tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 28, 2013 10:00pm-12:01am EST
basket has said tag and it lists the name of the boarding house. greeting the of knowing comments in the autobiography but it seemsphy to contemplate the deaths of this boy. , but to compare that with the painting made me think that you just cannot pay attention to his comments. of lot of them obfuscate and i never felt his comments were that close to him. >> a literary critic dash cindy from new york. >> as a friend i take one
question that remains with me and i guess i would like you to talk about it a little more, the burning question about rock weldn says he transcends illustration? does his work go beyond the confines? before we the question that you kind of answer but i am still not sure to not do the double saying. d >> no. just the illustration. >> day you not think there was so deep to call him a
great realist painter? i would like you to address that also the way that you find the work moving. >> i think he clearly transcended that category. plug way to prove that is you look at the other illustrators those that were as famous as rockwell not in the encyclopedia britannica today. we although those whose workt is not consider bullion to topologies he continues this is just there is something more.
that is the indirect answer. to be, i see the sense of urgency in the picture. people think he has to pay to the black painting or the image of loneliness or he painted dark paintings at the end of his life that has nothing to do with the motion. i just saw a man who really looks at the world very closely. and really wanted to connect. and i did by his cousins.s and he was a very holy person and it was the only
at those midamerica of people wanting to comepeop together and belonged to something. i no longer for better or worse. not just one nationalve identity but we are probably better off toab sacrifice to have just one national identity. but i feel that sense and compared to that of others, this is a great cover. he really thought the story through. a sometimes from other cover i think why is there a and ear of corn? said never adds up. i have no idea.st
to the joke and did not comeut through but in a way that is what it is.s it is just ending you just cut and cut and cut and het did that there is not of lots extra in his paintings the detail means something. that means he put there deliberately. >> i am curious if you thought would it would be like if he lived in new york city store what paintings you may have made or how that conform to what he did?
so many people thought he created the fiction of small-town life that a lot of us know that it is a very authentic and it feels very real. you can still see the rockwell moments. >> right. he was born on the upper west side of manhattan and did spend his first years living in new rochelle end was familiar with the art scene something that drives me nuts. [laughter] he had to have seen it. what do you think? do you think he went?
[laughter] if. >> is a compelling story i would love to have an hour with him now. he very much resisted modernism. some people see that as a great flaw. one competitor said he hated modernism. so? does everybody have to love modern art? he actually felt affectionately but it did not speak to what he wanted to you do and a broken off the surface so in some way there is always another
world so he did not like it for that reason there was too much but also that bohemian lifestyle did not appeal he was very conservative he did not want to go out and have sex and get drunk he was a creature of habit rethink of artist that way by e stock to a strict routine and is in the studio by 8:00 p.m. by the end of every day i think he was in the state of total disenchantment because he felt he did not get done what he wanted to you do. and i think that propelled him for word that there was
always a vision that he had yet to capture so the christian work ethic at the end of the day you're not supposed to feel satisfied. [laughter] men to rise again the next day and keep going. >> right to. that is a very american way i found a lot of early interviews to it was so much fun but he said i believe henry ford what is a famous saying? ninety-nine% perspiration
and 1% inspiration. it is a myth anyway that the artist goes in with romantic ideas that is the myth of the modern movement. if you like to hear to a routine in your work? >> i like if i feel i am going to get up the next morning to work. >> that is a good feeling. [laughter] >> my name is bonnie. could you address the issue of sentimentality which many people criticize nor rockwell for for having that quality of sentimentality?
also may be connected with that the renewed interest of rockwell is there an element in their plan in the warhol by is santa is a different relationship perhaps then what was invested in the painting of the subject. maybe i am wrong? it reminds me of the attention of the popular robert frost but we don't have that division in the same way you don't discover another rockwell matt, do you? >> you said in the war halted id think there were different rockwells for different people with sentimentality and makes me want to write another book i
think his subjects were misunderstood during his lifetime he often painted people getting along the humanitarian side of america if you go look at the freedom of speech there will be a lot of years and eyes fragmentary because that painting is about looking and listening. why did i say that? because of the etf of community may be struck people in the '60s as sentimental but now at a time when the real from the government shut down and the pettiness of american politics we pnc that humanitarian ideals.
i think he did like the idea of people coming together. he liked everyone to get along. look at the freedom of speech. that lincoln figure rising up he isn't wearing a wedding ring if he might be in integrity is new in town i know he is supposed to be greek or italian but uc the wedding ring their older and i think to me that is the emblematic image of american democracy it is a fantasy
but it is a worthy goal? if you look at the turkey thanksgiving painting it is a family scene not the town hall nobody is looking at anyone and that is very revealing. [laughter] the say with coming and going to have a few generations of a family and a dog you cannot tell me directions they look off. you did not know that many directions existed. look at that painty more closely we start to look at the different subjects and i hope that a lot of grad students is the whole question of the day in the
drawing is now with the founding images it is supposed to be about every day life but you have people staring in different directions. the dog, the ice skater, he does something entirely different. you know, about those interlocking days to where the soldier comes you see him from the back and all eyes on the soldier and fell whole idea was something he very much needed in his emotional life and as an artist whose energies were
related it all became complicated in his work so that is one question i love to see a graduate student investigate with his work how did he change it? there are so many questions. he painted "the golden rule" published 1960 the mosaic then erik erikson wrote to nsa on "the golden rule" and became the centerpiece of the book and i just thought which way does this influence go? why are they both doing "the golden rule"? a lot of little question is like that doing research and
i'm glad some really cannot be answered so i lay out the evidence and hope that other people will continue their research of the golden rule. >> when it shines it is golden jesus. [laughter] you have to say yes or no and what the hell is it? so you attack it to see what you can do with it. >> but there is a lot of convergence of a love to see someone researched the source if you're looking for a good dissertation all artists do that take what
they need a and ignore the rest of lot of work to be done there i was recently at a civil war show and saw a painting by eastman johnson the day in the life a fabulous job underpainting i had already handed in my manuscript to editor done. let it go. i saw that painting and a screamed because there realized it had that was the painting he had to be looking at what he wrote the homecoming soldier. there were so many affinities then i became of assessed with that. did he have the book in his library? all of that as they trace
the relationship that is all they can do. there is no answer or that creativity comes from so for that to come out of that tradition you have the database and the web site and collect some of that information. >> former member of the event -- part of the museum good to see you at the lecture you for started to talk about your work. all of us care so deeply about norman watt -- rockwell to care about his museum to have someone of your stature to write a book about him for whatever
people think is incredibly important tim particular at this time so thank you for what is yeoman's work that i have not read yet is i'm not a member of the press but i did manage to breeze through the smithsonian magazine because i am troubled about the insinuations that rockwell was gay. i was reading the connections that you tried to make for the docks -- the dots that you try to connect and we don't have the benefit of your research material but i did find it a thin the and i am troubled again by you're throwing out that he slept in the same bet as his assistant. we know none of us likes
