tv Books Adapted into Movies CSPAN February 8, 2020 4:00pm-5:26pm EST
i think they have a choice to make whether to stay with the democrats. as i say from the time i worked there until this morning the paper is i think most people would agree editorial is mainstream liberal progressive. you ask about the daniels. i worked for frank daniels junior. i talked to him and you can read about it in the book. he has mentioned in the epilogue. thank you so much. >> great question. and now on c-span two book tv more television for serious readers.
with the academy awards taking place this weekend we want to look back at some of the authors we had covered on book tv with have the books adapted into the film. first up is just mercy. his book tells the story of walter mcmillan. he was accused of murdering an 18-year-old girl. brian stevenson spoke with us about his book at the miami book fair. here is a look. the story focuses on walter mcmillan. there is a murder downtown young white woman was murdered. after seven months they were putting a great deal of pressure there. i think they decided to arrest someone. they didn't have a crime. it was not the kind of person
you would expect. it was having an interracial affair with young white woman. he was arrested and actually put on death row for 15 months before the trial. actually put on death role -- death row before the crime. and then i talked to his family. at the time of the crime he was 11 miles away and about 20 people from his church and family raising money. all of these people knew he was innocent. it would've been so much better if they would've been there. because we were there with him we were convicted as well. the thing that got me really plugged into this case. as soon as i thought that notice of appearance.
i got a call from the judge. he was convicted and sentenced to death. the book is about the effort to expose his wrongful conviction and i talk about the irony of this case because of this community is the same. it is a beautiful book with an incredible place in american literature. they love that story. but it was the tragic irony that they were so enamored with that story. >> he came to the attention of the police because he was having an affair with a white woman? two things.
the woman he was having an affair with it was married. her husband found out about it. there was custody proceedings for their children. we have history in this country of not dealing with the legacy. it is the guilt that gets assigned to particularly men of color. around the same issue. until the 1970s which was dominated here. about 87 percent of the people were executed. and they were african-american men accused of raping white women. that narrative of black sexuality was part of the context that i think made it possible for this.
>> when you look at the 200 plus on death row. are you fighting to end the death penalty is that one of your goals. >> may be the death penalty is an issue that has to be answered by answering a question. do people deserve to die for the crimes they commit. in my view in the united states we do not have a criminal justice system. i would like to stop the death penalty in all cases. we've a weave a criminal justice system that treats you better. we have a system that is compromised. we make a lot of mistakes that is not the only person that was convicted and sentenced to death. it is a shameful way to barrett.
no one would fly. but we cultivate that. i don't think we should be executing people in this country with the kind of system that we have. i'm also morally opposed to it you will don't have to be a poor list to the death penalty to determine that it's not appropriate here. >> who said capital punishment means death without capital gets the punishment. >> there was an amazing lawyer by the name of steve wright. i wasn't sure i wanted to be a lawyer. i was a philosophy major in college. it took me a while that i was not going to get that when i graduated. i am certain. it was the beginning of an education and then without the
capital. we have a system where wealth matters more. we started in 1989. we have now gotten hundred and 15 people off of death row. there is a lot more work to be done. i talk about in my book. the u.s. is the only country in the world and they are condemned to die in prison. and then that is another project we are working on. in the early 1970s. 2.3million today. and the tremendous increase.
we have the confinement in many states. we have probably have a million people in jail. it is a horrific waste of money. >> tell us about the case that they are forced to walk. just yesterday. and a man named anthony written. he was convicted of two murders in the 1980s and he was innocent but he could not get the legal help he needed in the state said they found a gun in his mother's home that was matched to these two murders.
because he was poor he needed a gun expert with that false evidence. his lawyer found a guy who was the civil engineer who was blind in one eye. he have never looked at a gun before. he has been on death row for 28 years. they have the nationally recognized products. they were locked in a warehouse at the time of the crime 15 miles away. the security guard was there. and we had been fighting to get the relief. it was a tremendous challenge. too late we are not cannot look at this evidence anymore.
we wanted to get to a final outcome. i think that is really corrupted our capacity with reliable punishment. that's why we work so hard to expose that. >> our look at nonfiction books adapted to films goes to hidden figures next. it was integral. and the moody -- the movie adaptation was received. for best adapted screenplay. here is the author. in virginia. physics meant math and mathematician. from the middle of the last decade they have meant women. the first computing pool.
it caused an uproar among the men at the laboratory. how could a female mind process something so rigorous and precise. >> the very idea investing $500 on a calculating machine so it could be used by a girl. but that the girls had been good. very good. better at computing in fact than many of the engineers. with only a handful of girls winning the title of mathematician that put them on equal footing with entry-level male employees. most computers were designated as lower paid professionals provided a boost in the laboratory's bottom line. in 1943 the girls were harder to come by. virginia tech are rand lapse up and down the east coast searching for key focus.
to fill the hundreds of open positions for computers and scientific aids. what seemed like entire classes of math graduates. the college for women and she hunted in virginia schools and the states teachers college in farmville. he leaned on the u.s. civil commission and the more manpower commission. they might get top priority. he penned ads for the local newspaper and the daily press. produce your household duties. they should call the laboratory.
they were published in the employee newsletter. are there members of your family or others you know that would like to play a part in gaining supremacy of the air. how to friends of either want to do important work towards winning and shortening the war. with men being absorbed into the military service with women already in demand by eager employers the labor market is as exhausted as the work workers themselves. a bright spot presented itself in the form of another man's problem. they demanded that roosevelt open lucrative war jobs. threatening in the summer of 1941 to bring 100,000 negroes to the nation's capital. in protest if they have robust demand. who is this guy. roosevelt blinked.
a tall portly black man randolph. the close friend of eleanor roosevelt headed into the 37,000 strong brotherhood. they waited on passengers in the segregated trains nevertheless these jobs were coveted in the black community because they provided a measure of economic stability and social standing. believing that civil rights were linked to economic rights randolph fought tirelessly for the rights for them to participate fairly and walk through the country they have helped to build. randolph would address the multitude at a number of marches on washington. to the young charismatic minister.
