tv Book TV Visits Las Cruces NM CSPAN August 5, 2018 9:00am-11:01am EDT
explore the literary life of the city. located between the oregon mountains and the rio grande, las cruces lies north of the us-mexico border and is home to new mexico state university. as we travel around the city we will hear from local authors such as john hunter. >> oppenheimer was the father of the atomic bomb. it directed the civilian laboratory at los alamos and under his leadership, he directed nobelprize winning engineers , military personnel, and the civilians whoworked on the atomic bomb project . he later thought of the bhagavad-gita, the holy book of hinduism that now i am destroyer of worlds. >> we begin our literary tour
with author jim eccles on the history of white sands missile range. >> i worked in the public affairs office for a few years and came in 1977 as an army intern and this was my permanent duty location and i served 30 years, retired in 2007. working in public affairs in this place where all this stuff is going on, you get exposed to lots of questions. i had to do tours, answer news media questions etc. and i didn't know anything when i got here so i have to find out this information. have to find out the history of the place because it's got quite a history here like the bomb explosion, like the indians here, etc. so for a long time i would collect this information so i can answer questions and toward the end of my career, people started saying you know, you ought to write abook about
that so after i retired i did that . and it turned into this. today we are sitting in the b-2 building at the museum on the main post of white sands missile range. building houses this rocket which was captured at the end of the second world war. the united states went into germany to bring back as much the two material as they could because this technology the germans had developed was way beyond anything else at the time that they had enough material was brought back by boat and by train to las cruces where 150 train cars were parked and then unloaded and brought to the missile range. all this material, bodies, motors were stored here and then general electric had the contract to assemble the two rockets and fire themhere at
white sands. the program started in 1946 . and the army had the foresight to realize that they could burn a lot in addition to using them as weapons as scientific vehicles with payloads in them. up front we got an area where the germans had a 2000 pound payload or warhead. the scientists thought we could do payloads in there so we set up instrumentation to collect their samples, to see the composition of the atmospheric upper levels, to measure radiation levels, to take temperatures, measure the wind, all those things that we didn't know after the war. we've never gotten that high and so the missile range was always prided itself as being the birthplace of america's space activity. because of these the jews
launched at white sands. something like 64, 65 of them were fired here. so the missile ranges was established to test this new technology and they knew they needed a big space. this use to be eyeballing range during world war ii. the property has been leased from ranchers and miners in the area and turned it into a missile range and the basic real estate is 40 miles wide and 100 miles long north and south and it doesn't actually reach 4000 square miles of military property because white sands national monument it's in the middle of that and the wildlife refuges also in that province. subtract those out and you get 3200 square miles. they also have properties on the north and west side that they contract with the ranchers to evacuate them in a 12 hour period so during those period, those 12 hour period, the missile ranges the size of connecticut. without any people out there
so connecticut, 3 and a half or 4 million people. it's a sizable chunk of property in which you can get people out of the way in case big heavy things fall out of the sky, you don't want anybody killed. so white sands is the birthplace of america's space activity and also the birthplace of the atomic age for the united states . so the trinity site exists because there were two bomb designs at law follows and one was the uranium -based bomb into 35 and then it simply shot one lump of uranium into another month to get a critical mass and boom, supercritical and it caused a nuclear explosion. that's the bomb used on hiroshima and that was not tested until it was dropped on hiroshima. however, that's a slow process to get the uranium 235 separated from uranium
238. uranium was a common element like in in europe but to get the vision to do a chain reaction in the b-2 35 which is a sub driver and less than one percent of uranium is you 235 that's what overage is all about, separating you 235 . slow, laborious atom at a time process. we also found that when you run a reactor, nuclear reactor one of the bright products is plutonium which by the way is fissionable as well. you can have it go critical if you get the mass correct and you can make it and quickly separate it in a chemical process. that's what hanford was about was the reactors there were making plutonium. and they found that they
couldn't use the same mechanisms to get a critical mass because the plutonium as it gets closertogether , you'd have to assemble it quickly and have a higher speed on the canon or change the purity of the plutonium. they could do either so they had to come up with a different way of getting a critical mass ofplutonium . adding the atoms closer together you can change. and so they came up with implosions and implosion takes up all of plutonium, in this case the size of a softball, 13 and a half pounds of material. grounding it by 5000 pounds of high explosives and the trick is to get all the high explosives and individual lenses to go off at the same instant and metrically compress that ball into something the size of a golf ball. it's critical mass, whom. so that was unknown and they
didn't want to just drop it on japan and hope that it would work, they wanted to do a test so the test was scheduled for 4 am but thunderstorms in the area caused delays. they didn't want to wait another day because there were issues and plus everything about it, then exposed in the desert air and the rain, they knew it might cause problems so they rescheduled a few hours later at 5:30 and it went at 5:30 a.m. dust as it was beginning to get a little bit of light in the east and of course it lit up the sky. you could see the lights over 100 miles if you were looking in that direction depending on clouds. the shockwave went out and broke windows in some of the surrounding communities . lieutenant bush was the camp commander and the guy in charge of security, he elected to be outside the bunker and he was in a hunch
and he had his eyes shut and he was looking away from the explosion. the report afterward the light was so bright that he didn't know if his eyes were shut. a light came through his eyes so he touched his eyelids to make sure they were shot and then after the light dimmed a little bit he stood up and the shockwave him and knocked him down. didn't hurt him or anything but not down though people responded to that, the light. they all talked about the white light. they talked about the colors andthe fireball, they talked about the shockwave. people's experience of the shockwave differs depending on their location . so was more of a rumbling, under kind of thing. some were disappointed and some were amazed so the other issue with the explosion's fallout. everybody was far enough away
