tv Author Discussion on Aviation CSPAN March 4, 2019 5:24am-6:25am EST
>> we'll have 15 oar 20 mopeds for q & a. the festival organizers thank c-span and book of for sponsoring the location and commercial real estate services to sponsoring the upcoming panel discussion. the author will sign their books the book store tent on mall right after the session has inned. their book will be on sale there book sales at the festival help support the cost of the festival and the local literacy programs it funds. you can become a friend of the festival or sponsor of the 2020 festival. please stop boyfriendsessing into or go online to tucson festival of books.org. as we begin, please silence your phones. i'll give you a moment to do that. >> you may see in your schedule that can -- dan hampton is an author but he can make it
because of the awful weather. the tried to get here for 48 hours but couldn't make it. we have the wonderful sam cliner, robin, and karen piper. sam is the author of the flying tigers he thousand told story of the american pilots who waged a secret war against japan. he is a lawyer based in new york city at boys shiller flexor in. he was raised in tucson, arizona cash another would -- and holds the ba from northwestern university, doctorate in speier national real estate from the university of oxford and was a marshal scholar and a jd from yale law school. this writing has appeared in the "los angeles times," foreign policy and the atlantic, robert earn a batch already'sing rethe philosophy from the university of quick a law degree from hard vair law. this stories have end in the "new york times" magazine, rolling stone, and esquire -- and i'm very jealous, the author
overshade his new book is rocket men, the daring odyssey of apoll yeah 8 and the astronauts who made man's first journey to the moon and we have karen piper, professor of literature at the university of missouri and teaches contemporary world fiction and climbed change fiction, women in war, literary journalism and writing memoir. received the syria nature -- sierra nature book. he latest book, a girl's guide to missiled, greg up in america's secret deserts. so in case some of you aren't familiar with these title i want to start off by asking each author to tell us very quickly but what they're most recent book is about, and the way i do that as an author is i prepare
what is called an elevator pitch. is this is me question to each of you starting with sam: pretend you just gout into an elevator we stephen spielberg and you have ten floors to tell hem what your book is about so he'll make into it his next hit limited series. >> well, thank you for hosting this wonderful panel and thank you for everyone who came out on this wonderful day in tucson. it's great to be home. if i was in an elevator with stephen spielberg that would be great and the movie rights are still available, but the flying tigers is a story that might be familiar to some americans about the famous shark-faced p40s who fought in the early days of world war 2, memorial lied in the john wayne movie "the flying tigers" has characters like
pappy boyington, and from the tv show baa-baa black hope and it was the american pilots send over to help the chinese before pearl harbor about 300 young americans who sign up for the crazy adventure without knowing what lies ahead, to help our chinese allies. they arrive there and find themselves immediately after pearl harbor to be the first americans to fight back against the japan and it's adventure story of hospital it field like to be amongst them. worked with the families of those pilots and crew members to assemble the documentary evidence, diaries, letters, combat reports, what they were actually going through, and tells the story authentically so that in just thing myology that john wait created, which is important you get to goal what i was like to be part of this incredible moment in history at the very beginning of world war ii when americans were desperately in need of victories.
>> thank you, sam. >> i would first ask for a loan if i was in the elevator -- then i would tell him that in the entire history of the human species and in the entire future of the human speaks, even if we survive millions of years from now, only one time ever that human beings leave home for the first time and only one time ever that we arrive at knew record cold that hasn't in 1968 we apollo 8 went to the moon, and return to earth. you would think i would tell him that's was planned for years and years and work up to but in fact it happened suddenly on the spur of the moment and the idea was an epiphany by a unanimous named george lowe in one day in 1968 concealed the whole plan to send apollo 8 to the moon, in just four months time, when the normal preparation time for an apollo flying was n anywhere from a free to year and a half
and not only the safest thing nasa would ever attempt, the most dangerous, the riskiest, going on a rocket, the saturn 5 that had only been tested twice, both times unmanned. the second time failed catastrophely and they thundershower send throwing men with wife and children in a 36 store rocket and send them to other moon and going without a backup engine. never be done after that in apollo so if anything happened to primary engine to get into lunar orbit and get another of lunar orbit. they've anything helped the astronauts weren't come egg home and were going to very end of 1968, arguably the worst year in our country's history and if that weren't enough, going to go into lunar ore bit and be in orbit on christmas eve and christmas day of this most terrible of our years and i would tell him that when nasa's head heard of this plan, he listened to the idea and he
said, are you out of your mind? and he reminded them that they hadn't considered that if anything happened to these three men, he said no one, lovers, poets no one, will ever look at the moon the same again and of course that was true of christmas. so, nothing less than the moon and christmas were on the line for the most daring and riskiest mission nasa ever took. >> nice. karen. >> okay, so first i probably pull the emergency handle in the elevator and so i'd have a little more time, but i would say imagine a town that is a kind of company town, but where everybody makes missiles, and nobody can talk about what they do. not even to each other. and so that's where i grew up. my mom and dad made missiles. my dad work on the side wipedder, my mom worked on the tomahawk and i found out later in life they would not even talk to each other about problems they were having at work abuse it was all top secret.
