tv Author Discussion on Outlaws in U.S. History CSPAN October 11, 2019 2:46am-3:48am EDT
[inaudible speaking] the panel is titled american history, renegades and sponsored by the mississippi library commission. tracy carr, with the library commission, was in the room for the very first organizational meeting of the festival we couldn't do this without the mississippi library commission or libraries from all over the state so thank you very much for your support. we are in the room today courtesy of foreman watkins law firm, our gratitude to them. our panelists are tom craven, eric j dolman and peter houlihan. you can purchase copies of their books from vendors outside and you can find the times are authors will be signing in your program. we will hear from our panelists for about 40 minutes then open the floor to questions. please come to the podium in the center of the room to ask your questions. help me welcome our moderator for this panel, kitty blunt
director of mississippi department of archives and history. [applause] >> thank you. i'm going to tell you about these guys and then we will start the conversation. tom craven was a reporter for the new york times and editor of weekly newspapers before turning to writing full-time. four of his books have been new york times bestsellers dodge city the heart of everything that is, healtheast typhoon and the last stand of fox company. while bill was published by st. martin's press february 2019 and this november harpercollins will release all blood runs red. in sag harbor new york. eric j dolan in the middle is the author of 13 books including leviathan, the history of whaling in america named one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by the los angeles times in the boston globe the book also won the 2007 john lyman award for u.s.
maritime history. his most recent book, before black slaves, was brilliant begin. the history of the american lighthouse. dolan lives in marblehead massachusetts with his family. and on the end peter houlihan is a freelance writer in his career as an emergency medical technician he's written a number of articles related to his profession including the impact of ptsd on first responders. he's written a number of book reviews for the hearst papers is a native of southern california he now lives in fairfield county connecticut in norco 80 is his first book. i'm going to ask each of you to say a few words about your book and give us an overview and then will come up with some questions. >> thank you for telling me. [laughter] >> can you hear me? you got that in at the right time. thank you.
i will talk very briefly about my book while bill which is about while bill hitchcock. it was a book i had no intention of writing. it sort of snuck up on me. i had done a book that came out a couple years ago called dodge city about white hurt and matt masterson when they were young lawmen together in dodge city kansas and when the book came out it was successful and i've been working on a different book a world war ii story but my editor looking at the bottom line said is there another iconic western figure you can think of who may be deserves to have some treatment? i said the name that popped into my head was while bill because it was a name i think we all recognized while bill hitchcock. we all recognize that name but the only thing you might think about him was he was a gunfighter i said if that's all he was a gunfighter and not really that interested i said let me do some research.
the book that came out of that portrays while bill hitchcock as a gunfighter, fervent abolitionist, spy behind confederate lines during the civil war, deputy u.s. marshall, marshal of hayes city in abilene kansas, he was a broadway performer star of the theater on broadway. and of course he was a gambler who finished up his career in deadwood south dakota. one other thing i will add on very briefly one of the joys of working on the book as i discovered he so often did associated with calamity jane. they were big love affair. some of you go back to the movie the planes. but the love of his life and the woman he eventually married and the woman agnes lake, one of the most remarkable women of the 1800s she was one of the major search. >> impresarios in the country. the rival of barnum and bailey
and the ringling brothers and nobody knows who she is. she had an amazing career and she and hickok fell in love it took them a few years. it was one of the unexpected pleasures of the book to portray this remarkable person was literally lost in the midst of history. thank you. >> thank you.first i'd like to give a shout out to john evans of the myriad books because he's one of the reasons i'm here he read my book enjoyed it and asked the mississippi book festival if they'd invite me down so i like to thank him for doing that and i'd like to think the mississippi book festival for inviting me to come down and it got really hot this morning i'm not used to it and from the north. i want to tell you a little bit about how this book began as well.usually i just go to libraries and read a bunch of books and i try to figure out something i'm interested in and then pitch it to my agent hopefully he's on board and pitch it to the publisher. but this book i did something quite different.