in the bunkers and stuff that the radiation emitted by the fireball, the explosion of the fireball were safe and the only issue then was the fallout of radioactive dust. the materials created in the explosion and so they were monitoring that . oppenheimer and technicians and scientists out with geiger counters and vehicles driving along following bob bloom of the cloud of fallout andtrying to measure where it fell . of course, the heavier dust materials will fall quickly. the lighter stuff gets pushed up way up 45,000 feet and keepsgoing . so they're trying to measure that and trying to put limits on where it is. you can go online and see a diagram of that going to the northeast. up towards santa rosa new mexico. so that fallout then of course expands because it gets in the upper wind and
eventually gets dispersed and spread all around the planet. the other thing, ground zero itself there was a small depression, a crater created by theexplosion. as the ball was exploded on a 100 foot power, simulating an aerial last , they understood that to get the maximum explosiveeffect on the ground you needed to exploded up in the air at 2000 feet . so they couldn't get that high at the site but putting it 100 feet up gave them a simulation of that. and so because of that, that hundred feet of air below the ball didn't date a huge crater. it just smashed down the ground and there wasn't much dirt and debris lifted up into the fireball. some was, it was an area around stout but that material then and the steel tower and the mechanism around the bomb all get activated in the fireball. the sand was scrounged up
gets melted into a liquid and then falls back down as rain. and some of its particles, some of it is liquid so the crater gets covered with green glass, spotty green glass called trinity and most of the radiation at the site itself comes from the trinity site because it was up in the fireball at one time activated by the radiation. other materials, lightweight dustin stuff was what went down range. we mentioned that the g jews got us into the space age. the two became what we call a sounding rocket. that's a vehicle that takes these instruments to a higher out you'd and does an experiment at high-altitude. that kind of a program has continued nonstop 1946 at the
missile range. it's still being accomplished today by nasa in conjunction with the navy here at white sands in the army sounding rockets are still sent up because it's relatively cheap and an easy way to send up a load to a very high-altitude, then now we can send a smallish rocket to an altitude of 150 to 200 miles, well above the atmosphere so you can look at stars at night and there's no atmospheric interference if all you need is for her five minutes of exposure to collect that data. so they've done experiments with manufacturing in the upper atmosphere, basically when you're up there 200 miles at 0g, you can do some processing kind of things. what happens when you don't have the effect of gravity. so those kind of tests are
continuing here at white sands. also the major player in the space shuttle program, from the earliest days of dropping scale models of the shuttle dripped down or closed down to a landing on our strip on the old lake bed in the middle of the range, to actual space shuttle landings in 1982. when columbia landed here at the end of the third space shuttle mission, the space shuttle landing strips were used during the whole program. mainly as a training facility . 90 to 95 percent of astronaut islet training for the shuttle system was done at the runway here up in the middle of the missile range and they would go very high-altitude approaches and fly down for possible landings on these runways so space still plays a role here at the missile range. so initially when the white sands was started, a lot of the buildings on the maine coast were set up as
temporarybuildings and they said we're going to figure this out . didn't happen obviously. and so the army set about to test this new technology and also devise new missiles, new vehicles to deliver warheads to defend against aircraft, all kinds of vehicles. the navy was interested in this stuff as well and initially the navy was interested inresearch for the payload being put up . so the navy has been part of the missile range as a covert cooperator since 1946 and in fact eventually the missile range gets set up as an army facility financed by the army with the army commander which
was traditionally the general had three deputies. one each for the army, navy and air force. those guys are then responsible for sponsoring their services testing onto the missile range so the missile range doesn't just test for the party for the navy, also tests for the air force. so in the early days, they launched missiles not only from the ground aircraft. testing went on at white sands but the missile range does lots of things for lots of different people. the biggest contributions would be those early days in the testing of these technologies which as i established in the national historic landmark, the fee to stuff but also, this is the one people don't realize is the ability or the blueprint for test ranges as a whole, for all on how to set them up, what instrumentation you
need, how to control tests and do it safely and all those things. the missile range was the go to place for decades in that sense. and in fact we used to happen instrumentation director here that was in charge of developing new instrumentation, new radar, new optics for testing and it wasn't just here. other services used that the same instruments so that was pretty important as well. my goal again as a public affairs guy answering questions from the regular people, citizens and news media was to tell the basic story and in terms of enjoyable informational stories with the information there. it is not a list of the weapons systems. it is not a list of radar systems, telescopes and all
that stuff. there's some of that information in there because it's necessary to tell the story about how this all works, but i wanted it to be interesting for normal people to be able to pick up, not get lost in technology and that other junk and enjoy some of the stories so when i signed my books i usually say enjoy the stories. next we will hear from author nancy baker about john ashcroft and his impact on the unitedstates executive branch . >> john ashcroft was the attorney general under george w. bush and really lead the way on the administrations domestic response to the war on terror after 9/11. part of that time he had been a senator for the state of missouri. he was a controversial pick for attorney general cause of his strong conservative religious bills and there was pushback but he was confirmed
. initially he seemed the board in the position but then came 9/11 and everything changed. the attorney general's role is a fascinating one, it was one of the first cabinet positions created and it was a part-time position unlike the secretary of state and the secretary of treasury and the attorney general in fact didn't even live in dc but as the federal government grew, the attorney general had to be on hand because it was his job to argue cases before the supreme court and there were very many in those early years but eventually it became an important role. expanded with the modern state because if the federal government grew and federal law increased, it was the attorney general's mandate to oversee it but that department was created created in the wake of the civil war because a lot of lawsuits and legal acts related to the civil war corrupted and initially private attorneys were hired
