tv 2017 J. Anthony Lukas Prize CSPAN May 29, 2017 6:45pm-8:01pm EDT
did in this book. i'm sure we all look forward into digging into the book of in learning more about nixon. thank you and thank you to our panelist and everyone here tonight to join the conversation. i bite you to step out of to lobby, our local bookstore has a sales table waiting for you. thank you for being here tonight. [applause] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible conversation] >> a book tv is on twitter and facebook. we want to hear from you. tweet us, twitter.com/book tv, or post a comment on the facebook page see maggie welcome
everybody i'm steve it is my privilege to preside over this speakers pride ceremony our program is a little bit of it introduction a little bit of things in a discussion with her three winners that is great to see a good group here and thank you all for sharing this part of the evening with us. let me first tell you about this prize since not all of you maybe is acquainted with it as we are. this is a memory of tony lucas was fired my generation of journalists by the time we were
in college and started to think about what we wanted to know and what we wanted to write. and social issues in common ground was one of the big books on that shelf. when tony passed a lot of experience to come together to create this prize. so that is where this prize began. it has expanded gradually to include the history prize which is named for the late mark hinton who is a senior executive in the netherlands for the time of his death in 1997 and a deep reader and supporter of serious history. his wife marianne and his children lillian michael establish the history prize is part of the lucas price project to honor him. the file has generously
underwritten this prize since conception in 1998. almost an institution now coming up on 20 years. mark's wife marianne and his children lillian and michael have been involved with the philanthropists as thoughtful partners and as participants and we are grateful for everything they do. as a center prize has evolved and has encompassed several other areas of support for nonfiction writing. thinking about the arc of the career that tony's work modeled for so many of us in this time since the 1960s. it includes support for student fellowship that gives 5000 other grants to the students in the book writing seminar that same freedom has led so successfully for so long.
many going to publish books they developed in sam's classes a 15 week spring seminar by application is an institution here and designed to teach, encourage, and mentor every student to finishes serious book proposal. if you ask him what it has been over the years it is a jaw-dropping. i think michael's wife, jamie is here tonight. i would like to recognize her and think the family. i would like to recognize the board members in attendance. jonathan alter who i will introduce in a moment, shea, linda, pamela, and paul thank you for making this such a healthy prize.
[applause] the judges who have also given great time and dedication to the quality of the winners we see year after year. i think some of them are with us. charlie, leon, john duff, martha, and sarah. thank you all very much. [applause] now i would like to invite jonathan alter up to say a few words. he is well known to many of u.s. and award-winning author and political partner and we know him as the chair of the lucas price board. he's been a great part of the school. please come up. [applause] >> thank you stephen thank you for all you do a columbia. it's wonderful to see such a
national institution, the premier journalism school in our country so well led. i want to welcome you all and thank you for coming and give another salute to our wonderful judges. this is a real serious commitment of time. they take it with great seriousness. it is really appreciative tour judges, not just the sheer but over the last 19 years. i want to very briefly give you a sense of what the larger mission of his lucas price project is. i think many of you know that the business model for journalism is in flux. to put it mildly.
there are a series of new initiatives that have tried to contend with this, probably the best known as pro- public a which is doing outstanding work. there are other nonprofits, the marshall project and others that are filling the gap where the market is no longer providing the kind of investigative reporting that we need. there is a similar, maybe less acute, but still important problem in book publishing. for years it has been called the crisis of the mid- list, that seems to be an overstatement of it. nonetheless, authors are not getting the advances they need to complete long-term work, in a nutshell. some are, but large numbers are
not. they need help if they are going to invest the time necessary to deliver first-rate nonfiction. if we want to nurture narrative nonfiction in our culture which is extraordinarily important as a vessel for our culture, we need to supplement the efforts of book publishers. that is what we're trying to do. we have the lucas graham price and the lenten history prize and they are both very important and honor outstanding work, the one that is closest to our mission is the work in progress prize, the jay anthony lukas project price. the family has now been generous
enough that we now have a second work in progress prize which we will provide. these are extraordinarily helpful in letting authors complete the work that they were put on the earth to do. you would not believe the small size of the advances that many of them have received. there are many books, one just mentioned one which is a factory man which is a show starring tom hanks. she would not have been able to finish this book if she had not have one a lucas work in progress award. there are plenty of other examples of that. we see this as a central mission to help others who are still
engaged in work. i would ask you to look for people that you know of who could apply for this award, or who could even find another one. my goal is to have not two, but five, six, ten of these work in progress awards so we can become a real force and nurturing important american nonfiction. i want to introduce henry lapinski he was going to provide the awards for this year's winners. [applause] >> thank you.
