Skip to main content

tv   2019 LA Times Festival of Books  CSPAN  April 13, 2019 5:29pm-7:30pm EDT

5:29 pm
no matter what you take on there's always new information to find. maybe going back to biblical times -- unless several hundred years for sure, i -- when i did book on big horn, i found tons of new information that i hadn't found. same thing with the alamo in 1836, not as much, if you dig hard for those primary sources which were all important, it'll make a huge difference. so many historians even today, best-selling historians they stick to secondary sources and they don't dig, dig and they don't find anything new and there's a market for that kind of thing but it's not going to be anything new. >> in my particular field of japanese history, we used to say when you look at contemporary or modern times, the picture, like if you go to medieval period, you know, you get very -- a lot
5:30 pm
of the picture stuff, if you go to classical there's little dots, sometimes most interesting histories are written by people who look a little tinny and somehow able to imagine something and i think there's something about imagination, something about also doing the work of archival work, doing the -- you have to actually do all of the work and sometimes in the midst of it you discover something, it's not just about what story it is but kind of why that's important and what's at stake. >> well, on that important note -- [applause] >> but wait, there's a book signing.
5:31 pm
buy books and read books and these are wonderful ones, so signing area, they'll answer your questions. thank you very much. >> thank you for coming. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching book tv on c-span2, live coverage of 24th annual los angeles times festival of books held on the campus of the university of southern california. one of the panelists you just
5:32 pm
saw james donovan will be joining us a little bit later today for a call-in to talk about his book on the space race and the moon landing. coming up at about half an hour you will hear a panel of authors talking about world history. but in meantime, beth mason who appeared earlier as our guest, she will be taking your calls, most recent book, dealers, doctors and the drug companies that addicted america. when we talk about opioids, what exactly are we talking about, are these legally manufactured drugs? >> well, opioids covers a broad spectrum. we talked about prescribed opioids, we are talking about narcotic pain killers that are fda approved and then when we talk about elicit opioids are fentanyl, overdoses more recently, fentanyl, elicit
5:33 pm
fentanyl, not manufactured fentanyl but elicit fentanyl, some of which is smuggled and some mail ordered. >> host: where is it manufactured? >> china, hong kong, fentanyl is coming in from méxico. >> host: how does it get through? >> guest: it comes across our borders, but there's a story in the book about a young man selling vanex in parking lot of community college, mail-ordered off the dark web and pressed into pills, that's a thing about talking to your kids about pills, the pills aren't necessarily what they say in the bottle, could be fentanyl. people are dying. >> host: the focus of your book, though, is legally manufactured opioids from here in the u.s. and the role that doctors play. >> guest: first story of the
5:34 pm
book is -- tells the story about kind of when the genie got let out of the bottle with the pharmaceutical-funded notion that pain was being undertreated and so for 100 years we knew that opioid were addictive and cases for severe pain, end of life and cancer and what happened in mid-90's, movement, much of it by oxycodone which came out in 1996 and the fda allowed to be approved to be abused, believe to abuse the liability of addiction and abuse and, of course, we know it was addictive when they said it wasn't. >> properly use oxycodone an effective drug? >> it can -- >> host: important drug? >> guest: sure, sure, i had surgeries last year, outpatient surgeries and was prescribed
5:35 pm
oxycodone, they say you can get addicted from 3 to 5 days, the message that was put out was that this drug is safe for moderate pain, not postsurgical pain, back pain, pmj. the narrative flip in the late 90's and that's why you had this vast overprescribing of oxycodone at the time and when the pills got hard to get, dealers started bringing in heroin knowing that once you're hooked on opioids you're going to do anything not to be dope sick which is what users call withdrawal. it's dierr intea, -- diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
5:36 pm
>> host: 50 grams of heroin could earn a person $60,000 in a week. how does that happen? >> guest: happens in two ways, could be a business, elicit business venture where somebody realizes they have people in their town that they will be dope sick if they don't have it. once you are addict ts, you have to have it or you will be really sick. at the end of the journey you're not doing it to get high so much as not to be in withdrawal or dope sick and then, you know, as early oxycodone, people in mountains, factories were closing down realized that they could get their doctors to write them legitimate oxycodone prescriptions, take half and sell the other half for a dollar of milligram that was going on too. like moon shine.
5:37 pm
>> host: stories about 5 years or so about pharmacy in west virginia that had prescribed 6 ten million oxycodone or opioid pills. >> guest: yeah a town of 400 people. >> host: right, how did that happen for so long? >> guest: charleston, west virginia, that was largely a regulatory failure, how did the dea not know that -- how did they think it was possible, and, you know, it's great that that's coming to light but to watch reporting and we have just seen the story, it's been regulatory failure after regulatory failure >> host: is this an appear --
5:38 pm
appalacha problem. >> guest: ohio is now a huge hot spot, west virginia and ohio lead the nation in overdoses. there's also early hot spot in new mexico, starts out in distressed communities because there were people there who were legitimately injured because of workplace injuries, so if you are a mining town or a logging town, factory town, there were people who had legitimate injuries and they were prescribed opioids for them. what perdue did was hire an army of sales reps and went into the towns where there's also prescribing, competing opioids going and they said, look, we have this new fda approved label that allows to say it's less addictive, we know now that that wasn't true. they admitted in 2007. but that's kind of why you saw
5:39 pm
it pop up as a huge criminal problem, people stealing lawn mowers, anything they could get hands on, crime to a new level in a little town where people had never locked their doors, people are suddenly locking their doors, so there's no where where epidemic exist, those places are going to be years before they recover from this. >> host: phone numbers on the screen, beth macy, dope sick, if you live and (202)748-8201, for those mountain, let's hear from jim out here in california, hi, jim. >> caller: hi, there, thank you for taking my call. it's always great to have these chances to ask questions of authors and you're not at the
5:40 pm
book festival. the problem i see that the drugs -- my wife and i over a period of years have had surgeries from different conditions that require use of opioids and in many cases that's the best things there, anything else doesn't work as well. and i agree with you, they can be very difficult to get off of and yet for a lot of people they're really almost indispensable. so we tend to go back and forth on our policies on drugs and loosening up, tightening up specifically marijuana which is now okay because we are going after opioids and we didn't go after something we went after marijuana, we went after heroin. is there a way to make this all rational? >> host: jim, have you ever worried about or felt an addiction through an opioid? >> caller: i'm sorry? >> host: have you ever worried
5:41 pm
about or felt an addiction to an opioid? >> caller: not so much addiction, dependency, i don't like it, i've been in the borderline of dependency and wean myself off. powerful drugs. >> host: thank you, sir. >> guest: thanks, jim, that's a really great question and scenario that you presented and one i hear a lot from concerned folks. yes, opioids, you know, we've long known that they were addictive but also can be the -- the best thing severe pain and what you see is more recent studies have shown that people who are force tapered, people who aren't tapered correctly because largely doctors haven't been taught how to do tapering very, very slowly, it's actually a terrific book coming out in a
5:42 pm
couple weeks in pain, folks who are forced to taper or taper too quickly they can end up going to black market and you are seeing overdoes deaths and suicides there too. so it's a really complex issue that demands nuance and -- and more than that, it demands that our physicians be trained on how to handle pain. >> host: beth macy spent 25 years with the roanoke times, author of two other books besides dope sick, next call comes from tom in rapid river, michigan. tom, go ahead. >> caller: yeah, good afternoon. thanks for taking my call. my situation is this, i had a failed back surgery and i've had just this past winter had bipass
5:43 pm
surgery that didn't go well, they cut my legs open. i've got severe nerve damage. because of my back and now legs i'm going to be on opioids for the rest of my life. i have a certain dependency on this medication, which i hate having to take, side effects are but i have to take it or i would have no quality of life. i'd be interested to hear that side of the opioid story. all i hear overdoses which are valid, this is all very valid,
5:44 pm
but the side that needs to be addressed is there people that use opioids who do become dependent on them but would have absolutely no quality of life without them, so i'm interested -- >> host: tom, we got the point. beth macy. >> guest: yeah, first of all, tom, i'm sorry to hear about that. before you had a similar concern and i spoke about how unfortunate it is that doctors don't have enough training in terms of weaning and in your situation certainly a forced taper or force wean would be a terrible thing to happen to you, what i'm mainly talking about which is about the opioid crisis was a massive overprescribing of this drug that puts them in just
5:45 pm
