tv Book Discussion on Dallas 1963 CSPAN December 25, 2013 2:15pm-2:56pm EST
>> at 23 states of the current united states were once all or part of the spanish empire. all the way from vancouver island and what's now british columbia, crew across to florida in this enormous crescent. that was all part of the spanish empire. there really three empires. the spanish, french and wish with their elbows out, rubbing up against each other, pushing against each other. i'm suggesting you think of the united states not just as an english thing that starts on the east coast and moves to the pacific, but as a multi-entire thing that wrestles until we have a winner and that's the united states. that takes in people from everywhere and make them american. >> host: ray suarez of al jazeera. the book is called "latino americans: the 500-year legacy that shaped a nation." the booktv on c-span2.
>> would meet the authors of dallas in 1963 -- step two. steve's a curator at texas state university. he's the author several other books including the literary outlaws. those on a professor of journalism at the university of texas at austin. i've read a couple recent interviews. when you are in and pr can you
describe in the early 60s dallas could become the most singular city on planet earth. i was wondering if you could start by explaining what he meant by that. >> sure. i think i'm a little biased to speak in such broad terms as he wrote a book about dallas called a substitute. in the years prior to the assassination, it seemed like there is no other place like that cd, certainly in america. but we had better wear a handful of people who lived above the cloud and who are forming a confederacy really is anti-kennedy fervor. another french. they are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people who leave their loved president kennedy or the minimum
respected his office. our book is really about a handful of people who have access to the microphone in the sense, metaphorically speaking. they hijacked the microphone and created a toxic environment unlike anything else we know about in american history. >> when i was reading the book, i was struck by other accounts at the time. i think in part because this silently she wrote it. for those of you not yet familiar with the book, the level of details feel on the cinematic at times. i'm wondering about your choice of using present tense mother was hard to sustain, knowing he needed to be providing that detail at all points. it was a pretty intense environment where you had, for
example, the publisher of the "dallas morning news" going to the white house and telling kennedy, we need to ban horseback to lead this country. too many in texas and the southwest are ridden carolines tricycle. the congressman from dallas leading kind of a violent protest against the new johnson when he was the running mate before the 1960s election. you know, some of you may have heard a lot of people want john kennedy not to go to dallas before that fateful trip in 1963. you may have heard john f. kennedy faced that warning baller headed into the country. but bill and i are trying to do is present a portrait of the environment that gave us reputation of the country. so when you get into each of these stories, several are quite fascinating. you have the wealthiest man in the world with a radio program
devoted to taking down john f. kennedy. kennedy propose to have a medicare program at hl hunt's radio announcers came on the air, hundreds of stations across the country, millions of listeners telling them this medicare idea will make the president and medical star over every american citizen. to get to answer your question, when you have this intensity we saw, we just want to immerse ourselves in the reacherreaders in an environment of whether made that decision. >> is going to ask a question later, the lead me to it. there is a recent blogger for "the new yorker" who identified the continuity of the lease between the 1953, as you describe, and the president. assuming a kind of burnout
health care, i feel that's where the audience was laughing a little bit. i was just kind of wondering if these ideas about the continuity of belief in some of the extreme radicals being connected with senators and congressmen and multimillionaires with influence in the country if that resonated with you. >> yeah, of course it did eventually. i was in detroit, michigan last week and probably got my biggest laugh out there when i told folks i have a tv that has picture-in-picture. you cannot and all of the mainstream. you cannot another channel showing. what i like to do for fun i saw folks in detroit to have msnbc on one channel and fox on the other. in my living room it looks like i'm actually having a debate with people -- [laughter] i flip it and make one person
bigger, smaller. i'm usually bored i guess. the point of it is they think will be discovered if there were really acute parallels. i hope this doesn't seem like an overtly political statement, but i think we somehow create gridlock. maybe you've seen it. i had folks from that demand some parts of our book tour in the u.k. should change the title of your book to america 2013 instead of dallas 1963. do people still yell at each other and don't have dialogue and conversation. it's our contention as a consequence of all the reporting we did. our contention is the birth of that polarization, the real public manifestation of the outer ridge was born in alice, texas of all places, but was spearheaded as the money, the well and frankly the end of the day that he should resume
kennedy. not everybody wanted to underscore that. a handful of people felt so vitriolic. they could be agents of change and begin bleeding masochists kennedy and called it a socialist though he would introduce government death panels, on and on and on. he was riding carolines tricycle. i think there's a little bit of that today as people accuse president. i would've book about george w. bush and i note that he was quite a bit as well. it seems like we live in a polarized h&r can tension is that it began in some way in dallas. >> if i cannot do that, what you saw with kennedy as people were just disagreeing with him politically. they were calling him a traitor. they were accusing him of treason. they basically were calling for his execution. that's why the cover of our book is a play on his wanted
