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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 7, 2011 8:00am-8:45am EDT

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party. god bless you. [applause] >> welcome to c-span2's booktv. every weekend we bring you 48 hours of books on history, biography and public affairs by nonfiction authors. ..
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>> sign up for booktv alert. >> up next on booktv, jennet conant recounts julia and paul childs careers in the office of strategic services during world war ii. the cookbook author and tv personality began as a file clerk and was later stationed in india and china. the author recalls the couple's travels as well as paul childs' interrogation charges of commune sympathizer. -- communist sympathizer. this is about o 40 minutes. [applause] >> thank you for venturing out on this rainy spring evening. i think i'm going to start us off by quoting groucho marx to the effect that before i begin talking, i have something to
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say. the first thing that everyone, absolutely everyone asks me is how does julia child, of-2 -- 6-2, ever managed to sneak incognito behind enemy lines. the answer is simple: she at no didn't, but we'll get to that later. bon appetit was not a secret code. now, more serious note. the common question i get is what on earth brought me to this topic, how did i come to write about julia child, and how did i know that julia child, the popular french chef of cookbook and television fame, had worked for the country's first intelligence agency? well, the truth is i read it in "the new york post." i happened to see a headline, "secret recipes of spy," and it reported that julia had been employee at the oss, the office of strategic services, which was
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hastily set up by president roosevelt in the early days of the war. it is the forerunner of today's cia. anyway, i was in washington at the time, this was the fall of 2008, and i us with on my -- i was on my book tour for the irregulars. and at that time the national archives released a huge cache of previously classified documents. this was a huge, huge haul of papers, classified records, and it detailed the 24,000 people that had worked for the oss during world war ii. these records identified for the first time the vast civilian and military network of operatives who had served their country during the time when it was threatened by nazis and by fascists. and some of these people were very notable, but very unusual and the most unlikely possible secret agents. you had among them supreme court justice arthur goldberg, the actor sterling aiden and the
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historian, arthur schlessinger jr. but perhaps the most notable was the chef, julia child. now, the news made headlines across the country, so everywhere i went on this book tour for the next few weeks, people would stop and ask me, was she really a spy? what did she do? where did she go? and i didn't know the answer to their questions. one thing or another led to the beginning of this book. now, like so many wartime secrets, julia child's oss career was really not a secret at all. the basic facts of her intelligence career could be looked up as easily as the ingredients to her recipes. late in her life she had broken her vow of silence and talked a bit about her escapades for the oss. she even mentioned it in her memoir. it was mentioned in various books, one movie about her and
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paul had a brief bit about it, and it was in all the obituaries when she died in 2004. but as soon as this huge treasure-trove of archives was released, there was great excitement about the new material that might be unearthed, and it caused a bit of a stir. after all, the cia had held on to these classified documents for many decades and had been reluctant to release them. and it took william casey, the former director of the cia, to finally convince them to release the records. and they began slowly releasing them in 1981. these were the very last batch of papers to be released, and julia child's 130-page oss personnel file, a classified document, gave the details of her dynamic career in the intelligence agency and made for some fascinating reading. now, the first thing that became clear to me was that contrary to all of those newspaper headlines, julia was never
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actually a spy, but she very much hoped to become one when she joined the agency in december of 1942. like so many young people in the wake of pearl harbor, she moved to washington and was determined to try and serve her country. she was single, 30 and unemployed with several failed attempts at a career behind her. she was also looking for a second chance in life, a chance to remake her life, a chance to do something special. she was the daughter of a well-to-do pasadena rancher, she had graduated from smith, but she had spent most of her post-college years, as she admits, as a social butterfly, attending parties and generally having a good time. she was keeping house for her widowed father and living a very sheltered life. she was, by her own account, a pretty plain person with no skills. she didn't speak any languages, and she had never been further out of the country than a day trip to tijuana. she had always felt she was bigger than life.