about every american medicine cabinet where teenagers would get their leftover wisdom tooth surgery medication and flooding the market with these drugs until we have, you know, we have 2.6 million people addicted and i'm not talking about folks like you but the people -- the stories that i tell in the book are people who are either legitimately prescribed and got addicted and prior to that time would have been able not to -- would have been able to have gotten off the drug but with the new drug they had a harder time or people who are like people who have a family history of addiction, those people are 50% more likely to become addicted and when we had this massive overprescribing, that is what led to the wave and later to heroin and more recently the fentanyl epidemic but in no means want to harm anyone like
5:46 pm
you that is responsibly taking these medications. >> host: 65% higher overdoes mortality in appalachia than the rest of the nation, 56% of americans knew someone who has abused, addicted or has died of opioid overdoes, beth macy, did the family agree to sit-down with you and talk to your book? >> guest: i did not interview them. >> host: did you try? >> i did not. >> host: why? >> guest: i was telling the story of first responders and the people dealing with this. the second part of my story ends basically in 2007 with the settlement that happened in virginia and i certainly put their point of view, i used court transcripts and i interviewed one of the chief
5:47 pm
counsels and i was writing of what was happening at the time. the book was finished before all the new headlines which i'm asked to be commenting on now, but what they've said all along is they blamed the people who are addicted from misusing their drugs, they say they took responsibility in the 2007 settlements, but because of the deal that they negotiated with the department of justice, you know, they were able to continue selling the drug and in fact, sales climbed after the settlement and so it was business as usual with opioid manufacturers and distributors that you mentioned earlier coming out of west virginia paying almost a billion dollars to the -- political contributions and lobbyists. >> guest: when you think of the family, what comes to mind? >> guest: what comes to mind is a family that hasn't had the
5:48 pm
feedback, hasn't been willing to take a look at the story that has spent a lot of money giving charitable contributions to museums and colleges and certain good things but, you know, as my good friend robert, how about reparations in the communities that have been absolutely destroyed by this drug. there are towns in eastern kentucky where they talk about putting a memorial wall, they've lost so many people because of this drug and where are the reperrations there? >> host: elaine in newport beach, california, south of where we are in los angeles, go ahead, elaine. >> caller: hi, thank you for taking my call, i have read the book, i'm a retired teacher 30 years in orange county and it was just so well researched to let people know what has
5:49 pm
happened to our young people who have become addicted to opioids and also to the way you wrote compassionately and as teacher i appreciate that, so many people will read your book, i hope that our nation will do something about this epidemic and really look at it in compassionate way. strong drugs. so thank you, beth, thank you, c-span for the wonderful, wonderful interview. take care now. >> guest: thank you so much. i said earlier today, i feel like my job was to make people care about this issue and not just the people who are suffering, many addicted through no fault of their own but first responders are suffering too. i've seen, you know, police officers arrest people and be
5:50 pm
stuck by needles and had to be tested by hepatitis c, you see physicians and judges just absolutely worn out by this issue and elaine being a teacher yourself, you probably lost students to this and my heart goes out to everybody. >> host: newport beach, one of the most affluent places in america, has it hit there? >> guest: it's hit everywhere, one of the things i talk about in the book, important flyover rural area it was allow today fester and grow but when it jumps to newport beach, outside of roanoke in hidden valley, the people have money. they just simply have money, right, or the parents who did learn about it were able to
5:51 pm
afford to send their kids to reman, one kid i interviewed went to 15 rehabs before the criminal justice system ever interfaced with him and theanded -- ended up ultimately, he's doing well. they also have the money, having money doesn't make you not vulnerable to this epidemic, in fact, in some ways it grew in the wealthier places unchecked just as much as it grew in appalachia. >> host: was it true to its original intent? when you first started researching the topic, where were you going to go? >> guest: yeah, i spent a lot more time in the chicken plant and the book begins with me going to interview with convicted drug dealer who is in prison for feeding heroin addiction in this rural town where they were trading break room at chicken plant and that was a fascinating stwie -- way
5:52 pm
to look at atf agents and folks that were busy working in the case which was at the time the largest heroin ring in virginia but what i mainly didn't move on just how families are being left alone to deal with this. a mother had mehmet to her son's grave, had football injury and ends up dead, somebody else's bathroom floor with the needle in his arm. there's henry who i spent the most time with her and her mother and, you know, they just wanted somebody to see how hard it was for him to get treatment. she was constantly being treated as moral failure by the medical system, by the criminal justice system. she was in gap between being
5:53 pm
treated as a criminal and being treated as medical patient worthy of care and, you know, she felt there's cracks and ultimately she was forced to operate in a world of criminal gangs and prostitution so we don't be done sick and murdered on christmas eve and just -- it's not what you think of for the daughter of a nurse and a surgeon, you know, loving medical professionals, epidemic really spared no one. >> host: judith, hi. >> caller: hi, thank you for taking me call. i was addicted for opioids for years and i was on fentanyl. 90 milligrams and i stopped taking completely and i was thrilled and have no desire for
5:54 pm
it. i was wondering if you can look after -- >> host: judith, how do you get started -- how did you get started on opioids and at what point did you become dependent? >> caller: i had major spinal operation that didn't go well. >> host: 21 years. you said that was also on fentanyl, wasn't that and illegal substance? >> no. >> guest: fentanyl pain patch. >> caller: i know it's possible to get off of it. >> host: how long were you dope sick? >> guest: i was dope sick for 3 months until i --
5:55 pm
>> host: what were the symptoms of being dope sick? >> caller: constant diarrhea, constant dehydration, pain i was taking medicine for but basically feeling like you have the flu 24 hours a day for a month. >> guest: yeah, yeah. >> host: judith, thank you for sharing your experience. thank you for sharing your experience with us, what you missed beth macy, 21 years on opioids. got off on her own, cold turkey, she wanted if you've heard of this -- >> guest: is she still -- yeah, the most medical experts would
5:56 pm
say a very slow wean in that situation, hats off to her, though, that's terrific. >> host: how does this epidemic compare to the epidemics of 1980? .. .. it is different because it started out in a more rural area and was mainly working. in fact because of old-fashioned racism, african-americans were initially thought to be
5:57 pm
protected from the opioid epidemic that we are experiencing this round. but from recent data it is now, overdose death are some are highest among middle-aged african males for variety of reasons which is they get the worst cut heroin. they're less likely to call 911 for help. because of police issues. >> host: let's hea hear from jon boston. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. as a recovering addict and member of the media i'm interested in a couple different points. number one, i have to tell you story. i worked at an officer had 300 police scanners in my shift was an eight hour shift. and i know the epidemic. i am interested in the recovery
5:58 pm
angle and it seems like 12 step programs can really help if people are willing. in the bottom for crack cocaine was really quick for fentanyl and heroin and there is not always the bottom, bottom his death sometimes. how do you feel about twelve-step programs in the second part, we have also seen an epidemic of suboxone prescriptions where people are being told by the doctors, urine to be on this for the rest of your life. what is your comment? >> host: think usual speed interesting to thank you so much for asking me about that. it is so important. in fact, i think to talk about medication as a treatment, morphine which goes by the brand name of suboxone. or every scientific body, the cdc, the world health organization should be considered the gold standard for care. for treatment for opioid use
5:59 pm
disorder. but where i repeat over and over in my book, but too often people that were taking suboxone would go to and in a meeting and be considered quote unclean. and they would sponsor, she asked in a people to sponsor her and they said no. and the people were dropping out and they were literally relaxing because of the way they were being treated in these meetings. there is a lack of understanding about maintenance issues and maintenance medication. what do you say about people being out of her life, i was just at the conference last weekend, the addiction society of addiction medicine, and they are saying that some researche s
6:00 pm
believe that if you are heroin addiction, you should beyond these for 12 years. some are saying, many are saying that it's okay, it's like a diabetic taking insulin as their medicine and that is okay. i think will start to see that because of the stigma about people taking the maintenance medications and many who have been mistreated and twelve-step programs, not all but i do think that is starting to change. but we really need for people to realize that morphine is like somebody with diabetes taking insulin. >> host: dealers, doctors and the drug company that addicted america best. thank you for being on book tv from the los angeles times festival of books. live coverage continues now. up next another discussion on world history. after that a call in with james donovan who wrote about the 1969 moon landing. live coverage of booktv c-span2.
