Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  November 24, 2011 12:00pm-4:04pm EST

12:00 pm
volunteer force. faced with the multiple crises, westmoreland decided to focus his attention elsewhere. i've spoken at every stage of the union, he later recalled. i consider myself a military spokesman of the army and that i should be exposed to the american public and put forth the army point of view. i felt that an understanding of the military was the primary mission that fell on my shoulders while i was chief of staff, and he added, i had too much to occupy me to get into the details of such matters as the army reorganization and the priorities of my time gave rather high priority to go around the country and giving them the facts of life with respect to the military. during his four years as the chief of staff, westmoreland apparently gained more understanding of the war than he had while he was in vietnam.
12:01 pm
the cia chief in saigon when westmoreland made the 1972 visit. they both attended a small function that ambassador rahm bunker's residence where, he said of westmoreland, i was astonished by his apparent lack of understanding of what was going on in the war even then. in the later years westmoreland viewed himself is very much put upon. my years have been fraught with children to some frustration and sadness he said to the audience. nobody has taken more than a half, and i'm not apologizing for a damn thing. nothing. and i welcome being the point man. that outlook, no second-guessing of himself and no regrets persistent through the end of his life as the army chief of staff and beyond westmoreland made strenuous efforts to shape the historical record in ways
12:02 pm
favorable to his version of the reality. .. >> doing the same book, the memoirs, the well-known military commentator concluded that westmoreland remains the symbol of the countries most workful
12:03 pm
this adventure abroad ever. two major episodes of both extremely traumatic march the westmoreland retirement years. first was his dramatically unsuccessful campaign for governor in his native state of south carolina. and it was a failed libel suit against a cbs television network for a document or charging was born with manipulation of any strength while he commanded u.s. forces in vietnam. in each of these cases, westmoreland ignored the advice of highly qualified men who had his best interest at heart, and who counseled against the forces of action westmoreland took. in a political campaign, westmoreland came in second in the republican primary to a state senator who then went on to be elected south carolina's first republican governor since reconstruction.
12:04 pm
westmoreland said he found it very hard to shake hands with people, to ask people for favors, and talk about himself. despite a campaign theme describing him as the only candidate with a proven leadership and administrative ability to carry south carolina to greatness, westmoreland ran a poorly managed campaign that was late getting started, never got out of coherent message and wound up deeply in debt. afterward, westmoreland called it is most humiliating experience. then in 1982, cbs television aired a documentary charging westmoreland with having manipulated reports of enemy strength during the vietnam war. westmoreland had willingly participated in making the program being interviewed on camera, and asking to be paid for doing so. the resulting broadcast was not favorable to him, with numerous it former intelligence officers
12:05 pm
described how the data had been many good and have westmoreland himself had decreed that certain whole categories of enemy forces be taken out of the order of battle, thus artificially driving down the total of enemy forces so as to claim progress. in due course, against the advice of high-powered attorneys who cautioned against it, westmoreland brought a libel suit against cbs seeking $120 million in damages. subsequent to the broadcast, he came out that its producers had committed numerous violations of cbs guidelines. the basic findings, however, were seen as valid. in the course of a lengthy trial, westmoreland was represented by an attorney who had never before tried a case in court. and things did not go well. still, the case dragged on for some 18 weeks of testimony.
12:06 pm
then just days before the case was to have gone to the jury, westmoreland withdrew his suit. in exchange, he received a vanilla statement from cbs which he claimed exonerated him, and no money. then he said the effort to defame, dishonor and destroyed me and those under my command had been exposed and defeated. i, therefore, withdrew from the battlefield, all flags flying. editorial opinion was not so favorable. "the new york times" stated the prevailing reaction, at the end it concluded general westmoreland stood in imminent danger of having the jury can from the cbs report, for in court as on the original program, that the general could not get past the testimony of high ranking former subordinates who confirmed his having colored some intelligence information. said one of the jurors to the press, on the way out of the
12:07 pm
courthouse door, the evidence in favor of cbs was overwhelming. westmoreland's life since vietnam has been miserable, said a former aide. westmoreland himself seems to have contributed much to that outcome. the vietnam war is my number one priority he told an interviewer, some years after his retirement. i tried to spread myself thin, and visit all sections of the country, but then in an assertion completely undermini undermining, meaning and purpose of all those years of the incessant, even frantic activity, westmoreland told a college audience that in the scope of history, vietnam is not going to be a big deal. it won't go to the top as a major endeavor. westmoreland's ultimate failure, it seems to me, would have earned him more compassion had
12:08 pm
he not personally been so fundamentally to blame. for the endless self-promotion that elevated him in positions and responsibilities beyond his capacity. it's the aggressive guy who gets his share plus, westmoreland maintained, that principle, he said, applies to most anything. and that's the way he operated. in later years, westmoreland widely regarded as a general who had lost his war, also lost his only run for political office, lost his libel suit, and lost his reputation. it was a sad ending for a man, who for most of his life and career, had led a good existing. general westmoreland lived a long life, inflicted by alzheimer's disease for at least his last decade, he died in july 2005 and was buried at west point in a grave he gets elected while he was superintendent
12:09 pm
there. as a final irony, given westmoreland very strong and vocal opposition to the admission of women to west point, the cadet our regard for the burial ceremony was commanded and very ably, but a female cadet officer. thank you very much. i will be glad to retain your questions. [applause] >> anybody want to start? >> yes, sir. >> yes, ma'am. , please. >> you have given us a very colorful, interesting psychological analysis of general westmoreland, but my question has to do with a the sociological organizational one.
12:10 pm
>> yes. >> i didn't hear about the role of the commander in chief, or his supervisors in the military, or there's some responsibility there and has that changed now? i mean, could you compare that with where we are in 2011? >> that's a very good first question. i think you for it. "time" magazine sent me some interrogatories which i responded to and they posted on their website. they asked me if i thought the subtitle was there. and i said it was eminently fair and explained why. i've covered much of the ear i think, that the primary reason being the latitude that general wes borland had to decide how to fight the war, his relentless pursuit of the unavailing approach to the conduct of the war. but the next question was, if you think the subtitle is there, who are the other co-conspirators? that was a good question. pretty much what you're asking, too.
12:11 pm
so i begin by saying that there are a lot of candidates for the top tier of fellow history of severe, and i described three. lyndon johnson, president and commander-in-chief, robert mcnamara, the secretary of defense, and general earle wheeler who was for a long period of time the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. and so i tried to explain why general wes borland was allowed to be commander in vietnam for so long and so many people saw that he was not achieving the success he was clinging to i've quoted any number of them here. general bruce, a four-star general who was westwards classmate at west point, general creighton who came in as his deputy and succeeded him, general fred it was a three-star command and later also became chief of staff. general davidson, and many, many others who saw that this was not working. so you have to say well, why was
12:12 pm
he allowed to continue. it's hard to explain that. it shouldn't have happened that way, but a partial explanation, at least has to reside in an examination of the people of him who had the authority to replace him or direct them to conduct his operations in a different manner. so you start with lyndon johnson, in my estimation, no knowledge of military affairs and general, and in many ways rather obtuse as well. well. secretary of defense robert mcnamara, the center no real knowledge of military affairs bit and so did we get to general earle wheeler, and in my estimation we there is a major part of the problem, essentially a staff officer, very low command expands and none in combat. he seems to endorse westmoreland's idea that firepower and thrashing about in the jungles was the way to conduct this war. so he was no help.
12:13 pm
i speculate, well, i will go farther than that. i have heard that these three main people in the chain of command who have the authority if they had chosen to use it, to replace westmoreland or direct him to do something different than what he was doing, lacked the knowledge and even the confidence to do that. but there were others who were working hard to try to achieve the objective that i believe should have been, and one of the most important i've referred to as general harold k. johnson to during the same for years that westmoreland command in vietnam, general johnson was the army chief of staff. interview he conducted a study, it's known as plvn study. it said flat-out what general westmoreland is doing is not working and cannot work and the reason is a growing situation in
12:14 pm
the hamlets and villages where the in the infrastructure was dominant the populace. and so here's the real way to fight the war. this is exactly what general abrams day when he took command in the spring of 1968. he implemented the study. that study said okay, instead of a war of attrition has got to be a war of ovulation security. instead of search and destroy operation we will conduct a clear and hold operations. the hold was provided by much forces of the south vietnamese even the m-16 rifle first priority that general westmoreland would never give them, and measure merit now is not by account, its population security. it's very important and significant, i believe, that by autumn of 1966, at the latest, the two senior officers in
12:15 pm
charge of the two forces that were fighting the ground war, general harold k. johnson, chief of staff of the army, and general wallace green, the marine corps agree that westmoreland's approach was wrong and on a viable alternative, the alternative prescribed by prvn. general johnson tried hard to get this, support in the joint chiefs of staff. it didn't make much progress. it was earle we'll in charge and his commitment to firepower that didn't go anywhere. the study was brief. he rejected it out of hand. probably not too surprising. an officer of that day, later a very well-known and successful right about the war in vietnam said he was the staff officer assigned to write westmoreland's response to the study. he said we all, thought this was great, but we were not allowed to say that. we had to say there's some good
12:16 pm
ideas here for study and we're already doing most or many of these things and so on, so that did not go anywhere until, as i said, the commanders changed. that's why i said in the course of my remarks that the reason general westmoreland is the general who lost the vietnam war is that he basically squandered four years of support for our war in vietnam. and even though in the latter period after he was succeeded, things went much, much better near the end, congress, probably the people just ran out of patience and support for the war, even when we're just giving money, they were motivated to pull the plug. now, you asked me about the current situation. i'm not very well qualified to comment on that. you're looking at a genuine dinosaur.
12:17 pm
i have occupied myself day and night for 30 years thinking about the period 1960-1975, and while i have the general awareness that anybody, you know, read newspapers has about the situation now, in iraq and afghanistan, i can't profess to any particular expertise there. i will say that in the early and latter years of our involvement in iraq, we did seem to see it similar pattern in the earlier commanders what about the war in a way similar to what general westmoreland did, and then when we changed commanders there, joe david petraeus canyon, and i think exhibited a more abrams like understanding of the nature of war and how it should be conducted. many of you know that when he came back in the period between the service in iraq and service in afghanistan, general petraeus was at fort leavenworth and is tasked with writing a new cat's
12:18 pm
urgency manual that would then be issued by both the army and the marine corps. it's a well done document. as you read it you will be amazed at the parallels i think between the prescriptions there and the study and what general abrams did when he later took command. that's a rather long answer but you asked a very fundamental question i think for that. [inaudible] >> i can't. i don't know enough about that. thank you. other questions? >> would you comment on what happened after westmoreland appeared on the cover of time as man of the year? i was out in vietnam in 67. there was a lot of talk going around about westmoreland running for president, and it was coming out -- i don't know if that's in your book or not, but it seems to me in retrospect
12:19 pm
that that may have added a great deal to his ego. >> that's a good question, and there's a little in the book on this. the question has to do with, of course the "time" magazine cover, the first issue of 1966 general westmoreland was shown on the cover not any photograph but in a bus that had been sculpted of him for that purpose. and it said that he is the 1965 men of the year. that's the year we're beginning to build up forces in vietnam and he is talking even then, optimistically about the outcome. there are two earlier biographies of general westmoreland. the first one is called the inevitable general, written by a journalist whose name is pat ferguson, very good guy and i talked to him at length. this book was published in 1968,
12:20 pm
so it was written in 1967, long before the end of westmoreland's career, even before the end of his service in vietnam so you have to ask yourself why was this book written at this time. and there's a colonel known to some people in this audience who was very close to general westmoreland, especially in his chief of staff period. and unlike many of those who worked as eight to westmoreland, he stayed in touch with him for the rest of his life. paul miles said he always thought westmoreland harbored presidential aspirations and that he was never able to shake the view that this was to be a campaign, biography. others have said that although there was the uproar in the summer of 67, that might've called for westmoreland to be reassigned at that time, lyndon johnson may have perceived that westmoreland had political aspirations and it was very
12:21 pm
convenient for him to leave him 12,000 miles away and under his command instead of bring him back where he could have enjoyed the political hustlers. very straightforward, said to me in an interview, when he came back from vietnam he had the presidential aspirations to keep talking about it. and i tried to say to him, westie, this wasn't a popular war. as it turned out, he did try as i described to become governor of south carolina. it was a very inept campaign and even worse probably and in at manager of his campaign. there were some people in the republican party who thought that he might be a viable candidate that they could use to -- but nothing came of that. westmoreland always denied that he had any presidential aspirations, but i have a lot of confidence in bruce farmers are believed that he did, but the
12:22 pm
situation never allowed anything to come from it. thanks for that. anybody else? >> recently i read h.r. mcmaster's book, dereliction of duty. and i know you knew him well. even had him stay at your house while he was writing the book. >> yes. >> and in that book he really lays it on president johnson as secretary mcnamara, and he also said, and the crux of my question, he also kept saying kill more d.c. every time he saw the joint chiefs, largely ignored, but every time he saw them he said that. now, was that with westmoreland's emphasis on body count, what did that have to do with leading to that? >> that's a very --
12:23 pm
>> was at the root cause of it or something of? >> that's a very fine question, and i will start by saying i have enormous admiration for h.r. mcmaster. he is a brilliant officer, a brilliant scholar, and i think that's a wonderfully fine book and i'm glad to see that when i go into bookstores, even though it has been out for many years you still see on the shelves so it has a long life. he and i talked about the kinds of things you just asked about many times, and basically his book ends before my life the count begins. and in particular we have discussed his take on general johnson, harold k. johnson who might refer to several times. i wrote a blog of jimmie johnson called audible warrior. i conclude that he was one of the finest officers we ever had and one of the most honest. so, some of the criticisms that h.r. makes of them in his book i think are colored by the fact that had he covered a later period when the study makes its apparent until, it might
12:24 pm
influence how h.r. evaluated him. but let's talk about lyndon johnson. i think, i didn't have time to cover this in the prepared remarks but i think you could also say besides the other criticisms i have leveled at him that in the course of his conduct of the war, general wes morgan was guilty of macro disobedience. and the reason i say that is in early 1966, favor of that year, there was a major conference in honolulu. one way of conducting the war was to have conferences periodically, various locations, and the president would comment, sometimes. and lyndon johnson came to the conference in honolulu in february 1966, and westmoreland came from vietnam, and so did the two senior vietnamese, president chu and the vice president as they then were. and the point of this conference
12:25 pm
was to boost american support for classification. which you've already heard me say, westmoreland ignored and his intelligence said, and someone. and so it's not just lyndon johnson focusing on gilmore vc, although lots of times when he said that, but now he is saying hey, we've got to get past the effort ever going to ever get out of here. i'm putting words in his mouth but that's the invitation of what he said. so we go back to vietnam with those instructions, and westmoreland says, retrospectively, i was getting pressure after pressure after pressure to pay more attention to pacification. and i wasn't going to do that at the expense of leading off the war against the enemy's main forces. now, i don't know how you hear
12:26 pm
that but that seems like at best insubordination of a high degree, and at worst disobedience to orders from his commander-in-chief. so, you asked for evidence of that, or we looked for evidence of that, one of, one of the details that impressed me greatly, and i devoted an entire chapter to this, what westmoreland did or didn't do with respect to arms the south vietnamese at least as well as the inning he was armed, and i look at the m-16 rifle as an example of that, and the fact is he never did anything for them. it wasn't until abrams came on the scene as the deputy in me of 1967 that the vietnamese again to get any help at all. so, i think lyndon johnson was persuaded, and i don't know by what forces that pacification was important after abrams to
12:27 pm
command we had this magnificent team, ambassador in charge of industry, abrams in charge of military and william colby in charge of support for pacification. they agreed it had to be one more, not much changed and pacification and upgrading south vietnam's armed forces but annoyed that way they said could we succeed. >> thank you. could i ask one more? [inaudible] >> do we have time for one more or no? >> short question. in the book, besides johnson, mcnamara and wheeler that you talked about, mcmaster says bad things, or says max taylor who was the ambassador at that time over westmoreland also was party to confusing things. let me put it that way. comment? >> there are a lot of things i think could be said about
12:28 pm
general taylor that maybe don't quite match with a reputation i believe he still enjoys, pretty widely. i've already indicated more than once that he was probably westmoreland's most important patron, and thanks to him, westmoreland reached the high levels that he did, including his assignment to vietnam. but i think that max taylor and westmoreland, if they didn't have a falling out, they certain had a divergence of viewpoint. it seems to be a documentable that when the first forces, ground forces came ashore, marine elements in march of 1965, taylor as ambassador had no advance notice that they were coming. and westmoreland knew that and didn't tell him, and the white house knew that and didn't tell him. and the pentagon knew that it didn't tell him. so he was pretty marginalized by that point. that's a detailed analysis and evaluation of general taylor, a
12:29 pm
topic for another day. but he was sent against as well as sunni. i think i believe at that. ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, and for the great questions. [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you would like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at or tweet us at >> visit to watch any of the programs you see here online. type the author or book title in the search bar on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can also shoot anything you see on easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. ..