i just want to say what an honor it is to co- minister this prize with steve and colleagues at columbia. tony lucas was, is an esteemed alarm of the name of fellowship. i first met him, the only time i met him was on my own fellowship at the nieman foundation at harvard. as steve said, he was an inspiration to a generation and remain so to the new kids coming up. it is a privilege and honor to be part of this. the j. anthony lukas a book prize is provided to a book length work of narrative nonfiction on topic of social or political concern that exemplifies the literary grace, commitment to research and responsibility that characterize the distinguish work of the namesake of the war. the judges were charlie conrad,
nina briley, and richard joyce. this year's winners gary young, an editor at large for the guardian and an alford novel fellow at the institute for his book, another day in the death of america. a chronicle of ten short lives. it tells the story of the lives of children and teens lost in a single day to gun violence. this is the judges citation. this is a book about america and its kids made through a particular ones at a particular moment, writes gary young and his intimate, affecting urgent portrait of ten young lives ended due to gun violence during a time of 24 hours across america. his masterful reporting illustrates the collateral damage of gun deaths happening every day and this is society where these deaths are uniquely possible and has the political
culture uniquely capable of creating a world in which they may be prevented. [applause] [applause] >> this years finalist for the book price is a great for his book, the great suppression. voting right, corporate cash in the conservative assault on democracy. it shows how voting restrictions and other efforts to undermine american democracy are hurting the most vulnerable americans. he is a former national reporter for msnbc. the judges right in their citation, and the great suppression sack reexplain the rigging of american democracy by focusing on a series of smaller plots.
gerrymandering, right wing activism, dark money and targeted voter suppression that together have produced a right wing minority take over the country at all levels. the stunning book exposes how small a powerful group has worked for decades, largely under the radar to return power to those for whom it was reserved by the nation's founders. whites, property owning men. it is too late for today's progressives who never saw it coming if they did never presented a coherent defense against it. this book belongs in every american college students backpack. [applause] the market -- price is awarded
to those with intellectual distinction and expression. this year's judges, sylvia, leon, and stacy. we thank them. this year's winner is tyler, professor of history at george washington university for his history of new york's immigrants from the city's founding to the present, city of dreams, the 400 year epic history of immigrant new york. the citation rates. tyler has set himself the end possible task of writing a history of new york immigration from the city's founding to its present. he succeeds splendidly, extracting a graceful narrative from a wealth of research. he introduces us to 1625 new yesterday and shortly after settlers first splashed the cow late out of the wilderness. it offers a tour of that for obsessed trading post before moving them blamed on where to the recent waves of chinese and
caribbean immigration. focusing in particular on the areas that would transform the city, and within the country. throughout he offers up emblematic forgotten heroes. the result is ambitious and intimate and with varying degrees of success each immigrant group settles and transforms the promised land. and seems to know instinctively how long to inhabit a story, whether that of peter's anger with that of a woman with ellis island or state of liberty herself. he does not forget his own great-grandparents, the results is crackling with energy as much about the country's past and the future, story of the city that his life had it a century ago sport if you are americanism than any spot with the kingdom of heaven.
