tv Author Discussion on Outlaws in U.S. History CSPAN September 15, 2019 8:30am-9:30am EDT
>> here's what's coming up on book tv. next it's an author conversation on outlaws in american history on the recent mississippi book festival. then harvard university professor duncan white looks at how cold war propaganda was disseminated through literature in the united states, written britain and the soviet union and later from a call-in segment at this year's national book festival, elaine weiss recalls the women's suffrage movement and the radicalization of the 19th amendment . find a complete schedule of what's airing on book tv by consulting your program guide . >> good morning everyone. welcome to the book festival. [inaudible] this panel is
titled american history, renegades and is sponsored by the mississippi library association. tracy car with with the library commission was in the room for the very first organizational meeting of the festival and couldn't do this without the mississippi librarycommission or libraries from all over the state . thank you very much for your support. and we are in the room today, courtesy of foreman watkins, author and our gratitude to them. our panelists are tom and then, eric j dolan and peter coupland. purchased copies of their books from vendors outside and you can find the times our authors will be signing in your program. it will hear from our panelists for about 40 minutes and open the floor to questions. please come to the podium in the center of the room toask your questions . now help me welcome our moderator for this panel katie blunts, director of the mississippi department of archives and history . >> thank you chris.
all right, i'm going to tell you about these guys and then we will start theconversation . tom clayton was a reporter for the new york times and editorof weekly newspapers . before turning to writing full-time area four of his books of the new york times bestsellers. dodge city, the heart of everything that is , and the last stand of box company. while bill was published by st. martin's press in february 2019 and this november,harpercollins will release all blood runs red . sag harbor new york. eric j dolan is the author of 13 books including leviathan, the history of whaling in america. s named one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by the los angeles times and the boston globe . the book also won the 2007 don lyman award for us maritime history . his most recent book before
black flag blue waters was brilliant beacon, a history of the american lighthouse. dolan lives in marblehead massachusetts with his family . and on and peter houlihan is a freelance writer. in his career as an emergency medical technician is written the number of articles related to his niprofession including the impact of ptsd on first responders. he's written a number of book reviews or the first papers, is a native of southern california, he now is in fairfield county connecticut. and norco 80 is his first book. so i'm going to ask each of you to say a few words about your book and give us an overview and then we will come up with some questions . >> thank you for telling me. >> can you hear me? >> thank you, you got that in at the right time. i'll talk very briefly about my book while bill which is about while bill hickok.
it was a book i had no intention of writing. it sort of snuck up on me. i had done a book that came out a couple of years ago called dodge city about wyatt earp and the bat masterson when they were young lawmen together in dodge city area and the book came out and it was successful. and i had been working on a different book, world war ii story but my editor looking at the bottom line said is there another iconic western figure you could think of who may be deserves to have some treatment. and i said the name that popped into my head was wild bill. because it was a name that i think we all recognize, while bill hickok, we all recognize that name but the only thing we might think about him is that he was a gunfighter and i said if that's all he was, gunfire, i'm not interested so let me do some research and the book that came out of that were traded while bill pick off as just a gunfighter .