later generations would associate black freedom movement but in 1941 as the united states oriented every aspect of its a society towards war for the second time in less than 30 years it was randolph's long-term vision in the specter of the march that never happened that pried open the door that have been closed like a bank vault. with two strokes executive order 8802. in executive executive order 9346. to honor the national product. roosevelt primed the pump for a new source of flavor to come into the production process. nearly two years after his 1941 showdown as the laboratory's personal request applicants of candidates began filtering it to the service
building for consideration by the laboratory's personal staff. no photo to the applicant's color. it was struck down as administration tried to dismantle discrimination. the applicants tipped their hands. west virginia state university powered the agricultural problems. all negro schools. nothing in the applications indicated anything less. if anything they came with more experience than the white women applicants. they would need a separate estate and then they would have to point someone have the new group and experienced girl
white, obviously. some once his of his disposition matched the assignment. on the west side of the laboratory a part of campus that was more wilderness than anything resembling a workplace could be just the thing. his brother's group have already moved there as have some of the employees in the personnel department. they test the airplanes queued up. they welcomed the additional hands. they held the portsmouth. no imagination on the part might think of the idea. to come here as the virginians called the newcomers to the state.
groundskeepers. and opens the door to negroes who would be professional that was something new. butler proceeded with discretion. no big announcement in the daily press no fanfare but he also proceeded with direction nothing to herald the arrival. but nothing to derail it either. navy he was progressive for time and place or maybe it was just a functionary carrying out his duty. state law in virginia customs kept them from truly progressive actions. perhaps the promise of a segregated office was just the cover he needed to get the black women in the door. whatever the personal feelings on race one thing is clear butler was a langley man through and through loyal to the laboratory to the mission to its worldview into the charge during the war.
by nature and by mandate he and the rest were all about practical solutions. so too with philip randolph. it was unrelenting pressure. laid the foundation for what would become the civil rights movement. there was no way that the men at the laboratory or anyone else could have predicted that the hiring of a group of black female institutions. would end at the men. still he went from view. it would crush the notion that faster than sound flight. was it physical impossibility. they would amplify the power of the science and technology to unthinkable dimensions. no one anticipated that millions of wartime women would refuse to lead the american workplace.
or that american negroes would persist in their demand for full access to the founding ideals of their country and not be moved. the mathematicians who walked in in 1943 would find themselves at the intersection of the great transformations. they contribute to what the united states would consider one of the greatest victories. in 1943 america existed in the urgent present. responding to the needs of the here and now butler took the next step making a note to add another item to sherwood a metal bathroom sign spearing the words colored girls. >> that oscar awards are this sunday and we are taking the opportunity to show you some of the authors from the archives. up next they describe a secret
wing of the u.s. military that was formed in 1979. the film starring george clooney. in 1995 the cia declassified the fact they sounded incredibly glamorous. it was half a dozen soldiers. in maryland. told by their commander officer. there stating that. it didn't exist. they have no coffee machine. after 23 years they have to bring their own coffee into work. and they never got the repairs done. and the buildings didn't exist. the cia declassified and shut them down.
everybody went crazy for them. the team of psychic spies. no one really thought that maybe this was the tip of the iceberg. it turns out maybe it was. turns out that there was a secret team of soldiers at fort bragg in north carolina. not that the soldiers would need to learn how to change the course of the enemy. i don't think it was something that could be deployable in a situation. didn't want the local animal rights activists to find out they have goats on base. many of them have their plans. they had been shot in the leg and nursed back to health and regular conventional medical
training programs. sometimes they would all be herded into a room and then subdued with hand grenade. and then they would russian and try to nurse the goats back to health. as if that wasn't bad enough in the early 1980s and once again today once they have all of the goats on base special forces decided to try to kill them just by staring at them. they started hearing. they just basically stared at the goats. i managed to track down the goats. it was alexander who alienated. is it true did you ever managed to kill a goat just by staring at it. yes, it's true. only last week i killed my hamster just by staring at it.
he said he have videoed it and i could come watch the video if i wanted to. with the martial arts and dance studio. he showed me all the documentation as it came out in special forces. in the acts of karate chopping goats. with the quivering palm. apparently you walk around for 204 hours and then drop dead. and then he showed me a hamster video. they were looking at him and his son filming me the whole time i was there. it turns out they thought i was al qaeda. they thought they found out special forces. there is a sky who claims to be a journalist in england.
we want to know what he looks like. i think that pinpointed at what moment they realized i was not al qaeda. i kind of screeched. i love catherine zita jones in that movie. that was the moment that he relaxed. he should be the hamster video on one level this is basically a hamster and its wheel with a guy staring at it and providing an entirely random psychic narrative. i don't own a hamster i don't know how they behave. i don't know if it was typical behavior. it did stand typical and very still. the other hamster which was
the control hamster stood on top of it. magna see it die now. it gets weirder. and then the tape ended. it is a very inconclusive video. later they told me the reason why he did not want to see the bits. he was afraid i would take it out of context. he assured me that the hamster did die. more recently, a few months ago i was very excited telephone call. the goats and the hamsters are steering. what kind of animal was it.
i'm not can it tell you. was at a small animal and cheap to purchase. i can neither confirm or deny that. they don't want to kill a hamster anymore. they want to earn the --dash michael learn might learn the art of despair. they are teaching the interrogators. back in the 80s they were trying to kill them. at one point all of the videos are inconclusive. the camera zooms in. you hear a soldier off-camera saying he is down. you never see it.
i have never actually seen any animal fall over. at that point they put 30 goats in a room and they put november -- numbers on each of the goat. goat number 17 fell over. i guess is collateral damage. >> the other thing i was curious to know was how this came to be it turns out it was all because of one man a remarkable and quite wonderful lieutenant colonel. he was in vietnam and he realized his men were being killed because they fired high. the viet phnom was coming. not the americans. after the vietnam war to move to the pentagon. he wanted to teach the
american army. this is what he would learn with these things. amongst new age potential. he never told them how the ideas that he was picking up there. in his naked hot tub. could be adopted. and they could teach them how to be more cunning. he came back it was the first earth battalion operations manual. it was a redesign of every aspect of military life with the soldiers. they would place the lambs down on the ground and with sparkly eyes they would give the enemy a hug. if that was not enough to pacify the enemy they would have allowed speakers attached to their uniforms. they would have indigenous music and words of peace.
the music would then be switched to broadcast the sounds. it's the idea of blasting. it is one of jim's legacies and very much alive today. fleetwood mac in metallica and so on. that is one of jim's legacies. anyway the pentagon, my guess is that at any other time they would have blasted the room. it was not just individual soldiers who were traumatized. i think the army army and machine was melancholy. .. ..