by the government. it was very expensive so be created then the department and eventually a solicitor general who took over the role of arguing cases, a very large bureaucracy and the attorney general is at the head of that. the attorney general also plays an important role in most administrations providing legal advice. of course there's the white house counsel who is more directly tied to the presidency, but the attorney general is supposed to be looking over all at the entire government system and what kind of cases should be brought before the supreme court and what were the big issues? legal policymaking is there with views of new judicial nominees in the justice department and what i find fascinating about the office of inter-attorney general is at six at the nexus of oncology. here is someone who serves in
an elected administration assisting the president and his constitutional duty to take care that the laws are executed and at the same time it's a cheap law officer of the nation . >> you are looking at obviously a very disturbing wide shot,that is the world trade center and we have unconfirmed reports that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the world trade center . >> 9/11 had a pivotal effect on the development of the office of the attorney general, especially during the george w. bush administration. we haven't seen the ripple effects continuing in that office but we do know 9/11 transformed much of the justice department mandate into being much more proactive, much more effective and that is because of the nature of the strike. they were in the united states, it was a domestic attack . government decided to frame the nation's response that it was a wartime attack on the united states, it wasn't a crime, it wasn't even in
international human rights violation or an international crime, it was a war and that required a different domestic response then we have seen ever before. part of this time it had been something that happened internationally other than the civil war so here we have a war where the shopping malls could be the battlefield. it was even articulated that way by john ashcroft. no place is safe in america. further, are like right to liberty is used as weapons against us so he framed, he understood the attack as being the exploitation of freedom of movement, freedom of speech, religious liberty, press and those things have to be more closely monitored. it wasn't that civil liberties would be damaged just in the course of war which has happened before, you had restrictions of liberty in every previous war
but you can return to some normalcy after the war. here we had a war where the vulnerabilitieswere the right to freedom and as a consequence of that there were a lot of attacks on civil liberties . >> our war on terror is ends with al qaeda but it does not end there. it will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. how do we fight and win this war? we will direct every resource , every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence and every necessary weapon of war . to the disruption and the defeat of the global terror network .
>> by framing it as a war on terror, not just the justice department but the entire government was opening up an enormous range of power for the executive branch . there would be no limits on who you would go after. it wasn't even a war on al qaeda for the top and or a nationstate likeafghanistan . it wasn't even a war on islamic fund a mentalism, it was a war on terrorism and that's been used for thousands of years as, if not neatly defined. you can never really when, the war on terror is never going to be over and dick cheney made a point of that this could be a limitless war. it's not bound by geographyor time , bound by, it's really
bound by nothing.it's bound by it went over the united states decides it doesn't want to be on war on terror anymore and when the government is in the business of fighting a war on terror there are going to be limits. attorney general off ashcroft saying things like the government is not limited because the limited government is to make the government vulnerable. if we are transparent, if the freedom of information act is used so that the press and nonprofit actors can get access to government documents, that can endanger the united states so he shifted the presumption to nondisclosure rather than to disclosure. government transparency suddenly became a vulnerability for the government so they wouldn't share information with committees in congress or when you would get that, it would be heavily redacted. it made it more difficult for the congress to engage in one of its constitutional functions which is oversight of government programs. how do you know if the program is working or not if
the law can be changed? house and the senate have to have access to that information even if it's only a small group of them, someone brings a camera in secrecy so that there's not a problemof exposure to the wider world , they don't want to do that. the executive branch said multiple times the court had no role in reviewing immigration cases or certain types of cases, enemy combatant cases, that was beyond the purview of the justice department what does that mean? a major separation of powers. in addition to the changes of interpretation to the freedom of information act, john ashcroft engaged in legislative changes, the patriot act and the extension of some of the provisions that had been sunsetting to end so he had pushed for that
through the authorization for the use of military force, both of those measures were passed immediately after 9/11 and really by enormous majority, largely because of the way that they were framed as we want to have the united states attacked again if you pass this, the blood is on your hands.members of congress after 9/11, viewers might call congress was itself locked out of the buildings because of the threat of an anthrax so people were very frightened in washington at the time and maybe more willing as a consequence to act without what would be considered normal deliberation, committee hearings, etc. the patriot act is a measure that really empowered american law enforcement to proceed with a lot of aggression against anyone seen as a terrorist threat but it was drafted in a way that the law enforcement authority over
ordinary crimes or if you were caught up, you wouldn't say the focus of an investigation but your bank records in the library records might also be suspect in the data sweeps that the federal government was going to be doing. you didn't have to be the terrorist suspect to suddenly find your information being caught up. there's also a section of the patriot act that was used by the national security agency that accessed all the phone calls americans made to internationally. and when edward snowden, it was lower in the national security agency made clear the enormous scope and how many ordinary americans electronic data had been swept up in this, the government reacted very strongly and in 2015 passed i think it's called the usa freedom act to reassert
control on that level of nsa spying on ordinaryamericans . so it's of an extremely powerful piece of legislation. much of it is not especially controversial at all but there are provisions within the patriot act that have been very troubling to civil libertarians because they do empower government to act in a way to gather information that is otherwise private without something like either a fourth amendment due process, fourth amendment warrant issued by a judicial magistrate, issued by a judge or even a reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred or is about to occur . the crime of planning, complicity that you need to get access documents. you don't have that, it's almost like an over ended, we
