Skip to main content

tv   2018 Printers Row Lit Fest  CSPAN  June 10, 2018 11:00am-5:00pm EDT

11:00 am
eight years to build that cage if you did have 200 articles run the world of going to get nays to pay for the cage thank you. >> .. public policy events in washington dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. we are live from the second day of the 34th annual chicago tribune printers row. you will hear author discussions about the effects of fracking, a history of the
11:01 am
gulf of mexico and the apollo 8 missions. a lineup starts with a conversation about race in america with former white supremacist christian linearly. the invention himself into several hate groups and journalist and race relations expert isaac daly and a reminder to follow up on social media or behind-the-scenes photos and videos from the festival tvs address, facebook, twitter and instagram. his live coverage of the printers row with fest on tv on c-span2. >> welcome to the 31st chicago printers row lit fest. today's program will be brought to you by c-span2's tv. there is time at the end for a q and a session.
11:02 am
we ask you to use the microphone located at the center of the room so that the audience can hear your question. we ask that you silenced your bones and turn off the flash on your cameras. please welcome today's moderator jean daly. he's the associate professor and history of the college at the law school of the university of chicago. >> good morning. i see some southerners in the audience we have three really fabulous books this morning so i'm going to cut the introductions short and then take questions. from our end we have isaac j daley who's a journalist based in south carolina. he is the recipient of many awards including a nieman fellowship at harvard university and in addition to his journalistic writing,
11:03 am
mister bailey has taught applied except coastal carolina university. his book regaining dignity in the face of crime, povertyand racism, the american south is published by other press in may . the second author to my right, christian picciolini was a leader in the hammer skin nation which was as notorious as it says on the jacket of your. after leaving the world of our nationalism at age 22, christian picciolinicofounded life after hate in 2009 and is working in the free radicals project . in 2016 he won and emmy for his role of producer of an anti-hate videocampaign. this book is white american youth by descent into america's most violent hate movement and how i got out . in the middle we have a graduate of columbia university school of journalism, has spent years
11:04 am
studying the far right in america and six years amongst three of america's most ideologically extreme white nationalist groups, the ku klux klan, white nationalist movement and the traditional workers party. these movements have been empowered which makes it especially timely. his book is everything you love wilbur, inside the rebirth of white nationalism in america published by nation books . so we have here to memoirs and one first-person narrative which is interesting for our panel and the books are a little bit in contention with each other on various points so i wanted to ask you everything about something that's sinful to each of your books and that is violence. there's a lot of violence in all three of these books but all three of you portray the
11:05 am
humanity of those who: the violence which makes it interesting that you're trying to understand what these people are and why they do what they do and in two cases, the seem to be driven primarily by ideology. christians is a little more complicated. vegas, yours focuses on ideology although your groups don't always the same ideology and isaac's book is more of a family history where he stresses socioeconomic circumstances, personal demons, problematic family life will i wanted to ask each of you about the role that violence plays in the stories and in the groups that you join or in your case your family as well as ideology. sometimes ideas matter a lot, sometimes other circumstances and interestingly for all three of you, some of the same circumstances directly and all the groups you study including poverty and lack of
11:06 am
education and family structures that don't necessarily bring up children in the most awesome way. >> i guess i'll go first. i was recruited and exchanged, recruited into america's neo-nazi skin had group when i was 14 years old in 1987 and i left when i was 22, eight years later and for me, i wasn't raised racist, wasn't raised to be violent. i came from a relatively typical family. but by then so as part of my anger and feelings of abandonment, i began to act out. not typically towards 13, 14 years old i started to manifest as violence. ideology for me was not the driver to my radicalization. i say that i begun to become radicalized from the first day of license to be angry
11:07 am
and be violent but it wasn't the ideology i was looking for at 14 yearsold . >> i think violence is sort of, it's a red flag that runs through the far right. my book i would say is more a dissent a try and fail in other avenues. the main guy in my book, when i met him he was that he hated the far right, white supremacy movement in a new direction. the time was right to be political. that he could muster the troops outside of the traditional movement . over time, i don't want to give away the ending over time he faced the challenges of removing conservatives
11:08 am
into a more extremist view and that takes them further and further to the right and it becomes a more of violence movement and we end up in charlottesville which is very much a symptom of the frustrations of the far right. they become, they show themselves, you saw the all rights always trying to be different that it always descends into violence with these people. >> it was different for me of course. because from my earliest vision of violence, the alt-right became my family. i was like maybe five or six or seven or something like that when i walked into the kitchen .
11:09 am
i saw my dad beating my mom. then i had to help my dad has she me and alsothat terrified me . i felt i should hide in a corner. and like i saw my oldest brother marking. he had to help drive my grandma into the kitchen and then he stop the bleeding. and yet i'm like, maybe about feels like five or six years later, i actually killed the
11:10 am
man. he spent 32 years in prison for it. so for us, one of our struggles is how to deal with these images of black men and violence. how that stereotype is really rooted and my parents also frankly, it brought lots of shame as well associated. >> i think your book that i found so interesting is where you talk about shame of
11:11 am
families, black families who have one member in prison or more than one member in prison sometimes the same time and the way that, the day your black man is apologized and radiate outward to encompass families . we don't hear vegas in your book about the families of any of these people except for their immediate partners, but it's possible those families are shamed in their neighborhoods but it's not clear at all. the wave of violence your family experience and i think it creates the conduct or the whole family is something that's really different from the other books and very moving in the way you talk about it. christian, you agree with my colleague kathleen ballew the university of chicago that there is epidemic of white terrorism in our country. we have an internal terrorist problem that is exclusively
11:12 am
white and exclusively male almost. kathleen is a role for women and a white nationalist movement that isn't necessarily part of yours or vegas narrative much but talk about the internal terrorist problem and then i said, i might come back to you for your take of what kind of an internal terrorist problem we had a slippery. >> i think you put two words together that we don't hear often and that white terrorists, white terrorism and that's, a lot of things contribute to that. we don't have a domestic terrorism law where people can be charged under terrorism but most people don't recognize 9/11 more americans have been killed on us soil like white terrorists or people adhere to those ideologies and by any other terrorist group, foreign or domestic yet we still call it terrorism and i think that's a problem in our society to hold a mirror toourselves, we
11:13 am
are the ones destroying this country . and until we do that i don't think it's going to get the right resources, the right focus like islam and terrorism does which is also correct but not as much of a threat ofsomething we had living in our borders were almost 200 years . >> you want to join in? >> absolutely, i think the numbers speak for themselves. the domestic antigovernment terrorism is by far the bigger risks. a very tough thing to investigate and a shopping grips on because most of these terrorists also act in a way on their own. you don't see that terrorism coming out of established groups. some sociologists say groups have a tendency to temper down the most extreme viewpoints of members whichis why you see the most , the biggest atrocities come from
11:14 am
quote unquote loan will terrorism of course these guys don't come out of the vacuum either and the rise of the internet and the chamber provides has been extremely fruitful for white supremacist terrorists in this country. >> you give us shopping at some point about how to save the number of white nationalist on twitter went up by 600 percent between 2012 and 2016 so they certainly have. >> but as we know, those numbers can't be trusted either because who knows israel on twitter, whose a box and who isn't but it's clear twitter was more than it is now a massive, massive tool that they use. a lot of them have been kicked off twitter and have found other outlets now but absolutely twitter, 4chan,
11:15 am
all these places. i write about don black who is the head of storm fronts which use to be the place to go if you were anazi online . and since the rise of twitter, that site has been decimated so all their old stomping grounds have been completely detonated but i want to add something that goes into christians thing as well because internet has helped wexford the form right to a certain degree because back when the movement was off-line so to speak it was kind of deleting. the only time he would interact with your fellow white supremacist was when he would meet michelle and rally and if you haven't talking about people are saying the wrong things they would sort you out and that was sort of a self policing vision of the movement whereas now everyone can saywhatever and it has advised them . >> ,i don't imagine you have to be told we have a domestic terrorism problem with white
11:16 am
men. >> know. one of my friends actually lost her sister at the duluth roof shooting in charleston. and that's a very personal thing.but also, quite frankly, -- is not what scared me most and what me more is the fact that i have so many white friends who are nonracist yet they want to
11:17 am
fight racism and also bigotry. so like for us, that is a much more present problem. and because even in the south , i don't run into white supremacist every day . but i have to constantly fight nonracist white people just to try to get them tosee
11:18 am
what the problem is . that is really frustrating. >> aligned i was taken by your book where you are asking your father why you should pay a five-year-old boy. he says, because he grows up. >> yes and the funny thing about what he saw me about all this is when he was in prison, he went to , he went to a really hard place in terms of pro-black place so
11:19 am
to me, i was trying to be more cosmopolitan and yet some of the things that he warned me about in prison, unfortunately have actually started to come to pass. and because again, at least for us, one of the major frustrations is the fact that there are so many good white people who simply won't deal with this issue on. and it feels like this kind
11:20 am
of betrayal, frankly. >> christian, you have aligning your book where you say you were looking for recruits, for company who has a shady home life and that's where you go and that does seem like something that all three of these stories have in common is the home life that young man and the boys have. >> yes, it was about finding vulnerable people who had a lot of issues in their lives where we could step in and then promise to fix some of those things. in many cases it was searching for a family and we would provide community and in other cases it was not knowing who they were in this world and that's providing that strong identity where there wasn't one or a purpose where it will be found or thought of.
11:21 am
so we would bring people in with these promises of paradise which is a pretty common theme among extremism. we would promise them this fantasy that they could achieve if they joined us and to some degree we did provide, we did provide a brother. it was broken but for many cases it was the first time they had anybody so we would look for vulnerable people and what's happening with the internet is pretty disturbing because they're doing the same thing but there, going into places like depression forums and autism forums and gaming sites where they know that people who may not have wrong social connections, who may be fully are gathering there and they can go in on these people, identity, community and purpose. >> i think there's also an interesting shift that's been happening over the last few years. i was i don't want to say lucky enough i was there when white nationalism shifted
11:22 am
from 1.0 crowd which was the skinhead and kkk and traditional neo-nazis into the newer iterations that we see now and certainly first for the people i was covering were angry, the uneducated, the disenfranchised and the poor were just sort of pissed off and they were in appalachia and these kind of places but after a while i started noticing a new type of young angry man come in and i remember a couple years ago i was at the university of auburn which is a very elite school and i saw these young white men who went to that school and by every possible metric they were on the very top of society and i thought i don't know how to explain this. where are these people getting this rage from? i think the more i notice is this sort of slow were of agreement in young predominately white males in this country where they see
11:23 am
things that have changed. they talk about things like affirmative action or women's rightsnd they feel for some reason, they feel aggrieved by and it's an anger that's similar to what's been but it's also kind of new. there's a sense of for some reason a field the sea by something theydon't understand and they're lashing out . a lot of these people can return but we need to be aware there is this undercurrent in young conservatives that can easily be let into supremacy if we're not careful. >> i would have to say that in my experience it doesn't matter how much money they have or what kind of privilege they come from, that really still there under bowling of who am i, where to hello and maybe coming from a terrible whole life to people
11:24 am
like richard spencer who are the perfect example of that. he comesfrom extreme privilege but having spoken to him , there's clearly an issue there that stem from childhood and family and things like that. >> i also think we have a war narrative of white supremacy in our country which is that it's always something that is only characterized by poor people. and by uneducated people and people who are economically privileged and people of education would never be white supremacist. in fact, that's always been the demographic in part. >> we need to recognize inthe room that this doesn't come from the bottom . right now it is movements have been given licensed by our president. and you see it all over europe too. people are realizing that
11:25 am
anger, zeal phobia, here is for ground politically and they're using it for everything. we can talk about combating racism and white supremacy but as long as there's something in it for politicians and i feel like at this moment in time very much i then we only have half the equation. >> isaac, this makes me want to ask you. you title your book regaining dignity in the face of crime, poverty and racism in the american south. partially that's because your story is set in south carolina but given the rest of our conversation, i'm interested.if you think, is there a dimension that makes this different? is the national narrative one at distinct from the southern narrative? are they related and oh, how? >> we have these issues everywhere of course but in
11:26 am
the south, like we actually walk on ground where slaves toiled and bled and sweat. also their segregation everywhere, but especially when it came tosomething like jim crow . and that made so much, much different. but also, one of the hardest things to do as well is in fact this southern niceness,
11:27 am
it covers so much. and because especially when you go to church with me, and you have them in your home and you have their kids over and vice versa, etc. and you constantly see them in the walmart, etc., also once you know how they can help you out,etc. , it actually makes it easier at least for them to cover all their own bigotry. in fact, i live in the myrtle
11:28 am
beach area. and there, what we had were these sort of like wealthy white men who would help out certain people and help the case. they would get into college, etc. and so then there seeing really good people. and yet, they would also make
11:29 am
sure that black people could not buy property in good neighborhoods. those kind of things like among other things you're disappointed with southern questions these days. >> i am, i frankly feel betrayed at least by them, especially for the fact that i went to this mostly white church for almost 2 decades. and whereas i tried to raise these issues, etc. and for all these years, trying to get other people to see their fullness, etc. and yet , as
11:30 am
soon as donald trump came around with his bigotry, and suddenly they went for anyway. and even though, they have more in common with me and him. so those things are more. >> we're going to go to questions in one second and you grew up in anall-white way was all quiet on purpose . you think it would have made a difference if you had grown up in a more diverse environments? >> i think so, i grew up on the southwest side of chicago with families that came over from the same village as my parents.
11:31 am
roughly in the 50s and 60s and i don't think they were creating a racist neighborhood. they were afraid i think they were immigrants and they moved to places where people spoke the language and knew each other's families for generations. so i think there was that same kind of unknown racism where they were very open to people but got them to move next-door onthe block, then they would have a problem . and that's what isaac was saying is as white folks, we have to fix these problems in our own homes. we need to point them out when we themn their duplicity and important for us to do that because like the black community just like when white folks unjustly go in and tell them what to do which we should be doing, there are some white people who might be too fragile to take criticism and say you voted for trump and that's affecting me or you are
11:32 am
interested in this policy and that's racist and they don't see it that way and they can see it as front to them. we all have to do our job to fix our own communities. >> while we go ahead questions? sure, come on. i'll call on you. i will. >> you didn't know there was going to be home for. >> i'm a teacher. i teach fourth high school where christian grew up and i swear as i was reading your book i read in today's. i was looking at the pictures of you in high school and i seen those eyes looking at me from my students. bothforest has changed more in demographics . it's a different universe but
11:33 am
it's still seeing some of those eyes looking at me. what can i do as a high school teacher to make those kids feel like they belong and we are not losing ground by sharing ground? >> thanks for reading my and i appreciate that. forest was a place my family moved us to outside of battalion the where i frankly wasn't outside so now i was in this place where i was for them, we're kid so i didn't have many friends at forest because it was avery white community . i think we all need to listen more. we need to listen very and listen to the people who are the quietest. because the truth is they are screaming inside. we just don't listen. we need to find the ones that are the most marginal, the ones who may be holding it inside.
11:34 am
maybe i'm seeking for me here, strong people put on this facade of everything's okay. and i was very shy, very quiet when i was kid and there was a lot of wanted to say but i was never able to say. and somebody asked me or listen to me or in person in the alley working instead instead of the skinhead who came up and say do you want to play baseball? i would have done that but there wasn't that person so i think we can listen, we can be observant of the people that feel archived on the outskirts and the and we need either passions and work with them. that's where this kind of thing bubbles up. >> to follow up on that, because one of the things that is common to our stories is the fact that there are many people out there dealing
11:35 am
with trauma which has actually gone to the extent that they haven't gotten any help. once somebody like that shows up like my youngest brothers, it was for drugs and gangs. and also especially the fact that i speak with a starter now, for instance. and they had to help me with that, that's one of the manifestations of excuse me,
11:36 am
trauma from 36 years ago. and all of these things are also being dealt with quietly and so what i think that we need to do is to be able to judge less and try to understand more. >> i call them potholes, these things in our life journey that we encounter that if we enter duty and we don't have the right resources, our cell phone charged to call the tow truck, they get to us and it could be trauma, could be mental illness, could be abandonment like it was for me and if somebody doesn't come along to help us with that where we don't have the strength to figure it out ourselves, we get lost and it
11:37 am
manifests in ways. for me it was being violent and angry and for isaac it's a suffering condition and for other people it's, who knows? the going into drawers or whatever the case may be, people manifest potholes in ways and what environments we are. >> as we know living in chicago, a bad pothole will tire. >> michael was born in southern italy and i get discouraged when i see italian-americans of my generation taking prominent roles in anti-immigration movements, particularly ohio, i up his background. his grandparents were from a village 40 or 50 miles from where my grandfather lived and then a republican candidate for senate in pennsylvania who is famous for rousting latinos when he was mayor ofthis town , i
11:38 am
think that americans sh take a historical perspective. i looked at the evaluations of chicago neighborhoods from the 1940s and italian-americans were considered undesirable . they use loaded terms describing italians going back to their neighborhood and earlier than that, italian-americans especially from the southern part were described as hooley and other racist terms. i think americans should feel more sympathy, because they're using the exact same slurs now that we used againstitalian-americans up to the 80s and 50s . >> vegas, i don't know if there were telling americans in your groups but were there children of immigrants in the groups that you hung out with? >> sure.
11:39 am
everyone here is sort of the son of immigrants but i don't think being an immigrant is any safeguard against being racist. as you point out, every generation or nation of immigrants has become racist. at one point, america didn't want irish people. they were racist against irish so i think, but i think this notion of heritage is one that drives the car right and it takes a level of intellectual acrobatics and that's quite impressive sometimes to sustain. so one of the things you will hear a lot is why do they get to say black pride and we don't? that's a pretty common one and on the face, if you're inclined to be racist then you think i guess that makes a little bit of sense but once you look at of course, african americans in this
11:40 am
country have their heritage and culture raise when they were stolen from their homelands and brought here so their shared experience is the notion of their shared blackness whereas white americans or norwegian in this case, they're highly desirable. i'm one of the good ones. but if you want to say norwegian pride, that's fine. if you want to say irish pride, that's fine. if you want to celebrate st. patrick's day or german day, that's fine but once you say white pride, once you imply there's something shared like a common culture of being white, not a construct there is no such thing. europe is a bunch of cultures and if you say that all one good culture as opposed to
11:41 am
this bad african culture,then you're building your entire narrative thoughtful premise because there's no such thing . all the narratives comingfrom the far right are based on this fallacy . >> the notion of white changes over time as groups become accepted into this idea of whiteness and then they turn on the next victim and win group joins , comes far enough, i would agree with exactly with vegas, this whole idea of what a white culture is doesn't make any sense because there are so many. it just doesn't make sense. >> if we don't have more questions right now, i have one which is for you too. what's the role of testosterone in these movements? >> if you feel -- it's so important. i went to a rally with the hammer skins and.
11:42 am
>> years after. >> this is a couple years ago i went and christian would've got me thrown out immediately but it's this notion of them being warriors, that's hugely important., feel lost or angry and someone comes along and says you can be a warrior for your race, that's hugely important so this whole valhalla thing or i'm going to come home this carried on my shield, it's soimportant to them . that also underscores the fact. >> i still have a tattoo on my stomach by the way. >> underscores that it's a very misogynistic, male driven movement in itself but just because people find it hard to sort of pinpoint what it means to be a man today for awhite man . they're highly susceptible to these narratives. >> i would replace the word
11:43 am
testosterone with toxic masculinity. the idea that we've raised our children, our boys to think they can't cry, they can't have feelings, they are supposed to be the head of the household. expectations of them are whatever. it's that culture of that toxic masculinity and in many cases with a father not being very present for that child as a role model or anybody. so i wouldn't blame testosterone. i would blame the fact that we have built this idea of the mythology of what a man is and we've stripped away all the humanity of the. we talked young men cannot be real. we thought themthey have to be something else and i think a lot of people struggle with that >> i like to keep this conversation going for a long time i can't .
11:44 am
i thank you for writing your books and coming to the printers row book festival and all of you for breaking the weather and coming and thank you very much and enjoy the rest of the day. >> if anybody has any further questions, all the authors will be doing a book signing outside. >> by and then theywill sign them . >>. [applause] >> books can be purchased and assigned outside the auditorium. >>. [inuadible conversation]
11:45 am
>> that was a conversation about race relations live from the printers row lit fest. the authors making their way off the stage getting ready for the next author discussion about sexual politics and free speech with former aclu president nadine strossen and cultural critic and northwestern university professor laura kittinger. we've been posting behind-the-scenes pictures and video from this 34th annual festival held in the printers row neighborhood in chicago. by days end, 125,000 visitors are expected to attend and there are more than 200 booksellers and vendors outside. follow us on twitter, it's your ram and facebook at book tv. check it out. >>. [inuadible conversation]
11:46 am
>>. [inuadible conversation] i
11:47 am
would say treat them like a broken child and not a monster. >> i started a group called the free radicals project so i'm building and working with groups in africa and europe and asia to help scale what i've beendoing in the united states . >> i'm very much anti-censorship for other reasons. you're such an inspiring model. [inuadible conversation]
11:48 am
11:49 am
11:50 am
>>. [inuadible conversation]
11:51 am
11:52 am
>>. [inuadible conversation]
11:53 am
>>. [inuadible conversation]
11:54 am
>>. [inuadible conversation]
11:55 am
>>. [inuadible conversation]
11:56 am
>>. [inuadible conversation]
11:57 am
>>. [inuadible conversation]
11:58 am
>>. [inuadible conversation] and now live from the printers row lit fest in chicago, and author discussion on sexual
11:59 am
politics and the free speech with armor aclu president nadine strossen and cultural critic and northwestern university president laura kitness. >>. >>.
12:00 pm
>> welcome to the 34th annual chicago tribune printers row lit fest. thanks to all our sponsors. this program will be broadcast live on book tv and we ask that you use the microphone located at the center of the room so the holy viewing audience can hear your questions. >> .. i'm delighted to be here particularly with these two truly remarkable scholars and authors. lara kipnis is an american cultural critic whose work focus on sexual politics, gender issues and popular culture.
12:01 pm
she was impressed with media studies at northwestern university and a most recent book is unwanted advances, sealaroia comes to campus. if this is feminism, it's feminism hijacked by melodrama. nadine strossen served as president of the american civil liberties union from 1991- 2008. she was the first woman and the english person ever to lead the aclu. she is a professor at new york law school and her most recent book is titled "hate: why we should resist it with free speech, not censorship." i can tell you these are truly too powerful and original thinkers some going to do my best to stay out of the way. i'm sure that a lot to say this morning. let me begin by asking each of you why you decided to write this particular book at this particular moment in time. laura? >> well, to say i didn't start out to become a first amendment
12:02 pm
champion or free speech advocate. i was sort of thrust into it, just the back backs that my sin was that i had written an essay about such politics on campus, sexual paranoia in the chronicle of higher education. there was a student protest against me as students marching to the present office to an ivy century because taken sort of ironic tone. i got thrust into the situation by being a bit of an ironist undertake that is a lot of the current moment. i got brighter -- brought up on title ix complaint for this essay. that led me to write this book. then i got brought up on title ix complaint the second time for writing the book. it's been very interesting and is put in the middle of a lot of different debates both about free speech come about title ix, about sexual politics and paranoia on campus and also the conditions of the left at the moment i think with myself
12:03 pm
someone on the left who has been attacked vested to think of themselves as unelectable feminists students. so briefly that was the impetus. >> i think would be helpful if you explain come some people might not know what title ix is and if they do they might not understand the connection to your alleged crimes. >> it's so much, my crimes, thank you. [inaudible] >> very lawyerly. it's been in t news because betsy devos and the department of education, but briefly in 2011 the department of education expanded title ix which had been designed to protection, equal protection in regards to gender for students on campus which would mean such things as women's sports. there should be gender equality in all issues with right to education. in 2011 it was expanded to include sexual misconduct
12:04 pm
because the thinking was women stood come particularly when students for all students are not going to have gender equality if the subject of sexual misconduct. this created a vast bureaucracy, sex bureaucracy or sex police it's been called on campus adjudicating both the situations involving drunken sex between students but also faculty has increasingly been caught up in these situations, both because relations between faculty, romantic relations between faculty and students are increasingly prohibited and i have sort of mocked new regulations about professor student dating only campus in this original essay. that was what. >> me taking a somewhat mocking tone about the new regulations. but what's happened is my argument in the book is the level of sexual paranoia has increase a much that you've got
12:05 pm
this climate of increasing accusations on campuses with particularly students and particularly female students more and more charging or alleging various types of misconduct against them, both in pure situations like hookups gone bad or drunken hookups were people don't exactly remember what happened but also faculty who seem to be safe sexual suspicious. i've seen what happened after you wrote about my being brought up on title ix complaints myself was that i got barraged with emails from professors and students all over the country who would been brought up on what they thought were false charges come false allegations and i started doing the things people were being charged with which include such things as improper eye contact or suspicious eye contact, or telling jokes to somebody didnt like in an off-campus bar. it was both speech situations which we will be talking about
12:06 pm
probably, but also micro-bodily conduct, like putting her arm around someone or kissing someone, a professor kissing someone on the four head at a christmas party. domain not have been initially real reason to expand title ix and address the various types of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct on campus but the crimes being alleged are sort of more and more minor in what i've been hearing. >> so the reason that i wrote my book for which i had the world's best editor, namely geoffrey stone, was because i am so deeply committed to eradicating hatred and discrimination and stereotyping and promoting equality and dignity and inclusivity and diversity.