>> then had to walk through wars. they offered the opportunity to try to get sources to do that, but jim said not. jim was this kind of a pragmatist, and he realized these ideas were good on paper, not necessarily achievable in real life. he said, no, i want the money to just flow out there, and it took root. that person to be a member of the battalion. i think jim wanted people to strive for the impossible but find a greater level of human potential. but because so many of jim's superiors were literal-minded men, they actually tried to walk -- the film opens with the commander of military intelligence between 1980-1983 getting up from behind his desk and jogging -- [laughter] to his wall. he's thinking to himself, what is the atom mostly made up of?
space. the key word is mostly. [laughter] what am i mostly made up of? atoms. all i have to do is merge the spaces. the wall is an illusion. am i destined to stay in this room? no. bang, bumped his nose. and he was confounded by his continual failure to pass through this wall. and he eventually went through special forces at fort bragg. maybe special forces -- it was he who put in to special forces the idea that they should try and kill animals just by staring at them. so that was, that's how the battalion, that's how this think tank idea floated into the subject of the military. >> another nonfiction book that was adapted into a movie was "the accidental billionaires" by ben mezrich, used as the basis for the movie, "the social network" which was the winner of three academy awards.
ben mezrich spoke at the 2010 miami book fair. here's a portion of that e-mail. >> guest: i got an e-mail and it was a harvard senior who said my best friend cofounded facebook, and no i one has ever heard of him. it was this kid eduardo salve run who had cocofounded the company, and he had gotten kicked out, if his words. he felt betrayed and wanted to tell his story. >> well, who is eduardo sevr to on? geeky, gawky kind of socially inept kids who were kind of on the outside, and they add had met in an underground jewish fraternity at harvard. and mark came up with the requested of facebook and went to his best friend and said if you put up $1,000, you'll get 30% of the company x that's essentially where it started. these were the two guys who were
here at the very beginning. there's a lot more to the story than that, it's pretty intense and dramatic what happens. >> host: what happened? >> guest: well, it actually started as a college prank. it was late one night, mark zuckerberg was drinking. he had been on a really bad date. he hacked into all the computers at harvard and made a web site about who the hottest was. it crashed all the computer servers, mark almost got kicked out of college. instead he went to his friend and said, see, people could put their own pictures up, we might have a cool web site. so it started as a prank. but there was a lot more to it. there were the winklevoss twins. these were the good looking, cool guys at harvard, the studs on campus. they had been working on their own web site which was kind of a dating site for harvard men. they had hired mark to do their web site. mark blew them off of and launched facebook, so they
claimed it was theirs and ended up suing. two separate lawsuits and a whole lot of fun. >> host: and this all came to you via -- >> guest: well, it started with eduardo, randomly out of the blue. i had a book called "bringing down the house" which was a movie called 21 which a lot of college kids, every college kid saw. so they had seen my movie, and they thought i would be the right guy to tell the story. i'm not a journalist who kind of tells these dark stories. they wanted me to tell it because it was about brilliant kids doing something wild and incredible. eduardo was angry and did want someone to tell his story, but it grew and grew from there. i began finding all the elements and that's where the story came. >> host: when and and why did eduardo -- by the way, the numbers are on the screen in case you want to talk to ben mezrich. when and why did eduardo and mark zuckerberg fall out? >> guest: well, it happened pretty fast. they started the company
together, they were college kids. halfway into the college year, basically a semester later, facebook starts to explode, starts to take off, everybody's on taunt. mark moves off to california, and eduardo stays behind to finish school. mark zuckerberg meets the rock to star of silicon valley, he's the cool kid, he cofounded napster, he was -- he's the crazy kid, basically. he found masker. mark kind of idolized him, and they didn't need eduardo anymore. eduardo froze the bank account. that's where the battle began and, essentially, they just got rid of him. of. >> host: what is he doing today? >> guest: first of all, he cut off all contact9 with me. in the midst of writing my book, my book proposal leaked out on the internet. everybody freaked out. eduardo was in the midst of a legal battle. mark settled with eduardo, and it's unknown but the number's supposedly around a billion
dollars -- >> host: a billion. >> guest: a billion. these kids are 19, 20 at the time. eduardo told me he could never speak to me again, cut all contact. i've heard rumors that he's in singapore, i've heard rumors that he's in taiwan. he's an amazing guy. i'm sure he's doing something in business. he got what he wanted. he's been reinstated as cofinder of facebook, so, you know, he did get what he wanted out of meeting me, but i have lost all contact with him. >> host: where are the winklevoss twins? >> is so limb pick rowers, they're rowing in the london olympics, training for it right now. i believe they're in new york. i actually i saw them at the premiere for the movie, "the social to network." they're really nice guys. when you meet them, you think they're going to be the bad guys, and they even said to me and it's in the movie, you look at us and you think we're going to be facing the karate kid wearing skeleton outfits, but they're actually nice guys. >> host: did they get a
settlement? >> guest: they received $65 million -- >> host: each? >> guest: together. but they are trying to reopen the case because they feel like they deserve everything. they're very upset, and they feel like the requested was stolen from them. so there you go. >> host: did mark zuckerberg talk with you -- >> guest: no, mark refused. >> host: have you met him? >> guest: i've never met him. he's said it's all lies. he refuses to read it, so i don't know how he knows it's all lies. i've heard that he did see the movie and loved it, but, no, i've never talked to mark. >> host: has anyone sued you over this book? >> guest: no, you know, it's a true story. it's not a negative story. everyone makes it out to be the negative attack on mark zuckerberg. mark zuckerberg is the gene -- genius behind facebook. he's just done some things that have upset a lot of people. but there's nothing in this book that's to not true. you can't actually find anything that's factually incorrect in this book or in the movie. and i think that is an interesting thing.