poster's. thousands of posters were distributed on the morning of kennedy's arrival. this is wanted for treason and all the list of charges. at idea of going beyond having an opponent of being un-american and some i really manifested at dolphin that has gone national today. >> just to speak to that kind of toxic environment that existed in dallas at the time, which many people were well aware of nationally, reading your book and had this air of inevitability. emulate his brother because his readers we all know what happened at the end of the story. but also, it seems they seem to be real signals that an assassination attempt or even likely to stop them from visiting and discussing that morning. if you feel like people who are pretty apprised of that environment were less surprised for a different kind of
surprise. i think the nation as a whole kind of historically remember this event as a big shock to the nation. but it probably wasn't talking to everyone. >> is always good. particularly in the year of 1960 south. are both weekends in 1960 with an outside moment in downtown dallas was called me quote bob. lady byrd johnson in downtown dallas and the truly began attacking them because they were afraid of the kennedy white house. it made national news, and they suggest this unruly mob of people they were spitting on a train to stab her what happens.
this break of the koran for lady byrd johnson who was a genteel and elegant person. the images from that event right cast out of dallas, cause people to vote and said the myth catapulted them into the white house. they were so opposed to this minority. in 1963, in january, several months before kennedy kin, dr. martin luther king made a visit to dallas. it's not widely known by historians. they try to amplify the story for perhaps the first time. he had been warned to stay away from dallas. yet he decided to give a speech about unity and ending the polarization in america and a bomb threat was lodged against him not long after that. the leading head of the anti-kennedy movement it's americana meant general edwin walker booted out of the military by kennedy, a kuester brainwashing has troops and
reading john birch society literature a few months after the attempted assassination perhaps dr. king, general walker was almost assassinated in dallas by lee harvey oswald. an alleyway behind general walker's house put it gone on a notch and try to kill general walker. 1963 just kept getting more and more hot. neiman marcus, the famous store downtown, a lot of you know from the finest store in this part of the country was coated with swastikas. folks are coming out. the holocaust survivor in the spring of 63 came out and found a cross burning and it culminated in october a month before kennedy came to dallas with the united nations ambassador adlai stevenson being attacked by another bob in dallas. the very distinct clutter
thinker minority escaped with his life. there's some evidence that the head of neiman marcus may have saved his life. literally grabbed the united nations ambassador pulled him from a crowd hell-bent on doing some violent when he threw them in a car that made their getaway in downtown dallas. the united nations ambassador adlai stevenson turned and saturdays humans are these animals? there were signs and kennedy was being warned not to come to dallas both by people on the ground in texas and members of the staff. >> let me add to this question. yes, everybody was shocked by that. if the dallas police department entered the newsroom, kennedy had been shot. the switchboard was flooded and they were all calling and sobbing on the issue then compressing -- [inaudible]
[laughter] them a say too about the mink coat mob, bill and i had a wonderful time excavating the stories. i think they've been delegated to be in a footnote in political history. there's a lot of good evidence the 1960s election turn on this moment. the person who led the mob had a son that day. they said obj to the antisocial. when the mob actually backfired, it caused a huge outpouring of sympathy for clinton and lady bird. it's hard to be sympathetic. when you talk about the impact of the election, was richard nixon became president, as in the oval office recording method talking to one of his political advisers. he said, we lost texas in 1960 because the congressman in
dallas. he was an extremely strident member of congress. maybe most famous urbanist urbina mom member of congress against a surplus program for needy children in america turned out of his time. there'd been some leftover milk and decisions were being made in washington about what to do with it. some folks proposed might awaken you to it to needy children? he voted against the only member on a the side of the aisle. he said it was socialism is tantamount to communism. >> you spent a lot of time developing these real wing radical characters. i was kind of struck by the irony of the fact that he was actually killed by a communist. there was the city where the tension seems to be between the kennedy administration in the right wing and then there's this kind of one person throughout the book that's representing the extreme left. i was just kind of wondering how
you thought that made sense in terms of the place and time. >> i'll take a swing at that. another good question. the great irony i suppose with vietnam only is the group of people as extreme as against kennedy. socialists, communists, we talk a little bit today about islamic phobia the head of hers baptist church simply believing kennedy was proposing to advance integration, this religion was called catholicism. if someone from.