tyler. [applause] [applause] >> this years finalist for the prize is staying in our hearts. 1936 - 1939 by adam. he is a lecture at the university of california berkeley in an prolific author. the citation reads, "spain in our hearts" is a vivid, graceful highly romanced account of what happened when more than 1000 young american joined the republican forces in 1937. mostly communist party members with scant military experience and no spanish. they fought against a million man professional army. led by general francisco frankly
and equip i'm whistling in hitler. the result was heartbreakingly predictable. no amount of ideological fervor or useful heroism could overcome the dearth of weaponry or paranoid soviet advisors. many volunteers were killed or died of disease. many were disillusioned but others considered this the finest time of their lives. armed with a mask of original research and a rare gift for storytelling he gives the experiences of fresh media seat and relevance. were sorry he cannot be with us tonight. but we congratulate him anyway. [applause] last the work in progress award
is given to aid the completion of the significant work of nonfiction on a topic of american political or social concern. christopher leonard, journalists whose work has appeared widely has won the 25000-dollar award for his work, coakley and america's new hollow economy. the judges this year were john duff, martha levin and sarah. they wrote christopher leonard's coke inside coke industries and america's new hollow economy is a timely, relevant, balance a masterful work of journalism that explores one of the largest most diverse and richest conglomerates in the u.s. and creates an in-depth portrait of american corporate power. using coke industries as microcosm to examine the new economic order in america leno reveals the coax mastery over the complex markets and political systems and most important shows why we live in a
hollow economy or corporations prophet handsomely while middle-class americans failed to reap the games of the prosperity. [applause] and helen, journalists from temper, has won the 5000-dollar award for her work, the newcomer. the judge is right, this documents a year in one classroom at south high school in denver, colorado which has developed a particular expertise in handling refugee students due to the united states. having spent an entire year their classroom observing them helen provides a compassionate and insightful work at the students as they struggle to
master not only a new language but a new way of life. through the experiences of these children we see the global refugee crisis rips small and a way that allows us all to understand what our country represents to political refugees and how crucial it is that we continue to welcome them. [applause] >> thank you. i should set myself that we enjoyed partnered and enjoyed the partnership and this is fantastic. no i'm going to moderate a conversation for a few minutes then i will open its you will have your questions and get you back at the bar at a reasonable time.
let me ask each of the panelists to take a few minutes to say little bit more than the judges to about the intention of their work, it's origins if you wish but also some sense of what you you to it and what themes you hoped it would illuminate. let's start with chris and your work in progress and will go from there. >> thank you. i'll try to make its distinct and short. first of i want to echo what you said about the importance of this price and finishing work like this take so much time and resources for reporting. something like this is invaluable to get that done. i was drawn to coke industries because it seemed to be a
perfect vehicle to talk about what is going on in our economy. there's a book by tom wolfe called a man in full. a file coke industries is a corporation in full. a giant, sprawling institution that touches every part of our economy from energy infrastructure to blue-collar manufacturing jobs, this provides a big roomy campus to start talking about what has happened in our economy of the last 40 years. it's also a great way to tell the story because it is a privately held firm run by a man named charles coke who has a particular view of how our economy should be structured in the role of government. i feel this is one poll in the argument in regulated markets and how market should function. it's a battle we are seeing
played out today. it's a great vehicle to be talking about that today and this price will help a lot to report about. >> and this is the third book that has characters of the sun. a couple of books of young women coming-of-age in others immigrants. your ambition was well described in the judges citation, tell us about the methodology and how you decided to settle that with this group of subjects. >> thank you. it is wonderful to be here tonight. >> you are asking about our inspiration, my parents are here this evening and they live close by but they are originally from ireland. i think you can see where probably my inspiration comes
from being interested in immigrants and refugees and people from other countries. my first book was a work of immersion journalism if we can throw terms around. this book is as well. i do love immersion journalism. i love being in the moment with the people i'm writing about in real time in getting to know them slowly over time. and witnessing what unfolds without knowing exactly what will happen next. it is a bit of a gamble. because who knows how the book will turn out when you don't know what the story is yet. if you put yourself at the right place at the right time magical things can happen. in this case it is not clear to me that was going to be true for quite a while.
i have put myself in the classroom with teenagers who are not saying anything at all. a lot of time went by. i have a very patient editor who is here this evening and because he believed that this classroom was a good place to be and i would talk to about it from time to time. i stuck it out. really amazing things happened when the kids began to acquire some english and i was able to bring interpreters in the room and get to know them better. and yes it is really a join honor to be here. once upon a time i met tony lucas at a conference and i was reminiscing with his widow about that is he was incredibly kind to me when i was very young i was trying to tell him how much i admired his work. it is nice to be here.