but, no, nothing like that. >> host: what do we learn about mark zuckerberg's personality? because in this book you say he cut off some relationships because it was all about facebook. >> guest: yes. well, he's determined, he believes in facebook in almost a religious way. he believes everybody in the world should have facebook. he thinks of it changing the world. you know, he's very inempty in person. i don't know if you've met him, but he can't have a normal conversation. he's just an odd guy. but he's truly a genius, and he's very good with computers, and he's got that whole hacker personality. >> host: where'd he grow up? new jersey -- new york, sorry, upstate new york. his father was a dentist, his mother was a psychologist, i believe, and went to prep school, went to exeter, but he was an outsider. he's always been an outsider. >> host: doris kearns goodwin looked at president lincoln's contentious cabinet in "team of
rifles," seven years later it was used as the basis for "lincoln" starring dan yell day lieu -- daniel day lewis. up next, doris kerns goodwin talking about her bestseller in 2006. >> i've often been asked what surprised me the most about the lincoln who emerged from those years of research, and i think my answer would be his amazing personality. i knew that i respected him as a statesman, i knew that he was a person that i would feel great admiration for, but i had no idea the affection that i would eventually feel for him because he had this extraordinary gift for storytelling. and a hilarious sense of humor. in fact, the stories that he liked to tell are not quite what you might expect. my favorite lincoln story had to do with the fact that when he told the story that ethan allen, the great revolutionary war hero, went to britain after the revolutionary war and the british people were still upset about losing the war. so they decided to embarrass him
a little bit by putting a picture of george washington in the outhouse where he would have to encounter it. instead of coming out angrily, he seemed to be smiling. they said, didn't you see george washington in there? oh, yes, he said, i think it was a perfectly appropriate place for him. what do you do you mean? well, he said, there's nothing to an englishman faster to shit than the sight of general george washington. [laughter] [applause] so you can imagine if lincoln told stories like that and there were those before cabinet meetings, people would relax. [laughter] it was so hard in that bleak childhood of lincoln's to figure out how to learn anything. he later calculated he had only gone to school one year altogether of formal schooling. a few weeks here, a few weeks there because his father needed him to work on the farm, the his
father would loan him out to other farmers for whom he owed credit. he read every book he could lay his hands on. when he got a copy he was so excited, he couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep. the great poet, emily dickenson, once said there is no frigate like a book to take us lands away. how true for lincoln. though he would travel to england, he went with shakespeare's king toss that merry land. literature allowed him to transcend his surroundings. but there were so many losses in his early life that he was haunted by death. his mother died when he was9 years old -- 9 years old, his first love, ann rutledge, at 22. moreover, when his mother died, she didn't promise him that they would meet up gwen, she simply said, abraham, i'm going away from you now k and i shall never return. as a result, he was haunted by the fact that when our earthly life comes toen end, that's the
end of us. he seemed to adopt a great consolation in an old greek notion that you could live on if you accomplished something worthy enough so that your deeds could be told the after your life. so your story could be told after you died. and i i came to believe that that huge ambition which was so much larger than simply for office or power or celebrity, but rather if he said it, the desire to leave the world a little better place for his having lived in it, that imbiggs became his load star -- ambition. it cared him through the one significant depression he had when he was in his early 30s when three things had come together to lay him low. he had broken his engagement to mary todd lincoln, not sure he was ready to get married but whoaing how much hit you are the -- knowing how much it hurt her. the only intimate friend he'd ever hope opened his heart to was leaving illinois and to go back to kentucky, and his
political career was on a downward slide. he said he was the most miserable man alive, and his friends worried with that he was suicidal, so they took all knives and razors and scissors from his room x. his friend joshua said, lincoln, you must rally or you will die. he said i would just as soon die now, but i've not yet anything to make any human being remember that i have lived. and then he expressed this lifelong desire to mow accomplish something so that his story could be told after he died. and somehow newelled by that worthy -- fueled by that worthy ambition, he went back to the state legislature, he eventually won a seat in congress. he tried twice for the senate, lost twice. he kept going and became a dark horse candidate for the presidency on the republican ticket. in 1860. everyone expected the governor and senator from new york to be the nominee, the most celebrated anti-slavery order of the time, one of the founders of the republican party, if not, they
thought it would be the governor and senator from ohio x if not chase, edward bates, the elder statesman of missouri. but somehow lincoln became a dark horse candidate for that position, he worked harder than all the others. unlike the others, he had not made enemies along the way, and he won that nomination, stunning the convention. but then he stunned the country even more by putting each one of these three rivals into his cabinet. it was an unprecedented act at the time, especially since each of them thought he should have been president instead of lincoln. they were far more experienced, educated, celebrated. and somebody said to him, why did you do this? he said it was very simple, these are the strongest men in the country, the country is in peril, the country needs their services. finish but maybe lyndon johnson would have put it more simply and more crudely. better to have your enemies inside the tent pis, out than inside the tent pissing in at you. [laughter] now, to be sure, seward, chase
and bates were all strong and able men, but in the end it was the prairie lawyer from illinois who became the undisputed captain of this unusual team of rivals. as the arc of each of the relationships will show, these people came to respect, admire and many of them to love him by the end of his presidency. sue ward was so disappointed -- seward was so disappointed at first he said that he felt like he was hearing his obituary, because people were feeling sod bad about what had happened to hum. when he first assumed the job of secretary of state, he thought, i'll run this thing, i'll be a prime minister, he'll simply be a figure head. but within months he came to understand lincoln was unlike anyone heed had ever known. he settled back the give up his own ambitions to become president the next time around becoming lincoln's most closest friend. lincoln loves nothing more than going to seward's house at lafayette park, they would talk about everything except the war.
