mosque has just been burned down. worshipers bombed out of existence. because you see, even within that religion there are different creeds of purity. one side considers the other side not sufficiently fewer and, therefore, deserving, what i call terminal. the institution, however, is more complicated. as it is, in fact, in a lot of societies. there's never one single issue that leads to total destabilization of society. >> you can watch this and other programs online that booktv.org. >> from six annual savannah book festival in savannah, georgia, evan thomas discusses his book, "ike's bluff: president eisenhower's secret battle to
save the world." this is 45 minutes. >> i'm delighted to be atlanta. what a great book festival thiss is. i think the book i wrote is relevant. i wrote a biography of dwightthe eisenhower who is a warrior, was determined to keep us out of asd war. but before i talk about my book they asked me to talk a little bit about the writing life and my own expenses as a writer, so i will. i got out of college and i tried to write the great american novel, and i wrote about 80d pages of it and i brought it tor my father to read. my father is a book editor, and they came down for breakfast in the morning and he looked up at me and he said, it's awful.hoolt that was our entire conversation. i applied to law school that e ternoon. pe [laughter]
this was before parents believed in self-esteem and all that.ill. it was awful. it was a mercy killing. it wa [laughter] i went to law school, which was good most of becauser i marriedo my better, to spot the issue, helped my writing. i knew that i didn't want to be a lawyer. i wrote as freelance writing, my mother called it up employment. i had an article rejected, and my wife saw me cry, but i was hired by time in 197 # 7. i spent 33 years at time and news week, and that's where i really learnedded how to write. to keep it simple, try to be clear, try to draw the reader into the story, above all, to tell the story.
washington bureau chief for ten years in the late 80s and 90s. wrote a lot of cover stories, had fun, but news magazine journalism is group, and i started writing books, and in the 1980s, my friend and colleague, who was here last year, asked me to write a book about the old foreign policy establishment, and we wrote "the wisemen: six friends of the world they made," getting us both into writing books. walter, who is amazing, when i went to be the head of time and the run away hit, best seller last year, steve jobs. there's a world world war ii bok
called "sea of thunder," and the spanish american war called the war lovers. i enjoyed them all, and one of them actually made some money. [laughter] one of the great things about being a journalist is you can write on almost any subject if you're curious and put in the time. when the world war ii generation took on the awesome responsibility, really, in a way of running the world. there's a fantastic story of pride and arrogance and idealism, realism, and cynicism, and intentionally human story for what interested me more than policy or grand strategy was the
human dimension, how people operate. the emphasis has been on specialized stuff, race, class, gender studies, social history and so forth, not on what they call dead white males, not on diplomats or generals or the like, but i'm interested in positions of people in power, interested to know what's it like for them? what is it like at the top? what motivates them, what is going on in their minds? this gets me to dwight eisenhower. andy goodpastor, general andrew goodpastor, had be the closest aid to president eisenhower, staff secretary, but really the
closest adds visier on national security affairs including all things nuclear. he told me friend in the years working for ike, the president had never told him when, if ever, he would be willing to use nuclear bombs. goodpastor doubted if ike would use it, but ike never told him. i thought, wow, talk about the loneliness of command. the awesome, awesome responsibility of having that power. it sounds grand, by, actually, it's true. it's not grand to say that dwight eisenhower was the first person in the history of the world to have the power to wreck mankind, october at least the northern hemisphere. he came to the prosecute sigh developing these incredible, frightening weapons and missiles to launch them. of course, the soviets were doing the same, and this created an unbelievable challenge for
eisenhower. it was further complicated for eisenhower because he knew from the own experience that little wars have a way of becoming big wars. the politicians who think they can fight limited wars, who want to gradually escalate, who think they can control war are kidding themselves. ike was determined to stay out of any war, which he did. he got us out of the korean war, he never again sent american troops into combat. no other mod earn president can make that claim. little known fact? as president ike cut the defense budget by 20%. ike was no isolationist and didn't think america could retreat to its shores and think it could go away. he believed america had to stand up to communism, strength p the alliance to defie soviet
expansionism. how? he basically bluffed with nuclear weapons. he made it clear to the sovietings and red chie nays that if they advanced, the united states would respond with nuclear weapons and did it through many crisis and places around the world, berlin, southeast asia, china. i won't go into how he did this. read the book for that. ike was a great poker player, and, indeed, so good as a young army officer, he gave the game up because he was tooking too much money from the fellow officers and it was hurting his career. [laughter] he said, let me talk for a moment about the human dimension of eisenhower. now, ike had a huge ego. you don't get to be supreme allied commander without a very big ego. he had a very big temper. when he blew up, it was like peering into a steel furnace, one of the aids said. his mother was a fundamentalist