>> congratulations tyler, this is a monumental book and easy to read at the same time. as you outlined in the introduction you had to make choices about where to start and who to put in and who to leave out. he made them effortlessly at least. on the page i don't know how effortless it was in fact, but you been working in the sun for a while but you went big with this narrative. how did you decide to take on an epic form of your engagement with immigration in new york. how did you shape the choices you made as he went along. >> the way i came about the topic, some of the people are in the room who had a lot to do with it. when i was in graduates do not columbia in the 80s my mentor was eric. [applause]
in one of the graduate seminars i was in we read the manuscript of his book that was published around 87. was a monumental book. up until that point i never imagine that i could ever write a book like that. as we talked over the semester and he let us through how he did it i started to think well i could do something like that. i started to imagine which is the biggest hurdle to over common a work like this. that inspired me. i decided someday i wanted to write a book like his reconstruction book. i eventually came up with the idea of doing something with new york immigrants. when i would tell people my dear that mostly look at me like i was crazy and nobody could turn that into a narrative.
in 1995 and met bruce nichols who is here who edited the book he didn't have that reaction. he had a glow and is a and he said that's a great idea. when i going to start on it. and i said i'm not ready to write that yet he said when you're ready come back and see me. he ended up editing my second book of nine years later i did come back and we worked on that. the other thing that inspired me was having written two books that were narrowly focused, one that looked at it two-year time and another that looked at a four by five black neighborhood, five points in new york i wanted a narrative challenge and it seemed to me there couldn't be a better narrative challenge than
trying to tell this 400 your story between two covers. that's where the idea came from and how it germinated. >> gary, the judges provided a sense of the book but it's hard to convey the spirit of it because the such an elegant and hunting read. i will let you introduce the structure of and how you came to choose the day of the stories you told. you have been working in books and newspapers for a long time and we're briefly colleagues at the washington post, and the post introduce you to your wife, so we take some solace in that. your form in this book is such an original choice. there's a quiet strength of
confidence about what the subject is but you never force us into one form of engagement with gun violence, the collateral damage of the gun laws. you just let the reporting bring us there. was that always your vision? or did you have to fight your way there to stay quiet given how powerful some of the material is? >> it was a bit of a fight to stay quiet. i'm a columnist usually. i've been a columnist for 15 years. so i was adamant that this would be a show rather than tell book. it is rooted in basic since statistics which is how many
children are shot dead on average and that i pick a day and try to go about and find out who the kids are. for the most part they passed without much know. one of the boys and dallas -- they get rarely more than a few sentences in the local papers. part of the fascination is being british my wife is american my kids are american but i was born and raised in britain. the whole time i was reporting from the guarding there are two things i found very difficult to explain to a foreign audience. the first was healthcare, why wouldn't you wanted and the second was guns, why would you want them. every time there was a mass shooting people elsewhere not just in britain but surely they're going to do something about the snow and i've been
here long enough and say now were really nods. so partly because i'm british i'm not in a position to write a book about gun control. i think being british would remove you from significant sections of the conversation. but also because it felt like that debate has gotten sterile and this is not a book about gun control, it's of book about what happens when you don't have gun control. and no other western country with this be possible. it would be on thinkable. and the drive throughout was to let the story speak for itself. so the day chose me really. so we can before thanksgiving in
2013 and then the drive was to find the family's and to let them talk and hope that in meeting these kids and i did not know who these kids were going to be because they had not idea that a meeting these kids there would be, whoever they were there we create some sense of empathy which i think is lacking. so even statistically be unlikely to be you because you're wealthy, white scum or whatever. for these kids so different than yours? the parents are different from your parents? >> it really is such a masterful and teachable book of show don't tell and the reporting narrative
one of the ways it succeeds is the subject overall binding the life-and-death is the essence of control. but it's also about racism and structural poverty and trajectories that you discover through your reporting so what did you discover with a subject that family subjects that you are ready feel like you understood did you learn through these stories to do something through america that you didn't know by digging in? >> i have been here for 11 years when i started writing the book. so of course i thought i knew quite a bit of already.
