tv Book TV After Words CSPAN November 28, 2009 10:00pm-12:00am EST
make themselves successful against the backdrop of segregation in america, and i think that they thought if they could fight their way into the headlines adam clayton powell and church politics of america and the u.s. congress, sammy davis jr., night clubs in the 1940's and 50's and than sugar ray robinson as a pure championship athlete. >> host: i think we are bad teaching history in this country and oftentimes the civil rights movement is taught as if it spawned the fourth from the head of dr. king in the mid-1950s as if there wasn't groundwork laid before then. and in all three men as well you see evidence of that ground work. and the idea of we are going to
challenge racism in ways that may be will inspire people and the unintended consequences if you will and to take it to sugar ray robinson you have a brilliant chapter in the book about the experience in the u.s. army and comparing and contrasting his demeanor as i believe a corporal in the u.s. army with experience of his sort of running buddy joe louis. can you speak about sugar ray robinson's experience? he's a young fighter at the time of very famous. what was his experience in the army and for lack of a better term how did he buck convention? >> guest: it was a fascinating experience. eleanor roosevelt wanted to convey to the american people that there can exist racial harmony when u.s. army basis and so she came up with the plan,
her and the secretary of the army to have to high profile blacks go around to u.s. army bases and engage in physical training for the soldiers. the first persian sea picked was the heavyweight champion of the world joe louis. joe louis had a young cat who was a friend of his, who he had known, who had actually rode in a bow to and joe louis and his girlfriend leni laforme and the person running the boat was sugar ray robinson. and so anyway, the war comes, there are riots in southern cities of blacks who say they are being asked to go to the war and die but they can't get equal treatment in the u.s. -- >> host: fighting for democracy abroad but being treated terribly in the army bases where they are being
trained to fight. >> guest: yes and so joe louis and sugar ray robinson leave this physical training troops from army base in the army base, up north on the army base they are fine. everything goes okay. then they get, they go the mason-dixon line, alabama and mississippi and that is when all hell breaks loose. one day joe louis is using a telephone army base in alabama. a white officer, white guard tells him he should be at the phone booth for black soldiers. lewis gets upset, young sugar ray robinson, known as walker smith in the army, thinks that the officer is going to have joe louis, and sugar ray, like a
panther, jumps on the white army guard and there is a tussle. now why anybody would want to tangle with joe louis and sugar ray robinson on the army base is unimaginable. >> host: well it says something about the times. >> guest: . and so they are both taken to an officer to be disciplined, but now the army has a puerto rico nightmare on its throat. what if the two black public relations figures who were being engaged to tour the south are arrested because they oppose segregation policies so the army backed off and didn't press any charges. but it really i think cut to the bone of who each man was.
joe louis was willing to accept it. sugar ray robinson came from a different and new era and he wasn't willing to accept it. joe louis could not keep emotional control of sugar ray robinson. he was more theory and more prone to react very quickly if his pride was insulted. >> host: that's an interesting common thread of all ground breaking the political african-american athletes is that they tend to not come from the south of the united states or they tend to be refugees from the south. jackie robinson away from georgia to pasadena california, or curt flood who came from oakland california. i was just talking to someone about that the other day the way that when marvin miller was looking for someone to challenge, he was looking for an african-american athlete not
from the south but was influenced by the broad tenor of the times. it seems sugar ray robinson was very influenced by what it meant to live in harlem at the time. and harlem is in many ways a character in the story. and people should know that this is not a typical biography. it is certainly not a typical sports biography. you have marvelous personifications of harlem, jazz music and "esquire" magazine and the in affect become characters in the story. why is it important to understand harlem to understand sugar ray robinson? >> guest: people always say a statement, people always say he had such style or she had such style, well what does that mean? i was intrigued with that. >> host: what is style? >> guest: yeah, what is style. i didn't just want to read the book and tell the reader sugary robinson had style and class without giving them explanation
of how whiteaker within him and he grew up in detroit when he was about 12-years-old and his mother moved him to harlem -- >> host: leaving his father walker smith behind. >> guest: he was always estranged from his father just like joe louis. i think both joe louis and bachus met looked to him for father figures and both of them found father figures and the jazzman flowing in and out of harlem. >> host: in harlem itself becomes a father figure to sugar ray. >> guest: and because harlem was that one place in america at the time when there was black
political muscle and. there was a great pride left over from the harlem renaissance and the was still flowing up and down the streets. there were black of night clubs. blacks might not have been welcomed downtown at say the stork club but they could come up town and go to some of the black owned nightclubs. joe louis on the night club, the fighter he we armstrong owned a nightclub and leader sugar ray robinson so they all felt very comfortable in harlem. it was the black mecca, it is where you could go and meet langston hughes, wallace thurman, all of the poets and writers of the harlem renaissance if they were still around their friends were around so it was a mecca and informed
sugar ray robinson greatly. >> host: it gave him a certain confidence not to mention a certain style which he carried into the ring and popular iced in a way that people haven't seen before. do you think stifel is a form of resistance in the right setting? >> guest: great point. yes, i do. the style sugar ray robinson loved flow out of arnold gingrich "esquire" magazine there was an article pointed in '64 and it was huge amounts to harlem, harlemites. it was kind of the first time that we, that american readers really solve black and white musicians side by side on the
printed page, and it was a huge success in harlem and i think to sugar ray robinson his mindset was i'm going to win in the rain but i came to be more than just an athlete and i'm going to let style and class and grace and and for how i conduct myself as an athlete. that was huge to him to get to know lionel hampton and earl hines and woody herman and langston hughes, those kind of people gave him a sense of self. >> host: that sense of self gave him a sense of something far too few boxers historically have had and that is a theorist desire for lack of a better term to not be screwed by the system.