have a search warrant in general to anybody so there has been some scale back in 2015. ashcroft did have an impact on eroding some of the traditional checks and balances, particularly the separation of powers was not only in his role brown being congress and refusing to share documents with congress when they were trying to do oversight . in fact, the patriot act requires the justice department to share that information so how many people are being detained? not their names, not the specifics but what numbers are we talking about? those tiny figures congress wanted and the justice department refused to share them so that made it much more difficult for members of congress to do their job and in the course, john ashcroft's justice department was arguing the judiciary also does not have a role to play in overseeing the
executive administration of the war on terror. there was the use of the material witness warrant for example, that was a bill passed in 1984 to ensure that the people had knowledge of a crime or reluctant to come forward or refusing to come forward could be compelled to testify in a trial. the ashcroft justice department expanded the definition so that those warrants , the arrest someone as a material witness were no longer issued by a judge but by the fbi. an executive branch agency and people did not have to go before, they then held in dissension for weeks. four months in some cases without access to counsel, without being charged with a crime. john ashcroft fully believed that revealing information of any sort and how the government promulgated the war on terror would increase
the likelihood of an attack. would make the united states very vulnerable in the context of a larger war. therefore, the information was very, very tightly held within the executive branch and not shared even with equal branches. certainly not shared with the newspapers or press and definitely not shared with the american people at large. many of these changes were made without americans knowing about it so you have this big trade-off between security and liberty which many countries go through and debate on and tried to decide where to find those , the balance here. we never had that discussion in the united states because we didn't really understand for the first several years when these measures were at their height, we didn't really know how much our liberties were being limited,
how constrained we were. whatinformation was being gathered by the government . i think there's a key lesson here and that is the system of checks and balances require maintenance. we can't just assume they are always going to operate and one of the branches asked in an injurious manner or with very broad claims of power. we have to ensure that the constitutional system is operating as it should. when i was young in the watergate example, i was in college and a journalism major and fired up by the role of the washington post and importantjournalists and exposing wrongdoing . here the watergate hearings were important, and the role of the supreme court in the us versus nixon case and i took that as a young woman as evidence that checks and
balances work. this is the kind of thing that could have led to autocracy but we had to check all these elements of government are working together and the civil society, thenongovernmental actors, this is what the framers met . this is how it's all supposed to work and this continues to be an issue for me and how government operates is we can't take those checks and balances for granted. we have to be aware as citizens, we have to be ensuring that voices on the other side are heard , that very, very broad and unparalleled bits of power are checked, that there's mechanisms operating throughout civil society and in government, state government, federalism and others and we need to make sure that all these elements are in place for the government that the framers created in the constitution actually works and that i think is the take away for me. we have to be engaged in
midterm elections. we have to engage in state and local elections, we have to inform ourselves. there's no reason to go into a polling place and not think about this in advance. we have freedom, we have a community and i think the duty side has gotten kind of downplayed, we defer it to these other actors. they will take careof it . we blast the media, we black members of congress. how about us? ultimately, we are the ones responsible for ensuring democracy. we need to make sure these checks and balances are operating as intended as we continue to explore the las cruces literary scene, author blance hererro shares her experiences with border crossing students . i think a lot of people who
lived on the border don't understand how fluid it is. i grew up in new mexico born in el paso but my grandparents, my grandma lives there so every summer we would go to visit her and stay there with her and you'd learn so much from mexico and from the united states and i think when people think the border they think about the wall and the limits but to us , i would think from many places along the border like tijuana, my father would go on saturday and that's the only place where he would get a haircut was in water is so we would take off and then
come back into new mexico and we've always seen it as very fluid. a lot of have family over there. a lot of family over there have family over here so i think when i think of my idea of the border here i think of the fluidity of it and how much it's fluid, not only physically but also with the newspapers.we have newspapers from juarez in el paso. the music, traditions, the food, holidays, all those things are very fluid. our is based on a three-year geographic study to my colleagues from el paso and myself, we spent three years in a school located right across juarez so it's close to theborder. you can physically see the
border from their . we worked with three years with students where the students would go back and forth from juarez into el paso. some of them travel daily. some of them travel on the weekends and some of them stay in the summer as well. and we look at our, we started working with three teachers at the beginning but at the end of the third year we focused mostly on this local color and she was a dynamic teacher working with very cool students and we learned so much from her about strategies to use in the classroom, how she uses the studies tool and knowledge that the kids bring from juarez to so, how she uses that in her curriculum and also how she uses language in ways students feel comfortable learning both languages. because there was an ethnographic study, we tried
just going the classroom and spending time in the classroom with the teacher. we started off observing, listening and then eventually the students would come to us for questions and we started to get to know the students and the students would get to know us. especially the one who really got the research started and then she spent a lot of time in the classroom cause she lived in el paso at the time. i was living here in las cruces so i would spend once a week in the classroom and then we ended up to where we almost took turns. the money would be there on wednesday, somebody on tuesday so we got a whole picture of what the classroom looked like during the week. and we would just sit withthe kids. we would observe the teacher . we would collect journal, work assignments, we also
interviewed groups of students, we interview the administrator and the assistant principal, the principal, the social worker and the teachers. and we learned so much. we also learned that the principal, assistant principal were from the community where they were working at. a lot of the teachers were themselves they cross back and forth which made huge difference because they were able to relate to the students and the principal, so he was walking with students in the school and he knew what it was to go back and forth on a weekly basis and to live so there were several findings. one of them was saying that a lot of the teachers and i talk a little bit to the assistant principal. so to us, that point is important .