i got my two teenage children in the room i had three or four ideas and started telling them what i wanted to write about and when i mentioned pirates, both of their eyes lit up and they said, dad that's it you have to write a book about pirates. i got very excited because although i've written plenty of books neither of my kids have read any of them. [laughter] i have to report since my daughter might see this my daughter just graduated from college and she actually read black lives blue waters she said she enjoyed it. my son a freshman in college has only agreed to read it perhaps by the time he's 50 years old. and one for two. but black lives blue waters about the pirates of the golden age. which stands in the late 1600s through about 1726 and there have been a lot of books about pirates and my book as to that literary leverage but with a slight twist. i focus on the pirates that either operated out of the american colonies or slandered ships along the american shore.
really the book goes into sections before 1700 and after 1700. before 1700 pirates in the colonies were welcomed with open arms because here the colonies were on the edge of empire they were starved of currency they didn't like how england was treating them and pirates were coming from the caribbean and also from the red sea. they were going there and attacking muslim ships or muggle ships and bringing riches back to the colonies. governors were getting paid off to get the letters of mark to go off and when they came back to the colonies with their money they were reintegrated into those colonies. england shut down the piracy about 1700 then after the war the spanish succession which ended in 1713 pirates came roaring back and that's the type of piracy that most of you no doubt are familiar with. that's when blackbeard was upon the seas. i always find it funny that blackbeard is the most outsized part of the one most people have heard about but he was
only a pirate for about a year and and a half he didn't have a particularly successful career and when he died they cut his head off and hung it on the bouts of this loop before the british navy lieutenant took it back to williamsburg. the book has a lot of hangings in it. it's got a lot of death and destruction. but it also really is a book about american history that just uses pirates as a backbone to tell that story. i had a lot of fun writing the book and researching it. >> we have a cowboys and we have pirates and i've got bank robbers so other than vampires you got for of the main stage of things that have remained in the fascination. my story is about a group of young men led by a born-again christian with strong and times beliefs who attempted to take over robbery of the security pacific bank in norco
california outside los angeles on may 9, 1980 that turned into one of the most violent events in american law enforcement history. when it was over there was three dead and 15 wounded included should summon sheriff's deputies. there were 32 police cars either disabled or destroyed by gunfire or explosive devices being thrown by the bank robbers. a police helicopter that was shot down over san bernardino county. the scope of this is really what attracted me to it. i'm a native southern california and i grew up right near where this happened. the sheer scope of the event is really what drew me to it. these are five heavily armed young men. they are shooting civilian grade civilian version the military grade weapons they've made homemade fragmentation
grenades that can launch out the barrels of their shotguns. as luck would have it and a lot of bad planning the minute they stepped outside of the bank they came head-to-head with the riverside county sheriff's deputy and it just erupted into a wildfire fight in a crowded southern california intersection on a friday afternoon in which over 100 rounds over 500 rounds were fired and then into a running gun battle through the suburban streets of riverside and san bernardino county onto a crowded interstate highway where they were throwing up fragmentation grenades shooting down the police helicopter and ended up 6500 feet up on a fire road clinging to a mountainside in the san gabriel mountains above los angeles. where the road is washed out and the four surviving bank robbers, i don't want to give too much of it away, ambushed the pursuing police. it was really the scope of this and i think a wider context that it fits into is the bank
robbery epidemic that swept through los angeles area beginning write about 1980 and then extending into the middle of the 1990s, which is one of the backdrops on it. the impact for today have a lot to do with the way local police forces are armed and the way that they deal with posttraumatic stress disorder. >> great. this room is full. all of these people chose to come to this panel over many other panels including spring core justice so let me ask y'all, why do readers enjoy books about bad guys? violent stories? renegades? what you think the appeal is? pirates? i'm not casting aspersions. [laughter] >> for a very base perspective