>> guest: right. >> host: what was that informed by and how successful was he in the red light district of boxing of carving out space firms for himself where he was i don't want to say not exploited because that doesn't exist in boxing exploited less than a typical fighter with a proximate of his gifts. >> guest: you know, it was very difficult. it was very difficult for robinson when he turned pro he was feared because of his left hook. he was just absolutely feared he had been a new york golden gloves champion and his reputation and had grown from the east coast of the wheel to the west coast, and yet if you were a fighter in the early 40's all throughout the 40's many of the boxing organizations had shadow figures running them --
>> host: people like frankie cargo. >> guest: you had to navigate that terrain, and it upset sugar ray robinson, which she had a reputation where if he didn't like just contract he would pull out of the fight after it had already been announced in the newspapers and that was his way of saying i don't want to play with the bobcats. >> host: not playing with the mob has brings its own cost, so do you think that he was able to dance the dance successfully? >> guest: leader, not in the early years. remember it and took him from 1940 to 1946 to get his championship out even though he was willing all of his fights
and the powers that be that were in the sport never gave him a title shot until six years into his career as a pro. half >> host: he had a very difficult time getting that title shot. do you think that some of the circumstances by which he left the army may have played a role in his inability to get traction or public support? that title fight? and i guess that is also a segue if you could talk a little bit about something that did sort of follow him like a great cloud, the shadow of circumstances by which he left the armed forces. >> guest: yes. sugar ray robinson was very, very afraid of dying he had imagined in his mind that if he went overseas even on a goodwill
mission that he could be killed so on the eve of he and joe louis and some other soldiers going overseas on a goodwill mission robinson left his barracks in long island. he disappeared and woke up in the hospital in new york and he claimed an and nisha. army officials were thought it was laughable. they thought he had gone awol just to escapes staying in the army. robinson wanted to get out of the army. he wanted to fight again. he thought if he stayed in the army much longer he was going to
start losing some of his skills which as we now know certainly didn't happen but there were many sports writers in new york. there were eight or nine newspapers and many sports writers and many of those sports writers have gone to the war and when robinson was honorably discharged there had been stories about him leaving the barracks and being found and been taken to hospital and he told doctors he didn't know what happened. he didn't know how he got on the street. the sports writers and after him. they called him a coward and the absolutely thought he was faking and he was lobbying and that did haunt him for years. >> host: do you think some of that had to do with low
frequency history of that did exist about african-americans and patriotism? because there is that tradition of african-american war resistance that existed during world war ii as well, refusing to fight. and that is of course the origin of the good will mission to begin with with louis and robinson. >> guest: right, right. house could do you think they were particularly hard on him and what do you think happened there? >> guest: i think robinson really had fought to get a championship fight. i think he was miffed at the shadow powers that be that were in the sport i think he felt that if he didn't get back out there and get back into the limelight and start winning again i think he feared he was going to end up a broken-down
has been a fighter. i just think he became very paranoid and i think he sold prb after that experience in the south as being a very unfair place, so i think that he just thought of a way to escape and leave the army. >> host: in the vivid scenes you paint with it was like for robinson to be in the south at that time i kept thinking of this line from roberta clemente was it he didn't know he was black and he didn't know what he visited the american south. and this sense of being sugar ray any more but just walker smith and you feel that's almost the insecurity bubbling within him. >> guest: i mean, you know, especially coming from a championship fighter the doors are always open for that person -- >> host: you're practically
bouncy new york city. >> guest: realty in new york city and now he's in the south, there are places he can't go, he's in the u.s. army, looking around seeing his friend joe louis who he looked up to briefly. he looked up and he's seen joe louis st. almost like a second-class citizen. i think that did something to his psyche. crusco robinson becomes a champion, he becomes the kind of fighter who as praised from coast to coast as being the best in the business round for pound. but what kind fan base to have from coast to coast? this is a little story for you here, but my grandfather as an exercise wrote an essay about the time he saw sugar ray robinson against brazillian. >> guest: tough fighter. >> host: my grandfather, first generation american, taught himself english and all this
stuff, there is an almost cui on the page of my grandfather's s.a. has a racial edge undeniably he has pride in the immigrant besso leo, plight in the underdog has of being a black fighter from georgia doesn't need to be an underdog. it's very interesting how it plays itself. is their something about that is a and fights with vicilio that tells about his fans? is he always the guy that the white fight fans wanted to see knocked off the pedestal? >> guest: fighters, so many of the fighters in the 20th century were immigrants from ethnic fighters. and then you had black fighters
who automatically seem to be fighting not only for themselves but for the race as a whole. and so with robins and there was great jealousy because she looked good, he was a very handsome man, he was a swath, he dressed elegantly. he gave you the impression that he didn't have to box. he boxed by choice. he gave you the feeling that he could go over to esquire and be one of its male fashion models. of course esquire at that time didn't have any black male fashion models, but he gave you that sense that he was doing more for boxing ban boxing was doing for him. and i think that made some folks
jealous. and he won with style. he won with something approaching duty in the ring. he was very sharp. he wasn't wild. he thought about his punches, and after his fight, his crowd became a crowd of poets, writers, warn players, miles davis, you know, he just attracted a whole nother crowd. >> host: and there's always this kind of cultural disconnect when you have in the black community, and use all this would certainly the young cassius clay, the willingness to speak of yourself as being pretty. and willingness to look pretty and look stylish, and this is a broad generalization, but among white fight fans you almost get a homophobia result from that. and in the black community is seen like you are pretty tony, you are styling and the white
community is all the sudden seen as a suspect in something to keep at arm's length and you also hear well why can they be more like joe louis? >> guest: right. >> host: which means more humble. >> guest: right. >> host: and there is this disconnect which i think also makes sugar ray robinson a very fascinating man of his times. >> guest: right. he had vanity as well. i mean, it takes a vain person to purchase a pink cadillac. he had vanity. he had a nightclub. his wife had a long launch a business and he had a hair salon. these are things that robinson was saying to the world i would look good. >> host: no doubt. we are going to go to break right now. if you've been listening to the interview you know two things: the first is the sugar ray robinson is an absolutely fascinating figure and the second thing is we have not said
the words jacob bennati yet petraeus so we are we to be speaking about that after the break. >> "after words" and several other c-span programs are available for podcast. for with wil haygood and david zirin in just a moment. >> did you know you can view book tv programs online? go to booktv.org. type the name of the author, book or subjected to the search area in the upper left-hand corner of the page. select the watch link. now you can view the entire program. you might also explore the recently on booktv box or featured programs box to fight and you recent and featured programs. >> "after words" with wil haygood and dave zirin continues.
>> host: we are back on "after words." we are speaking with wil haygood, the author of the new book sweet thunder, the life and times of sugar ray robinson. how are you doing, sir? >> guest: i'm doing good. >> host: excellent. there's a couple characters in the book who we have not mentioned yet. miles davis and lena horne. that is what is interesting it is about sugar ray robinson but the period in a cultural and political era. this terrific stuff. why did you feel like it was important to make miles davis and lena horne so much a part of the story? >> guest: for several reasons. because when i started doing the book, start researching the book five years ago started coming across all these interconnecting people in sugar ray's life when
miles davis' first came to new york city and got hooked on drugs he wanted to get off drugs and he wanted to find somebody who could help him physically train and so he went in and introduced himself to sugar ray robinson. and they became friends of the intel sugar ray's death. lena horne would always be at joe louis's, his training camp, and that is where she met sugar ray robinson. langston hughes the poet lived right down the street from sugar ray's mike clay in the langston hughes and the fifties started writing plays with hope in mind that sugar ray would be able to take part in some of those plays. and so, there where friendships
forged with those three people, and they were steady customers that sugar ray robinson was's my club, and i just thought was fascinating. i kept coming across the links between all four of them, and i decided to write it as a group portrait, so it becomes not just a book about fighting but it's also a book about langston hughes and lena horne and miles davis and other jazz artists and other fighters who have links to sugar ray robinson. it is a book about cultural, about culture. it is about seeking your dreams and about the unknown americans that didn't always get into the headlines of the mainstream newspapers and didn't always make it on to the arts pages of the mainstream newspapers in the
40's and 50's. >> host: how do you explain to the young people today how important jazz music was to that era and to a broad feeling of cultural existence? how do you explain that? >> guest: that jazz once its owned language, jazz brought people together. jazz was one of the first art forms you might say that was accepted on the racially integrated level and i think that the jazz that flowed out of the harlem renaissance had such a fixture in the minds of people in other cities like los angeles and kansas city and seattle. i think that jazz had such a stay in power, and jazz was its own art for it became a kind of
language that lena horne could speak to, langston hughes could speak to that miles davis lived and sugar ray robinson loved. >> host: let's get to the opera and six brutal acts because you spend considerable time in the book speaking about these fights about sugar ray robinson jake malveaux. why have these fights so deeply enter the fever dream of the american imagination? >> guest: before i answer that i just wanted to make one correction it is wil haygood. >> host: i knew that -- >> guest: just so the readers don't think i changed my name. >> host: as soon as i said it i even wrote that down here to pass to you. i'm so embarrassed. i started. >> guest: it's quite all right. >> host: just spoke.