teachers understanding being understanding of the community and the students because theythemselves were conflicting, most of the english learners , so that made it, they were able to fulfill the curriculum at school. one of the big findings as well was missed all was very good at allowing the students to track language in classroom and they were able to use english and spanish. a lot of the research base in research they say they break languages but in the classroom they were using both of them intermingled and they were learning a lot because they were understanding context by learning both languages and she was very good about telling them don't talk spanish now or don't talk english or its english right
now. we're receiving a lot of classrooms and then students and teachers don't want to talk anymore and in this class she was able to make us comfortable to where they were learning both languages. . so that was one of our major finding we also learned about a lot of our studies took place in 2010 when the violence escalated. huge proportions of tellings from the drug cartels so the parents from warriors were sending all their kids to class, they were there with the kids being grandparents and godfather, godmothers, friends with the kids in el paso for the week so that they could go to school and not be in juarez during the final times so we learned a lot about the.
that they had experienced. and one in particular, this little girl telling us that she was still in the truck that they were driving and so it all became a normal, it became normalized. it was everywhere. there was violence everywhere she talked about bullet holes in the truck that her dad was driving and there's blood and we learn about a father who sent her little girl, his little girl to the school we were working because he had just lost his brothers in juarez so he just wanted to send her to juarez and she was at our school so we just, story after story about violence. we also learned about the different industries from juarez in el paso so they were talking about comics and
reading in juarez in spanish but they would use them in the bathroom, politics in the classroom. we had a little girl who was using the lyrics from the rock songs in youth groups so we look at digital literacy crossing over to the united states. because she was looking at a rock song, she liked rock and she would look at youtube lyrics and she was learning english by using the lyrics of the rock song that she liked a lot and she would bring that into the classroom and use it in the classroom in her curriculum and i think we also learned about the status using the class she was in an amazing teacher. and she would just create these spaces where students felt free and open to ideas and to speaking spanish or english or whatever they wanted to do. she would allow and she would
just do a lot of multi modality that's one of our, where she was extreme, we hardly ever saw her lecture. she would use posters, lolling, music, videotaping where students were videotaping. all kinds of multimodalities . she was doing it in both english and spanish and some ideas for juarez from the us as well. so think literacy, multi modality, switching, the violence in juarez. all those were some of our majors and the big issue that a lot of the teachers could relate to this. because they themselves were accepting. >> i think that we learned a lot about the multicultural wealth where they bring all the wealth in the community from juarez into the
classroom of their knowledge so they bring all this knowledge to the classroom and we're always allowingthem to use those in the classroom where in other classrooms that we see , we are so success driven and a lot of those things in text parks are not allowed in students especially students like those from students. we don't value their knowledge in the classroom and we don't really value not only their knowledge but their language. that made a huge impression and i think that a lot of us teachers can learn from your and how we, how to use that wealth of knowledge that you bring. how to use their language to teach in english and to also teach them contacts. in a youth school. so i think we have a lot to learn. and not only that strategy
but a way of being and what she allowed to bring to the classroom. to learn and to be happy. they felt good about themselves. >> i think i want the lesson on how to transfer the students, tobring with them a wealth of knowledge . >> and use it in the classroom for relevant curriculum and i also think that we need to see the beauty of the border as well. the beauty of how there's been a lot of talk about the big wall between mexico and the us we never see the beautiful things that happened. and all the knowledge that we contribute over there. and that they contribute over
here that we all learn from each other. and that's beautiful to me. >> our look at the literary community and las cruces continues as we visit new mexico state university hear the story of the women who helped settle new mexico.>> we are in the reading room of the archive of the new mexico state university library. the archives have been around for 40, 50 years. it began as a project, one of our former presidents they need to be a repository or local history. and this is our reading room. we have a very large contingent of users and it's
very interesting people in this area are very. [inaudible] this area is about the history of the women of new mexico. this part of the country has been called the wild west and some of the most famous figures in wild west history, from around here. billy the kid, geronimo. and the question of what were women doing was to me very, very interesting. there's a kind of iconic woman of the wild west who is either a prostitute or a farming lady with no teeth, perhaps.