6:01 pm
note on. >> good afternoon. we have a very nice crowd. this afternoon we're going to find out how authors excavate history. dig into history. get their sources, learn, and they will tell you about their books. my name is bill, i have a hoarse voice because of southern california being inflicted by a wave of synchronized sneezing.
6:02 pm
[laughter] i'm annoying but not contagious. [laughter] i worked in the los angeles times for 31 years as a political writer reporter in the bureau chief columnist and finally as a city editor. and before retiring, now i write for a lot of websites, most famously one called truth dig. [applause] anyway, i love writing for truth dig and i also have been writing for a publication that i will recommend to you if i can find it. it's called blueprint. it is put out by the school of
6:03 pm
public affairs at ucla. it is the finest example of public affairs rating on california that i've seen. take a look at that. our authors are scott road tell, editorial writer for the los angeles times, author of several books, most recently his book on william walker's wars. which i love because it was about the frontier. his reputable characters. priya ceja wrote empire of the guns, which is a brilliant
6:04 pm
examination of how the industrial military complex group. we're always taught that a couple guys in the garage for the wright brothers in their garage fixing bicycles, or someone in silicon valley and another garage. she explained that his meds under much more complicated in that and a fascinating book. and ruby lal is a book about an extraordinary woman which she will explain. in the prejudice of historians is really unknown. and so each of them encountered different problems in their
6:05 pm
research. they are going to start off with telling us a little bit about their books, why you should read them. [laughter] and then talk a little bit about the research and how the excavated the material. scott? >> i thought i heard her, there. i didn't realize it was a colon. i was a mentor reporter for the time. we talked about william walker and how he got involved with the different projects. i'm always embarrassed of the question because i never remember how i starbucks,
6:06 pm
usually if i stumble across something, why did i do that. so i stumbled across william walker at some juncture and became fascinated with her. it was the year called the filibuster year primarily civil war. primarily people who were going from the u.s. and invading other countries. lopez who invaded cuba twice. there were going after islands in the southern pacific in william walker invaded mexico. most of these guys suffered defeats. walker was in nicaragua for more than a year. it's pretty fascinating how he did that. there's a lot of good reasons why nicaragua doesn't trust america to the state. he is only one of them. he is from nashville and groping a fairly wealthy family.
6:07 pm
he was described as effeminate, blonde, blonde eyebrows, they re- word to him later as a a.i. destiny. he became a doctor, got a medical degree at the age of 17. and a lot of people did that. i first thought, wow, but a lot of that happened in that era. he came back from europe to study a doctor, studied the law, became a lawyer, became a newspaper editor. [laughter] and that's where the trouble began. you get involved in the newspaper in new orleans, he wound up in san francisco in 1850. he became a super editor there and he was a very good rock thrower. he is constantly riling the
6:08 pm
establishment. he then went, after that failed, his nicaraguan invasion another nasty things and i won't talk about that now because a lot of people need to talk. but he was not a very good dr. we got started. he was not a very good lucrative lawyer, pretty good newspaper editor in a bad invader. i will leave it there. >> how did you start? how did you start examining? >> it was an accident, i think as many of the books out there are the result of an accident. i was a historian of the 20th century and i wanted to write a
6:09 pm
book about the history of the arms trade in the former british empire after world war ii. i was looking for the background on that. i stumbled on the story -- i found out there is not an existing set of books that i consult about in an earlier. but i did find the story in the 18th century in a place called burlingham in the west midlands who is the biggest gun owner and perhaps even in the world at the time. he was supplying guns to the british government which was constantly at war in the 18 century and supplying guns in the slave trade in west africa and supplying guns to the east indians. and he was also supplying guns for the conquest of america. and the interesting thing about him was that he was a quaker. [laughter] you can see that this is a real mystery to me. how was it that the most
6:10 pm
important gun maker in the 18th century was a quaker. it defied my presumptions of what it means to be a quaker. i felt like i had to solve the mystery because they were too, why was he doing that, how was he comfortable? and he was evidently comfortable. and secondly, the reason this emerges is that there suddenly a controversy about him in 1790s with the quaker lets him know that he needs to stop selling arms or be disowned from the quaker and religious society of friends. what was interesting to me is that his family had been doing this. he and his predecessors had been doing this for almost a century at that point. so why had the never been any
6:11 pm
controversy before and why was there suddenly this controversy in the 1790s. how did he deal with that, how did he have, create an easy conscience for himself. the lucky thing was, he was such that she was a scientist also and he fancied himself as a man of enlightenment. he took the trouble to write and print and circulate his position as a quaker gun maker into layout a number of arguments as to why he was at peace in doing this. his main argument was, whatever i do in birmingham at this time, this moment in which we find herself historically, is going to be related to work. all of you who are pointing fingers at me, my fellow quakers
6:12 pm
are also doing things related to work, the banker who supplies a finance, the guy who supplies iron for my guns, so on and so forth. so i found that very interesting, if he was right at some level of rationalization, he would actually write as well and we haven't realized how much industrial activity in england in the 18th century was driven by war. in government purchasing related to work. i've received wisdom about industrial revolution about steam engines, railroads and genius unbound, and nothing to do with war. there were a mystery about the quaker gun maker and the "window on the possible whole new story about this foundational meredith in modern history. i will say that much for now and we can talk for about things later. >> you read about the interest
6:13 pm
taking us back to the 1600s. there was another impressed, she was a queen actually who was in charge of the time. her name was queen elizabeth. we all know about queen elizabeth, right? we know about her interest. why is that, how did that happen? >> thank you. that is the heart of the question in writing this book. there is a loss of history and i should begin by saying when we take about the great of india, incidentally she gave the idea. there's only one woman among the great of india and as said, the
6:14 pm
light of the world, she was lost to history. i want to respond to the question of lost to history into wave. one, she is a name in south asia travel to india of afghanistan and i'm getting new and new stories recently people were right for me from all places and saying i know her, i note that about her and that about her. but the way in which people know her is in the form of a love story. that she was the 20th wife of india. and she was this great empress. and who the great empress was people did not know. she was thoughtful, should coins
6:15 pm
issued in her name, she was a fantastic hunts woman and we are not talking birds. we are talking tigers. all of these things, and yet at the same time her sovereignty was lost to us and i heard about her when i was a restless eight or nine years old girl growing up. and my mother an told us fantasc stories and on the one afternoon, the souther summer an i got very bored with whatever she was telling me. and i said to her that he wanted a new story. so she had repeated many stories before. but this one she had never told me before. she kept calling this woman meaning queen of queens.