christian. she would quote scripture to her son saying, he who conquers his own soul is greater than he who takes a city. my mother taught me how to control my temper. i thought, what a poor job she had done, said one of the aids. [laughter] ike learned to control the temper and more important, his ego. he said this he got ahead by disguising intention and ambition and learned from working as chief of staff from the great general douglas mcarthur who was proud and glorious and boastful. ike learned whatnot to do. you know these days you see generals, medals hanging by their chest. look at ike. he's wearing maybe one ribbon. when he died, he wanted to be buried with no decorations and an 80 dollar soldier cough fin. he learned to keep smiling. that smile, especially when
things were going badly. at westpoint where boxing was required in 1914, he was taking a boxing lesson, and the instructor knocked him down, and he feels put out. the instructor stopped the fight said if you can't get up smiling, you're never going to lick me. it was an important lesson. flash forward 30 years to the battle of the bulge. germans in the last desperate expert broke through the lines, and tanks encircle the americans. there's a lot of defeatism and dispair and allied headquarters. the one guy who was smiling is eisenhower. he says this is an opportunity to cut them off. general pat ton was in the room, got the message, joking, sure, let him go to paris and really slice him up. [laughter] ike had an enormous sense of responsibility. he knew how to take responsibility. you know that famous photograph of ike with the paratrooper
before d-day, you see ike in the regular uniform, and the paraj troopers have the gear op, and they are getting ready to jump behind german lines that night. why did ike go there? he was told that they were not coming back, that 70% of the trooperers were expected to die. he wanted to look them in the eye before sending them to the fates, and he had a letter that was written that if the d-day landings failed the next day, the responsibility was his alone. that's the sense of responsibility you don't always see today in modern generals and leaders. when ike came back from europe, he was change. unsurprisingly. he was deeper, more remote, more spiritual, said his wife, and he wanted to be religious. in fact, before cabinet meetings, he insisted there be a prayer, but sometimes he'd forget, and start the meeting,
and the secretary of state, secretary dulles, nudged the president, and ike said, jesus christ, we forgot the prayer! [laughter] eisenhower knew when to lay low, and not to panic. you may, some of you were alive here for sputnik, 1957, the soviets launched the first sat little, and there was all kinds of hysteria in the united states. people were afraid the russians would lob bombs on us from outer space, and the country was just in a bad way. there was tremendous pressure, particularly interesting from liberal democrats to spend more on defense, build up defense, more rockets and planes. ike resisted. this is before he gave his famous speech about the military industrial complex, but he already knew. he'd been in the pentagon. he said, i know those boys in the pentagon, and he knew they
hyped the threat, that if they wanted weapon systems they didn't necessarily need, they would find an excuse to get them, and he knew enough to resist, and this is a very hard thing to do in the winter of 1958 when everybody is banging on him to build more weapons and build up our forces. .. i envy them but he had this quiet patients. he could wait. a very important quality in a leader. he didn't been. guy. sometimes he would even playress ,own. confences he was a very smart guy. a
rat in press conferences he would often speak in a rambling. slightly incoherent way. it was intentional. saying, oh, you've got to be careful about this question. and he said, oh, don't worry, i'll just confuse them. [laughter] and he did. i notice his memos were all clear as a bell. he was a very clear thinker. but when he needed to, he could play dumb. most people i know, certainly me and most politicians i know, want to be the smartest guy in the room. eisenhower did not suffer from that. he was seen, afghanistan, as a -- of course, as a genial, golf-playing figure. he's still seen that way. the kennedys were brilliant about setting up this foil, this contrast. it was very useful to them. think about it. eisenhower old, grandfatherly, golf player, a little bit out of it. jack kennedy, young, vigorous, dynamic. it was a very useful foil.
now, it really wasn't true. scholars have known for a long, long time that, actually, behind the scenes eisenhower was very powerful, that he knew how to manipulate people, he could be pretty brutal, actually, about it. but he operated by what a princeton professor many years ago called the hidden hand theory of government. he was very adept -- i guess he learned this through his military career -- at operating behind the scenes so you couldn't really see his hand at work. all of this is interesting political science, but again, i'm interested in the human dimension here. and i spent a lot of time with ike's son, john, who's 90 years old but has all his marbles, and we were talking about the balance between the genial ike and the cold-blooded ike. and i said, you know, 50/50? and john eisenhower said make that 75% cold-blooded. this is his son, we're talking
about. richard nixon, who was eisenhower's vice president, said that eisenhower was more complicated and devious than most people realize, and then nixon said i mean devious in the best sense of the word. [laughter] now, ike was human. the stress did get to him. he had a heart attack in 1955, a stroke in 1957, chronic stomach problems, a stomach operation in 1956. one of the most useful records of ike's life is the diary that was kept by his personal doctor, howard snyder. and the diary's very explicit about the medications and his mood. they were worried about his mood, because they were afraid that high blood pressure and that he would pop a cork, and it would give him another heart attack. so the doctors were always telling eisenhower not to worry so much, and he would say just what do you think this job is? of course he worried.