12:07 pm
and i have come to believe through enormous experience of my own observing and studying experience in other countries and throughout history, i profoundly believe that censoring so-called hate speech, much as it may be well intended actually and practical impact does more harm than good for those essential causes. and the immediate impetus was seen this wonderful, to me as a human rights activist, seeing this wonderful upsurge of college activism and activism in our larger community over the recent past. the silver lining to the cloud of ferguson. that's i think where it started. and the widespread public attention to the ongoing
12:08 pm
problems of police abuse and miscarriages of justice. but now thanks to social media and youtube it's all in our faces much morehant was before. having been a campus at advocate for social justice is myself in the '60s and 70s and then observing college students being mostly passive in the intervening years has rlly been wonderful to see this resurgence of activism in support of racial justice against violence against women in favor of immigrants rights and other good causes but it's been very dispiriting to me to see so many incidents, anecdotal incidents and then survey data indicating that too many students and, in fact, too many faculty members and members of the general community see free speech as the enemy rather than what an absolutely convinced it actually is.
12:09 pm
and that is a time-tested ally. and more important in my unbelief i quote throughout the book leaders of the civil rights movement, the struggle for racial justice throughout our history going back to the abolition movement, advocates of women's rights as jeff's one public is documented and gay rights can anybody who's been advocating for social change and justice throughout our history. not surprisingly there views are seen as being dangerous and hated and even hateful. i think it does more harm than good to give the government, including universities, how to pick and choose which ideas are going to be suppressed under that inherently subjective standard. >> so both of you are reacting in part to changes in certain generation of our society. who at some level you agree
12:10 pm
with, but have gone too far in their passion for protection of women's rights or protection of minorities against hateful expression. so what do you think caused this to happen? what do you think caused this movement in this generation to go now don't and an activist way, which overview in some sense admire, then take a 20 both find it appalling? >> one thing that i think we also want to talk about is the due process issue. it's sort of, this is roundabout way of answering the what happened question, wonder the things i discovered in investigating title ix and going to the process twice myself and talking to so many other people have gone through it is that there's i think less and less depreciation of the necessity for due process, and this sort of sense i think particularly among students, students are my
12:11 pm
own campus, that if a greater good can be served, like if racial or sexual justice can be achieved or inequality can be achieved and due process settle the matter because there's praise like being on the right side of history, or the sort of belief that institutions behind closed doors are doing the right thing, and thus due process protection don't matter. so say in the title and process, you have people found guilty and allies really kind of wrecked in the process. based on the standards of evidence. and based on, even anonymous accusations can be adjudicated now. so you guys as lawyers you know more about this than i do, but there's just, i can exactly answer the question why is it not appreciation for due process. including the fact that in these situations where rights are suspended its always good to be
12:12 pm
minorities which includes students of color, students, professors. i mean, these of the people who are getting the reamed behind closed doors and nobody really know aboutncluding the people who are all in favor of this kind of full feet forward with the process, you know, and rights don't really matter. >> i think part of what laura is saying that there's an attitude that the end justifies the means, but there's such a consenting commitment to be in favor of women's safety and against any kind of sexual misconduct, and for universities to be seen as being so strongly on those positions that they will bend over backwards and subordinate all other concerns, including academic freedom. in terms of targeting free speech, which has happened in
12:13 pm
the context that laura has talked about is, well, so people can be found culpable of title ix violations according to some government officials in the federal government and according to many campuses merely for saying something that is subjectively perceived by a particular member of the campus community as being un-welcomed making them uncomfortable. >> creating a hostile and five at. >> and that segues over two,, that's a form of hate speech. i put in quotation marks about my book because it is not a recognized legal term of art process because the supreme court never has defined a category of speech in terms of its hateful or hated message and has said it is categorically excluded on the first amendment protection. to the contrary the court is that the bedrock principle of
12:14 pm
our free speech jurisprudence is that government may never punish speech because of its viewpoint or its idea, it's message, its content no matter how hated or hateful that is, no matter how controversial it is. no matter how uncomfortable it makes anybody feel. that is not a justification for suppressing it. as the point of personal privilege, i told our moderator of like to mention the fact the one of the most important supreme court decisions that upheld that really important principle came from the very then you what we now are, jones which is now called jones college prep was in the 1960s and 70s called jones commercial high school. and a gentleman named earl mosley who was an african-american postal worker complained about the fact that this school was then 99% white.
12:15 pm
and he took it upon, today i was delighted to read that it's 90% minority. so his protest which i will tell you about obviously bore fruit. he would pick it every day with a sign saying jones commercial school discriminates against black students. it got a black quota that was legal until a new law was adopted in chicago that made it illegal and basically said that you could pick it near school but only with a message that was related to some school, labor disputes but not his message for testing racial discrimination. and in the wonderful opinion that not coincidentally was written by thurgood marshall, the first african-american justice on the supreme court, well known for having been a boy
12:16 pm
with the naacp who was one of the lawyers who argued brown v. board of education striking down racial segregation in public schools. the court said in fact, the court based t decision on equal protection principles explicitly and then said the first amendment is also involved because the first amendment above all else protects the quality in the field of ideas. i haven't answered your question, geoff, , should i go head? okay. i think that with respect to speech that is hated or controversial or that conveys hateful ideas, there has never been strong support for the constitutional protection. here we are very close to skokie, illinois, which most people know especially in this part of the country, in 1977 a
12:17 pm
group of neo-nazis wanted to demonstrate in skokie which had a large jewish population, any of whom are holocaust survivors, and the organization i was proud to head, the aclu, despite and i should say because of our commitment to human rights and complete rejection of the nazis message, represented them. i should say represented their free-speech free speech rights. it was a resounding victory in the courts of law. but in the court of public opinion it was such an unpopular decision that the aclu, disorganization of diehard free-speech absolutist, we lost 15% of our membership. that was back in 1977. it's been a chronic problem, people see hateful message and they say it's common sense,, let's get rid of it. that would be a a way to prevet the hate.
12:18 pm
>> laura, how, is sexual assault on campus? what role does alcohol do you think play in all this? in what circumstances do you think colleges and universities should punish sexual assault? >> wow. one of the problems with answering that question and with investigating title ix in general is that none of this information is really made public in terms of what types of cases are being adjudicated on campuses. there are all sorts of alarming statistics. i myself have been kind of agnostic at best about the statistics being deployed about one in five or one in four women being sexual assault because their use in these very alarming ways. if you start looking, i'm not aa statistician but it is to look at the methodologies of the surveys, , none of them are nationally representative. et cetera, et cetera. rather than debating the statistics, what i tried to do
12:19 pm
in my book was talk to students about the actual experiences and make public some of what i think is, we don't have enough information because all of this stuff is happening behind closed doors. one of the things i just wanted to tag onto about, at least with the skokie decision you are arguing these things in public and people are taking public positions. what's happened on campuses all of this happens behind closed doors and it's pretty much not accessible to public scrutiny. we don't know on what basis campus officials are deciding what is or isn't sexual assault. and what we do know i think is there's an incredible amount of gender bias, for example, so that if there's an accusation of sexual assault among two drunken students, statistically if you believe the statistics, 80 or
12:20 pm
90% of these cases involve drunken sex that lead to accusations. it's always a guy that is accused or is found guilty if two students are drunk. so behind closed drs, gender stereotypes are being reproduced. and also just to go back to the speech thing for a moment. i think the cases involving speech are also being adjudicated behind close doors and nobody knows about it because there are gag orders on respondents, people accused of these things. gag orders about talking about it. whenever i passed the sort of questions, they are very difficult to answer because the information i have is largely anecdotal. they are not nationally, they are not any data pools about these adjudications but i will just say i just yesterday had coffee with the woman whose daughter had been brought up on
12:21 pm
title ix complaint and found guilty of title ix for a piece of writing that was an essay written in class that another student had issues with. this went through a process at a liberal arts college, and the student who was accused, women student, was found guilty of sexual harassment. this is the stuff that needs to be discussed publicly. how these categories are getting vastly expanded and nobody knows about it because the people being accused are threatened with more charges like retaliation, et cetera if they speak about it publicly. >> the question though, how would you define the circumstances in which you think the college or university should punish an allegation of sexual assault? >> it's really tough because the investigators do not have anything resembling fact-finding
12:22 pm
capability. they have no ability to decide or even assess whether somebody is telling the truth or not telling the truth. oftentimes in these very murky alcohol fueled situations. so when a book that i wrote i actually ended up getting access to the records of two title ix investigations against a professor on campus, and the results of those, these adjudications and i kind of parsed the findings so the standard of evidence in title ix or the standard of proof is preponderance of evidence which basically means 50-50 plus a feather. so how that come how those decisions are being made is what i was able to scrutinize closely because i had access to sets of records that normally would not be made public. and in my belief, i'm not a
12:23 pm
lawyer but preponderance was not reached, was reached. the assumption was that just an accusation itself suffice to establish preponderance to bring the bar above 50%. once again i think there needs to be public scrutiny about how these decisions are being made and whether there is a capability to them in any kind of fairway on campus. i can't really answer that question, but part of the issue is who is making these decisions, who goes into the title ix field, and what agenda some of these people are wishing to play out in these findings. there just needs to be more scrutiny. >> if i could add to that. in addition to the horrendous violations of academic freedom, students rights, due process rights, free-speech rights, it's also counterproductive to the goal of advancing women's
12:24 pm
equality and dignity. and that definitely ties in with a a big theme in my book, because a lot of social psychologist, not just a activist including feminists and racial justice activists, say that we are disempowering our young people and overwhelmingly women by constantly preaching to them that they should be seeing themselves as victims. i take very seriously the power of speech. that's what i recognize its power, , including power to do a lot of harm as well as a lot of good. it's power that we can control as individuals. so that's what we had that old saying that our mothers all told us, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt us. when did they tell us that? they told us that when we were crying because somebody said something that hurt us. so wasn't a factual statement. it was a statement of
12:25 pm
exhortation. don't let the words hurt you. you can learn to rise above it. social psychologists say that even the most vile hate speech will not necessarily have a negative impact on people. it all depends on what your perception is. and, in fact, we can all find many examples of people who say hateful things and we look down on them. we don't look down on the disparate people feel that it is 30 as ourselves. i really do want to emphasize that for me the only firm in the title of my book is resist to come looking for a way to effectively resist hate, and i think that censorship is demonstrably unproductive. i loved the session before ours when we had authors who are writing about strategies that use free-speech among other
12:26 pm
non-sensorial tools to really make a constructive difference. i had read a book before hand, and so moved about his own odyssey away from being not only a hater but the leader of a a hatemongering organization can now become the head of national and intnational organization. he and i had a chance to talk before the spam and we agreed that if you're going to accuse a hater of committing a crime, which is what hate speech is in canada in many european countries, that is not a constructive way to recruit them away from their hateful ideas and actions. >> i would just mind in about five is to open the floor for questions so you should be think of questions you like to ask. nadine, you mentioned in passing and you spent some time on in the book, the fact that although our supreme court has clearly
12:27 pm
held that laws prohibiting originally called hate speech, the speech that degrades individuals based on the race religion gender or sexual orientation and so on is fully protected by the first amendment. amendment. they cannot be punished in the united states. many of the countries that laws against hate speech. how do those laws work in practice? >> in practice, they have been completely ineffective at best encountering the same problems we saw in this country, and i'm the last person to say we can rest on our laurels, but the progress we have made in reducing discrimination and discriminatory violence of every sort is, despite the absence of hate speech laws, i don't know many people follow what's been going on in europe but we've had a frightening rise of racist violence and discrimination as well as speech against various minority groups and the rise of anti-semitism is really
12:28 pm
frightening. the rise of violence against immigrants, against refugees, against muslims, against various minority groups. what surprised me, , geoff, in light of that experience how many european human rights activists and a m international agencies are urging those countries to move more in the direction of the united states and to rely on civil society through counter speech, anti-discrimination laws, laws against discriminatory violence. >> laura, you mentioned earlier about a recent incident you became aware of, an acquaintance of yours, which is quite revealing. you want to say a little bit about that? >> yeah. a friend of mine posted something on facebook that he thought was humorous, having to do with resounding from the white race because he was
12:29 pm
embarrassed by the actions of like white parents and children in a restaurant in harlem. and he wrote what he thought was sort of a funny post about this on facebook. so what was interesting about this, this got picked up by white supremacists and spread around the white supremacist website. this is some who is a professor at a research university in the east. and the white supremacist and the neo-nazi groups start, not just in him endless e-mails with death threats and telling him they are going to make sure he loses his job at calling the university with death threats, to the point that now the university has launched and administered hearing to investigate a professors facebook post. what was interesting to me about this, i was saying this to geoff before we started, why does the discussion that we all have is a social justice or students threatening the speech of professors and many professors
12:30 pm
being afraid of getting complaints from the activist students, left wing students but also the right. were getting it from all of these different sides, and one of the things i want to say about this last discussion is this increase in regulation and the increase in allowing colleges and universities to adjudicate the speech and the behavior of the students and employees, meaning faculty and staff, is about it increases the power of the institutions over peoples lives and over employees lives. so the fact that a a professors getting investigated for a facebook post or so make its investigated for a joke and off-campus bar i get a a basket for writing an essay, what the people demanding these adjudications and it is mostly students and progressive students demanding that institutions step in and oversee the speech and behavior of other students and faculty members is
12:31 pm
that there's this vast increase in the level of bureaucracy, the layers of administration in colleges and universities. so hiring of a professors have stayed flat and the bureaucracy has increased something like 70% in the last couple of decades. a great book called the fault of the faculty by political science professor but increase in administration and its these administrators and bureaucrats are running the place. their tendency is to run it on very anti-intellectual grounds. partly because once again these decisions are happening behind closed doors. professors themselves are not involved, even professors who feel that it is to know the history of, say, these arguments or debates in relation to race or gender or speech in the country. these people are not being consulted and it's the administrators running the place
12:32 pm
along with i think prodded oftentimes by tenant activists contrary. so the direction in general is a very anti-intellectual direction on campus. the less freedom of speech includes less freedom to debate contest tottori sorts or controversial ideas, less space for those discussions because you have oftentimes students complaining about feeling uncomfortable about discussions, about such things as race and sex or sexuality in classrooms. somebody who is been teaching for a very long time the direction of the american campus, it's shocking and disheartening to me how much anti-intellectualism is sort of swaying the way these book discussions and adjudications are happy. >> and hat to salute lower for having written a book and making these kind of statements, because especially when you read about these kangaroo court
12:33 pm
proceedings is not an exaggeration. you said, takes an enormous amount of courage because even tenured professors who are highly respected in their fields as scholars who have gotten great teaching ratings can still lose not only their jobs but also their entire life savings. laura, unlikely to put you on the spot but you did make a comment in your book that you might have thought even more than you did about writing what you did it you had known what some of the adverse consequences could be. sadly, i think people reading your book might be even more chilled and already are now. >> and i want to say there's also a civil lawsuit in federal court over the book. so you do find out when you step in various hornets nest i guess that there are repercussions
12:34 pm
available to silence people, then i'd have thought. i was thought of myself as an ironist and taking positions that might be controversial, but i was and am still for the moment a tenured professor and also did grow up thinking it was this thing the first amendment. just by the way, i never knew until recently that you don't a first amendment protection at a private university. you have it at public universities. so i learned many things about such things as the first minute along the way. >> so please exercise your right to free speech and ask the expert authors and scholars the question. and if you don't, as a law professor i can promise i will call on you and you don't what to be a deposition position. >> he is very tough, i can attest to that. >> and go to the microphone. >> c-span, so you have to go to
12:35 pm
the microphone. >> are you going to the microphone or leaving? [laughing] >> why are you so timid? you're like students. >> i think it's because we are on tv. >> this is your big chance. >> yeah, exactly. do any of you have any thoughts on how this stuff with title ix has taken place under president obama who would been a lecturer i believe on constitutional law at the university of chicago? >> i think geoff may have hired him, right? >> when i was at dean of the law
12:36 pm
school i did hire him. >> it's a real paradox because obama whom i discovered when the index of a book i quote often than anybody else. he personally was fantastic on precisely issues of free speech, but toward the end of his presidency window was more and more publicity about crackdowns on academic freedom and free speech on campus, obama regularly addressed the issue and he strongly defended freedom expressly to engage in racist speech, expressly to engage in sexist or misogynist speech. so who knows why it was the department of education office of civil rights and the department of justice that acted in a way that it seldom violated the rule of law in in fact, enacting new legal standards but not through the usual regulatory
12:37 pm
process that would have allowed all of us to comment on the proposed changes. they did it to these informal so-called dear colleague letters. i asked a number of people was at the disconnect between these people and his administration, and obama himself, i never got an answer. do you know anything about that, geoff? >> i don't exactly. i do think the dean has put in correctly the dissension between the pure speech issue where obama has been extremely forthcoming for a pro-free-speech position on issues like hate speech and so on. on the other hand, the administration, the department of education on the issue of sexual assault or sexual harassment. so a very strong position in favor of trying to address what they perceived to be growing and serious issues of sexual assault
12:38 pm
on university campuses. i think they saw the aspirate given issues. >> except the definition and the dear colleague letter of sexual harassment including what they called verbal conduct which is another way of describing speech, that anybody found to be subjectively unwelcome. so in addition to all the other problems it did punish speech that should be protected. >> i was at one point invited to meet for people from the department of education and the vice president's office. i think there were six of us law professors to talk about these issues after they become somewhat controversial in terms of the department of education policies. it was clear to us at the end of the two-hour meeting that they weren't really interested in hearing anything we had to say. that they wanted to check yes, we did this. much of the discussion was about the burden of proof issue that lower talked about, that the consensus among this group of law professors was that the burden of proof should not be
12:39 pm
provided -- ponders of evidence, the colleges are not well placed to make fact-finding issues that aren't explosive as these can all of the pressures are in favor of finding the accused guilty and that has no standard proof like that is just a recipe for disaster. it was clear they didn't want to hear this at the time. >> i would just add, repeat what i said before but after what about going to the title i process my self i huge number of letters and e-mails from people who said a similar thing happened to be but i can't talk about it. i've seen letters that come from h.r. or equity offices to professors that say if you speak about this you lose or you can lose your job. so they really are under a gag order sense of information is just not out there. people don't know what is going on on campuses behind closed doors. >> i just removed an incident that brings together all of these things. i was supposed to be participating in a panel at
12:40 pm
american university in the fall of 2017, and the title of it was just something like title ix. and based on the fact we are going to be discussing it and i think the fact that i've been a critic was known. there were protests by students and faculty saying that whole panel is hate speech and should not be allowed to take place on our campus. guess what. it got canceled. >> i've been called a misogynist for bringing up the issue, for criticizingheit ix process. the momentum is on that side. >> first of all, professor, i will forgive you, your micro-aggression against against former law students. it did cosmic anxiety when you mentioned -- [laughing] i'm saying this is a situation of threat and response to secure come response of retreat to
12:41 pm
security. we are living in a society with threats can be amplified so easily through the media, through facebook, whatever. and so the threats make this woem so much more threatening than it probably really is. this response is equally out of hand i would suggest. i just want to hear your comments on that. >> that's a a really good point and that goes back to something that laura discusses in a book, and i do in mine as well, but it is precisely the reason that you are identifying, it really behooves those of us who want to protect people sense of safety, right, and security as well as their freedom. because how can you be free if you're constantly afraid? it behooves us not to exaggerate their vulnerability, to instead instill in them self-confidence
12:42 pm
and a trust in the own ability to make decisions, to handle stressful situations but not in a way that is infantilizing or depending on a paternalistic university or government to somehow protect them. >> i talk about this sort of security state ethos of this. once again, that sounds like a conspiracy theorist but it does work well for the institution because it increases their power. power of surveys, power of control over employees and students. there is like this transfer of power upward from people like,, employees, faculty to administrators. it's not exactly against their
12:43 pm
interest. >> that's really good point, just the way it behooves government, expansion of government power to constantly be talking about terrorism and the danger of terrorism and people are willing to give up their rights. >> if you think about how much surveillance has increased in the last like since 9/11, let's say. it's so normalized we take it for granted. >> and the faculty members e-mails are being collected and inspected by the university. >> thank you very much for this interesting talk. i recently read an article in the "l.a. times" that the favor of censorship has increased from 22% to 30. i was wondering if you had any explanation, what happened in the last few years? >> you mean those in favor of censorship has risen to 30% of the country? >> according to a gallup survey site in the l.a. times. >> i have read so many similar
12:44 pm
surveys throughout my entire adult life time of the event similarly depressing but actually worse than that. i don't think it really has changed. i think it just goes against our nature to dend speech are ideas we dislike. this was summarized as by the title of the book by my friend who died several years ago, but it was called freedom of speech for me but not for me, how the left and right sensor each other. i i remember 1991 was the 200 anniversary of the bill of rights including the first amendment. the american bar association, the lawyers organization which i believe is based in chicago, did a survey of adult americans. a large substantial majority didn't even know what the bill of rights is when they were told what is concluding the first minute, majority said let's get rid of that. there were majorities who wanted
12:45 pm
to sensor whatever they considered dangerous speech at the time -- sensor. after 9/11 would've been anything that threatens national security. after school shootings it's anything that might trigger, no pun intended, school violence. no have a moral panic about sexuality and we have serious justified concern about racism and hatred. it's always like a politically cheap quick fix. let's just get rid of the superficial manifestation and forget about the hard work a deal with the underlying root causes of these problems. >> can adjust say something? one of the things i realized after i came up against the title and apparatus is someone who doesn't just like being told what to do, and told what i can and can't say, and this would realize i had been raised as a little american child reading books and see movies that really emphasize individuals stand up against mobs. if they don't want us to stand
12:46 pm
up against -- why did they all make us read "to kill a mockingbird" us children? my education both in terms of like american tradition, the western or books about heroic individuals stating their minds, kind of lame to the point right ended up stand up against to an institution or a federal whatever it is code. i do think to draw more on that come american individualist tradition is a way to stand up against these ideas because who will be doing the censoring? what committees can to be appointed to decide what articles we can write of what we can say and classes and that sort of thing. >> that's a great point because flash through my mind was hochstein. it is being sent to because of a particular word in it. not the idea. >> on that happy note, i want to
12:47 pm
ask you to join me in thanking the dean and the lower who are just as i said to brilliant scholars. these books are imminently accessible readable. i highly recommend both of them to you answer please join in thanking these two people. [applause] >> thank you very much for attaining today's program. books can be purchased and sign outside of the auditorium. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:48 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> nadine strossen and laura kipnis just wrapping up a discussion on free speech and their head over to sign the books at the printers row lit fest in chicago. while we wait for the next all the talk, discussion on americans abroad, we watched ass a continue their conversation with some of the attendees at
12:49 pm
the festival. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the level of assumptions. >> i know. >> i think they come in -- >> we are still live right now? >> geoff said i'm allowed to say that. not necessarily he has control.