12:30 pm
why want to encourage all of you to buy this book. she's not paying me for saying that to you. it really is quite an extraordinary journey it is a memoir of liberia's descent into madness and your journey and it comes through it and out of it. but right now let us journey together across the continent of
12:31 pm
north america, across the atlantic, to the continent of africa in particular into liberia. america and liberia have a particular relationship, particular history together. would you speak to that briefly? >> thank you all for coming i call this my therapist because this book was my therapy. liberia is that country that from here in the u.s. went to in 1822 and everything about liberia is like america, so you have our flag like the u.s. flag but with one star, our constitution model like the u.s. constitution. we have three branches of government like here.
12:32 pm
we call the house that our parliamentarians said capital. we do, like i said, have the chief justice just like here. everything. some of the streets are named after people. we have virginia and maryland in different places. we do have a rich history and as one woman put in the context liberia set out. >> i'm always interested when there is the kind of thing that was so long lasting in liberia but the conditions that may have made that possible.
12:33 pm
what to speak to that, please? >> when they can to liberia the people like any other place when you have indigenous people and it's ironic that i'm speaking about it here in california with history with free slaves to be given their land made them comfortable and they don't know how to show gratitude. the life they knew was the life of abuse so would have mattered to them on the plantation was against these people when they got very powerful. so we have segregated schools, we have everything people have for 400 plus years indigenous people were the slaves on the, quote on quote, dissent.
12:34 pm
if i could give a quick example you had a name like my last name many of the people inspiring to go to universities some who didn't have children would tell you take my last name because that last name of yours is not a representation of people who should come to the university. so i think they found a technical school for children of indigenous people because they were preparing them for the life of service for children of the free sleeve. throughout the book, your wonderful, wonderful book, you spoke time and again about fear, and i want to read a very short
12:35 pm
one sentence that is just so wonderful, and i quote, when he moved quickly from innocence to a world of fear, pain and loss it's as if the flesh of your heart and mind gets cut away piece by piece like slices taken off of a ham. finally there is nothing left but bone. i'd like you to speak to that through the lens about this issue of senior through the lens of a woman and a mother in liberia. to step back and speak of that through the lens of a child because i was a child when the war started, teenager who had been protected by her community and her family and you wake up one morning and it's all gone.
12:36 pm
you are afraid. the sound of the gun, your parents, your siblings, all relatives come to. the fear is never-ending and i think it is at that point that peace starts to go away and then your pre-in this madness would end. i go to bed and tomorrow it will be okay. you wake up the next morning it is worse than the day before. peace has been taken. and by the time you look at yourself from 17, like myself, i'm a 31. beyond the pain that it's caused and the fear of the war, you have the whole issue of violence and all the different things that you've seen a. so it's just one issue after the other. but that fear is something that pushes back into a space that is
12:37 pm
difficult to describe. it takes hope, it takes courage, it takes a lot from you day-by-day and most of the time people who bring terror on people, that's what they want. gradually they are stripping you of your strength. they are stripping you of your will power, they are starting you of everything that would never bring you to want to fight back. speed and as a mother there were times when your children were hungry, they were exhausted. it's unimaginable what that must have been like for you. >> sometimes it is difficult to really put it into context. but by the time i started having children, the fear of the guns had gone away. the fear of what would happen to me was gradually going away. it was the fear for their own
12:38 pm
lives or the lives of their children how do they survive in the midst of all of these and then you get to a place where you realize i don't have the power to even protect these children because it is not in my power and then you get numb and you just sit there. you can't function and you can't do anything. in my case i lost faith. so it was difficult to even pray. >> and then we have taylor who comes on the scene around 1989 and he has his own private army, and one of the most egregious things he does in my estimation is that he has the small army ages nine to around 15 who are given guns and hopped up on alcohol and drugs, and they come at horrific atrocities.
12:39 pm
how, because you know, in a way they were a victim of those, how have you had to work with yourself to find peace and forgiveness and reconciliation with these kids who have perpetrated such horrific crimes against women and children in particular? >> you never want to think about it because the last thing you want to think about when you see this is to stop thinking of reconciliation and peace and how for one another on a remember when i started working with this group of young boys in 1998i would stand there saying no wonder you have one leg in my mind and it's just anger for me but i was at a place where it
12:40 pm
was like a porcupine in teston it is too bitter to swallow and chivvy to chew away. i needed to go to school. this was the job for me and that was the requirement for me to go back to school so it was a bitter to swallow so i would stay with them listening to them but you know god has his way as i engage with these children boy is term to men you gradually get to see who these people are, children. they are still trapped even at 15, 20, 25, they are trapped in that moment they were given that first. sing you see babies who still
12:41 pm
coming to see children who even a place they do not have children you see each other in them. so when i get to know them and get to see beyond i feel sorry for them because in looking at my brother, my nephew, my own children, and then i'm looking at myself and i see they are the same place that i am. i'm trapped as a 17-year-old even at 26 and they are trapped at ten, 12, nine years even at 18. you can't help but to want to reach out to them. you can't help because it tears down that wall of anger and
12:42 pm
until today people in liberia cannot understand why i would start my car because i don't see killers, i see children that were exploited and abused. i see myself have i not come out of my own state of trauma. >> about that time as i recall you started working as a volunteer for an organization trauma in reconciliation healing program and the cycle of fear took on something else, and if he would i would love for you to read from your own book but you must give it back to me. mine has already been signed by the way. this opening paragraph if you would. >> when you are depressed you
12:43 pm
get trapped inside yourself and lose the energy to take the actions that might make you feel better. you hate yourself for that. you see the suffering of others and helping them and that makes you hate yourself, too. the hate makes you sad. the sadness mixed umar helpless, the helplessness fills you with more self hate. working at the healing and reconciliation program broke that circle for me. why wasn't sitting at home thinking endlessly. i was doing something. something that actually help people. the more i did, the more i could do the more wanted to do the more i saw needed to be done. >> and this was your introduction to being a peace builder. >> this was my introduction. >> yes. and i was about this time that
12:44 pm
you and the woman that was your mentor now she's become a beloved friend. you began a training manual for the women where you didn't teach women, but you saw that to transform them and in this manual there are wonderful exercises of being a woman, what are my crounse and fornes and then there's another wonderful exercise of shutting down the weight. i would like to ask you to questions about the manual. i know that sometimes he would be up much of the night during the women's stories. is there one story in particular that you recall that you would be willing to share with us? >> there are many stories that made an impression on me, but i am one person who would have always thought that our traditional practices, female
12:45 pm
genital mutilation was not as bad as the world meted out to be until we went to seattle leone and formed a circle. i knew this woman who worked with me for many years and she lost strength for her community and when we did the circle she decided to tell her story and the story went back to herself as a seven-year-old girl being taken into the traditional society as she tells the story about the day she was about to get mutilated what i remember about that story is that it took her -- she started and got to the place of the mutilation and then it took her almost ten
12:46 pm
hours to progress from that place to the next part of the story because she tells that they tied me and then she goes hmm and she was crying where she set she dug her feet and toenails in the earth so she cut her feet but she didn't know she was doing all of those things. people fell asleep. people woke up. people fell back asleep and she struggled and struggled and by morning -- we have one person start. she was the second and inner circle of 20 people she was the only story we heard the entire night. afterwards she fell asleep and
12:47 pm
it was like all day. she had started in organization and that can be fighting the harmful traditional practices with issues related to women's rights, but every time i see her i still remember that claim and her digging her toenails in the earth and fighting back the cries and the pain. she was in her 30's that was the pain from 7-years-old that she had been carrying all of her life. >> i have to tell you that story takes my breath away. thank you for telling us that. the second question i have about this manual for training is
12:48 pm
currently in various places of the world. >> people usually when they are in high places we don't know anything about i reference and use it when i was their last year like you said it's a very powerful tool when you get to do it and there is no category of women that try should use that tone to speak to them. one of the other part sometimes we try to paint it a bit is reaffirming yourself being a woman we do different things like the catwalk, we do different things like i remember we were working with all of these women asking them to stand
12:49 pm
up and just described themselves it was amazing the female ministers in liberia we would ask them to stand up and just reaffirm they're duty. one of the female minister said wow. i've never felt so good because i've never taken the time to compliment myself. so it is not about what spectrum of society you find yourself from the grassroots to the top level sometimes when we are so busy taking care of the world that sometimes our whole looking for money that is if they never start to say look good or one thing i deutsch myself is understand its egotistic with riceville dewitt if this stand in front of the mayor you look
12:50 pm
good. [laughter] [applause] we try to teach our women to appreciate themselves but i would move on and give a quick example one of the training we had we made together and asked them to write down their dreams come with the dream about as a woman when it comes to be some said she had always wanted to wear a blue dress, a red hat, red pair of shoes and make up. some of the women from the highly traditional backgrounds say they always wanted to wear a pair of jeans. some said they always wanted to go to a nightclub to read when we finished the session i was on the phone to everyone i knew.
12:51 pm
do you have a red hat? do you have a pair of jeans? [laughter] do you have this come to you have that? and by the next day we had a room full of clothes. those women got dressed and the first part of the dream was to take them to a nightclub. we walk in the nightclub, 50 women were asked is there a birthday party going on? so we just came to have a good time. and then we did a fashion show until this muslim woman by the year ago that was the photograph she carried of herself coming down the stairs and a blue dress, red hat and nicely made up. she said before i got married i was called edith and then she got a muslim name and she said this photograph is truly even --
12:52 pm
edith. these women as simple as it may sound leave that to enter the same again when they go back to their summit it's interesting that you talk about a dream. those of us better in ordained ministry talk about a call or call into ministry by god or jesus or however we want to define and you got a call in a crazy dream. why don't you talk about that? >> it was late and i was myself asleep on the cold floor. something you pick up from a wartime because you are afraid to sleep on the bed for stray bullets. so i lie there and i would always hear this voice in my dream and i never see the face
12:53 pm
saying get up, gather the women together to pray for peace. i wake up shivering because the window is open and rain was falling on me. i go to work the next morning i got a pastor who is my boss and said i have this dream and they say we should gather the women to pay for police but they were not talking about me because my life kimber relationship they are merely talking about the need to identify who are living right and then they say the dream their is the dream carrier. we prayed in the beginning of something called the women's peace initiative and they fell on the muslim women were inspired to start their group so that was the beginning of the
12:54 pm
entire protest that leaders started in 2003. >> that's right and by now the war is about 13 years if pop to the peace camps and the refugee camps where hundreds, thousands of people call, a lot of disease, a lot of malaria and people that even adequately, but yet you have said that it was seeing them and hearing of their experience in monroe at the refugee camps that you were baptized into the women's movement because they give you hope. they had lost so much. >> you going to community people have race, one of the women from sierra leone was a refugee at the time was breast-feeding her
12:55 pm
baby when they got to the checkpoint and the soldier cut off that breast. the different forms of physical disability that these women say we are the hope for our communities. we will go back and teach these children peace and carry ander from years ago and even as i was angry they asked me have you been abused -- you know why you're angry and i went home and asked myself that same question. why am i angry? i'm being a hypocrite. going back to those women and they say to me, you know, we are the hope of our communities. that was a moment of baptism for me but sometimes you need water and sometimes you need fire to open your eyes.
12:56 pm
>> so was the beginning of the women's peace initiative. >> the was the beginning of my awareness. that, you know, they are right, we are the answer. the women's peace initiative started with inviting us to ghana and starting something. but the christian women born before the peace initiative. so when we came back with ghana we were already using our platform from judaism to until today. every tuesday 12:00 noon defined christian women up in a room at the compound. they call this the upper room praying from judaism to until today 12:00 noon every tuesday. even if it's one person someone
12:57 pm
as they're paying for the copies of liberia -- praying for peace in liberia. back praying for peace now. stick and it was at this juncture that your work started becoming strategic. >> more strategic, yes. >> what i found so compelling is that as you are by known muslim and christian women are working together and you looked to the book of esther, and something about that if you will. >> we decided to protest you could not liberia like any other place had been divided on the social lines status ideological, everything and you could not mobilize a group of people to work for peace because in my
12:58 pm
community was a hero to his people to read some you have to -- it is difficult to get anyone so we brought these women together the first thing we had to do was move beyond religion, ethnicity, ideological or political ideology and bring us to a place where it was about womanhood. >> through kroyt is the most when a baby dies? who does this the most? who does that the most? who are the ones they read? then they understood that part and then before we could move into you need a separate group identity so as christian women the thing they were getting was women have never been involved in these things so we have to
12:59 pm
take the christian women back to the bible, see esther, these were revolutionary work that is the women did. it was a sit down and pray. they got out there they put their faces in the politics of their time. we went into the koran to the wife of the prophet mohammed. she had a voice. she was not silent, she was not docile as anyone is seeing the women are supposed to be. and then there was a reset that i brought on the islamic perspective of the violence and the christian perspective of no violence that i exploited to the call. [laughter] >> brough -- bravo. >> it was that kind of fan we decided to do this fast they had
1:00 pm
caught on and then said like esther sat close and actually look at me on a normal day this is the way we dress. we continue to dress like this no one would take us seriously. nicely dressed, jewelry and everything so we have to go back. we all recognize we have a role to play in the violence our communities are facing. so it was for peace, the hair ties was to cover the duty of the hair, no jewelry, no makeup, and god has a sense of humor. out that time we decided after a prayer i had one of the funkiest hair cuts and all of liberia and i had to cut off my hair.