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she always thought she was destined for big things. but by 30 they had miserably fail today materialize. still, she was tall, she was very athletic, she was sure she'd be a natural for the army or navy reserves. when she was rejected, the form letters came. too tall, they stated. she was bitterly disappointed. she used family connections and got a job at the war department. it was a low-level secretarial job. she was a typist, and she loathed it, and she was determined to work like a demon to get promoted. she did, and she got herself transferred to the offices of the length jend dare colonel -- legendary colonel bill donovan, the head of the oss. well, as one reviewer recently noted, the cloak and dagger business was like bread and butter to the young julia. she found the agency exciting and glamorous, and she loved her brilliant and eccentric
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colleagues. she soon found herself assign today a project called the emergency c rescue equipment section. she was working with an eminent harvard zoologist who was no less than a blue-bloodedded descendant of thomas jefferson. she was developing a shark repellant for pilots who had been downed at sea to protect them. julia's responsibility was to go to the fish market early every morning for the fresh catch. for the first time in her life, she loved her work and felt she had found her niche, the place where she belonged. the oss, for all it selectivity, was a pretty strange group of people. there were colorful personalities, and it had the kind of idiosyncratic, lenient atmosphere of a small liberal arts college, and it had the same tolerance for oddballs and eccentrics. she heard that donovan's idea of the ideal female employee was
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the cross between a smith graduate, a powers model and a katie gibbs girl. finally, for once, julia had all the right qualifications. she even had a private income that made her appear above reproach. the rumor was donovan only hired people from the ivy league and the junior league because he believed you were less susceptible to bribes if you were well off. critics scoffed that the oss stood for oh so social and oh so secret. the actual fact was that the oss did not begin recruiting until well after all of the other services had had their pick. and so donovan was forced to scramble to find real talent. faced with building a huge intelligence-gathering operation and administrative bureaucracy virtually overnight, he had to get creative, but he knew the specific skill set he was looking for. he needed someone with the brains to make decisions on the fly, the street smarts to know when to throw out the rulebook,
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someone with an abundance of self-confidence and an overdeveloped -- an underdeveloped sense of fear. of course, these same qualifications could be used to describe any number of very dubious characters, and critics later charged that donovan's lax standards meant that all sorts of dangerous people were employed as spies. still, donovan began by hiring lawyers from his own wall street firm as well as prominent attorneys from be other firms and businessmen that he knew. he included a wide variety of academics, anthropologists and linguists, mathematicians and even ornithologists who had chased rare birds across asia. he included artists, painters, writers and inventers. with time being of the essence, he simplified the vetting process by keeping it all within the family. if an osser had a girlfriend or a sister who happened to go to college and had a decent typing speed, she would be brought in
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and promised a better job and faster advancement. if by any chance she had any foreign languages or had lived abroad, she would be whisked off to one of their secret spy schools and start intensive training. now, while working for the oss in washington, julia became fast friends with a number of young women that were actually training to be spies, and she was green with envy. one was a young woman named jane foster. jane, like julia, was from a wealthy, conservative west coast family. she was an adventurous california girl. but there the similarity ended. jane was widely traveled, she had briefly been married to a dutch diplomat and stationed in java, and she spoke several languages. jane was everything that julia felt she was not; wildly sophisticated and alluring, witty and outrageous, bold and daring enough to be true matta harry material. while julia was stuccolating
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files, jane was taking a crash course in espionage and learning cryptography and the fundamentals of what the oss called morale operations, how to create rumor campaigns to demoralize the enemy and create dissent. another oss colleague that became a great friend of julia's was named betty mcdonald. she had brown up in honolulu -- grown up in honolulu and had been a young reporter and first on the scene after the pearl harbor attack. she was recruited because of her wartime experience. she and julia -- she and jane would disappear for weeks at a time on orientation courses and small arms courses where they learned how to master a thompson submachine gun and a colt .45. julia was desperate to go to france, but after 17 years of high school and college french, she discovered she couldn't speak a word. she had no special skills to recommend her for overseas service, so when the word went
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out that donovan was looking for warm bodies -- any bodies -- to help set up a network of new intelligence bases in india, burma and china, she immediately volunteered. she didn't care or where she went as long as she got to go, and there was a man shortage, and the newly-formed oss was woefully understaffed. it's important, i think, to remember that when you think of the o is -- oss, you generally think of the paramilitary, you know, grainy images of agents parachuting behind enemy lines. of the 13,000 employees, about 4500 of which were women, the vast majority spent their time writing reports, collecting and analyzing information and planning missions. so the fact that many of the oss's very unorthodox activities could be conducted from behind the desk meant that women could be equally as effective.