things taken out of context but the rest of the sentence talks about the other people who were on a camping trip who also shared. so when you just mentioned that as if he was the only one to do it, i thank you do a disservice to your supposition of the reputation and i am concerned so i hope you take the opportunity to talk about the mysteries and uncovering of mysteries in his work work and don't let that to hang out there and out of context. thank you. >> i hope that the book will hold you will dash help you to think i put it into the proper context. you read an excerpt of the magazine which is a very
limited amount of space and i think in the book i certainly grant him his idle plus any labels on his sexuality but some might say that was the culture of the time when men were fishing and shared beds but it is worth noting that the next morning he wrote in his diary fed -- fred was fetching in his pajamas that is an instrument on dash intimate thing to right i never'' here say i love documents i go as close to the source as i can and and
i think the material does raise questions it was not just a fishing trip but it was a need for his closeness with men which was the enduring thank in his life. >> i read the flyleaf of the book. you made a comment one of the reasons the move was he wanted to continue the therapy with erik erikson so to make a move like that he must have been very
concerned about his depression or despair that it took him time to address it that would be speculation that what would be the source? you find even people of that stature to have these kinds of problems so again it is speculation so i don't know if you want to answer that or not but that struck me to take such a dramatic step to continue to work with his therapist. >> i do think he was done in every once in awhile he needed a new subject but also wanted to be exciting
so simply not about erickson but then he gave him a letter that for me was revelatory but he started the therapy with ericsson because he always said because his wife was treated hard evidence here he is an artist and could establish that rockwell could to see him in september 1953 eric said. yap. that was incredible going
against the official story line. putting all on his life when he was enmeshed with redskin had drawn enormous support and i think this relationship was keyed to the civil rights period and wanted to give eric sent his do and it says a lot about rockwell that a man like eric say and is seen as a genius of the 20th century was so enamored of rockwell and the relationship but to the cause of his depression why is anybody depressed? probably the same sad sack reason someone did not love you once the matter how much
>> i would like to hear you say something about the incredible optimism of the work from what has been discussed of his own andism sadness. >> the optimism of the work? that is the reason we still respond because we care about one another such as the doctor and a the pediatrician.ize a doctor here doesn't ask his patient to fill out health forms or signed away his life.es [laughter] or not to pay before shel leaves but sinking of the of little girl who is worried
about the health of her doll a and takes the time to listen with the stethoscope. it is incredible. that was a very early painting. had just come back from europe and was very influenced from the dutch masters and that was a leap forward from what he was doing before it does mark a break from the earlier works and it is gorgeous. but i see a painting like that captures for the community minded best i don't know if it is called optimism but is it but with america's future he wanted
people to get along and look at one another. that has written of thath sentimentality. another thing i notice reading the negative reviews that people who never looked at the painting people would say though one with a girl? [laughter]ig but then a big liberal, i do not remember his name. he would talk in massachusetts people picking on of saturday evening post by not bothering to look at his paintings. kettle think people really took the time to look what an original he was.
48 hours of non-fiction authors now on booktv ray sware ease discuss the history of latinos in america going back about 500 years. this event is about an hour. >> good morning. maybe we can ask you to take your seats so we can get going. we know that the tempo of washington has changed just a little bit today now that the congress has come to an agreement and the government is back in session. so we thank you for coming thisn trning for what promises to bes just a terrific conversation co with a terrific guest on the very interesting topic.an and i'm going get in to that ine a minute. for thank you for your presence herr thise morning. office of the counsel of the americas and the america society. t a pleasure to have the opportunity to review this book
today, and to talk a little bit about the latino immigrant experience in the united states. our guest is ray suarez, who has written a really terrific book entitled "latino americans: the 500-year legacy that shaped a nation." it's a companion to the ground breaking pbs series on latino americans. in barely 250 pages, ray takes the reader through the broad sweep of latino history in the united states. even before there was a united states. from the spanish explorers to the modern day. it's a majestic effort, in my view. seeking to discover and highlight the history and future of the latino experience in the united states, and to put in context in order to build a broader appreciation for lot teen experience. it helps us understand, frankly, some of the issues that have become so important to washington politics today. as all the you know, the america
society and the coinlt of the americas are generally known for our work in the western hemisphere, including latin america, and canada. the immigrant experience is something that each of our nations have in common. we are a hemisphere of immigrants. for over five years, our immigration and integration initiative have sought to advance dialogue around the economic contribution of immigrants and latino to the united states. we believe that greater integration and appreciation for the socioeconomic contribution of the migrant community will support national leaders in -- as they pursue a sound policy framework within which we believe comprehensive immigration reform must play an important role that encourages the full participation of the immigrant community within the u.s. economy as a critical pillar of economic development, growth, and community strength. and that's precisely why the book is so timely. it must be said that the latino experience in the united states
hasn't been all perfect understood. and the integration process is not always perfectly smooth. ray gives us the story. that's what makes it so powerful. it's a story of resilience, sacrifice, and ultimately success. it's a story of america. and there is perhaps no better person than ray to wrinl it. you will know him for the national correspondent for "newshour" and npr "talk of the nation." and the interviewer tbeeched on the mesh -- americas last may he interviewed anthony kennedy in one of the most thought-provoking rule of law issue in the hemisphere i have ever heard. i have to say that my assignment today as the interviewer of an interviewer -- [laughter] is a little bit like going one on one with michael jordan.
i'm looking forward to the experience. he's a prolific author. -- he's received numerous awards for his groundbreaking awards in journalism. you have his expanded biography, if you care to look tat. ladies and gentlemen, would you please join me in welcoming ray suarez. [applause] i want to get to the story you told, ray, on the latino experience in the united states. as i join you here before we do. i want to explore a little bit of your motivation for writing the book. what was it that attracted you to the story. what if you hope achieve? >> when pbs decides it was going to start raising the considerable millions of dollars that it would take to put a project like this on the air, i should tell you a little bit about what is going on in modern television. you don't just do a documentary
anymore. these days when you go to the big philanthropic organizations in the arts and humanities -- in the social sciences, they want to know what your ancillaries are. so you can't just make a tv show, there's also a school curriculum. there's also a dvd. there's also an online presence. there's an interactive portion of the whole project where people who read the book or watch the tv series upload their own stories of their american journey online and interact with other people. the big givers want to know about engagement. so from the very beginning there was always going to be a book, and the producer of the series approached me to tell me the series was coming. i said, great. when can i start working on the narration? and he said, no, no, no.