he had a lot to worry about. and he occasionally erupted. he threw his golf club at his doctor and almost broke his leg, not exactly great sportsmanship, but it was on the same day that eisenhower was deciding whether or whether or not to do a u2 flight over the soviet union. he was under unbelievable stress, and he was human. it showed. golf, eisenhower played a lot of golf. 800 times. golf is maybe not the world's best game for perfectionists. some of you probably know that. and he was a little grim about it. he was a complicated man, as great men are. they have responsibilities that i think we can't imagine. they may not be able to control the great, sweeping forces of history, but they can have some impact. in the early years of the nuclear age, we were lucky to have had dwight eisenhower. he had a great quality, the confidence to be humble. he understood that arrogant men
are often actually weak and fearful, they're hiding to cover up their fear. but the truly confident men are humble. they have the strength not to show off, to give credit to others, to accept and forgive even themselves. when eisenhower was dying, he was asked by his family how he should be memorialized, he answered just don't let them put me on a horse. [laughter] he was, i think, a great president. the 1950s were an era of peace and prosperity. by god, ike once said, it didn't just happen. thank you very much. [applause] we have plenty of time for questions, so fire away. >> raise your hand, and i'll head your way. >> i'm nancy from savannah. >> hi. >> i wanted -- hi. i wanted to know if the
general's reaction to the cuban missile crisis, i read the book. i'm trying to figure out for myself if president kennedy had the same poker face. >> uh-huh, yeah. well, it's interesting, let me start at the end. it's a good thing the cuban missile crisis happened in october 1962 after kennedy had been president for a couple years than, say, in the winter of 1961. kennedy learned on the job. but he was a callow youth when he got in. he'd been a lieutenant jg in world war ii, and you may all recall that before there was a cuban missile crisis, there was a bay of pigs. and that was an operation that was organized by eisenhower. but eisenhower, who was very careful about the use of force, i believe, never would have authorized it not the way jack kennedy did; no air cover,
happen happen -- happen has art. eisenhower was a all or nothing guy, and kennedy, not knowing any better, tried to do it halfway. and on the night that the cuban exiles were pushed into the sea, kennedy was weeping in his bed in the white house, and he called eisenhower and asked if they could meet at camp david. and eisenhower got up there and started quizzing him on how kennedy went about authorizing the invasion at the bay of pigs. and he discovered it had been kind of haphazard. interestingly, when the kennedys came in, they thought that the stodgy eisenhower administration had way too many committees and organizing groups, too many colonels doing plans. the ivy league, harvard guys around jack kennedy, they were, mac bundy, those people, they could kind of wing with it because they were smart. and they let themselves get led astray by a wonderful character in history named richard
bissell, and he gave a private dinner for them at the little club in washington and said i'm your basic man-eating shark. they loved that in the kennedy white house. so the next thing you knew, we were invading cuba with this exile force, and it was completely shattered. now, to kennedy's credit, when he had this fiasco and he dried his tears, he went out and said victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. i am responsible. so he took the responsibility, and actually his poll ratings -- a lesson for politicians, his poll ratings went way up from that. but he also listened closely to eisenhower about how you talk to the military. he'd made the mistake, kennedy had asked the joint chiefs what do you think about this invasion of cuba, and they said, sure, fine. what they meant was it's not our responsibility. it's a cia operation. [laughter] and they, eisenhower knew how to listen to the secret dog whistle, you know? when the military says yes when
they really mean it and when they don't. and he tutored. and kennedy said, you know, next time i'm not going to make that mistake. well, two years later kennedy learned on the job. i think he became a great president. i don't think he was a great president when he won election. i think he was a good looking guy, glamorous and inspirational, but i don't think he was a great prime minister. by the fall of '62 i think he had learned, and i've actually listened to the tapes, the kennedy -- the cuban missile crisis lasted for 13 days, and they had these meetings of this committee that the president put together to deal with it. secret meetings. and the tapes are fascinating, was about half of -- because about half of these meetings were recorded. in the tapes these were all middle-aged men, in those days all men, and they were trying not to seem panicked. so their voices are very steady and even, and they talk about we might have to evacuate the southeastern part of the united states in the event of or war, all these grim conversations delivered in this easy, steady manner until the last day.
on the 13th day the voices is are starting to get squeaky. [laughter] and you can hear it, mcnamara's rambling. the one guy who sounds steady is jfk. it's really sort of what you want the movie i version of the president to be. his voice is calm and steady. he'd made some mistakes, a lot of mistakes along the way, but he's a pretty calm guy. and, meanwhile, they're doing a back room deal to save face. they're trading away some missiles, and they're not blustering, they're not about to invade. by now kennedy's figured out he's got to get out of this mess, and he makes the deal to do it. so that's a long answer to your questionment -- question. >> you've written about eisenhower, and you're writing about nixon. what did the former really think about the latter? [laughter] >> that's gary wills asking this question who knows something about this subject.