>> guest: but those six flights between robinson and jake jake la motta, they seek the imagination of the american populace because they fought six fights. they fought with starting with the administration of truman and they went into the ad and a station of eisenhower. so that was fairly amazing and one was a telling them and one was black and they were street gangs telling them the ethnic rivalries, italian black. there were two titanic figures, but they had different sensibilities. robinson thought that jake
lamotta was a roughhouse ex-convict with love. jake lamotta but that robinson was the feet, more playboy tough fighter. >> host: there's the issue again, tough this question because he had style. >> guest: because he had style, because he had slipped back hair, because he had a pink cadillac, not a black cadillac or a blue cadillac about a pink cadillac, the color of a flower. and so those who fights the came to me very important in the book, and i was sort of confused how to write about them because i didn't want, you know, to keep taking the reader back-and-forth and back and forth. okay, he's fighting lamotta again, jade lamotta again, and so i decided to put all of the
fights into one chapter and i think it works. >> host: it's a very intense experience the because you do this great job in the book of sort of threading the fight through this large cultural tabloid and then that one chapter i will tell you hits you like a punch because it is all about the fight and you almost forget when you read about ray robinson exactly how violent his trade is. and it's almost like lamotta reminds us that this isn't the gandy who is a fighter and a model and loves jazz and as the nightclub but somebody that has to engage in the brutal art that is boxing. >> guest: for some reason it is sort of seared into the american mind set that they split the fights three to three. there was the margins movie raging bull, and it made it --
it didn't leave you with the impression that sugar robinson won five out of six of those fights and they were tough. mr. lamotta, hawaii interviewed for this book contends to this day that two of the fights were stolen from him, his mind even it breaks down three to three. but in reality sugar ray won five fights and jake lamotta 11. >> host: there's the famous scene in raging bull where robert demuro follows him into the corner and says you never knocked me down, you never knocked me down, ray, as if that is somehow lamotta's victory through the tears that a personage of robert deniro and martin work of martin. and ray robinson is almost respectable figure in the movie. there is even scenes you cannot see his face and there is just smoke and the hand pulled back.
but does it say about hollywood that you have this movie about jake lamotta praised as the great movie of the 1980's and there is no movie about ray robinson? >> guest: there was the film critic david thompson who root of the 28 anniversary of the re-release of raging bull. he said, and i write about this in the book, he said that something very funny has gone on in that movie. he says scorsese missed the sugar ray robinson story. >> host: yes. >> guest: and i think that's true. people watching the movie you leave with the feeling that jake lamotta got the best of sugar ray robinson partly so. >> host: hardly so. and i think in a weird way it is
affected our memory of sugar ray robinson, the cultural impact of that movie is that he's more spectral as he should be for the best pound for pound fighter of the 20th century. now, it is such an interesting subject matter of sugar ray and there are so many questions it keeps coming back to but let's try to flesh out in a little bit more about the tabloid going on around it. sugar ray robinson is entering the sort of end of his fight career as the civil rights movement explodes around him. what was his posture if you will ford's first the civil rights movement and then fighters like muhammad ali making even more bold challenges to power. where was sugar ray in this? >> guest: well, first there was also a gap, 1952 to 1955. heat leaves boxing to become of
all things a tap dancer. and travels to night clubs and the usa. he goes to europe. it's not a very good night club act, but because he is sugar ray robinson he gets on with big names. he travels with the count basie band. it's amazing. so, he comes back and he regains his middleweight belt again, an astonishing astonishing comeback. a fierce fighter and he tries to move up to heavyweight to take on jolie maximum and he loses. and his fight career starts to go downhill. the 60's hit. he loses his nightclub. he and his wife, edna mae, divorce and.
so you have riots in america. he retires, moves out to l.a. in 1963 there is the march on washington. he doesn't go. robinson didn't like the clicks. he felt unwisely that may be all of the so-called hipaa people were going to go to the march on washington. i think if he had it all to do over again he would have meant. but he didn't. he wasn't actively involved in civil rights. he thought his civil-rights to place in the middle of the ring. he did campaign for senator robert f. kennedy. of course he was assassinated and that broke his heart. >> host: did the kennedy campaign seek sugar ray out? was it something that he volunteered for?
with a proud to have him as part of the campaign? he still had the cultural cachet at that time. >> guest: yes he did. yes, he did. >> host: it's interesting this is something that occurred to me as we are speaking. if i knew nothing about boxing but have a basic knowledge of american history i was reading a biography of jack johnson i would think to myself this will not end well. he is challenging power at a time when white supremacy was beyond violent. this will not end well. if i was reading a biography of joe louis fiber essey this will not end well. look at his overbearing and was and people are managing him and treating him like a child. this will not end well but if i was reading a biography of sugar ray robinson, i would think this could end well. why didn't it and well for sugar ray? >> guest: well, i think in his mind set it in did well. he wasn't broke, he was sent out in the streets mind you at one
point he had been reported on the streets of harlem puzzling pop bottles and stealing fruit of the fruit stands. so he went to california and started the sugar ray robinson youth foundation. he no longer had his pink cadillac. he had a little red pinto squeezing himself in going over to see movie models asking them to make contributions to his youth foundation. and so in a way he went back to his former self, back to the poor kids -- >> host: he became walker smith jr. again whose eyes lit up in detroit when he first saw his back center. >> guest: exactly. >> host: he wanted to create the experience for young people. >> guest: he did, in fact i
titled that chapter, saving all of those walker smith, jr.'s, and so he really in his mind at the end of his career he thought his mount olympus was saving children. getting up there on the mountaintop and reaching back down and pulling the children up and i think that made him -- i think that gave him great joy. >> host: so you think by the time it was time for him to pass this world he was a happy man? >> guest: yes, very slow. very much so. he was living with a woman he loved. he could walk on to, his youth center and the children would come up to see him and hop on his lap, and i don't think anything made walker smith, jr.