they went to the theater together more than a hundred times during his presidency. lincoln loving nothing more than to settle down in the darkness with a shakespeare play coming on and imagine himself back in another time and another age. seward was affable, outgoing, loved good stories, loved to drink, loved to smoke his cigars bates had almost the opposite personality. he spent his evening writing in his diary or practicing jokes, all forgetting the punchline. very stiff, very reliberties, and he repaused to give up his own ambitions to be president. indeed, he tried five times. he had this relentless desire to be in the white house. in part, i think, because his own private life had been so sad. he had married three young women all of whom died young. his first wife in childbirth at 22, his next wife of tb at 25, his next wife in her early 30s, so that presidency became almost are an obsession with
him. even in 1864 while he's still secretary of the treasury, he's trying to organize the treasury as a machine against lincoln saying all sorts of mean things about lincoln. lincoln knows everything he's doing but, amazingly, keeps him on the job because he realizes that chase is doing a fabulous job raising the lopeses and money that's -- loans and money that's necessary to keep the troops in battle. even more amazing when he wins the nomination and election in 1864, a vacancy arises in the supreme court, chief justice, and he appoints chase to the position. and his friends say, lincoln, don't you know the horrible things he's been saying about you? he said i know meaner things that chase has said about me than any of you do. and he said on a personal basis, i'd rather swallow a chair than appoint chase to this post. but he will be the best man for the rights of the emancipated slaves, and that's far more important than my personal feelings toward him. and he was right. chase served honorably in that
post. lincoln always had priorities of what mattered above everything else. now bates, who becomes his attorney general, had almost the opposite life experience to chase. because at fest he was very ambitious as chase was. he was in the state legislature, elected to congress, but then he fell so deeply in love with his wife julia that he said he couldn't bear being away from her. he who letters saying i can get through the days okay, but the nights i'm so restless, i can't with bear being away from you. so finally he gave up his political ambitions to be with his julia. they ended up having 17 children. [laughter] finish now, when he first becomes attorney general, he thinks, well, lincoln's rather unexceptional, nothing important. by the end of lincoln's prime minister city, he thinks lincoln is as near a perfect man as anyone he has ever met. but in some ways the most remarkable transformation of attitudes toward lincoln took place between his secretary of war, stanton, and lincoln.
they had met as young lawyers in the 1850s. stanton, a nationally celebrated lawyer, lincoln known only in illinois. and when they met, there was this big patton case that stanton had, and it was supposed to be tried in illinois, so they thought they needed counsel in illinois. interviewed lincoln, put him on the case. but then the case got transferred back to ohio. they didn't need lincoln anymore but they forgot to tell him, so he worked all her on his brief, he wases so excited. he went to cincinnati, he goes right up to stanton and says let's go up to the courthouse together. it was recorded at the time, saw a big stay on his shirt, his hair was disshelfed, he turned to his partner and said must get rid of this long-armed ape. they never opened the brief he had painstakingly prepared. lincoln felt so humiliated that he said he never even wanted to go back to the city again. and yet amazingly six years later when a vacancy arose in
the post of secretary of war because his first secretary of war had resigned, everybody said, lyndon, stanton's the man -- lincoln, stanton's the man for the job. he's brilliant. lincoln was somehow able to put this past hurt behind him, appoint him to that most powerful civilian post. and by the end of lincoln's presidency, tanton said he -- stanton said he loved him more than anyone outside his family. >> this sunday is the academy awards, and our look at books turned into movies continues with blackhawk down, an american military mission in somalia gone wrong. a book was adapted into a movie in 2001 and was the recipient of two oscars. now from our archives, mark dowdening discussing his book. -- bowden discussing his book. >> it happened on october 3rd of 1993. it started in the late afternoon when about 20 u.s. army
helicopters loaded with the rangers and delta force operators launched to attack a target building in one of the most crowded and dangerous neighborhoods in mogadishu. the mission that day was to capture two lieutenants of somali warlord adid. and the idea was that the delta force operate ors in particular -- operators in particular would land in these little helicopters called ah-6s right on the street in front of the house where these two somali clan leaders had been seep. they would take down the house, as they call it, arrest anyone inside, and a convoy of vehicles would pull up out in front of the target building. they would load up the prisoners and drive out of the city. now, they'd done six of these missions previous to this day, and they knew that they had about 30 minutes to get on the ground, round up their prisoners and load 'em up on vehicles and
drive out of the city before they'd run into trouble. because they were going woo a very -- into a very densely populated city, and motion deer shoe is perhaps even more than detroit the best armed city in the world. and so every minute that they were on the ground somalis would be converging toward where they were. hot cell malleys, well of armed ones. -- malleys. and they knew they had about 30 minutes before there would be enough somalis who would race to the air -- the area that they would run into some real problems. but their tactics were speed and surprise. and they had relied on it previously with great successful on this day though, they ran into some problems. a number of things happened. probably the most important thing that happened is that one of the going rangers, as he went to grab the rope and slide down 70 feet to the street from a blackhawk, missedded the rope
and fell, instead, 70 feet to the street. his name was todd blackburn. now, todd was obviously very severely injured in the fall. and, you know, given everything that happened over the next 15 hours, the force probably overreacted to his injuries. but it was n their defense, the most serious injury that a task force ranger had encountered in the six weeks or so that they were in mogadishu. so they took stock, detached a couple vehicles from the convoy, loaded this kid up and evacuated him as quickly as possible so he could get medical attention. but this i delayed them by about3-4 minutes. a number of other things happened. at about 35 minutes into their mission, one of the blackhawk helicopters that had been flying in orbit overhead was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed about five blocks away from the target house. this, of course, changedders. it meant that they weren't going
to be able to load up on vehicles and race right out of the city. instead, they ended up -- most of the force -- trapped in the city overnight. and for about 15 hours they fought against an overwhelmingly, an overwhelming number of somalis who basically formed a ring around where they were pinned down. and it wasn't until very early the next day when a giant convoy of vehicles rescued them. this battle became over those 5 hours probably -- 15 hours probably the most serious sustained fire fight that american soldiers have been involved in since the war in vietnam. i said probably. it is the most serious gunfight that american should consumers -- sold veries have had. 18 soldiers were hurt and a very conservative estimate of 500 somalis were killed, over 1,000 somali casualties. now, i was safe at home in my kitchen in new london, pennsylvania, when this battle took place.
