing the long "in-depth" discussion of the civil war in grant's heart even mentioned. >> to get it straight he is my favorite general but sherman was under grant i love writing in the last full measure his first meeting with lincoln they sit down and lincoln explains to him if you will just fight i will leave you alone. do you have to do i will send you all the help i will not tell you what to do. grant so appreciates that as a result the rest they say is history 1864. he makes mistakes certainly.
the first day as a commander 8000 casualties that yes. he wins the war grant and sherman between them responsible for the union victory. >> a civil war reenactor what is your favorite oneit minute story? >> i have a behind the scenes story on the set of gettysburg every time they set up a scene it is choreographed and has to be set up very carefully that there is a scene with martin sheen on horseback looking at the camera and talking with the conversation but the horse that martinn sheen was on has a mind of its own and goes off.
now these guys have to go back over here after three times the director is getting frustrated with the stupid horse then finally we were running out of daylight shooting the scene the cameras are rolling and clicking the second just as they were about ready in the background is a stone building and the phone o rings in the building and he says it's stuart and he will be a little late. so they do have a sense of humor. >> north carolina youou are on with jeff shaara before teen good afternoon it is good to talk to you. your box with your father is
what got me started and a small town here in north carolina there is a monument that is dedicated and i never knew this until i read your father's book that was out the high watermark at the battle of gettysburg so that leads to question that was before he fought at gettysburg and they were marching into those situations just right after the other.
>> they all attack in the -- and possible positions but i do appreciate that trilogy have a good day. >> we did touch a little bit on this earlier that is the onlyen way to generals knew how to fight a war they were taught it was unmanly to hide behind the tree so later all of a sudden the queen of spades and after pennsylvania they said standing up there lifting the musket over my head maybe that isn't a better wayy maybe it isn't so manly to hide but they were doing what
they are told the generals learned how to fight by reading books on napoleon and he stood his minute to the british and american revolution. it wasn't the musket but that the front that is why the british one those early battles so what are you going to do? and that is what we did as the weapons got betterr the tactics did not change and the slaughter's history we know what happened andwe h finally ws a little bit late but then they started to change. >> i didn't think about the importance of the supply line. >> it is easy to throw numbers around like oliver smith like
15000 marching north with snow and i.c.e. how are they eating? they have a backpack but what is in the backpack? what happens then? the bandages and then it freezes the plasma freezes you can't use it they are putting morphine in their mouth because they cannot inject that to the guy in agonizing pain. so yes the supply line and every commander ever in the history of the world you don't hear about that that is not fascinating but every good commander knows what is important what is happening back there to feed them and
treats them. yese definitely that is a huge part of every one of them. >>host: john good afternoon. >> caller: i the question. i am dismayed about the mortality of the mexican-american war. and howow they celebrate with my friends and those who joined the mexicans in the monastery in mexico city. >> i don't know that i would celebrate that a very brief history a lot of the american mexico is a very catholic country.