there is nothing more gripping or dramatic then to read about a horrific act. it just grabbed your attention. it's sort of like white people rubbernecking there on a highway and there's an accident? ... in many different forms going back as long as we recorded history and certainly before that. so maybe there is something very animalistic about it wanting to read about it. i also think there's an aspect in the sense that you can read about these acts and hope we none of you would want to perpetrate but you could put yourself in that perspective and think what it would've been like
and maybe better them than me. you hear a lot of people getting killed or robbed or some the bad is happening and not happening to you. but there is no doubt that death, destruction, horrific acts of violence attract your attention like almost no other topic. [laughter] >> i also think when you take a hard look at someone who does something almost unimaginable, and my case these were five young men no criminal records who threw away their lives and the lives of a lot of other people. there's also the fascination with how someone gets to that point where they take a step like that or in the case with pirates or mythological figures like wild bill, i voiced thought there is a fascination with what other steps gets someone more
like me or us or you to somebody who is doing something extraordinary and almost unimaginable. just to add, i think in the case of wild bill, is a romanticism about the lone gunman in the person living a life and most of the people living a life that we don't live. he was a unique figure the ever tight for mail was 55 height. >> and tall muscular lean, he had buckskin in the summer euro, he wore two guns, one each side he could chew accurately with either hand. and up until the day he died he was undefeated heavyweight gunfighter. he lived a life where he roamed all over the place and had
different kind of adventures on the prairie and in the plains. for most of us we don't have that or have that life. and this feeling of i'm going to read the story and live this life for the next 360 days because i know when i put the book down i gotta mow the lawn. [laughter] i gotta get the laundry back. >> all three of you they were
waiting two nights later and his father had taken them to the next station along the way. it was not surprised in the civil war broke out and he joined the union army and he saw the early battles of the war but he became a spy and he always had through his whole life coolness under pressure. in the one thing that made him effective, he had a belief that the bullet had not been manufactured that could kill
him. so when confronted and gun battle he believed that he was going to persevere and he did. but in the civil war, he actually infiltrated senior office of staff to listening as if they're strategizing in the union lines. there is another aspect that made him a reggae gated at any point pray he could been unmasked and shot. once was found out and put to be shot dead at don he escaped back to the union line. there is a renegade aspect in doing a job most people cannot do effectively or did not want to because there would be no trial if you're found it be immediate death. >> i definitely think that running a haven for runaway slaves on the underground railroad is a different version of taking justice into your own
hands. the fascinating connection, you all have any thoughts? >> there are two things, the era in which this took place had a big impact and as i mentioned the leader, the young man who put this big robbery together was a born-again christian with a very heavy and time belief and theology saved in the book of revelations and i'm certainly not suggesting that those lead to big robbery but in the case of george wayne smith he came out of orange county california where in the 1970s were there were ministries that were aggressively evangelical and youth ministries and the book of revelation rapture and in time theology. and he began to believe that that was going to happen soon. and when george looked out at the world and tried to match up
current events with prophecies there was a lot to see in the 1970s. not the least of which was a very real threat of nuclear obliteration. so george was really preparing to be able to survive events and he became heavily armed into a fortress along with his roommate and took part in the bank robbery. the other is that not too many people know that los angeles is a bank robbery capital of the world and for many years and decades it's only recently changed, one out of every four bank robberies in the united states takes place within the jurisdiction of the l.a. field office of the fbi. there are a number of reasons but the main one is freeways.