and i found out about it the same way that everybody else in this country did, by news reports on tv and by newspaper stories. i remember seeing those terrible images of dead american soldiers being dragged through the streets of the city. and i read the account in the days that followed. i went out, i think, on the sunday after this and picked up as many sunday papers as i could find to learn more about what had happened there. and what struck me about the story was this image of 99 american soldiers pinned down, souped, fighting -- surrounded, fighting for their lives. it didn't particularly strike me at that time as, you know, a terribly significant or important story for our time. it struck me as just an extraordinarily dramatic story. and i had long felt that for the kind of writing that i do, which is sort of attempted reporting and investigating in an effort to be able to write a true
story, to write nonfiction, with as many drama and detail as fiction. and what would be a better or more compelling subject matter for that treatment than combat so i remember reading these stories and thinking, my god, what a great story this is. and thinking that, boy, some writer was going to get a chance to tell a great story. and being the go-getter that i am, i didn't do anything at all for about two years. [laughter] finish i didn't do anything because i figured if i could see what a great story this was, that there were hundreds of writers who would see that, and i have no military background, or nor have i ever written about the military. so i assumed that writers who spermized in this -- specialized in this sort of thing would be all over the story. if i even wanted to do it myself -- and i had no idea how to each begin -- by the time i
got up to speed, there would be people way ahead of me working on it. so i went to work on other things. in the spring of 1996, this is now more than two and a half years after this battle took place, the "philadelphia inquirer", where i work, assigned me to a story in the magazine section. every four years, every presidential election cycle, the inquirer does a cover story in the magazine on each of the major candidates for president. and in 1996 i got the booby prize, which was to write about bill clinton. now, i say booby prize not to insult the president, but because as a writer, it's a very difficult assignment. easily, if not the most, one of the most written about people in the world in the previous four or five years. so what is mark bowden going to write about bill clinton that's worth anybody's time to read or even worth any of my time to write?
it's not as though i'm going to get to hang out with him at camp david for the weekend and form, you know, a perm impression. so -- a personal impression. so i began casting around for a way about writing a story -- for writing a story about the president. and what occurred to me was i could choose a series of small stories or anecdotes where the president interacted with other people in various capacities, official and unofficial. go to those people and interview them about how the president handled himself in those situations and write the story on that basis k. and so the first of these anecdotes that occurred to me was i had read in 1994 a little 7-inch wire service of story about a meeting that the president had at the white house with family members of men who had been killed in this battle. parents mostly. and i can recall are remembering as i, or thinking as i read that little piece, i would are loved to have been a fly on the wall for that session, because what
more poignant and difficult task would you have as president of the united states than meeting with the parents of family members, the wives, the brothers and sisters of men who died following your orders in and in particular in this case the decision that the president made the day after this battle to basically call off task force rangers mission to somalia was one that was greeted with tremendous bitterness by the military. and i would expect by the families of men who had died in this battle the day before. because arguably if a mission is so unimportant that it can be called off the day after 18 american soldiers died for it, then arguably it should have been called off before those 18 american soldiers died. >> we're digging into our archives to look at books that have been adapted into movies. in "the immortal life of henrietta lax," rebecca sloot
tells the story of an important scientific discover. in 2017, oprah winfrey produced and starred in a move i have by -- movie by the same name. here's a portion of that interview is. >> scientists had been trying to grow cells for decades, hers just never died. her cells are still alive today growing in laboratories around the world hoe she died in 1951. it became one of the most important things that happened in medicine. they wanted them for space missions to see what would happen to human cells in zero gravity, the years, the sign terrific landmarks just go on and on. >> host: and are till being used today. >> guest: yep. [inaudible] >> basically, they will just keep growing, multiplying and
living as long as you keep them fed and clean and the right temperature. they can live on forever. [inaudible] >> guest: this is at a point when scientists were trying to grow any cells they could get their hands on really. to they had been taking samples from anyone who came into the hospital, lots of different hospitals. taken hundreds of samples from people, and they all died. their samples all died. >> host: with their knowledge or without their knowledge? >> guest: pretty standard without their knowledge. very few people knew this was happening. >> host: and this was in the 30s and '40s? >> guest: '50s. 1951 was the year the cells were taken, and, yeah, it was standard practice at the time. >> host: okay. >> guest: a lot of people have their tissuesed in research and don't really realize it. >> host: and why for the tumor? >> guest: well, there was a specific study going on in hopkins looking at curve value cancer. -- cervical cancer.
doctors could take the cells from the cervix and look at them under a microscope to diagnose cancer, but they didn't really know what they were looking for. so there was wide spread misdiagnosis. so that's why cervical cancer specifically, but more generally they were just trying to grow any cancer cells they could because they didn't know anything about cancer. they didn't know what dna was. they had no idea why cancer cells behaved differently than normal cells and how they spread so fast x. so part of it was they wanted to grow cancer cells so they could figure out what cancer really was. >> host: what's the medicinal value of cancer cells? >> guest: yeah, it seems like a complete disconnect. so there are a lot of deferent ways, and they do have a lot of
things about them that are normal. they have abnormal, you know, dna. but, you know, they sort of metabolize, and they produce energy, and they have sell membranes that function like normal cells, so you can study what's normal about a cancer cell and apply e that to any cell. but they also, they work as little factories. [inaudible] the cells grow and grow and grow, and the virus reproduces in the cells, so you can mass produce viruses. and extract them from the cells. is so they work as little factories. but just more generally, they're just really widely studied. so they're sort of a baseline for any research. scientists know how human cells behave x they just dent know what to expect -- so if they're going to expose them to a drug or, you know, something else and the cells react, they know what they're start thing from so they can see how it changes.
>> when are the reasons for her cells surviving? >> guest: there really aren't any. we know she had hpv and that it sort of inserts itself into your dna and changes it, and that's how it causes cancer. is so -- [inaudible] had interacted with her cells that caused the cancer to be very virulent. she's 30 years old, heed had a nickel-sized -- she had a nickel-sized tumor. the more amazing thing is within six months every organ in her body had been taken over by cancer, so it grew very fast. more than her doctored had ever seen before. so there was something special about her tumor. you know there's an enzyme in the cells that rebuilds the chromosomes so they don't age, they just sort of stay young and never die. why her cells do that and others didn't is still a little bit of a mystery.