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and so while the majority of women did remain in washington helping to support the oss's far flung missions, a very small percentage went overseas, and an even tinier percentage ever went into active operations. but the small percentage that did go overseas -- like jane, julia and betty -- they carried out their assignments with the same mixture of audacity, self-reliance and seat of the pants ingenuity that donovan inspired in everyone that worked for him. now, julia got her wish in early 1944, and she joined a contingent of operatives that were sent to india. but on the long monthlong boat trip, her travel orders were changed, and she ended up being rerouted because the dashing new supreme commander of combined operations had decided that it would be a much nicer, not to mention much cooler, place for his wartime headquarters. now, candy, which was a mountaintop resort and had once
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been a tea planters' oasis, was not a hardship post. it was a good thousand miles from the fighting, and it was picture postcard pretty. it had a buddhist temple and a scenic lake where you could get a boat and go rowing with your boyfriend. the female personnel was put up in the queens hotel. it was rundown and overrun with rats and mosquitoes, but it looked very grand. their office headquarters, detachment 404 of the oss, was housed on an old tea plantation a little out of town, and it was made of bamboo-plaited huts. but the palm trees and the neat little paths and a tidy little green tennis court made the place seem like an island retreat more than a wartime headquarters. julia was put in charge of the oss registry known as the camp's
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nerve center, and it contained all of their most top-secret documents, the military plans and operations, classified cables from the joint chiefs of staff in washington, the codebook as well as locations of all of the oss missions around the world and the real identities and various code names of their oss agents in the field. it was an important job. it carried grave responsibilities, and it came with the highest security clearance. julia joked that she even developed a top-secret twitch from handling so much highly-sensitive material. so while she was never an operational agent going behind enemy lines, she did become a very able and effective intelligence officer. by her last few months in china where she served on a remote military outpost at the foot ofbe the burma road, she was working think difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions. she carried on through a devastating flood that swamped
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their base, a raging cholera epidemic and occasional outbreaks of cross fire from the chinese revolution. by the end, she was a seasoned veteran of the oss, and she would dole out slices of opium from from a large loaf which she said reminded her of boston brown bread but which oss staffers referred to as the operational payroll. now, julia would often say later, looking back, that the war made me. it was her personal and political coming of age. it infused her with a new confidence and curiosity about life, and it was where she met her mentor and soul mate, paul child, and embarked on a life-altering romance. julia met paul, who designed war rooms for the generals, on the porch of a tea planter's bungalow, and she was immediately smitten. he was 41, a decade older, and a head shorter. he was world weary, withdrawn
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and somewhat difficult. his colleagues regarded him as a loner, moody and set in his ways, not an easy man, julia confided to her diary. an artist, paul had started out by skipping college and running off to work as a sailor. he had studied painting and sculpture in paris and spoke impeccable french. he was a self-taught photographerrer, black belt in judo and jack of all trades. he considered himself a connoisseur of the finer things in life; art, food, fashion, poetry, women. he romanced all the prettiest oss officers in their detachment, and after his initial advances were rebuff withed, became the very best of friends with jane foster who he described in his diary as a wild, mess is si girl, always in trouble, always gay and irresponsible. he adored and admired her. jane had become famous, well, infamous overnight in se land