you rob a bank next to the freeway and you jump on a freeway and five minutes later and the good old days of los angeles you are 5 miles away and probably cruising sidestreet of a different police jurisdiction. 1980 was the beginning of that and by 1990s there were 2600 bank robberies in that region, 14 a day at their height 28 and monday. so it is fertile ground for bank robberies and when people go looking for money, quick money in los angeles they usually look more so at banks than they do in other areas. ithose are two aspects of the ea in which it took place. >> one of the things that history taught me is that the
root of a lot of action is money, lack of money, desire for money in the way that that plays out in black lives, blue waters prior to 1700 the american colonies was a very small place on the outskirts of empire, treated by the mother country who viewed it as a source of good and starved of currency and even back then in late 1600s there was the echoes of what would later become the pride during the american revolution, no taxation without representation, all that sort of stuff. a lot of resentment. even the piracy was against the law in the late 1600s the colonies decided that they would and could profit from it. when it was claimed down in 1700 it came back in the 17, and played a central role because 1715 the american colonies were larger, more prosperous, merchants were more powerful
group in england was treating them a little bit better and all of a sudden the pirates instead of going and attacking spanish in the caribbean or attacking muslim ships halfway around the world and bringing heathens money back to the colonies, the pirates of the 1715, 1720s, they were attacking english and colonial of course, merchant ships along the american coast. so now it was the colonies whose ox was being gored. so where they welcomed pirates before and wanted their money now it was ruining their own bottom line and they teamed up with the mother country and waged an all-out war against pirates that ultimately ended in 1726 with the last hanging of pirates and boston. so i really think it's critical. in almost every book i've written certainly money has been a key factor in determining
people's motivations, why they did what they did and affect how things turned out. >> i want to talk about how it feels writing about characters, people really who you might not necessarily like, respect or identify with and i want to start, peter one of the strengths of your book is incredible complexity of the characters and all of them, the bank robbers are fascinating and complicated people and the police same way. and you go into their stories and it's really interesting. you said you are attracted because the scope of the story. did you know you are going to find these rich personal stories? >> no norco was a true hunt and i will say this, if it were just a bang bang shoot them up event which it was, one i probably
would not -- it was one-dimensional gunslinger it would not have interested me that much. on a story like this to a certain extent there has to be a larger human element to it. but i was 17 years old when it happened and much older when i started to get into it and always fascinated of what i was able to reveal. in the way that it touched so many lives and it continues to ripple through the ages. the police officers involved all went on journeys "after words" in different ways as a result -- these are guys who had law-enforcement officers who had 1700 rounds of gunfire shot at them and some guys were hit 12, 14 times, 20, 40, 60 times to be under such heavy gunfire is
terrifying and they all will admit it. they were still guarding the wild west and these deputies with the same thing that was a hundred years before. a sick shooter and winchester shotgun. there is a lot of story there. and certainly again when you look at anybody who eventually their lives lead to robbing a big and armed and prepared to kill anyone who gets in their way. that is fascinating and talk about people you don't necessarily like. you have to go into these things to be prepared to give people their humanity and not to come in with any agenda or preconceived notion or idea, i was in the prisons with two out of the three surviving a robbers and still doing life without parole in california prison systems and wrote back and forth with the others. we happen to a roadmap 10 miles
away from each other in suburban l.a. and much of same neighborhoods so we had a lot of things to talk about other than bank robberies in the day they destroyed their lives and the lives of other people. but the human element in the unfolding of the story, one thing about writing a true event a true crime event, especially one that goes to trial there is a tremendous amount of documentation out there. everybody writes, all the police officers and law for small officers right and investigate an incident reports. on trial, they are brought to the day excruciating detail. so there is a wealth of things to go through, documents and to unpeeled not only the events but the people involved and then it's a matter of spending a lot of time with the people involved. >> how did you feel about wild
bill at the end? >> you know, one of the questions that i almost always am asked when i talk about this book is who is my favorite pirate. i have to rephrase it, who's the most fascinating to me. because they all were pretty miserable people. i'd love to have a drink and probe them about their motivation and desires but they really are not the kind of people that i tend to hang out with or like. and i'll tell you a story about one that is most fascinating and hope we don't take this into an insight of my subterranean personality. i love him because he was a psychopathic and despicable pirates of all his name was edward lowe, he relished torturing and killing his victims and one of his signature moves was to cut out people's lips and ears and roast them and force them to eat their own flesh before they ran them through a cutlass. pretty nasty guy.