more happy. >> host: we need to explain this for people just tuning in halfway through. and i apologize for the huge discursive back to the beginning. but how did -- because i love the story so much. how did walker smith, jr., become sugar ray robinson? can you speak about how the name change even had? it is a terrific story. >> guest: it is a great story. sugar ray joined the salem methodist church boxing team, i mean walker smith, jr., did. and george came was the manager and a troubled upstate new york and they were in watertown new york in 1937. walker smith jr. didn't have a uniform. he was trying to get on the team. he was say the last man on the football squad only, you know, this was the ten member a.a. you
boxing program. so walker smith though had been trading at the church hoping at some point that george deferred would give him a chance he was just 16-years-old. one day in new york ray robinson who was a fighter didn't show up, didn't make the trip and ending for didn't want to miss that fight he'd wanted to have like four bouts in that town and robinson wasn't there and the more he thought about it she had walker smith who was harassing him saying come on, coach, please, let me have a chance. i just want -- i just want to show you what i've been doing in the basement, please i'm begging
you. george gangford said all right, go downstairs and put on some gloves. walter smith, jr. came back up, fought and mocked the guy out. the sports center at the border town newspaper, a gentleman by the name of jack case asked george gangford what is that fighter's name? gangford had the card that he had given walker smith jr., the court said ray robinson. he told them his name is ray robinson. the lady next to the sports writer jack casey said that is a sweet fighter right there. by the time jack had gotten back to the news room -- >> host: sweet as sugar -- >> guest: sweet as sugar and he wrote in the next day's paper sugar ray robinson knocked out
his opponent last night, and jack case started going on the radio saying "there is a fighter out of harlem by the name of sugar ray robinson and he is out of sight, he is so dynamic and he's quick to be back in watertown in a few months." and so jack case in watertown really made that name stick. >> host: there are people who believe that means our destiny. that john kennedy wouldn't have been john kennedy if he was mortimer. now a free robinson was walker smith, jr., is this, do you think this somehow had a profound effect on his destiny as a fighter? >> guest: yes, i think he started living the name sugar ray robinson. >> host: terrific deliberation stifel. all of the stifel issues we spoke about in the first half hour, they shine through when your name is sugar ray robinson in a way that walker smith, jr.,
which is a name that sounds a little bit as they say country. >> guest: right -- it does. >> host: it's a little different. >> guest: and, but look at sugar ray. he would walk down the street to fifth avenue, madison avenue, harlem, anywhere, and women would spot him and they would say sugar, cane sugar ray. you know, real sweetly. he just had the name and he knew the name had a stylish cache to it. and he played on that. he really did. >> host: why do you think boxers like sugar ray, jack johnson, joe louis, muhammad ali, joe frazier, why do you think boxers particularly african-american, but not solely african american boxers into the american psyche so much as political symbols, cultural symbols in a way that really does transcend of response?
>> guest: i think because -- i think because boxing a still a mystery. it's still a sport where very few can rise from the highest levels. it's very violent. i think in a way muhammad ali got a lot of his you might say his style from sugar ray robinson. i think we tend to follow boxers a lot. it is the ultimate one on one sport. it's just you and your guts and your courage facing somebody across the ring trying to hit you with such fierceness that
you might think that person is trying to kill you. >> host: and the days before the smoking bans you would have the smoke rising up from the front row. there would be a mystery at a alert. do you think there's something also that boxing has been almost like a canvas where our conception of the level playing field of america is put to the test? so people than to project this political importance like will muhammad ali get a chance to be the champion after his belt is stripped? or was he right to oppose the war? well, we will find out when he goes in the ring against frazier. or is there even basic biological quality? will jack answer that question. these things become so sharp. >> guest: joan lewis fighting max and world war ii. as good as robinson have a
moment like that? that is like taking the long trek to words. what has been his most politically symbolic about? what are the adults with lamotta? was at the tragedy fight with doyle? >> guest: jimmy dwinell who he killed in the ring. i think robinson had a steady rise in park of style. i don't think it was one moment that fascinated fascinated the american public. i think he put in their mind set on i am your stylish arbiter. i'm the person you look to for grace and elegance and style in the ring and i will never let you down. by the way i'm on my way to paris, and just watch how i carry through in europe.
you will see how the people there who love style love me as well. i don't think robinson looked at a boxing with the idea that he would have to be compared to other fighters. i really think he thought he was a solo voyager. i really think he thought he said his own style, he said his own musical notes. smith, the great sports writer said that robinson lived in his own world. that he was almost on mobile. , that he was quote, a brooding genius. >> host: and tebeau c. hinds, the great sports writer, you quoted as calling him a con artist. where do you fall on this? >> guest: i am more in the
smith camp than hines camp. i think he was a genius and our original. there wasn't a sugar ray robinson before sugar ray robinson. there was -- there were other fighters who tried to exude style, but nobody could approach it like robinson. she believed in style he were the sood just right, he wore the hat just right. >> host: do you think this book has relevance today like would you like to discuss this book on espn for example and for a modern sports audience to speak about what style can bring to an athlete's game?
because there have been all kind of debate about stifel and sports recently. the whole idea of having a dress code in the nba for example and the question how an athlete particularly african-american athletes should or should not have to comport themselves in everything from end zone celebrations to the way they interact with coaches. when you see someone like say allen iverson, do you say to yourself that man has 21st century style? or do you say would be nice if they knew the history of robinson so they could see what stifel really is, where do you fall on that? >> guest: i would love for athletes today to read the book, to read this book because there was something about sugar ray robinson that was very humbling. if he heard somebody he would go to the locker room to see how
that person was doing. and if he had somebody in the ring and it knocked off their mouthpiece she would pick it up. i mean, he was a very gracious fighter. and he cared about what the public thought about athletes. he really did. and i think just the way he carried himself he could really teach athletes. >> host: he showed it, he didn't say it. i keep expecting him in the book to pull a young cassius clay and start yelling about how she's the prettiest but he almost didn't have to. >> guest: exactly right. >> host: i'm sorry, go ahead, please. >> guest: he didn't like rudeness, he didn't like loudness, he didn't like border
-- vulgarity. i think that he has been too long forgotten and not appreciated enough in what he contributed to the cultural several of the country. >> host: you use the word genius to describe sugar ray robinson at the risk of insuring toward the land of trinkle i do think this book is touched by a genius. you did a brilliant job of bringing his life to the page and making his life seemed like something that was living and breathing right in front of you with every page. so wil haygood, a tremendous accomplishment. thank you for writing this. a book worthy of the greatest pound for pound fighter of the 20th century. this has been "after words." i am dave zirin to read the book is called "sweet thunder."
you need to buy it and you need to buy five copies to give your friends, because it will teach you something not just about boxing but about this country. author of the war of my printing b-17 pilot phase is world war ii and u.s. soviet intrigue and rosemary mariner co-editor of the atomic bomb in american society talk about their books at the southern festival of books held in nashville tennessee. welcome. my name is tom with the university of tennessee press. and apparently our moderator did not arrive, since i am the publicist for the press and i know both captain mariner and jame lee mcdonough i've asked to introduce them.
james lee mcdonough is retired from auburn university and has done many books with us. shiloh, his first book i think came out in 1974. [inaudible] laughter, and we have reprinted many times. since then he had done books on stone's river, the battle of chattanooga, the war and kentucky, i'm going to forget one here. but he is also today -- the book he is talking it out is the war of my room king -- myron king. he is here today and we are pleased to have him. it is a story of heroism in world war ii and another generation. rosemary mariner is retired captain in the united states navy and actually a neighbor of mine in tennessee. and her and her husband, chuck, she has been on the faculty of the national war college, and in fact just a little while ago i was reading thomas's latest book about the battle, the war in iraq, and she was quoted, i
i am grateful for their presence, but all the more i thank you for being here because of the major competition that we had at this hour. as the airlines say, we know you had a choice, and we thank you for choosing to fly with us, and lying is a very appropriate term both for this session and for our major competition. it is also appropriate that we are doing this at this particular time because this is a national eight the air force week. we are right in the midst of that week, and of course with my ranking, we have a pilot and crew who flew with the eighth air force. as tom posed mentioned, of course i have written articles and books that have dealt with the american civil war in one
way or another. once i started writing this book, "the wars of myron king," frequently i was asked why have you changed the way world war ii top they? the answer is that it came about largely by chance. after my last book, it is amazing how much difficulty it is to get things right to read in these later years. after my last book, nashville the western confederacy's final gamble, which recounted and analyzed the springhill franklin nashville campaign ad 1864, i thought it might be nice for a change to get away from the civil war. i thought even get away from history. i thought it might be fun to write a novel.