1:01 pm
.. and it doesn't get cooled off from the rain. it hotter and humid and women whose clothing hung on them in the white t-shirts and you are out there for how many days? >> two years. >> two years. two years. but finally, he agreed, in the
1:02 pm
middle of that -- >> in the middle of that we were there for six weeks and then he agreed to go and meet with us. >> but somewhere in there there's a decision about no sex. now we have to talk about that. >> well you know, the muslim woman if you watch previously, i thought sometimes am i really a muslim because he had a devious mind. she was the one coming to us and saying do you know what? we have started this thing and these men of hours have been writing opinions in the newspaper. they are just silent so we have to move them and how do you suppose we do that? she said a sex strike. let's deny them sex. and the other areas we failed miserably. [laughter] we were strategic.
1:03 pm
so we have a sex strike and we had a fight. i had to give in. in the rural areas, the women call their husbands into the church and said, we are at a point where we need to see god's face for peace. we are fasting, we are praying. and you know the whole thing of a fast is denying yourself the pleasure. we have come to you to tell you that, as we journey, take this journey. it means no sex. they agreed. so, four months, nothing. and then the husbands would be sitting there and fasting along with them but when we ended the
1:04 pm
protest after two years, in the rural community the role central liberia played, we saw a thing of men walk down with gifts and flowers. these are rural men. >> they are courting. >> they come to appreciate their wives publicly and one of them leaned over and says, oh about this sex. today we have sex. [laughter] we were more strategic. the sex strike was the way, like here, caught the attention of the media, caught the attention of the men and it was a -- in town. for almost a week people were talking about this sex strike in this sex strike and this sex
1:05 pm
strike. we had no idea. >> that was the amazing thing. somewhere in there it is decided to have a position statement and take it to parliament, and finally charles taylor agreed to meet with you and there is this extraordinary scene of hundreds of women at your back literally. you are up on a stage and they are praying for you to be steadfast in intention and also for -- not to interrupt this process and with a steady hand and a steady voice, you present this position paper to president taylor and it's after that that he agrees to go into peace talks in ghana. and you continue to that strategy at the peace talks where the warlords, other
1:06 pm
presidents of other countries in africa, of course taylor, and you kept getting the women there in their white, and you were very strategic about that. the peace talks, it's like the guys were having a good time. they were at club med. >> do you wanted to and? >> no, i don't think so. but they were all continuing to jockey for power. you then took the women into the hall, and create that scene for us. it's just extraordinary. >> well, we went to -- with seven women and mobilize the refugee women. we talked in our minds that we were going for a week. we stayed for three months. the talks were going nowhere.
1:07 pm
the violence had increased. i had lost faith in the power of nonviolence. i was constantly crying. at some point i stopped joining the women to protest. and this morning, i go to the offices of the west african network for peacebuilding and i am watching the video. they give a newsflash of this missile that landed. these two little boys were brushing their teeth. all that was left of those boys were there slippers. they were crushed. a young girl had just given birth. she came outside to hand the baby's clothes. she was crushed. so, on that video the mother is holding this one-day old child and saying, what do i do? and i'm sitting watching this video and the anger is just welling up. i think all of the anger from 17
1:08 pm
years old came back in the tears were running down. i go into one of the rims and they have some of the white t-shirts. i put it on. go to the peace talks and say, do we have money? she said yes. she sent for more women and she said -- i will tell you later. the press people were about to leave and i went to them and they said you have a story to take. i said what is a suggestion? we get word that the warlords and the media were going into session at 10:00 so i separate myself from the group, said at a table and write my hostage letter. wrote the letter and by the time i got through writing the letter, the women had arrived. the people were going into their rooms, and and i went to the room and i said sit down and lock arms like this. at that time no one had any clue of what we were, what we were
1:09 pm
doing. they were just taking instructions. and then i tapped on the door of the peace hall and one of the nigerian generals turned and then i said, i want to see you. he said, and me? i said yes and i gave him the letter and he took it to the media where he read it. the only thing he said on the overhead speakers was oh my god, the troops have seized the peace hall. [laughter] but as we seized the hall, then the police come and they say, you are obstruct injustice. >> and you went off? >> totally. [laughter] my life flashed passed before me. my socialization flash passed before me. i had been brought up to believe that the men of the swirl this world protected women and children, and if i am being accused of obstructing justice,
1:10 pm
and all i am trying to do is deliver justice to my people, i felt like there is no hope. this is the death because just imagine myself, the depths of humiliation, rapedrape, abuse, death, destruction. you have seen it all for 14 years so i just said you know what? i will make it easier for you. i will strip and make it. and someone asked, so in a country where women -- would have done? i was protesting the pain of every woman. when you are being raped, your clothes are torn off you. when you are protesting in pain, you are giving away the last shred of your integrity and that
1:11 pm
was what i was doing in protest. take its. take my integrity, take what is left of me for every liberian woman, take it. if this will bring peace, take it. >> and when you took off the head covering -- >> took off the headcover. every liberian you see with this on has something like a short pants under it because of the war so we are still traumatized. i am in america and i still carry it. take off the skirt, the rap and this man runs. he put it back on and said, don't do this. but on my left my mentor has already started stripping also and they are saying, don't do this. but the security men who came to arrest us understand the african
1:12 pm
culture. they run. so someone says we are running from our bodies. they ran away. >> that began to turn it around. >> it turned it around 100%. it turned it around for us because at that time when we negotiated to leave that space, we too had power. so the message on our placards became more vicious and more bold. we were referring to them as killers. whereas in the past, we were saying give us peace. and dan who used to walk eric and would walk soberly as they pass by us. no more insults were thrown at us. in three weeks, a peace agreement was signed. [applause]
1:13 pm
>> a transitional government was put in place. you have said, and i agree with you, that ultimately, goodness wins out over evilness. but there is a price to pay. and i would like for you, from your book, to read the price that was paid right here. >> 14 years just not -- does not just go away. we were calm enough to look around. we had to confront the magnitude of what happened to liberia. 250,000 people were dead. a quarter of them children. one and three were displaced with 350,000 living internally
1:14 pm
displaced persons camps. and the rest would find shelter. 1 million people, muslim women and children, were at the brink of malnutrition, and cholera because of contamination and their wells. more than 70% of the country's physical infrastructure, our roads, hospitals and schools, had been destroyed. the psychic damage was almost unimaginable. a whole generation of young men had no idea. several generations of women had been raped, seen their daughters and mothers raped and their children killed and being killed. neighbors had turned against neighbors. young people had lost hope and old people, everything they had painstakingly earned, we were traumatized. we have survived a war, but now we have to remember how to live.
1:15 pm
piece is not a moment, it is a very long process. >> it is through what you did that you were largely responsible for the election of the first president of nigeria. [applause] >> of liberia. >> liberia, i am sorry. ellen johnson sirleaf and you are going to be going back to your country within a few days. she is up for election now. >> yes, next tuesday. >> what do you think her chances are? >> i'm going to opal been my big mouth and say she is going to have a win. [applause] >> we are going to turn it over for questions but i do want to ask you one more question, leymah if i may. you have done so much and you have sacrificed greatly, and you have paid a price. would you be willing to speak to that for a moment?
1:16 pm
>> well, i really don't think i have done anything. just today i was having a conversation with a friend and i said to her, it was not until i watched pray the devil back to hell that i felt like we had done anything significant. in my mind until today, it was a survival tactic. fighting for the future of our children and i would have been content if we didn't get on the big screen. you know, don't -- i feel like you said earlier, i am cold to do what i do. i don't have any sense of wow i am doing great work. every time i go to a space and do something, i leave that space thinking, did i really do good?
1:17 pm
am i really make an impact? and it's only with the young people that i engage with in the community of women, sometimes and i saw a documentary that was done in uganda with some real women and one of them said the first time i look at that little girl, i said if she can do it, i too can do it. i was like, what? so i am at a place now where all i want is the opportunity to do my work, do what i know to do best, encourage people to maximize their potential and the sacrifices, i don't think i have made any sacrifice. i think i have just lived. i don't think, and a piece that i have gone through, i see it as the only way that i could have -- that was my empowerment
1:18 pm
to do what i do now. i don't think of myself as anyone great, so when i go to places, i try to ask people to kindly just say i am a mother of six because that is the only thing that gives me so much pleasure. and that i am a peace and women's rights activists. i am content. i am so content with where i find myself. i am content with the work that i do. if i don't become the secretary general of the u.n. or the president of liberia, or any other thing, i am just content working in my community are going just content being who god has called me to be. i will not, i don't regret jim for any of the trials that i have gone through in life.
1:19 pm
i don't see any of the achievements that i have gotten as a right. i see it as god's favor. yeah. [applause] >> before we open it up to your questions we will see an excerpt. >> do we need to move? okay. all right. ♪ >> we are fed up with the war. >> they thought that none of us would cerp -- survived to tell the truth. you cannot take our land away from us.
1:20 pm
♪ ♪ ♪ >> this saturday -- >> we went by to the bible. we saw her people.
1:21 pm
>> we did our hair and put on jewelry and makeup. we are not allowed to do any of those things. we are determined and nobody is going to deter us. we are going to find a strategic .where they will give us some attention. this is how we decided to sit at the fish market, barefoot. thousands of women, including internally displaced people when. it was the first time in our history in liberia where muslim
1:22 pm
women and christian women were coming together. and we had a big banner that said, the women of liberia want peace now. >> charles taylor said those who think they can come out in the street to embarrass themselves, come out. i'm waiting for you. i said, nobody, nobody can get onto the streets to embarrass my administration.
1:23 pm
♪ >> if you look at the frontline discussion of course, and this is what the newspapers report on, the fighting tactics, the troops, the politics, the borders, the weapons, the army sent all of those things. that is the men's story. the back line discussion of the story is, how do you actually exist and live and continue on living in war? that is the women's story and that story has never been told.
1:24 pm
>> warfare is a very different proposition in which civilians are not "max collateral damage as we once called them, but really very much in the center of the war zone. >> the ordinary civilians are the ones who feel the brunt as they watch their children die. the women are the ones raped and after conflict, when the end of the wars are being negotiated, they are never considered. >> the women say stop the violence. stop the violence. >> i think it's way past time that we redefine what we mean by war, because there are no front lines in the wars in today's world. the fact is that in today's wars, the primary victims are women and children.
1:25 pm
♪ ♪ >> thank you again. >> thank you so much for everything. i will be thinking you thanking you when i pray. thinking about literacy, i work at a university in l.a. and at risk communities. when you are getting the women together, people were chama ties because what was going on, the
1:26 pm
danger, did you all do any reading or if he did, what did you read? thank you. >> when we started the work, i think we would say in terms of people, women have different skills and i was the only one who had a tiny bit of skills around peacebuilding and i had read gandhi, i read king, and i was mesmerized by the power of nonviolence. for a long time i felt like that was the most powerful way of life. there was nothing more powerful so those were the things that i read, but we also, when we talked issues of nonviolence, we asked women to give us acts of nonviolence in their communities and there were different stories that came up that really spoke to what we felt we were doing.
1:27 pm
we didn't do a lot of theoretical things. it was not until after we did this work when i went to do my graduate studies that i would read. we were doing a course on strategic peacebuilding and then i was -- we did that. was that strategic? [laughter] we did this. that was strategic. is that a category strategy? all of those that are used in the actual peacebuilding thing but yes, just read a little of king and gandhi, yeah. >> thank you so much. i am struck, i was struck while you are talking about your sense of community and how you women could see what was happening in your community. in our country, we are at war all the time in other places, so right now in libya, there is the
1:28 pm
siege of cert that is thing going on for weeks. people barely know about it. people don't have food and people don't have water and getting on thing sorties every day but we don't internalize that because this is not heart of our community or in iraq or afghanistan. so i guess, i am wondering, how does one create a larger world community where we care and we can wear white and we can object to these wars and we care about other people in other parts of the world. >> you no, i have come to a very cynical place when it comes to us versus them in the world, your world, my world and your question is a good question. but your question can be answered in two ways. you first said in your community, you see the walls.
1:29 pm
open your eyes. and this community, you will see the walls also. it is here. it is happening. and i think the connections between your world and my world, and i will cross that out and see the connections in our world is our ability to move beyond. i want to help their and start with, i want to help here. that is one. libya, egypt, tunisia, is not short of activists. what they are short of is resources. liberia, congo, the stories you
1:30 pm
have heard, i was in the congo. the congo is not short of activists. what they are short of it is resources. this country has resources. what you are short of its activists. [applause] if you put me in a tiny community in this country, i will give myself a year and i will have created a community. [applause] i went to the emu and i'm not kidding you, when you learn to exist in a community, you'd cannot exist without a community. my sister died in june of 2006. i came back to school in the
1:31 pm
u.s. in august of 2006. she died when i was driving her to the hospital and i drove around with her body in the car for three hours and could not cry. because i was looking for a place to put that body. i came back to school and determined that i will not live in isolated life. so the first thing i did was identify every african and there was not a single liberian among those africans. the next thing i did, those africans were always hungry. my apartment, always had food. a community has started. the next thing, the african-american men started coming. the arabs came and before you knew it, i was being called big mama and mama and mother of
1:32 pm
peace. i use the resources that i saw in america to create my sense of community. today, i can proudly say, if i am in afghanistan i will go straight to the swedish ambassador because the political analyst there is a young man and he will give me a place to sleep. if i went to yemen, i would go to the u.s. embassy, because one of their strategies there is a man -- strategists there is a man called, oh his name has escaped me. he would give me a place to sleep. my world has shrunk. when they had the bombing in uganda during the war, the first thing i'm on the internet and they say are you okay because they know i'm a football lover. i have an african-american young man who works in d.c. now, had
1:33 pm
his first child and they said this is your first grandchild. because of that community. to create a community is not difficult. i went to a talk the other day and an old lady said to me how do you -- i said man, do you see those sassy girls passing up and down in your neighborhood as you sit on your porch? she said yes, i see them. i said those girls are going up and down because they are looking for you to record nice them. i said, just try it. call one and say i want you to be my friend. she will go and calm and i give you a space of three months. the stories that her mother will won't ever hear, you will hear it. so, to come back to your question, let's start from here and let's connect our world. how can we do that? how can we -- how can you use
1:34 pm
your platform of activism here to influence the need for resources in libya? there is so much to do here. there is so much to do here. there is so much to do here. [applause] >> a friend of mine gave me the shame the devil back to hell and he gave it to mean he said you are really going to love this. i am so honored to be in your presence, very honored to be in your presence. i am a community activist and i live in the war zone in south-central. i am a promoter of peace. i have been part of a world peace organization. i am just really honored to be in your presence. what i would like to do is
1:35 pm
invite you to come to our community for a year. [laughter] boquet? and i really want to focus -- my mother raised me in the sisterhood consciousness when i was very young, and the training manual, how can i get ahold of that and you know, help you know the women to be all that they can be? help us, help us. >> i will direct you to my card and see if we can, if we have an e-mail copy, a pdf copy that i can send to you. >> thank you. very nice to hear you speak and i can't wait to read your book. it seems like he really tapped on something they are or tapped into something they're.