and it's fascinating if you look and disentangle the missed under myth from the man he's portrayed as a vicious pirate captain, we only have a record of him once doing anything violent to his victims and that was a whipping. and he thought most of the way by intimidation rather than violence. pirates are very good at maintaining their brand identity. every once in a while it kills people to get them scared and most of the time people would surrender when they saw the pirates flag atop the ships. i don't have a problem writing about people i don't identify with especially if their story is fascinating and i did try to put myself in their position, people who are educated, did not have any other opportunities and if you look to piracy it was
sort of like going to a casino. when you walk in i imagine almost everybody inks they're going to win. when you walk out a few hours later most have lost. it is the same with pirates. there was an element of humanity but when you really dig into their stories there were a bunch of miserable people. but they're fun to read about. [laughter] if you want to have a drink with a person who cuts people's lips off. [laughter] >> insight into your subterranean personalities exactly what were after. [laughter] >> i'm nothing in the closet i need to admit right now. >> with wild bill there was two things to enrich the story, one was, he became a character for me because both of my colleagues talk about context in the story. and when i was working on the
book i realized that the story of wild bill is also a story of the american west starting to change and he was able to change with it. he was the lone gunman in the lawman after civil war who you defeat the bad guy shooting them. and that's how you clean up the town. for example by the time the gunfight in the corral in october of 1881, virgil was not the marshall, he was the chief of police and the head of the police department. he had everything in the microwave, and for a short period of time is changing and law enforcement had changed in haycock was not there for the end. he cannot keep up. that was almost like a tragic character. it was interesting what is going back to the genealogy that the family in england in the 1600s were farmers on land owned by
shakespeare. in connection with a couple centuries later. so there was that part and i think the american west how it changed. you had the american west in the front tier was kansas and missouri in a lot of ways and after the civil war so much of what used to be called the great merck and desert open up. the west was changing very much and hickok was 70 was set in his ways and he did no how to be anybody else but himself. he was believing his own luncheon. he just had to look coldly at somebody and they said i give up. and there was a poignancy to it, i felt differently i expected him to be completely heroic
figure and he was not. he is more complex than that and somebody -- rome was felt sorry for him use only 39 when he died so i never lived old enough to tell his own story. so, he had 39 years on earth and there was so much, almost like he probably would not have done well if you live longer. he would not have been comfortable or vulnerable in a world that was evolving around him. not that he wanted to die at 39 but this is almost like a justification to a life cut short that was going to be hard to live in 1880s, and 90s. >> eric i was interested in what you wrote about empowering pirates and other literary works in movies and popular culture.
in your historian colleagues are bothered by that and bothered by the inaccuracies. in generalizations that you say i'm not particularly interested in and criticizing fictional account to piracy. they are fun and entertaining as they are meant to be. i think that's how most of us feel about the stories but when you write your own book you are more rigorous and separating fact from fiction. >> yes. i love the first two pirates of the caribbean movies and the rest they could have done without. i heard the doing another one. i love watching movies and reading books that are fictionalized accounts. but since this is a nonfiction book and i try to be as scrupulous as possible. i wanted to separate fact and fiction and that was one of the most interesting things about the book that i discovered along with many of you know pirates never bury the charger, they did
not make people walk the plank, there plenty of easier ways to cope people back then. and pirates did have patches, i didn't find any that had wooden legs all the people at the time did have wooden legs, norah pirates the had a hook. but we ever mad romanticize pirs and johnny depp is a prime example. a lot of pirates did dress rather lavishly and that was impart their way of sticking their middle finger up to the standard of proper society at the time and when they took over a ship that had a lot of nice close or people that were being transported from the upper class they would force them to strip and take a close and if they were wearing nice rings or necklace they would take those as well. and dressed quite lavishly so mucsome of the myths are not my. it was fascinating to dissect
from the historical record what is real and what is not. and from a writer's perspective center goal is ultimately to get readers and people that are interested in reading your book, it sometimes was tough to demolish those myths because myths become myths for that very reason. they are like the air warms the stick in your head and it feels comfortable and so amazing, it's such a great story it has to be true. and as a writer on one hand you want to improve them because the public wants to read them. so i got to include them by debugging them and i got the best of both worlds. >> in just a minute we will open it up for your questions and as you are coming up to the podium i will throw this at each one of you, what do you love to read and what do you hate to read? >> i love to read commentator
books. >> of course we all do. [laughter] >> again, i'm a historian, people call me in a historian of an undergraduate masters and phd in biology. the last history class i took was a freshman in college in the last english was in high school. and given my editor puts it a lot of commas where should have them i wish i could go back and take another english class. every book i pick is on a topic except for one that i don't know much about. it's like getting a masters degree every two years and how to read so much about my topic i don't have a lot of time for pleasure reading and when i do have time i tend to read nonfiction or biographies. i wish i had more time to read fiction, i have not read much fiction. and, one of the byproducts certainly early on in my career
a lot of my books taste placed in the 1700s, 1600, 1800 so i read a lot of books and letters from those arrows and when you read so much material written in a certain way you start to write a little bit like that. one of my earliest editors, she was a former editor into this copy editing now. she wrote me a note three or four books ago and said, i think you're in the wrong century. [laughter] you like a water words that are old-fashioned from the 1800s. but i did read their two books, i can't claim i read every single word but i found them fascinating because there's a kind of book that i enjoy reading about people and when i retire, if i ever do i hope to get the incredibly long list of books that it was meant to read.