i feel sorry for richard nixon because when eisenhower made him vice president, he barely knew him. it really was expedient. nixon could deliver the california delegation to eisenhower in the '52 convention, and he was a bridge to the republican right. and republican -- excuse me, eisenhower was a moderate republican and had a very vigorous right wing, some things never change. the republican right, we think the republican right is fierce today, imagine when it had joe mccarthy as its lieutenant. so he needed an ambassador. and nixon was that ambassador. but eisenhower's always cold with nixon. you may remember the famous checker speech? that was because there was a phony scandal, this little slush fund that really didn't amount to anything, but it blew up. you know, the press was just as crazy then and avaricious then as it is now, and they blew up this phony scandal about nixon's
slush fund. and instead of defending nixon, eisenhower let him twist in the wind and, basically, defend himself. so nix sob went out -- nixon went out and gave this famous speech that was very effective to save his job about his dog, checkers, and it was the famous checkers speech. biggest tv audience in history at the time. and it worked. but eisenhower never -- finally, eisenhower finally said patronizingly to nixon, you're my poi -- you're my boy. eisenhower tried to drive nixon off the ticket in '56, and nixon hung in there, sort of refused to be maneuvered off. and then in 1960 when eisenhower was running for, excuse me, when nixon's running for president and he's to succeed eisenhower, august 1960, a close race, and in a press conference a reporter asked president eisenhower or can you tell us something that vice president nixon did to help foreign policy?
and eisenhower says, well, if you give me a week, i'll think of something. [laughter] pretty cruel. pretty cruel. now, eisenhower immediately felt terrible about it and apologized but, man, you can't undo that kind of damage. [laughter] so, yeah, i think -- i feel sorry for dick nixon. i think eisenhower was pretty bad to his vice president. sir? >> hi, jim casey, savannah. eisenhower may not have sent any troops into combat, but a lot of what he and his state department did certainly laid the groundwork for the disaster in vietnam starting with -- being installed as president and sending advisers over there in the late '50s. any comments on that? >> yeah, sure. eisenhower is not blameless on vietnam, but in 1954 when the french were failing there at dien bien phu, there was tremendous pressure to send in ground troops from his own, in fact, his own general wanted to
use tactical nuclear weaponses as did secretary of state john foster dulles as did richard nixon. and eisenhower said if we send troops, the jungle will consume an army birdie visions. i mean -- by divisions. i mean, he knew how badly an asian land war can go. and his view always was -- he was an all or nothing guy. now, it is true -- and dulles had a lot to do with this -- that when the french got driven out and vietnam was split into two, we backed the south, and we did start putting advisers in there, that's true. but judging by eisenhower's beliefs and statements after he got out, i think -- i know that his view on vietnam was all or nothing. that that if you're going to do this, go in all the way. he advised president johnson and president kennedy and president johnson either declare war all the way, bomb hanoi or don't do
it. but politicians don't think that way. they think by half measures and compromise. they believed in gradual steps and gradual escalation. so kennedy introduces not just more -- i think there were about 8,000 advisers when kennedy came in, quickly it became 35,000 advisers then ground troops, gradually ratcheting it i up. lbj, same thing. more and more combat troops but never going all the way. and eisenhower thought that was a big mistake. now, he always supported the presidents, ken canty and then johnson, because he was a great patriot, he believed in the presidency, but he said johnson is using me, trotting me out as a former president to support him when he didn't really support hip. he didn't like the anti-war protesters. you can imagine how dwight eisenhower felt about long-haired hippies and anti-war protesters. but he was not in favor of our strategy in vietnam. >> [inaudible]
>> thank you. >> [inaudible] brought eisenhower in, and i thought -- [inaudible] he didn't want to tell kennedy don't do it. but he alluded to it. my question to you is do you think if he hadn't played that over again, he would have been stronger about -- [inaudible] >> yes. i think that eisenhower did a poor job of briefing kennedy on that. they talked about laos was the issue at the time. and eisenhower basically said -- he used one of his poker analogies. he basically said you've got to bluff 'em. but he was not very explicit. and the way the kennedys read that meeting was that they had approval to do whatever they wanted to do from eisenhower. you know, i think eisenhower by 1960 he was not in great shape. i mean, he'd had a couple of heart attacks, and he was having an extra drink or two at night and taking an extra sleeping