>> host: tell us about her family. tell us about her background, first of all. you said she was a tobacco farmer in southern california, but a little -- southern virginia. >> guest: a very impoverished family for many generations, and she moved up to baltimore in the '40s because their tobacco farm had dried up, and her husband found work in baltimore. that's how she ended up at hopkins. and, you know, she had five kids by the time he died at 30, and she was just a caretaker. she wanted more children. she was very devoted to her kids. she was also a person who, if you were in baltimore and you didn't have any money, you slept on the floor. and if you were hungry, this was always a pot of food on the stove. if you needed a girlfriend, she'd find you one. she was this sort of souper mom -- soup mom to earn.
super mom. her family, it makes sense in terms of her personality and what she would have done. they believe her soul is alive in the cells and that she was sort of brought back as an indiana cell to take care of people. and, you know, the family has very conflicted about the cells -- >> host: all five kids are living? >> guest: no. there are three kids still alive today. her family didn't know the cells had been taken until the '70s. >> host: how did they find out? >> guest: scientists, after the cells had grown, the scientists hadn't seen anything like it. to learn more about the cells, some scientists decided to track down can her kids and do research on them in order to understand the cells. so her husband, who had a third grade exand didn't know what a cell was, got this phone call one day. and the way he understood it was we've got your wife, she's alive in a laboratory, we've been
doing research on her for the last 25 years, and now we have to test your kids to see if they have cancer, none of which the scientist said. but he thought they had her in a cell, that was his only understanding of the word cell. her family checked into the research that they didn't understand, and the scientists didn't realize that the family didn't understand, and it had a traumatic effect on the family. and navy been struggling with it ever since for a lot of different reasons, some of them just very emotional. her daughter deborah very much believes her mother's alive in those cells, and she would ask the scientists questions like if you're sending her cells up into space, can she rest in peace? and when you inject them with these chemicals, is that something that will hurt her? and henry yet that's son -- hen henrietta's son, a multibillion dollar industry grew out of
selling these cells, and and her family can't afford health insurance. they're quite poor. why can't we go to the doctor. so long answer to that question. there's -- [inaudible] ever any litigation? >> guest: no, not from the family -- >> host: why in. >> guest: some of it is access to legal come, i think. they didn't ever have that. also there will be other cases in the past where people have sued over ownership of their cells -- a man who found out that his doctor had patented his cells without his knowledge and they were worth millions of dollars. very rare that that happened. and the courts have always ruled against the people who the cells come from. so the way that it stands you don't have property rights in your tissue once they leave your body. >> host: what's the -- is that -- [inaudible conversations] >> host: what about the johns hopkins doctor who took these? who was of that? tell us about hill.
>> guest: yeah, there's a lot of them. there was a team of doctors. howard jones was her initial doctor the who saw the tumor and diagnosed it. and there was this team at hopkins who was doing this research on the cervical cancer. you know, and the scientists who grew the cells were different from her doctors. so they took the cells and gave hem to to the sign difficults, and he gave them all -- scientists. he gave them all away for free. he just gave them to anyone who he thought would use them for science. they very quickly went all over the world. a factually was set up where they were mass produced, three trillion cells a week. so the volume of these cells produced is just kind of incomprehensible. >> host: besides polio, where else have these cells gone? >> guest: oh, everywhere. you know, you can use them as a
baseline for all things. is so you can grow, as i said, you can grow various things in them. so if you want to grow a certain to teen, you can -- [inaudible] and they're, you know, the research done literally, if you go to some of these scientific databases and you type in hela, it's like going on google and typing a ant. the flood of research that was done on these cells, and it still -- >> host: what is hela? >> guest: it's the name of the sells. stands for henrietta lacks. the number of scientific journal articles published each month using hela cells, i think it's about d i can't remember exactly, it was about 3,000 papers a month. an enormous amount of research. >> in 1938 the racehorse seabiscuit was an international sensation. laura hilly brand chronicled the
story of a 2001 book that was made into a movie two years later. the film was nominated for seven academy awards. and now from our archives, here's laura hillenbrand talking about seabiscuit. >> physically, he was nothing to look at. he had great big knobby niece, he was -- knees, he was too short, his neck was too thick, he had a big hammer head. he swung one fore leg out in this odd, spastic, flailing motion as he ranch his first owner tried to give him away as a polo pony and was rejected. that's how bad he was. >> the day charles howard discovered seabiscuit on share toe baa? >> saratoga. >> tell us how charles was first introduced to this horse.
>> he and his wife were sitting up in the grandstand. there was a very cheap race going on. there was post parade. he looked down at this very ugly horse and so did his wife, and he bet her a lemonade that the horse would win x she thought it was silly, and she took the bet because he said he wouldn't win, and the horse won. they shared their lemonade, and they both had a pull of intuition. charles howard was a man whose intuition was superb, and he liked this horse. he told his trainer to go look at him, and he bought him. >> the head butt. >> the head butt. [laughter] the trainer, tom smith went back to look at the horse, and he recognized him from having seen him earlier in his career. he liked the personality of the horse. the past performances were terrible. this horse had lost and lost and lost. but he, there was manager about him he liked -- something about him he liked.