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for her inspired scheme to release propaganda materials encased in silver-decked condoms. her plan was to have a submarine release them, and they would float ashore bearing their friendly messages of allied support. [laughter] donovan was skeptical, but he gave her the green light. [laughter] now, during the year they were all there, jane and paul became inseparable, and julia was left to pine for a man who took little notice of her. although it pained her, she wrote in her diary that she knew he was not atrack tracted to her and liked more worldly, bow hemoyang types. paul wrote long letters to his twin brother, charles n which he raved about jane's mad cap personality and hilarious wartime escapades, and he would note in passing that julia was a nice girl with good legs. he dismissed her as a grown up little girl noting that at 31
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julia was as inexperienced and overly emotional and a virgin and was busy trying to be brave about being an old maid. not one to give up and sulk, however, julia soldiered on. and in early 1945 she and paul were transferred to china while jane stayed behind where she was training native agents and running subversive radio broadcasts. seizing her chance, julia monopolized paul's attention. she went exploring with him to out of bounds areas, venturing to all kinds of back alley chinese dives, and she tried to prove her mettle by dearing to eat exotic delicacies. now, these feasts invariably resulted in days and days of dysentery, commonly known as the shanghai shits. [laughter] sorry, can i say that on c-span? anyway, by the end of the war,
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julia was head over heels in love and paul, well, paul was still on the fence. he feared that they were from very different background, and he dreaded meeting her right-wring father. he worried julia would revert to being a pasadena socialite at the end of the war, and he suggested they return to their peacetime lives and see how they liked each other in civilian clothes. so they returned to the states and they went their separate ways, paul back to washington and julia to california, and she embarked on a mission to win him over. she subscribe today "the washington post" and the new york times, much to her father's horror, so she could read what paul read. she even took up the novels of henry miller which she found rather x-rated but which paul adored. and she took her first cooking lessons so she could make him a homemade meal when he came to visit. after a six months of a long distance relationship, paul
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allowed his heart to overrule -- his head to overrule his heart, and they were married in september 1946. in 1948, two years later, the child's moved to paris. paul went to work for the united states information service which was a branch of the state department, and julia continued her cooking lessons at the cordon bleu school. they reconnected with their old friend jane in paris, who was a painter or, and they found her married to a very odd russian man. but as paul wrote in his diary that day, jane was just as raise si, impractical and lovable as she had always billion. the happiness was short lived, and only a few years after the war, the euphoria of victory had been replaced by new fears of the spread of communism and the cold war. after the fall of china to the reds in 1949 when mao tse-tung led the communists and set up
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the people's republic, an increasing number of officials in truman's administration became convinced that communism posed a real threat to america's security. by the end of 1950, spy fever had gripped the country. klaus fuchs confessed and earth them rosenberg and julius were arrested on espionage charges. by 1953 the rosenbergs got the chair. all of this seemed to confirm to people in government that there were spies in every nook and corner of washington. as the a journalist once observed, senator joseph mccarthy was a political speculator who found his oil gusher in communism. he kicked off his anti-communist crusade in 1950 with a speech in wheeling, west virginia, many which he claimed to have in his hand a list of 205 known
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communists currently employ inside the state department. julia and paul were enroute to their new post when the book burning and finger pointing began. teddy white, who had covered china for time magazine, were banned from the shelves. paul had to take off the books himself and see that they were destroyed. rumors about where mccarthy's smear tactics might lead spread like wildfire. julia and paul watched in dismay as one after another of the career foreign service officers they had served with in china, among them some of their very closest friends, were accused of disloyalty and forced out while still others quit in disgust. somehow, mao's victory in china was now being seen as a part of a master kremlin plot, enabled by a bunch of secret communists within the state department known collect i fly -- collectively as the china hands.