12:50 pm
>> so we're supposed to go out there? >> yes. ♪ ♪ >> something having nurtured free speech or something, right? >> i think i did say something like that. >> nice to meet you. >> my pleasure. >> a fabulous review. >> i have to read that.
12:51 pm
[inaudible conversations] >> you must be so proud. >> i am. >> you not signing books? >> no. >> what a nice surprise. [inaudible conversations]
12:52 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:53 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:54 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:55 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:56 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:57 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:58 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:59 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> next up from our live coverage at the "chicago tribune" printers row lit fest a look at the experiences of some americans abroad. monte reel talks about his book "a brotherhood of spies" ." >> good afternoon and welcome to the 34th annual "chicago tribune" printers row lit fest. i want to get a special thanks to our sponsors. today's program will be broadcast live on c-span2's booktv.
1:00 pm
if there's time at the inn for a q&a session with the authors we ask that you use the microphone located at the center of the room so that the home you in audience in your question. before you begin to ask you silencer cell phones and turn off your cameras flashes. please welcome today's moderator, senior vice president of editorial operations. .. and some of the connective tissue between the two books. i would like to start with a
1:01 pm
question for both of you. you come across stories all of the time. as journalist you're making decisions on what you're going to pursue. what was it about this story that made you say i really want to go hard after that and eventually led to the book? >> i think, you know, i'm in sort of -- luckily i have a unique position, my job is to do international investigative journalism which is a pretty rare thing especially these days and it's rare then and i'm a detective and when these 12 men were killed in iraq from the most remote corners of the world and were executed at the doorstep of u.s. military and first terrorist video of its kind as political theater
1:02 pm
against the american war, none of it made any sense to me, how did they wind up becoming executed for my country in act of political theater. i was just driven by not knowing and being disturbed enough to know that i should be disturbed and i should try to figure it out and that's really what led to the original investigation of figuring out that vast human trafficking network was feeding privatized military operations in iraq with tens of thousands cheap -- cheap laborers, whole global pipeline tapped that had been run to run war in iraq. in terms of writing a book, you know, the woman who is on the cover with her daughter and character was widowed when she was 18 year's old and to be widow it's about the grimmest experience the way to have
1:03 pm
because the way widows are treated there. i didn't get to talk to her beafs -- because she was devastated. young woman with baby that found herself in a home for widows because of globalization, privatization of the iraq war in the most beautiful place in the world. it was strange to me. when i went back years later on another assignment and met her again, she had transformed herself and become this incredibly powerful woman and was taking kbr in a courtroom in this civil -- human rights case. that's when i decided i've got to figure out what happened to her and when i did, i knew i had to write the book and pursue it as a book as well. >> even though the story wasn't with you through the whole time, it stayed in your memory and
1:04 pm
summoned again when you saw her? >> absolutely. powerful memory for me. i kept the trifolded brochure i had because even though she couldn't speak to me, josé took the picture, we sat for an eternity to try to get her to say anything about her experience and she couldn't do that, even though she couldn't do that, her sort of situation was just -- ate at me in a way that original investigation, much bigger story and the story she transformed herself i was so moved by meeting her again and seeing powerful woman and finding out that she was the lead witness in this epic human rights case unfolding in trust. that's what moved me through write the book. >> that's the personal connection as well as the journalistic one and monte, obviously you didn't know
1:05 pm
francis scott powers. >> no. >> your book about the development of the u-2 spy plane. it kind of snuck up on me because all of the events in this book happened before i was born but i started reading about the small group of men who were at the core of this project and i didn't know much about them at first but i found personal stories fascinating and they were just involved in something that the more i looked into it the more i could see how this really get transformed, cia just intelligence in the world, essentially forever and while i was writing, while i was starting to look into it, it happened to coincide with a time when the cia started to declassify massive amounts of
1:06 pm
material related directly to the u-2 or indirectly and, i mean, tens of thousands of pages of stuff and if you were to look at these declassified documents individually, they were nothing, they were boring documents, they were, you know, meetings and stuff like that but what they did collectively was -- kind of gives detail and texture of detail that kind of -- i could really braid these people's stories together with the kind of -- the kind of detail that would allow me to create scenes and tell the story in cinematic way, i got pulled into it that way. there wasn't a moment of conscious decision. it was really cool, you know. >> thing the book, one of the things that you talked about a lot is the a, we, they were
1:07 pm
trying to create this, let's talk about that, can you tal about the odds that they face in trying to get the project off the ground? >> yeah, there were a few different things that they were going up against. so the people were at the core of the project. it was led by a guy named edwin, scientist and put together a team, basically an all-star team of scientists who were very, you know, incredibly qualified, nobel-prize to brainstorm to come up with an idea of how to gather intelligence from soviet union because none was coming into the u.s. the idea was basically to put a big camera in the sky and it was -- it was a truly from technology logical standpoint truly innovative project. but it came at a time when the scientists who were doing this
1:08 pm
were really under attack by the u.s. political military establishment. it's what we would today kind of consider a war on science. they were not trusted. it was happening at the exact same moment that jay robert, the father of essentially nuclear weapons was basically being put on trial in washington and he was having security clearance revoked. a lot of the scientists on the project for the u-2 were friends of his, supported him and so they drew a lot of us possession in the military and there was a real kind of backlash and resistance among military leaders in the u.s., to the u-2 project, just the idea of it. so that was one of the hurdles that they were up against in terms of just getting this off the ground. >> yeah, and we talked a little bit in the book, there's this
1:09 pm
tension which we are going to talk a little bit more later. the tension between science and politics and this trust of science among the some of the political leaders, we will get back to that and so that was the longer odds that they faced. in terms of individual trying to get something done, it's hard to imagine longer our odds. >> it was hard to imagine a character that's more unlikely victim of all these things but what made her extraordinary was that she refused to be a victim and it's hard to imagine a more sort of david and goliah struggle in the world of widow with the baby of paul against one of the most powerful influential corporations in modern american history. >> so quickly take us through that path. from the day she finds out about
1:10 pm
that her husband then murdered to the courtroom, just what did she do? i know that that's the room, right, but give the high level -- what she had to do and who helped her along? >> first off, massive puzzle to unravel. they had contract for five-star hotel, globalization of cheap labor. we think of globalization, moving our factories there, this is a whole other side of moving poor workers to countries to do -- to be slaves essentially to get them to buy these jobs and that was really what happened to her husband. when you become -- you're essentially you become the property of your husband and family once you marry. and so if they are killed, you are discarded and faced situation not as bad as other widows, she was made invisible, that's how she wound up at this
1:11 pm
home for widows and their children. she didn't understand what had happened to her husband, he was murdered in the event. it was like 9/11 event in nepal, everybody who she ever met watched her husband die and the whole country watched her husband died. when i met her i had no idea but it turned out it was 100 other widows for who two years were in this kind of intensive group therapy refusing to accept the status that their culture had put on them and rebuilding their lives and learning a trade, she became a taylor. the first thing they learned how to do is cloths so they can make the sari's, incredibly powerful experience that transformed her. i sort of revealed the puzzle of this human trafficking that was feeding the u.s. war back then
1:12 pm
as journalist, but, you know, her journey was -- was incredible just the way that she transformed herself and rose up, human rights lawyers in the u.s., a big firm, took swiss banks for holocaust, took on this case, in washington, so they went after -- they first went after government compensation for her and the other families and bigger human trafficking case against kbr kbrr haburt. she was battling against her own culture, society, dignity after suffering one of the most traumas and tragedies you can possibly imagine, just having
1:13 pm
your life completely turned upside down and be cast out and -- and so that was a fight that she was doing, fighting against her entire culture and then she sort of got that. and she righted herself. she's an incredible -- this is a woman who -- a culture of arranged marriages. she arranged her own marriage because she we wanted to say to her stepmother who was marrying off sisters in a way that wasn't really good for any of them. she's a pret yes tough customer. when she got back on her feet, you know, yeah, she just really became -- took leading role in the case and really just wanted to find justice for her husband when she understood what had happened. >> i love the way you weave childhood things as the way the young girl will be able to do these things, rebel, standing up
1:14 pm
for herself early on. >> very early on from the time she was a little girl, i spent cumulatively more than a month, she grew up on the side of a mountain, the most beautiful place i had ever seen. i really had to understand all of that to inhabit her life and be able to tell it in a beautiful way. >> so we will talk about how you do that, how you develop the sources for these books? how did you get that from her and the people around her to welcome you and open up to you? >> well, i think this is a lot of the journalism in the last 15 years has been about the size of globalization that people don't know about. the guy that makes camera on your iphone were from the same networks and i was back there doing story for business week magazine in 2013 and some of the families wanted to meet with me
1:15 pm
and i came -- they got justice very early from u.s. government not without massive fight with insurance company and kbr halliburt, i walk intoed the room and she was sitting, i didn't even recognize her and when i realized that it was her, i just kind of -- i knew i had to figure out what happened to her. i never thought i was going to come back and write a book but it was her courage and determination and transformation, i at least now had to find out what happened, i spent a week with her. i wrote a letter. i think the fact that i originally gained trust. but, you know, two years in that with the other woman was like two years of intense group therapy. she was easy-like. self-awareness and wisdom that you rarely find in anyone.
1:16 pm
just deep, deep time in her life, in her trauma and triumph. the case is such an important part of the book because it's how do we hold multinationals accountable when they are more powerful than ever and have less accountability than they ever had before especially for human rights overseas committed even in our name with our money and, you know, similar to monte's experience, had massive record, didn't necessarily mean anything, found the narrative in that, i had to do the same for the litigation and two different pieces of litigation, all of these battles that halliburt was fighting for accountability and i had to sort of add all of that part and camala played an
1:17 pm
important part. >> so getting this woman to open up to you -- easy. monte has no one to go to. >> right. >> it's a differently kind of access of information and how do you build the case, right? >> it becomes kind of jigsaw puzzle that you put together. there was all the documentary material, the presidential libraries have a lot of documents, personal papers of the principals who were involved. you swift through all of that and then what i did was talk to people who knew them and so most of the them, you know, involved in the story that happened in 5954 and 1962, so they are quite old now, but there's a lot of them still around and so i would interview people who used to work in the cia, who worked on
1:18 pm
project and trying to fill in gaps with the documents left and even on kind of the soviet side, so part of the book looks at this almost from the soviet perspective looking at the u-2 as something that's going over that. i, for example, met with sergey, at the time he was aide to his father and he was in late 20's, almost 30, he was involved in soviet rocketry. so he was deeply involved this stuff. he was a fantastic resource to kind of get little details as well to fill in. it was kind of a mix of declassify documents, material that is in libraries and then also interviews. >> yeah, so i'm reading that both reader, of course, and kind of getting caught up in the story and every once in a while as journalist thinking that's a
1:19 pm
good get, how did you get that, right? [laughter] >> there's a lot of nice little touches in there. great to see. so you mentioned that earlier, the science part, the kind of technicality. the other aspect is alive even though events happened 52, they are alive today. talk about what was going through your mind as you're collecting all of this information? >> yeah, it was -- it was something that kind of gradually happened, you know, you realize that the things that you're writing about in history, the main arc of the book basically shows how set in motion so the u.s. identifies national security problem and develops technology to try to, you know,
1:20 pm
collect intelligence, technology proves successful. it is extended. people who do it become more powerful and gets over to a point where it exceeds what the american public is willing to withstand and there are checks, that has really kept going since the u-2 project and you see it today but one of the things -- it kind of came in surprisingly is i was probably early in 2017, i was writing a section of the book about joe, jouist, at the time one of america's most prominent political journalists in washington, syndicated columnist and also best friend of richard bissel who was -- he ran the u-2 program for the cia. and he went to moscow on
1:21 pm
reporting trip in 1957 and obviously he's a good intelligence target for the kgb with connections with cia and ended up where he was seduced by the kgb, lured into a hotel room, hotel room was equipped with hidden cameras, he was photographed, kgb attempted to black-mail him. the day i was working on that section was the day the steel dossier came out. [laughter] >> so it was hard to avoid seeing, you know, echos of history come back. >> step away from the computer, take a walk. >> right. >> i better be careful what i write now. >> right. but there is that, even though the events in iraq, at least the
1:22 pm
time of the death of camala's husband, that's now 15 years ago, 14 years ago, those same issues have become more demonstrative, right? >> the ruling was in november. trying to get justice in these cases in any case especially against such powerful corporation takes time. i think the reason the case is compelling in its own right is because, you know, i think it says a lot about the justice system in our country. it says a lot about taking on power, you know, they won literally every single step of the way and fought with some of the most bear-knuckle brutal tactics. i used to cover courtrooms final and i never seen anything this dirty against human rights
1:23 pm
lawyer who is are great characters in their own right filing misconduct charges against, you know, just really brutal stuff in order to keep camal from being able to have a trial. i mean, it's almost unthinkable. you know, the issues of corporate power and corporate power in line with political power are, you know, more important now than they ever have been and we see today everywhere unfortunately and, you know, i don't want to give too much away but the supreme court has now made it incredibly difficult to hold companies accountable for anything that they do overseas at a point where, you know, they reach the power overseas is unprecedented, so, you know, that resinated with me also and i think it's something oddly a lot of people in human rights community aren't aware of, they know how difficult because i don't think they really understand sort of
1:24 pm
where it comes from and how our courts have been stacked over te years and are stacked now in order to make sure companies get off the hook. >> yeah, and so the whole -- i'm simplifying here, but part of her challenge was to present that her husband was part of basically a supply chain, right? and when i think about that, when i think about a supply chain and you're talking about these people, i mean, it's just -- it's just gross. >> yeah, it is. the supply chain part of it was the easy part. that never was the question. it was only a question of whether or not there could be jurisdiction in the u.s. courtroom for what happened even though it's u.s. military contract, u.s. military contractor paid for u.s. taxpayer on a u.s. military base, the center of human trafficking network, known of that disputed but whether or not
1:25 pm
jurisdiction in american courtroom and that's evolution in lower courts, happened very quickly. it used to be there's 30 years of litigation about holding, america used to be the center piece for people to bring international human rights cases and the judicial system in america was quite proud of its role in sort of taking on ferdinand marcus, someone in latin america who was torture and when the cases started turning against american corporations, the courts got nervous and there was big money trying to stop that from happening, and so, you know, a few decades of juris prups -- presumption of innocence was thrown open. and i think that also motivated to tell the story, the characters that human rights lawyers and relationship with camal was compelling. >> i think the courtroom aspect
1:26 pm
in the book is compelling and i urge everybody who hasn't had a chance to read that, read it. so i want to talk about point of view a little bit. there's a lot of action taken by the characters, particularly the four men. in end you talk about the way they look back on these things, but i sense that you were playing it as straight down the line as possible. i don't know where you are in a lot of the stuff as an author and tell me was it intentional and how you develop that and are there check that is you to take, how do you work through that point of view? >> yeah, i mean, i guess my approach was to try to take -- try to tell the story as -- as straight as possible and kind of
1:27 pm
keep to the narrative and i wanted to keep the -- the voice kind of consistent throughout ano td t to keep almost a a vivid yet detached kind of way approach to it, one of the things that i was concerned about was i thought that the narrative was to kind of -- kind of strong and i didn't want to get in the way of it and so i made kind of a decision pretty early that i wanted to keep the narrative as pure as possible and with not much exposition in terms of going into some flashbacks were necessary but i wanted to kind of tell the story just as a story in seen as much as possible and to have the
1:28 pm
material that's quoted as much as possible be actual dialogue so that it reads like a novel and so that it reads in a way where the reader can make the station, the reader has all the access to the material and can kind of navigate their way through the judgment that they will make on this. >> yeah, and that's successful because i was on the plane and the plane is landing, i mean, don't land yet, give me a few more minutes with the book. i think that kind of driving force of the narrative works very well. congratulations. point of view, i could feel it more. >> yeah, the stakes are very different. the story is very different. it's about atrocity, is anybody going to be held accountable, how did it happen, is anybody going to be held accountable, i took the same approach in terms of not wanting to get in the way of the narrative as much as
1:29 pm
possible but, you know, i needed some material and tried to use characters to deal with the material, you know, what larry wright calls mule, somebody who can carry the weight of that for you and take readers with you. i mean, this is about, again, it's about a global supply chain so it's -- it is a little bit complicated so you need those characters who can help you carry you through it. part of it is detective story, natural way to move a narrative forward and be compelling as well trying to get to the bottom of something. i think i -- you know, given the emotional power of what happened to her, it's, you know, i also want to tell it as straight as i could, you know, if you're a reader and no someone in sympathy with her, then you probably a halliburt defense
1:30 pm
lawyer, kbr. even some of them were. i interviewed them, interviewed the lawyers to try to get all the moments in the case as well. i'm not sure even some of them had that perspective. so i think, you know, -- a lot of my work is like this, you know, because i do mostly investigative stuff. you know, you have to find the place as much as you can and when there are sort of dramatic and emotional and emotional moments, you try to let them speak to you as much as they can. .. >> was he really just helped make it as toneless as a book
1:31 pm
like this could possibly be. and i did a little more of that on my second pass. >> yeah. and i think the outrage comes through without the -- >> yeah. you don't need the volume, you don't need -- >> right. >> yeah, exactly. and that's the challenge. >> that's great. so a pleasure talking to you guys. we're going to see if anybody wants to ask any questions. so if you do, i've got, like, six more. so if you want to ask any questions, please go to the microphone where? this one here? and in the meantime, i'm going to continue the conversation. but if people want to ask questions, please queue up. okay, so let's talk a little bit more about topicality, and this is to kind of branch off from your book, and do you get asked as you're talking, as you're writing these things about what's going on in your country, and do you have this struggle to
1:32 pm
kind of link what's going on to the work you're doing? i mean, i was just on this call the other day with a couple of authors, and they said that they even struggle when they're talking to people outside of the country to get them to talk about anything except the politics. [laughter] i mean, do you find that to be the case in your day-to-day journalism? >> yeah. and things are moving so fast now, it's hard to kind of, you know, books take years to write. >> yeah. >> and they come out, and, you know, just the landscape the book appears in, the landscape now is so much different than it was a year ago. it's impossible to kind of predict what's going to happen tomorrow -- >> right, right. >> -- much less than what's going to happen when your book comes out. so it's almost useless to try to guess. but, you know, just with this
1:33 pm
book coming out i would -- a lot of the things that seem to have kind of topical resonance now are things i wouldn't have thought. like i would never have thought that section on joseph allsup would have -- >> yeah, right. >> and, you know, there are a lot of other things that, you know, just kind of have to to -- have occurred because the news is changing so fast now. and our attentions are kind of going to lots of different topics that are all over the map so quickly that you find yourself, you know, i'll talk about that subject -- [laughter] >> it's, i mean, it's a little bit different for me because i live in london, so sort of that's my home, and i -- so i'm in a different sphere in terms of just talking with people overseas, because everyone in my life is overseas. >> right. right. >> but i think, you know, in full disclosure, monte and i are
1:34 pm
also friends and colleagues, and we've been talking about these issues for a long time just as people who are interested in the world, and i think the level of obsession in the national press here with all things trump is -- i see it now living there and coming back here and just being like, wow. there is a danger of everything else losing oxygen which is, i think, what trump wants. that's how he's stayed in the game. but, you know, the great thing about what i think especially what monte does, what i try to do and what we do in our work for bloomberg business week magazine also is, like, stop the clock. we try to do the classic thing that you hope so-called investigative journalism is supposed to do, which is stop the clock, go back and look at this incredible, some incredible story that no one knows about, a story that matters, you know?
1:35 pm
and i think in both cases you can say these are stories that matter. and in the work that we do in our jobs as well. and just really tell that story in a way that's useful, in a way that, you know, you never have control over whether people have the attention span to pay attention to what you're doing anyway, but at least you give them the opportunity, you know, when you're able, when you have the luxury -- which both of us have with our books and our jobs -- to stop the clock and go back and unwind and find that narrative and find those threads. you know, reaching for things that are contemporaneous to the media obsession of trump is just, it's a tricky game. >> right, right. >> you know? you hope maybe that there are other things that maybe can draw people and make them interested and that they're going to then, you know, give it a chance and try and take that ride with you. >> so you said, you mentioned that you have day jobs, right? >> yeah. >> so i think one of the great things about lit fest is the
1:36 pm
people that come are readers, but a lot of them are also riders. are also writers. certainly the people who watch booktv on c-span. can you talk a little bit about how you manage that. monte, you said these books take years to write. >> yeah, they do. >> talk about the conflict, the tension and what trick did you have to try to get them both done? >> every trick in the book. [laughter] no, if i were to guess the hours of the day when this book was written, i would say probably 88% of it was written between 4:30 and 8 a.m. and part of that reason is just because, you know, that's when things are quiet -- >> yeah. >> part ofs it is just because that's when my brain functions best. but, of course, we do have jobs. ask we both took short book leaves which, you know, i think i can say they probably, you
1:37 pm
know, we didn't get everything by a long shot done in those book leaves. but, yeah, i mean -- >> more toward the end of the book leave than the beginning of the book leave. [laughter] >> right. >> yeah. you know, it was, it's always the challenge of just being -- feeling kind of like you've got to catch up with it. but it, you have to kind of develop a routine and stick to the routine, i've found, because if you just try to squeeze it in, it doesn't happen. >> yeah. yeah, same. i mean, you know, i mean, i guess it's even hard to now how much time i spent on this book because pieces of it sort of cross 14 years. but in the end, you know, i did -- i had a nice leave. but there was so much reporting to do. i spent a month with kamara, i had this massive course case i had to get behind, same kind of documentary work that he had to do and do all the interviews that needed to be done.
1:38 pm
but the actual writing, it was literally getting up at 4:30 every morning, you know, almost two years, basically. >> yeah. >> and i think the trickiest thing is like when you're -- again, like i am obsessive, i am, like, an obsessive detective. my day job is as an investigative journalist. and in order to do that, my mind -- i don't know how much of it is my own madness and how much of it is are the demands of the job, you know? you have to turn your brain off at some point. so so i had to do both of those things at the same time was quite a challenge. most weeks i found -- and monte and i talked about this, we were going through it together at the same time -- there would be some weeks where i'd have a great week on my book and not a very good week at work -- >> right. >> and some weeks where i had a great week at work but not on my book. very rarely would the
1:39 pm
serendipity of those two things come together. when you did, you were just elated. i need more of that the. but it's just days off, holidays and literally that magical time in the morning of, you know, 4:30 a.m. til 9 when i went in to work. >> i have a post-book question, but i think we have someone from the audience who would like to ask a question. >> thank you both for being here. this question is for cam. on the idea of how do we hold corporations accountable, i'm curious what efforts or strategies you find most compelling whether that's legislation that's been proposed, organizations or whatever that might be. >> it's a really good question, and i think it depends. the thing that i've been looking at since i did this originally, you know, exploitation of labor probably more than anything else in the global supply chain from everything to how we fight our wars to who makes our favorite gadgets to the clothes on our back. i think, you know, what i've learned, you know, in the last
1:40 pm
decade and a half is when it's a consumer company like apple, like apple dramatically changed its policies. a consumer company is vulnerable to consumer sentiment. and in the case of apple -- and samsung, i've done a lot on samsung as well -- the very product that they're creating is a tool to hold them accountable and to create pressure. and people take that up. and those companies are very, you know, very susceptible to changing because they require positive consumer sentiment. a company like kbr, you know, halliburton rely ares on political -- relies on political clout. they're not as susceptible to betweens as, you know, a consumer company. -- to tweets. it's a more difficult question. one of the things in the book is i, you know, robert caro's, two of his first books about lyndon johnson are about kbr becoming the most, the biggest
1:41 pm
construction company in the world through, you know, redefining political corruption with lyndon johnson off the back of the vietnam war. and it's the same company in my book with dick cheney who was their ceo, secretary of defense and vice president during the iraq war. so that's, it's really hard to hold people like that accountable in a way that's going to be satisfying. i'm so afraid it's a trickier proposition. i think the more people know about these things, the better the chance is. the courts are important, but, you know, they're just, they've been -- the attitude about these things has changed so dramatic canically in our courts without -- dramatically in our courts without people realizing that the jurisprudence has been changed in a very intentional way. so we've got to get that back somehow if that's something that you care about. >> so that leads to my question, thanks for that, which is the reaction to the book. i'm going to start with monte.