i don't want you to do the tv show. i want do you write the book. [laughter] and i said, all right, well, that's fine. just at the same moment i was shopping around proposal with new york publishers for a new book and meeting with some mixed interest. so here it was a book in my lap. it was time to get going. it was perfect. the topic was right on time. and also, the discipline was good because unlike a book where you decide what is in it or not in it from beginning to end, i had to work with the producers of the television series all along the way. i was watching what they were doing, they were watching what i was doing. some much my chapters changed the way they saw their episodes, and their episodes shaped my chap -- chapters in return. we had to mirror each other to a degree. right at the outset i said to the producer, so can i just go away and write a book about the
latino experience in the united states? and he said, no, actually it has to kind of go with the tv show. [laughter] and so, benjamin did a lovely job are in rave -- arenarrating the tv series. i did a couple of promotional appearances around the country with benjamin and watched as we ended m perhaps. as people rushed the stage. they took his picture. [laughter] i actually -- actually a little hard to do with camera phones. they were able to narrow it to the point where they just got the very handsome and talented benjamin. he generously said why continue you -- put ray in the picture too? it cuts you down to size in washington a city where tv journalists think they can act like movie stars to be with the real movie stars is a imriewfl and humbling experience. [laughter] >> did you find the story in any
particular way to be personal? , i mean, did you take it as an academic exercise? did you take it as an exercise, as you mentioned, in term of working, obviously, with the television series and that side? did you put a little bit of yourself in to it. explain how it worked. obviously i would have written it a different way based on my background, et. cetera. >> that's a great question, obviously, i'm implicated in the story. my reason my family is here because we are implicated in the story. as a reporter and as a writer, i had to think, all right, well, do i put that in the book? it's not in the tv series. do i make personal notes along the way about what i remember about specific era or tell my own stories in covering, for instance, the immigration reform and control act of 1986? i decided to keep an arms length distance. to not drop out of the voice
that i was using to tell the story and get personal very often. one time i broke character was to note that when i was a kid there were only two latinos on television of any note. one was dezi and bob. the little friends with the crazy spanish accent. and use that as a moment to note how much things had changed in the fifty years since i was a kid. since now it's a little better. you can see people like me on the air. i don't have to wear a some -- some -- sombrero. there were times where i was temped to break character. i thought maybe i should tell people how i thought about it and decided not to. >> as an author that would have
been a i dynamic tension to figure it out. i think you did it remarkably well. i think it was a passionate book, but clearly done from the perspective just as you say as somebody a little bit dissipation nate and distanced so you can tell the broider sweep. i want to get to the broader sweep and the actual book. you know, you're telling 500 years of history and projecting a little bit to the future. that's a long time period to cover in 250 page exps you give us some of the highlights? you know, in term of the overall sweep of history, what are some of the things you think define the latino experience in the united states? even smaller issues that might have a broader residence? >> from the very beginning, in working with the producers of the documentary, we sort of gamed out how we were going use individual stories to be stand
in for era in history. so we would explain what was going on in the wider story by using one person's experience. you couldn't tell a highly in-depth academic history. you have to write a shelf full of books not a modest 250-page volume or indeed, six hours of television. you couldn't do it. we looked for stories that helped explain a wider truth about what was happening to millions of people at once. so -- who came to california as a foundling in the early areas from mexico city. she was put on a ship. brought up the coast, was brought to the missions as a young child. talked to -- taught herself to sew and read.
and gained the trust and made her a manager of mission holdings. eventually when the missions were secularized, and seized from the church and given to others after mexican independence. she became the largest woman landowner in northern mexico. quite an outstanding thing to happen in mid 19th century mexico. yet she lost it all when the united states came after the mexican war. so both her rise, her existence. her life coming from an or fan inch in mexico city to the rough raw frontier was to northern mexico. to end up 80 years later sitting and telling her story to an american historian who was chronicling the story with the
assumption that these people would disappear. that the mexico cultural deposit in that part of the world would be overwhelmed by the yankee arrival. and you needed to take this story down so that we would use it to remember that once upon a time there were mexicans here. it showed a misconception on the part of the english-speaking new kids coming west. it showed a misconception about how people interact with the land of their living on and how they remain in place. it was also a great story. it served all the masters. the story of who lead spanish-speaking regimen fighting for texas independence against the government of mexico. who ends up in exile in mexico.
a country he took up arms to fight against. we felt that was an important story. it showed that constant due alty and the constant challenge which people do you belong to? which country do you belong to? are you really here and stale part of there? once again, thank god, writes a passionate, fascinating memoir at the end of his long life to discuss how he felt he had been used and -- betrayed by both the americans and the mexican government of the time. it made his story easier to write. we knew from the historical record. but his hem moisture, which -- memoir which is a fascinating time to the history of both countries. inspect 20th century, stories like that of who goes to the supreme court of the united states to establish in law the
ability of puerto rican to move to the american mainland as people coming from another part of the united states instead of as immigrants. her fiancè is living legally in new york city. in the first years after the spanish-american war. is comes to new york harris harbor. two people come on the deck. the customs inspector of new york harbor and the inspection inspect per. he tells the woman from san juan she has to go ellis island. she said i don't have to go to ellis island. i'm from puerto rico. you took this place from spain in war. how can i be an immigrant? even after the case becomes legally moot because she marries her fiancè and becomes legally resident in the united states, because she has a head of steam
over the issue she fights it to the supreme court, wins, and establishes the right of puerto ricans to look at the united states as the wider country instead of being trapped in this legal nether word -- world of 3500 square miles floating in the caribbean. great stories that help explain why you're here. we're here, and how the history of the hemisphere is intertwined from jump street. if you read the writings and speeches of san marcin, they talk about jefferson and washington. they were on fire for the american revolution just as they were on fire from the french revolution. when you read marcin, he talks about the united states as the republic of freedom and until he spends 11 years in exile and gets to see both the down sides
and the upsides of life in the united states, he's a fascinating chronicler of late 19th century american life seen from outside. so it was a great privilege to be able to bring these stories who readers who may think they know a lot about this. before they sit down and as i said in the introduction, i haven't done my job if at least once a chapter you're saying i didn't know that. >> i think you did the job well. i consider myself one of these people that at least aware of these issues, and by definition -- >> well, -- [laughter] presumably but it was a constant learning. when i thought was successful. another success of the book was clearly you talked about the positioning latino history as american history or u.s. history. which, i think, is absolutely
true. and i think do you an effective job doing it. let me ask a question that follows from that, then, and it's not necessarily an easy question. but, you know, you point clearly in the book to periods of time when latinos have not been accepted. there has been discrimination and difficulty. i guess the question i ask is, you know, why has it been some cases so difficult for the latino community? i recognize the latino community is not a uniform community and you clearly discuss that in the book as well. there are different heritages, different history, different country of origin, et. cetera. help us understand a little bit the experience has been as difficult as it has been considering that, you know, again, if you point out the spanish con keys doors were in the united states before the english. and not to say there's not a melting pot aspect, it. it seems to be a disconnect there. >> well, terrorist two pillars
to the answer. one is the real world of power and wealth and the ability to project power and win the long game, which the anglo americans clearly did in this part of the continent. the other part is what goes on in your head. the idea that some people are naturally fit, naturally prepared by nature to rule. which was living inside the heads of the people who stormed west and basically won the argument. i begin the book by remienlding the reader -- reminding the reader that the story starts with contending empires, and, you know, the english clinging to a bunch of coastal colonies facing the eastern sea board. the french empire -- if you look at the map of the french empire in the 18th century in north america.