pill. he'd been serving his country, he was 70 years old, the oldest living president at the time, he'd been serving his country ever since west point, and he was exhausted. he didn't love kennedy, he thought he was a young whippersnapper, as he called him, and i don't think he did such a great job of briefing him. so i think it's a fair question. sir. >> you're in savannah, georgia, so i think i'd -- we'd be remiss if we didn't ask you to at least comment on eisenhower's decisions on some of the civil rights matters that arose, particularly those that resulted in his use of the military. >> uh-huh. >> in intervening. >> yep, yep. my book is mostly about ike's foreign policy, but i do address the civil rights thing because i think it's relevant to his leadership style and, obviously, it's important. eisenhower has taken grief from a lot of historians over the years for not being terribly -- not being a good leader on civil rights, on not using the bully pulpit. now, it is true eisenhower did
not take to the bully pulpit. he did not like moral posturing, and he also believed that change had to come slowly. but, but typical eisenhower, hat in hand, he did all kinds of things behind the scenes. truman wrote the order desegregating the armed services, but it was eisenhower that did it. eisenhower desegregated the district of columbia, eisenhower supported the 1957 civil rights act. johnson gets the credit for it, but eisenhower was the guy who was doing it. the administration in brown v. board of education which is the famous desegregation case was on the side of desegregation. eisenhower's administration took that position. eisenhower appointed all the federal judges who enforced those desegregation orders, a lot of great, famous judges. these were all eisenhower appointees. and when a state governor, orville falbis of arkansas,
defied a federal judge in 1957, eisenhower didn't kid around, he sent in the 101st airborne. no national guard. airborne, bayonets drawn, to make sure that order was enforced. so in his own way he was vigorous on civil rights, and his view was the country wasn't ready for a whole lot of moral posturing from the president yet. but he did, he took a lot of steps that were important down that, down that road. yep. >> [inaudible] how would you -- [inaudible] eisenhower would have racketed -- [inaudible] -- reacted -- >> i think eisenhower would not have been a fan of nation building. because i do think he thinks it's creep. it's an incremental act, you get sucked in. eisenhower had deep appreciation for the seductive nature of war,
that war is a kind of mutating monster. humans, leaders think they can control wars, but they can't. because, ultimately, people will do anything once their safety is threatened, they're going to pick up any stick, any rock, use any weapon they can. so eisenhower was very much wary of getting involved into small wars. he had a lot of opportunities over formosas, taiwan, in vietnam, korea was always threatening to blow up -- berlin was the big one. in 1958 nikita kruschev, the soviet leader, delivered an ultimatum. he said the west had six months to get out of berlin or else. and there was all sorts of a cry in western europe and the united states, we've got to get ready to fight the russians on the ground, conventional forces. well, eisenhower knew that that was nuts, that that wasn't going to work. and so he cut our forces in
berlin by 50,000, and everybody's going what are you doing? it just doesn't make any sense. and at a national security council meeting he said, here's the thing. we are not going to do any gradual -- he used a poker analogy. we're not going to start with a white chips conventional forces moving up to the blue chips, nuclear weapons. if the russians start this war, we will end it. he said our whole stack is in play. and he said this is not going to be some nice, sweet world war ii kind of war. it's going to be nuclear war. he bluffed. and, now, that's not a bluff that every president can get away with. it helps if you're dwight eisenhower, the supreme allied commander who had liberated europe. but, so i don't think this is necessarily a strategy that can be emulated by others, but it worked for eisenhower. and he was just -- and he was under tremendous pressure to have conventional forces to be willing to fight, you know, a temporary war. and he wasn't going to do that
because he thought it would get out of control. and he really is, he's the only american president who got, sent no troops into combat. once he got us out of korea, it took three months, but once he got us out by threatening with nuclear weapons, he never committed another soldier into combat. i think we lost one american soldier in the next seven and a half years. somebody died in lebanon. but that was it. no other president can say that. >> [inaudible] >> sure. i mean, eisenhower loved the military. it was his life. he loved the army. when he left the white house, he gave up the title mr. president to become general eisenhower again. i mean, kennedy thought this was nuts. who would ever do that? so he loved the army. but when he was president, he cut the hell out of the army. his own service. why? because he wasn't ever going to use it. he did build up, he knew he had
to build up our nuclear forces, and the icbm was coming in and, you know, he knew we had to stay ahead of the russians on that front, so he spent the money on that. but he just didn't spend the money. and his old comrades in arms in world war ii were just furious. ridgeway was the army chief of staff, max taylor, they basically accused their own president of treason. we always think the good old days when everybody got along. it's not true. the services were always fighting with each other. you had army chiefs of staff in congressional testimony accusing the president of something close the treason. there was plenty of friction in the old days. ike just -- he did it. he knew that, because he knew that to have true national security you had to have a sound economy. and he was determined not to overspend. in those days military spending was 70% of the federal budget. today it's less than 20.
