tv Book TV CSPAN December 27, 2009 9:00am-10:00am EST
and shia just a little bit snooty. i come from a methodist family, and method is of course on the ones who gave us, the first was to brace temperance, that is abstinence over all. do that sort of my generation, i am a generation x. or an was drink and it's not a sin. so having that device took place, that was the impetus behind the book. >> the push for legalization of marijuana and other parts of the nicest and is that today's current anti-prohibition? >> that it's early i think a key issue. . .
>> we've made even personal possession into a felony. and that's how we've filled our prisons full of people who are largely low-level drug offenders. >> you lead temperance tours, where would we go? >> it starts at the fountain on pennsylvania avenue, it was a fountain put there in 188 # by henry cogswell as a reminder to drink water instead of whiskey. [laughter] and then we finish off at the woodrow wilson house.
he was the president when prohibition took place, and he actually has a fascinating wine cellar which was transported out of the the white house to his new house. >> author is garrett peck, the book is the prohibition hangover. thanks. >> thank you. thanks for having me here today. >> the producer and directer of the documentary, kabul 24, talk about the capture and detention of 24 aid workers from shelter now international in afghanistan just prior to 9/11. henry arnold and ben pearson describe what the western workers went through before they were released and their afghan counterparts who received harsher treatment. from the southern festival of books held annually in nashville, this is 50 minutes. >> for three months in 2001, the desperate plight of eight international workers captured by the taliban in afghanistan
captured the the attention of the world. with the growing specter of the u.s. retaliation for 9/11, the taliban and osama bin laden attempted to use these western hostages as bargaining tools. kabul 24 revisits not only these westerners' horrific 105 days in captivity, but also the torture endured by their 16 muslim co-workers who were accused by the taliban of converting to christianity. today we're going to hear from authors henry o -- known as chip -- arnold and ben pearson about their recently-published book. it has just come out the end of last month, which presides a full-length documentary film scheduled to be released in november. chip? yes. >> [inaudible]
>> good idea. okay, thank you. they're working on it. can you hear me though? i can try to talk a little louder. okay. chip arnold is an award-winning writer and producer. his credits include the film, the second chance, and the first authorized film documentary of the evangelist, billy graham, titled god's ambassador. he co-wrote and produced the film kabul 24 as well as co-authored the book you're hearing about today. ben pearson, over here, is an acclaimed film maker and photographer with numerous awards, ohioans and gal ri -- honors and gallery shows to his credit. ben is making his directorial debut with the feature-length documentary, kabul 24, and he shares author credit for the
book that we're going to hear about today. so i'm going to turn it over to these gentlemen. thank you. [applause] >> thanks a lot. i guess i'll just kind of start by telling you folks where it all started for me. back in november of 2002 a dear friend of mine, dr. steven mansfield, who's an author called and said, hey, you remember the folks who were captured by the taliban before 9/11? i said, yeah, the two american girls. he goes, actually there were two american girls, germans and australians. the folks have been basically bombarded with requests from hollywood to do movies of the week, and they don't feel real comfortable about it, and they don't really feel like their story will be told truthfully if they allow that to happen. and i told them about you, and they want to meet you. so i met a few folks from
shelter now international. we had coffee, and i guess things worked out because six years later, here we are with a story. [laughter] but that was 2002, november of 2002. by 2003, august, sernghts i was in afghanistan starting the initial interviews for this documentary. and it's been a long process. it's one of those documentaries that kind of had to fold on its own -- unfold on its own as opposed to you've got x amount of dollars, go shoot it, it's due in three months. i purposely throughout the interviews staggered them so time could bring back memories for people. i saved the australians for the last interview session because i knew they would bring a whole new color to the film, especially with their wonderful
accents. but that's kind of how it all started. henry o., chip, has been here from the very, very beginning. we originally started entertaining the thought of kind of a blackhawk down treatment, a dramatic feature. and the folks, although they appreciated that initial effort, they really felt, the shelter now people felt that we really want a documentary. we want to start off with the truth and no embellishments dramatically. so that's what we ended up with. you want to jump in here and -- >> yeah. we were right in the middle, actually, of preproduction for our first feature film, the second chance, and we had to put kabul aside for a while to devote the time to get the second chance shot and then edited and released and all that. so then we could go back to