it's really stunning that it takes in. and spain, of course, and how all three big empires had their elbows out and were bumping shoulders, and vying for dominance in the continent. russia was heading down from alaska. they get as far as northern california, one of the reasons the missions were sent as a networking as far north as they were, there was a fear of -- [laughter] russian expansionism down the west coast of north america. all the empires vying for resource, vying for influence, vying for territory. it ends in this part of the continent. english speaking united states and canada basically winning the argument. yet, that doesn't mean you totally erase or efface
everything that happened before. so we end up with a kind of funny america where people sit fuming in traffic on the i-5 between san diego and los angeles complaining that people don't speak english. we have fight ourselves the status of spanish in florida where spanish was spoken for a century before anybody spoke english. they treat it like it's a new thing that people want to speak spanish in florida without thinking too deeply where the word "florida" comes from. there's a symbolic and cultural and sort of attic full of archetype we carry around in our head. there's the rough and tumble word of trade and ports and rivers and money and resources and both of those worlds are
part of shaping what happened after he was wandering and and what become new mexico and arizona and west texas. not sure where he was. so it's tough to come prez it at -- compress it all. sometimes i i felt doing a quick recap to tell you. in other words to understand it you have to remember the thing i haven't told you yet. it was challenging sometimes. >> one of the areas that you point to in term of clear successes where the latino population has clearly broken through, and then you mentioned dezi are nez and some of the cultural -- we've seen it grow over the years. one aspect it's on my mind because the baseball playoff. one aspect you don't touch on in the book is the whole sports
contribution. actually there was a fascinating documentary on pbs sometime ago called the "republic of baseball." which referred to the dmin con contribution to baseball and the san francisco giants. it's fascinating stuff. you can project that. some of the heroes in playoffs this week. why did you choose to focus on what you did and maybe not go deeply to the athletic experience? >> i'm glad you asked me that. [laughter] i'm a huge sports fan. and i love particularly love baseball. i felt that that part of latino life in america had been adequately covered and is adequately covered in 100 other places. if i have a finite space to tell the story, i thought better use that time telling you things you don't know instead of retelling
things you already know. my editor came to me after the complete man script was in, and he said, you know, i think you really do have to say something about all of this. [laughter] and so i wrote a couple of pages about baseball, but being a pain in the neck, again, didn't concentrate very heavily on beltran, even though i love them. but more on how baseball was exported from the united states to latin america, and then how it that echo came back to shape the game in the late 20th century. >> in fact growing up as i did in chicago, someful my first introduction to the hispanic folks with the hispanic background were chicago cubs. white sox players. and, you know, but you see them as the part of the american past time. it's really interesting how that
works. and thank you for that discussion and explanation. we're going do go to those in the audience who may have questions or thoughts. before we do, one other question i want to, i mean, you're an expert on the issues. surely you learned perhaps some things too. you didn't know. i like to ask what was the most surprising thing. in all of your research, writing, and the things you put in the book or maybe some of the things that were on the cutting room floor. chaffs the most surprising thing you found you didn't know. you said, first of all, i didn't know that. second of all, it's an important thing. >> i knew a little about the rise of the mexican -- basically. latino civil rights movement after the second world war. like the blacks civil rights movement was very much rooted in the experience of g.i. in world war ii who went to go free asia
and europe from murderous, fascist countriesble to come back to the united and find after accomplishing this great task, they were treated as other than fully enabled first class citizens by their own nation. and the story of hector garcia, mexican born, comes like tens of thousands of other family to the mexican revolution. settles in south texas. despite all the impediment in his past, becomes an m. d. before the beginning of the second world war. has to convince his superiors, who don't believe him, that he actually is a medical doctor. imagine. he has to bring his diploma and show them his physical diploma and the picture of his
graduating class of residents from creighton university in nebraska. because they can't believe that a mexican is a drp. they take him out of the infantry and put him in the medical corp. and fights his way across europe as a decorated veteran and comes back and finds that less educate g.i. the people he grew up in border towns in south texas, can't use their g.i. benefits are prevented on purpose, by the poll tax from voting. i think americans, and rightly so, think of the broad term the civil rights movement. as a black american thing. and as a black american experience. but across the southwest, segregated housing, segregated schooling, incum beanses put on the right to vote. out barring the right to vote. the use of drawing 77 district line to make it impossible for
mexicos who are were often the majority in the towns which they were living to sit on the county count. to sit on the school board, to sit on the town board. all of those things finally made hector garcia say, spawn the american g.i. forum which becomes a spearhead for court case and activism across the southwest which changes that for mexican-americans. but also in a way that, i think, is touching and a little sad. the g.i. forum also gets mixed up in the politics of the day over immigration. and becomes a very unpredictable player. not a friend of the exploited american agricultural worker being brought across the border. the g.i. forum puts out a publicly indication called "what
price -- where correspondents from the forum head out to the field and chronicle the life experience there not create sympathy or empathy for the most downtrodden people in america who get the lettuce to your table. get the strawberries to your table, if you create an impression that these people are a danger to the united states and should probably be removed. so you this life trajectory of hector garcia from a refugee from the mexican revolution, to reaching the pinnacles of success in mid century america. a friend of senators, a friend, eventually of president lyndon johnson. but similarly cesar chavez during his career. not all that sure that bringing mexican workers up from mexico to work in american industries is a great thing.
it's a complex and fascinating story. and one i knew only the vague outline of before i went work on the book. [inaudible] >> let's go those in the audience who may have questions. we have some circulating microphone to the extent people are interested in following up with the specific thoughts or questions. if you can identify yourself by name and organization, if you're representing an organization, that would be fine too. please. >> good morning. jane terri from organization of american state. i have a question about foreign policy and about the future. we talked about in our community the human bridge between united states and the rest of the region and how it can express itself in modern diplomacy. i know you're a specialist not only in this but foreign policy. i wanted to hear your thoughts on that. >> if you look at the broad arc
of american history, every group that has come here has, first, had to find its feet, then has something to say about what is going on back home. earlier in our history, a germans were active in german affairs in the late 19th century. keeping their links to their homeland alive through language societies and the movement and ore things in american cities. italians, after the first world war, when they finally start to find their footing in america. have organizations that speak to the united states government about what is going on back home. both pro and antimussolini. a strong strain of hard left
activism, antifash schism in american cities. and also a group strong group of americans who believe that italy is finally on the right track after the rise much mussolini. similarly in the cold war period, captive nations week wasn't some odd holiday on the calendar. but in places like cleveland and pittsburgh and chicago was a day where the console from country under the domination of the soviet block held demonstrations and marches begins denouncing the continued domination of lithuania, poland, and so on. so i take the view that once the bread and butter issues are more adequately taken care of, latinos will be more steadily log attitudely and predictably
heard on the issue. even if you look at the congressional hispanic caucus even over the history since the '60s ed doesn't found it with herman and others in order to have a voice in the united states foreign policy toward mexico, he wants to improve the lives of his constituents in east l.a. and herman of his constituents in spanish harlem in the south bronx. so we're on on that verge. i mean, certainly the post revolution, cuban-american members from south florida have never been shy about having their say about affairs back home. i think you're going more reliably see hispanic-elected officials be heard on issues outside bread and butter issues, which is still pressing in a
world of sub standard schools and segregated housing and lower family incomes and so on. you are still going to hear them, first and foremost, on bread and butter issues. they're also like the germans, like the italians, like the polls other eras be heard more on issues. i think you're seeing that, certainly, among civic organizations who have an interest in what is happening in central america. who have spoken out on planned colombia and everything involved there. free trade with peru. i think you're starting to see a more confident voice from people of influence and also from elected officials. but no, it's not there the way it's been with other communities in our history, and certainly among american jewelry and their voice and their influence in the united states relationship with israel.