>> both of these guys do have a big body of work of stuff with mutual admiration. and is the stuff i like to read. i read a lot of fiction in my master's in fiction writing and i switched over to nonfiction, i like nonfiction writers the tell a story with the story arc and style that fiction writers are masters at. and that does not mean you skimp on research or details but you can keep the narrative flow of coherence and really shows the reader or as me as a reader a different world or the importance, the larger story behind the obvious story and whether it be cowboys, pirates or bank robbers and nathaniel
does that very well, you guys doing really well. there is a number of people. i have kind of shifted a little bit to nonfiction although i have a huge admiration for fiction writers. and that is what i like to see in a nonfiction book. >> very quickly, i feel very fortunate when it comes to reading because most of the reading i do is connected to whatever project i am working on and thankfully the projects i work on i'm interested in so i enjoy the reading connected with that and i very rarely come across something that i say i can't wait till i'm finished with it. but the few times i had the time to read something that is not work related, i read thrillers. i read michael connelly, i read ian rankin, i enjoy reading.
i enjoy the page turners. they are a lot of fun. and i used to read back in the day like the paperbacks of john d mcdonald. one of my favorite writers ever is raymond hanlon. so have fun when i'm reading the work in just as much or maybe a little more fun when i'm not reading for work. >> all three of you right like people who love to read and all three of these books are a lot of fun to read and can be called page turners. questions from the audience? i invite you to come up to the podium. >> this question is for mr. della went. i recently was reading some
biography of ehrenberg and there was a big mystery which occurred when his daughter was traveling from south carolina to new york to visit him about a possible deficit through privacy. it was a fascinating thought that i've never heard of any recent research regarding the outcome that she sailed on. i was wondering, of course this is early 1800s not during the 1700s that you mention. i wondered if your research has shed any light on this mystery? >> unfortunately the answer is no because my book and in 1726 even though i'm aware of the stories, for the same reason that i not dive into the brothers who were privateers and
smugglers in the 1800s, fascinating stories but i did read extensively on that and i heard about that so i cannot add anything to it. . . . there have been a lot of good books about that. writing about in the book about piracy in the 1800s my next book is on hurricanes. although my next book is 500 year history of hurricanes actually mentions the ã brothers fairly extensively for another reason. you'll have to read the book to find out why. [laughter] >> thank you.
>> come on up. >> for each of the three authors the subjects of the books we been talking about today what do you think would be the best american movie that accurately portrays what you found in your research? >> stomped. the muppets treasure island. [laughter] the close second being the donees. captain blood is very good. i like the pirates of caribbean moving's but their little light on some of the real history. >> i'm not a huge movie guy but the closest thing that the bank robbery i write about harkens back to is the gangster arrow. where they go in with guns blazing or end up with guns
blazing. anybody remember a name of a gangster movie? [laughter] >> unfortunately when it comes to cops and robbers shoot them ups and things like that most of them are terribly inaccurate and a little bit overblown and unrealistic. that's really the era in harkens back to the most. >> i think while bill is still waiting for a decent treatment. he's been portrayed a few times. there's a movie called wild bill that jeff bridges did in the 1990s to go back to gary cooper in 1936 with the plainsman. there is even a bizarre movie called the white buffalo in which charles bronson played while bill hickok. he security plays in the first season of deadwood the hbo series and he died after six episodes.spoiler alert. sorry. i would love somebody one day to try and tackle this complex character and the times that surround him.