a fervent abolitionist, by behind confederate lines during the civil war. deputy us marshal. marshall of bay city and abilene kansas. he was a broadway performer, star of theater on broadway. and of course he was a gambler who fought his career in deadwood south dakota and one of the things i had on very briefly, one of the joys of working on the book is i discovered he had so often been associated with calamity jane. like there was a big love affair, you go back to that movie the plainsman as a love affair of the two of them. but the love of his life and the woman he eventually married was awoman named agnes lake, one of the most remarkable women of the 1800s . she was one of the major circus impresario's of the country area she was arrival of barnum and bailey and thnobody knows who she is. she had an amazing careerand she and hickok fell in love . that was one of the
unexpected letters of the book, to portray this remarkable person who literally had beenlost to history area so thank you . >> first i'd like to give a shout out to john evans of the nefarious books because he's one of the reasons i'm here. he read my book, enjoyed it and asked the mississippi book festival if they might invite me down so thank him for doing that and i'd like d to thank the mississippi book festival are inviting me to come down and it got really hot this morning. i'm not use to it, i'm from the north but i want to tell you a little bit about how this book began as well. usually i just go to libraries and i read a bunch of books and i tried to figure out something i'm interested in and pitch it to my agent. hopefully he's on board and we pitch it to a publisher. for this book i got my teenage children in the room and i had three or four ideas and i started telling them
what i wanted to write about and when i mentioned pirates, both of their eyes lit up and they said dad, you have to write a book about pirates and i got excited because although i'd written 20books, neither of my kids and read any of them . and i have to report since my daughter might see it, my daughter graduated from college and she read black flag, blue waters and she enjoyed it . she said my son in college has only agreed it to read it by the time he's 50 years old so i'm one for two. black flag blue waters is about the pirates of the golden age which spans 18 six 1600s to 1726 and there have been a lot of books about pirates and my book adds to that literary lineage with a slight twist. i focus on the pirates that operated out of the american colonies were plundered ships along the american shore. so the book is split up into two sections, before 1700 and
after 1700. before 1700 pirates and the colonies were accepted with open arms because here the colonies were on the edge of empire, they didn't like how england was treating them and the pirates were coming from the caribbean and also from the red sea and they were going there and tagging muslimships and bringing their riches back to the colonies .so governors were states letters of mark to pirates and when they came back to the colonies with their money they were reintegrated into those colonies. england shut down that piracy about 1700 and afterwards the spanish accession which ended in 1713, piracy became roaring back and that's the rdtype of piracy most of you no doubt are familiar with, that's when blackbeard was on the scene. i find it funny blackbeard is the most outsized pirates
there is, it's the one most people have heard about but he was only a pirate for a year and a half.he didn't have a particularly successful career and when he died they cut off his head and hung it on the balustrade of the ship that the english kernel took it back to williamsburg. the book has a lot of hanging it but it also really is a book about american history that uses pirates as a backbone to tell that story. and i had a lot of funwriting the book and researching it . >> we have pirates and i've got bank robbers. so other than vampires you got for the mainstays of things that have remained in the fascination. my story is about a group of young men, led by a born-again christian with strong end times beliefs who attempted a takeover robbery of the security pacific bank in norco california just outside of los angeles on may 9, 1980.
it turned into one of the most violent events in american law enforcement history. and when it was over, there was 38, 15 wounded including 17 sheriff's deputies. there were 32 police cars, either disabled or destroyed gunfire or explosive devices being thrown by the bank robbers. there was a policehelicopter shot down over san bernardino county . these scope of this is what attracted me to it. i'm a native southern california as a you said and i grew up right near where this happened but the sheer scope of the event is what drew me to it. this is, these are five heavily armed young men. they're shooting civilian grade military, civilian versions of military grade weapons. they've made homemade fragmentation grades that n they can launch out of the barrels of their shotguns and
as luck would have it and a stlot of bad planning, the minute a step outside of the hm head-to-head with the riverside county sheriff deputy just erected into a wild firefight and in a crowded southern california intersection on a friday afternoon in which over 100 rounds were over 500 rounds were fired. and then into a running gun battle through the suburban streets of riverside and san bernardino county onto a crowded interstate highway where they're throwing out wafragmentation grades. shooting down the police helicopter. and ended up 5500 feet up on a wire road, leading into a mountainside in the mountains above los angeles where the road was washed out and the four surviving bankrobbers , i don't want to give too much of this away but ambushed. so it's really the scope of this and i think the wider context that it fits into is the bank robbery epidemic
that swept through los angeles area, beginning right about 1980 and then extending through the middle of the 1990s . which is one of the backdrops on it. and the impact for today have a lot to do with the way local police forces are armed and the way that they deal with posttraumatic stress disorder. >> this room is full. all of these people chose to come to this panel over many other panels including supreme court justice sonia so the mayor. but let me ask you all, why do people, why do readers enjoy about bad guys. violence stories, renegades . what you think the appealis ? >> i'm not casting aspersions. >> from a very late
perspective there's nothing more gripping or traumatic then to read about a horrific act. it just grabs your attention. and it's sort of like why do people rub and when they're on the highway and there's an accident. why do these ntincisional headlines aroundyour attention ? there's also something in the nature of not just american history but world history. it is incredibly violent. there's something about our own healing nature tends towards violence. and in many different forms going back as long as we have recorded history and certainly before that. maybe there's something very animalistic about it, wanting to read about it and i also think there's a voyeuristic aspect in the sense that you can read about these artifacts, ask that hopefully none of you would want to ever perpetrate. but you can maybe put yourself in that perspective t or think what would have been like and maybe there's some shots or two. you're saying better than the