kabul once that was done and picked up about '05 to really do a push and try and get it done. it was just a joy to be able to get to work with ben on several of these projects, but this is especially dear to us because of the nature. it's true, the story is true, the nature of the story and the fact that these people had entrusted their story to us. that's a real test of their faith and courage to give their story to the not perfect strangers, but at least, you know, some people that they didn't know and say, please, you know, be kind. and i think we've been able to do that. as terry was saying, it is this 105-day odyssey of these eight westerners and 16 afghans who were targeted specifically by
osama bin laden and the move la omar who was the leader of the taliban and still is, but he certainly was back then, said we want these people because they knew in advance that 9/11 was going to happen. because their capture was in august 5 of 2001, and 9/11 happened six weeks later. so the hope was that if we had these western hostages in captivity, then maybe we could avoid being bombed by the americans and their allies, and we all know actually what happened. but their story got i guess you could say once 9/11 happened, then their story was, fell off the radar because it consumed our attention, as it should have. and so they were basically forgotten. and the press stopped reporting
about 'em and, you know, they just -- everybody had left, all westerners had left afghanistan, and they were alone. they were the only westerners, that they were aware of, in afghanistan after 9/11. because all emissaries, all envoys, all red cross, all diplomats had been forced to leave. so they really felt abandoned. and rightfully so. and through as it's told in this book and told in the movie, you'll see that, you know, through the course of events they were able to eventually escape and then were captured again by some warlords who were holding them for ransom, and then they got a gps phone through a member of the taliban who had been helping them secretly at the risk of his own
life, got a gps is phone to them, and they were able to contact this, the delta force's or the army, and they were venn eventually -- then eventually rescued. so it's a very, you know, it reads kind of like a thriller, only it's the truth, and it's a very exciting kind of story for us to tell, and they were very generous to us to entrust that to us. i want to read about five minutes worth of the story, and then we want to take any questions that you might have. as ben said, in august and september of '03 he went over to afghanistan to begin the interview process. and part, it wasn't just interviews, he also went to some of the locations like the prisons where they were held, he went to, of course, the streets of kabul, different, a museum
that had been bombed out and mined by the taliban b so that if anybody went in there to use it as a fortress then, you know, they wouldn't know that there were mines there. several different locations that ben was taken to by the shelter now people. and i'm going to read part of the prologue where -- and all the names of the afghan s and i people, employees have been changed. sni people, employees have been changed on the film and the book just for their own protection. some of them are still working for sni. ben is in this particular location there to film, and one thing i want you to be aware of is, as you know in sports events and stadiums, baseball, football, you'll see advertisements, billboards of, you know, nike shoes or, you
know, folger's coffee or whatever. well, the billboards in this particular location were of the mule las, the taliban few las were all over this particular stadium. and i think that's about the only thing that you might need to know going into this. he knelt on the hard ground of the playing field inside the stadium. he tried to get to his feet but could not find the strength or will to rise. he was a statue frozen in descriptive position, his right arm raised, his hand in the shape of a gunpointing to the back of his head. this is where it happened, he said. a hollow tenderness in his voice, this is how they killed her. he gently tapped the back of his head with his index finger. before the american invasion, the taliban bring men here for games, they say, for the soccer.
but no games, only death. his voice trailed off. he looked into the camera and those around him wondered if he was finished describing what he had witnessed, and if ben had gotten enough footage of the scenery for his documentary. he had led ben and the others through the tunnel into the stadium. a bright blue sky lay overhead, the stadium was deserted, it seats of concrete fractured and crumbling from the lack of repair. the severe images of the mulahs on the billboards had vanished, their likenesses deteriorated into stark white, enormous postcards bleached out from the sering heat. the grass was a brown crust. he lowered his arm and rested his hands on his thighs, his thick curly hair waved in the
hot breeze, his black moustache a bushy curtain above his white teeth. ben could not speak, no one could speak. he zoomed back from fareed and began to pan over the stadium from their position in the center of the field. flocks of morning doves surged -- circled above them and watched from their billboard perches like guardians of a sacred place. when ben finished his sweep of the stadium, he turned off the camera and pulled the eye away from the lens. the international director of shelter now international and sni's german directer were ben's guides during his stay in kabul. they had introduced ben to several of the 16 afghans who had been captured that morning in all of 2001 and imprisoned by the taliban along with eight other westerners. fareed was one of those 16.