1:42 pm
the "wall street journal" the other day had a story about flying over afghanistan, and they're trying to get artificial be intelligence to process all of the film that comes back. what has been the reaction to the book among the people you interviewed or kind of -- and what do you hope, right? like, when you write a book like this, what are you hoping for? >> i think i'm just hoping that it, that people get interested in it and that it's something that they kind of get taken away by the story kind of in the way that i did when i was writing it. and i don't have, you know, there's no policy or anything in my book that i'm kind of trying to change or anything like that. but i'm just hoping to kind of try to put things in context and to kind of put something out there that people can read, and it gives kind of a deeper
1:43 pm
texture to what's going on today so that when they look at things, you know, kind of -- i guess the image that i have is when people read a book, i want them to look up from the book and look at the world, and the world is in sharper focus. that's kind of the ideal. >> nice. >> but, yeah, that's pretty much it. >> well, it worked for me. thanks. cam? >> yeah. i mean -- same. i want people to, i mean, i guess i also for me in my regular work as well i want people to look at things differently. i want them to look at their iphone and realize something that they had no idea about that existed. when they take a picture of their kid and i show them the man who made the camera and was abandoned in a factory because of the way apple's supply chain works in a very direct way. i mean, our old, great writing coach at "the wall street journal," his mantra was in our style guide.
1:44 pm
you want to connect the people who pull the levers in the world with the people who get caught in the gears. and there's a way to do that that's a bit of a conceit, but if you can actually make it that direct connection, to me -- i like to open people's eyes to things that they have no idea about that exists that in some ways, you know, like the rabbi saying, you know, a few are guilty, all are responsible. i sort of want to make people realize there's this whole other world they don't know about but that they're connected to and not just in a way that's not an intimate way in some ways. >> yeah. and i think this book definitely does that. even for people who, you know, read the newspapers every day. it goes beyond that. >> yeah, yeah. and i've gotten a lot of reaction like that, and that's been really satisfying just to know that really smart and globally are engaged people are just shocks. that's good, i like that. >> yeah, right, right, right. >> and angry a little bit too,
1:45 pm
which is good. >> so i want to say thank you to cam simpson and monte reel for joining us today. [applause] and i strongly recommend the girl from kathmandu and brotherhood of spies. well worth your time, and you won't be able to put them down, so, gentlemen, thank you. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you for attending today's program. books can be purchased and signed outside of the auditorium. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
1:46 pm
>> and we're about halfway through our final day of coverage of the printers row lit fest. chicago is the host city for this annual festiva about 125,000 people are expected to attend this weekend. starting shortly, you'll hear from eliza griswold on the effects of fracking on a small town in pennsylvania. [inaudible conversations] >> festivals happening around the country. on june 16th the fdr presidential library and museum hosts the roosevelt reading festival, a day of author programs on the life is and tenure of america's 32nd president. also later this month in new orleans it's the american library association's annual conference featuring a keynote talk by former first lady michelle obama.
1:47 pm
then from july 11th-14th, it's the annual libertarian conference freedom fest in las vegas are. for more information about upcoming book fairs and festivals and to watch our previous festival coverage, click the book fairs tab on our web site, booktv.org. >> this practice is called change hearts and policies. and it's all about the ways that movements not just a are, you know, filing lawsuits, pushing for policy reform and all of those kind of hard-edged advocacy techniques. this is all about how they do the softer stuff. how to you change minds, attitudes. the thing is it takes just as much strategy and thought to change social norms as it does to do these other things. and to kind of give you a flavor of why some of the winning movements have been so good at this, i want to share a couple
1:48 pm
social media ads to show you how they think about changing hearts and minds. and i can think of no one that's better than the tobac control movement. because when tobacco control, you know, was realizing they're up against a powerful industry, they also were up against some pretty powerful social norms. so they had to have equally powerful messages. so we're going to cue this slide from truth initiative which is an anti-teen smoking initiative. ♪ ♪
1:49 pm
♪ ♪ >> thank you. all right. so what do you notice about that ad? >> [inaudible] >> it's funny. what else do you notice? it doesn't tell you not to smoke. there's no dulls telling you -- no adults telling you smoking's bad for you, right? when i first saw this ad, i came across it not because of any serious research i was doing, but i was driving with my kids on the way to camp one, in the summer of 2016, and i was telling them about this book i was starting to work on. and they said what's it about, and i said it's all about how change happens and movements. i was like, like smoking, you know? everybody used to smoke, but now nobody does. and my 11-year-old son quinn
1:50 pm
said to me, oh, yeah, smoking's really bad. he's like, it's like that cat video. and i was like,hat cat video? [laughter] he was like cat-mageddo mom. like i'm the only person on earth who hasn't seen that video. we searched it on youtube, and of course it's had millions of views. it works, right? my son will never smoke. not necessarily because i told him not to, but kids care about their pets. they realize the punchline, if you smoke, your cat could get cancer too. that's what kids care about. it sounds sill hi are, but -- silly, but there were millions of dollars of research into this campaign because they got into the psychological profile, the behavioral economics, how do kids think and make decisions, what do they care about, and then they hired up a big ad agency out of madison avenue with all the credittives to come
1:51 pm
up -- creatives to come up with something that would be a hit. and the reason why it works, it's appealing. it makes smoking uncool. it sells it the same way the tobacco companies were selling you marlboro man and joe camel. you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> the u.s./north korea summit is set for tuesday, and booktv will feature authors with books about the region. today starting at 5 p.m. eastern with yon-mi park and her book, in order to live. su-ki kim and her book, without you there is no us. bruce bechtol and his book, north korea and regional security in the kim jong un era. and thomas henrikson and his book, america and the rogue states. watch on c-span2's booktv today at 5 p.m. eastern.
1:52 pm
>> it's very important to remember that -- which i think is largely misunderstood -- they didn't come to congress, for the most part, with the intent of reforming congress. as i talked to these dozens of members and i asked what motivated you to run for congress in the first place, they did not cite the need for reforming the seniority system or redistributing power among the subcommittees or changing the motion to recommit. that was not the reason. they were not aware of the earlier reform efforts for the most part, the jimmy roosevelt group or mccarthy's marauders or julia hanson's select committee or dick bolling's select committee or the extensive reform proposals of the democratic study group. they didn't know about that. that wasn't their motive for running. their motive for running was to end the war in vietnam. that's why they came to washington. and within four months, they passed a resolution in the caucus offered by bob carr that cut off funding for the war in
1:53 pm
vietnam. and so by their standards, they were quite a successful group. let's remember what that -- why they felt so strongly about that. they came to washington at a time when the public criticism, the public attitude towards government was extremely negative. they came in the wake of watergate; the watergate hearings, the resignation, the investigations, the resignation and then the surprising pardon. they came after years, almost a decade of horrendous divisive war in vietnam. they came at a time as congress was just beginning to claw back some of the powers that it had abandoned to the imperial presidency during most of the mid 20th century. and they had passed the war powers resolution in 1973 and the budget and empowerment and control act in 1974. they had, in fact, tried to pass
1:54 pm
more extensive internal reforms to make the institution a more responsive one. they had passed the legislative reform act in 1946 and 1970 they had passed the subcommittee bill of rights. there was sill a huge backlog of reform that had not occurred before in the group had arrived. and, in fact, the major efforts in the early '70s, the select committees that were created under julia hanson and under dick bolling failed. and they failed in large part because although the democratic caucus since the late 1950s had increasingly had a liberal tinge to it, the congress itself was pretty much controlled by the conservative coalition. that was the coalition of southern democrats -- which is the reason the democratic party was the dominant be party, it's the reason the democratic party controlled congress for 58 out of 62 years between 1934 and 1994. it was the reason that -- i'm
1:55 pm
sorry, '32 and 1994. my math isn't good, that's why i'm not a political scientist. [laughter] that conservative coalition of southern democrats and republicans was able to squelch most of the progressive legislation, much legislation and certainly the reform of the house rules that would have reformed the house and and democratizedded the house. that conservative coalition was then doubled down in the democratic caucus by the reverence to the seniority system which gave itself a reform from 1910 which gave chairmanships based purely upon how long you were alive. if you had a pulse, you were the chairman. [laughter] and the notion there was to award chairmanships on the dispassionate basis so that you didn't just select people who agreed with the speaker or just the person who was, who was able to win support from the committee on ways and means, the committee assignments. it was an independent way.
1:56 pm
but as time changed and people lived longer, it evolved into a system that rewarded that branch, that region of the country where people were most likely to be reelected, and that was the one-party south. so by the time the mid '60s rolls around, the chairmanships are disproportionately in the hands of southern conservatives who in some cases are voting 75-80% of the time with republicans. and so you had this enormous tension growing within the democratic caucus between this seniority system which held up legislation that the caucus was increasingly sympathetic towards passing. and in addition to this, much of what was going on in the congress at that point was very, very difficult for the average person to discern. people don't remember there were not, there was not television coverage. you couldn't just go and flip on television and see what was being debated on the house floor, but there also were not things like written committee reports and subcommittee markups
1:57 pm
and full committee markups were held in secret. there weren't even recorded votes in committees, subcommittees and committees of the hole house through the 1960s. so congress was a pretty closed process, pretty elitist process dominated by a group that increasingly was out of touch and out of step with the very group that was the majority, the democratic caucus. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> here's a look at some of the current best selling nonfiction audio books according to audible. topping the list is i'll be gone in the dark, the late true crime journalist michelle mcnamara's firsthand account of her search for the golden state killer who's been charged with a dozen murders and 50 sexual assaults in california during the 1970s and '80s. after that it's pulitzer prize-winning investigative
1:58 pm
reporter john -- [inaudible] look into the rise and fall of biotech start-up theranos followed by the soul of america, jon meacham's thoughts on critical moments in american history and how they relate to today. in fourth is robert green's the 48 laws of power. and after that arizona senator john mccain's reflections on his political career, the restless wave. our look at some of the best selling audio books according to audible continues with wes cork about an unsolved murder in ireland. then malcolm gladwell examines the unique ts of high achievers in outliers followed by new yorker staff writer david grand's killers of the flower moon about a string of murders in oklahoma during the 1920s that targeted members of the osage indian nation. in ninth is ronan farrow's report on the role of the state department and american diplomacy in the world today in war on peace.
1:59 pm
and wrapping up our look at some of the audio books from audible's nonfiction bestseller list is j. vance's reflections on his childhood in a rust belt town in ohio, "hillbilly elegy". some of these authors have appeared on booktv. you can watch them on our web site, booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] >> and now live from chicago at the printers row lit fest. it's eliza griswold discussing the effects of fracking on the town of amity, pennsylvania. [inaudible conversations]
2:00 pm
>> hello. good afternoon and welcome to the 34th annual chicago tribune printers row lit fest. i want to give a special thank you to all of our sponsors. today's program will be broadcast on c-span2 booktv. if there's time at the end for a q&a session with the author, with we ask that you please use the microphone located to the center of the room so that the home viewing audience can hear your question. we ask that you sirens are your cell phones -- silence your cell phones. please welcome today's moderator, the author of forthcoming an american summer: love and death in chicago. [applause]
2:01 pm
[audio difficulty] [inaudible conversations] >> hello. [applause] [laughter] >> can you hear me now? great, okay. so i was saying, it's such an honor and privilege to be here
2:02 pm
with eliza griswold whose book amity and prosperity is due out next week, and it's absolute essential read. for me, the thing i love about it is, it just underscores the bigness of the small story. eliza's taking on in this -- spent a number of years with one family in particular and her neighbors in rural western pennsylvania that as they reckod with the dedeleterious effects of fracking. but it's really much more than a book about frack. it really is about what holds us together and keeps us apart in this country. i want to thought about that. -- talk about that. this is trump's haven. the place the begin would be to have you read a short section from the book. >> sure. i'd love to do that. and i have to say it is like a dream come true sitting here with you. of alex, you were the first
2:03 pm
person i ever interviewed in my whole life. i think i was in high school when i came to the macarthur foundation when you were there and sat across from you, and i cannot even rememr wha i asked. i just remember being terrified and feeling so dumb. and just in retrospect to think that you would give the time to a high school student, to be like, sure, come on in and talk to me, so it's a real honor, thank you. [applause] okay, so -- right? i mean, that's how this works, you know? person to person. so it's a huge honor. so, okay. so i'm going to read to you a little bit about the boy who is at the center of this this book, and his name is harley haney. and he was 14 when the book began, and this is about him in march of 2010. okay. down the hill during that month of march 2010, harley was ill. for much of his seventh grade year, he'd been waking up sick
2:04 pm
to his stomach, stricken with diarrhea. because of his stomach pains and the canker sores that kept appearing in his mouth, he didn't want to eat. to coax him, stacy cooked his foods, chicken and stuffed shells, grilled cheese. finally he'd missed so much of seventh grade that she'd enrolled him in a home bound program. once a week the teacher came to his house with his homework. stacy tried everything she'd learned over 23 years of nursing to figure out what was wrong. they'd made trips to the hospital and the event r., harley had been tested for crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, cat crash fever, rocky mountain spotted fever, mononucleosis, swine flu. all came back negative. >> and one of the things i love about this book is it's incredibly intimate, and at the center of this story is harley's
2:05 pm
family; his sister paige and his mom stacy who's a nurse and a single mom. and so -- and is as scrappy as all get out. so i'm curious how you even found them and why they decided to tell their story and to tell it in this very public way. >> so i found stacy because i was, you know, the book actually dates back to nigeria. most of my work as a journalist before i wrote this book has been o of america, out of the united states primarily in africa and asia, afghanistan, iraq. and so when i was in nigeria some years ago, i was in -- a bridge had collapsed in this tiny town, and i was, i had to get to the tiny town across a river, and so is i was riding across an empty oil barrel as you do when you have to get across a river. and a couple of people had died in this terrible flooding. but it was two weeks after the bridge in minneapolis.
2:06 pm
i-35 west had collapsed killing 13 people. and this was something about that moment. i thought, you know, it's time to go back to the united states to look at where, where is our collective poverty. what are the problems happening there that are underreported, because they're not just happening around thest are of the world -- around the rest of the world. they're at home too. so that took me back to the united states. and i wanted to write about public poverty. and i began thinking about that with crumbling bridges, infrastructure. and so i looked where statistically there were the most crumbling bridges in america, and it was southwestern pennsylvania. so i headed out there and started wearing a hard hat and, you know, those bright flasher vests and standing on the highway with engineers who knew that i could not tell an i-beam from my fingernail, you know? and one day i just headed out to a community meeting because that's what was going on. all these questions of public poverty and how communities paid costs of private industry were
2:07 pm
circling around fracking. and for the first time and the only time she ever spoke publicly -- actually, she spoke publicly in a different way, but the first time she spoke pulytacy haney stood up at the west virginia airport and told the story that was really the beginning of this mystery. she knew that she and her kids had benzene if their bodies, she knew they'd been exposed to arsenic. she had found that a quarter of a mile from her home there was a massive waste pond, an industrial waste pond, but that's all she knew. and so afterwards -- and she was really nervous to speak out. she was really nervous because at the time she thought her water was contaminated. and the gas company who owned the pond was supplying her drinking water. and she was afraid that if she spoke out publicly, they would retaliate and take the water away. so when i approached her after this meeting, the idea that i
2:08 pm
didn't -- i wasn't, i didn't have to write something the next day for "the new york times." i could just go hang out with her, and she and i could talk about her story. i think that was appealing. i think that made her feel safe. and that's why she decided to talk to me. >> and one of the things for me that's, you do so beautifully in this book is you see the journey that she takes. i mean, she's initially -- so a little back story. she lives on a farmhouse in rural pennsylvania right near these two towns. and up on the hill is where they're doing the fracking, which is an incredibly toxic process. and they've got a huge retaining pond that clearly is -- well, not clearly but eventually it's clear it's leaking and overflowing. but she's, as you heard in that excerpt that eliza read, her son is facing all these medical issues. and yet she's getting a lot of pushback in the town because the thing about fracking, of course,
2:09 pm
is it's brought all this money into this community. and one of the things that's so striking whether intentional or not is one of the things that happens is it completely fractures this community, these people who were lifelong neighbors. >> yeah, absolutely. i mean, so this area -- so i would say what really interests me about this area is how over a century the rural americans who live here have paid the energy costs of urban americans beginning with coal. this is a big coal mining area. prosperity, the near town. so her family began in prosperity and then moved to amity, and those two towns are just 10 miles apart. prosperity has all -- the word is undermined. many of the farms of people who live there, they've lost their access to water. and so what happens is the coal company buys up a farm, and they pay a lot of money. they pay more than, you know, you might pay for that farm, and
2:10 pm
lots of people love it. they call it the long wall lottery, because it's a particular kind of mining. and it allows them to leave these farms behind. some people don't like it. so you have this process, because they lose are everything. so you have this longstanding process of what is the cost that extractive industry is going to take from us. and the reason that fracking promised to be different is that finally people were going to make substantial amounts of money off signing mineral leases. and these are incredibly sophisticated people. and that's one thing i really hope the book does is restore the sophistication and intelligence of rural americans. because these guys know what they were sighing and why. signing and why. and they saw these deals and said, or you know what? i need a new roof on my barn or i'm going to lose this entirely. so some of her neighbors, particularly larger landowners, made a lot of money, hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, on this process when those who tended to be poorer
2:11 pm
and have smaller or chunks of land from the beginning made less. and so, yes, this has definitely divided communities and turned neighbors against one another really for the first timeng tim. >> yeah. there's a moment in the book where one of their neighbors, john voyles, is that how you pronounce -- >> yeah. >> they own a horse farm, so they've been equally impacted by it. he at one point in a deposition, he talks about how he's kept to himself all these years, and he says it ain't been working so well. >> i think that's one of the tensions that runs through this community. i mean, one of the things that i saw so clearly is, you know, we often look at the impact of globalization in a war zone, right? because instantly you have a conflict, you have international troops coming in, and you have journalists, right? we are part of the process of globalization. and with fracking you have the same thing.
2:12 pm
so you have people who have chosen, really deliberately chosen to live out of the way, right? people who really do prefer to keep to themselves. and suddenly they're overrun not just by the forces of industry, but by journalists like me who are coming to knock on their doors. >> right. and one of the things that's kind of interesting to me and then i want to -- well, one of the things that's interesting to me is there's a lot of distrust, obviously, towards government from these people. a lot of distrust towards outsiders. but one of the things that surprised me is with the exception of stacy and her neighbors, the people were very accepting and trusting of range resources, this company that came in. you think that's simply because of the money that was exchanged hands? >> i think it -- well, first of all, range has many supporters in the area. and i write about them pretty substantially in the book. who still support the process. and range has brought in jobs as well as some support for local
2:13 pm
nonprofits. so the supporters would argue that, if they were sitting here which is why i want to make sure that i am following through with what many people would say -- i didn't understand before i wrote this book, and i'm thinking about ray day, a particular farmer. what regulation has meant be, farming regulation has meant the people living in this area. so ray, you know, and he has jason clark, a small pig farmer who keeps pigs on his farm says, listen, every time i have to have -- give my pig a shot, a vet has to comeut, and it costs me $100, right? and we are not allowed to drive our tractor into the field, our cows can't walk across that street and we have to have it fenced, and yet others can come in here, and regulation doesn't faze them in the same way. so i think the impact of government regulation on small farms is much more profound than i certainly had understood.