an old indian woman. a calamity jane character who shoots bear. a army wife who passes through with her husband in the cavalry or whatever. then when i was contemplating all this and looking at photographs in our collection and i ran across a photograph of a young woman holding a bachelor science degree in this photo dated from 1895 and i thought okay, there's a whole other story going on here. i got into this project because of the photo collection we have here and i think what is influential
photograph that was this of three men, they were free early professors who came to the us in 1891. these men, this one holding a rifle. in a manly way was a graduate of cornell. and he came out here. to teach and his friend in his brand-new university and obviously it was the spirit of adventure. each of these gentlemen were brits. they were from apparently quite well-to-do backgrounds in great britain and look at these guys. they are celebrating the wild west. they are just really into the wild west. and we look at and we think it's, you're kidding me,
there's not a woman inside or any reference other than the wild west, the horses, rifles. and these guys were definitely pretending that they were enjoying it. and so our quest to find out what women were doing at the time. i looked at the first picture of a first-class college of 5 to 13 were women. so women proved the administration that they were serious about what they wanted to learn. and it's i think to our credit we didn't actually offer domestic arts.
that kind of limited program until all the 1900s. it turned out there was a demand for it. women who might not otherwise have come to the college, but they could go and get a degree in the domestic arts but that would be to their advantage and they could possibly use that. in their lives as ranchers wise and so we find a dressmaking class. that became a pretty popular piece of the curriculum. also, it was interesting that in those legs 1890s, we initiated a business program. and guess who elected in on that?
a stenography class and you notice i think that they were so tries to find so many young women from business careers and and in stenography. >> this is one example. i think this is actually a very lovely photograph, one of our early biology professors, an avid photographer in a great many atmospheric photographs and this one shows a group of women in the chemistry class. and this is one of my favorites, all-time photos because it's very beautiful . also a group of women in horticulture class. it's about the turn-of-the-century, about 1900s.
again, just reinforcements that education was becoming very important and a serious undertaking for the young women who came here. this is a hoot, i think. physical education, perhaps we were not quite as advanced as the ideas of physical education for women . consider physical education, there was a course called elocution. and this dates from the latter part of the 1890s, not quite sure what the actual date of this is but these were a combination of i guess
exercise and dancing. that were performed for audiences, there is one comment that the audience was defined by this performance. not knowing quite what to make it. then we got enlightenment, thanks to vassar college which started a very active program of women's is an education and one of the chief elements was basketball and we in fact a female basketball team. just a male basketball team. and things changed rather radically in about five years. i think the young women probably were very painful
taking steps, to parade around the stage and stupefy the audience. this is very interesting. the mescalero was reservation. it's really oneof the most beautiful reservations in the country. in the mountains . to our east. pardon my eastern pronunciation. the mescalero women, life on the reservation was pretty tough and they figured out a means whereby they could support themselves, very operatively. they made these beautiful baskets and sold them as tourists prizes. and it's a wonderful photograph in this book of one of our, our wives
purchasing a basket from one of the mescalero women. they made quite a profit from , and it's surprising to think of the women at the entrepreneurs and the tribal society. . and also, we had some of these in our museums. they are just incredibly progressive. there beautiful. >> and the fact that they could turn them into a mercantile enterprise is a lovely justification for the work they do. >> obviously this was the
work of a place where a lot of hispanic lease turned off in the mid-19th century. one of those families, the inquiry, they were also entrepreneurial. >> .. there's a wonderful picture of them on a picnic with their umbrellas and the beautiful gowns sitting on the ground, just sort of relishing in their
privilege. it's, the amador hotel still exists. it's been under restoration for some time, a particular project of the historical society. but they were merchants, very aware of their position. and also they had beautiful weddings, beautiful wedding gowns. they married well. they were first citizens of the town. i think that women's ambitions and hopes and dreams have always evolved. we think of we are in a time of evolution right now with the #me
too movement and so forth, but we've always had these ambitions and we always strived to take advantage, or to find a situation which there is advantage for us, i think you go to university and learn some skills that would make you sort of independent. i think that's really interesting and important idea. the fact that people didn't come out here and drown in the land. they found education. they found ways to make life easier for themselves in a very, very difficult environment. i wanted the audience to confront some new ideas, some counterbalance to all of the stereotypes that we associate
with women in the west, and to know that they were young women who were getting bachelor of science degrees out here in the 1890s in a place that was considered pretty rough and tumble. it's not an area that people are familiar with around the country. i mean, last night i was watching the election returns and he never even mentioned the elections in new mexico. we seem to be concerned with the coastal elections. we had very interesting things going on in new mexico, and i think that's true of our history. people are just not used to thinking about what happened in these large areas of the west. we are just prone to
stereotypical things, and i wanted to introduce you to new ideas. >> for being dropped on nagasaki 1942, the plutonium bomb was tested here at white sands missile range. we will speak with other jon hunner to learn more about robert oppenheimer, the father of the atomic weapon. >> jim robert oppenheimer was the father of the atomic bomb. he directed the civilian laboratory of los alamos during world war ii during the manhattan project. under his leadership he directed nobel prize-winning scientists, engineers, military personnel and civilians who worked on the atomic bomb project in los alamos. humans back to ancient greece have been wanting to split the atom. they talked about an individual part of matter. and so that's a concept that is been around for a while.