he and several of his fellow afghan sni workers had seen too many of the executions like the one he had just recounted. now the three of them stood in awed silence as if listening for whit perked images and whispered messages. fareed has the correct humble posture for being in this place, ben thought, as he removed the camera from his shoulder and bent over. when ben rose up from carefully placing the camera on top of its case, he noticed the other three men looking at him with strange expressions. don't move, they said. ben froze. there was a fluttering sound above his head. a moment later, a dove landed on ben's shoulder damp from sweat and strained from supporting the camera. the dove dug its talons into ben's shirt securing its position, then twisted its head back and forth eyeing ben with
curious scrutiny. from god, from god, whispered fareed, his legs suddenly filled with energy. he gradually came to his feet not wanting to flighten the dove off -- frighten the dove off ben's shoulder. udo took a picture of the startling moment. everyone began to smile, how could they not smile at this gentle touch from above? the dove cooed softly and then pushed off ben's shoulder taking a spin above their heads until it returned to the sky. the men watched it soar until absorbed once again into the numberless flock that circled bonn the stadium. -- above the stadium. gaylord came over to ben, he was looking at ben's shoulder. he placed his hand upon the blessed spot and looked into ben's eyes. god has sent you, he said.
god has sent you to us to tell our story. now, if for those of you who are doubters, who are thomass in the crowd, i have a picture here -- [laughter] i have a picture here. if you buy the book, you'll see the dove perched on the back of ben's back and backpack. and so it was real, and it was made even more poignant to me because after i saw that picture of ben from then on insisted that i call him st. benny. [laughter] so st. benny is before us, has his own aura. [laughter] we'd like to open it up for any questions that we might have.
kabul, ask, obvious -- afghanistan, obvious, you know, if you watch the news, you read the papers is very much in our lives right now and very important to us and for a multitude of reasons, and we all have opinions about them. the the story even though we're entering its ninth anniversary is as poignant today as it was then. and, unfortunately, i wish it was an old historical story, and we were finished with afghanistan, but we didn't finish what we started there or what was started for us in a way. so it's a very poignant p and, you know, heart felt, heart-touching story. because of its current events. and so, you know, if we have any questions that we are going to spend the next several minutes, you know, trying to answer any questions about this story,
talking about what is happening right now currently and ben and i will be happy to -- if you have a question, rex has a -- for this side of the people, rex will speak into the mic, and then for this side of the people use that mic because it's being taped for c-span. this gentleman right here. >> i wonder if those who were captured were ever informed about the events that were to unfold, 9/11, or had any clue as to why they were captured. >> they had, they had no idea, and, yeah, it was a very hard thing for them to embrace that that had happened. gaylord, when he heard that the towers came down, immediately knew it had to be linked to bin laden. but for many of the others,
they -- it was so surreal that they didn't, they thought it was propaganda that was being fed to them in the prison, and they didn't quite believe it until the british journalist yvonne ridley was captured and put in the same prison as they were, and she said, it's real, that really did happen, and that was weeks after the towers came down. >> it was like a void in their memory, you know? they didn't have it in their consciousness. they didn't have that memory like the whole world did. yes. >> what's on the billboards in the stadium? you said mulahs? >> the religious leaders, it would be like the priests or pastors in our -- >> originally they were in power. >> yes. when they were in power, they were, they had billboards of the various mulahs or imams,
religious leaders of the taliban in afghanistan. and after they were pushed out of power, then -- >> karzai and -- >> right, and they set up the the current democracy with karzai as president, that stadium fell into ill repair and the billboards, you know, began to crumble and peel. you've seen billboards in our own city how if they stay up too long, the weather and elements takes their toll on those images, and they begin to crumble. >> [inaudible] >> would you repeat that question for our c-span -- >> i think the question was what was on the billboards in the stadium. >> right. what was on the billboards in the stadium. yes, ma'am. >> did, did the hostages have any connections to each other, and were they all captured at the same time? >> the two american women were
captured first and then the round-up of the other six happened within about two days. but it was about a week and a half to ten days before they all realized who was actually captured. and who had made it out. there was also 16 people from the organization that actually made it out by land to pakistan which is a whole other story in itself. but i believe it's when the men got taken, gayrecord and peter bunch from australia got taken from the vice and virtue prison which is basically a holding cell, and they were put in the same prison as the women were held in, that's when things started to click, and they eventually were able to start passing notes back and forth.