>> [inaudible conversations] and also former -- chicago where i had the pleasure of meeting you in many occasions. my question is i haven't read the book yet. [inaudible] is becoming uprising and important and actually it will have a social political type of function and very different. do you see can that the middle class is an actor of political change? >> i i only touch on it lightly in chapter six. because the am bit of the book,
the interest of the book, is most squarely on latinos in the united states who are disproportionately still working class and poor. when their demographic profile more closely resembles that of americans at large, i think the middle class will even more commit to its own, sure. it's happening now. it's happening already. and in the rest of the hemisphere, it's a big deal. but since i write so little about what is going on in other countries. it's a great -- it's a topic for my next book, actually. it's a great book for something else to write about. [laughter] it's not yet a big part of the inquiry that goes to the book. a great question. >>let go to the back. >> john feelly from the state department. ray, causes -- congratulations on the book and the documentary. my book that is to do with the
prejudices. the arc type we have floating around. in one of the documentary bit you covered and got old footage from the english-only florida movement and the irony is pretty rich about where the people were saying why don't they speak the language of this country kind of thing nap said, that persists. and as primarily mexicans but all latino-americans have moved across the country we see in district by district in places like north carolina and washington state. places you don't tradition nayly consider latino or hispanic communitieses. you see hispanics bumping up against anglos. and one of the persistent, i think lessening criticism is, they're different than our german, greek, irish grandparents. because they don't assimilate. they don't learn the language. we know statistically it's not accurate. but perception is still out
there. with that -- >> part of the wonderful golden sepia tone past nap drives me up a wall. i grew up in a neighborhood in brooklyn with kids who had to go with their parents, i mean, i waited in terror as my parents went to open school night to hear what they would to say when they came home. but the kids i was growing up, with a lot of them had to go with their parents to translate. this idea that everybody learns english right off the plane and right off the boat is so nonsensical. once grandma and grandpa conveniently die and no one can hear how they talk anymore, you can have this "fantasy" land where they're quoting hamlet and -- all of this stuff. and then compare them favorably to today's latinos, who by every
single serious study of the topic, are acquiring english at the rate no different from any other immigrant group that has ever come here. and when i hear people tell these stories, i mean, depending on whether it's deliberate to me in a sort of wonderful ellis island, golden life sort of reverie or done in an aggressive way, i call them out on it. because i knew their grandparents and the shopkeepers in my neighborhood who could say little more than number of what i owed them for what i bought for my mother's list on the piece of paper. i knew the nationals from other countries who learned english as they could. if they were working long hours as other jobs and came as adults. it was adult for them to acquire
english. instead of being em pathetic and saying, yes, your experience resembles ours, because once you went to the garment factory and the steel mill in northern indiana and pennsylvania, once you went to the coal mines. you worked all the time too. just like we do, and your hungary speaking, polish-speaking great grandparents had as much trouble learning english as we co. do. i was touring the "about to be closed" steel mills. i happened to walk to the cafeteria. at beginning of the line it was clothe -- it was glossily and weird, but up on the wall was a sign that
said in five languages, don't throw out the trays. [laughter] if everybody had learned english as i keep hearing they did. right when they got here. yeah, quoting robert frost but, you know, they wouldn't have had to put up there in five languages "don't throw out the trays." and so i know in the immigrant past people who came as adults and people when had to work long hours had sometimes a spotty command of the language. we used to assume it was part of the immigrant experience. now we want something from people who just got here in some cases nap we never asked from our former selfs. it shows you the anxiety. to have a little compassion for the people who are feeling that
rising dpred about a country they don't think they recognize. they don't think they understand anymore. we have to remember this is a time of tremendous economic and social anxiety. wages have barely budged at the middle point in 40 years. and so if you're working flat out and you see people around you just getting here and you have the feeling like, this was my birthright, and yet what are these people doing here? also making a golf it in the united, and why don't they learn english? somebody was once yelling at me. i don't use the term lightly. they were yelling at me. why it was an absolute requirement there be a literacy test for voting. i said, you know, i understand why you say that. i also think of my grandfather, who came here in 1951 worked
like a dog for the remaining 50 years of his life, probably wept to the third grade, if that, and i think he spoke a kind of english. my wife tell me he didn't really speak english. [laughter] and the idea that he would not be able to vote after president mckinley and the cabinet decide they want puerto rico to be part of the united states without asking anybody that live there had. that 100 years later be able to tell my grandfather he can't vote seems problematic to me. if you go throughout in to the world, and united sphriewt building railroads and picking governments and causing the downfall of over governments and so on. you ought to expect a little bit of historical and social
blowback. it's not a cost three proposition in the modern world. there we are. [inaudible] [laughter] >> thank you for putting it out there. that's better than i could have said. it's a frustration. so the question is given all of that, what do you think the role of social media, internet, and telecommunications is going do for the younger generations as -- of hispanic in the united states whose parents are folks like our grandparent who speak a certain kind of english but consuming in english. is there a market for things like fusion or other web-sort of applications focused on young his pansic as opposed to young americans? >> the political scientist anglo has been a political activist. said something interesting is happening. latinos in the united states are being racialized.
they're not. they're an ethnic group. they're being racialized by the way america does assimilation, by the way america does race. and so fusion, i mean, after jews couldn't read -- iiyiddish the "daily print" stopped printing in yiddish. after nor wee again couldn't read nor wee -- they stopped printing in nor wee began. fusion which is a joint venture is positioning itself for the world in which the grandparent of present day and recent-past immigrants. the grandchildren of those immigrants who will not be
spanish-dominant will think of themselves as different than the american main stream and consume media that tells a different story about america than the one the main stream provides. it's an interesting and perhaps subversive idea about cultural assimilation. that you'll still watch "monday night football." you'll watch mtv, you'll also watch fusion because it has -- it presents a slice of north american culture that presumes that you have a slightly different set of interests culturally, socially, politically than that of your other neighbors who are not latinos. we'll see how it goes. the internet -- the internet and modern communication, i mean, there was no -- for italians in the '20s.
so eye italian proficiency is gradually lost over time until hundreds of thousands of people who consider themselves proudly italian today in american metropolitan areas know how to say the words of foods, the name of foods, a few curses, and some ode -- some old sayings in italian. yet no one say, hey, you're not italian. because you don't speak italian. and there's now the latino police who go around saying huh, you're not really latino because you don't speak such good spanish. we'll see whether the future belongs to the latino police or whether it belongs to the fusion viewers who say, yeah, i'm still latino even though like my eye italian buddies all i know is
some cursing, sayings, and the names of foods. we'll see where that goes. our marriage shapes the future. large portions of self-identifying latino adults are marrying people who are not and having children of, let's say, indetermine -- yet to be determined self-identification. we'll see where it goes. when i was in scout, one of my kids was named greg hernandez. and i was shocked that i finally had a kid in my patrol named hernandez. so i go and say hernandez. he says, i'm not spanish. i'm not. i'm not. and where we were growing up, it was actually not the easiest thing to be. so i could understand why greg hernandez would say that. greg hernandez had a cuban great
grandfather, and because of the way we do names in the united states, that was the only thing that was even remotely latino about greg hernandez. in 2040 there going to be millions more greg hernandezs and mary lopez and sally gomez who have this cultural real lick, their legal name, and little more than that will we count them in this projected 130 million latino population? will we? should we? does it make any sense if part of their self-concept is not that they are part of this big people that is trying to figure out what their influence on the wider society is. and greg hernandez, you know, founded in his interest to
insist and that he wasn't spanish. a lot of the story is yet to be told. what latino assimilation is going look like in the coming decades may be a little different because it's a mixed race population. and everything from milky white to ebony is part of this presumed 53 million people who are part of the same thing, but maybe in subsequent generation it's going to be much harder for some portions of those millions to move in to the suburbs. to outmarry, to forget who they were fop have grandchildren named greg hernandez who insist vociferously they're not spanish. we'll see. i mean, it's an exciting story.