but in 19 -- this is, you know, 1950s, this is before social security, medicare, all that, before social spending had consumed great chunks of the budget, so the money was in defense. and if you wanted to balance the budget, you had to control, and he actually cut defense spending during a period of tremendous threat because he wanted, he believed the economy needed to be a balance of resources and commitments, and the economy did great this eisenhower's time. we had enormous job growth, and, you know, partly because the united states was the sole super power, but he was, managed a very healthy economy by controlling military costs which easily could have gotten out of control. and that was the genesis of that speech. the famous speech he gave about the military industrial complex was his farewell address january 1961. but he'd actually been working on the problem all along. sir. >> um, could you talk a little
about eisenhower's relationship with england and france during the suez? >> sure. as some of you will recall, in 1956 nasser, who was an arab nationalist who was the head of egypt, seized the suez canal which had been british and french. and france and britain in a last gasp of their empire wanted to get it back. so they conspired with israel to do a secret attack on egypt. in the fall of 1956. a joint attack. israeli forces, french forces and british forces. they did not tell the united states. and our crack cia missed it. [laughter] so what was eisenhower going to do about it? he shut it down. he may have a -- he may have bea hidden hand guy, but he said he thought it was -- he was rightly worried that it would draw the
russians in, and we were going to get a nuclear war in the middle east if he didn't stop it, and he stopped it. and the way he did it was to say to the british, you know, your oil's about to get cut off. don't come looking to us for oil. he said you can boil in your own oil. pretty harsh. and so he cut off and it meant that all of europe was going to go dark in about two weeks. and he also quietly caused a little run on the pound just to reinforce the message. and the brits got it, and within two days the invasion was over. he just shut it down. now, it takes unbelievable force of will, you know, i wish the united states had that kind of power today. we don't. but he basically just terminated this invasion. and he did it even though these were his old pals from world war ii. this is anthony eden who was the prime minister of -- who had been a great friend of ike's in london during the war. eisenhower when he had -- he was a smiling, warm, genial guy, but when he had to be cold-blooded,
he was. sir. >> [inaudible] >> sure. sure. eisenhower was a great fan of washington and lee because they took care of their troops. that was a big thing to him, they took good care of their troops. but interestingly on lee, eisenhower lived in gettysburg, and his farm backs that ridge where all the confederate forces formed on the third day of the battle of gettysburg, where picket's charge was organized. and eisenhower would give tours of the battlefield on foot. and he would recall that, i think it was on july 2nd, the 2nd day of battle, picket came to leave and said i want to charge the union line the next day with all of our forces. and lee said do it if you can. take it if you can. and eisenhower thought that was a tremendous dereliction of of
duty on the part of lee. why? because it was sort of -- well, if you can do it, sure, you know? eisenhower's view was you have to be absolutely sure you can do it or don't do out. it was the worst kind of military leadership. so even though he revered the sainted lee, he thought at the critical moment lee gave exactly the wrong order. he was too con jekyll chul. it was a possibility, well, he was too fatalistic about it. eisenhower was one of those generals who believed in unfair fights, you know? we have all the advantage and they don't. those are the fights that eisenhower wanted to fight, and so he was quite critical of lee. but he worshiped him as a commander who was a decent and honorable man and took good care of his troops. >> how did eisenhower deal with the dulles brothers all those years? >> how did eisenhower deal with the dulles brothers? they were a pain in the ass for him. [laughter] particularly -- well, john foster was his secretary of
state, and john foster was a very bombastic, pietistic type. and the press which was as lazy then as they are sometimes today actually believed that dulles was in charge of foreign policy. he budget. ike -- he budget. ike was in charge of foreign policy. but it was useful to use dulles as the bad cop. so the famous massive retaliation speech in which dulles said if the soviets try anything, basically, we're going to nuke 'em or words to that effect, everybody thought that was dell lues' speech. we found out years later by looking in the speech files thattizen hour had written the -- that eisenhower had written the key paragraph. but he wanted dulles to give the speech. so it was useful for ike to use john foster dulles as sort of the heavy. now, dulles occasionally got a little too heavy and said things that were incendiary and problematic. more problematic for ike was alan dulles, john foster dulles'
brother who was the head of cia. a relationship entirely too cozy. and alan dulles was a huge risk taker. and at first some of these risks seemed to work. the coups in guatemala and iran which today look horrible but at the time looked like a way to contain communism on the cheap. they looked like they worked, they were success. this sure is better than sending in whole armies to do this. but, of course, they don't look so good today. and later on there were failed coups in indonesia and syria, and the cia got too big for its britches can ask of out of control, and eisenhower should have fired alan dulles, but he didn't. he said when people powld pressure him, ike, to get rid of dulles, he would say it takes a strange kind of genius to run the cia. and he wasn't wrong about that, but he regretted not having fired dulles at the end when the cia that some of you have read
the book know this story, but eisenhower all through his presidency realized that you could build all the weapons you want, but you really had to have some kind of a detente with the soviet union. we had to have some kind of peaceful coexistence. so he was working towards a grand summit meeting to try to bring down these cold war tensions and start arms control. and he was on the verge of a summit in paris in may of 1960 with kruschev to do that when the u2 spy plane got shot down. and it was just tragic, because it blew up the summit. what he didn't know, what eisenhower didn't know and i guess later found out was the cia had suppressed a study showing that the soviet anti-aircraft missiles were now powerful enough to get up there and shut down the u2. richard bissell, the guy i mentioned earlier, didn't tell ike that. because the cia was just kind of out of control in those day, and it was a tragic oversight. eisenhower went to -- after
francis gary powers, remember that name? the u2, the cia guy, he was captured by the russians. the cia had told ike that if the plane is shot down, plane will break up, or the pilot will take the suicide pill and kill himself. didn't happen. russians got powers. powers was splashed all over soviet tv, and eisenhower came into his office that miles an houring and said i want to -- that morning and said i want to resign. he got over it, eisenhower always bounced back, but it shows you how shaken he was. because he knew it was derailing this chance of really putting a lid on the cold war. and, indealed, this was the beginning of the most dangerous period of the cold war. the danger period for all of us really was from that summer of 1960 to about october 1962. that's when the world was actually at risk of a nuclear conflagration. >> i think that's about all the time that we have. we will be signing books in the tent directory in the square --
directly in the square afterwards, so we appreciate you guys coming. let's give a hand. [applause] >> thank you. >> the best day to be a planner in america was july 9, 2004, when dick jackson, howie frump kin and lawrence frank came out with a book called "urban sprawl and public health." and what that book finally did was put some technical epidemiological meat on the sociological bones that we planners have been telling about and said the suburbs are killing us, and here's why. by far the greatest aspect of that epidemic or our health challenges in america is the obesity epidemic. all the illnesses that obesity leads to. principal among them diabetes. diabetes now consumes 2% of our gross national product.