but this was how quickly one can become desensitized to these things. i knew america was very segregated. i don't think i had thought through in terms of what it meant in terms of isolation and empathy for another's vast amounts of inequality that i did not follow through on quite how that would be given the circumstances first the two things that struck me most keenly was whenever i asked an open-ended question of on the north you would not think well
we have to get rid of traffic, if you cannot imagine the traffic it seemed to me that in communities was wasted effort of imagination really that was shocking to me. and surprising. the second was that every black parent there are ten kids that were shut dead, every black parent when i asked them did you think this could happen they'll said well yes. i didn't think it would be him i thought it would be his brother, and said you not doing your job is your black parents if you don't think this could happen. woman came the realization that
i had felt that in my life too. even as a black parent and even though my son was only six, that i had monk feared for him one of the things they feared was that he might get shot. and the degree to meet to which you carry that around with you without even knowing it was a surprise to me. >> may turn to, with one or two questions unless you're an even greater genius, you did not know you're going to be publishing in donald trump's america. so much of the narrative resonates because of the repetitious history of the exclusionary policies and immigration that nonetheless
revives and reinvents the city in the country. i was really struck by the reminder of the restrictive immigration laws are passed into the 1880s in which all categories of people including people at certain ideas in their head is exhibited certain fallacies of development of mental ability and who are systematically legislatively excluded. my broader question is, how does the attempt to restrict immigration in this time of this administration compared to and resonate with episodes like that in the 1880s and others. what does history telus is usually the result in this country? >> the thing that we see that is, looking at the immigration
restrictions starting in the 1880s and going up to the present is that first, the people impose restrictions are usually ignorant about the immigrants who they restrict. usually ideas of who they are, why they come to america, what kind of america they'll become. their ideas about their are usually base much more in hearsay or just sheer fantasy than reality. that's been the case throughout american history. in terms of the results, they vary a lot. in the 1920s immigration was restricted tremendously with the exception of people who wanted to emigrate from britain, ireland, germany, immigration is greatly restricted.
but time you get to the 40s and 50s you have an america where immigrants play a smaller role in the civic life of the country than they do in most of its history. the very atypical time in american history. the other thing that happens is there's always unintended consequences. with immigration restriction is usually when you restrict some immigrants and the more will come to another place are usually just as objectionable to the limiters as the people they were trying to limit. so when restrictions are made in the 20s on southern and eastern european immigrants you have a larger influx of latino immigrants and then those become the unwelcome people. we get a large influx of immigrants from the caribbean,
from places like the british colonies are formed british colony who don't fall under those quotas. there's always unintended consequences and the laws seem to be based on ignorance. >> another thing that occurs is the way that immigration changes in new york in these ways and neighborhoods and there's a lot of wonderful maps and ways into this material beyond this great storytelling. i was trying to this portrait of immigration in new york today in 2014 when you point out more than one third of the population are immigrants, essentially that means born elsewhere. the large number from the dominican republic, 402,000 and the largest is 320 chinese and rising sharply.
and then hundred 70000 mexicans and that's the stable population. and then others over 100,000 residents and very dynamic. what is the role of immigrants in this later chapter. how is this sharply rising chinese population settling into the city? what is the narrative it is created the culture and economy of the city? >> the thing most interesting as the historian is how much the story repeats itself. the chinese immigrants just as 100 years ago the eastern european jewish by telling immigrants came to new york they would start places like the lower east side are one of the little italy's if they were italian. when they had saved enough money they moved to brooklyn.
he moved to brooklyn to one of those neighbors that had trees and houses as opposed to tenant apartments. the chinese are doing the exactly the same thing. you are chinese in the lower manhattan chinatown than they were a generation ago and many more chinese and south brooklyn and most of south and southwest brooklyn has become predominantly chinese. if you live in manhattan or the northern brooklyn you don't see that much. if you get off the subway at the rate stop even go to queens where the immigrants are looking and you asked them as reporters do why did you move and they say the same things the immigrants had 100 years ago, better schools, fresher air, less crime more opportunity.