knee, rather. people gettingkilled or robbed and it's not happening to you . but there's no doubt that death, destruction, horrific acts of violence attract your attention almost no other topic. i'm a pacifist. >> i also think when you take a hard look at someone who does something almost unimaginable to you .eo >> in my case before five young men with no criminal records just throw away their lives and the lives of a lot of other people in a single day butthen there's also that a, that fascination with how someone gets to that point where they take a step like that or in the case of irix or mythological figures like wild bill, i've always found such a fascination with what are the steps that get someone from someone more like me or us or you work to
somebody who's doing something extraordinarily and almost unimaginable. i think that's a fascinating thing to look at. >> there's a romanticism about the lone gunman and the person who's living a life that most other people certainly many of us don't live area and he was a unique figure. he physically was a unique figure, he was always exceeds all at an age when the average for a male was probably five foot five, five foot six. fall, lean, he had a long brown hair, he had the can, moccasins and some reverent. it was evident first and working guns. he could shoot accurately with either hand and he was up until the day died it was undefeated heavyweight camp gunfighter though he lived a life where you owned all over the place and encountered people, and different adventures on theprairie . and i think for most of us, we don't have that life and
were never going to have that life the closest we get is this feeling of okay, i'm going to read this story and i'm going to live this life for the next 360 pages because i know that when i put the book down, igot to mow the lawn . >> i the laundry back. getto the laundromat, that kind of thing . >> all three of you frame the central stories in your books against the backdrop of the historical period in the larger society.let's talk about that and tom, you are in mississippi. i was especially interested in the civil war connection and wild bill's father. >> the other reason why he was unique is the famous butler hancock is the name he was born with and his parents are from new england and they came out what was the front here than in theearly 1830s to be farmers in illinois .
his father and mother brought with them their abolitionist views from new england to illinois and they believed in it so much that they hancock farm became a station on the underground railroad. it would not be unusual for the young james butler hancock to go into the family barn or basement and find a family of escaped slaves waiting until two nights later when they been loaded into the back of the wagon and throw hay over them and hickox father would take them to the next station along the way and there were not surprised then when the civil war broke out he joined the union army and he saw the early battles of the war, the sharpshooter buthe became a spy . and he always had his whole life this cool under pressure ssand one of the things that made him effective in a gunfight is this fervent belief that the bullet had not been manufactured that could kill him.
so when confronted, whenthere was a gun battle, he believed he was going to persevere and he did . but in the civil war he actuallywore confederate uniforms . he can infiltrated confederate senior officers have to listen in and they were strategizing and bring this information back to the unionlines and there was tanother aspect that made him a renegade . at any point you could have been unmasked and shot. once he was found out and put in a shed to be shot at dawn he managed to escape and find his way back to the union lines so there was a renegade aspect of him is that he was doing a job thatmost people couldn't doeffectively or didn't want to because there would be no trial if you were found , there would be immediate death for the most part . >> i definitely think that running a haven for runaway slaves on the underground railroad is a different version of taking justice into your own hands. it's a fascinating connection. do you all have any thoughts?
>> there's two things where ou the era in which this took place at a big impact on it. as imentioned , the leader, the young man who put this back robbery together was a born-again christian with very heavy end times beliefs. theology steeped in the book of revelation. i'm certainly not suggesting that those beliefs lead into bank robbery but in the case of george wayne smith, he came out of orange county california where there was -- in the 1970s when there were these ministries that were aggressively evangelical and they were youth ministries and they were book of revelations rapture and times theologies and george began to believe that that was going to happen soon. and when george looked out at the world and try to match up current events with prophecy,
there was a lot to see in the 1970s. not the least of which wasthe very real threat of nuclear obliteration . so george was really preparing to be able to survive cataclysmic events and he became heavily armed, he turned his house into a fortress along with his roommate who took part in the bank robbery. the other is that not too many people know that los angeles is the bank robbery capital of the world.for many years, decades, it's only recently changed. one out of every four bank robberies in the united states takes place within the jurisdiction of the la field umoffice of the fbi and there are a number of reasons but the main one isfreeways . you rob a bank next to a freeway, jump on a freeway, your free five minutes later
and in the good old days of los angeles you rob it during rush hour and you're probably cruising the sidestreets of a different police jurisdiction and 1980 was the beginning of thatng. by 1990, there were 2600 bank robberies in that region, 14 a day. at their height they had 28 in one day so it's for kyle brown for bank robberies and when people go lookingout , looking for money, quick money, in the los angeles they usually look more so at t banks and they do in other areas so fitting within the context of that epidemic ran between 1980 and 1997, those are two aspects of theera in which it took place . >> one of the things history t has taught me is that the root of a lot of action is money. lack of money, desire for money and the way that that
plays out in black flag blue waters is prior to 1700 the american colonies was a small place. it was on the outskirts of empire, it was treated shabbily the mother country who viewed it as a source of good. it was start of currency and even back then, with 1600s there were sort of the echoes of what would later become the cries during the american revolution of no taxation without representation, all that sort of stuff . there was a lot of resentment so even though piracy was against the law, in the late 1600s, the colonies decided that they would and could profit from it. now, when piracy was supplanted down in 1700 they came back down in 1718 money again played a central role. that's because by 1750, the american colonies were larger, they were more prosperous , the merchants were more powerful group.