thank god, in 2050 i won't still be writing books. [laughter] >> well, that's a great segue to the last question i think i have to ask. i know, we don't have any real time remaining. it's not fair to ask you to answer the question in a brief period of time. but all of that really leads up to -- and i thank you for the question. it was a very good one. what thoughts would so you in term of the state of immigration reform efforts in washington? , i mean, we just went through an incredibly polarized debate on un-related issues, but, you know, it's a polarized washington. this is an issue that the president has spoken directly about, it's an issue that kind of starts and stops and goes to different direction and open-end question from your perspective, and the folks you talk to where do you think it's going? what do you think -- where does the end get? >> i think it's very revealing that there was not this level of social anxiety about simpson me and the irca of 1986.
the economy was growing, people had more money in the pocket, they were very happy to have spanish-speaking immigrants buff their tables, wipe their children's behinds, do everything they were doing. it was revealing when the number of arrivals was hiewjt -- hugely high during the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was not a fraught conversation it became. it's very hard to ask a country to take on more people. not only more computer programmers and software engineers, but also more agricultural workers and house painters and landscapers at the time when wages have hardly budged, or they have declined, actually, for most --
american families. when unemployment is stubbornly high. when unequality among workers and between families has never been higher. it's a really hard thing to ask that country, with that economic profile, here, take on 12 million people. and maybe someday down the road another 12 million of their brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers too. who will have some form of claim on the wealth created by this country, to be determined. but some claim on the future wealth of this country. i think when you put it that way, it becomes much more understandable that the -- there's been a sort of historical tone in some of these conversations. that is made more difficult by the reality that yes, among the 11.7 million people. the most estimate from the pugh hispanic center. there are people who got here
the day before yesterday. have been working steadily but can be sent home with very little harm or foul. and among the 11.7 million are millions who have long-term roots in the united states. families and associations and church -- membership and saturday softball league membership and a real life lived here in the united states. real contributions, kids in school, real estate taxes, and all that goes with being a full-fledged adult economic actor in the society. those people are harder to remove than the people who just got here the day before yesterday and overstayed a tourist visa. those people are a challenge to our ability to craft a law that is both workable, that people will obey and seem to be fair.
not fair but seen to be fair. because fidelity to the law has a mystical connection not only with workability and the mechanics of a law, but also the willingness of people to follow it. which is a big ingredient. we have 0 voluntary taxation in this country where 90 million people file their income tax returns. if you don't file one, they won't find you for years. and yet we dutifully fill out, put it in the mail, and we do that with a feeling of some confidence if we don't do it nobody will know for awhile. yet we do it. it's that "x factor" of laws that are followed not only because they are laws but seen to be just, seen to be necessary to the working of a just society. whatever we do in immigration has to meet all of those tests.
if it's so hard because we're shooting for something like fairness. because people broke the law. if we set the bar so high that we create an incentive for flouting the law, will it be a good law? it will meet people's tests of punishment and fairness and saying sorry to a country whose laws you have broken. if it becomes so unworkable that it doesn't ask for fidelity, people won't follow it. if you tell people they can't become legal residents quickly, if you tell people they can't make a permanent connection for the country for 12 or more years, they'll do it end around. it sounds crazy. if you tell them they have to go home and get on the back of the line but the line is 17 years long, they'll just sneak in. 17 years doesn't seem like a law
that can be followed. so it won't meet that test. not only that is fair but seem to be fair, and able to be followed. if we change the highway speeds to 40 miles per hour. it would be the law. there would be signs all over. posted speed limit 40 miles per hour. no one would drive 40 because we would say, this is a crazy law. we can't follow this. so if you said, yes, we will allow you to stay but you center to go away and come back in 17 years, kiss your children goodbye, and quit your job. women, people will say that's a crazy law and i'm not going to follow it. we have to hit a sweet spot between laws that command our respect and can be follow, and also meet the demand of the people who are already here legally that we get our pound of flesh that something inherit in the law says i'm sorry i broke
your lawings. that's a terribly tricky balancing act. i think we understate how difficult it is. >> i would love to continue this conversation. we began by saying promising a fascinating conversation with a fascinating person and a fascinating topic. i think we met those very high standards. for those of you who have interested and i suspect and hope you are. copies of the book are available in the front. i have read it. it's a very good read. i highly recommend it. for those watching as well. make sure you get your own copies. but -- >> can i say one thing? here is an example where we're going. many, many general market books that have some interest among the 35 million americans who speak spanish. come out in english and some date in the future. 90 days, 120 days the following year come out in the spanish translation. penguin brought the two books
out on the same publication date. they see something in the future about the future that made the simultaneous dates not only symbolically important but commercially important too. >> so. >> well, please join me in congratulating him. [applause] [inaudible conversations].org. >> bill bryson examines numerous events from the summer of 1927 that placed the united states on the world stage. from the first solo, nonstop fright across the atlantic by charles lend burg to president coolidge's decision to not seek a second term in office. this is a little under an hour. ..