those are all the things chinese immigrants eight today. those are the things the previous generation have cited also. despite the impression we tend to have today's immigrants must be different than those of the past and in fact is the theme of the book is every generation of immigrants really re-creates the story that previous generations to the specifics tend to be a little different but the overall story of the immigrants tends to be the same. trying to get a better life if not for yourself for your kids trying to fit in and then for the most part succeeding. >> are your suspects fully aware
of the change in climate? >> i thought you make it to me next, the subject being immigration. are they fully aware? one of the great challenges of being in the classroom i was had to deal with communication issues and language barriers. so was in a classroom or by the end of the year there were 22 kids but they spoke 14 languages and these five different health alphabets and one teacher trying to teach them english. i was amazingly invited to spend a year in that room and witness what happened. to give you a sense of the level of dialogue we are able to achieve at the end of the year i saw one of the students and she came up to me in the hallway was trying to tell me she had more
friends in school but what she said is here my brother here my friend, so we are communicating but it is not exactly munication as i'm having during the rest of my day. so absolutely the people i was writing about had a great appreciation for what was happening in our country and yet my ability to understand and repeat back to what their understanding was is complicated but while were on the subject of immigrants and the ability to appreciate one another i would say the subject of immigration to me and refugee resettlement
seems fraught with labels and therefore an inability to appreciate one another fully and so what i'm trying to write about in my book is the surprise of learning as much as possible about other people when you don't necessarily share the same cultural background but the struggle and searches to get the on the label to full humanity. >> it may not be so easy to connect to to the threat of this conversation but we been colleagues for good while and i've watched you develop for many years now. i asked you when we're hanging out before the event that i want to repeat riches the koch's are
an ominous force and active politically for such a big business conglomerate, privately held, not subject to the kind of constraints that publicly traded corporations face in politics, what is their agenda and position in donald trump's america? >> thank you for the softball question. it is a complex and changing situation right now. the thing i would say is i have been very interested to learn overtime or the coke stand and how they view the situation. it's taken a long time. my reporting process starts with a healthy fear of my editor is never quick to accept shallow reporting. i always have that in mind and i spent a lot of time visiting people who work for coke
industries for decades and have been close with charles a2. i have to say that this really represents him. it's not a character church or the kind of cartoonish character picture that most people might picture. it is fair to say that charles koch has a defined view of how the world works and how markets work and how political system should work. that is to lead human decision-making probably based on fold if you will. since austrian economist that centralized control and decision-making only causes more harm than good. therefore even well-intentioned government intervention only hurts more people than it helps.
this is a sincerely held view of the koch and the people who work for the institution. so how do they view donald trump. it's fair to say they view him as ideologically inconsistent in holding these views and cracking down on immigration, raising trade barriers, these things that are supposedly helping the middle class in the view of koch world would only do more harm than good. they're certainly not on board with what is happened over the past year it's fair to say they don't support the trump agenda as it appears now. it would be my view they're trying to steer trump more toward their point of view which they have a lot of common ground. the extremely limited federal government. what's happening at the pa would please many people in the orbit
of the koch industries. but they don't want to see the border adjustment tax which will intervene in the economy to help certain industries over another. it's a game of supporting what they think will work in the maybe fighting the interventions they want to stop. it's a complex relationship. >> when we met you were coming out of it tour in little rock and covering big egg for a while. you wrote a book about the power of the agriculture and the working in the midwest is an on the ground reporter. one of the themes you are advertising about the work in progress is hollowing out of the american economy.