now, don't misunderstand me. i don't want to bring down the wrath of many historians who decry fiction, but i do read fiction. usually authors from years ago. i am more likely to pick up some thomas novel or ernest hemingway or servan the's joseph heller. probably i have read catch-22 have least three times, maybe four. anyway i decided i would try a novel and that i would said it in world war ii. focusing as my main character on a fighter pilot, and i had read, written and read quite a bit as well-- i had written about 250 pages i guess what i thought
about my rinn king, a b-17 pilot in world war ii. i knew that any pilot training with the army, air force in world war ii went through this same procedure of two-point and i felt that probably myron could help enlarge and improve my understanding of the process, so i called them up and he was very gracious, and i soon met with him. this was in september 2006 at his home. now, we talked about his flight training. primary training, the basic training, advanced training and then we got off on his flying the b-17. i don't recall whether i brought it up, i am well might have
because the b-17 has always fascinated me. and then we began talking about his rather incredible experience in russian controlled territory. as i went home that evening after spending three or four hours, and as i was driving home i found myself thinking i want to know more about this story. i want to know the whole story. i want as much detail as possible and i thought, this is the book should be writing. and i should be writing it right now. after all, i could always go back to the novel and even if it is never finished, so what? is after all, fiction. , myron's story is reality. it is gripping and significant reality and i felt like i had to do it. now, often in the years when i
was teaching, i would tell my upper division and graduate students in history that a history book is only as good as the quality of the sources on which it is based, together with the integrity and the skill of the out there who employs those sources. and i can say that for this book i had excellent sources. first, for most of course my interviews with myron. in the latter part of 2006 and through probably two-thirds roughly of 2007 i met with him upon ten locations, always two to three hours and sometimes more than that. and, without his input, certainly this book would not have been written.
to other members of the king crew also assisted me. most of the crew is deceased. when i started work on this book, one other was still alive but physically impaired to the point that he was not able to help. but i did receive help from the navigator, richard. he wrote two letters describing various experiences and responding to questions that i had posed for him. and we talked a couple of times over the phone, and you will find as you read the book that i have quoted him a number of times. and then the third crew member who contributed was phil rhino. as some of you may not know precisely what the ball toward is on a b-17 vet that is
sometimes referred to as-- the one that is on the bottom of the plane in justak avoided trailing edge context the fuselage. phil rhino reaudit couple of letters responding to my questions and i talked to him to wear three times over the phone. it was during either the second our third conversation that we had that he said, in these are i think very close to his exact words, oh by the way, i wonder if he would have any interest in seeing the diary that i kept when we started overseas. [laughter] well, he write him talking to a primary source and he tells me, would you like to see my diary. that is like holding out a piece of fish in front of a cat.
i towns, and immediately i came to attention. yes, sir, i certainly do want to see the diaries of the package it up and mail that to me. through the years, as you might assume, i have read a great many diaries. now, a lot of them are interesting but not necessarily beneficial for the purposes that i have in mind. and then you find some that are just really helpful, and phil rhino's diary fell into that latter category. just for example, on every mission as he told about every mission they flew, and he would begin by noting the identification number of the b-17 they flew that day. and then, he would also put down the target for that.
and whether or not, for whatever reason, they wound up bombing a secondary target. he would also note how many hours they were in the air. usually it was six to nine or ten hours. and, how much of that time they were on oxygen. and then, he would write a paragraph , usually more than a paragraph , sometimes too, three, even once or twice for paragraphs, with his observations about that mission. now, he might for instance know that the group took a roundabout route to the target. this might have been because of known concentrations of anti-aircraft fire, flat as it was known for for some other reseen trying to deceive him about the target. he might also note, it usually
note, something about the bomb run. one time, he said that they didn't get the bums out until they were a considerable distance beyond the target, because there was a failure of the-- or a malfunction of the release mechanism. usually, he offered an opinion about the severity of the flack. with that heavy, moderates, light? one of the most interesting things to me was that sometimes, after they got back to their base in england he counted the number of black holes that were in the plate and put those down. another time he noted that a side panel of his baldridge came off and of course they were flying in 40 to 50 degrees below zero and he said by the time we
got back a he was almost frozen to death. he may have been exaggerating a little but i can imagine it was extremely cold. once or twice he noted we did not keep a very good formation today. he did not explain why that he would note that. well, i think you can understand why i've valued his narrative and however good this book may just be, without that diary it would have been less. in addition to, i had some other very excellent primary sources, some indispensable sources. i also feel compelled to say that writing this book has been rewarding, and of course i don't mean in a monetary sense. i mean it has been rewarding in
a more elevated sense, that it has been satisfying and valuable , significant. i enjoyed researching and writing this book. it is, as i mentioned i think finally in the epilogue, his story is a rattling good adventure echo what actually happened to him is captivating. no fictional embellishment could possibly improve upon the truth and indeed in my opinion any fictional embellishment would be a gross disservice to the significance of what he experienced. now i would like to read exactly what i have written. king's dori offers the high drama of world war ii in the air, particular the bombing of
nazi germany along with the complex and frustrating circumstances that inaugurated the cold war and the intertwining of politics and military justice. king the ultimately, through no fault of his own, became entangled in a bizarre a fairbourne of the mounting tensions between the united states and stalin's regime which resulted in a deeply troubling ordeal, an ordeal that was totally undeserved. king's experience b2 the evil's, which periodically threaten to insnare our lives, to destroy our individual worth, even our opportunities and freedom. such things as unchecked institutional power, bureaucratic regulations,
ideological inflexibility. personal loyalties, personal agendas, secrecy, and more. of the melodies that trap innocent victims, all the evils we should unflinchingly resist. i quote john dime's famous discerning, beautifully expressed wisdom from the 17th century. no ban is an island entire of itself. every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. if a clod be washed away by the sea, europe is the less. as well as if they come in tori work, as well as if a matter of friends are of thine own work.
this is why my rinn king's experience is significant. whatever injustices the sets and the man, is a threat to all. probably by now you understand why the book is called "the wars of myron king." he is involved in the war against the german third reich. he is involved in the nascent cold war between the united states and stalin's regime, and they struggle afterward to clear his name of injustice that was inflicted upon him. at this point, i would like to read a couple of selections from the book just to give you a sample of the content. the first one involves the
initial mission that myron and his crews flew, the target was about 80 miles southwest of berlin. more specifically, it was on the outskirts of the black sea. which, of course, had a great amount of oil resources. a very vital ingredient for hitler's war machine. and i pick up reading here. in the midst of the mission. the weather was clear over the target, is the first american aircraft began their bombings, and those airmen have a good deal of the oil plants. crewmen could see huge explosions and fires in the refinery areas.