1:36 pm
do you think that worldwide, if a sex strike took place that maybe this could really improve the entire world? [laughter] >> no. [laughter] but worldwide, if a change of mindset about sex to place, it would change the entire world. my sister lived in new york, and every time i would come we would find time to hang out. this day we were just flipping through the pages of the magazine and they were advertising a watch. and there is a gunman sitting in his underwear and the watch is on his tie. so then i said, which part of his body is going to wear this watch? [laughter] i don't understand the connection.
1:37 pm
a man in briefs and a wristwatch on his tie unless there is a new way of wearing a watch in the u.s. that i don't know about. [laughter] but, the objective vacation of young boys and girls as sex objects is destroying the next generation of leaders. when young men see young women, you don't see brains any more. you see from here to here. and young women believe that, i don't need brains as long as i have from here to here. it is a sad state. i have a young white niece, and we had a conversation with a friend of mine over the weekend about it. college campuses now, in the
1:38 pm
u.s., kids are just hooking up. there is nothing about relationship. so i keep asking my good friend abby, what is hooking up? so today just look at each other and say let's hook up. is it just -- bend sex, then sex? that is the feeling that comes across. young people are no more -- if there is no more space to progress to the next level it is from here to here. and until we can change that, we are in trouble. and this is a global disease. this is a global disease. who are the young people that are rolling back their lives to. the countries and the work we are doing. i was talking at the university
1:39 pm
of california santa barbara yesterday and we talked about the same issue, and the one question that comes to my mind, every time i think about the whole issue of peace and security for women and think about the global media and how sex has taken over, there is a quote that comes from research done by ellen johnson sirleaf and elizabeth rand and inept book, women war and peace the data research project, they say the impact of war, or conflict on women's lives is a reflection of the interaction during peacetime. so if our young people are hooking up and hooking up and hooking up, imagine of war took place in this country. what would be the statistics of rape? what would be the statistics of abuse? the other question is, if we
1:40 pm
continue to object if i young women as sex objects and encourage our young men so that women, young women are the prey and the young men are the predators for sex, how do we talk about participation and politics? the way the world is functioning now, the world is functioning on one side of its brain. you have all the men in power, so that's one side of the brain. the women, they are virtually not in the political space so the other side of the brain is not functioning, so that is why we have it sick world. you wonder why the economy in this country is this way, it's because it's functioning on one side of the brain. so if we think we have a problem now, and we don't correct that whole thing of sex, it's all part of the discussion around
1:41 pm
peace. it's all part of the discussion around security. it's all part of the discussion around a quality. and if we don't start addressing it, thank god this is los angeles california, the place where dreams are made. how do we change that image of 12-year-old girls wanting to wear a fong -- how? it is not the sex strike, it's the strike on the sex industry. [applause] >> i have gotten the high sign that we need to and our time together tonight. i want to thank the los angeles public library for this extraordinary evening and thank you to all of you who have come tonight. i encourage you to, let's be
1:42 pm
together in community after the formal presentation of this into you, leymah roberta gbowee thank you so much. >> thank you. thank you all for having me. [applause] >> i want to start by talking about why he wrote the book and what i hope to accomplish. i wrote the book because our party is certainly at a crossroads and there is a division and going forward i truly believe we have to unite. as a matter fact i extended on in one of my interviews today an invitation for karl rove and i to kiss and make up, so that we can go forward a united hardy. but i do talk a lot about the
1:43 pm
cronyism of especially the republican party in delaware, which the leaders have been ousted. but the reason i bring that up is not to perpetuate it order to fan the flames, but to put it to rest and to say that you know, if that crony crowd would embrace the principles at the grassroots crowd, that our party was founded on, not just our party but our country was founded on, we will be a powerhouse if we can unite. when i detail some of the things that my campaign has endured and what i went through as a candidate, again, to illustrate a point of what happens when we divide instead of when we unite and everybody knows, it's no secret that the 2010 election, the republican party was divided. but i think that there are some
1:44 pm
examples to look at and i draw the contrast the tween kentucky and my own race. wearing kentucky we had an rsd and we had senator mitch mcconnell really campaigning against rand paul. he was the worst thing to happen to politics until he won the primary. the day after he won the primary, you know, mitch mcconnell and rand paul were arm in arm and they were saying that is the past. we have got to move forward to make sure this guy crosses the finish line and unfortunately that didn't happen in delaware. it has got to happen in order for us to win in 2012. so that is the message that i hope that people can take away with them by reading this book. i tried to tell the story of how i got involved in politics, and what made me embrace the principles and why i chose to become republicans are going to hold it in a way that some
1:45 pm
political advisers have said was a little too honest. i probably should not have admitted some things, but i did that again so that the reader can relate. because it is not about how many mistakes we have made or if we have ever fallen because you simply cannot pretend to be perfect. it's too exhausting and too weary to keep up that façade. we are human but what it's about is about whether you get back up again, whether you are willing to own up to your mistakes and whether you are willing to correct your mistakes and whether you are willing to forge ahead in spite of the opposition. so that is why i chose to address many of the things that i did in my look and talk about it where i came from and some of the hardships that i personally endured, so that people can be inspired to get involved. >> you can watch this and other programs on line at the
1:46 pm
>> this photo from little rock arkansas was taken on september 4, 1957 outside central high school. david margo like book elizabeth and hazel uncovers this women in the center of the photo examining their lives leading up to that day and beyond. he talks about his book next in front of an audience which includes elizabeth at erred in the clinton school of public service in arkansas. this is just over an hour. [applause] >> when you look at any great photograph, there is always more to see than what meets the eye. on september 4, 1957, a stoic young black girl, elizabeth eckford a member of the "little rock nine," was met ayn angry mob during her first day to desegregate little rock central high school. one of the many women behind her was an angry young white girl with narrow eyes and clenched
1:47 pm
teeth. elizabeth brian. will counts capture this moment in one of the most recognizable photos of the civil rights era. it depicted the hate and fury of one young girl and a timid demeanor of another. this image circulated around our state, the nation and all around the world. do you remember how seeing this photo for the first time made you feel? who knew that the photo of these two young girls, one black, one white, both 15 years old, born less than four months apart, living within miles of one another, and both beginning the 11th grade, would be so powerful and symbolizing the race relations in america? even more powerful was the poster david saw of the two women. this time the women were smiling and embracing one another. two women, one black, one white, but this time they were no
1:48 pm
longer entering the 11th grade. they were ground and this was a poster of reconciliation. david came across a poster during a trip to little rock. let's try that again. david came across the poster during the trip to little rock and for the past 12 years, put other jobs under his belt. he has investigated what lies within the historic image for his new book, elizabeth and hazel, two women of little rock. through countless interviews he has created a dual biography so that we are able to gain an understanding of the emotion a high and the two women bound together by one single photograph. david margoleck was a long time can chew beating editor for "vanity fair." he join joined the team in 1995. hari to that he helped -- held singular positions at "newsweek" and portfolio. before "vanity fair" he worked from 1988 to 1995 as a legal
1:49 pm
affairs reporter for the "new york post." he contributed to a column covering trials of o.j. simpson, lorraine about that and william kennedy smith just to name a few. i graduate of the university of michigan and stanford law school, david has written pieces including a longform article entitled a predator priest about bringing a pedophile priest to justice in his hometown of patna connecticut. he is also the author of several books including dionne glory and strange fruit. david says of his new book, it's an honest technology of the racial sensitivities that exist in this country and how when it comes to race relations in america, can be very complex in and ongoing process. the relationship between elizabeth and hazel is like a metaphor for america's racial history. a reflection of how much more this country's blacks and whites
1:50 pm
have to do. everyone introducing david margoleck. [applause] >> thank you. i just want to make one correction and in your very nice introduction which is that i was a reporter for many years for "the new york times," not the "new york post." [laughter] that may not mean so much to people down here, but in new york there is a big distinction between the two. [laughter] i also want to say that skip mentioned that about elizabeth's birthday, and you might think that it's just a great coincidence that we are having, we are having a published day on
1:51 pm
my book just happens to overlap with elizabeth earth day but that is really not the case. we deliberately wanted to commemorate elizabeth's birthday by publishing on it as a fitting jubilant to her and just sort of, we just thought it would be good karma actually. we couldn't go wrong coming out on what for her is an important birthday. and so, that explains the non-coincidence. i want to thanks get to. i have already been here once before as some of you recidivists in the audience know. i recognize some of you already and i want to thanks get for having me back when my work is further along, considerably further along than it was the last time. it's always nice to have a second bite at the apple. just looking out, i see a lot of familiar faces here including a
1:52 pm
lot of the people that i interviewed, and that is also very gratifying. is always gratifying to see a pile of books over there, and some extra chairs that they are unfolding at the last minute, which an author always likes to see. nikolai sent me a list of the people who had signed up for this afternoon's program and on my blackberry i could only get the first half of them but i looked down the list and i saw max brantley, wiley branton, ralph brody, nathan pew, betsy jake away and joanna lewis. that is only up through the l coss and these are all people who helped me and talk to me and to whom i am grateful. i am sure there are a lot more of you. there are a lot more of you out here so it is a chance for me to thank all of you as well. one of the questions i'm often
1:53 pm
asked in interviews about this book is when i first saw the famous picture of elizabeth and hazel. my answer is always the same, i have no idea when i first saw it. who can say when you first saw a picture like this? this is the kind of picture that seeps into your consciousness. it doesn't happen at a particular time. for any sensitive person it is the kind of picture that you grow up with. you notice it at a very early age and it's just engraved in your mind. you never forget it once you see it. just one of those pictures, like the picture of a little boy in the cap with his hands up in the warsaw ghetto. it's one of those pictures that you see once and it sticks with you. it captures, it's a picture, there are many famous pictures of the civil rights movement and we all know the images of the fire hoses and the german
1:54 pm
shepherds and heartbreaking images of people sitting in at lunch counters having ketchup and coffee poured on their heads or freedom riders being eaten. this picture is different. there something different about this picture. what is it about this picture that stands out in our minds? i think there are a lot of things about it that it is particularly the face of hazel that sets it apart. i say in the book that the picture is of elizabeth and hazel but the picture is more of hazel then it is of elizabeth. if you look carefully at the picture, elizabeth is our ready walking out of the prank -- frame. elizabeth is even out of focus a little bit. it's hazel, is hazel to whom your eyes are drawn immediately and it's, the way that it fell
1:55 pm
together, it's all just perfect staging in a way. the lighting is perfect. the lighting is coming in from the side early in the morning and it's bright. it sets her face apart. she's in perfect focus and set apart from everybody else in the picture. she just stands out and then there's the expression on the face and what is that expression? what picture better captures the attitude of the south towards what was going on, the attitude of the south towards desegregation in 1957. the absolute rage, the indignation, the indignation that southerners felt, the contempt, the other -- utter contempt for black people that is captured in that picture. it is sort of a more modern notion. there is also a notion that is generally applied now to modern
1:56 pm
warfare. there is the asymmetry of the picture, the fact that the forces, the powers in the picture are so disproportionate. only one black face in the picture, just elizabeth and she is surrounded by all of these white faces. all of the power, the force and the influence and everything is gathered in the white community. elizabeth is very much alone. so, elizabeth's face isiais the only black face and at that point she showed up that day she was the first black and i say in the book we talk about the "little rock nine." at that moment she was the little rock one, and it took me a while until i actually got a good printed the picture. elizabeth is very hard to read
1:57 pm
in a way behind the sunglasses that she was wearing. it's kind of hard to know what she was feeling at that moment. she has described it on many occasions but it is hard to see it unless you study the picture very carefully, which requires a good print of it. like any good picture you are always discovering something new every time you see it. and i noticed that if you look behind those sunglasses, you can see, you can see into elizabeth's eyes. you can see several things. you can see the sadness in her eyes and you can see the fear of course. you can see a certain kind of resignation as if, as if she ama sticks that did something like this to happen. you can see hard rake. study that picture sometime and you will see all of those things in her eyes. so that is my answer to the question of when i saw the
1:58 pm
picture the first time. the second time yonah janelle just describe to you, was in little rock to do a story, a clinton related story, a story be told about paula jones if you remember her. and, i guess it was -- i had sort of limited enthusiasm about doing the story to begin with and i think it was probably my good fortune that she wouldn't speak with me. and so the story never happened and that may be just as well. but of course, as an amateur student of american history i knew all about central high school and i knew about the picture and so i made a pilgrimage over to the old mobil station which was then the visitor center. that was when i saw the poster of elizabeth and hazel and i was just amazed to see this poster.
1:59 pm
i didn't know anything about the two of them ever getting together again. i guess the story was sort of a local story and i had missed it. i hadn't read it in the papers and and the idea that these two, these two people, these archetypal antagonists had come together and there they were smiling, seemingly comfortable with one another standing in front of central. i thought there, now there is a story. there is a real story. so it was at that point that i started to make some phonecalls and i don't remember honestly whether it was that visit or another visit, but i am pretty sure that i saw the two of them very quick way. the two of them were still speaking at that point, and i arranged to visit with the two of them. it was memorable for me because we all went out to a diner.
2:00 pm
hazel's husband, elizabeth and i went to this barbecue place. i think it was a barbecue place outside of little rock. it was not sam's. [laughter] i discovered sims later. i became a repeat customer but it was not sam's that time. and it was a historic occasion because i remember that elizabeth insisted on treating us all for lunch that day. it was the first time elizabeth had just gotten her first credit card and she had this piece of plastic and she was ensure wasn't sure that it actually worked. that she could actually walk out of a restaurant without handing over some cash. she wanted to make sure the thing worked, and it did. elizabeth treated us all to lunch. i didn't realize that at that point, this was in 1999, that the two of them, that the -- all of the optimism that had been
2:01 pm
generated by that reconciliation poster, the relationships had already started to fray. .. and that it turned out that day,
2:02 pm
hazel felt that elizabeth and i were sort of in cahoots. i had the naive assumes -- a lot of white people are naive about race, and i had just assumed that, in talking to a white woman and a black woman and trying to win them over and win their confidence and get them to agree to talk to me for what was then just a magazine story, not a book. that whites would be natural allies, and it would be the black woman who would be more skeptical. and it was actually quite the opposite. i think that hazel quickly felt that -- hazel had done her homework. hazel was an interesting woman, a self-taught woman. hassle never graduated from high school. dropped out to have family when she was 17 years old.