a child born after 2000 has a 1 in 3 chance in america of becoming a diabetic. we are now looking at the first generation of americans who are going to live shorter lives than their parents. that's probably not a huge surprise to you. we've all been talking now for a long time about the wonders of the american corn syrup-based diet and the 40-ounce and 80-ounce sodas people are drinking, but only recently have the studies been done comparing diet and physical inactivity. one of them in england was called gluttony versus sloth. another doctor at the mayo clinic put patients in electronic underwear and measured every motion, set a certain dietetic regime, studied their weight, started pumping calories in, and then some people got fat, and other people didn't. and expecting some sort of, you know, metabolic factor at work or a genetic dna factor at work,
they found the only thing that changed with these a people was the amount of daily activity. then you go a step further, and you look at these books like "the blue zones," have any of you seen these? dan buttener and the blue zones? you go where people live the longest, you see what they do including drinking red wine, and you put it in a book and you sell millions. the number one rule? move naturally. don't ask people to exercise, they will sop the. find -- p stop. find a way to build normal motion into your everyday life as part of a work routine. who's going to go from being a, you know, an accountant to being a lumberjack, right? that's not going to happen. then they say, well, you know, bike to work or, you know, walk to the store. and the one thing that book forgets to ask is, forgets to mention is that in half of america you can't bike to work, and you certainly can't walk to the store.
finish so it's fundamentally about how we build our communities in the long run, but in the short run it's about where you choose to live, and that's a choice you can make. and that's nowhere more obvious than in the other big discussion which is car crashes. and car crashes are funny because on the one hand we naturalize it. we're like, oh, that's just a part of living that there's a 1 in 200 chance that i'll die in a or car crash and there's a 1 in 3 chance i'll be seriously injured in a car crash. nothing i can do about it. ultimately, we feel we're in charge of our fate on the road. 85% of people or who are in a hospital recover prosecution accidents that they themselves had caused rated themselves as better than average drivers. so all that's going on. but the fact is that it's not the same all over the world, and it's not the same all over america. and so we have a rate where 14 americans out of 100 are dying every year -- sorry, 14 americans out of 100,000 are
dying every year in car crashes. in england it's 1 out of 500,000. new york city has saved more lives in traffic than were lost since september 11th than were lost on september 11th. and, in fact, if our entire country were to share new york city's accident rate, we would save 24,000 lives a year. so there's a big difference between urban living and suburban or rural living in terms of that aspect of our lives. and, again, in the short term we can build places -- in the long term, we can build places to be safer. in the short term we can decide to live in more urban environments. dick jackson famously asked the question in what sort of environment, what sort of city are you most likely to die in a pool of blood, that's how he puts it to his audiences. [laughter] and they compared murder by strangers, crime, to car crashes
and added the two together and looked at portland, vancouver and seattle. in all three places you were 15% safer in the grittiest inner city than the leafy, wealthy suburbs because of the combination of those two, and we move to the suburbs for the safety of our children, right? and then finally, asthma. who talks about asthma? fourteen americans die every day from asthma. it's three times the rate of the '90s, and it's entirely due to automotive exhaust. i mean, 90 whatever percent. pollution isn't what it used to be. the sickest places in america are the places which are the most car dependent. and, you know, in phoenix you've got four months out of the year that healthy people are not suppose today leave their houses because of the amount of driving that's going on. so, again, what's the solution? the city. finally, the most interesting discussion maybe is the environmental discussion which has turned 180 degrees in the
last ten years. you know, have you looked at the -- even within the global warming discussion, you talk about the carbon footprint and the vulcan project which maps where our carbon foot prints are, you know, red is bad, green is good. you look at the united states, and it looks like the satellite night sky of the united states. hottest around the cities, cool orer in the is suburbs, coolest in the cup, right? but that measures co2 per square mile. in 2001 scott bernstein at the center for neighborhood technology in chicago said what happens if instead of measuring co2 per mile we start measuring per person or per household? we can choose to live in places where we pollute more or less. if you look per household, the red and the green just flip, absolutely change places. and by far the healthiest place you can live is in the city. manhattanites burn a third of the fossil fuels of people in