but human still have not seen an adam, so small we haven't seen it. it wasn't until the end of the 19th century that scientists started being able to tinker with doing things, mashing things together and figure out what came out, kind of like you smash a car together and the carburetor comes out, not knowing what a carburetor is you go, we know that something in the car but we don't know. that's in a very basic way what atomic physics was about. in 1938, two german physicist working in berlin bombarded this lump of material called uranium, and got a curious result. kind of released of hot petite and then created an element, an element farther down on the element table, table of elements. the word about this spread through the nuclear physics
world like a forest fire, that scientists had split the atom. and that it was scientists working in nazi germany that it split the atom. so there was a lot of knowledge that the germans had split the atom, that england was working on the own splitting of the attic and harnessing that into a military weapon but it wasn't till after pearl harbor that the manhattan project was created and then a lot of resources under the control of the army corps of engineers was devoted to create this new weapon. so leslie groves was appointed head of the manhattan project and he had just finished building the pentagon. groves talk to different physics departments and asked people who would be a good leader, and oppenheimer, who is not high on the list. actually oppenheimer did not even been in charge of the physics department at berkeley before he is chosen to be head of the central laboratory.
there was something about oppenheimer that girls like. i think a couple things, groves saw he was hungry. there were nobel prize winner still being considered that already accomplished the nobel prize. groves wanted somebody who was hungrier and would make it work a little bit harder. and also on a train trip across the country, oppie was able to describe to groves what was due to be done in terms that groves and a layman could understand. so gross pic oppie. the other things were to locate the central laboratory. you couldn't have in chicago because what happens if an accident happened? are also would be easy to reach the top security with, walking down a street involved in it, a colleague who wasn't involved him up and said joe, what are you doing? well, i mean, there would be an easy way to break top secrecy in that. so they looked around.
they picked some places in the west. oppie had come to new mexico to recover from an illness we news 18 and had fallen in love with new mexico. at one point he said he wished he could make the two lots of his life, physics and new mexico. of course that's before he got married. i just want to be clear about that. and this was an opportunity for him to do that. so he showed groves some places around new mexico and they settled on this boys school at los alamos, and so after that was chosen in november of 1942, oppie started recruiting people but he couldn't tell them what he was doing. he said i would like you to join me on this project i can't really tell you what you are going to be doing but you will be in a beautiful place and will be essential for the war effort. people who knew oppie kind of new, they knew the work those being done in germany. they knew that this is going be something that would be really
important. so a lot of people did sign on. they were given an address in santa fe to report to. they went to that address new the plaza in santa fe and were told you were not quite there. another 40 miles. here's your temporary security pass to get into los alamos. so they got in there, scientists assembled in march 1943. they decided that they needed to do multiple ways of trying to make this weapon. and part of the problem was the nuclear material, the uranium or plutonium, it was miniscule. plutonium is totally man-made. and so a reactor in washington was created to then manufactured this plutonium. uranium, it is naturally made but the part that is used for bombs, only about 1% of what occurs in nature. so how do you refine that come how do you east dracula 1% out?
fy the big industrial complex at oak ridge was made to kind of separate this isotope of uranium for the rest of it and assemble it in a big enough quantity it could be used for a bomb. part of the delay was material, was the radioactive material. part of it was hard to figure out how to assemble this into aa bomb. there were two different ways. one was a gun at some the bump and that took uranium in one part of the bomb, uranium in another part of the bomb, have high explosive behind kind of like a a bullet so this bulletf uranium was shot into this bigger mess of uranium enriched uranium. uranium 235. that can cause a chain reaction that exploded. and with a huge detonation. that was a pretty simple technique or a simple idea. it was actually so simple that they didn't need to test it. that was the bomb that was
dropped on hiroshima but they're so sure that was going to work they didn't field-tested. the plutonium bomb is little bit different. they tried to do that gun is similar with plutonium, as soon as he got shot a kind of fell apart so it never got to the other lump of plutonium. so what they came up with was this idea of implosion. so you have this hit a plutonium about the size of a softball or a grapefruit. you have conventional explosives around. you detonate those conventional explosives all within the same millisecond so the shockwave that comes on to the core compresses the plutonium into a tighter and tighter mess and that gets the chain reaction and the splitting of the plutonium atom and the release of an explosion. the scientists were not so sure that would work because it's tricky. if the explosive, conventional
explosives arrive just a little bit before the other shockwave, then it which is below the plutonium out. it had to be cordoned dated. that's the one the test at trinity site about 200 miles southeast of los alamos on july 16, 1945, at about 5:30 a.m. oppie later thought of a phrase from the holy book of hinduism and now i am a destroyer of worlds. now i am death, destroyer of worlds. just to put this in perspective, that one bomb when it was dropped over japan had the explosive and destructive equivalent of 2000 of our biggest bombers used in the war fully loaded. so it would have to be 2000 of those bombers fully loaded dropping all of their load to equal the destructive power of one atomic weapon. oppenheimer felt about his work