2:03 pm
but she had done her reading in the civil rights movement, and she had learned when the naacp was founded, i think it was 1909 -- may have the that wrong -- there were jews who were active in the establishment of the naacp and there had been this historic association between jews and blacks, and she felt that a jewish writer and a black woman would going to be naturally allies and i might not necessarily be impartial in all of this. and so at that point, elizabeth steps out of the picture, and for the next seven years i never spoke to her again. she would never meet with me -- that was hazel. if i said elizabeth -- at that point hazel leaves the picture, and refuses to speak with me
2:04 pm
despite -- i write her letters, and she is not interested in speaking with me. i realize it was part or her larger disillusionment with everything that happened. so for the first seven years of my research -- i suggested to you before that i wasn't working fulltime on this for 12 years. i was gainfully employed all that time, too. but for the first seven years i concentrated my work on elizabeth. and it started at -- there's a nice little victorian bed and breakfast place from here, and elizabeth came over and sat in the study and we got to know each other a little bit and that's when the interviews began. there was a lot to talk about. i had to learn about elizabeth's family. i learned about the influence of her mother, particularly of her grandfather. her experiences at -- in the
2:05 pm
segregated schools of little rock and what it was like to grow up black in little rock in the early 1950s. we talked a lot, of course, about her year at central, and the experience -- the horrible experiences she had there. of course, there's this assumption that's grown up in recent years that a lot of this stuff is exaggerated. and i urge -- if anybody who thinks it's badge rated, take the trip up to fayetteville like i did. it's a very long drive. the states are big out here. the very long drive up to fayetteville, where ms. huckabee's papers are, and mrs. huckabee the vice principal for girls at central high school, was quite a pack rat and saved all the disciplinary cards
2:06 pm
that -- from that year, from 1957-1958 school year, and there are a lot of them, and there are a lot of them listing the various complaints the little rock nine had about people -- objects being thrown at them and being scalded in the shower and being thrown down the stairs, and being -- having their lockers broken into, and being harassed in gym class and having stones thrown at them and all of that, and it's all there in contemporaneous documents in mrs. huckabee's files in fayetteville. it was very useful to go there. so, i had a long time to interview elizabeth, and it was a very satisfying experience. elizabeth is an extremely intelligent woman and sophisticated woman with a great appreciation for history, which i admire her for enormously.
2:07 pm
she understood what i was doing, and she never interfered with it. she didn't try to lobby me or prop -- propagandize me or spin me in any way. this was true -- i showed both elizabeth and hazel my book before it was cast in stone, before the publisher pushed the button. it was still malleable enough to change, and i think i still have it on my answering machine. i was very curious to see what they're reactions would be, and one day i came back home and there was a message from elizabeth that i listened to with some apprehensiveness. david, this is elizabeth, and my heart dropped because i knew she read the book. she said, there are -- david, there are factual errors on page 16, page 32, page 83, page 95, and she listed about eight or
2:08 pm
nine different mistakes i had made, that the street legislates didn't go into her neighborhood until a certain year, or the oil didn't go on the streets before election day, until such and such a time, or i had misspelled mr. kristof's name at dunbar or whatever it was. these are the mistakes. elizabeth never tried to spin me or change my concludes or attitudes on anything substantive. she was just concerned i had the facts right. and it just -- it heightened my already enormous respect for her. there were many things i was afraid to ask elizabeth about. there were some very sensitive things about the many years that elizabeth spent sort of in the wilderness before she went back to work for judge humphrey. i don't know if judge humphrey is here but i hope he is. and particularly about the death
2:09 pm
of her son, which i was really very much afraid to ask elizabeth about. a lot of you will remember that. and the tragic circumstances there. but i did eventually ask her about all of that. it's install the -- it's all in the book and she answered all of these things unflinchingly. just enormously courageous of her. finally, after seven or eight years of research, a version of my story came out in vanity fair, on the web site of vanity fair. never actually in the magazine. and then something quite miraculous happened. hazel read the article, and at that point she could see that i had no animous and i wasn't a yankee do-gooder, second-guesser
2:10 pm
coming down here to take pot shots at here, and even though she wasn't speaking with me, tried to understand her as best i could and i didn't have it in for her. and also, i think she was heartened by some of the things elizabeth said about her. they hadn't spoken to one another at this point for several years. in fact, as i point out in the book, the last time they spoke was on september 11th, the september 11th of 2009, when hazel was in massachusetts and got scared by what was going on, and even though they were no longer talking to one another, who did hazel call? she called elizabeth for support, which says something about the kind of relationship they formed, even though they were incommune cad dough at that point. so i started to talk to hazel and make up for lost time, and i felt very lucky about that. the book got a certain kind of
2:11 pm
symmetry -- i wanted the book to be elizabeth and hazel, not just elizabeth. so i caught up with hazel, and i soon subjected her to he same incessant questioning to which i -- elizabeth was amazed i still had more questions for her, and i think i may not have anymore for you, she would laugh. she came to laugh because she knew there would be more. and then hazel was subjected to the same treatment as elizabeth, and i learned her story going back to red field. she took me to red field, where she grew up. to bitleshop, a neighborhood in little rock. where she lived when she first moved here. i learned about her background, her sort of racial attitudes, a little bit about the day of the
2:12 pm
picture, and how in a way how typical the picture was of somebody of her background, you know, reflecting the racial attitudes she had grown up with, and also in asons atypical -- in an important sense atypical because she was an apolitical girl. she didn't care about poll picks. she didn't think about politics. she was into boys and dancing, which is why she was dressed the way she was that day. steve's show mattered much more to her than brown vs. board of education, and she would be the first to admit that. so there was a lot of act out that day. she just -- she was somebody who was kind of a performer, and she wanted to outperform the other girls that day. and that's what she did. and that was the moment that will count happened to capture in his picture.
2:13 pm
she was sort of acting out. and she was also 15 years old, and i think that an important factor. she looks much older than that in that picture, and i think people june her as somebody older than that, rather than a 15-year-old girl who was out to impress her friends. so i followed hazel's story up through that very dramatic moment that we mentioned before, in 1962 or 1963. at it even significant hazel didn't remember precisely when it happened but she had seep these disturbing images on television. she was living in a trailer outside of little rock. she had two young kids and was seeing these images of the civil rights movement and these images of brutality, and she realized she had made her own unique contribution to that, and that i
2:14 pm
think it dawned on her slowly that her own children were going to grow up to realize that was their mother in this picture, in their history book, and she had an account to settle. so she picked up the phone one day -- this is one of those things where people have different memories of the same thing. at unclear whether she reached elizabeth directly or whether elizabeth's grandfather answered the phone and took a message. one way or the other, at some point elizabeth and hazel actually spoke. and elizabeth and hazel -- hazel said to elizabeth, i'm the girl in the picture, and i just want you to know how sorry i am for what i did. and there's really not that much more to say about the conversation. it was a very short conversation. i think that there really wasn't that much more for either of them to say, and that was it. but it was to me an enormously
2:15 pm
significant moment in the story because every author wants to like -- it's easier to like the people you're writing about. for whatever rope. you -- for whatever reason. you want to like them and trust them. and i thought it was very significant that in 1962 -- you know, when there was no oprah on television and no television cameras around, and nobody was watching and nobody was recording it, and not every moment was considered fodder for tabloid television. and the privacy of a trailer on the outskirts of little rock, hazel made that phone call. and so that, to me, put into a different light everything that hazel did subsequently. said to me hear heart -- her heart was in the right place. so we fast forward -- i don't do
2:16 pm
anything fast when i write, but we fast forward now. in the book i describe elizabeth goes into the army, gets out of the army, tries to find herself. elizabeth has many years sort of in the wilderness. elizabeth has two children. hazel raises her family. she has three kids and quickly has grandchildren, and gets involved with a number of sort of hobbies. belly-dancing and various new age kinds of things, and also tries to get involved with the black community in certain ways. she starts working with unwed mothers and mothers with children in foster care. she goes on -- she works with underprivileged kids and takes them on field trips. again, the only cameras that are there are point and shoots that people have to bring with. the there's no press coverage of any of this. her husband sort of makes fun of
2:17 pm
her for trying to -- still trying to atone for the picture. this is how she wants to live her life, and she wants to be a role model for her children. and she is bothered by the fact that the picture keeps appearing with increasing frequency. every anniversary the picture appears and it's in all the history books and the fifth anniversary and all of that and no one ever bothers finding out whatever happened to her. she knows she is involved but no one else knows that, and she is not press savvy, so it doesn't occur for thor call anybody up and plant the story anywhere. and it really takes the 40th 40th anniversary to bring out her story, and i would manage that many people here remember the 40th anniversary and how she comes forward and how will counts, the original photographer, comes back to town and takes the second picture that becomes the poster that
2:18 pm
sort of gets all of little rock's hopes up that skip rutherford decides to put on the poster, and that's sold in the visitor center, still being sold in the visitor center, apparently. people still want to believe the message of the poster. it says reconciliation" at the bottom of it, and everybody remembers how excited everyone was, and the idea was that if these two people could make up, well, then, perhaps little rock, which has lived in shame for all of these years and was an embarrassment to its citizens and a laughing stock around the world, maybe little rock had finally turned the corner and there was great hope placed in the relationship between hazel and elizabeth and they're reckon sillation. on the one hand, we know in retrospect that this was naive to expect that two people could
2:19 pm
bridge a gap so significant. earnhardt -- on the other hand, it was prophetic. it's an extraordinary story about how the two of them developed a relationship one one another, again, when people weren't looking, and they made presentations together. they spoke to school -- high schools and college kids and agreed school kids together. they became sort of a road show, and talked about their respective experiences. that a part was all public. they also started to hang out privately, too. they went on field trips together. they'd go to flower shows together. they'd go to thrift shops together, buy books together, go to hot springs together, and they actually discovered they had a lot in common and became, i think -- they became friends,
2:20 pm
and to quite an extraordinary degree, and i mentioned any motorist in little rock who happened to pass them in a car and saw this white woman and black woman sitting in the car next to them at the intersection, the white woman driving because elizabeth never got her license. so hazel was always the driver to think those were the two women in the famous picture, and here they were just driving around together. whoever would have come to that realization would have driven off the road. so, there was this boston, but as i say, by the time i came along in 1999, it was already starting to fray, and i described this in the book. i described the causes of it. i think that from elizabeth's standpoint -- elizabeth is a student of history. elizabeth is very demanding. demanding of herself and demanding of other people, and
2:21 pm
very precise. she speaks precisely. she demand precision from other people, and she thought that hazel -- she couldn't believe that some of the had had gone -- things hazel couldn't explain were unconscious errors of omission. the thought it had to have been deliberate. elizabeth was tough on hazel and demanding on hazel, and she couldn't believe, for instance, that a photograph -- a scene that horrible could have been -- something as horrible as what happened on september 4th of '57, could have been undertaken so lightly. hazel had to have remembered more about it than she did, and the fact she didn't remember more about it and she was as casual about it as she was had to be a a conscious
2:22 pm
deceitfulness, and not inattentiveness. and a lot of things elizabeth took issue with in hazel's story. that what happening. and hazel felt this tension coming from elizabeth. hazel also felt an antagonism coming from other members of the black community and other members of the little rock nine, who seemed to resent her presence at various events, who thought she was out to cash in. where had she been all these years? she was clearly out to make a buck. she couldn't possibly be sincere, and of course hazel knew better than that, and knew she had been working for racial ameal you'ration, but she cooperate convince other people. she couldn't convince other people of that. and then there was the flak that she took in the white community. she took a lot of that. for all the -- there were a lot
2:23 pm
of people that felt that hazel was great embarrassment to the white community. she had become the symbol of white little rock, that all the good kids hat central high school had been tarred by her brush, and that the world had come to think that everybody at central high school was like hazel that year. in fact, hazel hadn't even been at central that year. he parents pulled her out within a week the time the picture was taken and she wasn't a student at central that year. and they wanted hazel just to go away. and they found haze toll be -- hazel to be an embarrassment so hails was getting flak from that community as well. and there's a story about hazel going to one of her high school reunions and it was striking to me that somebody in hazel's position would have the anybody and guts to go to a class recent union but she did go, and
2:24 pm
everybody ignored her or snicker at her. she heard people snickering, that's the girl in the picture, and one of the girls who was snickering at her what one of the same kid that jumped out of the second floor window the day the black kids actually arrived. so hazel felt, she didn't need this. she didn't need this kind of disapproval, and she started to withdraw, and has continued to withdraw ever since. and so among all of the people i talked to for this book, and as i say i see a lot of you in the audience -- hazel is not here today. hazel said that she hoped that -- she expected that the interviews she gave to me would be the last she would ever give. in publicizing my book, hazel will not go on television.
2:25 pm
hazel is out of town. i spoke to her the other day. and she is out of town. you know, it's probably a preplanned vacation, about it's also a little bit convenient, and i don't say that disparagingly, but she doesn't want to be around for any of this, and even got -- i left out they even got flak from oprah winfrey. the two of them went on oprah winfrey together, and oprah seemed to resent their reconciliation or their relationship, and oprah was very skeptical and harsh and quick with both of them. there was an episode of oprah where she was discussing the most important photographs of the 20th century, and of course the picture of elizabeth and hazel was month them. she got them on and off the program very, very quickly. and even though elizabeth and hazel were sort of coming apart
2:26 pm
at that point and their relationship was growing more distant, they could both agree they had been ill treated that day and felt very bad about it afterward. i always lose track of time. i hope i'm reasonably on time here. so, i think that -- as i say, they're last conversation was on september 11, 2001, and they have not spoken since. in looking around, i want to talk a little bit about how little rock has treated me in working on this book. i have to say that i was -- i was self-conscious about coming down here. in the course of doing my work, i was very conscious of, as i say, of placing myself in a
2:27 pm
position to judge in the convenience of the 21st 21st century of juneing people, very easy to take potshots at people from different eras and not to have -- not to have been here at the time and not to have known how i would have behaved. there was a quote that i came across -- i'm not going read anything from my book tonight but i just want to read one quote i came across in the course of my research that i thought captured my attitude towards my work so beautifully. at it from frederick douglass who says my interest in any mom is objectively in his manhood and subjectively in my own manhood. and that's the way i feel about this project. this was really a chance for me to try to assess what -- where i would have been and what i would have done in 1957 if i had been
2:28 pm
here, a white guy, a student at central high school or a citizen in little rock, and whether i would have stood up and how well i would have stood up. and that's the attitude that -- with which i tried to write all this. i tried to let the facts speak for themselves. i tried not to be anymore judgmental than i needed to be, and not to take the easy shots. a lot of people in little rock -- most people in little rock were very nice to me. i got help from all kinds of people at various research libraries. i placed ads in the little rock paper for peoples recollections. i had many interesting experiences, some very moving experiences, and some surprising experiences. history is always more complicated, and the complications and surprises of history are what make it so enriching and satisfying to do. i mean, i remember in particular
2:29 pm
in response to one ad i placed in the democrat gazette -- i wanted to find people in the picture and fine people who were at central with elizabeth and wanted to retrieve as many stories as i could -- i thought that was somebody heckling over there but i don't think it is. i remember one woman calling me -- i didn't get many responses to these ads. but i remember that there was one woman who called me, and she said that, my father was a segregationist. a white woman calling. my father was a segregationist. and -- but he came home -- he came home the night that the picture of elizabeth ran. it ran in the -- i hope i get this right -- in the democrat
2:30 pm
before it ran in the gazette because the democrat was the evening paper, and will count' picture ran first and there was a similar picture that ran in the gazette the next morning. hazel was not identified in either picture, which is interesting. one of the editors -- i talked to many of the newspaper people covering the story, and uneditor said that things were so inflame, there was no sense in identifying her, and to us she was just a generic white girl, generic segregationist white girl and no need to identify her. so this person contacted me after the ad ran, and said my father came home that night we were sitting around the dinner table, and i will always remember him saying, i don't want my kids going to school with niggerss either but they
2:31 pm
didn't treat that little black girl right. i thought that was so moving, that that is what he said, and that she remembered it after all these years, that the picture -- that picture scandalized -- it embarrassed even segregationists, that picture. the only fault i would find, as i say, hazel would tell you that apologizing, the coming forward was a mistake. to her, it was a bad mistake,, that she made. it was ill-advised. she says she is sorry she did it and that all of these people on those pink slips in mrs. huckabee's file in fayetteville, none of them came forward, very few did, and they
2:32 pm
went on with their lives. no one gave them any grief. i tried to call a few of them and didn't get very far with most of them. i remember calling one person in particular, whose name was all over the files. i think probably a name that many of you would recognize, somebody in a position of some prominence in up to. and he hung up on me. he wouldn't talk to me about it. one way to do it was to pretend that nothing happened. so while i'm not judgmental about a lot of people, i am judgmental about the people who really ran amok that year and were allowed to run amok by the school authorities, and really paid very little price for it. and in later years never did come forward. and i think also that there's this dangerous trend to pretend that things were not all that bad, and that things have been exaggerated, and that the little
2:33 pm
rock nine has sort of created a cottage industry of sympathy, and that, enough already with this and let's just move on and it's all exaggerated. and i would urge people to not just to read my book, which is, after all, secondary history. just go back and read some of the contemporaneous documents go back into mrs. huckabee's files and read those reports. she had no axe to grind. she was just recording what was happening. and so i think that that kind of revisionism that occurred in the 50th anniversary -- there was story in the democrat gazette in which many people who were at central in 1957 and 1958 were saying it was only a few bad kids and things had not really been that bad. we have to guard against that. and i think that no one has been more vigilant about guarding
2:34 pm
against that than elizabeth. one of the remarkable moments in the story is, elizabeth -- a woman who once used to have to bring a wastebasket lined with a plastic bag with her when she spoke in public for fear that she'd get sick while she was speaking, she was that scared of public speaking. elizabeth having become a passionate and articulate and confident enough to give a speech, was chosen to give a speech at the commemoration of the visitor's center the day after the article ran in the paper, and she as an eye witness to this, no one was better suited to counter this revisionist argue. that things weren't that bad, and she gave a speech that was very moving. so this story has a very happy
2:35 pm
ending for me. i mean, i feel very proud of this book. i feel privileged to have met both elizabeth and hazel, and i said i admired them both ask that's a great treat for an author. i met a lot of interesting people doing this book. i've made probably ten visits to little rock, and i've enjoyed my trips down here, even when the town was snow-bound and completely paralyzed with maybe a half inch of snow, and i learned that little rock apparently has no snow trucks and i was great there was food in my hotel because there was nowhere to eat and everything was closed. but the town was nice to me and most of the people i interviewed were gracious and patient with me, and i think dish hope they feel that my book is fair.