england was treating them a little bit better. and all of a sudden the gpirates instead of going attacking spanish ships in the caribbean were attacking muslim ships halfway around the world and bringing quote unquote,stevens money back to the colonies . the pirates of the 1715, 17 teams, 1720s, they were attacking english and colonials. the were merchant ships, along the american coast. so now it was a colonies ox was being gorged. so where they welcomed the pirates before and wanted their money, now that was really known bottom line , making up with the mother country and waged an all-out war against pirates that ultimately ended in 1726 with the last hangings of some pirates in boston. so i think it's critical. almost every book i've written certainly money has determining people's motivations, why they did what they did read and in fact how things turned out.
>> i want to talk about how it feels to be writing about characters, people really who you might not necessarily like, respect or identify with . and i want to start peter, one of the strengths of your book is the incredible complexity of the characters. all of them.ch the bank robbers are all fascinating complicated people and they police, same way and you really go into their stories and it's really interesting. did you know, you said you were attracted because of the scope of the story . if you know you were going to find these rich personal stories? >> norco was really sort of a treasure hunt. but i will say this, itwere just a big bang bang shoot them up , which it was, alone i probably would not have
like i said with wild bill, it was one-dimensional gunslingers, it would nothave interested me that much . on a story like this you know that to a certain extent there has to be a larger human element to it. i was 17 years old when it happened and much older when i started to get into it and i was fascinated with what i was able to reveal about it. and the way that it touched, so many lives and the continuous ripple through the ages. the police officers involved , always on journeys afterwards . in different ways as a result of being, they these are guys who had a law enforcement officers who had 1700 rounds of gunfire shot at them. some guys would get 12, 14 times, 20, 46 times their vehicles hitby gunfire.
to the under such heavy gunfire is terrifying and bill all freely admitted . they were still darting the wild west through these deputy for the same thing they were 100 years before. a sixshooter and the lwinchester shotgun . so there's a lot of story here. certainly again, when you look at anybody who eventually leads their lives robbing a bank , not just robbing a bank , armed and prepared to kill anyone who gets in their wayit's fascinating . people you don't necessarily like but you have to go in these things with , be prepared to give people their humanity. not to come in with any agenda or preconceived notion or idea. i was in the prisons with two out of the three surviving bank robbers. and still doing life without parole in california prison systems and wrote back and forth with the others. we happen to have grown up about 10 miles away from each
other in suburban la in much the same neighborhood we have a lot of things to talk about other than bank robberies and the day they destroyed their lives and the lives of other people, but by human elements and then the unfolding of the story . one thing about writing about a true event, a true crime. , especially one that goes to trial is there's a tremendous amount of documentation out there . everybody likes ,all the police officers , all law enforcement officers right incident reports and then on trial, there brought through the excruciating details. so there's a wealth of things to go through, documents to go through and kind of unpeeled not only the events but also the people involved and that it's just a matter ofspending a lot of time with the people . >> eric and tom, how do you feel about wild bill and blackbeard at the end. >> one of the questions that
>> one of the questions that i almost always b about this book which is my favorite pirates. and i have to rephrase it, is most fascinating to me because they all were pretty miserable people, i love to have a drink with them and see what drove them about their motivations but they em are not the kind of people that i can hang out with or like and i'll tell you a story about one that i think is most fascinating and hopefully will take this as an insight into my subterranean personality but i love them because he was probably the most psychopathic and despicable pirates of all, a guy named edward lowe who seemed to relish torturing and killing his victims and one of his signature moves was to cut off people's lives and years and roast them andforce them to eat their own flesh before he ran them through with accomplice . so some pretty nasty guys. blackbeard actually, if you
look at the history and you disentangle the myth erfrom the man, blackbeard was often portrayed as this very vicious pirate captain. actually, we only have a record of him once doing anything violent to his victims andthat was a whipping . and he got most of the way in his short career by intimidation. rather than violence. pirates are very good at maintaining their brand identity. once in a while they kill a few people to get you scared and most of the time people would just render and they saw the pirate flagatop the ships mass . so i don't have a problem writing about people i don't identify with, especially if their story is fascinating . and i did try to put myself in their position. people who were relatively uneducated, young, didn't have any other opportunities and they look at piracy what going into a casino area and when you walk into a casino,