so communication started pretty early in the first prison. burr, yeah, it was kind of an unfolding thing. it took everybody about two months or two weeks to realize who was in and who was out. >> one of the guards before, at risk of his own life, one of the guards slipped a package that gaylord's wife had left with one of the justice ministers in the taliban, had gotten to the prison. and gaylord within 48 hours realized that his wife and two sons had been able to escape. and so you can imagine how emotional that was for him to know that at least his family and other members of the shelter now organization were able to escape. but at the risk of their own lives, these members of the taliban got this information to
gaylord and let him know that. it was one of a number of people who helped them while they were in this prison and while they'd been captured. >> what was, what was the purpose or shelter now's mission, why were they there, and this particular group wasn't the only group in afghanistan. why this group over others? >> yeah, that's a good, great question, why this group over others. shelter now started with back when gaylord was actually in refugee camps on the pakistani border when the russians were occupying afghanistan, and he, he started the organization in the refugee camps. and then when the russians left, they moved into afghanistan with the refugees. and their purpose was, basically, to not only build housing for people and clean water, water wells, but to actually teach people to build
how -- how to build the factories that make the structures for housing. and that, of course, is cement and rebar and that kind of thing because wood doesn't last too long in that environment. what was the second part of your question, i'm sorry. >> [inaudible] >> yeah, that's a really good question. it's interesting to me that the shelter now headquarters in kabul, afghanistan, was right next to a compound, and this compound housed one of osama bin laden's wives. and yvonne ridley, the journalist that was captured, said i can, you know, speculate that maybe one night when the shelter now people were worshiping that maybe somebody over the other side of the wall in the compound heard that and, you know, thought they were easy targets. now, that's pure speculation.
but i don't know if anybody really knows why they were singled out. they had been there for a long time, and they were, they were a trusted organization there. and it's a good question. >> i think their presence, they'd been there since, well, right of the the invasion of russia. so over 20 years. and one of the longest humanitarian groups had been b there one of the longest periods of time since that, you know, since the invasion. and were well respected not only by the afghan people, but by many within the taliban because the taliban took power in '96. when they captured kabul and set up their government. and had this uneasy yet peaceful coexistence with shelter now.
yes, sir. >> we've been in afghanistan for eight years now. you all are, obviously, familiar with it from the first part. what advice would you give the white house now while they're trying to assess the future of our, our future in vietnam, in afghanistan? [laughter] >> yeah. interesting you had the freudian slip of vietnam. [laughter] you and i are, we're of that same generation. yeah. would you like to take a stab at geopolitics? >> wow, that's crazy. [laughter] >> i'll help you. >> yeah, i'll need a lot of help. [laughter] basically, one thing that i realized when i was there is that in their memory, the afghans, it's almost like they kicked the british out, i don't know, a couple years ago, and the russians were, like, last week. yeah, we got them out of here last week. so they had, their sense of time
is very, very here and now and current, but they, they remember. and they were hoping when i was, when i was there in august and september of 2003, they were really hoping that america would follow through. they were really thankful. i got so many people shaking my hands and saying thank you, you know, we're so glad that this has happened and, you know, the taliban are no longer in power. do you think you'll follow through and finish everything you've promised us? and then, of course, iraq happened and things got sidetracked a bit. now afghanistan is back in the forefront, and it's, it's a major problem to regain trust because, you know, we kind of lost face a little bit, well, quite a bit by going into iraq and not finishing what we had promised we were going to do in afghanistan.