so made for kind of limited dinner conversations at home. so, this town is in the -- called chynna lake naval weapons center in the middle of california's mojave desert and there we designed 75% of what the called free world conventional weapons which means the noncommunist, nonnuclear kind, and besides missiles, we designed napalm and chemical weapons and there was one guy who even bragged about being able to turn the weather into a weapon, which he did. and so my book is about growing up in this environment, besides being a top secret environment, it was a pretty religious community, and so i went to a school that -- where they had news a cubicle all day along, a
three-sited cubicle. calling a set railed christian education, and -- accelerated christian education we had an american flag we could put in the divider and a christian flag for a personal question and worked in packets of accelerated christian education all day long where we learn about creationism and things. so i grew up in this sort of double isolation. the isolation of my school and the top secrecy and that affected me and how i evolved and becomes a crazy journaly along the way to get to where i am now. that's the book is about. >> thanks, karen. three new limited series by stephen spielberg. what i love about all your books is you take history and turn it into a narrative that reading like a fast, paced novel. know from permanent experience this is a painstaking process. i wonder if you cue tell us about the joys and the a little
bit about the challenges involved in doing so. and feel free to just chime in. >> i did a -- my doctorate in international real estates at the university of oxford and was familiar with what it felled like to write an academic dissertation and when i turned to the tax of writing flying tigers wanted something nat enthrall people and take you on the adventure with young men and women who joined the flying tigers and experience it alongside them lot of people when we think of world war ii, might thing the lan agent d-day or the flag-raisingraising in eo jima and we didn't think about the china. and tike an cruciate amount of research to put thatting to. being approached at hotel bar in florida about joining a secret unit to get on a ship, many of them leaving the u.s. with a
part that lists a false position. what i felt like to fight in combat for the first time it wait as process of putting to in detail the letters, the die's next combat reports and looking through old newspapers to find sometimes spending hours and hours just to but a.m. pull out a small detail. when the commander of the ewan went to washington, dc to pitch fdr on -- to pitch the roosevelted a norths approve the secret idea, i spent hours looking at newspapers what was going on in d.c., the weather, just to get a small detail because you want to place the reader inside the narrative, and one of the thing is find to be the great joy of writing narrative nonfiction, you can't make everything up. every single fact needs to have a source, there needs to be an ed note to bang it and that's what makes -- back it up and that's what makes narrative
nonfiction a joy to write and hopefully comes off reading like a novel for the read. >> for me the best books are always about people. even in this one, before it's about space, it's about the people who risked, and my first book, a lot of people say to me, i never thought i would be interested in a book about scuba diving and ship wreck exploration but not about that. it's always but the people. in this one is was hope that would approve true and i conceived of astronauts as demagogue, half human and half deck gallon. when apolo 8 flew i thought taught were beyond the greatest super star athletes and i expected the three astronauts, jim love, bilanders and frank boreman, to be somehow inning a settable for greatness and the of of what if do i get to spend
time with the subject and they're quite sick of me by the but we get to know each and the best part of this was goaling to know the three men as very regular guys. they were as likeable and warm but in me most ordinary way. i was doing an interview with jim love recently and i described him as ordinary and the host of the video program objected to that but i said that's what makes the story extra special is that they really could have been any of us spend for one tine two twist of dna. they were much like us. then other other think was so excited to have access to the three men that it didn't otour me to talk but their wives but occurred to them every moment. there was often not a question i could ask that they didn't invoke their wives and it soon occurred to me these women were as heroic and courageous and responsible for the success of apollole and the space program as their husbands were some
arguely even mo so in some ways so undiscovered appoint out there when you get into the personal lives of subjects. >> for me it was difficult because of the secrecy simple who when i worked on the base i remembered being able to trains down to technical lie area and read the tiled but when i one on the base i couldn't goo goh there and took 30 years for record to be declassified so i'm sort of weight for things to get declassified and i just wanted my -- my parents never talk but what they did so i wanted to just go there and see if i could find information on what my dad did the. so i finally went to the national archives and there's a funny store but -- well, not funny ha-ha but a story but there where i was pulling all the files on china lake and sadly they stopped right the year that we arrived so i couldn't find anything out about