for selling my book here tonight and think all of you of so much there are so many of you. i am thrilled. what a wonderful place this is. you'd never know what to you will get. it was not that long ago i did a reading and i had anh audience of five. [laughter] they thought it was a pretty good turnout. one was the store manager.n
two more were friends of my a parent's the fourth who had come from some preposterous distance who had the baby died.he [laughter] so we could stand together to look at his driver's license to marvel at the fact we both had the name bill bryson then hisn wife to didn't want to spend the evening with another tea time. [laughter] a room full of people. particularly in such a distinguished setting that make me feel i ought to say something important to a -- i have to warn you have never been very good at this. i'm one of the people that
blurts out the wrong thing. i have a knack for saying exactly the wrong thing. the example i give is some years ago i had to fill out a questionnaire for a british bookstore chain. one of the questions on the questionnaire what would you like people to say about you 100 years from now. i thought it was a tough question. i thought what would i want them to say about me? the answer i gave: the amazing thing is, he's still sexually active. [laughter] so i apologize inned advance as i don't say exactly the right thing tonight. [laughter] i have to -- there's another little true story. there's an element of vanity about these thing. i'm pleased and honored that so many of you come. like everybody, authors crave
attention. we tend to be anonymous. there's not that many author you recognize if they became in to a room even though they might be famous and you admire them. you can say that about a lot of people. i'm sure john would love to be recognized. i know, i would and always have. and rarely a couple of times a year i get recognized on the street. they have the higher profile. i never get recognized in my own country. it's something i secretly graved for a long time. it so happens last month i was in colorado because our younger son got a job. there he graduated from a college in england a year or so ago and took advantage of his american passport to get a job as a ski instructor. a junior ski instructor in vail and works in the summer. these are kind of entry-level
jobs. he's not being paid much. but he's having the time of his life and met some kids and sharing an apartment with them. about month ago we decided to go out to vail and visit him. we hadn't seen him in awhile. see how he's doing. while we were there he was working. we had to fill the days. the third or fourth day we were in vail i was in downtown vail wandering around looking in the store windows, and while i was doing that, i heard a voice that called out. hey, bill, mr. bryson. i turned around and a young man was advancing toward me holding his hand out to be shake. and i was thrilled. it had never happened to me before. so i held out the hand and shook his happened and said how did you know me? he said i'm one of your son's roommates. [laughter] we had dinner you two nights ago. [laughter] so when i say thank you for
making me important. he has no idea how grateful i am to you. [laughter] i don't know exactly what you expect of me tonight. he said something indicated i would be talking about -- but i thought i would broad tennessee a little bit if it's okay. i thought i would tell you a little bit about who i am, where i come from, and read you a couple of passages from my earlier books. at some point i would like to tell you my bear story. i always tell it. i hope you enjoy. particularly it's where the appalachian trail starts. couldn't be an more apt place to tell than georgia. first a little bit about my myself. as indicated i grew up in des moines, iowa a long time ago. i know, i have a funny voice. people say you don't come from des moines, iowa. i go des moines, iowa people say you don't come from des moines, iowa. i grew up there. several years ago, as an effort to try to prove to the world
that i really did come from there. i wrote a book about growing up in iowa during the '50s. it was such a fantastic time to grow up in america in the '50s. i think it was a magical place. i'm sure childhood whatever happens to you is kind of a splendid event. i think to have grown up in the middle of the country in the middle of the 20th century in a nice happy middle class household was a real privilege. and my job was almost totally happy. particularly adored my mother. my mother -- is still alive she's an absolutely saint of a woman. she work at home furnishing as " des moines register." she would rush home. stop at the store to get food and rush to the house and throw
something to the oven and then tough the rest of the house to do the thousand chores that piled up. the washing, ironing, and so on. she was a little bit forgetful anyway. because she had so much on the mind she would tend to forget about the things in oven. we didn't call it the kitchen. we called it the burns unit. [laughter] her specialty she would often put things in the oven and forget to take them out. i was almost fully grown before i realized that the plastic wrap wasn't a chilly glaze. she had occasionally gotten things wrong. i tell you this because i introduce you to a passage when i read from my book. what happens is i came home from school one day to discover to my
mortification, my mother, my dear mother, in a well meaning gesture had accepted an invitation on my behalf to go to a place called lake -- on saturday with the family from milton, neighbors of ours. and normally going to the lake would have been fansic. it's a lake in a state park about 20 miles south of des moines. it's a delightful place. normally everyone is happy to go there. not with the milltons. they were just the most obnoxious people you have ever met. they had an annoying voices. they ate funny foods and insisted you eat them too. you couldn't avoid eating the funny foods. they were arguetive. they were stupid, frankly. and your heart sank if you had to be in their company for very long. they had a little boy named milton milton. [laughter] perhaps they have a tradition of giving the first-born male of
the family's last name. and milton milton was just kind of -- it was famous for being the biggest dript drip in the school. being with him was social suicide. i couldn't agree my mother agreed for me to do this. it was going to be a dreary thing. my point to mention this, one of the wonderful things about childhood particularly back then was no matter how bad things seemed to be going how often they worked out for the best. so i went to the lake in a mood of gloomy submission, crowded to the milton's ancient gnash a car with a stylish of a chest freezer. expecting the worse and receiving it. we got -- [inaudible] sorry. we got heatedly lost for hours and went to the state capitol building something impossible for any normal family to do in
des moines. we reached there and spent 90 minutes more alone in the car and setting up a base camp on the shady lawn between the small artificial beach. mrs. milton distributed sandwiches that were made with a pink paste which was the stuff my grandfather used to secure her dentures to her mouth. i went for a walk with my family and left it with a dog that had nothing do with it. i noticed later -- they seemed to avoid. having eaten we had to sit quietly -- [inaudible] is it breaking -- [inaudible] is it still going? i can't tell -- [inaudible] is it projecting? having eaten we had to sit quietly for 45 minutes before swimming or we'll get cramps and die in six inches of water. she encouraged us to close our eyes until it was time to swim.
far out in the middle of the lake there was a large wooden trap which -- [inaudible] a kind of wooden tower. i'm sure it was the tallest wooden structure in iowa if not the midwest. the platform was so far out from shore hardly anyone visited it. just occasionally some teenage daredevils swim out and have a look around. sometimes they would even climb the many ladders to the high board and cautiously creep out ton it. but they always retreated when they saw how suicidally far the water was below them. no human being had been known to jump from the high board. so it was quite a surprise as the egg timer dinged the. mr. milton decided he was going to dive off the high board. he had something of a diving star in lincoln high school, but that was on a 10-food board in an indoor pool.
this was another order of magnitude. clearly he was out of the mind. word of his insane intention was spreading along the beach when mr. milton went to the water and swam out to the distant dock. he was a tiny figure when he got there. even from a distance. the high board seemed hundreds of feet above him. it took him at least 20 minutes to make the way up to the ladder to the top. once at the summit, he staired up the down the board bounced on it experimentally two or three times and took some deep breathes and assumed position at the fixed end of the bar -- board with the arms at the side. it was clear from the posture and poised manner he was going go for it. by now, all the people on the beach and in the water several hundred all together had stopped whatever they were doing and were just silently watching. mr. milton stood for quite a long time then with a nice gesture he raised his arms, and
ran like hell and imagine an 0 olympics athlete took a bounce and took a perfect swan dive. it was a beautiful thing to behold, i must say. he fell with flawless grace for what seemed minutes. such was the beauty of the miltons and the breathless silence that the only sounds to be heard across the ladies and gentlemen was -- lake was faint whistle of his body. it may only be my imagination, but he seemed after a time to start to go red. like an incoming meteor. he was really moving. i don't know what happened whether he lost his nerve or readed he was approaching the water as a murderous involvesty or what. but about three quarter of the way down he seemed suddenly to have second thoughts about the whole thing. [laughter] and began suddenly to flail like
someone i think tangled in bedding in a bad dream. when he was perhaps 30 feet above the water he tried a new tact. he spread the arms and legs wide in the shape of an x. evidently hoping by exposing the mass amount of surface area he would stop the fall. [laughter] it didn't work. [laughter] he hit the water impacted really is the word for it. and over 600 miles per hour. [laughter] with the report so loud it made birds fly out of trees up to three miles away. at such a speed water effectively becomes a solid. i don't think he penetrated it at all but bounced off about 15-feet. it limbs suddenly very loose then lay on top of it still like an autumn leaf spinning gently. he was toed to shore in a row boat and carried to a grassy area who carefully set him down
on a blanketed. he spent the rest of the afternoon on the back arms and legs bent slightly and elevated. every bit of surface area on the body from the thinning hairline to the toe nails had a look as if he suffered some unimaginable misfortune involving a sander. occasionally he had small sips of water. later that same afternoon milton junior cut himself on a hatchet. he ended up bleeding in pain and in trouble all at the same time. it was the best day of my life! [laughter] thank you. [applause] thank you. you know, in a slightly awkward
position, on evening like this. i write two different kinds of books. i write a lot of stuff that is little i and to be amusing as we've heard like that. lifetime as a little kid. sometimes i write more serious books, which i are very entertaining and meant to convey information a more conventional and reliable way. to be actually factual and to, you know, i take some care to try to make them as completely accurate as i can. and that's really the case with the new one, which is any publishers brought me here as great expense to georgia, which is one summer america 1927. i don't like to talk too much -- i never like to talk too much about a book. especially this one in a way. it ems -- seems as if you're in a danger of spoiling it. i feel this way about this one. the summer of 1927 was amazingly eventful and magical. memorable summer. i think the most memorable and
eventful summer any nation ever had. and for me, it was just a whole bunch of discoveries. i didn't know all the things happening, and so i kind of hoped that the reader will read them and be as amazed as i was in discovering them. that's why i don't like to talk about it too much. ly say that the foundation of what got me started on this i've been fascinated be i the fact that these two things happened in the same summer. they happened and lynn berg flew the atlantic and the babe ruth hit 60 home runs. it's vaguely fascinating of the idea of the two iconic events contrast human beings happening in parallel at the same time. i had in mind it might be interesting to do a dual biography of the two remarkable figures. with the whole narrative art meeting when they had the most memorable summer.