2:36 pm
that's the most important thing. so it's happy ending for me. as it stands, it's not a happy ending for elizabeth and hazel. i tried not to sugar coat it. i tried not to influence it in any way. i didn't think it was my role to try to bring them together. and when i would come down here, would visit them separately. i would rarely talk to one about the other until the very end. there was a -- a reporter always puts off the hard questions until the end. but at a certain point i would have to say elizabeth, hazel says such and so about you. is this true? hazel, elizabeth said thus and so about you. and just crisscross and review what one said about the other. i was struck by how each of them talked -- when they talk about
2:37 pm
one another, they each get choked up. i mean, it's very clear to me -- and maybe i'm just the outsider and the armchair psychologist. it's clear to me that there's stale very -- still a very strong bond that exists between these two women and a profound connection between them, and i -- it wasn't my place to brick -- bring them together. but my photographer said, we have to try to get a picture of them together. they owe it to history to pose one more time together, and i actually reluctantly did ask them both, and i don't now if you could predict what they're reactions would have been. i was -- after all the years i put into it, my reaction was a little naive still, but elizabeth was willing because, as i say, elizabeth is a student of history and elizabeth realized that for better or for
2:38 pm
worse, these two people' perpetuity are going to be joined together, and they had a certain obligation for the sake of history to let history see them as they turned 70. i hope i'm not giving away some secret there, elizabeth. and so elizabeth was game to do it. she said, i'm not sure what i would say to her but i would do it. and hazel said -- hazel didn't say no. hazel said, i'm not ready yet. and the operative word there is "yet." and i'm hopeful that sometime when we're all out of the way and nobody is looking and nobody is paying any attention to them, that the two of them do come back together again in some way, and that would indeed bay happy -- be a happy ending.
2:39 pm
so i want to thank you for coming and caring about the story and caring about my book. and i'm happy to take any questions you might have. >> all right. thank you, david. [applause] >> we have time for some questions so please raise your hand. miss abrams. >> why aim not surprise ode you're asking the first question. >> got to know me very well. >> i must have seen you on that list because i got the a's on the list and you must have been on there. >> i'm not on there. >> she didn't just show up. she has permanent -- >> david, i am a scholar of history and i have great respect for you as a researcher of history. but most historians also are prophets. my question to you is, in light
2:40 pm
of the history that you did, for not only little rock but for this country, and at the time that we are now, as a prophet of research and the divisiveness that is now present, as we have an african-american president, what is your projection of how far we have come in this country, not just in little rock? >> well, the first -- my first comment is that the words holiday history" and "prophet" when prophet is with an f -- are rarely associated with one another, and probably with a p p-h, not much more. i think that this story has hopeful and -- both pessimistic and hopeful elements to it.
2:41 pm
just extrapolating from this story, and as i say, i think that on the one hand you could read this with great despair, you know, that two people of good faith had the experience and -- that they had. on the other hand, as i say, there's this very -- i think there's this very profound connection between the two of them and -- let's face it. when you read -- there was just an amazing collection of material that i came across. i don't want to take up too much -- i want to give people time to ask questions but i want to take one digression to say there was an m.i.t. professor who came down here to research what was going on, and i win to
2:42 pm
look at his papers at m.i.t. he died several years ago. his papers were absolutely volumous. 40 boxes of them. and everything in there but his stuff on little rock, which is heartbreaking. so it turned out i knew -- his son-in-law was a former "new york times" reporter whom i knew, and he said, let's look around. i spoke to his son, and his son said, there's one more box of his stuff in the back of my closet. let me look in there. and sure enough, the little rock file was there. and he spent several days down here interviewing the leading citizens of little rock, going to the arkansas club, the segregated club, the little rock club. the little rock club. no jus or blacks allowed. and he was -- the researcher was allowed in there because he was guest of the people but he could
2:43 pm
never have joined as a jew. the world these people describe -- i say in the book it's something like -- all of these people are now dead, and it's like spoon river anthology for those of you who remember. voices from the dead talking about little rock in 1957. and it was really a pretty bleak place, and racially it was in the knee neanderthal stage, and you don't have to be pally anna to know about the strides that have been made since then. these are superficial things maybe but the first thing you see when you fly into little rock is the little rock airport commission. the photographs of five or six people, and there are two blocks and four whites or whatever, or maybe it's three and three, and you're reminded right off the
2:44 pm
bat of how much different things are here. at least on the surface. and so -- i mean, i think all of the -- so much of the antagonism toward obama is racially oriented, and their remains very, very deep divisions in this country and real misunderstandings, and real animosity, and there's a hell of a lot of work still to do. and maybe i should -- and i almost feel guilty tacking on, the "look how far we have come" but there is some truth to that, too. >> got a question. elizabeth. >> any historical book bring elements of truth because people , where things have happened, say that something happened here.
2:45 pm
i don't know much about it, but something happened here. it happens everywhere. it happens everywhere. and in certain -- that is what made me start talking about those painful memories. and that type of thing does continue. it happens everywhere. but some people go to the primary sources -- [laughter] >> and there is a primary source. [applause] >> i think you should take that as a compliment. >> she is the primary source, and so is minnie jean here. >> because i've often said that the one biggest mistake i made in doing this book is not writing concurrently about
2:46 pm
minnie jean, and doing a boxed set, you know? because she does -- there couldn't be two people more different than elizabeth eckford and minnie jean brown. they're complete opposites. only united in how amazing each of them is, and it was a missed opportunity. and i hope that somebody else does her book. >> a question right here. >> really more of a compliment. i had the pleasure to read this book this past month, and i -- if you don't have a copy, don't leave without it. and a couple of things i want to say. david describes the dresses that the two girls wore that day, and i was so -- i could identify with both of them because i had both of those dresses. so, that's the kind of care that he took in telling the story, because he made them very easy
2:47 pm
to identify with. and the other thing want to say is that more often than not, folks come from out of town and try to write this story, are not -- they often make all of the white people villains and all of the black people heroes, and instead, you gave us two beautifully complex human beings, and i really, really appreciate that. >> i'm grateful to you for saying that. i thank you for mentioning the dresses, because i think that the story about elizabeth and her sister, anna, making her skirt for school, is just -- is so powerful to me, and the fact that elizabeth never wore that skirt again. this skirt that was made with such hope, for the first day of school, and that she put it up in the attic and it disintegrated and at some point
2:48 pm
it was thrown away. annie abrams had the right idea that was a dress that should have been in the smithsonian. instead it disintegrated, and i'm glad you noticed that. and ralph brodie is here. ralph dime my -- came to my last talk. ralph and i have different feelings about parts of my story, and i have great respect for him and tried to be fair for him, and i tried to put myself in the shoes of anybody who was here then, and not just throw around these very easy generalizations about people. this was a complicated situation that was thrust upon little rock, and i tried to capture it in as much of its complexity as
2:49 pm
i could. >> yes. got a question right there at the back. >> my name is herb, i'm a second year student. i actually was with mrs. eckford on the 50th -- well, when they had the congressional gold medal ceremony earlier this year. i was the person responsible to be alongside her for that whole function. so several hours. so that was an insider's take, and thank you so kindly for the being so wonderful. my question to you is this. the latest stanza of our national race drama ends at a ranch in texas where there's a rock. on that rock is something derogatory and inflammatory. how would you go about advising today's youth and the
2:50 pm
understanding, the history associated with that, when so many are disconnected from that particular history and the word associated with the rock? >> well, i think -- first of all, i'm hopeful -- and not just for my own selfish reasons -- that people read a book like this. everybody is in high school at one time or another. and i think that this book sort of frames the issue from the standpoint of two two high -- to high school kid living through these issues, and i think that it's sort of -- for people who don't know much about this era or these issues-it's a good initiation into them. that's the first thing. the second thing is, i think this has to be addressed with great candor, and i mean you absolutely disrespect. that rock said niggerhead on it.
2:51 pm
people woken say it because they think it's better not say the word. but the full outrageousness of that episode can be captured only if you don't fuzz it over or just obscure it. it needs to be articulated. i didn't hesitate -- if that word came up in the course of the book, i used it, because that was part of the language of 1957. the perry story illustrates it's part of the language in 2012. in 2011 it was painted over and apparently it disappeared, but beneath the surface of the history of this country there are a million episodes like this. it's everywhere. it's absolutely everywhere. and we do ourselves no favor not to acknowledge it, and it's sort of -- i'm kind of pleased --
2:52 pm
when haley barber says something or an episode like this happens or we can each think of instances where race peeks up its ugly head. it needs to be discussed. it needs to be ventilated. it hasn't gone away and its deeply imbedded, and so i think it's a good thing and it's ininstructive when it happens, and even when we discuss it, as you and i are discussing it now, it needs to be discussed explicitly. >> ladies and gentlemen -- [applause]
2:53 pm
>> here's a short author interview from the bus as it travels the country. >> set the stage for this book. what is it based on and take us through what readers can expect? >> the book is based on my time in the navy in active duty from 1964 to halfway through 1977. the reason i wrote the book was, i was specking to my cousin one day about how i hadn't done anything in my life and blah, blah, blah. he looked at me with this funny look and said, done anything you've done stuff people just get to read about. i went, huh. maybe that's an idea. so i went home and i talked to my wife, and she said, yeah, you've done a lot of stuff. i said, like what?
2:54 pm
she said, just start writing. write it up. little chapters. and just write each event like a chapter, and then figure out the time frame, where they fit in, and then clean it up and somebody will buy it. so i did. and is a wrote it, i mentioned to some people i was write about my experiences, and though thought, i remember doing things like that. so once it was published, i got feedback over the internet, guys were saying, boy, this reminded me of a lot of the stuff i did and got away with and lived through. so, it had an appeal for most any young kid who joined the military. i was 18 when i went in, and i was 31 or something like that when i got out off active duty, and i still meet people that have read it and said, that was great. i loved it. just reminded me of the things that went on when i was in the
2:55 pm
service. so i said, maybe i got a winner. >> you write in detail about the circumstances which led you to serve in the bomb service in the armed forces. can you explain how you ended up serving in the navy in the capacity you served? >> i was interested in scuba diving but put it aside by the time i graduated from high school. and i got into photography and worked at the newspaper, running the darkroom. when somebody went on vacation. i learned a lot of things from that. but i decided my only option due to my situation, was to join the military. if i wanted to get out of maine and do something interesting. so, one day i was down at the post office, where the recruiter was, and i was going to go see the recruiters. the only one was there was the navy recruiter, and i spoke to
2:56 pm
him. a real nice guy. and boatswain's mate first class. i said i'm going to quit high school and get out of town. he said, don't quit high school. stay in and i guarantee you'll get a school. i went, okay. so i stayed the extra or two three months, whatever it was, and graduated, and went in the navy, and the rest is history. but i did choose to be a photographer's mate, which is kind of the closest thing i could think of i was doing on the outside, and ended up later becoming a diver. >> you talk about what people thought about military service in the 1960s. can you explain how you feel it was viewed then and how you talk about it in your book? >> it was actually worse than what i talk about in the book. after i got back from vietnam
2:57 pm
in -- '69 i got back and went back to east coast and a friend of mine and i used to go to washington and take pictures of demonstrations wimp didn't. we didn't have an opinion but couldn't believe the stuff being said about vietnam veterans and they were portrayed as drugies and nut cases and people that cooperate make it on the outside and things of that nature. and later on i found out this was basically a bunch of garbage. they had a better chance of getting a job, less suicide, less drug addictions than the general population and so on. so i didn't think too much of the way we were treated, and i never had anybody spit on me, as can be proven by the fact i'm not still in prison. and we sort of didn't pay a lot of attention to that. we hung around with people who were of our same way of
2:58 pm
thinking, and we didn't pay any attention to it for the most part. >> there are lot of books written about individuals experiences during vietnam. what makes yours different or sets apart? >> well, based on -- like i say, information, feedback from the book, guys say, this is not just another one of those me, me, me vietnam books. i give people credit where credit is due on anything that -- any ideas that came out. i love to help other people succeed if possible. there's some interesting stories. a fair bit of humor in there. and i tried not to get too technical, and in case where i did use technical stuff, i put a footnote for the most part. so it's fairly easy to understand. i don't into a lot of acronyms like most military books do, and
2:59 pm
the photos -- i hate to say but they're very good, there's 80 or something like that in this book. the first edition, which whereas printed by random house, was physically poor quality. a paperback with three or four bucks. and this one is on acid-free paper and larger print for us old guys to read, and that's about it. >> was there a specific event which you have written about in your book that stands out in your mind? >> i guess the first time i got shot at. that sort of -- i can remember that. and i found out you don't have to be shot at very many times before you learn it's not a nice way to spend 30 seconds or however long a firefight lasted. it didn't mess me up, but one case that did have an effect on me was one of the vietnamese guys we were working with,
3:00 pm
mutilated a corpse of a dead vc and i was not impressed with that. i didn't hate the viet cong because i never got captured by them, never shot or wounded myself, but i worked with people who hated the vietnamese for some reason, and i can't process that information. i just felt that they were a bad situation, we were trying to help them and not very successfully thanks to our 94th congress. but that's another story. >> the c-span2 campaign 2012 buses travels across the country to follow the bus' travel go to: >> coming up next, book tv presents after words, an hour-long program where we
3:01 pm
invite guest hosts to interview authors. this week, sylvia nasar, and her book, "brand pursuit." the author takes readers through the history of economics, the intellectual pursuits she believes has helped people all over the world. she talks to gillian tett. >> sylvia, thank you for joining know talk about your latest book, the development of economic thought. why did you decide to write a book about economics now? >> well, i didn't decide now. i decided about ten years ago, and -- but now is actually a
3:02 pm
great time because when things are going really well, people outside the economic profession tend not to be as interested in economics, and since this book is really aimed at people like i used to be, which is someone who read novels, but wanted to know what was happening in the world. i think this is a good moment. it's also because of the financial crisis and the worst recession in the united states since the '30s. it's also a really important time to sort of put things in perspective, to take a longer term perspective. and, of course, writing about the birth of modern economics in
3:03 pm
the middle of the great victorian boom, is a chance to do that. and i learned -- first of all, i don't have a degree in economics. i dropped out of the ph.d program. but i felt like i really learned -- i really learned about economics in a very different way writing this book, because economics is so history-bound, okay? it's so driven -- people don't set out to become an economist the way they set out to become a ballet dancer or pianist. they may want to be a physicist or mathematician, and something happening makes the action go to economic issues, and that's how
3:04 pm
people -- at least the characters in this book are drawn in. they go there because that's where the action is and that's where they can accept what's going on. in. >> one of the things that fascinates me is people think that economics is about numbers, complex computer calculations, and quite abstract ideas. and yet what you talk about in this book is really bringing it to life and telling it through the stories of people. why did you decide to do that? >> i think because my background is in literature, so i came at everything through novels, and when i did "a beautiful mind" i realized that the most people who aren't techies, history and
3:05 pm
biography, i.e. people, is the way that -- is what makes economics accessible, and it may be that women wind up liking this book better than men, who read pop science, which is usually the desk stuff is the synthetic explanations. right? and that's too abstract for me. so, i wrote it the way i read and the way that i came to the subject myself. and i hope that it makes -- you know, i know that economics feels alien to people, and as it
3:06 pm
always has, by the way, including to many of the people like beatrice webb who took it up, and it's because it's like a science, and most of us need to get -- come to it in -- through history and through people, because that's really what -- at the end of the day why are people interested in economics? because they're interested in getting some control over their material circumstances. >> that's a very interesting theme. during -- many people felt very angry with economics -- they
3:07 pm
didn't see it coming and it was the fault of the economists. what you argue in the book is actually a theory of great hope arising after the economic resession. can you explain that? >> well, part of it is looking at things a little bit longer term, and it turns out that if you think about it, at the peek of -- or the depth of the '09 recession, in the united states, per capita income, personal income, which is -- per capita were higher than in any year of the clinton boom or the bush boom, okay? >> people are richer but doesn't feel that way. >> and 30% higher than in 1990.