my dad's work, but i noticed there was only one other woman in the national are i'ves and she was taking all the file'sen china like rate after me. so i introduced myself and asked what she was doing and she said i'm studying the effects of depleted uranium on the people at china lake, and she goes,or from china lake? how long did you live there? how long did your mom live there? my mom was there too. she's like case, interview your mom? and i thought, oh, well, maybe that's good because i don't it. she doesn't want to talk to me. but my mom does. so, anyway, there was just stories like that. one resource i had that was really helpful, though, was the base had a paper since the first year we started called the rocketeer and they have everything digitized and have hilarious stories about life on the base from the very beginning so i relied on that quite a bit.
>> sam, i want to ask you about the time you spend with the families of the tigers, including going to their annual reunions and what was that like for you and how did you earn their trust. >> it's been a huge part of the journey of writing the book, getting to know the families of the flying tigers, and right after the war, they started having these annual reunions, and as the families i met talk about it, these were out in ojai, california, crazy weekends where all these guys had gone on to become -- many of. the became pilots and doctors and lawyers, would get together to talk about what this experience meant to them during the war, and they were all very proud of being flying tigers and as time went on more and more of them passed on. so when i first started getting into the topic, in 2015, i started just kind of buying books on amazon, many of them self-published and people had
written about their father or published diaries from the period and start e-mailing with them and they said come to the reunion and it said sure. so i went down to florida for a reunion and met frank, now the last surviving member of the flying tigers, 98 years over, lives in columbus, georgia, and talking with him it helped to humanize this incredible kind of mythological story and the families felt it was time for the story to be told in its authentic self. warts and all and families started giving me letters and diaries and starts that had not been pulled noth into a reel depiction of these people, and like robert was saying, the most mythologized warriors of world war ii, people -- americans looked up to those pilots, on the front pages of newspapers during the war, but their real
stories hadden in been told. young men anywhere 20s and some women the as well, and no one has taken the time to really get to know them as human beings, and what they were going through. that was really what i was able to do through that connection of the families and the most rewarding part of the book has been able to -- just in dallas a few months ago for the reunion and talking to family members, some of whom lost cousins in unit who were killed in action and being able to connect with those stories in book and saying i finally feel like i understand what they were going through and that's by far been the most rewarding part of the writing experience for me. >> rob, one over the fascinating stories in rocketmen is the story of the friendship between the astronauts, frank boreman, and jim lovell. i loved that. >> that was one-favorite parts. when you meet them on the surface, frank and jim could not be more different and they'll tell you that. frank joined nasa for a single purpose. did not care but lunar rocks or
exploration, he didn't care but exploring into the cosmo. he said is was there for one reason and run reason only and that was defeat the soviet union on the moe important battlefield, outer space. on we get to to theman was and unthat's to the only reason he was there when you tame to yuck lovell, he had dreamed since boyload. developed a love for the idea of rockets and rocket travel and would lie on his back at night in summers under the beautiful wisconsin sky and dream of exploring the cosmos and being the first to get somewhere. very romantic to him and it was all about the explore asiaation -- exploration and discovery. lovele the most ekingow guy and boreman on the surface could appear nor gruff and no one dispute hissed was a fine restaurant but not everybody liked bobman at the time. everybody loved lovell and yet nasa had i in their mind to pair
theming to for gemini 7 in 1965, going to send lovell and boreman, the most opposite astronauts in the wores on a mission for 14 days. the maximum they envisioned a lunar mission too kick. a scientific mission to tell, can two guy survive in space for 14 days in a capsule no large he than the front part of a voces weighen beetle. so the guys are singing songs together, sharing a toothbrush, having a great time. they melded together perfectly. and in fact when they splashes down after this long voyage they had and the pulled them back on the recovery ship, jim lovell said i'd like to announce our engagement. so they have loved each other ever since and i've been lucky enough to be in their presencing to in addition to all the time we work separately. and there could not be two nicer, warmer friend. one of the nicest parts of my whole experience writing the book.