so now for the part of advice for the administration -- >> oh, yes, right. >> chip will -- [laughter] >> i now have to give advice to the recipient to have nobel peace prize. [laughter] oh, boy. you know what? i pray for our president. i pray for all our presidents whether i voted for them or not, and i pray for them. and i think that's first and foremost about the only thing that i feel like i could do. because he needs wisdom that, you know, i don't have. i would say this, that what -- regardless of the turmoil that goes, has gone on in afghanistan for, you know, at least our recent memory in the past 30 years, there are people like
shelter now who fly under the radar and at the risks, at the risk of their own lives serve other people who are in need. and that, you know, it's easy for -- no, it's not easy. it's not easy for us, it is a difficult choice for the president to increase whatever military commitment he may have to increase, you know, to help get this situation in afghanistan stabilized, but regardless of what we do military ri and i even think politically, there are people who have this unbelievable faith who at the risk of their own lives are willing to go in and serve in an area, in a hostile environment. and i don't have that. i don't have that. so, you know, i think that my
hope and prayer is that regardless of how it gets resolved politically and militarily that there will always be people who will, in a sense, hear that call to say, okay, i'm going to go, and i'm going to serve, and i'm going to risk what -- my own life to help other people who are in desperate need. and, you know, i think that that's, that's about b the only thing that i could really say other than there's, you know, i just pray for our president and respect and admire him so much and know that what a tough place he's in. what a tough place he's in. >> could i follow up with that? we hear there are comments that some people would even prefer the taliban to return because the corruption disappeared, and while the justice was often harsh, there was some expected
justice, people didn't have to pay bribes to get jobs. >> right. >> what was your experience with either hearing about any of that or somehow sensing people's experience? >> there was a certain order that i was told that was in place. it was a very harsh and violent order, and it -- the people that suffered most were, i believe, the women and the children. but i guess, i guess you could say there was some kind of order. it was just very cruel and harsh, and there's probably people that would prefer order to chaos, you know? i don't, i don't really know how
to answer it. it's, it's -- what i saw was that and what i was told is that the order that was there by the taliban was, it started out in a pretty pure and hopeful form and then it quickly corrupted itself because they had absolute power, and they, you know, eliminated all the poppy fields and then within three years they figured, hey, we can make a lot of money doing this, so they reimplemented the poppy fields and started cashing in. so it's that old saying, absolute power corrupts absolutely. so -- >> those, you know, those poppy fields produce now 75% of the income that the taliban is using to fund their effort. and, you know, i think we have to remember that even there are
forces of good in the world, there are also forces of evil, and regardless of what your religious or political persuasion might be, we're all human. and we are all capable of great benevolence and great crime. and, unfortunately, the people with the guns and the power in afghanistan are creating great havoc. now, they're also within that taliban organization i think one of your questions alluded to the fact that maybe our current administration was entertaining the idea that members of the taliban might be brought back into the fold, shall we say. a lot of those membership are coerced into being taliban. they're either illiterate, have no opportunity the for employment, this is an opportunity to the work, or they're terrorized. you will join, or you will die. so their recruitment effort, the
taliban, those in charge, their recruitment efforts are not, you know, are not as benevolent as, say, other places are. so getting into -- their hope would be that these lower level taliban would be reeducated, i guess, the taliban if they could actually get a solid government that was not so corrupt like the karzai government is at least accused of being and that they could get a good, stable democratic government set up there. >> i think one of the things that henry just touched on, too, is the fact that the book, when this whole thing happened and the story of the eight westerners, there was a number of people within the system --
guards, taliban prosecutors that knew of the injustice that was being done to these eight and decided to help them, and that's classic to me. you know, when there's tyranny and that kind of abuse of power, how the human spirit rises up and sees a higher calling no matter if you're muslim or christian or jew or -- there's a certain humanity in this story that you'll see has kind of risen to the surface. and it's, it's a great thing to -- >> uh-huh. >> -- to know that that still happens. >> there are countless examples in the book. we couldn't get as many in the the film just because of the nature of the the art form, but in the book there are countless examples of how members of the taliban government from the
lowest guard to high levels in the ministry, i mean, the justice ministry helped the shelter now people. and two examples that i want to give you because some people have criticized this story as being an us versus them, and to those critics, you know, i'm, i can't help how they choose to interpret the book. but they overlook the fact that these examples within the story of -- they weren't converted to christianity and all of a sudden they became, oh, we're going to help these people. they never did convert to christianity. they remained faithful to their own religious persuasion, and out of that came, as ben said, this rising of the human spirit to help people when there was injustice done. two examples i want to point out. one was a student b who was in prison in the third or fourth
prison, i can't remember, it was with each prison that they were moved to the conditions became more harsh and just awful. but it was either the third or fourth prison, i can't remember, the guards or the wardens were particularly despotic. and letters were being smuggled out from the westerners to their, you know, various families in their various countries. well, one of the wardens found the letters and demanded, you know, who wrote them and then to translate the letters and all of that. and so this student who could speak pashtun and was trusted by the warden and could also speak, you know, english had to translate the letters.