i imagine almost everybody thinks they're going to win. when you walk out two hours later, most have lost .os and at the same the same with iris area and so there was an element of humanity in it and you really get into their stories, they were a bunch of miserable people . >> but they're fun to read about. >> but you want to have a drink with the guidance of people's lives off ? >> i want to have a bodyguard . >> .. i realize the story of "wild
bill" hickok is also story of the american west starting to change and he was someone who wasn't able to change with it. he was the law man after the civil war who you defeat the bad guys by shooting faster, , more accurately than the bad guys do. that's how you clean up account. i the time of the gunfight at the okay corral, so-called gunfight at the okay corral october 1881, virgil or was not the marshall. he was the chief of police. everything in american west was changing as far as judicial system, law enforcement. hickok at the beginning and middle of that but he wasn't there for the individual. he couldn't keep up with it. that was something that may be pointing to a tragic character. they hickok family and england back in the 1600s were farmers on land owned by shakespeare. there's a connection, couple centuries later.
there was that part of it. the american west how it changed, you had the american west, the front to is basically candid and misery before the civil war. after the civil war so much about used to be called the great american desert opened up. the wagon trains, the explorers, the gold strike, the silver strike. the west was changing very much and hickok with somebody who, he was set in his ways. he did not how to beat anybody else but hickok. he'd become almost like believing his own legend of the gunfighter. he just had to look coldly at somebody and they would say i give up. that to me i think there was a poignancy to it. i felt differently. i expected my story of hickok i completely heroic figure and he wasn't. he was a more complex thinking that it.
and someone also felt sorry for turkey was only 39 when he died so he never lived old enough to tell his own story like wyatt earp and bat masterson. he had those 39 years on this earth, and there was so much, it's almost like he probably would not haveba done well if it lived longer. he would not have been comfortable. he would've been more vulnerable in a world that was revolving around him. not that he wanted to die at 39, but almost like a justification to a life cut short that was going to be head of heartily in the 1880s and '90s. >> eric, i was interested in what you wrote about encountering pirates and other literary works and movies of popular culture, and your historian colleagues are bothered by that and bothered by
the inaccuracies and stereotypes and generalizations. but you see i'm not particularly interest in dissecting or criticizing fictional accounts of piracy. a are often quite fun and entertaining as they are meant to be. that's how most of us do about these stories, but when you're writing a a book presumably yor more rigorous about separating fact from fiction. >> yes. i love the first to make pirates of the caribbean movies. i love watching movies. i lovehe reading books that are fictionalized accounts, but since this is a nonfiction book and a try to be as scrupulous as possible, i wanted to separate factct from fiction and i was oe of the most interesting things about the book. i discovered along with manynt f you alreadyve know, pirates nevr buried a treasure. by rich didn't make people walk the plank. why would they? that are easy ways to kill peope
backf then. pirates to the patches, a couple. i didn't find any pirates that had wooden legs all the people at the time did a wooden legs, nor i private that had a hook. we've romanticize n pilot. johnny depp is the prime example of one thing he did is very accurate. a lot of pirates of the date did dress rather lavishly and that was in part their way of sticking their middle finger up to theck sartorial standards of proper society of the time. when he took over a ship that had nice close on it or i people the ring transported over from the upper class, sometimes, blackbeard did this come forced them to t strip and would take e close and if they were waiting nice rings or a necklace would take those as well. and dressed quite lavishly. some of the myths are not myth. but it was fascinating for me to try to dissect from the historical record what is real and what is not.
and from a writers perspective since your goal is to ultimately get readers and people that are interested in reading herre boo, it sometimes was tough to demolish those myths because myths become myths for that very reason. it are sortmy of like the earwos that stick in your head. feels countable and it's so amazing. such a great story, it has to be true. you almost as a writer and when and what to include them because the public wants to read them. i gotan to include them by debunking t them. i got the best of both worlds. >> in just a minute were going to open it up for your questions. as you all are coming to the podium, i'm going to throw this out at h-1b. what do you love to read and what do you hate to read? >> i love to read tom and peters books.