this goes to your question earlier about the present tense. we really wanted to create living history. we really want to give you a sense of what it was late to be in dallas in the moment as this fear and anxiety come as something beyond ambulance began willing at this true in history debate back story around the nation this integration. people in dallas, as in many places, knee-jerk, everywhere just didn't know how to handle it. there is that going on as well. we believe, i would never use the word inspire, and i'm hardly an armchair psychologists. we have to believe in some way that someone living in dallas, someone who is a malleable, impressionable, and maybe wanted to make his mark in history, might've been influenced by this hothouse environment is a temperature just kept getting
ratcheted up, we feel it has some interview with his view of the world in a sense he could be an agent of change. he saw these other people, the singular, very powerful minority. he saw the world's richest man, hl hunt, who looked in dallas and yet lee harvey oswald felt that he could be a player in the world stage as well. i think he was influenced together what happened. >> if icann cannot want to add to this. he a terrible communist. this is a guy who is the pinnacle of communism and just couldn't take it. came back to the united states. people who are members of the working class, which also goes against what communism is all about. when you look at who oswald was in the environment he was then coming you can see he was kind of a misfit.
he was looking for a place to fit in. he believed he was destined to do something great with his life and he kept being continually frustrated and kept trying to find a place to put himself in another really good. >> if i may leave it to a just hatchback, in april 1963, this has been exiled to be to the corners in the dustbin of history. oswald did try to kill someone else in dallas. we spend a lot of our book re-creating that. it was quite vivid and very intense. it was an early harbinger we think to come. >> i think this style made it so had to be as factual account. you didn't get into questions of whether because of the nature of the book didn't have to address that there was kind of a conspiracy theory about this, that there is tension over this. just to kind of get on top of the inevitable audience question never dates to the conspiracy theory. i just wonder if there is a
constant to kind of step out of that argument or if it's something that's very black and white to you having the numbers of the material. >> we did not write a conspiracy book and we did not set out to really even go into that. we had such a dramatic story overload to become lost history for two generations. buick has plenty occupied telling the stories of what was happening. so those around we did even need to enter into. >> i think some folks feel kennedy fatigue. forgive me for saying that as it relates to conspiracy theories. it sometimes seems like a circular discussion. it was a conscious plan of attack in terms of reporting to this story we maintain what hasn't been told this narrative, cinematic welling let's try to
capture that in the slit onto the page but we don't linger on the assassination. >> the last words came from or you can't say he doesn't love you, mr. president. >> i will end this portion is one last question. moscow in which you said you were from dallas and the response to cop is about the kennedy shooting. i was wondering if you can tell us what you think it means to dallas presently that there's this memory kind of
internationally. >> i used to work for the "dallas morning news." i could see the assassination type of research at dallas a long time ago and they were building appeared minutes. i lived a few blocks away from the assassination day. i could walk by it every morning and go to work where he could see it. it was always there. as you fear from dallas noticed better than we do, notes in the dna and something you can avoid. it's right in the middle of the city. you can drive right by it. i was thought he should've been been sealed in some way. you're referencing i was covering on assignment for the "dallas morning news" in moscow. not moscow, texas. i said dallas, texas. the first thing they did was
miss him and the trigger. and in fact kennedy, kennedy, kennedy, over and over again. a long way from home, long way from dallas that really registered or me. i remember interviewing with the great late author, writer david halverson. he told me almost in a jocular way, i can't really like the dallas cowboys. i thought he had another personal preference. but he sat there for the city where my president was killed. this was many, many years later. i think the city has recovered a lot and now has a look at the address it. it's a beautiful museum up there. if you haven't, please go. it took a long, long time. for the city to figure out how to heal and move forward. to grapple with the fans that we probably shouldn't let people on either extreme hijacked