2:14 pm
and because of that, many people understand the federal government to be rapacious and against their interests. finish and corporate interests at least are paying something back and giving them something. so i think that's the, a lot of the complex calculation that i had trouble -- you know, so many people at a distance say, well, can't you just do adequate regulation? isn't adequate regulation going to fix the problem? and you say the word "regulation," regulation is a very bad word. >> right. >> in lots of places. and i don't think we understand that message significantly. >> right. and it's part of what stacy was up against, trying to get these regulators to actually come in and do their jobs and do them well. there's a moment in the book -- so range resources is the company that's doing the fracking. and they're very kind of deliberate about how they deal with the community. and there's a moment for me that feels like a kind of metaphor for how they dealt with them, and it's early in the book when it's clear that harley has
2:15 pm
arsenic poisoning, and they go to meet with some of the representatives from range resources. and while they're there, two things happen. one of them, one of the representatives is suggests to harley that maybe he got arsenic poisoning from woodwork classes in high school. and the other thing is that there's also a guy there sitting there, and i can't get the image -- it's a small image, but i can't get it out of my mind -- a guy sitting in the meeting with his feet up on the desk scrolling through his cell phone while stacy and her son are there to talk about this metal poisoning that has become so critical that the local doctor now has begun testing everybody for metals. >> yeah. i mean, that, that moment has shaped harley's life. >> right. >> that moment has. so in the course of reporting the book, harley went from when i first met harley, he was sick. he still wanted to go to college and become a veterinarian. and by the end of the book, he's
2:16 pm
given up on not just medical school, but college also. he had then wanted to bo into the -- go into the military, but because of his litany of illnesses, he didn't think he'd be physically up to it. and he is now working on a gas pipeline, a suburban gas pipeline and living in his mom's basement. so harley's understanding of what has happened to him is that the world has turned against him, and it's definitely impacted who he is. >> right. and it's the arrogance of this company that sort of, i think, really gets his ire up. i want to pull back for a moment. you know, in your early -- in your first book, the tenth pair hell are, which is just this -- parallel, which is just this beautiful exploration of the intersection of religion, the very first opening chapter in central sudan you're meeting with a village chief there, and he is, his big concern at the moment is that soldiers from the north are going to come and take
2:17 pm
over his village because of the oil beneath his land. and you talk about this resource first. can you talk about that? because it feels very relevant to -- >> oh, that's ton funny. >> -- this place in western pennsylvania as well. >> the chief is warning these soldiers are coming and, in fact, they do come, and they sweep the people off their land in order to claim the rights to the oil beneath. so we often look, you know, basically since the '90s economists have looked at something we call the resource curse. so why is it that people who tend to live on land are richest in natural resources are some of the poorest. and there are various factors for that, and there's certainly places where this doesn't apply. we typically look at it in the global south. i mean, and why isn't norway, nigeria would be a question. and what we see is a pattern of
2:18 pm
weak governments. basically, people supporting, like, lack of investment in education and other more productive, long-term investment in favor of cashing out with mineral resources. and we really don't look atta in america as well. and this idea of the resource curse applies nowhere more in america than in ap appalachia we for centuries people have paid the cost of our energy, and we don't even know what that means. we don't know what does it mean to live on top of a coal mine or a coal field, or what does it mean to have your kids subjected to all these industrial pressures when people who live at distance don't even know what it takes to flip the lights on. and when we look at the tensions between rural and urban americans -- and i say that as an you urban american, you know- we really have to the understand what rural people have paid for the rest of us who live our daily lives to understand what
2:19 pm
some of these tensions are. >> that's funny, reading your book -- i don't know if you ever read night comes to the cumberland -- >> yes! one of my favorite books. >> came out in 1962 about appalachia and about the raping of appalachia and about -- because of coal. there's this line, i went back to take a look at it. >> oh, wow. >> yeah. and there's this moment where he says we will continue to ignore them -- and he's talking about those in the very community he wrote about -- at peril to ourselves ask and our posterity. and i thought, my god, how fresh shenlt. >> yep. -- fresh yet. >> you know, one thing i love, somebody was commenting today on the book and they said, you know, clean air and pure water are not a liberal issue, they're not a conservative issue, they're a pant call issue of common sense. and we need to return to that, you know? we need to return to that because what's happened with fracking in particular is that it's become a political football
2:20 pm
where if you say fracking ask you say that to a liberal or conservative person, you pretty much know what you're going to get back. so how can we find our shared values in the very things that we need to survive and for our kids to survive. >> and i'm curious while you were in this town, did you sense why people in a community like, communities like amity and prosperity would vote for trump? >> a thousand percent. i mean, a thousand percent. i didn't want, you know, i was writing this book so many years before trump fever arrived in the area. there were many reasons, some of them -- so one of the reasons is this historic disenfranchisement. and, you know, trump came to pittsburgh and he said, you know, you guys are going to make so much more money off fracking and, you know, you're going toking -- he was talking about people in new york -- people in new york are going to be driving cadillacs, you know? and this prompt that, you know,
2:21 pm
age-old promise that wealth and prosperity are just around the corner, and what's been keeping them from you is the federal government, and i as the new government, i'm going to get out of your way. and it was a fantasy. i mean, we can see in the epa under scott pruitt a level of human disregard that begins with his lotion necessities and his secondhand mattress buying where we can look at some of these things as absurd but plays out in a or very real and destructive way in the lives of rural americans who are relying on the federal government to keep their air and is their water and their kids safe. >> i think one of the things for me that was a little despairing about the book was so the federal government wasn't as much involved as the state agencies here. nonetheless, government. and how ineffective they were. i mean, i think if i remember right the department of economic protection had their budget slash by a third -- >> exactly. >> -- in the years preceding
2:22 pm
this fracking year. >> exactly. yep. >> and how do we restore people's faith in government, in the ability that -- this notion that government actually is there to protect the most vulnerable? >> that is, that is the billion dollarueion, right? i mean, that -- what really, you know, what really fails the people in this book is the government, you know? the lawyers involved who take on this massive industry. john and kendra smith, who are remarkable human beings, kendra's background -- >> these are two local lawyers. they're husband and wife. >> exactly. and she is not a plaintiff lawyer, she is a corporate defense attorney for basically asbestos cases, exposure cases for the railroad. and she said to me many times, you know, a corporation will do what it does, but the government failure here, the government has a responsibility both state and federal. so how to even begin to address that. you know, as journalists we are
2:23 pm
often asked when we go and we do long-term projects that look at trouble in america or aced broad, well, what's the solution here? and the first solution is to understand the nature of the problem. and i hope it's not a copout to say that that's where the book begins. you know, it is as you said in the beginning, it's such a quiet story, you know? it is really a very -- it is, it's a daily tragedy. and it's befalling lots of americans. and so hopefully by paying attention to that, we can begin to understand the larger nature. >> i want to switch gears for a moment just as a colleague, nonfiction writer talk a little bit about process. >> yeah. >> one of the things i wanted to ask you, so you're a poet. >> yeah. >> i'm curious how your poetry or your inclination to write poetry, how it impacts your nonfiction writing. >> i don't know -- >> if at all, yeah. >> yeah. i think what poetry and
2:24 pm
nonfiction or reporting have in common is a very keen -- one is rewarded for a keen sense of paying attention so whether you're paying attention to the exterior landscape, the interior landscape, there is a real what's going on here, a honing of that skill of using the senses. and i think that definitely, that definitely corresponds. with the poetry, you know, the poetry is often what can't go on a page because it's just too uncertain. i often use the poems, i have a book of poems coming out next year, and i often use the poems to explore space where i'm implicated in ways that make me uncomfortable but i don't quite understand, that done really belong in someone else's story. like you, i'm a nonfiction writer who i'm not afraid of the i, i'm not afraid of the vertical pronoun. i don't embrace it all the time because i really see myself as,
2:25 pm
you know, a witness to other people's story. and their sensibility is the first priority. >> right. and the truth of the matter is you are in this book a little, but it's really in some ways purely for mechanical reasons. >> that's right. >> we don't really learn anything about you -- >> right. >> and that's as it should be, yeah. >> i mean, you and i are those old school types, that's what we believe, right? it's not a memoir, you know? it's their story. if i've done my right, we call it emerging recording, right? how do you hang around long enough to people forget you're there. and it's also i use the first perp, i use i when it would be disingenuous when i wasn't there. >> exactly. you're there to convey the scene, you can't do it without
2:26 pm
acknowledging your presence. >> no. it would be a trumped-up scene. >> so you spent a lot of time stacy and these a neighbors. i just know from my own personal experience, it's a hard process. people who have never told their satisfactories before, certainly never told them in this public way, there's this kind of implicit trust. so how do you reckon with that? how do you -- i mean, i know in the end your loyalty is to your reader. in fact, you dead candidate the book to the kids. >> to the kids, yeah, yeah. >> so clearly, they make a part of your life. >> they absolutely payment a part of -- they absolutely became a part of my life. it's incredibly complicated to spend a lot of time in people's lives. i've done a lot of what e call immersion reporting before, but for shorter periods of time where they also see the results much faster. stacy and her kids were in the
2:27 pm
battle for their lives, and they wanted somebody to be writing about that. and here i was showing up, and they really didn't know what i was doing, you know? that was really challenging. before, when i finished book i went down -- i'd never done this before -- with some pretty clear ground rules of we can't change anything that's factually accurate. i went and sat at stacy's kitchen table, and i read read her the entire book. >> you did? wow. >> i did. i thought i don't have the amount of time to show up in somebody's life of if i'm not going to take responsibility and sit face to face. [applause] >> how was that experience? >> thank you. i mean, it was pretty profound. and the thing about stacy that's remark -- i mean, she is a citizen hero in trump's america. her whole family vote for trump, these are her politics. and she didn't -- it was a response, she took a
2:28 pm
responsibility in listening to it. she didn't want to hear it. it wasn't like she was, like, great, there's a book about me. but she feels it's her responsibility to other people with children to be witnessed, to share what she's been through. >> and one of the beauties of this book is the intimacy and the empathy that comes across. i'm going to open it up to questions, but before i do i actually wanted to read -- >> yeah! >> i fawn other stacy. scrappy doesn't even do her justice. and there's this moment if i can find it. i marked it. oh, here. at some point she's forced to boon her farmhouse, so she leafs -- and one of the things that happens in this community when you leave your land is the calfenniers come and take all of the copper out of your home. so she left a note for the scan gers. and i will avoid --
2:29 pm
>> to the ignorant, and i will leave this blank, who keep breaking into my house, it's bad enough my children and i have been homeless for two and a half years. your greediness has cost me over $35,000 in damages, and the bank has put a forced insurance of $5,000 on my mortgage. so as of january 1st, my mortgage payment goes up $500 a month. i hope you feel good about what you have done, and i hope you know the contamination in this house causes cancer. so keep coming back, you losers, i hope you rot with cancer. and when you're spending all your scrap money, i hope you think about what you're taking away from my children. i love that. so with that, let's open it up to questions, people. anybody? we have a microphone over here. >> hi.
2:30 pm
thanks for the presentation. could you spend a little bit more on the elements of the failure of the government in this case? i mean, was it political headwinds? was it underbudgeted? >> sure. so there are multiple layers of government failure within the book. on the sort of the highest level or the highest state level, the governor at the time, tom corbett, he brings forward amendments to the state's oil and gas law. .. the oil and gas laws saying that local towns in pennsylvania are incredibly strong. the governments are very resilient and one thing that
2:31 pm
makes pennsylvania different than say, texas, is that when fracking came to town little townships would say you cannot have that many trucks on the road at this time of night, you have to be a little bit further from the stream. they put forward rules. and the governor put forward a law that said, you guys will no longer have the right, the local governments, to have any rules at all. we will decide on a state level where these companies can work and where they can't and what they can do. in response that you get a little more money. pennsylvania still has the lowest, right now it is the lowest tax, the lowest payback from industry. it is pathetic. anyway, this goes before the legislature and the lawyers having seen what actually happened up close, when fracking came to town, decide with some other attorneys
2:32 pm
across the state of pennsylvania, to take on the government legal amendment. and so, they took this case all the way up to the state supreme court. and they said, we need to have the right as small towns, to make rules that govern the oil and gas drillers for two reasons. first, we have the responsibility to protect their own citizens. and second, and the pennsylvania state constitution, there is was called the environmental amendment.which gives people the right to clean air and pure water. it is been on the books since 1972.it has never been a case before and they fight this fight and the conservative supreme court in pennsylvania decides in their favor. they decide that yes, absolutely, pennsylvanians have the right to clean air and pure water. and that the governor has no
2:33 pm
right to violate that. that is really the principal win in the book. it is pretty helpful. and the chief justice he was a conservative republican and a vietnam veteran, who actually lost his leg, stands up and he quotes stacy's story and that decision. and for stacy, watching the law change based on her experience, she believes after having her kids it is the most important thing she has ever done. so that is just one layer of government failure. the idea that the government would be willing to sell out the small towns. another on a day-to-day level, has to do with the very basic issue of public poverty. the department of environmental protection in pennsylvania is woefully underfunded. and understaffed. and in the book, one of the characters is actually standing there while a dep employee asks
2:34 pm
an oil and gas employee if there any jobs available. because estate impact, which is the local npr in the state of pennsylvania has an excellent job tracing the revolving door between working for the dep or state agency and working for private industry. there is so little money and being a regulator that with this knowledge, people go into private industry. that is another level of government failure. the regulation is terrible. people are overwhelmed. they do not have the money to go out and do the regulations properly. and the book does deal with some pretty technical aspects because to really read the book responsibility you have got, when the guard and test, this has changed because smith exposed it. when the dep would come out and test for what's in your water for possible oil and gas contamination, they were
2:35 pm
testing for a wide range of possible contaminants. but they were only reporting a very small number of what they found. even the guy who came out and read the water results to you would not know if the rest of these constituents were in the water because the test results were incomplete. i could go on and on but it gives a little bit of a sense. >> i just want to say, he talked about some of the book is technical but i don't think it really does it justice. in fact the very opening moment in this book is the most beautiful, lucid explanation of fracking i have ever read. anyway, please, next. >> yes. there is a certain thing about actually deciding all right, i've written this book and will publish it now. but it still seems that there might be more to the story. are you expecting there to be
2:36 pm
follow-up or further activity going on in this area? >> in this area? yes. >> i asorr area, both philosophically and geographically. >> practically where stacy and her neighbors live, yes, there is industry going on. the book, i do not want to say all that happens, they do come to a settlement which, the terms of which are undisclosed. don't ow what they are. but i can say i do know they are frustrated and disappointed. and so, but the book, they have settled by the end of the book and you can learn more about that. >> i think part of the question is wondering whether what kind of impact the book might have. is that? >> well, yes. because amy clearly here is, and he said it was just going, he was being published right now.
2:37 pm
so here we are and this is the finite point. >> yes. >> but it doesn't seem to me that the story is over. >> no, no. the story is far from over. and you are exactly right. the book, this is an interesting time. and i am handling with a really sensitive understanding of what's going on. and with great responsibility to do so accurately. because the book does have impact on peoples lives. and i really do not want the book to become some sort of political position when the story as was said it is so muc more important than that. so the impact of the book will have, the ongoing development in these areas, these are open questions. >> i came into the room
2:38 pm
thinking, what is she going to do now after this? because i didn't read the book but i did read the 10th parallel which i found stunning. and i thought, where she going to go? but then all of this came up and wondering whether you thought you would be following up on this or if this was >> 100 percent. that is within the alice and i could have another discussion about. what are one's responsibilities to people after the fact? i will tell yorit now that there is an incredible young activist, she is amazing. her name is veronica. i wrote about her in the new yorker. she looked me in the eye and she would never have taken me into her home and talked to me if i had not spent all this time in the area. she's just not interested in journalists dropping in and leaving. and she said to me in the course of our time together,
2:39 pm
you know, resources aren't the only thing that can be exploited. stories can be exploited to. and what i saw and that is what is my responsibility i mean i really feel this way. and that is i hope our work. but what are my responsibility to return to a place. so, what we did, veronica and i, is i will go back to washington. i would if there has ever been a book tour in washington in this particular way. but we will do an event to sharstories with the people thate em because what does it mean to come to an area and you can say the same of sudan or somalia. you go and you show up and do i just become one more person taping? how do people benefit from having their stories told? >> thank you. >> so you're going back into a reading. >> on june 20 i'm in washington
2:40 pm
and june 21 i will be in pittsburgh. >> are you nervous? >> yeah! but you know, yes. that is my responsibility. so i will stand up and do it. >> i like to tell people, you're really anxious about how your book will be received. how the critics will view it and readers but in the end, really the most angst is really about the people you have written about and how they will respond to what you've written and how you have made sense of their lives. i suspect you read the book for stacy you probably have not read it for everybody. and another number fairly >> and really different points of view. and that was my responsibility to make sure that i went out and got the different points of view. of course, what we know as it requires people keep talking to you. right? there was one amazing farmer. unfortunately, he is a
2:41 pm
remarkable character but he is no longer with us. he ran a barber salon on his family land. and he is a cattle farmer. his family is involved in ministry. the first time i showed up there, he said where are you from? i said, i am from new york city. knowing that would not go over terribly well. but i'm from philadelphia. thinking as a fellow pennsylvania girl, it might turn me some points. and he said that his two strikes against you! [laughter] it is not easy reporting this book. it took some doing. >> thank you for being here. i'm curious about the role of environmental groups in the story and assuming that many of the urban, oral divide is present in that part of activism. are any of the particular -- are there any better at job handling? >> that is a good question. the organization is the center
2:42 pm
for justice, it is both human and environmental. and part of the reason that we have an event in washington is that it is very difficult to get environmentalists who live in the big city which is pittsburgh, one hour aw. to come out and show up. but here is the complexity. for stacy, and for other people who support fracking and have made a good deal of money off of it in the area, the idea that urban environmentalists would come out wagging their fingers, right at them, the ability to sign an oil and gas lease peer when the lease is the only reason they're able to hold onto the farms, it is amazing to say the least. so again, getting on the easy political position really investing in peoples lives, listening for the both sides and i think is our duty as americans. and i think in terms of the environmental groups doing a better job and not as effective
2:43 pm
jobs, we can talk after about that. i don't really want to name names because of course, my reporting is not, have done a deep dive in that with some investigation into the particularly and i woul want to havemissed something. >> did you have another question? >> i wanted to know how you see your book and the whole question of fracking on a much larger perspective of the degradation of the earth and the united states and in the world. i mean is a huge question but especially given who is the head of the epa now and how dangerous that has become. and how do you see, you just talk a little bit about it but i would like to hear your perspective on it. and alan as well. >> okay. so let me just think about that for a minute. you know, the way in which --
2:44 pm
one of the very basic problems with fracking in this book is simply how close it is done to peoples houses. right? could you build any industrial site 300 feet, 800 feet from somebody's house where 200 diesel trucks go by on a dirt road every day? i cannot imagine a situation in which that is even possible. right? so, do we need to look at more defined structures of industrial processes near peoples houses? that will be one basic question. i hope i am answering your question. essentially, here's the deal. the epa has been gutted for a very long time. it is not just under the trump administration that we see major budget cuts. that actually endangers peoples lives. now what is going on is absolute travesty. an absolute travesty. that is not really a political position. i think people on both sides of
2:45 pm
the aisle would support this. it's a real problem for america. not just because of the daily removing of regulations, but what is the impact in the longer term. i think i will leave it that. >> i think much of the damage being done is irreversible. >> yes, that's the problem. >> in part, that is what makes your book so absolutely essential in these times. it is an extra ordinary book. i love it just in part because eliza in this book, i sense as a writer, where she ends up in this but the beauty of the book is a story, a narrative and as a reader you can feel swept away on this journey with stacy and her family and her neighbors and left to your own devices to figure ore y land at the end of it. i would just urge people to pick up a copy.
2:46 pm
>> thank you. i think we have time for, we definitely have time for. okay one more. a false ending. request this is a hardball one, i can tell. >> can you talk about the challenges that arose when you read the 10th panel in comparison to this one? >> i will answer this with complete objectivity. that is a very good question. i would say the main difference, i found it harder to be really honest reporting in appalachia and i didn't say, eastern congo. and one of the reasons is because i am implicated in the story. in a way that of course i am with the un and u.s. foreign policy abroad. but come home to america and go out to communities where i rely on resources without thinking very much about the communities that supply them, one of the
2:47 pm
amazing pieces that i had no idea before writing this book is the history of the rural and urban divide. it really begins in pennsylvania. because of time i will keep it brief but with scots irish settlers going to settle the frontier, stretching all the way back to the revolutionary war just before. so the history of the tension lies there and shows up as a good old quaker from pennsylvania. my family had lived on the same land since 1700s. and washington's troops had camped on my family's land and i showed up out there and it was not really history where george washington led an army against the people of washington county. the first and only time a president has done so. as a place of the federal government is not loved. let's say that. >> thank you so much, that was
2:48 pm
wonderful. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you all for attending today's program. books can be signed and purchased in the auditorium. [inaudible conversations] >> you just heard from eliza griswold on the effects of fracking on a small town in pennsylvania. in a few minutes we will be back with more live coverage from the 2018 printers row lit fest.
2:49 pm
>>. >> hundreds of author programs throughout the country. here's a look at some that we will be coming this week. monday we are at the new york public library to hear cultura critic and writer, roxanne talk about a discussion of first-person essay she edited on sexual assault, harassment and rape. then on tuesday will be at the -- free library in baltimore where rutgers university history professor will recount desegregation of america's public schools through the actions of young african-american women. and on thursday we will be in washington d.c. at politics and prose bookstore for abcnews dan abrams talk on abraham lincoln' last legal case. a murder defense of 22-year-old, hariston. in 1859. that is a look at some of the events booktv will be covering this week. many of these events are open to the public. look for them to air in the near future on booktv on c-span2. >> i first heard that the
2:50 pm
president had immediately accepted the offer of kim jong-un to meet, my first reaction was what is he doing? then i said nothing else has worked, because frankly, maybe they do have it. i would just say the following if i were, talking to folks you have to manage this. the first thing is, we do know that there's a north korean pattern. the last to try and negotiate on the north koreans was the father. we know that there is a north korean pattern. they get in trouble, they get isolated, sanctioned start to bite and then they go on and come to the table, make promises and do not live up to them. or as what happened with us, they live up to a number of promises like dismantling or other things or you then you want to have a highly enriched hidden uranium program that
2:51 pm
they will not admit to and you have to and negotiations. it's not a good history with the north koreans. the clinton administration -- there are a couple of things that look different to me. kim jong-un is a different leader. maybe that's it. i do think because north korea was getting close to a capability to be able to reach the territory of the united states with a nuclear weapon that people began to take the american president more seriously when he said that's not acceptable. it is one thing to say that and i know it is not good from an alliance management standpoint but it was one thing when the threat was regional. it is another when it threatens california or alaska. i think people including the chinese began to take more seriously, that that the united states might actually go to war. i actually think and we have changed and the secretary of state and i think secretarial pump there will be a good secretary but let's give rex
2:52 pm
tillerson credit. for the isolation campaign that he organized against north koreans. including the expulsion north korean workers in 20 countries that was hard currency for the regime. the regime was also starting to run ouofspare parts, military spare parts and by the way, some of the luxury goods, one of the most effective sanctions we have war on brandy and cigars. because that is what the regime wanted. so this at the table there, and i think in a very effective way. the question is, how do now deliver and i would say three things. the first is, remember that others have equities here. like the japanese. so be very careful not to around secondly, i would say, take your time. do not be too quick to promise things like removal of american
2:53 pm
military forces because american military forces on the korean peninsula are stabilizing force not just for the korean peninsula but for the region as a whole. be ceful about the structure. then the third point, kim jong-un and that regime never forget the nature of who you are dealing with. this is a regime that murdered an american less than one year ago. this is a regime where the leader killed his half-brother he was under chinese protections in malaysia using gas. this is the country that has death camps for its own people. and so, never forget who you are actually dealing with here. but if you can get inspectors on the ground, do it. our intelligence in north korea is never terribly good. inspectors on the ground can matter. take your time and one other thing, do not try to negotiate at the table with kim jong-un. let the experts do that.
2:54 pm
>> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. booktv is on twitter and facebook. and we want to hear from you. tweet us, twitter.com/booktv. or post a comment on our facebook page, facebook.com/booktv. >> look, the ethos of texas, look -- look at this another way. travel outside this country. and ask somebody to describe an american to you. and the image that they will conjure somewhere in the back of their mind is very much texan. very much the image we all have. of the cowboy. it is very much that image of
2:55 pm
the individual. that is really not been the case for 100 years. in texas. that has not been who you really are, it has not been who we really are. as americans for 100 years. we are a largely urban country. and you are the fastest urbanizing state in it. but there are values that need to be preserved. their interests that need to be preserved going forward. there does, there is going to have to be a reckoning. you guys all know what rule of capture is, right? i do not to explain that to anybody? there is going to need to be a
2:56 pm
reckoning. on rule of capture. and not just here folks. we may be the only western state that does a good portion but another good portion still does it. there has to be a reckoning. there will be some discussions. about the responsibility that comes with that right. and that probably is going to have to take place. at30,000 feet. that probably is going to have to take place. from the perspective of the entire state. looking at this entire empire of texas as a system. looking at this entire empire of texas -- the problem we have in texas has never been that you did not have enough water. it has always been that you did not have enough water where you needed it and too much where you didn't. and that is a holistic problem.
2:57 pm
and the only way to do that, the only way to approach that is to try and find some mechanism to balance the needs and the rights of the individual with the responsibilities of the larger state. that has happened and it has happened here in texas. i would argue that to a great extent, the edwards aquifer was a model. not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. but a model for how the interests could be brought into alignment. we all know how that happened. that happened because the one thing that unites texans is the
2:58 pm
fact that they do not want federal government to do anything and it was the threat of federal action that turned around and created the opportunity. for the edwards. i think it is one step further -- >> please. >> it is in 50 years since texas last really, took a top down approach in trying to address the water problem. you guys know about the 1968 texas state water plan. it would have re-plumbed the entire state of texas paid that was a water plan that would have channeled the mississippi river all the way across the northern part of the state and all the way down to the rio grande valley would have
2:59 pm
created a system of reservoirs and energy per the waters of the mississippi would have reached albuquerque, new mexico. the governor was an advocate of that plan. marvin nichols was an advocate of that plan. and when the governor was trying to sell the plan, one of the things that he used to sell the plan, was that if we don't do this, the federal government will. now that plan failed. but you know how many it failed by? it failed by 6000 and change. in other words, there are more people at this today then accounted for the margin by which that lost. i'm not saying that necessarily would have been an answer. i think it would have created a
3:00 pm
bunch of problems that we had not anticipated. there were a lot of reasons to turn around and oppose the creation of a network of reservoirs across a parched land. that was really the last time an approach was taken from the top down and maybe we need to revisit that. >> eco-watches and other programs online at booktv.org. >> hello, good afternoon everyone and welcome to the 34th annual chicago tribune -- thank you to all of our process. they will be broadcast live on c-span2. booktv. if there is a time at the end
3:01 pm
of for q&a with the author, we ask that you please use the microphone located to the center of the room. so that the home viewing audience can hear you. we ask you salinger said phones and turn off camera flashes. please welcome today's moderator, peter kendall, managing editor of the chicago tribune. >> thank you. [applause] thank you for coming to lit fest and thank you to the volunteers helping make lit fest happen. i'm here with jackie davis, a professor of history at the university of florida. he, before the book that we are going to talk about, he wrote a book on marjory stoneman douglas. published in 2009. he grew up on the gulf coast. that he now writes so well about. he is currently writing a book on bald eagles. we're looking forward to seeing that. "the gulf" which we'll talk about here, won a prize and also won the 2018 pulitzer
3:02 pm
prize. there is only one book every year that goes to. the new york times called it eeping through the wall street journal called it lyrical, inspiring, chilling story of the american. one review said is an important environmental history of the gulf of mexico that brings crucial attention to earth 10th largest body of water p1 of the planets most diverse and productive marine ecosystems. that was from the pulitzer prize judges. when you embarked on this, here is the book here. when you embarked on this, what were you trying to write? what was the book that you thought needed to be written? >> let me also say thank you to everyone who showed up on this rainy day. i do not know if i would come out for me but -- i very much appreciate it. peter, thank you very much for
3:03 pm
agreeing to do this. and reading the book so closely. what i was hoping to accomplish with this book was related to the bp oil spill. i was writing the history of the gulf of mexico before this. i was not quite sure how to approach it. then the bill happened. itave me my jective. and that was to write a book that was not about the oil spill. but to infect reclaim the identity of the gulf of mexico because i believe 87 day in 2010 which it was headline news, each and every one of those days, it had robbed the goal for this identity and -- it robbed the gulf of its identity. americans know primarily as this oil sump or a vacation spot and i wanted my readers to know that the gulf of mexico was much more than that. had this rich and wonderful
3:04 pm
history that is part of the larger american historical narrative but it is not written in what we call survey textbooks assigned in colleges and high schools, you can check the index and are lucky to find the gulf even mentioned. if it is, is only mentioned in passing within the book itself. and so i wanted to integrate the gulf of mexico with american history. >> why is that? you make a very forceful argument that it is america's sea. why is it was so reluctant? >> i think in part, after blame my colleagues, fellow historians for this. but historically, there has been, within academia, this focus on with regard to american history, focus on new england and virginia and the gulf region is largely ignored in part because it was
3:05 pm
originally settled by the spanish. and they do not figure into that legacy, if you will. saint augustine, which is the oldest existing european city within the united states is hardly even mentioned in textbooks as well. >> so the architecture of the book is set up around what you call truth. it is set up it seems you write about people, you write about history and you write about nature. and you bring them all together. mostly through the stories of people. you tell stories of people and get at these other issues. one of the people, you want to to do this to these gorgeous segments on the indians there. you have an ethnographer and we learned about this through him.