you must've reflected and talk some to your blue state colleagues since november about what you think was going on in some of these communities that you spends much time in. what equation of hope or desperation or grenade throwing was behind this wave of populism in these communities? what's your take on that give us the first three minutes of it. >> i was really surprised. i'll just say that. i was just talking to priscilla and reporting and talking to these union guys as the case happen to be who have been democratic voters for a generation. in their mind they have been pressing the d button time and again without seeing results. i feel like i'm just stating
something that is so obvious. they feel like they were not being listened to by the modern democratic party. i feel that sentiment was underappreciated in 2016. wasn't just to throw it out or burn the system down mentality, think these people have felt really abandoned when you see the rust belt flip for donald trump, that was an incredible signal in my mind these are communities that have felt utterly abandoned by hate to use the word establishment, but by her political system. they've been fed election about getting an it job when the factory closes and none of that really works. after so many cycles of feeling like you are not listened to these people felt they were
going to try new thing. donald trump was the first politician 30 years who got up on the stage incentive carrier air conditioner moves jobs to mexico i will put a 35% tariff on that. that was the first really truly vocal political statement saying that your jobs matter more than an ideology to me. and i'm gonna fight for them. that message was in every platform of his speech along with how repugnant journalists are. those are probably the two pillars of his campaign. and at one where he really needed to win. >> we are aware of that second theme. let me open it up. i don't know if we need a microphone hands in the air would be the easiest way here comes the microphone.
>> i don't know if this is a great question, but if you could take gary's book another day in the death of america and you could put that in different time that you've written about in your 400 year history, what would you see? would you see a reflection of a certain ethnic group or immigrant group? do you think of the black people primarily being killed? what that tell us of how the way people are being treated or who is being oppressed in america has changed over the years? >> that's a great question. the first thing you see which you mentioned before is the number of people killed goes up exponentially once guns become widely available. that's around the start of the
american civil war. before that the number of murders that would take place in new york in a year you could count on two hands. then it goes up once guns become more available the murder rate hasn't changed in new york since the 1870s. it has peaks and valleys but the 1870s to today it's about the same. that main thing that happens is introduction of guns. in terms of who is getting killed, one of the things i find his moviemakers in particular love showing scenes of protestants and fighting are blacks and whites fighting and i don't know if it's the case with the murders you looked at the typically new york the murders take place among people who know
each other so it's irish killing other irish or italians killing other italians and people within their groups are killing each other. every once in a while you'll have a famous riot and you have religious -based riots and race riots later on. those get most of the press. but if you are randomly to choose a day look at the people who were killed the immigrants are not going to be killed out of proportion to the rest of the population. they're mostly going to have been killed by each other. >> so christopher and zachary,
we talk about trump a great deal. we know the koch brothers are kingmakers especially concerned with politics the wheel nuisance the early days of the campaign that trump is not going to be -- the question is, have they shifted to congress in their spending on their lower-level plans? >> yes. and i don't know if you can -- what you think? >> i think is a factual question, yes. they shifted to congress in terms of their political spending in their group spends a lot of money to elect members to
congress rather than supporting donald trump. but this is something i want to test cuba as we all know, elections if you turn out republican voters you will help republicans up and down the bat ballot. they knew in supporting candidates there supporting donald trump. so felt like ideologically they may not line up with trump in every particular in terms of being able to divide their intentions from where they put their money there were important backers in trump. >> i would like ted to things. given we parts of the book commission into it, i love writing about koch industries because they are incredibly smart. what's happening politically in my mind reflects what is
happening inside the corporation. one thing to remember is the return engineering and operating complex systems. there are these young, brilliant graduates with engineering degrees who can talk for hours about software systems that operate gas pipeline and it's nuts. i think they approach politics with a similar mindset and from that perspective congress has always been an important playing field for them. that is where so much of the mechanics of lawmaking happens. 's were rubber meets the road. complex legislative processes that take a long time they don't get a lot of public notice. in my mind that is always been the anchor of coax political power is in congress and further
out from there. their bodies had power there. secondly, they are big traders. they trade in the commodities market every day. the theory there is that you're not looking for one big whale of a trade because you can never read that, in that regard the presidential campaign section cycle is like that one big trade that maybe you're going to win and there's a huge jackpot but they're not as focused on that. there truly playing a game. charles koch gave a speech in 1974 for he was laying out this political vision and political plan. in my mind is the basic game plan they are using today. they can see cycles, go on the white house. as long as you're playing the making the smaller bets across
the board you'll have a better chance of getting your political vision realize. i do not think 2016 matter to them as much as people think. if trump begins his major enduring force in america that will change things. but by and large they been rooted in congress and will be there for the foreseeable future. >> this is for gary. i loved your book. spoke about the reaction to mass shootings and how that often drives both the media narrative run gun control. in your book very much gives the line about who gets killed by
guns. i know you're writing about gun control you write about guns, wonder how the reporting of your book and looking out the lives of people killed by guns every day if you think about policy and the governmen gun-control py differently now? >> yes, i do. most of the ways i think about it differently is i think that the conversation that is taking place, the reason i thought a lot about why when asked a question guns did not come up. i said to people what to think about gun the more leading question is it's crazy that you can get them so easily. if i asked about the gun debate like there's a debate, what with that debate be to me the way i
think about it differently is that to talk in terms of background checks and things like that which would be useful but it's inadequate. and that if you are in a place where a lot of people are being shot than the notion that background check is going to do for you does not feel like the appropriate place to start. i felt like what america needed was a different narrative of itself. that when the nra convention is on and he said i would say i'm british i would don't understand. explain it to me and then maybe after the races they would say are you mary, do you have children and then that was it.