3:08 pm
so, they didn't because for the very simple reason that a tenth of the work force was out of work, which made everyone else feel, i could be next. >> expectations had been cranked up for material wealth but it fell short because of the economic downturn. >> right. a disparity between the long-term trend, which is for higher and higher and real dramatically higher levels of living standards, and these periodic crisises that make everybody feel very insecure. >> before the advent of the economic profession, society couldn't actually measure the world around and it didn't think
3:09 pm
it could control it in terms of our material well-being. >> right. when jane austin was alive, around 1800, nine-tenths of humanity was destitute. in modern terms, that would be like 90% of the world's population living on the equivalent of a dollar a day. okay? and not only was to be human meant to be poor, but in jane austin's time, which, of course, was a period already of tremendous opulence for a small group in society. i'm sorry, i just -- the issue was you had people who were not merely poor bought fatalistic.
3:10 pm
there was a sense the world was the way it was and no one could measure it or change it. that was the point that not only were nine -- nine parts of humanity condemned to dredge their way through short, miserable lives, but no one thought, even the most liberal enlightened, radical individual thought that this was anything except the human condition. okay? >> then of course, starting in the 19th century, people began to think we could actually try to change it. >> and 50 years later you have charles dickens writing "a christmas carol," which is an attack on that kind of fatalism. okay? so what was the difference? well, in the middle of the 19th century, the modern
3:11 pm
economic miracle begins. and what does that mean? it means for 2,000 years the average human being lived like a roman slave in material conditions that comparable to livestock, okay? lived in one room, had -- with a lot of other people and animals, couldn't read, no medical care, a bad and inadequate food, you know, et cetera. okay? and by the time that dickens comes along in the so-called hungry '40s, dickens is writing about another possibility. in other words, an economy of -- that's so abundant so productive
3:12 pm
that the old life sentence of most people is no longer necessary. >> one of the things that changed was a move away from the vision of the inevidentibility of when the population got better, resources got exhausted because there was a limited number of resources, and people began to appreciate the fact you could actually increase the resources by becoming more productive. >> right. well, what happened is that you never before had a sustained rise in productivity, and just for the benefit of people who are listening to us, productivity is just the amount that is produced per worker. so what it means is, if a country has high productivity,
3:13 pm
it means they're taking the same resources, the same natural resources, but accomplishing a lot more, okay? and for all of -- and productivity naturally determines how much is available for consumption. so, it is the determinant of wages and of living standards, and for 2,000 years, through the rise and fall of great empires, romans, the chinese, the ottoman, the arabic, many of which -- all of which made great inventions, great discoveries, had great artistic achievement, none of that -- none of that human invention, none of that progress in science and philosophy, ever changed the way the average person lived.
3:14 pm
okay? and then from the middle of the 19th century, right about the time that marx and ingalls say what you can expect is just increasing misery, from then on, until now, you have had a ten-fold increase in the standard of living around the world -- this is the world average, including the poorest as well as the richest countries. so, this is not a few good years. this was a complete takeoff from what had been the human condition, and marx's theory, which said that a few good years with rising wages would simply result in earlier marriages and more children and, therefore,
3:15 pm
return -- this actually was a brilliant description of what hat happened for all of recorded history, until a few decades after his death. >> and then, of course, people realized it was possible to increase -- >> yes. >> why is the first society on earth, england -- the first society on earth to have permanent cumulative rise in productivity and average living standards, why is victorian england the symbol of the horrors of the industrial revolution? in other words, why do most people -- most people who learn about it, see it as a period of retroaggression, and i think -- what i concluded is that once
3:16 pm
you acknowledge, once you imagine that man-kind could control its material circumstances, then poverty became a problem instead of just an inevidentibility. >> when people began to realize that poverty could actually be controlled, then it became incumbent on the government to think about ways of actually responding to that and trying to alleviate it. and of course that began to feed into some of the first ideas of the wealth and the role of fate, which we take for grant but in the 19th century, they were -- >> that's right. this is another area where my preconceptions were really overturned, because i had always thought that the welfare state
3:17 pm
was either the invention of new dealers around fdr in the great depression, or else the 1945 labor government after world wor ii -- >> in fact it was a woman. >> so a product of disastrous times, and quite advanced into the 20th century, and lo and lod behold, the idea of the welfare state and the first experiment in the welfare state, were products of this victorian boom before world war i, and the invention of a woman. >> now, i thought this was the most fascinating part of the book. this woman is not well known inside the economic profession but let alone outside the economic profession. tell me about the woman. >> beatrice webb, born beatrice
3:18 pm
potter, was a rich, beautiful, heiress, the daughter of a railroad magnate, and she had eight sisters. they all married rich, powerful, and influential men. beatrice was an odd and lonely child who had other ideas for herself. it turned out her mother was -- had written a novel, had been an activist in the free-trade campaign of the 1840s. had come from a family of manchester, sort of liberal businessmen, and was best friends with a philosophy named herbert spencer.
3:19 pm
so beatrice really had to invent herself. she spent about 15 years trying to figure out what to do, okay? she -- and she was terribly torn between her own family and society's expectations that she marry a rich and powerful man and in fact she became hopelessly infat waited with really the best-looking and definitely best-dressed politician in england, joseph chamberlain, who, f.y.i., is neville's father. >> and never really reciprocated the affection. >> and it was -- on top of not
3:20 pm
knowing -- should i forge my own career as the middle class women were doing, in sort of bohemian circumstances, being social workers and writers. beatrice wasn't sure that's where she wanted to end up with, or shy marry,, -- should i marr, and he he kind of rejected her. and then her father got ill, and she had to care for him. she was in so many ways epitomized the -- i don't know if you read portrait of a lady, okay? but she epitomized the first generation of women who had enough of a choice that one could actually talk about, what
3:21 pm
is she going to do with her life? and there was actually some suspense. in the end, beatrice was very lucky because she married a short and not very handsome but very smart socialist, who was best friends with shaw. she went from being a total free-market purist to where the point of you that was actually becoming very popular in england, which is one of social reform, and she -- became involved with the stadiums, and she focused on the government's role in preventing not only --
3:22 pm
not only alleviating but preventing poverty, and reading her book -- she wrote a book called "poverty and debt constitution." and -- which is an analysis of poverty in the 1880s, that period. and i think people should read it today. she was -- at that time she was -- until her death in 1940, she was one of the most famous women in england. >> yes. >> she was considered the first major female economic even though today we would think of her as a sociologist. she was active in the -- not only with the stadiums but the labor party, and nobody knows who she is. nobody really thought -- that book is a brilliant analysis of
3:23 pm
poverty in the sense that it makes it clear that there are many -- in contrast to say marx and ingalls' -- simple miss stick would be a kind worth but she show thursday many different reasons for poverty and preventing poverty has to be based on understanding those reasons, and the -- and her argument for a government role was actually very sophisticated. she picked up on something that alfred marshal had identified, which is there's some kinds of poverty that are caused by poverty, and that, of course, is the intergenerational stuff. so, she developed a rationale for government activism.
3:24 pm
you couldn't have called her a modern-day liberal because in many respects, she was quite conservative. but she had the ideas that winston churchill, when he was young and rising politician, discovered poverty in the early 1900's. she was the inventor of the think tank and she supplied churchill and his political partner, david lloyd george, with the sort of policy vision that they implemented in a liberal government around 1908. >> a great testment to your book you actually managed to bring this person to life who is so
3:25 pm
little known. so many other characters in your book, like karl marx and frederick ingalls. you tell the story and try to explain how they had to develop their ideas, too. >> right. i had a lot of fun with marx and inning gals because, again, look, all these people that i write about -- there are dozens of biographies, and i don't -- i'm not pretending to come up with great new original facts or insights. but, again, i never realized that karl marx never went -- darkened the door of a factory. >> that is one of the most shocking details. the fact he was writing, was entirely cut off, and inning gals did all the hard work. >> that's right. literally. the one job -- he was also the
3:26 pm
world's biggest slacker because the one job he held in england, which is constantly being described in glowing terms -- he was columnist, supposedly, for the new york herald. and until the civil war. and it turns out that ingalls goes through every one. now, the other thing that blew me away is that marx's income, which came largely from inheritances, and, of course, from his guardian angel, ingalls, put him in the top 5% of british households.
3:27 pm
so these are all revelations. i'm sure that -- in fact ill know that some scholars have discovered these facts but never emphasized them enough. >> the fact you bring together the human stories and their development of ideas and try to explain how they together -- you weave them into a tapestry, but i will say another character i found fascinating who was little known was hayak, and his tragic life, which captured of the attention, ripping apart europe in the 20th century. >> yes. i was very absorbed by hayak because he was in that generation -- his cousin, -- young men who had grownup one world, and then just as they were getting ready to go to
3:28 pm
university, wound up in this pit of a war, that then destroyed the globalized economy on which vienna in particular depended, and also witnessed the rise of to totalitarian socialism. and what i find so interesting about him is that -- you know, by the time he died in 1992, and i wrote an obit for him for "the new york times --" he was a great figure on the rise, and associated with reagan and thatcher.
3:29 pm
but -- and -- i was going to say -- seemed like an -- in learning about his early work work --... ...
3:30 pm
it's not about prediction, it's about -- it's about figuring out how you can have a successful economy or a successful portfolio without the need to predict. in the '20s when, you know, extreme forms of socialism were extremely popular and, of course , the soviet union was, you know, had just been founded and was exporting revolution,
3:31 pm
you know, he and his associates in vienna figured out the very modern reasons that they could not work. why? because they saw the competitive economy as an information system so when socialism collapsed, you know, most people think that one of the main reasons was exactly what the pen pointed. >> but in a sense one of the problems that emerged is what someone might call the dialectic, the intellectual thought goes in one direction, goes too far, of astoria she goes in the other direction. the targets those people, the free-market economics, in reaction, that then pave the way
3:32 pm
for someone to then become much more intellectual going forward. actually, there is a role for the welfare state or they're is a role for the state. >> yes. i was fascinated. now, again, i'm sure i can be the first person to point out, bud after world war ii cain who had been at the versailles peace conference at the end of world war one and had warned but not been able to convince the allies that economic recovery there were reporting political disaster. after world war ii, of course, cain was instrumental in setting up the international monetary system because if you think about it, you know, the kind of debt crisis, you know, that we have now, okay, both after world
3:33 pm
war one and world war ii was immense. and that was one of the reasons that the economy, you know, especially as europe was frozen and, you know, the conventional wisdom was that it would reconstitute itself. and he took the opposite view, hence redwood and the effort of the allies to make sure they didn't make this a mistake as after world war one. well, you know, isaiah berlin was in -- actually wrote about roofie for more was stationed in the british embassy in washington during and after the war and when he had written --
3:34 pm
all the people who could not participate in the war effort roebucks and sort of prophetic books. his book was about the danger of totalitarianism to free-market democratic society. so he came over on a book tour. all these republicans were, you know, just waiting to make him their poster child. when he turned around and supported the cause that they hated most of all, which was written with. okay. so that was another thing. these people are not the locks. but because they are champions by the right and left you often don't hear about the positions that the check that would seem
3:35 pm
to contradict. >> well, the intellectual property that emerges, it is instructive, going in different directions. it's one of those interesting things about the book. i mean, if i had one regret about your book, which is a terrific read, it is about that perception. last character, of course, was a towering figure in some ways trying to edge sink these divergent currents. >> right. well, other than the fact that it would have been a thousand facebook, look, the idea at the core of this book that, you know, what brought people to economics was the desire to put mankind in the saddle and some control of the material circumstances. the fact is that what it did was
3:36 pm
to red stains that idea from london in 1846 to how word as a ripple the word and by the time you get to the march from india, that journey, you know, that realization that it can happen anywhere, it's not how much resources you have or how much land, but what you do with the. that, you know, that sequel, yes, then a terrible mistakes. but yes, they can take charge to manage their affairs, and they are. that idea had release spread around the world. we had come first local, if you
3:37 pm
like. >> that's right. so it seems like a natural stopping point. i mean, i guess it raises the question, where do you think the economic profession is going now? if you were to write an epilogue or a post script who would you put in after 1917 as the big figures who have the next phase of intellectual? >> well, look. i think that one thing that is very clear is that economics as a science, as an applied practice, as a profession is booming. you can look at any data you look at, try to get into a top graduate program in economics. good luck. you have to be absolutely at the top of your class. you know, academic economists
3:38 pm
are pulling down very, very high salaries. >> exactly. we seem to be going in opposite directions. if you look at books, last year i was invited to be on a panel that i have forcefully did not get to go to at the american economic association. >> i was at that meeting. >> you were? someone told me there were 500 people there. -- >> 5,000. >> i'll call my god. anyway, the number of books about economics is staggering. so you know, this is a vibrant profession. people feel like, you know, here is an area it is like genetics right now. you know, a lot of biologists going because that is where the action is. economics, which by the way, is supposed to be more since the
3:39 pm
1840's and is repeatedly declared to be such is doing fine. >> the problem now is precisely because it is such a trough for so many people that it might have actually promised too much in terms of the ability to show or prove the wealth. you know, i'm sure that that is true because i think that all, you know, a psychiatrist's report going to have drugs, madison river going to have the cure for cancer. no question that like irving fisher in the 1920's, the greatest imagine economist of the 20th-century and you had the incredible insight that inflationary boom and deflationary depression stemming
3:40 pm
from the same cause, you know, they all promise to much. almost become a victim of their own success. >> yes. >> but that is true of all. i mean, you know, a physicist, talked to a medical researcher, that is the nature my friend would say, the american. >> t think the different voices, it's going to be much harder for any one single intellect to come out and if you like epitomize the age? when you look today if you were to pick one or two people from the current decade. >> i would choose probably begin don't make me. you know, any number. okay.