but, soon, the smoke screen, the germans put up together with the rising smoke from the bomb explosions, obscured much of the target for the men in succeeding planes. ball turret rhino wrote in his diary, "we were the third group over the target. i saw the planes go down the out of the group ahead of us, the sky was black with flack and i was never so scared in all my life as i was when we started over the target let's code rhino was struck by a sliver of shrapnel but fortunately the injury proved inconsequential. myron king simply said, they shot the hell out of us. the plane had 150 holes in it when they got back he added. a b-17 skeleton is strongly built but its aluminum skin is
relatively thin. one can punch a hole in it with a screwdriver. pieces of black readily tore through naturally. some of the metal left only tiny holes and others gaping open ones. clearly the large pieces were dangerous but a missile ripping even very small holes sometimes could be deadly. if no flag fragment wounded in airmen a piece of the plane itself sometimes caused injury. during a-bomb run, toddler pine was knocked back by the concussion of a blast that blew a hole in the plexiglas those leaving a particle in one of his eyes. luckily he did not sustain any permanent injury although he missed the next emissions. we never saw anything like what we saw at bobin remembered king. there being no wind that they king said, the black smoke from flack could be seen hanging over
berlin from 100 miles away. as each group made its bomb runs still more smoke appeared ever dissipating he added in turn this guy ever darker. a lot of b-17 paws were going down. some exploding in a big ball of fire and smoke, others spiraling out of control. their engines on fire and trailing smoke or part of a wing or tail shot away. the first reports were that 56 bombers had been lost on the mission. they figured later at 29. some of those of course had been badly shot up and forced to crash land and several of them never flew again. king said the actually sell most of the bombers that were shot down that day. and according to him again, our position made it so we could see the planes ahead of us than the
ones behind us. they were just all over the target you see going down all around us. this scene was forever etched on the minds of the young pilot. when king returned home after the war, he painted a panoramic picture of that awful day over berlin as he remembered it from the b-17's coppitt. king's plane was one of the 401st, many stragglers returning from berlin. fortunately though the american fighter escorts kept the lufafa offer from getting close enough to attack any of the group's fleet returning bombers. lincoln lended, a fire engine and ambulance followed the plane down the runway. the exhaust pipes and one of the out board members had been shot away thus giving an appearance to those on the ground that the engine was on fire. as soon as the b-17's motors
were shut down king said every member of the crew kissed the ground as he left the bomber. king; that the ball turret gunner had crawled out of his confined space earlier then he should have. i told him that if a german fighter were following us and approaching from below our plane, the entire crew's safety could depend on whether or not he spotted the enemy fighter. rhino would never again get out of the turret early. king continued to elaborate on the incident. i knew he was cramped and scared but i also knew that i couldn't just ignore the matter. then he added, i was in shock myself and i was wondering if all the missions were going to be like this one. if so, then clearly there would be a little or no chance of surviving 35 of them.
and then the second selection that i wanted to read is from the latter part of his last mission. this was february 3rd, 1945. it was to that point the largest number of heavy bombers that the eighth air force had never put over berlin, and over berlin king's plane, which was known as maid in usa, lost to motors and the result was that he and the co-pilot made the decision to fly eastward to russian controlled territory rather than trying to go back to england. if they had tried to go back, they would have been facing a 75 to 100-mile an hour headwind and with to motors out, there would be no way to keep up with the
formation and of course german fighters always particularly looked for a straggler. it would represent an easy kill and there could be no guarantee american fighters could protect them all the way back to england they made with scene certainly to be the reasonable decision heading toward russian territory. rushing controlled territory. they had been given seacord nets for a landing field in poland, but when they got to that field, there was no way, it was just a plowed field and there was no way you could put a bummer down on it other than crash landing. finally, on the way to warsaw where he helped maybe they could land at the airport and warsaw is some 300 miles from berlin, when they got to the airfield at warsaw, it has been just horribly bummed out and there is
no way you could possibly put a plane down on it so he continued flying eastward and at that moment, this russian fighter plane appears, which came very close to shooting them down. occasionally the germans would get ahold of an american plane and come flying over russian territory and attack and the russian fighter pilots initial thought was that perhaps this is an american plane that the germans have, but when he decided that this was indeed a legitimate american aircraft in trouble, he guided them to his field. unfortunately, his field was quite short, and i will take a breather here and this is the last election. king and sweeny, william j. sweeny the co-pilot, qingyan sweeny however still face the
big problem, landing their aircraft. the runway was very short, barely adequate for a fighter plane and not nearly long enough for a heavy bomber nor was the quality of the runaway state-of-the-art, far from it. actually, the landing field was just that, a farmer's field with the irrigation terraces across the landing areas, across the landing area about every 18 to 20 feet. the russians had prepared a runaway by flooding the field, knowing the water would quickly freeze in the very cold weather, thus providing a flat, smooth the short runway for smaller aircraft. king said the whole field was no longer in the first third of the typical runway on which he and sweeney were accustomed to landing.
considering all factors though there seem to be no other choice. they must land where the russians directed them. i don't remember ever concentrating in my life like it did approaching that landing, king said. when i think of it today it is just like i am right there again. i ordered the crew to assume their positions in the radio room according to authorized procedure for a crash landing. i was thinking that, i have got is that the plane down immediately after crossing the fence or for sure we will crash of the other end of the field. he gestured to indicate the extreme and kaleb dissent he used, declaring, i'll bet our tale didn't miss that fence 3 feet and the plane came down so hard with such a crashing sound that i first thought i had broken the landing gear. thankfully the gear was intact. the noise came from i.c.e.
breaking up under the weight of the bomber and crashing into the underside of the plane. according to king richard lowe told him during a recent visit that he did not believe one could crash a plane and make as much noise as the eyes did. he also said he thought the sound was very much like flack, something with which we had plenty of experience. lincoln realize the name came from pieces of fights he feared for the flaps. extending more than half the length of the wings and 3 feet wide, the fully extended flaps certainly were taking a beating as the wind from the popps hurled big chunks of i.c.e. into them. nothing could be done however, except to ride it out and so concluded king, we made a big skidding, sweeping turned and going sideways too, and finally came to a stop at the end of that field.
briefings a sigh of relief, the king shutdown the engines. the megan had landed. the crews scramble vincent lee from the plane, each man kissing the ground as soon as he touched it according to king's recollection. their landing attracted considerable attention with a rather large number of people quickly gathering around, some in russian military uniform and others apparently civilians. customarily upon returning from a mission, the 401st crewmen were offered a 2-ounce shot of whiskey explain king. nobody expected that ingression controlled territory. nor were they anticipating hot coffee usually provided by the red cross while landing in england but some of the crew did what water. richard lowe said he was thirsty.