>> karen, your father was worried about corruption in the weapons industry to the opinion where he started to question his own sanity. could you talk about that. >> yeah. that was actually the impetus for writing the book. one time i was with my dad, and they never talk about work, but he was at that point a little bit sick and maybe telling more secrets he should, and he said to me, they're faking the tests at work. and i was like, what? and he said they're faking the missile tests so it makes them look like the missiles are working when they're not, and anyway, it turned out that he has been kind of in agony about this because my dad's perfectionist, and he was a navigator during world war ii and his whole life is about getting thing from point a to point b in a straight line. so he was very worried that if
the missiles went astray, that if they were faulty missiles they would kill the wrong people, and it turned out -- and that -- i decide at that point, i'm going along into this. he -- going to look into this because he never said night more after that. so i started doing research and found out there was a problem at the time with a corrupt undersecretary of the navy who was taking kickbacks from contractors who were making the weapons and he was requiring people to faulk the tests to change the data so it look like they worked when they didn't. he ended up going to prison but it was -- there was a huge fbi investigation on the base for a long time before that happened, and nobody knew that is was even happening, so is caused a lot of conflict on the base at the time that my dad was involved, and as
for his mental thickness, you have to read the book. >> darn issue was -- i want to title back to a general writing question. had a screen writer friend who says, i hate writing but i enjoy having written. what is the most difficult part of the writing process for you? >> i loved writing this book. thought it was such an incredible authorize spend time getting to know the families and the story. i think the hardest part for me was -- i had -- this unit of the flying tigers or the american volunteer group as they were known, was really 300 people. 100 pilots, couple hundred ground crew and i could no at loping of this individualsings jack new kirk from new york, pilot who made headlines for his
actions in the unit. there's bill reed from marion, iowa. there's emfa foster, nurse in the unit from pennsylvania, and the hardest part for me was letting go. at a certain point the book needs to be done and at a pert point there's only so many character before it starts to feel like a russian novel and you have to say these are the people i'm working with because i have access to their dye diaries and after the book has come out people say to in me second cousin was in the student here's a document related to that and you wish you had it at the time but also you need the art of writing a book is more about what you leave out than what you put in. it's about -- i filled my apartment in new york city i live with all kinds of documents and books and at a certain point in order to deliver something that is readable and exciting, not all of that can go in there.