3:41 pm
that's an area that is really vibrant. behavior of economics, especially behavioral finance. that's a very vibrant area. a lot of the stuff that's on the cusp between psychology and economics the when i was saying is that the basic to conduct our lives, probably the earlier ones but basically all. >> all of the economic profession is very busy we just knock off the last 30 years and we still know enough about the world. >> right. it's like medicine.
3:42 pm
i mean, you know, the breakthroughs in medicine that affects our lives, okay, they're not the most advanced techniques today. >> so that is quite a humbling thing for the economic profession. >> that's right. the other thing is that, you know, as yourself how this economics has gone to in sight. it's almost always been the existing model, the existing theory was inadequate or incomplete. downright wrong. that is how i suppose i don't know enough about natural sciences to know whether that is typical, but you know, both cain
3:43 pm
and irving fisher, what turned into the great depression, when that didn't write itself with monetary policy as they thought it would, they both went back to the drawing board. that is when cain wrote the general theory, and that is when fisher went on. so, you know, economics, the interest in economics because people looking for, well, what was it that was missing? >> well, that is a very big question to leave it on. just one last thing. having written a book, are you more of the professions now or less the when you started? >> so, much more. >> that is very encouraging. a time when we have something, economic turmoil a very
3:44 pm
interesting insight. >> that was after words, book tv signature program in which authors of the lettuce nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policy makers among the soldiers, and others familiar with their material. airs every weekend on book tv at 10:00 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9:00 p.m. on sunday, and of a.m. on monday. you can also watch online and click on after words on the upper right side of the page. on the go? available via pot cast your itunes index amal. visit and click on cast on the upper left side of the page. select response as you like to download and listen to it will you travel.
3:45 pm
book tv has over 100,000 twitter follow worse. be a part of the excitement. follow book tv on twitter to get scheduling news, updates to offer information and talk directly with authors during my programming. >> next, eric greitens talks about joining the navy s.e.a.l. after doing humanitarian work and earning a ph.d. from oxford university. it's about an hour. >> good afternoon, everybody. if you read the book, i don't think of my helmet on quick enough when the bomb went off, was standing next to eric. that's my time to fame. the only reason why i came as i wanted to get a free autographed copy of the book. he promised to give me one. actually, i was lucky enough to serve with eric and alicia along
3:46 pm
with a lot of other great people, one from a mention in a minute. i know his biography and in his praise my. accomplished amateur boxer. a rhodes scholar, goes to oxford and gets his ph.d. in becomes a navy seal to be published one book already france's humanitarian work. most of us were just hanging out looking for nice party. he was all over the world helping people. pretty incredible. so we're smarter than me, but looking than me. when i met eric back in 2007i had no idea of any of this. he was just another person, navy -- navy s.e.a.l. i was a marine. another person and katie to do his job. totally unassuming.
3:47 pm
we worked tirelessly. bats with no sleep. what the whole lot of anything going on commences completing the mission and getting the job done. that is the erica new. also the guy that strap on a weapon and walk beside me in the streets and row beside me in the vehicles and put his life on the line just as readily as i and my fellow marines did. when you have somebody like that that you trust immediately and you proceeded they are, you know, none of the background, none of the stuff really matters other than just to that person is and how they're going to support you feel and do their job. so that is who i know. when i came home after i get knocked on the head a cable for couple wants and was able to meet him. he was in his apartment in d.c.
3:48 pm
this guy is as poor as i am. one of the first things we did was in the book you recognize the name travis who was a marine about 25 years now, and i have never met anybody better than chavis. he is the epitome of a marine, the epitome of a warrior, a young man that could have done anything he wants to in his life to recess to strap on their uniform pants drop on the march into battle. he gave his life so other people could live. now i am forever indebted to people like travis because we are here today and writing books i'm playing golf. because of people like travis. so when you read that name in the get a chance to looking up, please do so. without further ado of like to introduce the guest of honor
3:49 pm
tonight, the guy who wrote the book and the guy who really has a great message both in his foundation and everything that he writes and eric greitens. [applause] [applause] >> love, first of all, good evening. thank you all for coming out tonight. i have been looking for to this for a long time, i'm especially honored that jewell came out to talk tonight. thank you very much. thank you very, very much for being here. [applause] [applause] so, we were joking the other day that ever since in london was killed navy s.e.a.l. has been in the news quite a bit. the other day i was in spokane washington. somebody asked if i would do an interview for a newspaper about what it means to be in the navy s.e.a.l.s. so i went out and i talked to a
3:50 pm
reporter. i woke up the next day and i was excited to see that they had written a little story, and on the bottom is said to one says requires stability as well as strength. well, that's nice. that's a nice little headline about what it means to be in the navy s.e.a.l.s. i notice that story was right underneath a story about a wild pig that had been shot dead in the streets. and that story that line was ham on the lam test of the bin and. no matter what the navy seals to is tough to beat those wild texas. what i thought i would do tonight, i'm just going to start right at the beginning of the heart. i'm going to read see the passage. it comes from a time when stolen by were serving in iraq had 2007. you were working in a target
3:51 pm
cell. our job was to capture mid-senior level leaders in and around felicia. this passage comes from that time. the first mortar round landed as the sun was rising. joel and i both have bottom box along the western wall of the barracks. as we swung our feet on to the floor joel said, they better known to mother wake me up like this and it's got to put me in and pretty and cheryl mood . wars were common. one explosion in the morning a matter to a little more than an a plus . we begin to tug on our boots, another round exploded. meant it led to dozens of yards away. they use the wild in actor one time shops. then another shot landed closer. the final round shook the walls of the barracks, and the sound
3:52 pm
of gunfire began to read. i have no memory of when the suicide truck bomb detonated. lights went out, dust and smoke filled the air. i found myself lying belly-down on the floor hands over my years with my mouth wide open. my instructors taught me to take this position during incoming artillery fire. they learned it from men who passed on the knowledge from the underwater demolition teams that had cleared the beaches at normandy. now, when the truck bomb went off it actually ended up taking up the entire western wall of our barracks. and what the insurgents were doing at the time was, they were actually packing chlorine into the suicide car bombs and a suicide truck bombs. their intention was to create casualties, not just with the explosion but also by creating this poison chlorine cloud after the explosion of. and we were in the barracks, there was a marine who was next
3:53 pm
to me, kind of crabby to other, made their way outside the eastern side of the barracks. as soon as we got outside i fell down to my hands and knees. because of the chlorine my eyes were burning and my nose was burning and my throat was burning. i was down on my hands and knees jokey in coughing. i look down, uniform and i saw that there was blood on my uniform, and so i started to pat myself down to check for an injury. i didn't feel like i was injured, but you're trained to know that sometimes the surge of adrenaline can actually mask the pain of an injury. asset to pat myself town again and again. finally i pulled my hand away and have realized it's not my blood. it was the blood of my friend, joe, who had been standing this clause to me. and when july, that was one moment from our service to other on the front line.
3:54 pm
part in the fifth is a book about service on the front lines. i talk about service on the front lines of humanitarian work overseas, working in places lik bosnia with refugee children, cambodia with kids who lost land mines or rwanda with kids to have been separated from their parents. let's talk about what it's like going through navy s.e.a.l.s training and combat deployment overseas on the front lines of places like iraq and afghanistan and the right about the work we do today on the frontlines your home working with wounded and disabled veterans to help them to find a way to win this battle on their front lines so that they can come back and continue to serve as citizen leaders again. and what i have learned in all of the work is that we all have a front line in our lives. we all have a place in our life where our hopes for the future and also the people that we love come right up against the reality that the world presents
3:55 pm
to us. and i believe that in order for us to be successful on those front lines it takes a combination of courage and compassion. at think it takes a combination of the heart in the fifth to be successful on the frontlines. i am really excited to be here with all of you today because one of the other things that i have also learned is that in order to be successful it takes the right kinds of friends. and for me, as i am standing here looking around the room i am seeing friends who work with me during humanitarian work overseas and friends who served with me in iraq and friends who worked with me at the very beginning of the mission. from the it is really fun to see all of you see all these friends here tonight because i did learn that for me we all have pain in now live. we all suffer, but they're is a way for us with the right kind of france to turn that pain in to wisdom and turn that
3:56 pm
suffering into strength. i'll talk a little bit about how i learned some of those lessons tonight. now, one of the things i learned very early on was that it was going to be really important for me to have the right kind of teachers to be the first kind -- first time i decided i wanted to be a warrior was 19 years old. i went overseas for the very first time, i kid you grew up in the midwest, 04 went to college had never been outside of the country are been very far outside the midwest. when i was 19 years old i actually went to china. when i was in china decided wanted to be a warrior, so what i did was sign up for a comfort class. i signed up for class with this guy who you see on the left-hand side of your screen here. he was among could have been trained at the shall then temple in sinai, and he was considered to be one of the toughest, hardest kaifu instructors in china. so i studied with him for a couple of weeks. eventually the date of the test
3:57 pm
came. on that day all the students were amazed to come out and to stand like this and to balance for bricks on top of their head. cannot stand like this imbalance for bricks above your head. i thought that was the test. what you can see is that actually the instructor had a very different idea. if you're in the back that is, in fact, a sledge hammer in his hands. and what he would do is bring that sledgehammer down and actually smash the bricks over all of the students' heads. no, i think that all of us can agree that is a very demanding teacher. and what i was writing, one of the things i was so interesting for me to see was out at so many points in my life when i have
3:58 pm
started something new there were the right kinds of friends and the right kinds of teachers who were with me and helped to push me through places of pain and fear and failure in my life. and it was due to some of these really demanding teachers, i think, that i am very thankful for what they asked of me. you know, some of the toughest people who i have ever met, some of the most demanding in texas people i ever met where mother teresa's move -- teachers of charity. these were people who wake up every day living and working with and among the poorest of the poor and the home for the destitute and dying, incredibly tough people. i learned from my c-span2 instructors in coronado, california, and i will talk a little bit more about them later. my first boxing coach, great instructor of mine. my boxing coach, henri de. i right about everything that i learn from a set of wonderful,
3:59 pm
wonderful teachers. what they all had in common was that they all pushed me and challenged me to push myself to a place of discomfort. one of them was one of my professors at duke university. his name was nicholas p. what neal did was really challenge me to find a way to be closer. he asked me when i was 20 years old to go with him overseas to do international humanitarian work for the first time. he asked me to come within to bosnia. some 1994 during the ethnic cleansing that was happening. he has become with him to live and work in the refugee camps. the photograph you're seeing here is a photograph that i took of bosnian refugees as they had just stepped off of the bus into the refugee camp. so at the moment that you're looking at the here everyone
4:00 pm
here you're seeing in the photograph has lost every material position they had ever owned. in addition to having lost every material possession they ever owned, many of them have lost friends and family. but it is actually there in bosnia where i for started to get a sense for what it meant to live with both the heart in the fifth. this is the short passes from my time working in bosnia. men, women, and children were rounded up and taken to concentration camps. community leaders were singled out and taken to other locations where there were severely beaten and tortured. they often disappeared never to be seen again. bosnians were forced to give up the houses they had lived in for generations and made to pay for the privilege of leaving for refugee camps.
4:01 pm
many of the families are met, victims of the ethnic cleansing have been forced to drop but the cut and walk away from their homes. often the bus is packed with refugees diverted to killing fields. the details i heard were often so sickening i found it hard to believe that the people sitting in the trailers telling me these stories were, in fact, the same people who have lived them. the stories seem to come from another world entirely. a bosnian man in one of the shelters told me that both of his brothers had been killed. he heard from a neighbor that one of his brothers had been tortured before shot. his sister and parents with the different city, and he was not sure if there were alive. he lifted his shirt and show-biz star on his stomach and chest left by a grenade had been started his house. he considered himself lucky his children and wife for a live. he started to cry. his children, boys and a girl says sat listening in the corner of the shelter . now, when i heard stories like
4:02 pm
that i was 20 years old at the time. i was suddenly moved, but i was also confused. i didn't know what i should say to someone who had lived through a situation like that. i did not know how to respond. i remember one time i was talking with another man in the camp, and he said to me, he said don't misunderstand me. we appreciate the fact that there is a shelter here that has been provided by the it's a national community, and we appreciate and i appreciate that there is a kindergarten where my kids can go to study. i appreciate that there is food available for my family. he said, but could we know that people really cared about us they would also be willing to protect this . again, i didn't know what to say at the time, but i thought about that later. i realized that what he was
4:03 pm
saying was true. it is true that in our lives if anything or anyone that we love, we're willing to respond with care and with compassion, but if someone or something that we love is threatened them we're also willing to act with courage and we're willing to act and to protect people and to sacrifice ourselves and to be of service and to act with courage in order to protect what we love. one of the things that i noticed also in the refugee camps was that the people who were often doing the best, people that lived through incredible tragedy but who were doing the best or oftentimes parents and grandparents who had really young kids in the camp. so what was happening was they knew that every single day they had to wake up and be strong for their kids. people who i thought were often doing the worst in the camps were often times teenager's,
4:04 pm
young adults who felt like their lives had been cut short and did not really have anything to live for. but i started to see in the camp was that it was certainly true that if we left anything in all we are willing to love it with both the heart and the fist. i also started to see how four people who have survived a tremendous tragedy, what mattered to them was not just a sense of courage and discipline and perseverance, but what actually matter to them and would help them make it through that tragedy was that they have a purpose in mind in the head of heart for being of service to


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on