however, neither he nor any of the other crews spoke resch none none of the people could converse in english. but, through gestures we expressed a desire for water to drink lowe said. promptly the russians provided each man with a large tumbler filled with a clear liquid that sub-into the water. unsuspecting he took a big swallow and experiences first-ever taste of what the. what a shock he said, and one might add, what a welcome to rushing controlled territory. that is the beginning of an adventure for the crew and above all, for myron as commander of the plane that was in treating, unique and really incredible in
several ways, but i am not going to tell you any more about it. i hope that you'll read the book. i want to close though by making a particular note of the presence here today of myron king and his wife, eleanor and their son, ron. and it is certainly wonderful that they could be with us on this occasion and i thank you for your attention. [applause] >> well, i am inspired by the book myself. i have another description of a bomb and a bummer. beginning in 1956, lieutenant-colonel robert whig, a prolific author, a future war
scenarios brogan article that featured an atomic powered bomber curing lance basements to deploy from the aircraft on flying platforms. complete with built in radioes and night lidge incapability. in a book entitled war, 1974, he went on to describe all types of atomic powered equipment as part of the negatron age in which 1974 was actually the year 29 bae of the atomic era. this description of rick's mission of atomic warfare and many others are contained in an essay by david walker of boise state university as part of or anthology the atomic bomb and american society and perspectives co-authored by myself, the history department
at the university of tennessee, knoxville and kirk sends is regrets that he is not here and his reas well. the chapters in our work for first presented as paper said it public conference sponsored by the university of tennessee press and the center for the study of war and society under the history department of the university of tennessee at knoxville. they were commemorating the 60th anniversary of the debt nation of the first bomb. contributors came from very academic fields including historians, a physicist philosopher, a career foreign service officer, political scientists, a professor of english literature and a professor of performance art. appropriately, the conference was held in oak ridge, tennessee. the plenary was given by one of the most noted pioneer's of cold war scholarship, professor emeritus of the university of
wisconsin-madison and author of the groundbreaking work by the dawn's early light, american thought and culture at the dawn of the atomic age in graciously paul agreed to write the opening chapter of this anthology. before i get into the description of the book i am going to make a plug for the center of the war and society under the directorship-- the center was started by another pioneer of the atomic era research, charles johnston a professor of history groot's sitting behind a fence, oak ridge tennessee, 1942-1946. a book that is still in print to this day. his motive in founding the center was to capture the experience of world war ii veterans like mr. king, an oral history format beginning in 1984 and this was years before this became a popular field of
research. some 25 years later the center still maintains an extensive collection, collect oral interviews from veterans of all wars and makes available on line some of those interviews and i think we will be talking to mr. king as well. as for myself i had been affiliated with the center for some ten years as a resident scholar but i am not a scholar of cold war history nor anything atomic. morris i am a veteran of both cold war era and a baby boomer, like many of you in the audience. that is a qualification in itself. but it was a pleasure to work with so many serious and enthusiastic scholars both established in airfield msenge's starting out, a topic that still invokes nostalgic if not reflective and i would add introspective responses. so, back to the bomb.
paul reminds us that there were three major cultural cycles during the cold war. defined by the way americans responded in ebbs and flows, through fears of what that whole era envoked. the first cycle from 1945 to the mid-1950s started with the year tied to the implications of the employment of the first bomb against japan. what head we wrought? by 1947 this year faded somewhat only to be replaced with the fear of communist aggression, especially after the soviets tested their first bomb. there was optimism over the positive aspects of atomic energy but the 1954 test of the first h-bomb was a stark reminder of how even more destructive this weapon had
become. and it also provided the inspiration for a famous skimpy bathing suits. the second cycle started in the mid 1950's and lasted into the late 1970's. paul provide examples of how nuclear fear captivated the national culture such as walter miller's 1959 novel and also that year the stanley kramer's film on the beach was released. the fear of nuclear armageddon was further inflamed by the 1961 berlin crisis and the 1962 cuban missile crisis, both leading to intensive international interest in banning nuclear testing. of course this cycle also gave us the classic 1964 film, dr. strangelove and fail-safe, television shows joined in with cinematic questioning of nuclear war saltzman the outcome with the twilight zone episodes being
my personal favorites. despite such products has the 1954 atomic fireball, he remembered those jawbreakers, nuclear fears started to actually fade after 1963 with the adoption of bans on atmospheric testing and the 1972 abm treaty's but there were still rhee runs of movies like them with giant hands which remind us of the dangers of radioactive fallout. the third cycle dates from the mid-1970s to the present day, it in defining what we came to fear the most. as new nations like china began testing atomic weapons, fear of nuclear proliferation came to dominate public discourse. following in 19793 mile island incident which coincided with the release of james bond movie the china syndrome fear of atomic things led to calls to ban nuclear power plants and
also to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether. the 1980's also gave as president ronald reagan's star wars program for which the untold billions of dollars were spent and are still being spent as the emphasis shifted from eliminating nuclear weapons to defending or shielding against them in the continental united states. delay 1980's and early 1990's saw the theme of global thermonuclear war make its way from movies to video games even in the post-cold war era of the simpson's got into the act in 1995 in an episode in title, a side show barbs class-- in which an embittered former tv clown discovers a discarded nuclear weapon in the local air force base open house. the theory is this tv show has been cancelled and the threat is to detonate it unless all the
bee eliminated. despite mrs. sampson's please he pulls the pen only to have nothing happened. he had missed the warning label that said, best if used before 1959. even following the official end of the cold war in 1992 we see that the depiction of nuclear weapons shifted from something potentially ending the human race to just another big bomb. in the 1996 movie, independence day, an atomic bomb is used to blow up the alien spaceship parked over washington d.c. and no one is overly concerned about nuclear fallout or nuclear winter. likewise fictional accounts of terrorism like tom clancy's 1991 novel, which featured a plot to blow up the super bowl with a suitcase nuclear weapon did not dwell on the larger issues of the survival of the human race.
agents this chronological framework our contributors described their extensive research into equally important, if not quite so humorous aspects of the atomic bombs cultural and social footprint. it is impossible to include all of this material but just a few examples. michael the cults dr.ism but physics and philosophy offered a fascinating look at to leading physicists, j. robert oppenheimer and isidore raviv and engaged in a discourse of the universal, attempting to enter the atomic age in a broad cultural and intellectual program that lasted from the 1940's into the 1960's. both men held to the centrality of science and public education, a time in which baby boomers matriculated to the public education system. how much attention baby boomers actually paid to science and high school as opposed to things
like building models is another matter. christopher bright, a historian, describes the popular representation of some nuclear weapons based on u.s. soil during the early cold war such as the 1958 model kits, but hercules missile. even the tv show lessee featured an episode in 1961 of tommy getting to visit an emplacement. like many of us, or how many of us actually realized or remember in the 1950's, homeland security meant a were continental air defense system incorporating tactical atomic warheads based around major u.s. cities. closer to home here in tennessee george www., a professor of history at tennessee tech university documents of media located around major manhattan project facilities responded to the announcement on august 6,
1945 that the bomb had been employed against japan. newspapers close to los alamos, new mexico, hanford washington and oakridge, tennessee's stressed the role played by their neighboring facilities and stress how well the secrecy had been maintained. jenny barker divine provides another documented account of how rural america with engage in civil defense programs throughout the 1950's and into the early 1960's. this was particularly important during the period of fears of nuclear radiation fallout. in addition to serving as the evacuation sites, rural america was concerned or preparing themselves to protect their livestock and crops so west to ensure that america had a proper food supply. as a retired naval officer i have to mention william david friedman's chapter on life and culture aboard a u.s. submarine
during the late cold war era, now a historian. he draws from his perspective as a young enlisted man aboard the fast attack boats, the u.s. says william h. bates, to describe the subculture's within the navy in the highly professional ice training of enlisted men because the navy was determined that not only would there not be any weapons incidents but that the propulsion plans to use atomic energy would be safe as well instill to this day. and to bring us back to the present day i will draw from robert hunter's chapter on nuclear terrorism and 1950's films. lung the lines of what this all this down again, hunter tells us about three different movies produced during the eisenhower years that involved plots featuring the smuggling of small nuclear weapons into the united
states all of which could be taken from the pages of today's counterterror scenarios horse csi. finally, paul reminds us that under america's 2002 treaty with russia, the united states will possess 6,000 nuclear warheads in 2012, 2200 of them fully armed, a total that would have horrified atomic scientists in 1945. he concludes by telling us that the arts and the humanities mass entertainment in certainly books are critical to our understanding of how much the manhattan project changed america. the atomic bombor there to that understanding and perhaps provided for new generations of americans who still must live in the shadow of the manhattan project. the doomsday clock is still
ticking. so, thank you and i will take questions. [applause] are there any questions for either of us? >> i have a question. can you describe more about the work of the institute you were part of in relation to that book? >> the center for the study of orrin society is in the history department at the university of tennessee, knoxville and their emphasis is on collecting oral histories of veterans, predominantly of world war ii veterans but now of all wars and then we expand into other areas such as offering conferences like this one and we are in knoxville.