microphone. >> thank you for answering my questions. i want to open it up to the audience. if anyone has a question, if you could line up behind the microphone in the center. >> were you just speak a little bit about w. a chris locke? i love your book. >> thank you you were not related to your thank you for saying that. i'll let steve talk about griswold. >> we talked about this unholy confederacy of people on the cloud line in dallas who are leading this with john kennedy. the pastor of the first baptist church in dallas can largest baptist congregation in the
country. bill alluded earlier about issues of immigration and dallas. they made news nationally when he came out vociferously against integration. he called those who wanted to integrate dirty infidels. you know, dying from the neck up. this is a spiritual leader and is known in a lot of ways given john kennedy was running for president, the attacks on the religion became really a paramount importance. kennedy had to computex this. they did such a great job. but they are leading the attacks on kennedy. he gave a sermon where he said if kennedy's electability the end of america. one was a guy named hl hunt to pay for 200,000 copies to be
[inaudible] -- newspapers. the way he would've been exposed to and extremism was on the radio station, wondered what you thought. >> it's a great question. you know, also considered himself in several places. a couple different times. when time is after general walker had been arrested on john kennedy's personal orders of sedition and direction after leaving anti-immigration right to cause people to die. so oswald turton was aware of the news about general walker.
he really paid quite a bit of attention to what walker was doing politically. bill talked earlier about the attack of at least 10. the night before the event, general walker had his own gathering in the same building, the dallas memorial auditorium. the three about the troops and give them instructions on what to do. when adlai was trying to talk nobody knew how that peter had got here. but i want to say about oswald is he was very general was very twisted
>> the states whenever someone says something crazy, it always turns out it's in texas. [applause] is your receipt she misspoke, was dallas and isolated pocket of this kind of craziness? further natural trends in the same direction? >> there were certainly trans. people say you're from texas. it's your fault. they meant every name. and i lived in boston and dallas and san antonio and houston. i felt like i was firm and my response. there were other outcomes all around the country. we object to fire on state and
people object to fight us in way. all around the nation, even in new york. the city of houston had a very, very vigorous anti-kennedy movement. so you might ask, why concentrate on dallas? there was just more of it. the world's richest man, have a lot of disposable income, that millions of his own dollars creegan radius nation that was primarily dedicated to attacking kennedy and that reach 10 million listeners. we maintained the extremist radio of any kind in america. so it was a consequence sometimes of money and then this muscled up wealth. you have the publisher of the "dallas morning news" who is one of the most respect and powerful publishers in america, and dallas was the paper that i once worked for.
>> you probably thought a lot about this. what are the parallels between what happened in 1963 with the early 60s and today? what can we learn from that period of time to apply today? >> well, when you read the book, it's easy enough to draw your own conclusions. that's not something we stretched in the book had once been out talking about it, it's been the overwhelming reaction we've had from people. my god, this sounds just like today. certainly a couple years ago i was driving to dallas i saw the big toe board with obama's picture that said socialist. you see those things in the "dallas morning news" in those years. you know, we mentioned general walker. did you bring the flag? general walker was famous for creating a symbol of the union to demonstrate a nation in
distress, the upside down american flag. >> general walker on turtle creek blvd. you know, it's a pretty nice set of town. out of front of his house comedogenic plot:a for this upside down and suggested that the united states is essentially under attack. a nation under duress. we've been around places in texas where folks are flying the flag this way today, right now. not too far from where were sitting. when i leave the state, i tell people i'm from the austin area. i had a neighbor who flies his flag like that >> i was on the motorcade route this morning. a lot of my memories there after that period of time. i don't consider myself a can
piercy terrace, but i've read a lot of books, particularly mr. rose's book, and ms. lane spoke. i'm wondering how you address all the ballistics in your book and what kind of experts who used because that was one of the big strong points throughout his book when i had to be an extra gun. >> i gave away the end of our book earlier tenants before the assassination. we don't even go into that part of the story, which has been exhaustively covered by so many people. we are going to do something different with her story. >> you'll see me of something cleverly called post-credit. what we did in our book is an intentional narrative writing act come is your dues what we call protagonists in our book. operably seven or seven or eight of them. the narrative itself really add with shots ringing out.