then i found as i started doing the research that babe ruth and charles lindberg were only part of this amazing summer. you also had the great miss flood which is the biggest natural disaster in -- american history in term of extent. you had the victim -- filming of the jazz picture. and they started carving mount rushmore that summer. we executed the factual -- [inaudible] which was a huge, huge story. which is almost completely forgotten now. television happened in the summer of 1927 and so on. it goes on and on. one thing after another. it became the book. that's why it's called "one summer." it was all of these remarkable events that happened in the one summer. but lindberg, i think, is the big story. i had always thought what lindberg had somehow gotten in
to his head he was going to fly the atlantic and did it and was as simple as nap what i didn't realize there was a race going on. there was something lot and lots of teams that were trying to be the first to win this award. and about eight or ten teams in europe and america that were poised to go and be the first to fly from new york to paris. that's what you had to do fly between the two cities. it was an epic achievement. the technology in 1927. it was just barely ready and potentially capable of doing that. all of the other teams were much better funded. they were experienced, they had multiple engines, they had multiple man crews, you see three or four people. and out of nowhere, before any of the other teams can get away. the kid flies to minnesota. he's been flying for four years. he's in a sing the-engine plane
and proposing to fly the ocean alone without a navigator or co-pilot or anyone. not even a radio. the world became enchanted. the world was entranced by the nice, personalble, suicidally foolish young man. the flying fool they called him. and everybody particularly all the other aviators thought he was bound to fail. he got away first and off he goes and of course, e know the outcome. he made it. but the interesting thing i had thought about when he disappeared over the horizon. he banished from everybody's consciousness. nobody knew what to become of him. for about 16 hours he was completely out of touch. the only person on the planet who knew where charles was charles. everybody else was just from the edge of their seats and almost consumed with attention and worry with the poor kid. when he appeared in ireland the next day, over the coast of ireland, the joy just was gold.
people were thrilled. strangers were completely em waying each other and filled exhalation. and the interesting thing is that lindberg had no idea during the course of his flight he had almost completely anonymous to being by the time he landed the most famous man on earth. and as he's coming to pass he has no idea what is awaiting him on the ground below. that's the tbokd the passage i want to read to you. >> as lundberg covered the last leg of the trip no paris, he had no idea that he was about to experience fame on a scale of an ensty unlike any experience like any human being before. it never occurred to him that many people would be waiting for him on the ground. he wondered if anyone at the airfield would speak english and if in trouble for not having the french visa. his -- it's really -- it's not -- it's annoying.
me. i have to lower it, i'm sorry. securely then he would cable his mother to give her the news that he arrived. he supposed there would be one or two press interviewing assuming reporters worked that late in france. then he would have to find a hotel somewhere. at some point he would need to buy clothes and personal items. he hasn't packed anything at all. not even a toothbrush. a more immediate problem confronting him the map didn't show the airfield. all he knew it was some 7 miles northeast of the city and it was reportedly big. [laughter] after surfacing the identical tower he headed in the direction. the only possible sight he could see was ringing of bright light as if it was a industrial complex. with long tentacles of bright light. it was nothing like the airport he expected to find. what he didn't realize all the activity below was for him.
the tentacle of light were the headlight of tens of thousand of cars respondent usely drawn there and now caught in the greatest traffic just a minute. car -- jams. cars were banded -- abandoned. at 10:22 paris time. 30 hours after taking to the air. the spirit of st. louis touched down on the grassy spaceness. in that instant a pulse of joy swept around the earth. withinn't miss america knew he was safe. he was -- as tens of thousands of people rushed across the airfield to the plane. and eight foot high chain link fence was flat end and several bikes were crushed under the has of charactering feet. a measure of the pandemonium is the next day cleaners would gather up more than a ton of lost property including six sets of dentures.
[laughter] for lindberg it was an alarming circumstance as he was trapped in an actual danger of being pulled to pieces. the throngs hauled him from the plane and began to carry him off. i found myself lying in a prostate position on top of the crowd. in a center of an ocean of heads that extended to the darkness as i could see he wrote later. it was like drowning in a human sea. someone yanked the leather flight helmet from the head. and others began to pull at the clothing. behind him to the greater alarm the plane was being ruined by the swarms. i heard the crack of wood behind me when someone leaned against the bearing strip. then a second snapped and the sound of tearing fabric. somehow in the confusion he found himself on the feet and the crowd moving past him. in the poor light, the focus switched to a helpless american
bystander who bore passing resemilens. they now carried him off. [laughter] protesting veemently. a few minute later officials in the airport were startled by the sound of breaking glass and the site of the unfortunate new victim being passed to the window to them. wide eyed. the new arrival was missing his coat, belt, necktie, one shoe, and about half his shirt. a good deal of the rest of the clothing hung in sleds. he looked like a survivor of a mining disaster. he told the benewsed official his name was harry wheeler and from the bronx. he come to paris to buy rabbit pelt. now he just wanted to go home. lflt i'll leave this there. thank you. [applause]
[inaudible] i want to tell you two stories . .ory. the bear story is an experience i had many years ago now when i tried to hike the appalachian trail in the company of a slightly challenging companion who i named stephen katz in the book. the appalachian trail, as must surely know, starts in northern part of the state and runs for 2200 miles in maine. and it's really hard. if you wrote the book you'll know i grew preoccupied with the danger of bear attack while hiking in the eastern woods. i know, bears in eastern united states don't attack very often. the thing is with respect to any individual, it only has to happen once. [laughter] so i was concerned about the danger. and i was gratified to discover after the book came outt