6:16 pm
in time i became a historian and i wrote the first book on gender relations in the book actually starts the first book, the epidemic book so i'm talking about accretions, i'm talking about what state and i wrote another book just as i was finishing the second book, and somebody from india wrote to me and said we have to turn to this question, we have no biography of her. and when i got the e-mail i walked into work at the university in atlanta where i teach and i was talking to a colleague who is from morocco and i said i got this e-mail this morning, and this is supposed to be my idea. [laughter] and she said in morocco we believe it is not the authors
6:17 pm
who choose a subject, is the subject to choose their authors. so i am speaking about the personal is very strongly the evidence for history writing. so to turn to why we had lost him to history, the history of the invasion is a very long one which i have charted in my book, which you should read. but in effect, if i want to take historians on board, it is essentially the problem of male disbelief. there is always the question how are you going to do this, there are no sources for writing this path of history. and that is where i began my career as a historian during the first set of gender relations. to turn to the question of evidence, you have a woman of
6:18 pm
elizabeth of the force who has points in her name which is a sign of islamic sovereignty. you have a woman who has orders in the interest of peasants in the interest of the most this privilege that survived that we know of. there have been many, many more but at least ten to 15 ought to be found in various museums in the library. you have quite extraordinarily portrait of hers that is in the library which she is shown and it is important for many, many reasons. one it is painted by the famous painter. it is one of the few paintings in which she leaves her name on the painting. the name of the painter is also
6:19 pm
inscribed. it's a very unusual act in the jonah of these kinds of miniature paintings. these are things that were known to historians. the evidence can be multiplied. the memoir, the texture records of the courts at that time. all of these things can be multiplied in effect, the question was how are you going to do it. there are no sources for it. when i said to him, he turned around and said, isn't this representation? and i turned around and i said what is not representation? the question doesn't arise if you're writing about change. but the question arises because you are writing about a woman's suffering. this is the back story. the historian story.
6:20 pm
there are many other things that i implicated in the rating which can be found further on. >> scott, you had a different kind of source problem. scott's book was based on journals, histories and books in recollections ever. in american life, western life no one wears tall tales and stories. mark twain was one of the great journalists of that era. and one of your sources was a paper that i never read. i am not that old. [laughter] called the californian. i read about often. it was a great pioneer san
6:21 pm
francisco newspaper. and when you call it the new york times of california would you? [laughter] anyway, you had all this stuff, all these tall tales and some were true. how did you distinguish between fiction and fact? >> i had that problem in several of my books. the first book was of the massacre in 1913, 1914. and it really illustrates us. there was a newspaper in trinidad which is the home for all the slave struggle. the newspaper covered this as you might expect. it is also owned by the lawyer of the coal companies. once you know that, you see it differently. there is one incident where the talk about strikers and shooting them in their cars going down the road. i found three of them testifying
6:22 pm
in him under trial a couple months later. i do similar problem with the paper and other papers. a lot of the stuff that i found, some of it came from walker himself. he had a pr guy with him in baja and he was sick stories in san diego and so he wind it up an. so i found through that through all the books. it's a triage. he for newspapers, and i hate to say this as a journalist, but they're not always right. especially in error like that read got people who are pushing. it's a triage. use it for tea is a sense of what happened, where, outlines of what happened. interesting details you try to
6:23 pm
find quality and information, diaries, letters, reports. a lot of stuff that i found in this book i wound up not putting into the book because i couldn't trust them detail and could not verify. it was so fantastic that it can't be right. if you cannot find a way to verify it, he leave it out. i'm sure you dealt with the same issues. if you cannot find a collaborative you just don't take the stuff of face value. >> you had another aspect problem with yours. yet a huge amount of data in your book tracing businesses and business people who were also religious people. you had to be very precise because it was a well study.
6:24 pm
how did you convert, how did you get your data and how did you converted into a narrative? >> it is a difficult question when you're working on a subject of the staple of economic. when you engage with people across the disciplinary boundaries who are in economics and looking at these questions, questions about revolution, they want quantitative data. in the same with 18th century. which i learned, i was a 20th century historian training. that data does not exist in many cases. i went through all of the government ordinance office records showing that participants for that. and i read them alongside the records of gun makers. their business correspondence to look at the gund industry alone. sometimes, certain volumes of
6:25 pm
government records are missing. or there are holes in the paper of right where you need the number or there is a stain, or there is no way to get a complete run of the data. how do you go about proving something then? there are a few things you can do. one thing i did, hone in on the gun industry as a case study. that is important in its own right. and establish that in this one industry you do see the change from the beginning of the century, british gun makers could make about tens of thousands of guns annually and by 1815, the end of the napoleonic wars they are making millions of guns annually. so that was a revolution in production in itself. how do you explain that big leap in scale? when i found looking at the
6:26 pm
government papers is that there is a lot of evidence of government intervention in the moments that we have information and data where you can see government officials interacting on the ground with gun makers, they are referred to in the gun makers letters, their tinkering with the industrial organization of gun manufacture to make it more efficient. they're not adding and machinery. it is not that revolution. the happened in the 19th century. there is still a revolution production. once i establish that for the gun industry there were many ways in which you can imagine the gun industry because it's high-tech fisticuffs unsophisticated industry and is the most complicated mechanical object. in many ways at the time. there are lots of ripple effects in the industry.
6:27 pm
and then i started to have a glance around it, many other industries, are there similar patterns going on where we see government intervention and industries like files and so on and so forth. i got a sense of a lifetime. but the third thing you have to take seriously is the commentary of people in that time. the quaker maker who is samuel, he was very certain that what he was doing in the revolution he was witnessing and gun manufacturing was being driven by government contracts. he believes that. there are other people who are actually not. there is a massive activism against what was called old corruption in the 18th century. historians have known about this forever. people were really upset about the relationships between government personnel and
6:28 pm
politicians and contractors who are becoming really wealthy in this. and naturally somebody in the rebel rebellious colonists. nobody has taken them of evidence and maybe some of the economic change happening in this time was driven by all the contracting work. if we read against the grain we can use that to as evidence about things that we don't otherwise have concentrated data for. i'm asking to take contemporary point of view seriously as evidence about what happened at the time and to take the gun industry as an important site in which we can test the idea that government drove industrial change. and can i mention one other thing, the other thing that he argued in his defense, we hear this today too.