[laughing] >> of course. we all do. [applause] [laughter] >> again, i'm a historian, people call me in a historian of an undergraduate masters and phd in biology. the last history class i took was a freshman in college in the last english was in high school. and given my editor puts it a lot of commas where should have them i wish i could go back and take another english class. every book i pick is on a topic except for one that i don't know much about. it's like getting a masters degree every two years and how to read so much about my topic i don't have a lot of time for pleasure reading and when i do have time i tend to read nonfiction or biographies. i wish i had more time to read fiction, i have not read much fiction. and, one of the byproducts certainly early on in my career a lot of my books taste placed
in the 1700s, 1600, 1800 so i read a lot of books and letters from those arrows and when you read so much material written in a certain way you start to write a little bit like that. one of my earliest editors, she was a former editor into this copy editing now. she wrote me a note three or four books ago and said, i think you're in the wrong century. [laughter] you like a water words that are old-fashioned from the 1800s. but i did read their two books, i can't claim i read every single word but i found them fascinating because there's a kind of book that i enjoy reading about people and when i retire, if i ever do i hope to get the incredibly long list of books that it was meant to read.
>> both of these guys do have a big body of work of stuff with mutual admiration. and is the stuff i like to read. i read a lot of fiction in my master's in fiction writing and i switched over to nonfiction, i like nonfiction writers the tell a story with the story arc and style that fiction writers are masters at. and that does not mean you skimp on research or details but you can keep the narrative flow of coherence and really shows the reader or as me as a reader a different world or the importance, the larger story behind the obvious story and whether it be cowboys, pirates or bank robbers and nathaniel
does that very well, you guys doing really well. there is a number of people. i have kind of shifted a little bit to nonfiction although i have a huge admiration for fiction writers. and that is what i like to see in a nonfiction book. >> very quickly, i feel very fortunate when it comes to reading because most of the reading i do is connected to whatever project i am working on and thankfully the projects i work on i'm interested in so i enjoy the reading connected with that and i very rarely come across something that i say i can't wait till i'm finished with it. but the few times i had the time to read something that is not work related, i read thrillers. i read michael connelly, i read ian rankin, i enjoy reading.
i enjoy the page turners. they are a lot of fun. and i used to read back in the day like the paperbacks of john d mcdonald. one of my favorite writers ever is raymond hanlon. so have fun when i'm reading the work in just as much or maybe a little more fun when i'm not reading for work. >> all three of you right like people who love to read and all three of these books are a lot of fun to read and can be called page turners. questions from the audience? i invite you to come up to the podium. >> this question is for mr. della went. i recently was reading some biography of ehrenberg and there
was a big mystery which occurred when his daughter was traveling from south carolina to new york to visit him about a possible deficit through privacy. it was a fascinating thought that i've never heard of any recent research regarding the outcome that she sailed on. i was wondering, of course this is early 1800s not during the 1700s that you mention. i wondered if your research has shed any light on this mystery? >> unfortunately the answer is no because my book and in 1726 even though i'm aware of the stories, for the same reason that i not dive into the brothers who were privateers and smugglers in the 1800s, fascinating stories but i did read extensively on that and i
heard about that so i cannot add anything to it. . . . there have been a lot of good books about that. writing about in the book about piracy in the 1800s my next book is on hurricanes. although my next book is 500 year history of hurricanes actually mentions the ã brothe you'll have to read the book to find out why. >> thank you. >> come on up. >> for each of the three
authors the subjects of the books we been talking about today what do you think would be the best american movie that accurately portrays what you found in your research? >> stomped. the muppets treasure island. [laughter] the close second being the donees. captain blood is very good. i like the pirates of caribbean moving's but their little light on some of the real history. >> i'm not a huge movie guy but the closest thing that the bank robbery i write about harkens back to is the gangster arrow. where they go in with guns blazing or end up with guns blazing. anybody remember a name of a gangster movie?