any derogatory statement that these letters might say against the taliban would be taken as an insult and could cause great harm. not only to the westerners, but also to those people who were helping them mug l these letters -- smuggle these letters out. well, the student chose to translate all the letters saying how wonderful they were being treated by the taliban. they even had a map of the prison where they were staying, hoping that it would fall into the hands -- this map -- would fall into the hands of either the northern alliance or the american military so that they would know specifically where they were. and the student said that, well, gaylord says that the student translated this was a map to
show the americans where not to bomb. and the prison warden bought it. but if the student had been caught, it would have been immediate death. the second thing and the most powerful example to me was the 16 after kwans who were shelter now employees also captured and held in captivity. they were tortured mercilessly by the taliban hoping to get them to confess that the shelter now people had forced them to convert to christianity before they would allow them to work at shelter now which was a total falsehood. and that they forced all these things upon, that they had to do in the name of the christian god before they could work there.
in spite of days and days of torture, they never -- none of them, all 16 -- never said that that, you know, happened. and it didn't happen. they remained faithful muslims. and it, and they were released the day before -- they spent 104 days in captivity, and the westerners spent 105 days. the westerners were never tortured. some wanted that to happen, but that never happened to them. so these examples -- to get an us versus them interpretation out of this book and this film is a total, well, you got hit by the stupid stick. if you take that interpretation. because it was never our intention, and it's not the truth. and it was a real blessing for
ben and me to see this, this human spirit rise up within these people in these desperate, desperate situations and how they helped each other. other questions? yes, ma'am. >> we hear a lot of the distinction between the taliban and the al-qaeda. how closely related are they? is it closer in some areas than in others and politically or religiously? what is it -- >> religiously, no. >> no. all i can, you know, basically speak to is when i was there. i was touring the vice and virtue headquarters, and that's basically i was told that there were al-qaeda coming in from everywhere, from all over the world, and that's where they
would meet, in these particular rooms. and they were going through a list of nations that you'd never expect al-qaeda to be from, but at that time kabul was the hot bed for al-qaeda. and i think the taliban thought that basically if they partnered up with al-qaeda, it would get them to where they wanted to be quicker. and i think a lot of, in retrospect i think that probably -- they got a bit more than they bargained for. but at that time kabul was it, and there was al-qaeda everywhere. and there was -- the shelter now people would talk about how the women would be at a restaurant and the al-qaeda people would come in and, basically, force the owner to tell the women they had to leave because they weren't going to eat there with western women in the same restaurant. so it was pretty crazy. i don't know where they are now, you know? >> i will say this, i saw on the
today show friday -- i can't remember the correspondent's name, but he's an nbc correspondent, richard someone, i think -- >> [inaudible] >> yes, thank you. he's having a dock can unit ri of his -- documentary of his experiences in afghanistan on msnbc tomorrow night. and the clip that we saw was his interview, a portion of his interview with two leading members of the taliban. and two things struck me about that interview, was that they were -- the two gentlemen that he was interviewing were very hostile. you could tell there was this hostile air towards richard. and, you know, he found out later that the reason that it was is that they were, he was too close to not just this personal space issue, but that an infidel was so close to him that they could not tolerate
being in, you know, that chose to him. close e to him. so there is this, you know, that was profound to me. and then the second thing was that he specifically said there is no, there's not a hair's breath difference between the taliban and al-qaeda. at this point. our goals are the seam and that is -- same and that is to destroy, you know, western influence. and they specifically named new york city as being, you know, this hot bed of evil and that attacks, threatening attacks against new york again. so that's, i mean, you can watch the doc tomorrow night on msnbc, i think it's 7, 6 whatever eastern time it is, but it's on msnbc tomorrow night, and that was a very profound little clip about b the taliban's current