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at the same time, j. edgar hoover was out to destroy general donovan's reputation who he viewed as a threat to his espionage empire. donovan, to protect his former staff, started burning the oss record of his former personnel. knowing that many of them, like jane and paul, had been left of center. julia and paul's poignant letters in this period capture their atmosphere of fear and paranoia that permeated their small diplomatic circle. julia considered mccarthy to be a desperate power monger, she wrote, and believed his vengeful campaign of innuendo and intimidation was destroying a country that she loved. i am terribly worried about mccarthyism, she wrote in 1954. what can i do as an individual? it is frightening. i am ready to bare my breasts, small size though they may b stick my neck out. i won't turn my back on anyone
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will sacrifice cat, cookbook, husband and finally self. inevitably, jane foster and paul child became caught in the buzz saw of mccarthy's red spy hunt. on april 7, 1955, paul received an urgent telegram summoning him to washington. their old friend, the reckless and flamboyant jane foster, was being investigated by the fbi as a russian spy. when she was arrested in paris, the authorities had ransacked her apartment and found paul child's name in the her address book. paul and julia found themselves then in the middle of a terrifying nightmare; full-scale fbi espionage investigation, lengthy interrogations and a drawn-out, dispiriting state department loyalty inquiry. friends, family, neighbors and former employers were questioned about paul's past. his communist proclivities, his
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loose bohemian lifestyle and his latent homosexual tendencies. if you want to have some verbal fun, he wrote julia in despair, try to prove to two fbi guys that you aren't a lesbian. how do you prove it? many julia and paul decided they would not be intimidated, and they chose to stand by their friends and their principles no matter what the cost. in in the chaotic months to come, they would have to endure the shame of being accused as well as the taint of suspicion that paul rightly predicted would always curtail his career advancement. ultimately, they would also have to come to a very painful decision about whether jane was really a soviet spy or the victim of an overzealous fbi in an -- and an unscrupulous double agent. without giving away the whole story, i'd like to say the point of this book was to examine the
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complex issues that this close-knit group had to face in that controversial, historical era and to explore the intriguing ways that personality becomes destiny. and how these two very adventurous california girls who came to be wartime friends and intelligence colleagues came to meet such different fates. one becoming a beloved american icon, and the other ending up a lowly exile in france. thank you. [applause] do we have any questions? no questions? great. well, that's -- yes. >> wait for the microphone. >> how long did it take you to write the booksome. >> um, it took probably about three years. i had done the previous book was about the oss, so i, i had a
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great deal of material which helped speed up the process, and i was very right into the period and the characters. but the last book i did was really from the british side, and so this one was more or from the american side, and it really is based on paul and julia's diaries and letters. but there's such a wonderful correspondence between the two that i had a vast and very colorful archive to work with. >> [inaudible] >> yes. all the families were very cooperative and, in fact, some of the families even of minor characters in the book who were oss colleagues of theirs who were on the boat to india, worked with them in se land and china, people gave me their letters and diaries. so the very vivid descriptions you get in the book, you have a lot of dialogue and scenes that make you feel as though you're
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there and the reason is they're drawn from so many diaries. because i had so many characters, i limited the number of characters that i name, but all of the incidents were true and happened. and julia stood out for obvious reasons, her height and her very vivacious personality, and jane because she was very outrageous and infamous during her time there. so almost everybody had a story to tell and an anecdote that they remembered. >> that was kind of my question as well, where did you get all the letters and -- they were from family? >> they were from families. after that jane foster's family offered me personal letters and diaries. that huge archive that paul and julia child left to harvard. other families also provided me with letters and diaries. and then i did an enormous amount of research in the military libraries and repositories where i found all
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the telegrams and intelligence reports that they filed, many of julia's memos, jane foster's reports, all of their superiors' reports about them. and so i could really tell you where they were and what they were doing much of the time they were abroad. and then they all stayed such close friends, and they kept exchanging letters throughout the '50s. so even after the war i was able to keep up with them, and they were very frank in these letters, they're very moving about their fear of losing their jobs and what's happening to their friends. so you can really get a feeling for the time. >> wait for the microphone, please. >> during the time of the inquisition in washington, were people sympathetic with the american people -- were the american people sympathetic to julia child? is there any record of how they responded to her being taken in front of -- >> it was paul that was taken in