[laughter] >> unfortunately when it comes to cops and robbers shoot them ups and things like that most of them are terribly inaccurate and a little bit overblown and unrealistic. that's really the era in harkens back to the most. >> i think while bill is still waiting for a decent treatment. he's been portrayed a few times. there's a movie called wild bill that jeff bridges did in the 1990s to go back to gary cooper in 1936 with the plainsman. there is even a bizarre movie called the white buffalo in which charles bronson played while bill hickok. he security plays in the first season of deadwood the hbo series and he died after six episodes.spoiler alert. sorry. i would love somebody one day to try and tackle this complex character and the times that surround him. i can't recommend any particular picture that i thought captured hickok.
>> i'm a little hard hearing so you may have already answered these questions. i like to ask mr. dolan who is his favorite which was his favorite pirate depiction in a movie? i also have a question for mr. kleiman after that. >> you are assuming and that question that i have watched the huge number of pirate movies which is not the case. but i really do enjoy the treasure island movie with little jackie cooper and who's the main actor? a great actor character actor of the day wallace berry. i really like that because wallace berry is long john silver. a little over the top he's got that glimpse in his eye when he's killing people stop is
like a nice guy killing people. i just love the cinematography in the storyline takes you away. i don't know as much about the canon of pirate movies as i do about pirate books. >> elected depiction of the later movie i think about disney studios i can't think of the english actors name where he talked to master harkens robert i forget his last name. >> robert parker? >> there have been multiple treasure island movies and they are probably will be more. >> and mr. kleiman what is your favorite most accurate in your eyes western gunslinger movie you've ever seen? >> my favorite western is the searchers.
however, i did find in looking at the hickok book i wanted to watch movies that were particularly about gunfighters. it's a very good grade report called the gunfighter in which he is trying to get out of the life and having trouble doing that. but i would have to say the spot really rose for me for the movie sheen i think it's a wonderful story i think jack schaefer wrote a wonderful book and they turned it into a very, george stevens director very good story and you have the character played by alan led who has come to this farm work they live and the idea he's going to try to get out of the gunfighter life yet he is pulled back into it because of events around him. there is a poignancy to the character that i found identified with because of the poignancy of the hickok character. >> thank you. >> i know that hasn't been a movie about norco but i was reminded of a lot of books and reading norco the most obvious thing helter-skelter.
you really write much about connections between those two stories but certainly there are. >> this kind of an underexplored, in my opinion, world of southern california crimes of which i think some of the creepy serial killers of the late 60s and early 70s but there really is a whole different i'm not sure i'm answering your question but there's a whole different vibe to police forces in southern california and there is certainly an attitude and they are a lot different than philadelphia and new york city police forces. also something a little bit slightly demented about the criminals involved even more so than in other places there is kind of this tie in the southern california culture that can drag out a lot of odd things that certainly did with
manson and a number of others. >> and certainly the messy impulse. >> certainly that too. >> for peter on bank robberies commute got a more complete story of when you got the robbery and then the rubber is caught and goes to jail but i'm wondering about what he may have learned in your research about that or maybe successful from the robbers perfected and never went to jail. did you learn much about what percentage actually worked and what kind of insights did you draw from that? >> i do know about the world of los angeles bank robbery and i did spend some time speaking with william rader the head of the bank robbery task force or group at the fbi in that area. the vast majority of bank robbers are not pastors, one-on-one bank robbers, one bank robber, one teller, i got a gun give me all your money.
he says the vast majority of them are robbing because they are addicted. addicted to drugs. they need money fast and feel like their back is against the wall. those guys get caught because they keep good doing it. it's an addiction in itself. it seems like easy money walking past the notebook out with $2500 $3000 but eventually your luck runs out. back in that period the fbi didn't even pay attention to you until you were up to six or seven bank robberies there were some that rob as many as 60 to 65 or 70 banks. mostly they get caught because they happen to come out when a police car is going by somebody hit silent alarm in the police cars nearby somebody drops down the license plate. the vast majority get caught. the other ones then you have your toddlers are very rare. but the takeover robberies are the ones that are extremely frightening and that's like mine where you get a group of
people they run into the bank heavily armed and it's everybody get down on the floor now. those are very volatile situations. i think most bank bank robbers get caught. there's just too much that can go wrong. despite how easy it might seem. certainly bank employees i was a big teller in the 1980s and you are told to give them what they want and get them the hell out of the bank before somebody gets hurt.it can appear to be and the freeways it can appear to be easy but in fact there are a lot of different ways to get caught in nowadays people get caught the number of bank robbers height in los angeles was 2600 now it runs about 250. at its technology, everybody's got a camera they can fill you they can take snapshots of you in the bank and immediately have it face recognition set to every cop in the area. there's not a great success rate for bank robbers because they repeat.