i can't recommend any particular picture that i thought captured hickok. >> i'm a little hard hearing so you may have already answered these questions. i like to ask mr. dolan who is his favorite which was his favorite pirate depiction in a movie? i also have a question for mr. kleiman after that. >> you are assuming and that question that i have watched the huge number of pirate movies which is not the case. but i really do enjoy the treasure island movie with little jackie cooper and who's the main actor? a great actor character actor of the day wallace berry. i really like that because wallace berry is long john
silver. a little over the top he's got that glimpse in his eye when he's killing people stop is like a nice guy killing people. i just love the cinematography in the storyline takes you away. i don't know as much about the canon of pirate movies as i do about pirate books. >> elected depiction of the later movie i think about disney studios i can't think of the english actors name where he talked to master harkens robert i forget his last name. >> robert parker? >> there have been multiple treasure island movies and they are probably will be more. >> and mr. kleiman what is your favorite most accurate in your eyes western gunslinger movie you've ever seen?
>> my favorite western is the searchers. however, i did find in looking at the hickok book i wanted to watch movies that were particularly about gunfighters. it's a very good grade report called the gunfighter in which he is trying to get out of the life and having trouble doing that. but i would have to say the spot really rose for me for the movie sheen i think it's a wonderful story i think jack schaefer wrote a wonderful book and they turned it into a very, george stevens director very good story and you have the character played by alan led who has come to this farm work they live and the idea he's going to try to get out of the gunfighter life yet he is pulled back into it because of events around him. there is a poignancy to the character that i found identified with because of the poignancy of the hickok character. >> thank you. >> i know that hasn't been a movie about norco but i was reminded of a lot of books and
reading norco the most obvious thing helter-skelter. you really write much about connections between those two stories but certainly there are. >> this kind of an underexplored, in my opinion, world of southern california crimes of which i think some of the creepy serial killers of the late 60s and early 70s but there really is a whole different i'm not sure i'm answering your question but there's a whole different vibe to police forces in southern california and there is certainly an attitude and they are a lot different than philadelphia and new york city police forces. also something a little bit slightly demented about the criminals involved even more so than in other places there is kind of this tie in the southern california culture
that can drag out a lot of odd things that certainly did with manson and a number of others. >> and certainly the messy impulse. >> certainly that too. >> for peter on bank robberies commute got a more complete story of when you got the robbery and then the rubber is caught and goes to jail but i'm wondering about what he may have learned in your research about that or maybe successful from the robbers perfected and never went to jail. did you learn much about what percentage actually worked and what kind of insights did you draw from that? >> i do know about the world of los angeles bank robbery and i did spend some time speaking with william rader the head of the bank robbery task force or group at the fbi in that area. the vast majority of bank robbers are not pastors,
one-on-one bank robbers, one bank robber, one teller, i got a gun give me all your money. he says the vast majority of them are robbing because they are addicted. addicted to drugs. they need money fast and feel like their back is against the wall. those guys get caught because they keep good doing it. it's an addiction in itself. it seems like easy money walking past the notebook out with $2500 $3000 but eventually your luck runs out. back in that period the fbi didn't even pay attention to you until you were up to six or seven bank robberies there were some that rob as many as 60 to 65 or 70 banks. mostly they get caught because they happen to come out when a police car is going by somebody hit silent alarm in the police cars nearby somebody drops down the license plate. the vast majority get caught. the other ones then you have your toddlers are very rare. but the takeover robberies are the ones that are extremely frightening and that's like mine where you get a group of
people they run into the bank heavily armed and it's everybody get down on the floor now. those are very volatile situations. i think most bank bank robbers get caught. there's just too much that can go wrong. despite how easy it might seem. certainly bank employees i was a big teller in the 1980s and you are told to give them what they want and get them the hell out of the bank before somebody gets hurt.it can appear to be and the freeways it can appear to be easy but in fact there are a lot of different ways to get caught in nowadays people get caught the number of bank robbers height in los angeles was 2600 now it runs about 250. at its technology, everybody's got a camera they can fill you they can take snapshots of you in the bank and immediately have it face recognition set to every cop in the area. there's not a great success rate for bank robbers because