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for the full loyalty inquiry, and actually pause they didn't know it was -- because they didn't know it was happening, julia was still in europe. they were living in germany, and he got this telegram summoning him back. in fact, they even thought in the beginning perhaps he was going to be offered a promotion. and then when he got there, nobody would talk to him or meet his eyes and tell him what he was doing there, and it finally became clear he was in some sort of serious trouble. and then he was pulled in many for this very long fbi investigation, and he cabled julia in germany saying i don't know what's going to become of me. and that went on for almost a month. and then they were able to unite again in paris, and it was several more months until he managed to get himself cleared, though, in fact, they continually investigated him for the next year. so it didn't become public in that sense that there weren't headlines about it. in fact, you know, the sad thing
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is hundreds and hundreds of people were under investigation in the '50s. remember, the hollywood ten had already happened. charlie chaplin had been under investigation for months and had fled to europe, so you had very high-profile people that were under investigation every day. and so paul child did not make the news. julia was not famous yet. she hadn't published her cookbook. they weren't celebrities. but their friends all knew, everybody in the state department knew, and it was humiliating and terrifying. and they, paul rightly predicted that his career would probably not recover from it. >> was paul brought before the committee itself, or just by the, by the committee investigators in. >> he was subjected to a full
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loyalty inquiry that was the fbi investigated him, the united states information service investigated him. his past, going back ten years and all of that, but he wasn't dragged before a senate subcommittee. in the end, even though they thought he was about as liberal as you could get without being a communist and they thought he was probably a homosexual and accused him of all kinds of other sort of nefarious acts, julia was from a very wealthy right-wing family, and her father was one of the early supporters of nixon. and she pulled every string she could in washington. and he was finally cleared. >> what role did paul play -- what role did paul play many her celebrity -- in her celebrity? >> that's an interesting question and a complicated
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question to answer. if you, if you look at the arc of their relationship, she was really a very insecure, as he put it, unexperienced girl when he met her, and she turned herself inside out to become someone that he would like and admire and perhaps one day love. and so he really, in a way, became her mentor. he educated her, he shaped her interests, and through that she took up cooking and fell in love with french cuisine. and she emerged from all of that a completely different person, a much more confident, outspoken, really charismatic individual. and she really credited him so much with that, that when she became a celebrity virtually overnight with the publication of her cookbook -- you know, she worked on it while he supported her for about ten years, it took, the first cookbook. and it came out, and it was an
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overnight success. and she literally stepped from being a nobody into the limelight and becoming a celebrity. it was interesting, she would always use the plural; we. we did this, we did that in referring to herself and paul because, i think, of the enormous debt of gratitude she felt she owed him. >> how did you get interested in this genre? you know, this historical genre? >> oh, that's a good question. you know, i'm from a war family. my grandfather, james conant, was the president of harvard when world war ii, in the early days of world war ii, and he was appointed by president roosevelt to be one of the men that led the organization of the manhattan project and the development of the bomb. so i grew up in the far east and in cambridge surrounded by wartime scientists and politicians and the men that led the war effort. and so i think i got hooked on
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war stories at an early age, i got hooked on war movies at an early age, and it just stuck. >> what other books have you written? >> i wrote a book called tuxedo park, and that was about a group of physicists who congregated in a secret laboratory in tuxedo park, new york, and began experimenting with radar and, ultimately, they would lead the wartime project that developed all of the radar systems that helped win the war in europe. then i wrote a book about the development of the bomb in los alamos called 109 east palace. and then i wrote a book about british spies and the development of the oss, and that was called "the irregulars." so you can sort of see a theme. [laughter] the lady in pink, yeah.