6:29 pm
from probe gun activists, guns are not really weapons he says. he says that they promote civilization. because they promote cars, and the rule of property. so the system of private property in england in the 18th century is supported all around the expanding empire. and that requires, and wanted to test out too. for other people think of that? how are people using guns in this. i chose perry's different places to test that and see to what extent were guns part of incidents of untimely death. you can see patterns that hold across the century were guns are
6:30 pm
not being used to certain situations and not used by writers. there almost always used in crimes related to property. that is something you can actually see in accumulation of what you might even call in a difficult evidence that we have. but you should buy the book and see if you are persuaded, did i make the case or am i overstating what my data says? that is a conversation that others join and will have to have. >> as i was preparing, i talked to analyst before we came over here, i was thinking of something that is very interesting and very pertinent and something we all know about the deals resources in a sense of what you're talking about. and it became very controversial, those are the
6:31 pm
cases of doris goodwin and jill abrahaabramson to distinguished writers. famous. both became involved in controversies because they do not want to get into who is right and who is wrong on this. they got into controversy over the way they handle their sources. as i was reading your books, i read the in notes of each book. i thought,. >> oh dear. >> no they were good. i thought, what precision,
6:32 pm
through all of these three books and if doris or jill has been as careful as you three, this would not have happened. i would like to hear your comments on this and discuss it a little. it is something that bothers me and i'm sure it bothers you too. >> should i take the customer. >> there is a whole studies in the kind of work i do which is now on the intersections of many different ways of thinking. it's about taking history, it's about thinking huge historical experiences that have been wiped from the record. it's about how to write figures and subjects that have been lost to history. all of these really very
6:33 pm
important questions about the status of evidence or so-called the archive. or the sources of disciplinary terms. i think really, at the heart there is a fellow that there are historians that implicated it. there historians who will encounter the archive. i use this phrase very carefully. who will look at certain kinds of tax that will use certain kind of, and i say this because forever and ever in the kind of feel that i work in, i have gone and used the same sources that people have used and that we cannot do that because of history. it is those very sources.
6:34 pm
there is something about our time, something about her debate but there is something about the way in which you read, i give you two examples, she was born on the road as the parents were traveling in 1577. from iran. and her father was in a democratic position. in under the execution of the troubled and that amazing caravan and her mother being pregnant for the first time, the baby girl is born. they come to india which is known for its tolerance and pluralism. and he gets employed in the courts in which you grow. for me to it begin to think about the life of this extraordinary empress. there are two things that i want
6:35 pm
to give an example of, the philosophy of countering and thinking sources. one to think about the question of her childhood. who was she and how she be brought up. what did her home look like. her father was employed under the court of the future father-in-law. and this is what she was reading. but we have huge amounts of material on what our islamic court books within the terms of which boys and girls were being raised. it was certain books that everybody road. there were certain perils known to exist. in those stories, those paintings, those terms, those special settings in which the
6:36 pm
boys live in a particular way and girls live in a particular way. let's say parallel histories, these special sources, begin very essential to my imagination of what she would've been like as a girl. how was she trained? why is this so important in her upbringing. we know that her father was a master. we know some of these things. and she went on to write exquisite poetry later on. why is poetry not the ground writing history. the second example, before she comes into the emperor's as the 20th wife. she was married before. she went to live in bengal which was like the wine fest of america at the time. and she was married for 12 years, she had the daughter in
6:37 pm
this marriage. those were incredible years of her life which we only have one life most of the time. what does a new historian do at that moment which i believe, people on this earth, how did she happened back then. it's an important questions or think. these locations of the childho childhood, i always say to myself, this was imagery i had in my mind when she leaves in northern india after the marriage goes to the provinces of and goal which was pleat hunting completely different in terms of environment, food, religious sensibility. she is going as an olive branch but when she comes back she is like a tree, she has accumulated huge amounts of wisdom about relations, she is known as the
6:38 pm
best short of the empire. this is serious because the guns have a very different meaning here. only a sovereign could raise the gun to kill the tiger. in which is recorded. i believe bengal which is the land of the bengal tiger, that is where she left. these are the ways in which it becomes the narrative. >> there is another aspect to both of these cases. that you might want to talk about. these two authors use researchers now. and you are talking about the. >> we don't use researchers, we do our own dirty work. and that becomes what you're getting at, we rely on other people to become the with legwork, it can be problematic. i'm not going to get into what
6:39 pm
they did or didn't do, but you create problems with the research. and you also miss things. and when you go to an archive utility researcher that you want to get item a from the archive. good researchers will get the embryo back. but they don't what have what's in your hands. did not see that the thing next to it is like holy cow, that is important. you bring a total of the subject. into every aspect of the research. and you start missing things. and slightly we went into that, i was doing my book, and colorado. in the archives had a bunch of records and it was there. i was talking to the archivist about what i was working on and he was an expert who knows the experts, expert on the red cross. when i look at the red cross, this is mine workers, and
6:40 pm
rockefeller. and it turns up after one of the bottles the stryker had used the red cross flag to recover bodies. and because their neutrals and draw them in. and the only independent eyewitness thing he described great detail of rifles out of the hotel. the stuff you will not see. or if you saw from the side that they would be suspicious of the detail. so researcher would not have the kind of conversation with actavis. so you have to be there. it is a shared project. you go to the orchard and pick the food off the vines and the trees yourself. >> i will decide, it's important, i agree with what both of you said deeply. and i think that it's important to remember what the historian does is a craft in the craft part is the time you spend,
6:41 pm
except for a few in the archives, and the epiphanies you have in the encounter with those documents. that is a communion that you do as a historian when you handle something and you something, that is transporting you across time in a scott put it beautifully, you bring all your training and knowledge up to that point it helps you decipher what that document means in the context of what you are working on. someone else may have read the same document and know something completely different from that. and so, that is essential to the craft. if you divorce that part of the task of telling the story about the past from the writing part in it becomes something very different i think. >> it also seemed to me that having the researcher is more
6:42 pm
work -- >> you have to manage. >> hereafter manage the researcher,. >> is an old labour guy i don't do management. >> except for dead people. [laughter] >> i want to be an author, and hearing him worrying about this person and why are they at work today. [laughter] were they going. >> you are doing it for another reason. when they are at your side doing it alongside you and learning the craft, that's an apprentice like situation, in my current research at stanford,. >> yes/no questions hopefully. go ahead.
6:43 pm
the first question gets everyone started. >> after wait for the microphone. >> thank you for your insight and all your hard work. my question is this, obviously you all have your own passion to your books. but during your research you have got to run across disbelief, dysfunction and also disillusion, how do you balance your own personal emotion with what you're trying to convey to your readers? >> i will follow-up. >> thank you. that is a great question. i think, one thing i do want to say -- this is a response to your question. i don't think of writing history
6:44 pm
has moved from engagement. there is a whole sense of very objective history and unbiased history. they're all very big words around. but it is very deeply which is why i say is implicated into how we think history, how we write history, in terms, disillusionment for instance. the work that i've done recently, the moves of india. the structures of india. this is a vast india which i also think is the presence of india. it is currently being wiped out of textbooks. they're very deep engagement in writing this history. it is being wiped out because they were supposed -- people
6:45 pm
forget that every great, the something was born to them and it's a landscape. , these are issues and i'm sure they will speak to their emotional engagement. it's the emotional engagement of telling the stories, is the emotional engagement of how the politics are entwined to what you do. you take it on board. you have heartaches. you get attacked. but you continue. those are the reasons in which ideal with some of these questions and engagements. >> as we were talking, a few things occur to me. there are many levels of angle emotional engagement.