>> thank you. >> sort of a two-part question. the idea of being a renegade is somewhat romanticized for the individuals you research do you find that they sought to be renegades or that they were sort of existing in a world that that was the life that felt appropriate for their current circumstances? the second half is committee think they would be proud of your legacy? how many parts of the golden age went into that willingly. a lot of them were privateers suddenly put out of their license piracy operations by the end of the war and they may not have been other opportunities for maritime employment and they decided, i got this skill set and might as well use it in real piracy. but there were quite a few pirates and the number increased over time who were forced to become pirates because they were taken during
captures and the pirate needed to round up their crew or if there was a doctor on board or carpenter somebody with specialized skills you could be forced to become a pirate. as to the legacy, i think blackbeard would love it, during his era when he was around he sort of like a meteor. he was only around, we only know about him for about a year and and a half he didn't accumulate a huge amount of treasure, he did accumulate a huge number of pirates operating under him somewhere near 400 on five ships. if he could come back now and see all the movies that have been made about him and how many people know the name blackbeard and that he, not him, henry morgan has a type of long named after him, these pirates would love it. they become cultural icons. they were not cultural icons of their day. they were the true comedy crime people of the day. i think they would love it.
>> with hickok two things happen one was of his own volition he left illinois to see what was going on on the frontier. the rest of the hickok family his siblings and parents extended family are all buried back in illinois they never left the farming community. he became a renegade in the sense that he just left everything behind. i'm going to see what's out there. but what wasn't his doing that made hickok so well-known today i think anyway. is that he had gotten a reputation as a gunfighter in indian fighter frontier scout and harper's new monthly magazine sent a report out in 1867 i think it was it said find somebody who symbolizes the new frontier and they asked around people so you got to talk to bill hickok. which he did. he embellishes article a bit but when it appeared in the magazine it caused a sensation because mostly red back east and they pretrade hickok as this heroic legend he was even 30 yet.
that was the face of the frontier. another reporter for the new york newspaper interviewed him his peace came about the same time the reporter's name was henry stanley whose next report was to find doctor livingston in africa but he did the same thing so hickok became this legendary figure and at first it was kind of embarrassed by it but as the years went on he embraced it. when you can't beat them join them. you'd be in a saloon date asked to tell a story about something he did that he never did. but it was free drinks. i'll tell the story. i think because in his own lifetime he saw what it was like to be this legendary figure i think if he was came back today and saw the reputation he probably have the same room filled go with it attitude he had been quick to him two minutes, he asked really quick question that would require a really quick answer?
>> to mr. dolan, due to the time period of the book you are writing between the age of piracy that you writing about how would you feel that what's your opinion on what other foreign countries foreign naval powers even though it's based on american colonies and the biggest players were the colonies and britain, how what is your personal opinion of how other big powers like portugal, france, spain, netherlands played in that time period. not relating to your book but the history is total. >> those international european powers were at a great disadvantage. all the golden silver emanating from central south america that is what kicked off a lot of the early piracy because all the other countries were jealous of spain's riches. they were sending a lot of ships down there to pillage some called privateers but really pirates like sir francis drake what happened later on is
the government's were at a distinct disadvantage. think about how huge the ocean is. and how many warships do you have you can send out searching for pirates? even england the most powerful nation in the world at the time could only afford to dispatch five small men of war to patrol from maine to the caribbean. occasionally they did capture a pirate but it was a very difficult endeavor to try to stamp out piracy with military action although he was part of what ultimately brought this era of piracy to its knees. >> i want to thank all of you for being here today and please join me in taking our panel. [applause] [inaudible background
>> you are watching booktv on c-span2. visit booktv.org. you can follow along behind the scenes on social media at booktv on twitter, instagram and facebook. >> all right. good eating everyone. thanks for joining us tonight. my name is maddie wolters on behalf of the harvard book store i'm pleased to welcome you to the seedlings if it duncan white was in his new book "cold warriors" and conversation with lauren kaminsky. the knights the event is sponsored by mass unities which supports programs that use history, literature philosophy and every disciplines to improve civic life for the people of