3:06 pm
tells either about him or the calusa. >> frank hamilton was in ethnologist in the 19th century and considered an expert on the zuni or western indians. and in 1895 and 1890s a couple of times, because some artifacts were discovered done there, they were quite by accident and clarity how to understand and 1890s was still very much frontier. there weren't very many people living in florida particularly south florida. either white or indian. and so he was dispatched to take a look at these artifacts and suspected that there was something really important in southwest florida and a full expedition followed.
3:07 pm
and he unearthed with some anthropologists and archaeologists describe as the most valuable and the most complete archaeological find in the academy. and he discovered these people who indigenous people that had lived on the gulf coast from approximately 8000 years or even longer. and these were sedentary people meaning they stayed in one place. but they were hunter gatherers. they did not grow crops which was highly unusual to be hunter gatherers and not nomadic. but they did not to go anywhere. they did not have to follow their game because it all came to them in his wonderfully rich estuaries. so stepping into the water and catching. so when cushing gets there in the 19th century there's no one living there. when the spanish got there in
3:08 pm
the 16th century there were tens of thousands of people. >> that's right. >> when the spaniards meet the calusa, they are quite impressed. >> they are very impressed. and ponce de leon was the first to meet them. it's interesting you may recall from the book is that the spanish did not know they would encounter any because they did not know who lived there and but the calusa knew about the spanish. because they were seafaring people, and so, rumors have circulated about these conquistadors killing everybody in the caribbean and so they were waiting for someone like ponce de leon to come along. in 1513, he returned and 21 and did not learn his lesson. the calusa shot him in the thigh with a poison dart.
3:09 pm
poison from the sap of a native tree. and his men took him back to cuba to havana where he died of the wound. >> that was when 100 years and that was ultimately because of the visitation of spanish and others. >> you are talking about the spanish being impressed by the coastal indians and the gulf of mexico. largely because they were tolerating the spanish. these were people who took the majority of their protein from the sea. the spanish french and british as well were very impressed by the height of these people, the physical bustness. they were also quite intolerant of the european -- and wisdom. what ended up wiping out an aboriginal people of the golf course were primarily the european. that was one great
3:10 pm
accomplishment of the hernando desoto expedition, the four-year expedition around the gulf coast. he was there searching for gold and silver. he found none of that. but what he did do was he spread european diseases mainly, smallpox and measles. that opened up and killed off majority of the native peoples. that made it easier in later years for the spanish and the french to settle in the region. >> this is an environmental social history. one of the lessons of the book, one of the themes is that people disregard what's in front of them.they don't understand the very nature of the gulf and the gulf coast. the spanish, they meet these indigenous people who are robust, healthy. they think they are giants because they are so well fed. yet they did not understand
3:11 pm
where it was coming from. >> that's right. one particular expedition, that started off in 1528. launching out of havana and the expedition was supposed to end up in mexico. but they ended up in tampa. completely other side of the gulf of mexico. they ended up in this eight year odyssey starting out with men the odyssey around the gulf of mexico starting from tampa bay. finally making their way to mexico. they finished with only four survivors. they start along -- they starved along the way. even some committed cannibalism. the gulf of mexico is one of the richest environment. everything they needed to support themselves but
3:12 pm
historians spec litigated, why did they starve when there are so many oysters or crabs? storm crabs, these delicacies we consider. everywhere. fish in the r, thejust stopped in their tracks.yet, they are starving and why? one said they did not like seafood. and but, they like human flesh? and, but many of these spanish explorers, conquistadors were from inland spain. so they really did not, they were not fishing people.and so they did not know to harvest seafood. they knew how to steal it from the native peoples. but they did not know how to harvest it. >> we are back in the 16th century now but your book comes right up today and it includes a lot of development issues. people from chicago, we got
3:13 pm
onto florida, and a very developed stripmall, we call them condo canyons. but it is the same lesson ultimately. how did development come into florida in sucha way that it harmed the gulf and the gulf coast? >> we should point out that th , most of the growth comes after world war ii. it is explosive. on the mississippi coast, the texas coast and on the texas coast there is a lot of course that is industrial. what is very interesting is that i write about, i devote one of the chapters to hurricanes in the book. one of the things i found in researching hurricanes in the
3:14 pm
gulf of mexico is, after these big, devastating hurricanes, there is almost in every case, a building boom that follows. real estate prices, decline significant. local chambers of commerce, local officials are eager to get the ecomy up and running so they created -- to bring developers in to help them restore the place. and americans particularly those in florida, have short historical memories. and despite the fact that this hurricanes such as the one in 1969 just leveled mississippi gulf coast. they quickly forget about those tragedies. those disasters. and people move in and force. and they develop. >> so, one thing that you write very beautifully about in the book, is the estuaries. and the mangroves. and i as a person who often go
3:15 pm
to florida once every couple of years, have no appreciation for the mangroves. help us understand why, you obviously spent some time in the book writing about them. the mangroves and the estuaries. why do think it's important for people to understand those and how it works? >> the gulf of mexico is one of the most productive commercial fisheries in the country. outperforming the entire east coast in certain years and the reason why is 80 percent of all domestic shrimp are from the go. 40 percent of the oysters. and the reason why is the estuaries. that circle the gulf of mexico. and they concentrate around the five u.s. states which is one reason why i focus on the five u.s. states. >> was an estuary? >> and estuary is more or less a cradle for, a birthing area and cradle for sea life. for marine life. crabs and fish and the oysters,
3:16 pm
of course. and in shallow water it is a combination of fresh and saltwater. 85 percent of the fresh water that runs through the gulf of mexirirs runs th the five u.s. states and you need that combination for the environment. and for instance on the florida west coast, some 95 percent of fish that you would catch offshore spent part of their life in this environment. the giant goliath grouper which every commercial and sport fishermen is dying to hook 300 and 400 pound fish within the first four or five years in those ephedrine environments. mangroves are part of that. they create habitr marine life and also feeding ground for marine life. also habitats and that is what
3:17 pm
brings them to the shore. >> parts of the book, you talk about other historians. i did not realize that they were beach historians. which sounds like a great gig! and angling historians. but it turns out that it isn't the grouper but another fish that is very important to the development of the gulf and people using it. >> yes, right about the history of sportfishing in the gulf of mexico. which is a billion-dollar industry today, by the way. another reason the estuaries are so important. we think about vacationing on the gulf coast, we think about the beautiful beaches and but the beaches were not what attracted the first tourists. it is fishing and one particular. the first person to hook it on record a tarpon, was an
3:18 pm
architect from new york in 1885. everybody knew, all of the sportfishing community wanted to catch a tarpon because he knew would be wonderful fighting fish paid 150 or 200 pound fish. they would harpoon it before they hooked it. and they were tied off and have the fish towed the skip around while it is doing all of these aerial acrobatics. finally, they hooked the first tarpon in 1885 and sets the sportfishing world on fire. people from the northeast and midwest and from the british isles converge on the gulf coast primarily south southern texas and southwest florida because they want to hook this. they want to be able to go deep sea fishing catching fish without having to go to the deep sea. you can do it with a tarpon in the spring because it come into the estuaries and again, that is the beginning.
3:19 pm
to me at this. in ose thys, texans were saying we have bigger tarpon. because everything is bigger in texas. we want a better fight, come to texas. and midwesterners, some said to go to texas. >> your book is organized a lot around characters. who is your favorite character in the book? >> my favorite character is the first one i wrote about in the book. but does not appear until chapter 12 because it is the first chapter i wrote. walter anderson, anyone in here ever hear of walter anderson by chance? i highly recommend googling his work. he lived until 1965nd he spent most of his last 20 years of his life on barrier islands off the coast of mississippi and louisiana. painting the wildlife, keeping
3:20 pm
a log. he was semi-reckless. he felt most at home out on his barrier islands. which were not occupied by humans only by wildlife.and his artwork is just phenomenal. he was just a delight, his values, they are similar to my own values. his ecological and environmental -- he, yes. i think that is a fair way to describe him. he had a family. who did not join him on the island. he was not present for the birth of anyone of those children. who all, by the way today, love him. they understood his need to be alone here they understood his artistic genius. requiring this seclusion and he
3:21 pm
was not very comfortable around humans. when he was on the islands, if he saw a boat come along, it would pave him because he wanted to be alone. he did not want to see civilization. >> he sort of your, you tell a story of barrier islands, ultimately. >> that's right. >> you write about horn island. is that right? >> yes.>> and it ends up getting into the clutches of the defense department. >> right. >> and they explode a botulism bomb on this island. and the ark of that story i found incredibly engaging. this guy goes to get away and you see what happens and how this island is degraded. in so many different ways, including the bizarre detonation of a botulism bomb. it does not work. >> it does not work.
3:22 pm
during world war ii the military seized control of some barrier islands in the gulf of mexico. one of them was an island which they used to train war dogs. i love the irony. that was unsuccessful and but, horn island, they were using to test biological warfare and perhaps, develop it and they realize that they could not do this because they soon realized they could not do this they develop the island for developing biological weapons because the direction that the wind blew and that they would jeopardize potentially the health of the population on shore. so instead, they converted the island into incinerating, as you have indicated. incinerating captured enemy biological weapons. they ended up doing that but they also, without disclosing just to anybody for some 30 years, they also dumped a lot of german biological weapons to
3:23 pm
the gulf of mexico. >> oil is usually important as to the gulf. the story -- >> it is very important to the u.s. economy. >> not necessarily -- >> right to request the discovery of oil, -- >> i loved writing about that. even when you're not certain about history, that is the story in itself. that is the story and so, way back, a texas rancher was allegedly fishing out in a bayou. then he saw bubbles and he remembered that they were
3:24 pm
exploring the coast and then when they flits that they light a match. and if it flamed up then that meant natural gas. which usually meant there was oil below. so he lit a match over the bubbles and his match did, in fact, and flame. and so, that is allegedly the beginning of offshore oil drilling in the gulf of mexico. the first drill, oil rig, out of sight of land did go down in the gulf of mexico in 1947 off the coast of louisiana. and i have a teaser here. there is a direct relationship between the 1947 oil rig, the very first out of sight of land oil rig and jimmy stewart, the actor. if you want to know the answer, you have to read the book. >> what has oil done for the gulf? what has oil expiration done?
3:25 pm
it does different things for different parts of the gulf. but the gulf coast? >> a number of oil companies that exist today, were born on the gulf coast. and so, it has been economically, it has been a real boom for the oil industry and for a number of people that live on the gulf coast, fairly steady in the oil industry. and so, economically, it has been good for many people. but it is also been environmentally disruptive and it is not the offshore oil rig, the gas rigs that are the most destructive. what is the real culprit in the oil industry is the onshore infrastructure. which we do not usually hear about. oil spills such as the bp oil
3:26 pm
spill generate a lot of publicity. right? it is a big news event. and they're easy to respond to when there's an oil spill. generally bp may be an exception. but what is going on on shore every day, is an environmental disaster as far as the onshore support infrastructure. it is an environmental disaster that exceeds that. the largest concentration of coastal marshes in the country, nearly unequaled across the globe, there are 10,000 miles of oil industry canals cutting through this estrin environment. that 10,000 miles, can you imagine that? just on the louisiana coast. and for the pipelines to run the boats, and these canals are
3:27 pm
contributing significantly to the erosion of the louisiana coast. louisiana is the only state in the country that is drilling smaller. geographically. >> how much smaller? >> louisiana is losing essentially, the size of the island of manhattan per year. so 25 to 30 square miles. >> and the erosion problem there, there were other erosion problems around the gulf coast. i was reading up on the past couple of days. you live in gainesville. i saw the use of the future waterfront property in gainesville. right is landlocked. and i like to say that my daughter will inherit waterfront property right smack in the middle of the state. level rise is significant. but five of the most vulnerable metropolitan areas are located
3:28 pm
on the u.s. coast. and but the other thing that contributes to erosion is engineering projects.and the loss of the mangrove, the living shoreline generally, our best defense against sea level rise is not concrete seawall spirit which actually contributes. but the restoration of the shoreline. the oyster beds, coastal marshes and mangrove, they mitigate, they do the best job at mitigating the impact. at the same time, they absorb a lot of carbon out of the carbon dioxide appeared out of the atmosphere but also out of the water. where as a concrete seawall will emit carbon dioxide for
3:29 pm
thousand years. >> here in illinois, again, we get down there every now and then. how culpable are we for some of the things that the problems that the gulf faces? >> we are all culpable. i wrote this book for a general audience. and i wrote it for an american audience. i wanted to remind, i want the readers to know that americans, all americans have a connection to the gulf of mexico. whether you vacation there or not. whether you have a family member that lives in the gulf coast or not. and that everyone is connected to the gulf. historically and ecologically. i said earlier 85 percent of freshwater that runs through the gulf of mexico runs through the five gulf states. and that water comes from a long way away. the mississippi river -- the
3:30 pm
rivers that run through the five u.s. states draining nearly 80 percent of the continental us. so anything you put down on the ground that makes its way to a stream or to a river will make its way down to the gulf coast. and the gulf coast has, the gulf of mexico dead zone pair not the largest dead zone in the world but probably the best known. i discovered a direct connection between that dead zone and baby boom era, saturday morning cartoon commercials. ... >> on the gulf coast. the beautiful, stunning white beaches in florida, they come, that sediment originally came
3:31 pm
from the ap a lay chan -- appalachian mountains. how many of you have seen a louisiana beach? ugliest beaches in the world, aren't they? i'm sorry, louisiana, but you folks know. as brown as the carpet in here. if you've ever seen a plowed field in iowa, that's the future louisiana beach. there's not much attractive about that. but you go over to texas, and those beaches are pink and yellow and tan because that sediment comes from as far away as the rocky mountains. so we're all connected. >> and then florida, florida beaches, you point out, are there, it's really when you're looking at the beach, you're really looking at tax dollars. >> you are, because florida beaches erode. and the state of florida pays, spends millions and millions of dollars each year. i've forgotten the exact number, i think $65-84 million each year
3:32 pm
to restore those beaches. and, of course, that's the tourist economy. but 85 percent of erosion is caused by human activity; engineering projects around the gulf coast. and whether it be a bridge or a causeway, an inlet, a jetty or a channel or a ca that would cut -- canal can cut for shipping. the mississippi coastline, the beautiful white beach on the mississippi is completely artificial. and that's a built beach. >> so what do you see as the future of the gulf? a lot of the -- when we go down there,e see the development, the shoreline seems like it's permanent now, and a lot of it's concrete. what do you see as the future? >> well, despite all the doom and gloom we've shared here, i am optimistic about this future for the gulf. and there are, there have been a
3:33 pm
lot of -- and i try not to be all doom and gloom in the book because there are a lot of success stories. i have a lot of heroes in the book who have done much over the decades to restore those estuary environments. we almost lost every bay and bayou on the gulf coast by the 1970s because of the raw sewage that was coming down those rivers but also pumped into the water locally and industrial waste as well. and then those engineering prompts. but through volunteer groups for local, federal and state policy, we were able to bring those bays and bayous back to life. and so a lot -- and that requires a lot of volunteer effort. that continues, that continues today. and people love the gulf of mexico. and i've discovered that with this book. i had hoped that this book would help raise awareness, and i've been honored, flattered and pleasantly surprised that it has.
3:34 pm
and wherever i go to talk about the gulf, people are extremely enthusiastic about it. they love it. and so americans really do care about the gulf of mexico. and so that, all of that gives me hope. >> so you are a ustorian. >> yes. -- a historian. >> yes. >> you are not an activist. >> only through the writing. if you want to -- >> i mean, i'm curious about that. i'm curious about how see the relationship between being a historian and being an a academic, an activist. >> you know, i find it very hard. well, as a writer, i'm an introvert. and so i'm not as comfortable around groups like that. i love those people, i support them, i love to talk to them because i get energy from them. but i'm not an organizer. for instance. and i'm not a guy who gets on the phone and asks people to donate, you know, help support this group or that group or, you
3:35 pm
know, who talks to a politician or a policymaker. i'm not that kind of person. so my contribution, i like to think, you know, however minor it may be is through the things i write about. and, i mean, one reason why i'm writing the eagle book, the cultural and natural history of the eagle, is i want to be able to write -- i want to be able to speak to not just the choir. i want to be able to speak to the fox news listeners about the environment. i want to have a conversation with those folks as well. and what better, you know, what better subject in which to do that than the bald eagle, you know? because you may not be a tree hugger, but you embrace the national bird, right? and you're proud of it and you protect it. >> right. >> and both, and it's required both of red, white and blue americans and those tree huggers to bring the eagle back to life
3:36 pm
again in the lower u.s. >> when are we going to see that book? >> i'm hoping -- i told my publisher i'd have it to him by january 2020, and it's usually a year after. but since the news of the pulitzer on april 16th, my life is not my own. and so i haven't been able to spend much time on eagle book. but i'm -- >> that's not a bad problem to have. >> no, it's not a bad problem. again, i'm honored and i'm flattered. and the -- but i'm hoping a 2021 publication. same publisher who did a wonderful job with the gulf book, i think. >> as i was reading this book, and you tell so many stories. it covers so much ground both in terms of time and people and geography. be -- how does it come together? how do you do that work. >> that's a good question. and i approached this book differently from the way aapproached previous books. you know, nonfiction writers tend to create these very detailed outlines, chapter by
3:37 pm
chapter outlines. and i used to be like that, but i'm kind of lazy. and it just didn't -- and they'll stick to them, you know? they'll stick very closely. the way i approached this book is my outline turned out to be post-its that i would stick on my file cabinet for each chapter. i'd write down ideas i wanted to address in the chapter, and i would put them on my file cabinet which gave me the opportunity to move them around or add to them or subtract from them easily enough. and i'd have a very general idea of how i wanted the chapter to look, but nothing that was forcing me to stick to the numbers, if you will. and i found that as i was sitting down and writing every day -- and i write every day -- as i was writing every day that the history was showing me how it wanted to be written. and it was exposing surprises to me almost every day. interesting characters would emerge i wasn't aware of.
3:38 pm
i didn't realize about louis sullivan, you know, the great skyscraper, chicago architect had a one-story house, vacation house down on the mississippi gulf coast until i started writing about the mississippi gulf coast. i said, i've got to use him. i've got to include him. i didn't know about the connection between tobasco sauce and gulf of mexico until i started writing about birds. and i certainly didn't know about tobasco sauce's connection to early 19th century bird conservation. and so you know how fiction writers -- >> right now everybody's trying to figure that out. >> well, you have to read the book. [laughter] >> about tobasco sauce. it's not as a condiment for birds. >> no, not as a condiment for birds. but you know how fiction writers will say their characters will show them the way through their stories and to the end. that's what was happening as i was writing this book. and i also found myself writing just not historical narrative,
3:39 pm
but doing, you know, rachel carson's style, if you will, nature writing. and that's what this history demanded. >> are we -- we're going to go to questions here? all right. if there's anybody who has a question, you can go over to the microphone, if you would. >> [inaudible] >> it's right there, right in front of you. >> go to the steps and turn right. >> my name is george swimmer, and i grew up in key west, florida, in the early '50s. and key west was an unusually frontier-type town in the early '50s. the main industry was probably shrimping down there, which is nonexistent down there now. tourism was probably number third, and the navy was number two. you talk about the elevation of
3:40 pm
the sea rising. key west is only a few inches bo sea level -- above sea level. i think at the highest point it's only about a foot and a half above sea level are. i worry about key west. i had the good fortune of going to alaska about four years ago with my daughter and my granddaughter and my niece, and the american eagle is just beautiful. they're all over the place. homer, alaska, denali -- well, not so much in denali, but around the seacoast, they're all over. and i'm also a writer, a writer of a nonfiction book. and i agree with you that sometimes you're not even looking for things, and you just pop up. you're looking for something else, you're researching something else, and all of a sudden you find this astonishing find. but could you tell me about what your thoughts are about key west? it's all tour now. tourism now.
3:41 pm
it's very little navy, no shrimping. the last big hurricane that came through there wiped out most of the low cost housing. key west, the demographics of key west have changed dramatically. the money has moved in, and the old conchs have moved out, they just can't afford it anymore. but tell me your thoughts. >> let me start by saying my daughter and i are going to alaska this summer to do research on the bald eagle. and, yes, the largest population is in alaska, some 30,000 now. but key west is also unique because it is on both the atlantic and the gulf of mexico. and right there by the gulf stream. you know, i'm sorry to say that, you know, key west, i believe, is doomed. as is a lot of the gulf mainland. and what goes first is not the
3:42 pm
houses, it's the infrastructure, it's the stormwater infrastructure, it's the freshwater sources that go first that'll make it more and more difficult to live in these places. but, you know, americans are the very embodiment of contradiction, aren't we? historically, even today with we do things that -- i mean, why are real estate prices in miami higher than they have ever been when, if you go after a rainstorm, you have to go walk your poodle wearing boots? it'll be gone. you can't get homeowners insurance in these places either. but we continue to buy and live in these places. we live in harm's way. so i'm sorry to say i believe that the keys are doomed. they'll go back to where they were several thousand years ago, and that was, you know, underwater. >> i'm sorry to hear that, and i congratulate you on winning your
3:43 pm
award. it was really a magnificent, an award to receive. >> thank you, it was. thank you so much. >> so he grew up in key west, you grew up on the gulf too. so how does that, how does that experience -- what do you see the connection between the way you grew up and your relationship with the gulf as a kid and your professional relationship with it now? >> yeah. i trace the origins of this book to my childhood growing up on e gulf of mexico and spending a lot of time in and on the water. finish and when i started writing this book, my mind was constantly cast back to those days and realizing that growing up on the gave me a very important sense of place of the gulf of mexico which i believe found its way down to my finger tips and my keyboard and into this book.
3:44 pm
and so it's extremely important. and it also made this work a labor of love. >> do you still get to the gulf now? >> oh, i still get to the gulf, yes. it's only 65 miles away. i, it's also 65 miles away to the atlantic. i go to the gulf. my daughter goes to the atlantic. i haven't converted her yet, but -- [laughter] >> all right. we have another question here. >> sure. i'm a south florida native that grew up in the 10,000 islands or spent a lot of my time there and i've been trapped in chicago for 33 years. but i -- one thing that struck me particularly about the high poxic zone and the size of the 31 states that contribute to it, how optimistic are you that there would be either interstate cooperation or federal cooperation to really bring about meaningful change there by bringing back the wetlands that serve the midwest for so long?