but the americans are not catholicrc summer irish and the irish catholics have come over as t immigrants and the catholic worshipers in general they are very uncomfortable realizing they are going to a catholic country so the number of these are disputed maybe 80 who dessert the american minds it is one thing to say i quit this is a cause i don't believe in but they don't goto home they pick up a rifle and issued back so now you have americans killing americans. they captured a number of them. are hanged it is one thing to dessert it is another thing to
pick up the rifle to kill your own. i don't know if i agree celebrating that you could make the argument there is immorality there just as against killing your own or anyone foror thatil matter. >> according to the congressional research 3400 americans were killed with the revolutionary war it was 2.4 billion cost in current dollars and 13000 americans civil war-million 79 or $80,000,000,000.1 year of u.s.em involvement 334 billion from worldd war ii 400 some thousand
deaths $1.1 trillion in today's dollars the korean war 64000 deaths hundred $41 trillion right here in washington d.c. go ahead. >> caller: thank you. you talked about shiloh being 95% still authentic and with the battlefields and the memorials that are still taking care of by the national park service. i am curious as many times they focus on the history from the regiments and who was
there and so on but yet the archives have tremendous treasures from the mantle clock from the pacific to the bible that has holes through it or even lincolns coat that he wore at ford's theater. i am just curious if you have taken advantage of all of that information as you try to get into the heads of these people that you write so well about? >> thank you the short answer is yes. absolutely. the park service to their credit has limited resources when you go to the center like gettysburg has a good museum you can see these artifacts
but it is hard for them to have the resources to tell the story like i tell it and i don't mean to sound facetious and i will sound stupid but maybe they would have my books there.e. [laughter] that is one reason i go because the impact that got to me there was a monument there are six flag bearers so what that means every time somebody carries the flag they are shot somebody else picks them up and carries it there were six of them all six were killed. so my character in the 16th that is why just without monument told me of those
exhibits in a pickup tidbit all over the place so that's why i try to go to the ground. >>host: an e-mail from susan the blurred line between creative nonfiction how do you distinguish between the two genres? do you invent secondary characters or does that play with the facts in the way you do not allow yourself? >> i'm not sure what that term but the facts are there ande accurate and as i said before it is a novel of definition occasionally tertiary
character will serve a function regardless of who they may be but primarily the voices that you hear if you have an eisenhower into paten patent -- and a patton those that tend to be a composite of several so it is all accurate but maybe not just that one guy. now that is what i do. >> retired colonel u.s. marine corps who is your favorite character to research. >> he probably was to hear somebody else i had a lot of
fun with him in the frozen hours but thinking back to the beginning benjamin franklin. i know. [laughter] but i mentioned earlier a grim story of world w war i it isn't comic relief but the reality of human beings you need a character who makes you smile and laugh because of all the bad stuff going on it after a while you become immune to it and franklin is that character for me. he is funny. i love the man. who would you most likely would just like to have lunch with? franklin absolutely.
>>host: chuck from california you are on the air. >> there was a story a few years ago hitchhiking through pennsylvania he saw the grounds at gettysburg and he said the ghosts scared the crab out of him. >> first of all that ghost searching business is an industry like 13 different ghost story companies i'm not necessarily a subscriber of that but i do know people who have had intense experiences but i will tell you a funny story going back to the reenactors while filming gettysburg a magnificent
horseman and had to be the forces from one side of the battlefield and they were put them in the trailers and he said no. it's quicker to ride them so rather and going to that trouble so now you are out there walking across the battlefield and now comes john hurd and his staff writingpe across the battlefield. do you pretend you did not see that?ju [laughter] 's wafted wonder how many people thought they had a major ghost experience seeing that. i am not ridiculing that at all it is very serious to a lot of people there are some interesting experiences i have heard of it i'm sure there are
others that are the same kind ofry thing i haven't had an experience like that it might be interesting if i did it would change my perspective but a lot of people do. >> is there significance of ike? be mike yes in mid-september at the eisenhower farm i know first of all it is beautiful. that is why him and maybe settled there. after world war ii and his presidency, he retired there than after he died she was there quite a few years later my wife was actually a ranger at the eisenhower farm and it is a really unique piece of
ground. it is right there. you can take the tour take the time to do that it is worthwhil worthwhile. >> most recent book is the frozen hours about korea the next book is on the cuban missile crisis, seven books on the civil war eight books in total his website is jeff shaara dick comment has been our guest on this fiction of "in-depth" next month is novelist walter mosley
with us fiction writer colson whitehead. mr. whitehead's 2016 novel "the underground railroad" was awarded the pulitzer prize and the national book award. his other books include "the intuitionist" and "sag harbor". >> host: welcome to booktv in depth program. this is our special year of fiction on "in depth." youel see authors such as jody pico walter mosley and last month we had david ignatius the "washington post" columnist and thriller writer who writes about the cia. this month we are pleased to have pulitzer prize-winning author's colson whitehead as her guest. his most recent book is "the underground railroad". mr. whitehead what is the appropriate response when your books are praised by oprah,