he brought charles howard over to the barn area and said you better look at him, and the horse gave him a big head butt. and that was it for charles -- >> found home. >> yes. >> there are, i think personally, there are probably three climaxes to this book. the maturation of war admirable and hundred grander and, frankly, how you piece together -- how you put the end together. i, we certainly don't have enough time x i don't want -- those of you who have not read the book, if there are any of you who have not read the book yet, don't want to give away how it ends, but i do want to talk about the match race which after reading your book and studying this, this race sounded like what the super bowl would be today. >> yeah. there were 40 million people listening to the match race between seabiscuit and war admiral. war add marl was -- admiral was
the triple crown winner. 40 million people were listening that day, that's 1 in every 3 americans -- >> including the president who put his taffe on hold -- >> yeah. he had his whole cabinet in the other room waiting for him, and he was listening to the horse way. >> you had to read about the special trains that were coming just for matches like this. sort of describe the festive environment of a match up as that. >> it was -- i spoke to the man who arranged the match race, alfred vanderbilt jr., who died a couple of years ago x he said this was an event that every single person in america caressed about. and -- cared about. it was in every single newspaper, and i went through hundreds of papers. and you can see articles about it in virtually every single one big front-page kinds of stories. people speculating, it's a whole nation divided up. and on race day they got 40,000
people into the track, and there was only seats for 16,000. 10,000 people were outside the gates hanging from trees and sitting on fences and roofs to see this race. and all the people i spoke to who were there that day, most of them -- well, they were just about all kids at the time, said that it was really the greatest sporting event they ever saw. >> you have seen probably every photo imaginabling, but for those of you -- describe that photo for me. what is this? >> that's the start. they were started from a walk-up instead of a starting gate because war admiral was a very high strung horse at the gate. >> for those of you who are hear hear -- here, we'll pass this around. take a look at the fence behind the horses. these people are ten rows deep standing outside of the track. watching this race. what is incredible about this is how this country stood still for
a race like this. horse racing at that time, is it safe to say that this may have been the true first national pastime before baseball? >> yeah, i would say that. finish horse -- horse racing quite an old tradition in america. it dates back well into clone call times. it was -- colonial times. and this was the culmination of quite a long time of horse racing in america. >> you have some special show and tell here today, folks. tell us what these are. >> those are seabiscuit's shoes. [laughter] >> we will not be passing these around. [laughter] >> those are very big feet for a thoroughbred. a friend of mine who wrote the biography of is secretariat, he outweighed seabiscuit by maybe 300 pounds and was much taller,
and his shoe could have fit inside seabiscuit's shoe. he was an awkwardly built horse. >> we are with laura hillenbrand, we are going to go talk some questions in the audience. so have your hands up and and to go. first questions right here. >> if seabiscuit were so so uncategorically -- [inaudible] what made him so fast? >> i think most of it was heart. most of it was his desire to win, which was simply if financial. the people that i spoke to said they had never been around a horse who tried to saturday to win. -- hard to win. his joining said of him you could kill him before he quit, and i think that was it. >> [inaudible] by seabiscuit too much. didn't attribute a lot of human emotion to his behavior. i was wondering if that was a challenge, and i do want to speak to one behavior that he
talked about which was that he said he teased the competing horse when they were racing, like seabiscuit would hold back a little bit and then surge forward towards the end. i just find it very interesting. and how do they know that he did that deliberately? [laughter] >> one of the fortunate things about writing the book at the time that i did was there was still a few people around who had handled this horse and ridden hum. i spoke to two people who rode him regularly, and they both swore up and down this horse was teasing his opponents, that he would -- he'd get up next to them and deliberately slow down, he would snort in their faces. he'd let them get a little bit ahead and blow by them at the last second. and you can, if you spend enough time around horses, you can see they understand competition. they enjoy it, and they understand when they've won or they've lost. and this horse was a highly intelligent horse, and he
clearly understood it. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> one of my favorite passages in the book was early op when you were describing -- [inaudible] he was gray, his hat was gray, just blended in -- and you seem to have among your many talents, a lot of talent for pure description. did you ever consider writing fiction? >> oh, thank you so much. that's a huge compliment. it is what i enjoy most about writing, the description of things and small things especially. trying to capture what they are. and i think sooner or later i will write a novel. m certainly when i was a teenager, i would write obsessively fiction. i didn't think when i was a teenager i would end up writing history, but i kind of fell into it. >> all the way in the back. >> first of all, thanks for
writing the book. it's a great read. i couldn't put it down. >> thank you. [applause] you talked about seabiscuit's heart x that was clear all throughout the book, but it's especially clear in the big race. who was it that told you about -- [inaudible] ing. >> george wolf did a lot of very detailed interviews about that match race, and i had the wonderful luxury in writing about this match race in that everybody did detailed interviews. everybody talked at great lengths about things. and george was a very observant man, and he would tell you very tiny things about what horses were doing that could tell you a lot. which way a horse's ear was pointing, where a horse was looking, and that's where i got that from. >> right over here. >> yeah, you said in your book that you used the santa anita race track as a camp for the japanese in world war ii. and i wondered if it was still a
race track. >> it is. it's the most beautiful racetrack maybe in the world. it's very much like it was then. it's till that same russet color, and they have very, very high class racing there much of the year. the mountains are still behind it, and they're just lovely. >> right back here -- [inaudible] >> laura, seabiscuit is the best book i've ever read. [applause] it's engaging, it's not just because i'm an equestrian, it's an engaging book. it transports you back in time. i felt like i was living with those people. it is just a financial book. phenomenal book. having said that, i'd like to know why do you think that seabiscuit didn't run the triple crown race? >> i get that question a lot. i think that's one thing i wish i could do differently in writing the book is tell that a little more clearly.
i'm putting it in a later edition, paperback. the triple p crown is only open to 3-year-old horses, and when seabiscuit was 3, he was nowhere near fast enough to compete. as a matter of fact, his stable mate was the favorite for the derby at granville, and i believe that granville ran in the kentucky derby, seabiscuit was earning $25 in a race in new york. so he just wasn't good enough then. had he been in the hands of tom myth atta point in his career, i am almost certain he would have won the triple crown quite easily. >> all of the programs from our look at nonfiction books that have been adapted into movies are available to view in their entirety at our web site, booktv.org. just enter the author's name or the book's tighten spool the search box which you can find at the top of the page. >> coverage of the rancho mirage writers festival continues sunday at 1 p.m. eastern. featuring a discussion on u.s.
foreign policy with historian max boot and journalist james sallows, george packer and robin wright. a look at the president and the media with ab, this news' dan abrams and l.a. times executive editor norman prl stein. and lynne cheney and karl rove reflect on the bush administration. watch our coverage starting at:1 p.m. eastern on sunday and be sure to watch our live coverage of the savannah book festival next saturday on booktv on c-span2. >> here are some of the current best selling audio books according to audible. topping the list is talking to strangers, new yorker staff writer malcolm gladwell's examination of how we misread strangers' words and actions. that have avenue that in a very stable genius, phillip rucker suggests that the trump presidency has been defined by
self-enrichment. that's follow by ezra klein's look into america's political divide in why we're polarized. then, in catch and kill, pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist ronan farrow chronicles the efforts made by others to stifle his reporting. and rounding up our look at some of the best selling audio books according to audible is peter. >> weezer's investigation into progressive politicians in his latest book, profiles in corruption. most of these authors have appeared on booktv, and you can watch them online at booktv.org. [applause] >> thank you. good afternoon, everyone. and thank you for joining us for this aspen book talk, "brick by brick: building hope and opportunity for women survivors