3:45 pm
>> yeah. and you're exactly right, it will require interstate cooperation, and it has not been forthcoming yet. the scientists -- i interviewed the scientists that discovered the gulf of mexico dead zone back in4,nd he's still working on dead zone. he and other dead zone scientists are not optimistic about either, particularlied today either federal initiative or any sort of interstate initiative. and the, and, in fact, even research money for the gulf of mexico dead zone, as it's growing larger, even research money is drying up. >> and what is your opinion about the everglades and the impact of the agriculture, the sugar and other crops? do you see that at all being resolved within the state of florida? >> no. so scientists describe in this
3:46 pm
sort of problem as the wicked problem because there's so many -- there are multiple interests involved at the state level, the federal level, the local level, business interests, environmental interests, landownership interests involved in trying to get them to agree on the same thing because they all have their own agendas, right? it's very, very difficult. i don't see there being a resolution in the everglades until sea level rise contaminates the area to the point that you can't grow there anymore. >> thank you for the question, and, jack, we're out of time. >> okay. >> i believe. this is the book. it is for sale out there. jack, you're going to be out there -- >> yes. >> -- signing copies? so thank you all very much for coming, appreciate it. and enjoy the rest of lit fest. >> yes, thank you. [applause]
3:47 pm
>> thank you again for attending today's program. books can be purchased and signed outside of the auditorium. >> thank you, everybody. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> that was pulitzer prize-winning author jack davis discussing the gulf of mexico live from chicago. he's heading over to the signing area, and we're going to show you a bit of that. and the final author discussion starting in a few minutes, a look at the apollo 8 mission.
3:48 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
3:49 pm
[inaudible conversations] >> hey. >> another one of those? >> father's day, yes. >> do you know anything about -- [inaudible] >> was there a party last night? >> you know, i didn't i didn't e was this somewhat, it wasn't open invitation to all the authors. [inaudible conversations] >> but i ended up down at the bar louie. i went down there and ate and sipped tequila. [laughter] had a nice burger. >> it's good to see you.
3:50 pm
>> good to see you. >> good luck. >> yeah, thanks. oh, lauren, by the way, loved -- she was so thrilled to get a picture of the book. >> good, good. awesome >> hi. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> do you have a connection to the gulf? >> lived down there for about four years. >> what's the name? >> watson. >> i know the name. that's where i'm from, st. pete. where is he mow? [inaudible conversations] >> at the j school? >> yeah. >> okay, yeah. that's a good place. >> thank you. >> yeah. hi. >> hi.
3:51 pm
>> how can i make this out? >> just to larry maybe? >> okay. >> my original plan was to retire, go down and be a fishing guide. >> oh, really? >> the saltwater portion of the everglades. i think i might have to revise -- >> go straight to chapter seven. >> oh, i've already -- >> oh, you already read it. >> oh, yeah. it's wonderful: but i confess, i didn't read it until the pulitzer, which i kick myself because i saw it and i said, wow, this might be a book for me. >> i love -- >> so congratulations. >> i loved writing that chapter. i interviewed -- [inaudible] >> yeah. that's a really great story. do you have anybody you're going to hand the baton to, either a gator or a hurricane?
3:52 pm
[laughter] >> i don't know. >> yeah. yeah. >> hadn't even thought about that. >> yeah. well, i hope you do. i hope you find somody who wi pk it up. >> yeah. >> thank you so much. >> thanks for coming out. hi. >> hi. >> how can i make this out? >> [inaudible] >> and do you have a connection to the gulf? >> [inaudible] >> spell that again? [inaudible conversations] >> i was fascinated by your talk and the pulitzer. i think that -- [inaudible] >> oh, sure, yeah. right. >> you can't understand -- [inaudible] >> right. he does the same thing as i do, you know? he came back to chicago to the -- [inaudible] i'm connected to the gulf. [inaudible conversations]
3:53 pm
>> looking m. wish you the best of luck. >> yeah, thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> well, thanks for coming out. hope you enjoy it. hi. >> hi. how are you? >> i'm doing well, how are you? how can i make this out? >> [inaudible] >> to judy. with a y, okay. you guys have a connection to the gulf, by chance? >> we lived in florida and then -- place there for 30 year, and her mother still lives in marco island. >> oh, okay. i'll be speaking in marco in february, i think? >> oh, really? we'll have to let her know that. >> i was supposed to speak last
3:54 pm
fall, but then the hurricane -- >> oh. >> -- did a lot of damage to the historical society -- >> yes. >> -- building there. i don't think it damaged -- they ended up using it for storage or something. but anyway, so we had to reschedule. yeah, so there's a lot in marco in here because i was talking about earlier, maybe you heard of -- [inaudible] having spent time in marco. went down there in 1895 and -- [inaudible] >> right. >> oh, yeah. it's really a nice area over there too. gainesville where you are is a nice area. >> it is, and we're getting a lot of coastal refugees. >> are you? >> yeah. people are -- some is, not all, but they're concerned about -- >> the hurricanes? >> the hurricanes, falling
3:55 pm
property, you know, falling property values. >> sure. >> i worked there for quite a while, and a lot of people from the east coast, we managed to see every corner in florida, everything there was to see from the panhandle all the way down. >> yeah, yeah. >> i'm working with people that probably never had been to more than one county outside of palm beach county. >> yeah, right. >> they didn't know anything about any of it. >> i'm not talking about being there for weeks, they were there for years too. just beyond me. thank you. >> well, thanks for coming out. hi. >> so nice job. how do i get the book? >> oh. where? i don't know. >> you can purchase it at this table. bring it back -- >> okay, i'll purchase it and bring it back. >> when you are done -- [inaudible]
3:56 pm
>> they've got some over there, right? so i can go ahead and sign? [inaudible conversations] >> okay. >> okay, so i want to tell you about alaska. >> okay. >> rent a car in anchorage, okay? >> yeah, that was the plan. >> strive to --
3:57 pm
[inaudible] >> okay. >> go to homer, go to whittier. you to go to a mountain in whittier, okay? take the ferry to valdese, okay? >> okay. >> there's a hotel on valdese that's kind of a modern hotel -- >> do you remember the name of it? >> i don't. >> okay. >> but you can stand in their pool and look at the picture window, and there's eagles all over the place flying back and forth. there's a very few roads in alaska, but go up to denali, see if you can see mount mckinley. [inaudible conversations] you've got, like, two weeks -- >> ten days, yeah. out of dutch harbor too because there are some eagles there. >> okay. i wasn't in dutch harbor. >> yeah, yeah. >> that's way up -- >> it's -- [inaudible] >> i wasn't up that far, but i do watch deadliest catch, so i see the eagles all over the place.
3:58 pm
>> right. yeah, yeah. >> and what you told me about key west is kind of scary. >> i know, it's sad. >> i didn't know it was so dire. >> i wish i could have, be more optimistic, but -- >> i hit on some land there, and i got finish in a place called -- [inaudible] which is at the 17-mile marker. >> yeah. >> and it scared me seeing all these oil ships going bk and forth just a few miles offshore. >> yeah. >> i gotta -- anyways -- >> how can i make it out? >> make it out to george swimmer. >> okay. [inaudible conversations] >> are you, did you have somebody in your family who was an anthropologist? >> not that i'm aware of. >> there's a famous early 20th
3:59 pm
century report on native cultures called the swimmer report. >> not to my knowledge. there would be somebody -- [inaudible] so how did you submit your book for the pulitzer prize? >>ou don personally, you have to hope that your publisher does. >> and now the final author discussion from the printers row lit fest. starting now, robert kirsen talks about the apollo 8 mission. >> welcome to the 34th annual chicago tribune printers row lit fest. i want to give a special thanks to all of our sponsors. today's program will be broadcast on c-span2's booktv. if there is time at the end for
4:00 pm
q&a session with the author, please we ask you to use the microphone located to the center of the room so that the home viewing audience can hear your question. before we begin today's program, we ask that you silence your cell phones and turn off your camera flashes. please welcome today's moderator, tribune columnist rick kogan. [applause] >> well, thank you, and thank all of you for coming out on such a miserable, rainy, rainy day. i've been an admirer of robert's for many, many years, and he has, to my mind, one of the most interesting kind of back stories before we get to this remarkable book that i've ever encountered. not only was he a journalist, a disreputable enough profession, before that you were a lawyer. [laughter] your back story, rob, really has always and ever will fascinated me. could you tell them in short, if that's possible.
4:01 pm
>> sure. i began my professional career as a lawyer. i was a graduate of harvard law school, but even within 48 hours of arriving in boston, i knew i'd made a grave mistake. nothing that lawyers did well was something i did well. and so finally i found my way out of the profession. i was a drapery hanger and installer before i arrived at the sun times as a data entry clerk and worked my way up. >> this is about in the old days of newspapers the absolute bottom rung of the business, yes? >> it is. but i was so thrilled to be there, because when you believe the next 50 years of your life as a lawyer are going to be so desperately unhappy, to show up at a newspaper in the sports department no less taking high school scores and horse race resultses and then typing them in -- they would put them in what that i called the agate section. i watched them with exact-o knives, and i was thrilled to be there. >> and then you started to write for the paper then.
4:02 pm
>> that's right. they gave me an opportunity. the sports editor at the time told me if you stick around here, someone's going to make a mistake. someone will file late, or they'll get drunk one night and not come in, and ill turn to you, and i'll give you one chance. and if you make good on that one chance, i'll give you another chance, and that's how it played out. >> what were some of your first stories for the paper? >> i remember interviewing terry bradshaw when he was talking about depression. and he was being very open and honest about it, and it was a wonderful experience to hear someone emote like that. that was the first column, i think, i ever wrote. i also wrote about howard cosell who had recently died, and i just couldn't believe that the next day i could go to the newsstand -- and there were newsstands back then -- and see my name. it seemed like a miracle to me. >> but i also have to think that was, more you, very empowering. it was the sort of physical manifestation of the i can actually do this. >> it was a thrill. and my stories seemed to hold
4:03 pm
up. even against those who had trained professionally for this. i could see that a lot of my colleagues had gone to journalism school and, in fact, had been writing since they were little children. they'd filled out journals that were stacked endlessly in their bedrooms back home. but i brought kind of, i think, a fresh voice because i really didn't know what i was doing. so i didn't sound like i'd been trained to do it. >> thank god for that. journalism school is not the be all and end all of the journalism business. you then started doing magazine pieces, notably. and if you want to mention -- when rob was on my radio show, i almost went and read this lengthy 10,000-word piece, i was so taken with it, for a chicago magazine which won a national award. just give us -- what was that piece about? >> >> >> well, i wrote that for esquire. it was called my favorite teacher, and it was about a very kind and gentle man, a biology teacher i had at my high school. and when arrived in high school, i felt very lonely and outcast.
4:04 pm
i didn't seem to belong, and it was a very terrible kind of separation experience. if you didn't belong there, it seemed like you didn't belong anywhere in the world. but this man had a sense for who needed to be comforted and who needed to be seen. and i wasn't the only one. a lot of us felt welcomed by him. but it turned out that he he did some very terrible things, things that were going on at the time that none of us knew about but would become national and international news. >> yeah. it's a remarkable piece. you can access this thing on line, robert kurson "esquire magazine" story. then you taliban to -- i just want you to very quickly because i cannot think of four books that deserve a place on everybody's book shelf more than rob's fourth. this is his first fourth. the first one, and we can do it like this because we don't have all that much time, and tv audiences have that short
4:05 pm
attention span. shadow divers. >> it's a true story of two recreational scuba divers from new jersey who went scuba diving on the weekends for fun hooking for shipwrecks, but in 1991 they found the holy grail, a world war ii german u-boat with 56 dead sailors inside 60 miles off the coast of new jersey. and it's, the story is their quest to find out which boat this was, who were the men inside, how it met its end ask is what it was doing in new jersey. >> two of the most interesting nonfiction characters i have ever, ever read about. then the next book was crashing through. >> right. that's a true story about a man who had been blind since young childhood, blind his whole life, and then at age 46 given the opportunity through a rare stem cell transplant procedure to get his vision back. that had only happened 15 times known to history, and you'd think it's the greatest thing that could ever happen to person, a lifetime of blindness and being given vision. in fact, in all 15 cases it was
4:06 pm
the worst thing possibly emotionally and psychologically. it's the story of this modern person, mike may be who lives in california, his quest through this. he's a very interesting and unusual and dynamic person. he had a different result but not without a huge struggle beforehand. >> then came pirate hunters. >> pirate hunters is the true story of the search for probably the single hardest thing to find in all of the universe, and that is a golden age pirate ship, a ship that sailed between 1650 and 1720. only one had ever been discovered and positively identified. and these two treasure are hunters decided to put, push the treasure aside and go look for this very rarest thing in all the world. >> i'm telling you, those three -- you have the names of those three previous books, those deserve to be on your book shelf. so does this book, because it begins like this, and tell me you could stop reading after this first paragraph. three astronauts are strapped into a small spacecraft 36 stories in the air awaiting the final moments of countdown. they sit atop the most powerful
4:07 pm
machine ever built. you, in a sense, stumbled on this story when you were giving a tour to some friends at the museum of science and industry where i assume most of us have been. >> yeah. you know, i've been going to the museum since i'm a little kid. we took field trips there every year. and it is home to the only u-boat in north america, and there are only five left in the world, only one in north america, the u-505 which happens to be a perfect match for the rare type found by the divers in my first book. so i was showing friends around, and after the tour was over, i tried to find my way out. one of the great pleasures of the museum is it's almost impossible not to get lost inside there. so i took a left turn instead of a right or maybe it was a right instead of a left, and i found myself in the henry crown space center. and there right in the middle was a space capsule that looked at once to have come from both the past and the future. and that was the command module
4:08 pm
for apollo 8, mankind's first journey to the -- >> that's what rocket men is about. the rocket men were three -- they don't often like to refer to themselves as heroes. rob certainly makes them heroes here. frank borman, jim lovell and bill anders. when you got this idea, this is some -- it is, a lot of the history of space flight is sort of well-trod ground for journalists. >> yeah. >> i mentioned the late tom wolfe being among most famous. and this book stands right up there with the right stuff. trust me on that. did that trouble you? did that worry you, or did you just sort of say maybe i'll call these guys and see what they know and see what they're like? >> well, it did worry me a little bit, but i was so overwhelmed with excitement because i believed i knew a lot about space exlo ration. i -- exploration. i certainly knew a lot about apollo 11 and apollo 13.
4:09 pm
but the fact that i did not know anything about apollo are 8 even as i stood there looking at the capsule really excited me. and one of the first thingses i did was going home and do search, and i started to see other astronauts talk about apollo 8. and each one spoke with reverence in a way they didn't even speak about their own missions, neil armstrong included. after i listened to an interview with neil armstrong who was a backup crew member for apollo 8 that he considered apollo 8 to be an even bigger leap for mankind than his own flight, that told me i was on the right track. >> this, and then you consider that, you know, most people think of astronauts as tom hanks, for christ sake, how were they? had been you approached -- jim lovell lives in this area, and i have met him a couple times, and he's a delightful gentleman. how were they about this? and when you started, when you approached them, i'm sure jim was the first you approached, right? >> yeah, he was. he lives only 15 or 20 minutes
4:10 pm
from my house, so it was easy enough to get over there, and i think he was quite happy to talk about apollo are 8 because most people know his name through apollo 13. he is tom hanks, or tom hanks is him. [laughter] >> that's what makes hanks such a great actor. >> right. i told him after doing some research about this, i thought that apollo 8 was the single greatest space flight ever. and one of the great human explorations of all time. to me, it was homerric in its scope. this was mankind's fist journey away from home and fist arrival at a new world. it's the first time we reached that most ancient companion of ours that had called to us since we walked the earth. >> and so his enthusiasm, he doesn't -- none of these guys hi of themselves -- think of themselves, i don't think, as heroes though. which is something that kind of confounds me. it's obviously you're training to become an astronaut sort of diminishes that.
4:11 pm
but how were the other two? did hay say, hey, yeah, we'd love to tell this story. >> no, they were very much lovell. they appreciate my interest in it, but they not consider themselves heroes. inact, whenever i'd use that word, they would always point out to me that every day they were training for their mission and every day they were flying on the way to and orbiting the moon, the real heroes were the brothers they had in vietnam who were dying every day. 1968, among the many terrible things of that year, we're on our way to 15,000 dead in vietnam. and to level, borman and anders, the crew of apollo 8, those were the true heroes. >> tell me how these guys, and tell these people and the people watching at home, how these guys are different. one of the hallmarks of rob's work is it is very in-depth. this is not an e-mail exchange with these guys about, hey, what's your wife look like, send me a picture so i can write about her. it is very, very intimate portrait ares of these three men
4:12 pm
and their families. you have to, rob, i know this, build a relationship in order to get to the point where you can get deeper -- >> yes. >> -- than a newspaper story, let's say. >> yeah. and in my mind, that has to be done in person. and so i had decided early on that the astronauts would have to see me and not just for a few hours, but for several days and weeks at a time at their homes, even here in chicago. so that's always the foundation for my work. but they could not have been more generous with their time. they could not have been better storymaterials. the recall -- storytellerrings. the recall, going back 50 years to the human aspects of the story which is always the most interesting, they really had it all ready to come out. it was a really fortuitous occasion for me to find that spacecraft and then to get this book delivered just in time for the 50th anniversary of the flight. >> tell me how each of them are different. i mean, they are, i think, and it certainly comes through in
4:13 pm
your book, they are all vastly different human beings drawn this many ways to the -- in many ways drawn to the same kind of small, intenselymall club. >> yes. >> who are these guys? >> well, frank borman was all business. he joined nasa for one reason and one reason only, and that was to defeat the soviet union on the ultimate battleground, outer space. and it was believed at the time, and this was a lot of the reason apollo was being pushed forward so fast, was the space race was part of the cold war. and borman was a true believer, and he believed the side that could deliver the first man to the moon would really be the victor in the space race. he was all business, no nonsense. he was, as far as i could tell through my research, the only astronaut in the swire nasa corps who didn't see 2001: a space odyssey that came out in 1968. he did not have time for science pics. he had real problems to solve. jim lovell seemed his polar opposite. lovell, since high school, had
4:14 pm
been in love with the idea of space exploration and pushing into the beyond and especially into the unknown. and doing it with rocts he built rockets in high school when nobody knew what a rocket was. he even wrote his thesis at the naval academy on rocket travel when others were doing things about naval warfare andacti. so they were opposite, but they flew together for two weeks on gemini 7. that's the longest space flight by far at that point. and, you know, in a capsule no bigger than the size of a front half of a volkswagen beetle. so even though they're very much opposites, they flew together beautifully. in fact, when they landed and stepped on the recovery craft, lovell announced we'd like to announce our engagement. [laughter] and no one thought that was funnier than frank borman. so they were very well matched. >> and anders is the one, i mean, both of the other two are what we could characterize as pretty famous astronauts. >> yes. >> but anders is not. >> anders was younger. he was five years younger than
4:15 pm
those two, and he had joined in the third palace. borman and lovell had arrived in the second class of astronauts, but anders was a brilliant -- not just a brilliant fighter pilot, one of the best of his kind, but also alear engineer and a real intellectual. but he seemed this beautiful blend of borman and lovell. he had a lot of interest in defeating the soviet union, he believed in that mission, but he also saw the beauty in the exploration part and could not wait to see the moon. he was, had the opportunity to be the first person ever to lay eyes on the far side of the moon. >> let's talk about their families, because i find the other aspect of this is these men do not -- heroes they may be, they really are given human dimension in this book. and they're all still married, right? >> not only are they still married, they were the only crew in the apollo or the gemini programs where all marriages survived. astronaut life was very difficult on marriages, and there were divorces all over the place. but when i asked marilyn lovell
4:16 pm
why do you think this was the only crew with all the marriages surviving, she speculated because they all came from childhood sweetheart romances. and the more it seemed true on its face. >> yeah. talk to me a little more about the race to beat the russians. there was, it was -- nothing was assured that the united states was going to win this space race, was there? >> no. for a long time the soviet union was beating us. >> yeah. >> it started with sputnik when they put the first artificial satellite in orbit, and it was clear there were big military implications to that, existential implications. by the time 1968 rolled around, we were really neck and neck, and the idea was to get the first man to the moon. and a top secret cia memo came in to nasa in 1968 indicating that the soviet union could be ready as early as late 1968 to get the first men around the moon. not on the moon, but around it. that would be a huge, devastating blow in the space race, and that is a big part of
4:17 pm
why apollo 8's mission was accelerated, changed and really rushed to the launch pad. >> well, and the other incredible aspect of this as you alluded to before is that there are, there's no year i certainly can hi of as tumultuous and filled with turmoil and filled with ugliness as 1968. some of you of the same vintage might say the same thing even though 2001 came out that year. this flight came around christmas time. >> yes. >> so in a sense, do you think it distracted -- you couldn't have planned a better end to that year than something upbeat like this, could you? >> no. it was the worst -- you could make an argument this was one of the worst, if not the worst year in our country's history. you have the assassinations of martin luther king and robert kennedy, 15,000 dead in vietnam, there's violence in the streets all over the place including here in chicago at the
4:18 pm
democratic convention. there's racial divide. it seems the very fabric of our society's been ripped apart irreparably. and here nasa's not just sending a flight to the moon at christmas time, but rushing one to to the launch pad with just four months' preparation. and it was so frightening to people, and the risks were so myriad and profound that letters and cards poured into nasa. "the washington post" editorialized against it, buzz aldrin' father wrote in begging them not to do it. but there was a letter there a person in connecticut that really represents what a lot of the country was thinking, and the letter said, please, this has been such a terrible year for all of us. christmas is the one day we have where we can all just take a breath from this and relax if just for a day. please don't do this. if these three men die at the moon -- and there seemed everybody possibility they would -- then no one ever work at the moon or christmas the same way again. and yet nasa needed to do it, and they were intent on doing it. >> talk about the -- you bring
4:19 pm
it up again in the book rocket men, this was a -- we now, i think, tend to think of, well, you know, tom hanks had some problems in a movie tg t get tre a this, well, we went, and it was like taking an airplane flight or something. this was so astonishingly dangerous. could you talk about some of the elements? because w d sm to take for granted, well, yeah, they got in a rocket ship, and it was big, they went to the moon, they came around. >> everything apollo 8 was going to do was going to be done for the first time. and neil armstrong said by the time we went on apollo 11, we knew so much of this could be done. but when apollo 8 p went, nobody knew. and he was right. they were going to, for example, fly on the saturn 5, the only rocket powerful enough to deliver human beings to the mean. and by the way, the saturn 5 arguably remains the most powerful machine ever built. 50 years later, think about that. >> yeah. >> but they were going to fly the saturn 5 which had only been
4:20 pm
flown two times before, and in the second flight it had catastrophic failures. 240,000 miles to the moon. they were also going to go without a lunar module. it was troubled, and that's a big part of the reason why this mission went. the lunar module served a secondary funk, a critical one, and that was as a backup engine. apollo 8 was dependent on its single engine, and if anything went wrong, if it mispfeifferred, if it fail -- misfired, if it failed to funk, they could fly off into eternal solar orbit, and that's just the start of the problems that they were facing. >> i hope you're getting the sense of what an exciting, exciting read this is. when they came back, i just want to read a bit here to talk about how, talking about '68 and what this did. when they came back, telegrams for the astronauts poured in --
4:21 pm
and also to give you a sense of what an established writer this man is. telegrams poured in by the thousands. one, however, stood out from the rest. it came not from a world leader or celebrity or other luminary, but from anonymous stranger. it had traveled over whites-only counters in the south, in jungles in vietnam where young men fell, it had blown across streets bloodied by protesters and police, past the segregationist presidential campaign, into radios playing songs of alienation and revolt. it had made its way through ten million american souls who didn't have enough to eat alongside generations that no longer trusted each other into a white house where no longer loved president slept. it read: thanks. you saved 1968. in reliving all of this this with you, as i'm sure -- and i'm sure these three guys do not go
4:22 pm
to the corner tavern and sit down and say, hey, want to hear about when i was an astronaut. this is probably the most intense reliving of that flight that they have ever been through since that flight. how did they react? i mean, kid you sense them being -- did you sense them being reflective? obviously, but -- >> yeah. i think they were very reflective. and i think, unfortunately in my opinion, subsequent flights like apollo 11 or apollo 13 which gained so much fame from the movie, have slightly overshadowed -- >> no question. >> so i think they were appreciative that someone was interested, and not just interested, but saw it and i will insist forever that this was the most important space flight ever and most exciting. so i think they were really excited to talk about and enthusiastic. and they put their everything into it. it was very important to them to get everything right and to remember everything. >> they had very successful, as
4:23 pm
you might imagine, lives. >> yes. >> post-flight. talk about that for a while. >> well, my first memories of frank boar match, i was only 5 years old when apollo 8 flew. my memories kick in when he was the ceo of eastern airline ares, and he used to appear on the television commercials for eastern. but he was so quintessential hi frank borman. he would say, you know, airlines are pretty much same, you could fly on any of them. he has to be straight. he's the straightest, most honest person you'll ever meet. but he really did wonders for eastern airlines for a long time. and so, but that's where my memories of him kick in. >> and lovell, of course, when i ran a restaurant for a while here, and his son runs one up in lake forest, what did anders do? >> anders became the ceo of general dynamics. and he's arguably the most successful of all the astronauts -- >> that's right. >> -- who in their post-flying career. and they're, but even better tan
4:24 pm
their success, and lovell, you know, all three of them very successful, is how much they continue to like each other and enjoy each other and joke with each other to this day. they really are very warm, tight friends, and that was a real pleasure that didn't have to be at all. it's nothing i expected, but it's something i really reveled in. >> and they're all, they also seem, certainly the way you write it and in the book, astonishingly vital, you know, on the dark and light side of 90. >> right. lovell and borman are 90 now, and anders, 84, i believe. but they are just, i mean, you would swear that we were back in 1968 and they had just splashed down and we were on the ship and they were telling you the story. that's h, that's the kind of right stuff they truly have. >> yeah. define, given you bring it up and tom wolfe used that as the title of his book, of course, this is one of the smallest, most exclusive clubs anywhere of any type, maybe -- well, queens of england go back a long way, there are a bunch of them.