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>> what happened to jane? >> well, i can't tell you that, you have to read the book. [laughter] but i'm glad you're curious. you have to find out. >> thank you. >> any other questions? yes, sir. >> yeah. after these investigations were over, did they have bitter feelings toward the u.s.? >> i think that's one of the things that's sort of very nice about the book is you see different people's reactions. betty mcdonald went through this whole process as well. in fact, she was married to colonel hefner who had been their boss, and he helped donovan burn the fbi, burn the papers of the oss personnel before the fbi could come and get them. but she as well as julia and paul never became bitter about the u.s. they were very bitter about that period, and they really hated
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mccarthy. but they stayed very optimistic in the ability of people to learn and change, and they, after all, they all returned to the united states and lived very happily in the united states. from 1960 on. so they weren't bitter about that, but they did have very sad and complicated feelings about the 1950s even though that's when so much good happened to julia in her career. she would always have very mixed feelings about that period of time. >> time for a couple more questions. >> how helpful was -- [inaudible] oh, sorry. how helpful was the government to you in getting information? [laughter] or unhelpful? [laughter] >> well, you don't want to say unhelpful, that's kind of an active term.
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they, they make it hard for you. i had to order all the oss documents, and then for almost every character in the book the fbi files. now, jane foster's fbi file is more than 65,000 pages. if you can imagine. now, as you get further in the book, you'll meet a number of other characters whose fbi files are longer. so you get these papers in sort of packets of 200 at a time. every time you need to request them, you need to double check, you need to wait, and it takes about three months. >> [inaudible] >> it's just a very arduous process to go through what we call the foia request, the freedom of information act. it takes the patience of a saint, and you don't get everything. and when you do get the fbi files, they're redacted. a hot is blacked out, whole -- a lot is blacked out, whole sections are whited out.
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then you can go through a whole set of appeals to argue they should give you those. i have a feeling i'm going to be receiving fbi files on paul and jane, you know, for years to come. [laughter] i hope i don't find anything shock anything there. shocking in there. yes. >> since they were such letter writers, did julia or paul ever write a letter to mccarthy? >> no, not that i know of. so t possible, but i wouldn't think so because they pretty much hated him on sight from the beginning, and it only got worse. they wrote an awful lot of letters about him though. i mean, there's just reames and reames of sort of angry screams against him in the letters and diaries. and it's actually just fascinating to read how it darkens, you know, from the 1940s through the hollywood ten when they watched all of that persecution of the artists and directors and actors in if hollywood. and then he moved and set his sights on the state department.
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you see their fear and anxiety deepen, and it's really, it's really compelling reading. thank you all so much for coming today. [applause] >> get the booktv schedule e-mailed to you. to sign up, use our web site,, and press the alert button. or text the word book to 99702. standard message and data rates amy. apply. >> with the changes that the president has announced in his national security team, robert mueller still in place, and you make the point he is the longest-serving, been there since 9/11 -- >> yep. >> and through two presidents and lots of changes, and the fbi itself has changed enormously in the decade. how has it changed? >> guest: as you said, robert
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mueller started work september 4, 2001, on his seventh day as i explain in the book, he was actually sitting in his first briefing on al-qaeda on the morning of 9/11 still getting up to speed on this. and he is now the longest-serving fbi director since j. edgar hoover himself, and the last of the president's national security team still in his same job. he's outlasted four cia directors, four attorney generals, he's on his second president and is about to finish out his ten-year term september 3, 2011. and what he has done is really remarkable. he's on the cover of "time" magazine this week which is one of the first times he's gotten any recognition for the work he's done, sort of leading this evolution of the fbi towards an agency much more focused on counterterrorism and national security than a lot of the traditional crimes that we still think of the fbi as being involved in. >> host: this is what the book looks like, and this is a
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participatory interview, so we would like to have your telephone calls. we'll put the phone numbers on the screen, and you can also send us a tweet if you would like with a question for garrett graff. our twitter address is at booktv. get involved with this discussion about the role of the fbi in national security, and we'd very much like to hear from you. is -- was, well, first, a detail question. the fbi director is a ten-year term. why, what was the thinking on that? >> guest: this was a decision that congress made after hoover died in the 1972. of and hoover just had, as everyone knows, this incredible term. he was fbi director for 48 years from a period three years before charles lindbergh crossed the atlantic until a period three years after we landed on the moon. i mean, just a quarter of all of american history he was the fbi director. and after he died there was a decision by congress that no one in a democracy should be able to amass the power and t


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