>> for me the most difficult part of writing is the construction. not the research, which is a pleasure, and the wright largely a pleasure even when it's difficult. sometimes i can't get more than a few sentence but when you do it right feels good it but the construction is something i spend months on. where does the first part good? how should i save things for later? what should i bleed in here but not too much? those kind of -- the building of it and the ordering of things is essential to me because i don't care how good a wordsmith you, if you don't construct the story properly it won't impact. so figuring -- building the scaffolding is teething me and'll walk around my neighborhood, think about it and talking into any tape recorder. everybody in any neighborhood thinks eye i'm nuts and i'm always talk us about construction. this research and writing comes to me but the construction is
sured that's white struggle with in general. in this book one challenge in terms of the writing was to explain technical things in science in a way that the general audience would understood. it's not a specialist in space. i'm general reader and like to write for general audiences so i want to make the thrilling science accessible to everybody because it is thrilling if you don't overdo it so that was a challenge, not overdo the technology. >> i also struggled with that because i'm not a scientist and i had to try to figure out how missiles work, and also my mom was a -- she built the circuitry in -- that went to the missile nose and she always -- would tell me she works on the gerber photo blotter and i had to figure that out and they don't make those things anymore. all this technology in my book that i barely have a handle on. the hardest part in writing the
book was fear that i was breakinging the law. mean literally the law and also the moral law in my universe, which is you don't talk about skeletons in your closet, you don't talk but -- memoir is a difficult thing and you don't talk about navy secrets so i hid that i was writing the book from any whole family. i would sit there taking notes of everything they and i drilling them and never told them. i thought, i'm doing this for myself. it's never going to get published. done matter. and so it wasn't until the book got a publisher that it was a publisher i thought my mom is going to find out somehow, and he was leak, mom, i'm go to send you book to read and i sent it to her and i knew she was upset because she stayed up all night and sent me an e-mail every 15
minutes and she was reading the book. but the part about breaking the law, i had to have two lawyers vet this become for me. i didn't want to reveal navy secret but they were secret things thad happened. and so the lawyer says, i didn't want to be, like, edward snowden having to escape to russia or something but -- when he lawyer contacted me, i immediately became even more terrified because the first thing she said was, okay so first we need to go over the espionage act. and she did. she read the whole espionage took the me and talked to me about various sections in the book, and luckily she said it's all okay. because most all the stuff i'm talk about is now public information anyway. >> sam, we talk about where you found the documentary research
to bring all these people to life? >> yeah. i'd love to. it kind of coming out it remind moved what it's like to deal with declassified documents, classified documents. you always make sure everything is probably declassified. ... in the event state for pretty much the remainder of the war but had a real salé now with the commanders of the u.s. armed
forces and he wasn't invited to be there for the surrender ceremony. he goes on to louisiana and ends up going back to china and spends the rest of the life until the late 50s working with chiang kai-shek and madam chiang. and i got to know his daughter and went to then interview his widow because it's independently fascinating story of the watergate. he didn't make a lot into the book, the daughter said would you like to go see all the combat reports in a similar combat reports. we walked to georgetown and there is this unmarked building in georgetown offer major street these big thick winders, page after page of the pilot handwritten or typed notes of each individual day of combat. as an historian that's pretty
much the kind of thing you dream of, finding contemporaneous documentation of what they went through. they are telling it as the experience that come is when they say they shut down free japanese planes does that mean they shot down three japanese planes. but mr. as much as possible was to tell those as they be reinstated. for me that was a major historical breakthrough to get the contemporaneous documentation and be able to combine that with the experiences and emotions the pilots had through their letters and diaries really helps to make the reader feel like you are there. >> robber, one of the things that impressed me in "rocket men" has your attention to detail with respect to the engineers and scientists and people on the ground at nasa. usually we hear about the astronauts because they are the faces of the mission and as you said almost godlike. i was really impressed with that. tell us a little bit about that.
>> frank marman told me when the mission for apollo eight was conceived and finalized in a few days and they only had 16 weeks to go, he started to calculate the average age of the church are your specialists who are planning the course of the moon. this was the year's ago. the moon is hurtling through space at 2200 plus miles per hour and they wanted to go in just 69 miles over the surface of the moon. frankness they are in a big hurry to do this. everything has to be content to a way they had never done before or what ever do again. he started to catch at the average age airplane in the source for the moon and came up with the answer of 24 years. i thought these are really really special people here are really across the board. as i started to interview them one after another i thought these are really unsung heroes because any one of them didn't do his job.