leadership and their hostile antagonism towards the west. >> are we almost up? >> any other questions? >> i just want to remind everybody that we have a current web site up. >> oh, yeah, yeah. >> kabul 24 movie.com, www.kabul24movie.com, and if you hit that site, it'll tell you a lot more. >> yeah. it'll show you a trailer for the movie, and the book is out now. so thank you very much for coming, and i think terry -- >> i was just going to ask one final question myself. >> absolutely. >> i guess i'm on here, okay. have these individuals who experienced this seen your movie and your book, and what were their reactions, and what are they doing now? >> oh, boy. yeah. >> well, we've got another five
minutes, we'll answer this question. [laughter] >> the head folks at shelter now international in germany have seen, they saw a rough cut and recently gaylord tugman, the international directer, saw the final version and was very favorable and very happy about it. i'm still getting copies to everybody else, the australians got their copies sent out last week, and i'm trying to track down those american girls but, you know, they're -- i'm not quite sure where they're at. i think heather's in kurdistan, and i'm not sure where dana is right now. >> she was from tennessee. >> yeah, exactly. so, yeah. everybody's very, very happy with the outcome, and i think they -- and they've -- >> yeah, right. actually, we sent them a copy of the final draft of the manuscript to make sure it was vetted. >> yeah. >> and, you know, if i got a little carried away with some of
the description they said, no, it didn't happen this way, it happened that way and that kind of stuff. so any complaints i will refer to shelter now because they had two, udo and gaylord both read the manuscript and signed off on it. i was very thankful for that. the other thing i wanted to point out, six months after their escape -- they got out november 3 of '01 -- six months after that they're back in there. gaylord, his wife, two sons, a few of the -- the american girls did not go back and the australians did not go back, but the germans went back. and then other members of those who had escaped, who were able to escape in august, you know, when they were being cap cantured, they were able to, many of them came back. and they're a presence there now, you know?
so it's like, we only took six months off from, you know, being there since '80. we took six months off in 2001 and 2002, and now we're back into it. so, in fact, udo sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago that said, may i have copies of the book to take to the people in afghanistan? so thomas nelson, the publisher, got copies of the book to gaylord, and he's there now handing out books. >> when is the documentary going to be coming out? >> november 3rd it'll be available, yeah. great. >> yeah. >> thank you all very much and the gentlemen will be signing books, copies. [applause] >> thanks. we two -- go to the --
screen play for god's ambassador. ben pearson is also a film maker and photographer. this event was part of the 2009 southern festival of books. for more information visit humanitstennessee.org and click on the southern festival of books tab. booktv is asking, what are you reading? >> hi, i'm julia johnson, and i'm with the southern festival of books in nashville, tennessee, and i have just recently read the
help by katherine stockett which is about mississippi in the '60s and dealing with the relationship between the society and the african-americans in that community. it's wonderfully written. >> i'm from columbia, tennessee, and i'm reading diana gabaldon's book. >> and what is that about? >> it's from the outlander
series about scottish time travel. >> i'm looking for more richard russo books to read. >> can you tell me what it's about? >> it's about a man growing up and sort of his -- the only child and can some of the trials and tribulations of his childhood with some parents who are less than stellar, let's say. [laughter] >> i'm graham mccauley from the bronx, new york, i'm here in nashville, and i've just finished reading david
halberstam's the children which is about the freedom ride, and i'm a big fan of c-span2. and i watch it whenever i get a chance. >> for schedule information and descriptions of our programs, log on to booktv.org. you can click on the viewer input tab and e-mail us, tell us what you're reading and what you