6:46 pm
i did communion with the dead. and spending, i spent 12 years writing this book so i spent 12 years trying to understand the quaker gun maker and commune with him. and i feel empathy for him and if my goal is to understand him i cannot be in a position of judgment. and i will not understand. there is an emotional register right there in the whole scheme of what you are doing as a historian. it's about understanding. but as ruby was saying, history is always about the presence. in my book opens with the story about an incident of gun violence and my own family. there is a personal angle that threw me into the question of guns. and of course i was riding in the time of mass shootings,
6:47 pm
paralyze politics around guns and things every american. but i am writing about a british and the time for the second amendment restrained by people emerging from the british story. so in my investment in the present debate which are emotional lysing, those play to it as well. and lastly, i would just say whenever you have a sense of the political stakes of what you're doing, they are always talking about silicon valley, i live in silicon valley and teaching at stanford. you do have a sense once again that there is an economic takeoff that people like to believe all about on balance but in fact the history of silicon valley is with cold war defense contracts and ongoing. and that again, whenever you invest -- i am invested in that.
6:48 pm
in the political question that is contemporary faith in what i'm doing at the same time you have to balance that against her goal of communing with an understanding and have empathy with the figure of those that you're critical of. the gun maker. but i like him. [laughter] i can't say this, if i had been in his time what i have done different? we all like to think, we would do different. but we win it. >> what i do is a little bit different. i'm a journalist not a historian. it took eight years to get a four year degree. so we come from different perspectives. i'm driven by the narrative of the story. people ask what you write about, i don't. i find the story that interest me. this gets to your point, they start off at a point of curiosity. and i start exploring it.
6:49 pm
and i see where curiosity takes me. and the junction gets to obsession. i have to know everything that i can find out about the subject. and that's when i began to figure out that there is a narrative and material to frame the narrative of the story that is effectuating at the time. another thing is relationship. sometimes, ebbs and flows, there are times about a hundred thousand words. in each of these books were i said, how the hell am i going to get a hundred thousand words out of us. and by the in, how am i going to get this from a hundred an hundd 3,502,100,000 words. at the processor same why am i doing this, i was a fool to take this on, and then you think, damn i did another one. i hope the answers.
6:50 pm
>> may i just add one other thing. i was at the festival in colorado and somebody said, what would your book look like if he did not love her as much as you do. the interesting thing is the idea of communion that you are raising. it is also an identification, the fragility, the beloved, and sharing moments, wondering to curiosity. it really does take you on a amaral. and i had sleepless nights writing this book and wondering -- >> he tried to create slavery on central america. in a price to move. there is nothing redeemable about the sky. and i worked across the street
6:51 pm
to make his hand. in this project differently and a connection. i was just chasing a good story. >> thank you all so much. i was curious, this might build what you're stating, how you almost avoid the personal and accidental from personal standpoint, but almost for the pressure of a commercial standpoint, how you avoid the intimacy towards a revisionist history because a new book featuring old historian has a built-in pressure to unveil something or to show use out of something. and then you research you might find that is not quite there and you want to be that person that
6:52 pm
reveals it. i'm curious if you find those pressures or if that ever becomes a tricky thing for you? >> are you talking about dealing with the subject that is been written about before? >> trying deliberately to set out to do that? >> i'm assuming that they have to have a narrative that ties to current day and here almost entitled to try to connect it today. >> it goes the other way around. at least for me, of course what is going around now is shaping me. and what i'm interested in. but i have noticed, this is the story now, must be wrong. i will go find something that
6:53 pm
will show that i'm the one that found the true story. it's more the accident that i found a defense. and i thought, what if i took it to say, what if he is right, and i wasn't sure he was. he could have been wrong. but when i kept testing, i put him on trial. with all the evidence. and then i was persuaded by the evidence and there is no plan to write a commercial book. it was like, what you wrote something then to be commercial because it is doing something that is offending in narrative and it might change the common sense around the subject then it is worth pursuing. does that make sense? >> i took a deliberate decision to write creative nonfiction. i've written academic books before. i have to say it was generative
6:54 pm
in which i mean it was painful and restrictive in many, many ways. i had a couple of challenges, one, the book came out in america in the uk and other parts of the western. it came out in india and in south asia. south asia people really know who i'm talking about and what i'm talking about. so when i speak there there are different sets of questions. but i love the challenge by writing the book. because there were two sets of things that i had to deal with. one is to launch but to bring enteric group t in the storytelling. so, i had a moment, it was very painful at that point. i do 2014 draft that i did to my
6:55 pm
amazing editor. she sat with me at lunch and she looked at me and she said this is fantastic research. this is great for prep. you think you can get three more useless? and so that is the transition i am talking about. issues, that became a really fantastic journey into my own engagements about how to think about evidence. my agent said to me, when i was drafting the proposal, what did she look like and so that looking is not just an insertion that looking becomes the human life. you get to know, they begin to know a person. how did she travel, what did she wear, what were all the amazing landscapes that she was going through. she traveled a lot. she is constantly on the road. we are talking about city caravans, 350,000 people at a time. traveling with them.
6:56 pm
up in north and south east and west of india. what did those caravans look like as i was saying to bill early on, that is not context. that is actually history for me. so all of those challenges which have been very decorative, i came into thinking of these issues. thank you i like that question. and there have been books for people have been intentionally of the work. and sometimes they are right, sometimes they fall slack. what i do to my books, i tried to find the overlook and forgotten aspects of part of history. there known in their era and people forgot about them. i did a book in the day who killed john will and there's a zillion books of war area. and i can tell, he is a footnote in most of the books. it depends what you want to
6:57 pm
bring in the intention is great and it is destroying on thin i.c.e. unless a right. [laughter] >> do we have time for one more question? go ahead. >> it is probably better than mine. so you find the story, the seed is planted, how do you start, where you go first, how do you get the process going? and organize yourself? >> one of the things i do initially is go to the old newspaper archives that are filed by year end do it chronologically and everything i could find and that gives me the foundational chronology even
6:58 pm
though i said before you cannot trust all the stuff. from there you figure out the narrative, story, overall the small bits in between, you start writing and realize, walking down a dusty street in 1913, and you look at the weather, full moon, breezy, what color of the sparks, one to step away becomes an organic back-and-forth thing. i note the story as a my resources, now what we need to do to make the story come alive, the historical increase. >> it varies for me -- are you taking notes? i think it varies depends on the subject. the book that he wrote, because the research has been abroad. that is the kind of logistical matter to deal with. before i could write, i needed enough
6:59 pm
evidence to know that my hypothesis was true. in this case, i spent years, mostly just gathering information -- i'm a believer in printing out all my data, marking it with colored pencils, and from the 80s. [laughter] i know people do a lot more digitally but i find it useful to handle the evidence that way. and then you start organizing. with the colors and then you start seeing the subtopics. every outline you have in every organizational scheme you have, you have to know is completely provisional and that it is going to work again and again, until it settled into the narrative that is going to work for the end. but like i said, that was for this project. i just written a draft of a new book in six months. but is a very different kind of thing i'm writing and researching at the same time.
7:00 pm
i think it really depends on what you're trying to do and what the logistical issues are around the issues and where your archives are really. >> good luck. [laughter] >> essentially just living at the time and living with the subject. that is a way ago. and quite deeply into traditions that i work with this book. i literally had to go to graduate school to study the paintings at the time. in the architecture of the time. there is a lot of transportation involved because they worked with sources and things like that. those are really the technical side of things, the backbreaking things and tying the wrapper understands and getting into the archives and the dusty work. which i love. i really love the writing part.