there was even a woman's restroom in 1968. it was mostly anil driven thing. the whole thing could've come apart and there is tremendous faith placed by the astronaut and so that became a big part of what i was interested in as well. >> karen come you talk in your book in your 20s. tell us about that. >> that's an interesting story. every summer i would get a different assignment. you learn about everything. i was going to a place called echo range layout in the desert and when i get there is about three or four of these plopped down in the desert and i asked
my boss, why is it set up this way? he said were going to be rushing ships. when the pilots are flying over, and then we have the russian radar here so we see if we can track our airplanes with the russian radar. so that was my job all summer was working at russian radar. it happened to be this summer where they did the first test flight of the b-2 bomber and so i was there to experience that even though i wasn't supposed to be because i didn't have the clearance for it. my boss was so excited that he took me in and wanted me to see it and it ended up going disastrously wrong but she'll have to read the book to find out. >> i want to switch back to a writing question. as an author myself, and in
certain other that inspired me and people i want to aspire to be like or as i say be when i grow up. among those for mayor john krakauer, sebastian younger, mark boughton. both authors inspire you? >> i think we lived in the golden age of narrative nonfiction. people like erik larson and laurie held in are doing incredible work to make this far more accessible and it's a great time to be writing in this style and beyond just those names to technology has made this work must more exciting and accessible in some ways. things like newspaper archives allow for people to do so much more in terms of the research out there.
i'm excited to see all the narrative nonfiction being now i think it's a real golden age for that form. >> yes i agree with the names he mentioned in one of my favorite narrative nonfiction writers as ben macintyre, specially his first book napoleon of crime which is one of the first nonfiction books but never really got me going on the genre. but i'm also drawn to the great magazine writers of our day. especially those i worked with "esquire" when i was there. tom chiarella and others. just totally devastated me with their work, and made me feel like i don't belong in the business at all. when i got over that feeling i thought i can learn from them and i remain grateful to this day for those great magazine writers. >> that is a hard question because there are so many. off the top of my head, joan didion inspired me because she writes about california and the
kind of chaotic time that is also in my book. right to kill more in common even though she's a war reporter and i find her work so moving. certain writers who wrote about were even know i didn't grow up in the war i was like a child trying to make sense of what war means with a book about growing up in war-torn zimbabwe. i'm trying to write from a child voice are part of it. she really inspired me to have a certain take him out. >> i want to follow up with you dovetailing on what you said. one of the things you teach at missouri is peace studies. so having come from the background you came from where your family was involved in the manufacturing of weapons, how
does intersect and influence each other? >> because i grew up in a place where he made the weapons of war, but war was so almost a taboo term. we talked about mission or exercises and i became interested because that was withheld from me to learn about various wars and read about different experiences of wars and so it covers all kinds of different women's experiences of wars around the world and i became involved with peace studies because of that. >> robert come you've mentioned the story line in rocket man --
"rocket men" and they were heroes under themselves. what surprises you most about the storyline? >> i was amazed to hear how much death and destruction even before they arrived at nasa. there has been for test pilots and fighter pilots. they would tell them in the morning i'm going up, flying with three other guys and then two hours later hear an explosion in the sky, run outside and see a black cloud of smoke and three parachutes coming down instead of four. and then you have to go back inside and pray that the car that was inevitably coming down the road did not pull into their driveway and pull into someone else's driveway. you start to think of the incredible intense pressure these women were under everyday for the ever arrived at nasa. they are being sent to the moon for the first time ever.
to suggest to the spies who were mothers that there mothers that their husbands are going to go on an unproven rocket and do something no one has ever tried and it didn't exist and plans a week ago is mind-boggling. yet not only did they endure it, but they did it in a beautiful way. they did it really been there has been for the anxiety which was not only their duty to their husband, but to their country. with a smile on their face that contracts with life magazine revealed that the magazine inside their homes and they had to put on a beautiful place to do that. it is very rarely talked about it is essential to understanding how we succeeded in the space program overall. >> you are about 75 years younger than the rest of us. [laughter] being what some might call in millennial, how do you the pacih
my academic work. my father was a navigator in a group going out to the space museum at him and getting to see the planes. i had a familiarity with the war, but along the lines were just alluded to it that there is a lot of interest now in trying to go back and look at stories through different kinds of lenses than we typically do with these things. when people hear the flying tigers they immediately think of john wayne. one of the thing i did was put front and center female voice who is a nurse at the unit and i found her papers at yale when i was there for law school.