think of our programs. >> richard wolffi covered the obama campaign in 2008, he has a book called renegade, the making of a president. tell us about your following of the president during the 2008 campaign. >> well, i was one of the few who was there from the beginning to the very end, and the book came about as the candidate suggested. he thought it would be a great idea for me to write a book, i told him it was a stupid idea until i figured out that there was something about his story that was worth telling, and the way that there's something obscured and maybe hidden and reserved about him, and that's how i approached the book. not the story of the campaign, but the story of him as it played out through the campaign. >> had you read his book prior? >> yeah, i read both of them. by the way, his first book is a
lot better than the second book. yeah, dreams from my father is an extraordinary piece of literature and in a way a tough standard to live up to when you're looking at his story. but you can't let a politician write their own story, and that's how i approached this one. it was one view of someone who moved on to a bigger stage and there were many other aspects of him that weren't featured in his book at all. >> you talked about your early reservations about writing this book, what were your preconceptions of the candidate? >> well, by the time we talked about the book, by the time he suggested it, i'd been covering him for a year, so i moved from preconceps to real conception. and i do think there were this contra direction, two in a way. one that someone so public could be unknown, and secondly, that someone who had these unconventional renegade qualities, that's the name of the book, renegade, which is a
secret service code name, someone unconventional could also be cautious and risk-averse in taking the gambles that he took. so there's a tension there in him between the conventional and the unconventional, between the risks and the cautions. >> it was a long campaign. how did it change the president? >> oh, look, he was a terrible candidate in 2007. i mean, he was bad at debates, he hated being in the public eye. he made lots of mistakes all the way through. he learned as he went, and he was fascinating to watch that process of someone who adapted to events. you know, the one thing you get that i think is beneficial as a journalist or a writer covering these long, long campaigns is to see whether they learn, whether these candidate cans adapt to events either to them or in the current affairs, and that's the
only sort of road test of them. because you can never replicate what happens in the white house, but you can see, are they adaptable? do they know something more than their talking points, and that's what i set out as a day-to-day reporter to try and figure out. >> the american public when they see the media who travel with the candidates, often times they'll see them on a plane, everyone together, it looks very collegial. is it? >> it's a mixture of collegiality and intense competition. all the people on that plane are competing with each other, remember, and they're all pretty much at the top of their game. so you're locked in this one room not just with the campaign and their staff, but with the people who are trying to beat you every day, often several times a day. so it's a strange mixture of, you know, i guess in silicon valley they call them friendmies. >> if you want to watch the entire program, you can go to booktv.org, we covered
mr. wolffe earlier in the year when the book came out. since that time and since the book's been published, how have you seen the president change, has he? >> oh, you know, if yaw talk about -- you talk to people in the white house, they say he hasn't changed at all. that's the myth of every president. from what i've seen of him up close and from a distance, i just think it's inevitable that you change when your glass of water comes on a silver platter and people click their heels whenever you ask for something. there is a, the presidency is a fabulously efficient machine that is built to serve the interests of one person. so, yeah, that affects you just as it affects you if you walk into an arena and 16,000 people are screaming your name. it's subtle, it may not be dramatic, it doesn't affect you fundamentally, but subtly over time i think it does change your
outlook, your ability to see your own sell -- self in the mirror. >> what does the president though your book? have you know, i haven't asked him up front, but i do know that he grabbed a copy from an aide on air force one. the aide was reading it out loud, enacting some dramatic rendition that involved the aide in the book. he leafed through at least a few pages, but i still don't know what he thought about it. >> does your book have an index? >> it does, and i paid for it. [laughter] >> the author is richard wolffe, the book is renegade. thanks so much. >> my pleasure. >> former prosecutor william hyland jr. says thomas jefferson did not have an affair with sally hemings nor fathered her child. this is presented at in virginia. >> let m
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