7:01 pm
you're constantly thinking architecture, your thinking, how a character is evolving. you are thinking, what moves wear. your thinking, how visually effective things can be. and i am a sucker for footnotes. i kill myself over those. that part two. and then i think there comes a time where you think you're going to puke on this and that's what i think i'm done. [laughter] >> thank you very much. [applause] i thought this was great on how to write history. and thank you all for coming and i hope you continue to enjoy the festival of books.
7:02 pm
the book signing area is in one. come by the books. >> or just say hi. >> thank you bill. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> about 30 minutes there is one more author discussion coming up in the next one is on science
7:03 pm
and history in medicine and that will begin in about 30 minutes. joining us now on the set at the university of southern california's author james donovan, his book, shoot for the moon, the extraordinary voyage of apollo 11, mr. donovan before we get to july of 1969, let's start 1957, 1958, what was the effect on this country? >> the first artificial satellite created a sensation in this country. people went crazy. they somehow out science to us. we were stunned. people started wondering what was next, bombs coming down, nuclear bombs from the next larger satellite? space stations with nuclear missiles.
7:04 pm
it created nasa a year later, we had to respond somehow. it was the height of the cold war, which a lot of people now do not understand how tense everything was. a lot of people thought world war iii was starting. >> to the fact that sputnik happened, did we have a space program at all at that point? >> space might be stretching it. we had a satellite program. you may of heard burner from ground, that was a nazi in charge of the v2 program for germany. we scooped him up and a lot of other scientists and engineers and brought them over here under the top-secret program called top-secret paperclip. all the services, navy, army each had their own program for space and a satellite. >> how quickly did the u.s. get a satellite in orbit after sputnik?
7:05 pm
>> a couple months later, it might've been done earlier than sputnik, but they wanted to be sure and they were testing it for safety, and if that had happened, the entire space race might never have happened. >> president eisenhower supporter nasa, did he get it? no he did not get it. he thought it was a huge waste of time and money. he did not think that it meant anything. he did not understand. and a lot of people did not understand what it meant. and what would happen because of it in may 25, 1961. the importance of jfk speech. that was the challenge before the urgent needs. he challenged america to land on the moon and bring him back safely before the end of the
7:06 pm
decade. in reality, kennedy was not much of a space buff at all until this happened and he realized we needed something. this was a few months -- few weeks before and we needed some good news to counter that because it was dreadful for his image. >> was it a political speech? >> absolutely. there are two things evolve. in researching the book i realize, it was not just national security. it was not just that we needed to get something up there to counter the russians, there was a thing called national prestige to show that we were not in second place behind the communist nations. this was the height of the cold war as i said. and there were dozens of nations and we haven't decided which side of the global tug-of-war they wanted to be on. they wanted to be on the winning side and they would show signs
7:07 pm
who would be winning the war. 202 is area code if you want to talk with james donovan about his book shoot for the moon talking about space travel, talking about moon landing and we will talk about the future of space travel as well. (202)748-8200. [gun shots] two at 274882 zero one phone back in the pacific time some. what did it cost the u.s. taxpayer up until july 20, 1969 to put a man on the moon? >> about $25 billion of course which that is a lot more in today's dollars. that was in current dollars back then. but you know, nasa pioneers so many things, just in satellite, communication, medicine, and
7:08 pm
lots of other areas. six years later, 1975, someone estimated the return on investment, as r&d to be somewhere from 16 to one. 4% of the u.s. budget in 1966, this is from your book, was dedicated to nasa at one point. >> as sometime in the mid 60s, now nasa's budget is something like .5%. it is almost nothing like what it was. >> was neil armstrong on purpose or accident? >> some people and nasa then and now would tell you it was his turn. he was chosen as the commander of apollo 11 which was meant to be the first mission to attempt a landing on the moon. in most i talked to didn't think you'd make it. they thought something will come up and there was too many unknowns. mip apollo 12, apollo 13, but he had a reputation as a customer,
7:09 pm
he had just barely survived several accidents in space, the f-15, he was one of the few f-15 pilots and i think that has something to do with his choice. >> alan shepard, who was he? first man in space about 15 minutes. in 1961. >> fifteen minutes questioning. >> as 15 minutes. it was a big deal because a few months earlier within -- the soviets had been beat us in some areas we had to get some and answer and alan shepard. >> he was the first american in space. describe his voyage. >> this was back in a time when these were small nose capsules on top of inter- continental missiles they were meant to deliver nuclear warheads. people cannot believe that
7:10 pm
somebody would strap themselves on top of this and get in one of these records. they grew up with frightening regularity. and of course they did not know back then what space and what weightlessness would do to a human. they thought maybe it would do something to your brain, pass out, or get all spacey and weird. they had names for it. but it was considered a true hero what happened. >> how high up did he go? >> maybe a hundred miles or hundred 25 miles. spent many nights in space. space starts about 60 miles up and came right down. >> rated healing? >> in the pacific a few hundred miles downrange from cape canaveral at the time. >> how many people died in space
7:11 pm
for trying to get to space in pursuit of getting to the moon? >> there's always been rumors that there were soviet but died. >> the russian government, they were open with the space program. they only announced the successful one after happened. so there is always been that. i never tracked on anything that was evident of that although several russians have died and of course there was the three americans, 1967, apollo tool for which was termed apollo zero one who died and which should've been a simple dress rehearsal on a launchpad. it actually made the program safer. >> james donovan we were talking prior to the segment about our memories of seeing the moon landing. how was it, were we watching it live on july 21, 1969? or was that tape. how are we seeing cameras focused on neil armstrong? >> i've done radio shows with an
7:12 pm
alien holding the camera because how can we not see him. what happened was kind of where he backed himself out on the porch of the lunar module and he reached down and he let something go and it flopped out and there is a camera on the bottom of this thing. it was aimed right at him. that is how that happened. >> were with cnet life? >> we were cnet life a few minutes delayed because that is about 240,000 miles away. >> it is been said that there is more technology in this phone then there was on that capsule. >> the apollo guidance computer, there was one on the lunar module and one on the command module. which was revolutionary. this is the time for ibm took up most of the room. each one of them had
7:13 pm
approximately 72 kilobytes of processing power and 1 megahertz of memory and one processing card in my iphone as has millions work. >> james donovan is our guest. the book is called shoot for the moon his first call is troy from missouri. troy go ahead. >> caller: james and peter thank you for taking my call. regarding apollo one, did the astronaut suits fail? were they burned to death? and in addition, had he survived would he have been the first man on the moon? thank you. >> guest: if he would answer that, but also tell us what apollo one was. >> guest: apollo one, virgil and his crew, of ed white were
7:14 pm
scheduled to be the first crew of the first actual crew of apollo spacecraft in space. in january 1967. they were involved in which should've been a routine dress rehearsal to see if the power worked and unfortunately they were one 100% oxygen atmosphere which changed later of course in of anything we know what oxygen does to a fire. and there is a spark, lots of material that was flammable, they were dead within 30 seconds and unconscious within 30 seconds. dead within minutes. they suffocated. and they were burned, but that did not cause their death. a lot of people people thought he might've been the first man on the moon.