about the flying tigers and here is this woman while she was an undergrad at pen state had gone and studied abroad in china in a program reserved only for men and she talked her way into going to be able to do that. was recruited into this because looking for a nurse for the unit who spoke chinese or was familiar with chinese culture and she leaves basically for her entire life she leads her boyfriend behind, goes over and on the ship going over meets a young pilot. they fall in love and their love letters become an important part of the narrative of the story as they are separated during the war. so i don't know if that's a millennial day but i was immediately drawn to his incredible strong woman who has this incredible bonus and is not a fighter pilot. that might not be the first thing that comes to mind when
you hear the flying tiger is that it is important to me to put her story and the wives and the children impacted very front and center. said i was maybe a different kind of perspective on the ground crew who had been overlooked. one of the meaningful parts for me was the mechanic and getting to put so much of his rich story growing up in michigan into this story. it's fun to bring those perspectives that might have been in the story. >> thank you. we are going to transition. while you make your way to the microphone to ask these authors questions i'm going to ask a fun question that i was asked at the l.a. festival of books and you only have 30 seconds to answer. it was a fun question -- the
ground. when i was on a panel. here is the question. where in your home do you keep your own books and why? karen, go. >> my books have taken over my home. i can barely fit in anymore. >> the ones you have written. >> the ones i've written are just stuffed in the back of a bookshelf somewhere. i never look at them. >> mine, too. they are in a cabinet. it helps me keep looking forward if i don't see them in front of me every day. i've got a stack of them on our bookshelves and i also have tons and tons of books that are used in writing this book that i now have an adventure suitcases, and which i'm sure i'll keep the rest of my life because it was just a meaningful relationship
with them in writing this book. >> when i answered the question at the l.a. festival of books i sent a cab to my books on a shelf in my office so that when i freaked out and thought this is a book that is going to prove i'm a fraud. i'm never going to finish this book. i could look over on look over on the shelf and they have done this before. i can do this again. there are microphones for questions if you wouldn't mind making your way. yes, sir. >> this is first man. they can also send 15% through your book. >> do you want to sign my kindle? anyway, i had a question. is that the morning session and then had a question which never caught asked. during the day i got it answered in the book. but i have a second question for you. in the book at the beginning and
this morning a couple of times, you mentioned john wayne's movie the flying tigers. is there a reason? god is my copilot and there is a whole host of movies that touched in different ways on the flying tiger story. he didn't go over with the american volunteer group. any overlapped in time very briefly with the flying tigers, but it does go to controversy. the original name of this group was the american volunteer group
. that is what they became known by. throughout the war, every pilot in china, through the 14th air force or other unit came to be known as the flying tigers. depending who you ask, there's different terms. i'm really focused on the american volunteer group that will let there until july of 42 and that's what the movie is about. thank you for reading. >> last year i had a chance to visit in china. anything in the united states that compares to that. this is a separate and xeon. do any of the american museums have been a focus the same topic? >> thank you for going there to visit that is better remembered
than in the united states. but we don't have a full scale museum on par with god. it would be great if we did and it's such an important story now more than ever because it ties the american and chinese history together. it's a story of her cooperation, which is an important part of our shared history. it is wonderful china is embracing this. there's huge museums dedicated to the flying we do have the shared bombs. -- bonds. >> any other questions?
[inaudible] >> the question is about the children of the astronauts and whether they went to similar work. mostly they lived normal ordinary lives. one of the children is a wonderful chef in chicago who has an incredible restaurant. i haven't found a discount yet. he was the one for years and years in chicago. when i asked him what was it like to have an astronaut is your dad, especially one of the first three people ever to go to the moon and they said everybody where we lived was an astronaut. one of the kids told me that the big thrill for them was one day at school, a fireman came as the
interesting dad and that was the one. that is where was really out. i found it fascinating. but it made sense in the end. i also asked them if they feared their father was not going to come home for the trip because this was such a dangerous mission and they asked him what are the chances here when he first told her about this mission. he thought it over at me she wanted a sober, realistic answer. in one third chance of an unsuccessful mission in which somehow we make it home in the one third chance we'd never get home at all. shoot breathes a sigh of relief at those odds. she understood me with him all that time and seen his career as a fighter pilot in understanding what nasa was all about. those are pretty good odds to her. the children never saw things that way.