they're going to rob your wife and kill your kids what he gonna do? you call the cops and wait for them to come or are you going to defend your house? statistically that's nonsense. most people who are killed by guns kill themselves and that after the most people who kill other people with guns know them. so are you married or watch out for your wife because she'll probably kill you. [laughter] but it was powerful because it spoke to homestead, masculinity, small government. do for yourself, individualism, a range of things that are essential to how much of america understands what america is about. if you pick that against
background checks them background checks is never going to win. we need responsible and it's not that's not true it's just the framing of that has to have a different vision for what the country is for. because guns are such a central part with the power really physical. >> thank you. i was a judge on this and i read 60 books. i want to change gears nasa question to all of you. the criteria for a couple of these words are not just topic of social concern or research but in the case of the lucas price, literary grace or expression. can ask about words and after
you researched your topics and looked at your notes you had to write sentences. i was moved by the grace of the words and who were your literary heroes can you give us a thought or two about the active writing? not the active researching or even the topic of your book but simply telling us what you learned because you did it. these books are not just important but they are moving their moving because you are good writers. could you speak to that? >> i love talking about writing often more than i like talking about history. i'm not sure i had literary
heroes exactly but i certainly of role models when i talk about eric and jim mcpherson's book was another great role model, a book i kept wanting to read more more even though it's a complicated story ron who is no longer lifetime at berkeley and wrote a book strangers of a different sure that was my inspiration for working male family to the story. he worked his family into the story of asian americans. but choosing the words is really important for me. what is always foremost in my mind is that narrative arc. that's always at the forefront of my mind both thinking about the art and i break it down sections of each chapter then
have how the chapter plays into the narrative of the book. i really wanted to write something that was not encyclopedic but was a story that beginning middle and end. another inspiration was a teacher i had named eric. i remember my first year of graduate school he talked about the power of the beautifully crafted thumbnail sketch. if you could work into your stories a great character and tell the stories distinctly and beautifully that was away you could grab your reader. then if you had other stuff to do those maybe not as interesting you could do that because you had won them over with that story. i like the note the judges had about my book because they
talked about that and i feel like eric is somewhat looking down on this and smiling. that was the idea there was to figure out how long you need to tell it and those were the things i thought about as i wrote. >> one of the big challenges for me was that you have these children and without then there's no books that was central. but then quite often you have these fuels and you never want to be too far away from the child and yet sometimes when you're trying to build context or make an argument and you
don't want it to look like the child is an excuse of the argument, you want that argument to serve the purpose of explaining how this happened. that was one challenge, to be honest the first book i did not have kids. one of the challenges i find is being a parent because children intrude. literally, they come into your office. and so i started off by describing each child's face because one of my kids was sick and that's why is doing but i could keep going back to the face and thinking what am i
getting from that it could only be a paragraph but which i thought you have to bring these kids to life. they can't all be like angelic or they are what they are, they look how they look. there were some real deep diving for that. it is not like i walk around describing people's faces. a tall guy, shortcut, black-eyed, white guy, so having to describe eyelids and ears and look for what was -- that was a