they repeat. >> thank you. >> sort of a two-part question. the idea of being a renegade is somewhat romanticized for the individuals you research do you find that they sought to be renegades or that they were sort of existing in a world that that was the life that felt appropriate for their current circumstances? the second half is committee think they would be proud of your legacy? how many parts of the golden age went into that willingly. a lot of them were privateers suddenly put out of their license piracy operations by the end of the war and they may not have been other opportunities for maritime employment and they decided, i got this skill set and might as well use it in real piracy. but there were quite a few pirates and the number increased over time who were forced to become pirates because they were taken during
captures and the pirate needed to round up their crew or if there was a doctor on board or carpenter somebody with specialized skills you could be forced to become a pirate. as to the legacy, i think blackbeard would love it, during his era when he was around he sort of like a meteor. he was only around, we only know about him for about a year and and a half he didn't accumulate a huge amount of treasure, he did accumulate a huge number of pirates operating under him somewhere near 400 on five ships. if he could come back now and see all the movies that have been made about him and how many people know the name blackbeard and that he, not him, henry morgan has a type of long named after him, these pirates would love it. they become cultural icons. they were not cultural icons of their day. they were the true comedy crime people of the day. i think they would love it.
>> with hickok two things happen one was of his own volition he left illinois to see what was going on on the frontier. the rest of the hickok family his siblings and parents extended family are all buried back in illinois they never left the farming community. he became a renegade in the sense that he just left everything behind. i'm going to see what's out there. but what wasn't his doing that made hickok so well-known today i think anyway. is that he had gotten a reputation as a gunfighter in indian fighter frontier scout and harper's new monthly magazine sent a report out in 1867 i think it was it said find somebody who symbolizes the new frontier and they asked around people so you got to talk to bill hickok. which he did. he embellishes article a bit but when it appeared in the magazine it caused a sensation because mostly red back east and they pretrade hickok as
this heroic legend he was even 30 yet. that was the face of the frontier. another reporter for the new york newspaper interviewed him his peace came about the same time the reporter's name was henry stanley whose next report was to find doctor livingston in africa but he did the same thing so hickok became this legendary figure and at first it was kind of embarrassed by it but as the years went on he embraced it. when you can't beat them join them. you'd be in a saloon date asked to tell a story about something he did that he never did. but it was free drinks. i'll tell the story. i think because in his own lifetime he saw what it was like to be this legendary figure i think if he was came back today and saw the reputation he probably have the same room filled go with it attitude he had been quick to him two minutes, he asked really quick question that would require a really quick
answer? >> to mr. dolan, due to the time period of the book you are writing between the age of piracy that you writing about how would you feel that what's your opinion on what other foreign countries foreign naval powers even though it's based on american colonies and the biggest players were the colonies and britain, how what is your personal opinion of how other big powers like portugal, france, spain, netherlands played in that time period. not relating to your book but the history is total. >> those international european powers were at a great disadvantage. all the golden silver emanating from central south america that is what kicked off a lot of the early piracy because all the other countries were jealous of spain's riches. they were sending a lot of
ships down there to pillage some called privateers but really pirates like sir francis drake what happened later on is the government's were at a distinct disadvantage. think about how huge the ocean is. and how many warships do you have you can send out searching for pirates? even england the most powerful nation in the world at the time could only afford to dispatch five small men of war to patrol from maine to the caribbean. occasionally they did capture a pirate but it was a very difficult endeavor to try to stamp out piracy with military action although he was part of what ultimately brought this era of piracy to its knees. >> i want to thank all of you for being here today and please join me in taking our panel. [applause]