7:15 pm
there is a feeling of the first astronaut to be the first man on the moon and he was one of them. anyway, he might have been, we don't know for sure. >> what was the date of that? >> i don't know the exact date, january 1967,. >> from shoot from the moon, nasa posted the qualifications for the job, research astronaut candidate the starting salary would be between $8,312,000. the minimum requirement for the job including 1500 hours of flying time, graduation, axle under excellent physical condition be between 25 and 45 years old and no taller than 511. why the height requirement? >> this was the dawn of the spacecraft age and they had boosters that could only get a
7:16 pm
certain halo in space. so they did not want anybody big in the capital itself was kind of small. >> didn't they have an issue recently that the two women who were supposed to do the spacewalk could not because they were not spacesuits? >> those spacesuits were tailored to each man down to the size of his fingers. so when he pinched the fingers in his heavy gloves, it would work as well as it could. the funny thing about those qualifications you mention, that was later, and at first before they decided on test pilots, they did not know what this was going to be like in space. they had considered an open call in america for daredevils, circuit performance, and they had prevailed and they decided that we have all these pilots and test pilots, we have all the records and this was of course a
7:17 pm
time of national security and emergency. so they just did that. >> did a lot of men apply? >> the call went out, not everybody did. because of the time they were not sure the program was going anywhere. or what it would do to the crew truck. there is a crew track and every one of the services. they did know if it was sidetracked or who would work at all. >> peter in alexandria, virgin virginia. >> caller: hi, peter and james. peter this is so funny, i actually called about seven years ago, you are interviewing a gentleman at the space museum. and my question is, thank you so much for cspan. mr. donovan, i wanted to get your views excuse me i'm a
7:18 pm
little nervous. on the nuclear rockets successful ground test in 1969 and part of the issue is that is being done at the marshall center and this is just an idea the particular idea that a rocket laboratory and what is needed instead of the current term of laboratory. i think we should upgrade everything to rocket laboratory and marshall to move marshall to california texas, or florida. i just want to get your opinion. >> host: peter in alexandria, virginia thank you. >> guest: there was some research and development into nuclear propulsion. it was abandoned, they stuck with chemical which they been
7:19 pm
using a course, but right now, of course they are thinking about going to mars and is a long, long way. 34 million miles. they're looking at other systems, ions, nuclear, a few others, i don't think they made the decision yet. there is a potential return to the moon. you have an opinion about that. >> guest: some people say and some astronauts said that we've been there, where we going back 50 years, but just move on. but there's a lot of things you can do what you get out of the gravity of earth. a lot of things you can do on the moon as a staging area. i don't think it's about idea at all. >> host: dave and vancouver, washington. >> caller: this dovetails on
7:20 pm
what you are talking about. as going back to the move. would we not need to go to the moon first before we go to mars to establish a research outpost that could develop fuel on the moon that would get us to mars that much easier because out of the gravity area, and secondly, the russians, the soviets propelled us with sputnik to do the apollo program, let's say the chinese, put a man on the moon with that motivate us to really go forward with establishing a research outpost on the moon to go to mars? thank you. >> guest: we are in a different time now and we are not in the middle of the cold war with china. which really propelled us to do all the great stuff in the 60s with the space program i don't think it's the same situation. i doubt that would spur us on.
7:21 pm
i have seen more interest in space and space exploration right now and i think we have had in 50 years. all the commercial exploitation, and other companies working in partnership with nasa. so it is wonderful to see. >> host: michael calling, is he still alive? >> guest: he is still alive and going strong. he will be 89 on halloween. he's been gone for a few years. mike collins is a wonderful gentleman, very thoughtful, speaking of her future in space, he said, people will go where they are able to go. i think that kind of says it all. it speaks to the human need, the human earning to explore, to
7:22 pm
find out what is in the next hill, next valley, on the next world. >> host: did he ever expressed regret being the guy who had to drive the ship around the moon while his two friends -- >> guest: he was a constant gentleman and he never complained. of course, he said once or twice in his book, which is the best national autobiography. of course, these were awful males, and everybody wanted to be hired part of the stuff. and you wanted to walk on the moon. but he was a team player. he was happy to be part of the first group. >> host: new york city, joe please go ahead with your question. thank you. good evening, welcome to usc, i'm a proud children alumni and
7:23 pm
of course, it is special that you're discussing the moon. neil armstrong did his graduate work at usc. so with that, i will ask you, i was pretty upset to learn that there is not a celebration in washington for the public regarding the 50th anniversary of apollo 11 and i noticed that there is a contractor celebration hosted by kennedy space center which they are saying the official celebration and with tickets of $5000 each. i was wondering here opinion about this and whether in fact, the notoriety of the media, movies that has now varnished the historical significance has overwhelmed the original tenant
7:24 pm
of what the space program was about to this country and is now just become a paid as you can to be a part of the program now. >> host: i think we got the idea. thank you. >> guest: of course he was the aircraft company that got the contract to design and build the moon or module. he played a very important part. i've heard about the celebration. i have to say, what to celebrate, and what the governors decide to celebrate, it would've been nice to have something on the 50th anniversary. i'm sure they will have some kind of a celebration. you're right, it does not sound like the public is invited. i wish they were. >> host: what about in the control room at houston. why houston? how did houston get that?
7:25 pm
>> guest: you could write a chapter on that and i have. the vice president at the time was from texas. >> host: was their connection? >> guest: i wonder? the chairman of the house appropriations committee that was involved in budgeting for nasa was albert thomas and in his district was a place called houston. so they got the lion share. all fairness, they tried to spread out the goodies all over the country in different states got different parts of the program. but of course the choice was nasa. the man's spacecraft center. >> host: here in california, isn't the lab and a couple other places? >> guest: exactly. cleveland, ohio, and of course langley, virginia was the origin
7:26 pm
of nasa's first headquarters. >> host: you to pretty clearly draw a political example to those locations? [laughter] >> host: is not fair to say? >> guest: to a fair extent yeah, you're right. the extensible reason that houston was chosen was one of the reasons was -- i always wondered also, why, as soon as the spacecraft clears entry everything shifts over to houston, why don't they just do it all in cape canaveral, one reason was there might be signals mixed up from all the other programs in communications. >> host: fill in indianapolis, thanks for holding. you are on. >> caller: mr. donovan, my question what the liability is in going to mars. it takes so much time and money
7:27 pm
and what is the value in it? >> guest: right to the core of the question. economically it is outrageously expensive. spaceflight has always been expensive. that is why, nasa has not done much with manned space exploration since the early 70s. because the budgets were cut. there are economic reasons, there are things to be found on mars and actually on the moon two. that might be well worth going there. but part of it speaks, i think i mentioned before, the human earning for exclusion. an anthropologist said, once
7:28 pm
that the civilization that does not move forward dies. i think there's something to be said for that. i think no matter how far in the future we are talking, i think as far, as long as some part of human we will be exploring. and for right now that means leaving the earth. >> host: tim donovan, based in dallas, about the alamo, and going to the moon. what is the connection? >> guest: i cannot figure it out but a friend of mine finally said, this fits right in with the other two books and i said what are you talking about, he said man on the frontier, i guess that's it. >> host: shoot for the moon is his newest book, chances are between now and july of 2019 we will be seeing him quite a bit as the nation commemorate 15 years of moon landing. thank you for being on book tv.
7:29 pm
but tvs live coverage of the l.a. fair continues now. another author discussion and this one is on science and history of science in the history of medicine. your watching live coverage on book tv. [inaudible] >> i'm going to get started here. welcome everyone. the scientific look at the elements that create our world. thank you everyone for coming especially at 4:30 p.m. when it's not time. i am the moderator here. i was one of the judges from los angeles times science and technology book price and it's wonderful to read so many and have a conversation with these folks here

0 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on