to them that went to work a nurse came home and people looked up to him and admired him so of course he was going to come home. i couldn't find anyone who expressed fear that god wasn't coming home. i found absolutely fascinating. >> do we have any other questions? if you wouldn't mind making your way to the microphone can i just realized the cameras are running and they need that audio. >> this is for sam. during your research -- let me phrase it another way. our history shows that the president at the time, world war ii, president roosevelt wanted to have the japanese pay a price for what happened at pearl harbor. there is a mission of bombers going over to bomb japan and they couldn't get back to the
ship that they took off on and ended up standing in china. was there any interaction between the people you read about and those individuals that flew over japan, the bomb and ended up landing in china? >> is a great question. the question refers to the famous doolittle raid undertaken in 1942. it was done with the 25. my grandfather was a navigator. it's an important part of the early part of the war. chennault was not informed of that mission. essentially the american volunteer group is officially part of the chinese air force that had been sent over his secret mission in occupied a very strange role in the way it was configured. in his memoir in the 50s wrote about years later he was still
bitter he hadn't been informed about the fact that the landing in china and could use his assistants and he felt it was one of many fights against him during the course of the war. essentially ended the war very better than i was one of the first things he was very bitter about. wanted to attack japan from china as opposed to the island hopping campaign and ended the war very bitter that he had essentially been the americans fighting the japanese for the longest period of time because he had been there since 1937 while before the war felt like he never got his due. >> we have just a couple more. tell me and i'll repeat it. how is that?
[inaudible] >> the question was about the reaction the chinese would have to these pilots landing. i'll speak to them in the context of the interesting parts of the story was they had what they called these blood sheds on the back of their jackets because there is always the risk he would be shot down and end up somewhere in china. the concern was they would have no way of communicating with the locals in the jackets would essentially say in the back coming out, i'm a friend of the chinese people and please help me. i was about the level of communication you got if you were shot down. there are these incredible stories of members of the flying tigers were shot down in china and would spend overnight before they went back would be seated
at this chinese towns. there so many small moments of connection between the chinese people and american pilots enough for me was a special part of the book. obviously, the course of history is long and complicated in china. this is essentially the nationalist government. but these are really moments of connection, just people between the american pilots in the chinese that i think that's an important part of the story. >> thank you, authors for your participation today. can we give them a round of applause? thank you. [applause] to where the question? go ahead. we have time. >> your description of the astronauts has been kind of ordinary guys and then i think about the right stuff. was this just totally different
or did they have different opinions are what did these guys think about that? >> i think they'll respect the book. they don't consider themselves superheroes or anything like that. there is something definitely special about them that allows them to climb on 36 story tall unproven rocket phone twice and failed in its most recent test. there's something different about them. were you afraid of dying? they seem not to make sense that question. but someone like me who has kids and understand the odds never would have done that. what struck me was that so much of the rest of their stuff was our stuff and that was so moving to me that they were so accessible in so much like regular guys in every aspect other than the fact they did this at one time when they were young men in a way that nobody is ever going to do again.
>> elting on that if a code, part of what is extraordinary about these stories like the apollo program or the flying tigers that are so mythologized american life and we think of these people as heroes or extraordinary is that these are really stories about ordinary people leaping headfirst into extraordinary circumstances. sometimes not recognizing the historic importance of what they're doing. certainly when you talk to them they don't think of themselves at least in my experience talking to frank and the family members they don't think of themselves as heroes. it is about guys coming from all over the country. all different walks of life. some of them going to different universities. some of them would essentially been mechanics and they all came together for a common purpose and for me that was a particularly moving part of the book but they all banded together out of necessity. there is something that really resonate that.
when put into a circumstance than americans do have the capacity to work together towards a common purpose. >> one thing i would like to add is speaking is it's interesting to hear nasa didn't have women in prominent roles. where i grew up, my mom was an unsung hero in the military at that time. women did play prominent roles on the base. it happened i computers and they called in computer says. and so, the men became very dependent upon the women brought
the data century. my mom is a computer scientist and programmer by the end. >> thank you everyone for coming. the authors will be proceeding to the bookstore to sign their books. please clear the room quickly so the next panel can set up quickly. thank you. >> organizers of the tucson festival of books tell us there is a