dallas, for example, they use a third of the electricity. why? well, they're heating and cooling their neighbors, right? their apartments are touching. but even more important than that mostly is the less driving they're doing. transportation is the greatest single contributor to most civilians' greenhouse gas. in our daily lives, the biggest choice we can make -- you know, when i built my house in washington, d.c., i made sure i cleaned the shelves on the sustainability store, right? i got the solar panels, i got the superinsulation, i got the bamboo flooring, i have a wood-burning stove that supposedly a log burning in my stove contributes less co2 to the environment than if it were left to decompose in the forest naturally. and, of course, i have the energy saver lightbulbs. to change an entire house to those lightbulbs saves as much electricity -- or i should say saves as much carbon in a or year as moving to a walkable
neighborhood saves in a week. so the whole lead gizmo-green gadget discussion, you know, what can i buy to make myself more sustainable is the wrong discussion. it should be where can i live and how can i live to contribute less, and the answer, again, is the city. this is fundamentally the opposite of the american ethos. you know? from jefferson on. cities are pest eleven cial to the morals of man. if we continue to pile upon ourselves as they do in europe, we l shall take to eating one another as they do there. [laughter] that was jefferson. and that just continued and continued, and it made sense back in the, you know, the 1700s when we had the whole country to spread out on, and the biggest by-product of pollution was fertilizer. it's a long discussion, all threw of these are a longer discussion. we have a national economic crisis which is only going to get tougher, we have a national
health crisis which is bankrupting us, and as sandy proved all too clear a couple weeks ago, global warming is beginning to affect us dramatically, and now we're not talking about stopping it, we're talking about mitigating it. the more that we can become an urban society, the more we can do to solve these problems that are at the center of our challenges as a nation. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> we're here with jeff himmelman, author of "yours in truth," a personal portrait of the "the washington post"'s ben bradlee. tell me how you got to write this book. >> in a very short version, i used to work with bob woodward, and bob introduced me to ben. and there was a period when ben was going to write sort of a final book, and i was going to help him. and in the process of that, he gave me access to his whole archives, and they were immensely fascinating. ben decided he didn't want to
write another book. i asked him, i have all this stuff, can i go ahead and write this? he said, go ahead. and that's the genesis. and in the reporting for all of that, i uncovered some stuff. >> you talk about a personal portrait of mr. bradlee, how would you describe him if he were to walk in right now? >> if he were to walk into this room right now, you'd want to hang out with him, i'd want to hang out with him, the majority of the women would be trying to hang out with him. he just has kind of a movie star charisma, and he just sort of owns the room wherever he is. and one of the ways that he worked as an editor at the post was he knew that he had that, and a lot of times it's sort of politicians who have that and not sort of regular folks, but he used his charisma and charm to enormous effect in the newsroom. if he were or here, there'd be a grout of people around him -- a crowd of people around him. >> so a bit of a -- in
washington he is well known, but throughout the rest of the country, i think he's still kind of -- people don't know the editors of newspapers like they used to. so, i mean, what has changed in ben bradlee's world from when he was editor of the post during the watergate scandal to today? >> that's sort of the story of american journalism since watergate, but i think what was so unique for them at the time was they were making judgment calls in the moment with no ability to sort of check. so when the post was out there reporting watergate, the next morning's paper was going to come out, they were out there hanging on their own. they had no net. and today when you're breaking a pig story, there are -- a big story, there are so many people who are with you. so you have everything from gawker to the major media outlets. everybody's checking everybody all the time, and it's very hard for one outlet to go as far out on a lumbar as the post did. and so i think because of that
the editor of a newspaper has a lot more power and control. and so today where they're chasing stories in a current way to kind of get the next click and to be the fastest, the first, there's a little bit of a sort of lack of differentiation, i think. i'm not sure if ben would want to be a newspaper editor today. i think there'd be a lot less challenge in it for him. >> jeff himmelman, thank you very much. >> you have to understand that all the founders' primary concern number one, numero uno, was with national security. so what would they say, for example, about a company such as lockheed? i'm of the opinion that based on how they acted in other instances they would have grudgingly favored bailout of lock heeled because it -- lockheed because it supplied the united states at the time with its top fighter jets and its top reconnaissance airplanes. i think you can make an argument
that they would have supported, for example, the bailout of chrysler back in the 1980s but not the bailout of chrysler today. what's the difference? chrysler back then made tanks. in fact, they were our only tank manufacturer, and it's interesting when chrysler comes out of debt and repays the government loan and kind of comes back to health, the main way they do so is by selling off the tank division and plowing that money back into the company. >> author and university of dayton professor larry schweikart will take your calls, e-mails, facebook posts and tweets on the founding fathers "in depth" live today at noon eastern on booktv on c-span2. >> next, alan blinder says the 2008 financial crisis was the result of the financial system becoming too complex and too unregulated.