4:25 pm
what is the right stuff? not as wolfe defined it, but as you have discovered it in these three men and others you've met who have been part of that very exclusive fraternity. >> well, certainly, it's the ability to do things that most of us couldn't contemplate. i mean, these guys climbed on a 363-foot-tall rocket that had failed catastrophically in its second flight and were willing to go to the moon. and it wasn't just them. they had wives and young children at home. that's something most of us couldn't contemplate doing. but when i asked them weren't you afraid of dying, they looked at me almost as if i was speaking another language. then they said, i don't think that way. they're wired very differently from the rest of us, and thank goodness for that because who else would go through with that kind of a mission. but on the other hand, the other part of the right stuff that they have that i don't think people talk about is they are so much like the rest of us. i never have met three more ordinary, regular, nice guys.
4:26 pm
and that's something i wasn't expecting. i saw them on several pedestals way above, and you just need to spend 10, 20 minutes with them to feel like you're just sitting next to someone who's just like you in a way. and i think that's just as important to what they did than the parts that made them so different from the rest of us. >> well, i take that compliment, but i would have started crying the minute they said look you're going to get in that rocket ship, i would have started sobbing like a baby. [laughter] in martialing all of your materials, do you come to a point, rob, where you say, okay, i have enough now, and now i sit down to write? how -- that process for you, what is that like? do you put all your research materials here and here and here and here and here and here and say i have to start writing now? >> that's exactly what happens. all the while while i'm interviewing them and doing all the research -- and there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of pages of
4:27 pm
documentary evidence to go through, you have to tell yourself as thrilling as this story is, what you really want is to make it not just digestible for the reader, but so that the reader cannot stop turning the page. even if they're late for work, for a wedding, they have to get one more page in. [laughter] so only until i shrink the book from this down to this down to this when i get to that exact point am i going to be satisfied. so i do lose something, but in this day and age, you can put those exes thats on -- extras on your web site, so people can always find it. >> one of the things being a writer, i know having a father who was a writer, it can be a strain on those closest to you and in a wonderful fashion, rob dedicates this book to amy, my best friend in all the universe who's sitting back there. to nate and will, star sailors, one of who is becoming too big a cubs' fan and decided to go to the cubs game today -- [laughter] but the other one who is here. i've got to believe that that
4:28 pm
kind of loving understanding foundation is essential to you as a writer. >> absolutely essential. and it's been essential from the very first moments when i walked into the sun times and told my wife i'm going to the take a six-figure pay cut from my law job to do data entry. >> there's love. that's the definition of love. >> that's love and commitment. but, you know, one of great unexpected surprises of this book was finding out just how important the wives were -- >> exactly. >> -- to the story. and that's something i went in, i'm a little embarrassed the say, i wasn't expecting that. it didn't take more than a few minutes with each man to find out that the wives were just as essential and just as heroic and just as important to this mission as the astronauts were. and without those three wives -- susan borman, marilyn lovell and valley anders -- this flight -- valerie anders, this flight never could have happened. these women were incredibly brave. this flight looked like, for all the world, like it might never
4:29 pm
come back, and these women held the fort down, and they've been doing it for a long timement not just during space flight, but on military bases where their husbands watched people die all the time, and black cars would come, and the w would just hope it was not going to stop in their driveway. and apoll low 8 was this huge leap of risk and danger. and the women were absolute heroes in the face of it. >> yeah. it's an astonishing week on every single -- book on every single level. it is an adventure story, it's a human story. you leave this book knowing these people. i left this book knowing and so wanting to have a drink with all of these people. because they are real flesh and blood human beings. and that's to your credit. when -- one last question, and then we'll open it up for any questions you may have. but, please, do not not buy this book. it's an enriching experience. i do put it right up there with "the right stuff," which is one of the great acclaimed
4:30 pm
nonfiction books of our time. how difficult, rob, is it for you to write? >> well -- >> not just the craft and the act of writing. is it easy for you? you tear your hair out? >> the writing isn't so difficult. some days it could be impossible. it's worse than difficult. but overall, it's not as difficult as the structung of book is, because i believe that structure is story. and that you must figure out the proper way to unveil the story and let it unfold and pace it correctly, reveal certain things here but not too much. and that takes me actually more time to figure out than the writing does itself. and i'll walk around my neighborhood -- i look like a crazy man, and i think people have called the police on me because i speak to myself, i talk into my tape recorder -- >> and they probably say, well, don't worry about him, his wife and kids are really nice.
4:31 pm
.. >> there are a lot of people who say i wrote the book and i'm moving on to something else. your passion for it is palpable. >> i can't tell you how -- how lucky i feel and privileged i feel to have told this story. this has so many elements that we're all aware of that some of us, most of us aren't even aware of. bill anders on this flight took probably the most famous and important photograph of all time when he photographed the earth rising over the horizon. it became known as earth rise.
4:32 pm
i knew that photograph since i was a little boy but never knew it was associated with apollo 8. the gentleman would tell me they weren't expecting to see that. it's a constant revelation of things unexpected that makes some of this story so beautiful. or the fact that they were told on christmas eve that they would be making a television broadcast to a third of the world's population. more than had ever listened to a human voice at one time ever. and they were given instructions, say something appropriate. can you imagine being instructed that way now? >> i would have cried again. >> yes. and yet on christmas eve of 1968, speaking to this very divided world, they begin to read from the book of genesis, the first lines in the beginning and around the world including mission control with the scientists nobody knew what they were going to say, not nasa, not their wives, no one, people start to break down and sob because they are speaking to one world about an origin story. this is about all of us. this is how we got here.
4:33 pm
it is one of the most legendary moments really in human history. being spoken to from a new world to our one world. and it united people. people all over the world after they finished reading from the book of genesis streamed out from schools, from homes, from taverns looking towards the sky hoping to catch a glimpse of apollo 8 knowing they never could but trying nonetheless because this was a considered a miraculous moment all over the world. there was nobody no matter how divided we were at that time could disagree that something great had happened. >> it is a remarkable book. there's a line of people who want to ask questions. >> how was the crew chosen? was it a competitive process? was it their turn? had everybody else said no given the risks? >> this mission was assembled very very quickly. apollo 8's mission was changed.
4:34 pm
the man who was in charge of choosing the crews, decided the crew would be the best suited, knew the spacecraft really well, they were best positioned. there was a lot of faith in him acommander. when i spoke to the astronauts and so many people at nasa, nobody could disagree that he wasn't one of the finest. i think they had a lot of faith in him. he looked to be ready to go. and they asked him right on the spot, do you want to go to the moon? without consulting his crewmates or even his family he said yes, and they were on the way from there. >> what an incredibly cool question to be asked. hey, how would you like to go to the moon? it may become second nature in 100 years but wow. >> hi. i first want to thank you for the amazing set of books that i have been entertained and educated by. >> thank you. >> so much, so thank you. so as i think about the incredible research you do in your writing, i've wondered have you gone down a path of research for a story for a topic and then
4:35 pm
at some point pulled the plug on it and say i don't see that happening because the four that i have reade great. i wonder did you get t a point that you thought this isn't going to work >> that's happened to me once. in fact i spent a couple years on a project writing about characters and i found something out about one of the characters that wasn't appropriate for the book anymore. and so i had to pull the plug, and that is one of the perils of my job. and so i did lose a couple years to that project. but i always have faith that in the end, if you pick a really good story, it will prove itself in the book. that is the single-most challenging part of my job, to pick the right story, one that hold up over time. so that's what i try to do. >> grt,ha you. >> thank you. >> how did the astronauts' children react to learning that their fathers were going to go
4:36 pm
over 100,000 miles away from them to the moon? >> who are you to be asking that kind of question? >> i'm the author's son. [laughter] >> that's a very good question. [laughter] >> i think the children thought it was really cool. but they were not nearly as concerned or worried as their moms were. these children were used to seeing their dads do this all the time. valerie anders bill's wife told me a fun story where she said that because so many astronauts lived the neighborhood, and they would come to school and give a presentation, that the kids were just so tired of seeing astronauts all the time, but when a fireman showed up, that was the greatest thing ever. they saw true danger in what the firemen did. that was really exciting. but i think when i spoke to the children of the astronauts they just believed fully in their dads and knew they would come home safely, so there was an advantage to being young for them. >> thank you. [laughter]
4:37 pm
>> hi. i was wondering if you could address the current feeling about the space travel in our country. i find it interesting that in addition to your book and certainly, but i recently scott kelly's book endurance about his memoir and the international space station, all the different books that have been coming out over the past few years about the space program, and we don't hear that much about it in our daily newspapers and stuff that's going on. how and why did you plan this book now? obviously it comes out on an important anniversary, being, you know, 50 years, 68, but what do you think about your book and all these other things in to today's current situation with the space program? >> i think that our real future depends on the privatization of space. if any of you watch the launch of falcon heavy and saw the
4:38 pm
retro rockets land themselves simultaneously, it looked like something from a science fiction movie. it is thrilling. i'm skeptical about sending men to mars as i think the apollo 8 astronauts are also. i think there are technical challenges we haven't come to terms yesterday but i think all three are real believers in going back to the moon. one of the things that makes the apollo program apollo 8 and the subsequent flights so miraculous and so possible was that we were in a fight against an existential enemy. we really believed our existence was at stake and to lose the space race could cost us all kinds of terrible consequences, so a huge percentage of our budget was dedicated toward that, but by the time apollo 17 flew, a lot of the american public kind of grew weary of it. it was sort of passe. it was very difficult to justify the huge expenditure necessary, and i think now when we're not facing an existential enemy, face-to-face in a showdown like that, i think it would be very hard to get nasa to do it. i think it is going to depend on
4:39 pm
the private sector. >> once again, i just want to thank all of you, and i also want to thank rob. i have watched him grow up as i didn't know he was doing the stuff at the paper, but there was something special about it in those days. [laughter] >> he is one of not just chicago's treasures, he is one of the literary world's treasures. i cannot wait for the next book. you all should have this. oh, wait, one more question. from a writer too. >> hi. i have actually three questions. [laughter] >> is there a film coming out? we were talking about the right stuff, and do you have some interest in hollywood coming out with -- >> rocket man has been optioned for film and tv so fingers crossed on that front. >> also, i don't remember, what was the media coverage? were they radioing back to earth on -- as they went? there was no tv coverage.
4:40 pm
>> they made four television broadcasts, live television broadcasts. >> they were, okay. >> and this was on the third one that they spoke to nearly a third of the world's population and read from the book of genesis. >> oh, okay, all right. so i didn't realize that. >> i encourage you to go home and click on these on youtube because you can see these broadcasts. they are thrilling to see the moon passing live below the spacecraft and to hear these men described what their hours at the moon have been book and how it moved them. >> oh, wow. >> it is just thrilling. >> wow, wow. and the last part, you were talking about building suspense chapter to chapter, was there a point where they had maybe lost touch with these guys? or was there a point where they were worried about everything going correctly? where was -- was there some critical points where they were very worried about their own science? or what -- was there, you know, things weren't going exactly as planned? >> yes, there were so many of those places, and they are all detailed in the book. some of them are so heart stopping and heart pounding, you can't believe they really
4:41 pm
happened. i mean, just the relighting of the single engine required to get out of lunar orbit with such a moment that people 50 years later at nasa including chris craft who was the mastermind behind mission control told me he could barely breathe. it was so exciting. these moments happened one after another after another. part of what makes them so explosive inhis story is none of this has ever happened on a manned flight to the moon. subsequent flights they knew this would probably make. when apollo 8 as armstrong pointed out nobody knew any of it would work. every one of these moments is a heart stopper. it is the most exciting of all the space flights. >> congratulations. >> thank you. >> thank all of you again for coming on. you have one more question? you look relatively smart. i'm sure it will be a great question. >> not that smart. you've written about numerous things, pirate ships, now about astronauts. you mentioned you also wrote
4:42 pm
about the three stooges. >> yes. >> so you go a wide spectrum. do you have to really like what you're writing about to be a good author? or could you write about anything? >> i don't know if you have to be a good author. for me i think i do. i've wondered whether i could write a book about subjects that i disliked personally, and i wonder if -- i think probably not. i really have admired all the subjects i've written about and admired the places they've gone and the unknowns that they have pushed into. and i think that if i didn't have that kind of respect and almost as a sense of wonder for them, i don't know that i could pull out of them every ounce of the story. so i think that's very important. at least it is for me. >> thank you. >> that was a good question. that's it, ladies and gentlemen -- gentlemen. i know you don't want to go out in the rain now. i think the rain has stopped. do buy this book and the previous three and all the ones that are going to come after this because this guy a grand talent.
4:43 pm
>> thank you. >> rob, always a pleasure >> thank you, rick. thank you, all. >> thank you again for atending today's program. books can be purchased and signed outside in the auditorium. have a great day. >> that wraps up book tv's coverage of this year's printer fest in chicago. all of the programs you've seen here today will airight ton starting at 9:00 p.m. eastern. >> the u.s. north korea summit is set for tuesday and book tv will features authors with books
4:44 pm
about the region. today starting at 5:00 p.m. eastern, the book "in order to live, a north korean girl's journey to freedom". >> i was working on this, writing about watergate, some people say oh a picture book that will be really cool because it was such a visually striking building. it is not a coffee table book, but there are some photos -- a lot of them have never been printed. and so there's some surprises i
4:45 pm
thought i would pick out a few things. this one is a cartoon from the prewatergate construction. this cartoon appeared by a cartoonist who is famous for doing a lot of cartoons about lbj. so i got this cartoon. this is an italian designer. he is meeting with skeptical bureaucrats. their rejected plans for what says watergate town project. lying discarded on the floor. you may not be able to see it but there's the original design of the kennedy center in the sketch. the building looks like a clam shell. he is holding this. he said perhaps if it looked a little bit more like this. [laughter] >> it is the leaning tower.
4:46 pm
what's sweet about this, there's two things i think are sweet about this cartoon. one is how i got it. i got this from luigi's nephew when i interviewed him. in the book i got to spoke to someone who was personally close to thearchitect, really his surrogate son. he's also an architect. he lives in rome. in the same building where luigi lived, so this hangs in his room as a tribute to his revered uncle. and when i met with him and had this really emotional interview with him, he stepped out and came back and presented this cartoon. what's also interesting about this is the family had lost a track of the cartoon so when i reached out to them to get permission to publish it, they said we don't have any cartoons about the watergate scandal because our father was long gone from america by then. and we sent this to them, and they had never seen it. and so that was sort of
4:47 pm
delightful for them to be adding to their own father's history. and i want to say a thing about this building and really tried especially in chapter 1 to talk about how italian this buiing is. the index for this book, you know, a lot of washingtonians like to read a book, you start in the index and then you sort of go around the book, starting with your own name and people you know, people you like, people you really dislike -- [laughter] >> anyway, this is the only washington book where in order in the index you will see casey comma william followed. this is an italian building designed at the time where kennedy's gowns are being designed, the movies are sweeping through america and middle class american families are enjoying. [laughter] >> this is -- we have a couple of versions of this.
4:48 pm
this one in the book -- this is from the library of congress. and we have another version of this that's spectacular that's in color that didn't reproduce well for the book that actually hung in the watergate sales office. and this is a picture of the original model for the watergate, and there are a couple things to point out here. number one, on the far right for the watergate south residence, this is the original water south design -- watergate south design, which is larger than the current building, and it is one building. it's not split in two. so in the book, i talk about how watergate south comes to become two buildings, and it involves the kennedy center. in between watergate south and the watergate hotel are villas. so there were -- the plan was to take most of the open space there and put townhouses facing the water, modelled after the
4:49 pm
palaces. those are sacrificed during the approval process at the request of the commission of fine arts national capital planning commission who want to see more publicly usable open space, so there was space between the building they saw, but it was not space the public could enjoy and because it was a waterfront spot, they just didn't want to -- they said that doesn't count as open space. and so those were sacrificed pretty early in the negotiations. this is a photo of martha mitchell and kathy stands in the watergate salon. i love -- and then martha's daughter marty is sitting next to martha holding the family dog. this is from a moment in time that i think is really pretty interesting. it's the first year of the nixon
4:50 pm
administration, and the watergate is really having a payday. this is from a photo shoot. some photos from this shoot, including one that was not published, this is from a photo shoot in "life" magazine in july of 69. and the title of the article was "it used to be georgetown. now it is the watergate. just everybody lives there." and it was sort of like this is the best of the best, and this was one of the key images from that shoot. >> you can watch this and other programs on-line at book tv.org. >> tonight on q&a, new york times columnist talks about his book "to change the church, pope francis and the future of catholicism". >> he thinks that the church needs to change in various ways,
4:51 pm
particularly i think around issues related to the revolution, marriage, divorce and so on where prior popes basically said these are changes the church can't make. there have been these sort of fraught places in his pontifficate where he has clashed with cardinals, bishops and theologians over just how far he can push the church to change, what the church can change without either undercutting its own traditions or breaking faith with the new testament, the gospels, jesus christ. >> q&a tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. what would be the impact if the democrats won control of congress and there indeed was an impeachment effort? what would that look and feel
4:52 pm
like and what would the impact be on the people of america 45% of whom in a recent poll feel that trump has done a pretty good job? and susan, why don't we start with you and march down this way. >> well, impeachment is a very serious thing. and i think we have to be aware of the fact that there are many people who don't feel that the last year has been a fair year. nobody has concentrated on the nation's business particularly. we have heard nothing but stories and gossip and speculation on television every day. and i really fear for our country if we start this cycle, this cycle of impeachment and then kind of chaos that emerges from that. if you look at the other
4:53 pm
damaging results of the impeachment efforts in the past, this is a very very serious thing. now, i also take this seriously because i spent the lion's share of my career traveling to russia and the former soviet union. i can barely -- i can barely stand what i hear on television because they never invite experts to come on and talk about russia. the situation is way way more complicated in all of this, and some of the things that come up on television are actually not only legal but perfectly normal for people who are engaged in international affairs. now, if there was any collusion, i mean real collusion, not just speculation about collusion, then this is a very very serious thing. very serious thing indeed. but i would ask all of my colleagues in washington. i'm still living there. you know, that old expression
4:54 pm
that washington is hollywood with unattractive people -- [laughter] >> let me tell you, you know, they are looking more and more unattractive all the time. so this is a serious thing. it is a very very tough place to be. i don't think we're looking at the nation's problems in the right way. we don't have a strategy for everybody in this country, and a serious impeachment effort without unassailable causes behind that measure would cause untold damage i think to our country. >> up until about four months ago, i don't think i would have ha any special insight into the mindset of the liberal base of the democratic party. but i joined as the token republican for a liberal news
4:55 pm
outlet. i'm the only republican that writes for them and i moved about five minutes from the berkeley border. i think i have gained a little insight into the mindset of what they think right now. let me tell you, there's going to be enormous pressure on the democratic politicians if they take over the house to pursue some type of impeachment. i think that the 2020 candidates will feel enormous pressure to support that kind of impeachment because that's essentially what the rank and file democrat base wants from them. in that sense the 2018 house elections are very important because it will have -- it will result in almost inevitably that impact at least they will feel the pressure to do so. it is possible that they would relent, but i wouldn't expect that. as far as what the impact of that will be, i don't think i have much to add to what susan said. we're a country that has, you know, become deep -- more and more deeply fissured and trying
4:56 pm
to impeach a president that was duly elect, that i didn't support but was duly elected with that time 35, 40 percent approval is only going to fissure it more. >> i agree with susan and tim. i would add this sort of practical political observation. let's assume the democrats do take control of the house. they will do so only by winning swing districts. the pressure that tim talked about of the left of the democratic party that you've got to be for this or you're out is going to require one of two things, it is -- or result in one of two things, either going to result in a lot of democrats in seat where they require independent republican votes to get elected, this is not nancy pelosi's district or barbara lee's district but this is a swing district in the midwest it will require them to walk the plank and they will be gone after one term regardless of what happens on the impeachment. or it will result in the house of representatives failing to
4:57 pm
approve an impeachment resolution, supported by virtually all democrats, opposed by every republican, and some democrats, and the democratic party will be even more split going into 2020. this is not -- you know, i agree, the most important thing it is bad for the country, really bad for the country. but it will also be bad for the democrats unless as tim says there's clear and convincing evidence of impeachable offense. you saw a little bit of this play out inside in the republican party in a failed impeachment of a guy with an intern, and then lied about it costing his law license, even that republicans overplayed and ended up finding themselves in 2000, had we had a candidate who stood up and said i'm going to make this an issue in the campaign, bill clinton's behavior, it would have been more damaging to the party but instead george bush refused to talk about it all and said he would restore dignity and honor to the white house thereby
4:58 pm
avoiding the issue. it could do a lot more damage to the democrats in 2020. >> i would like to add here, standing back and looking at these various trends and exactly the kind of thing that carl was talking about, it makes me feel like we're moving more and more towards a parliamentary system without even of the advantages of a parliamentary system. in other words, no opportunity to go to the country to re-establish crediby. the point being is that now today political parties are really only running races to benefit their bases. we don't have any leaders that i can see coming along who have got a strategy for the entire country, on either side where we could actually make a choice and to live with that choice for four years. i'm a registered independent. this is a choice. i'm still waiting for both parties to talk to me in a way that i regret it -- i would love to join a party again.
4:59 pm
i would love to go back to the republican party. i'm sympathetic to various elements of both parties. but did you know 39% of the electorate in this country are independents, which is a larger group than both republicans and democrats. so this is really a sign when 39% of the electorate chooses not to be a member of either party. and so i think all kinds of things. it feels like it is a very fluid situation at the moment. >> you can watch this and other programs on-line at book tv.org. >> in anticipation of the u.s. north korea summit on june 12th, we have put together a block of programs on north korea.
5:00 pm
>> hello everyone. thank you very much for coming to tonight's event. please take a moment to silence your cell phones. i also want to let you know you can keep up with our comings and goings-online or we have print out calendars at every information desk. c-span will be filming this event and your image may be captured. your presence here gives permission to be filmed. please raise your hand and

17 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on