but then we have this other section where we tell what happened to the folks that hopefully you grew to care about from reading about our book, what happened to them subsequently down the road over time. many of them have passed away. we went to satisfy your need to understand what's going on. we don't really address the bullet experience >> my question was actually kind of what you were just talking about. in dallas today, there is a citizens commission that confronts candidates endorses candidates for city council. i was just wondering, are the people active in that. you can't bear. is that the legacy that they left behind? >> yes. [laughter] i'm not being flip. the citizens council, dallas
citizens council was composed of the very civic minded folks who really wanted to improve life in the city and would meet downtown. they've had breakfast meetings introduce chart the course of the city. some folks felt it was exclusionary. the unenlightened self-interest motivations and maybe they weren't moving as quickly and a lot of social issues come is additionally integration. there's still a data citizens council in town. they offer suggestions. i'll put it that way, the fate and future of the city. >> in the book, your descriptions about gambling market and his anguish of what happened to the city where he was trying to bring a lot of art and culture, i was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the aftermath for him and this great nationally. >> i'll go first and build finished. soon i was really one of the
great heroes of dallas. this is a man who had a vision of the city of international cosmetology place. his mate to 60s began the most famous person from dallas. he was in the newspaper every week visiting royalty. the sponsored organizations like the dallas committee on world affairs invited speakers on international topics. he was chair of the united nations, which is how he invited adlai stevenson to sort of help spread rationality by stanley would've caught it. it was so fascinating to go through his archives because you can see the anguish he felt that what was happening in his city and the efforts he was making to change things. he sent a letter to the publisher of the "dallas morning news" who is close to having comics and why he thought the paper was contributing to this climate of absolutism and where it was during the. we also saw the matters of immigration and arcus in the
early 1960s was segregated just like every other local place in dallas. stanley marcus had to be careful about not getting too far to the city. behind the scenes you can see him pushing everyone else to move towards integration. i would also just mention quickly that lyndon johnson and saving america's supposed civil rights supporters and they work together frequently to advance a topic. when we had to cut law, those are stanley marcus is best test is out there attacking lyndon johnson. he had to walk past them that day and he lost a lot of customers. >> so i haven't read your book hears sounds great. i'll pick it up later today. how much of this is really to john birch society? obviously there's a big element of that california imported gas.
how much of it is that intelligence a kind of competitor at florida southern -- it seems like maybe they've seen in dallas kind of conflated the two. i am curious if that's the case or if there was more of an internationalist agenda for different mix with the southern? >> there is a strong impulse in dallas voter politely called southern traditions that i don't know this has been exiled to the corners of history as well. dallas at one time had been the national headquarters of the coup plot plan. there were very vigorous public parades in the city. just from my understanding of history, if i had to guess about knowing what i said come out of place somewhere in the united states, more deep the southern
state. dallas was founded in large part by former soldiers to the confederacy and relocated the grandest public monument at that time to the confederacy there is a beautiful confederate cemetery, giant statute of robert e. lee and dallas. that's not making and all that distinct in a way. i think it informed the dallas of a high level. as things got ratcheted up again. especially after the browns the board of education decision, ordering schools to be integrated in the u.s., then it dallas need to do something. dallas needed to be the fire while against a lot of these things and to protect southern traditions. >> one last question. >> i haven't read the book. it raises some interest in questions in my mind. the primary one of course is is there any solid evidence.