>> i am sure you covered this in the book but how much cooperation did you get from the military and other records? >> well, i received-- and that was good particularly in montgomery. now, i was able to obtain copies of some very significant doctrine-- documents from a source in savannah with the eighth air force museum through another person who helped. i was able to get some documents
that had been taken out of the library of congress and the national archives and i personally, fortunately, did not have to make that particular trip to washington. but, i think the problem that the military had was back in the days when myron was trying to get it straightened up when all the documents were then classified as secret but in more recent years they have been opened up, and i assume, as i said i had no problem through maxwell air force base. any other questions? >> whatever happen to the b-17 that landed in russia?
>> that is an interesting question. they did manage to get the motors repaired, and to make a herrle wing take off from that short field, which was incredible story within itself, and of course i detail that in the book. in the b-17 did survive to get back to england and back to this country and all together it had flown with different crews, a total of 35 missions, but then it was ultimately scrapped, unfortunately. there is a large portrait of it, probably about this long and this tall, that hangs on one of the walls of the u.s. air force museum in dayton and his then there for years.
anything else? >> i have one more question. on your book on the atomic impact or on society, is there is special museum board you collaborate with the museum in elkridge? is there any kind of historical museum there? i have not been there for a while. is there some kind of a technological museum? either actually to museums. there's one on atomic research and there's also a children's museum and they both have very good collections and interesting programs. oakridge had done a tremendous job in trying to preserve their history. >> do you deal with that in the book? >> barras one contribution that talks about oakridge and the efforts to build a belt.
it was a peace memorial and he documents in great detail the various reactions to that effort but the bill was established and actually rung. >> i think we are out of time. >> okay. thank you very much. >> yes. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> rosemary mariner history lecture at the university of tennessee and formerly professor of military studies at the national war college. james lee mcdonough, retired at auburn university history professor is the author of "war in kentucky" from shiloh to
perryville and chattanooga, "death grip on the confederacy." this event was part of the 2007 festival of books. for more information visit humanities tennessee.org/festival. we are here with dr. matthew corrigan in jacksonville, florida the author of american royalty, the bush and clinton families and the danger to the american presidency. so come and ways the bush-clinton dominance of the presidency a danger to american democracy? >> it really goes back to the founding of the country. if you look at some of the documents from our founding, especially the debates during the constitution and whether the constitution was going to be ratified or adopted, if you really have a strong current of two things going on. when, the country needed a strong executive after the
failures of the articles of confederation and two, also want to make sure we did not return to a monarchies like we had broken away from england, so we have this to current colliding. so, a lot of the founders of the constitution wanted to make sure that the executive did not become so powerful that we would establish another monarchy. there are some exceptions to this, the adams family of is the did not have a problem with family power but george washington himself made sure we would not have earl tea, not of the king and george mason delegates from virginia, argued against this idea of the constitution itself because he said even though we would be electing people, we would be in danger of an elected monarchy. in other words people's name recognition, we'll know people would be elected over and over and if you are in the same family disadvantages really help the to do that. sell the idea of the book really
came from the original debate and if you fast-forward over 200 years later, we have a lot of families who have tremendous political power in the united states, the kennedys, the bushes, the clintons, the cuomo's and the bushes of course and if you look at all of these particular families, it seems like the end result is a run for the presidency in the book argues that you know, family politics and united states is probably going to continue until the end of the republic and there is not necessarily anything like that, brothers running for the u.s. senate or city councilman or whatever but for the presidency to really be shared in one immediate family, i think there's some problems with that. i think their constitutional problems with that and i think it violates the spirit of the founding of the country's so that is where the impetus of the book came from. >> do you think personal issues
have played more role in the democratic process when families that played a large role in being president or have high positions in the government? >> absolutely. when you have the immediate families again in these positions of power personalities are going to play a huge role. i think historians are going to have but upon book on how george w. bush was trying to react or maybe be different from his own father, george h.w. bush pieno and i think when you look at bill in senator clinton, they are all sorts of interactions there. one of the reasons they became so famous and so well-known was their family problems. they marched on the scene really talking about the problems in their marriage and in some ways the problems in their marriage dominated president clinton's to terms, so personal issues are huge when you talk about presidential decision-making so when you share the presidency and immediate families that really brings in a lot of personal baggage that the prime-- country probably doesn't
need and if hugo back in look at the history of a lot of our presidents even though they may not have shared president among-- presidency among the immediate families except the addams family, again family issues are huge. a lot of their decision-making and a lot of their issues. so with hubering family issues and multiply it with the fact that a son is trying to follow a father or a wife is trying to follow a husband, it really does that think corrupt the democratic process. >> you think there any particular factors and the political climate in the recent history of the lives of these families in such dominance? >> our current politics really lends itself to family power because the number one characteristic that you need to be successful is fund-raising. fund-raising cannot do it all for you. you can raise a lot of money in soyuz elections but in general they cannot lose the senate
election without a lot of money and if you have name recognition that is the huge abed in raising money so fund-raising lets people really get into the game and secondly, name recognition. lucky go to a ballot box and you are familiar with the name again that it's a huge advantage in an unfair advantage to other people who don't have the name recognition. i think that is important as well in the third factor is our media culture nowhere we really focus on personalities and celebrities and through this culture of wanting to know what is going on in families. if you want to know what is going on in families, then those people are going to become well-known and again, if they decide in the political process they have a lot of advantages. >> do you think the government should take any official steps to prevent this from happening in the future? >> i think a constitutional amendment banning president in immediate families is not a bad
idea. i think voters need to think about it. i think that is really where any particular reform needs to come from, the voters themselves and to really think about when you talk about the most powerful political office in the world, the you one insured in an immediate family, do we want to get governor jeb bush eight years from now or have senator clinton running eight years from now which is a distinct possibility. senator clinton becoming secretary of state banks that much more likely and again you can be very skilled people. they are both very skilled people but that doesn't necessarily mean they have to be president and i think senator obama with his unique background and coming out of nowhere if you will shows there is plenty of people in this country who are really qualified to be president and we don't have to go back to these families all the time. >> doctor the corrigan, author of american royalty, the bush and clinton families and the danger