during the manhattan project in i think kind of a complicated way, and i think he had some mixed feelings of the fact that he did create this weapon of mass destruction, but on the other hand, he ended the war. now, i don't think the atomic weapons won the war. the war was already one. it was one by the united states military outlays to it was won by the homefront and the people working in the factories. a lot of people won the war, but the war ended in august 1945 because of the atomic bomb. and i think oppie realize this and took some pride in the fact that even that was a horrendous weapon, possibly some lives were saved because of use of it as dumb as weapon was. a home invasion or an invasion of the home islands of japan probably would've created more cashless. that's something that historians debate. we will never know the answer. but i think he also felt
somewhat bad about late in life, in the 1960s, he and his wife visited japan, and chuckled and said how do you feel about your work in developing this weapon that was used on japan? do you feel bad about it? and his reply was, it's not that i don't feel bad about it. i don't feel worse about it tonight that i did last night. by the time the 1950s rolled around, he started getting concerned about the arms race between the united states and the soviet union. he started feeling, one article in foreign affairs he said it's like there's two scorpions and a bottle, and they're going to kill each other. he also is worried about the effect of secrecy under democracy and he became more and more vocal, questioning the nuclear policies of the country. but he's influential. he was on the general advisory committee, the sibling to me
that advise the atomic energy commission. and he admits and enemies along the way. in fact, -- he had made -- j. edgar hoover put in even before world war ii on a list to be detained in case of a national emergency as a suspicious person. oppenheimer in the 1930s have persisted and left-wing activities. his wife was a communist party member. his brother and his sister-in-law were communist party members. so hoover thought that he was a communist party member. that's never been proven, but he was left-leaning. lewis stross who was director of the atomic energy commission in 1953 didn't like oppie partly for just kind of petty personal reasons. edward teller did not like oppie because he thought he should of
been appointed the head of the theoretical division of los alamos. there were these people got a got together in the early 50s to take down oppie, and some of it was for petty reasons. some of it was for security reasons. maybe he was connected with the soviet union. also think it's because we as a country, to a fork in the road. oppie would say maybe we should be rethinking this for quickly down with nuclear weapons. maybe we should go a different way. and so in december 1953 of report was given to president eisenhower saying more probably than not oppenheimer is a soviet spy. so of course i been critical of wall around oppie. utilities top security clearance from what to do about that. a couple days before christmas in 1953 loose straws had oppie
come into his office and say you know, there was this report about you and we will have to move your top security clearance, and you can either go quietly and nobody will know, or we can have a hearing. but this was in a way a public humiliation. it was supposed to be secret. soon after it ended, , the 997 page transcript was released to newspapers, made public so everybody heard what had happened with oppenheimer, and that they didn't ever prove he was a security risk. the second charge against him was that he advocated against the hydrogen bomb and he did say the hydrogen bomb was going atomic bomb is powerful enough and hydrogen bombs are 1000 times more powerful than what was dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki. so oppie was against the hydrogen bomb. did he try to coordinate
scientists not working on it? that was a charge. he might've talk to some people saying that atomic bombs are powerful and that and we don't need to unleash 1000 times powerful more bombs. but nonetheless, in a public she willingly his top security clips was yanked. newspapers across the country front page articles about this, and so we went from 1945 being this he wrote that ended world war ii, the 1954 being this villain that maybe was a communist spy. so when oppenheimer brought nuclear physics west, first to berkeley and two caltech, and then to new mexico, he changed particularly new mexico into what had been a very poor part of a country that actually even today some people don't know that new mexico is part of the
united states. they think it's a part of mexico. i mean, i get that all the time. oh, you don't have much of an accent. i'm from the united states. when i say i'm from new mexico. but it brought this state that was for, had very little infrastructure, and put in the middle of it this federally funded facility that just transform the state. brought good paying jobs. i mention the scientist, the engineers, the military came to los alamos but also during the manhattan project project and s a lot of local people in northern new mexico got well-paying jobs at the laboratories. so it transformed, in the 1960s the peace corps sent volunteers to new mexico to train before they sent them down into latin america. now los alamos is one of the
most prosperous counties in the country. basic after they have the highest per capita number of phds in the country in their county. so it's transformed the state. there's a lot of spinoffs that come from research into nuclear physics that then people decide they don't want to work in los alamos, start their own businesses and so there's kind of a ripple effect throughout northern new mexico into albuquerque of people of these high-tech jobs can come up with a good idea and then spend them off for their own businesses. so it took this state that was in the kind of backwaters of the country and not well known and less you are a tourist and came through and saw the beautiful landscapes and interesting cultures of the mexico. and maybe more mainstream.
so what lessons did we learn from oppenheimer? we still refer to a massive effort to use science and government, business, to come up with a solution of the world's problems. they say we need to do in manhattan project on this. so we still have that in the back of her mind that there's this almost impossible feat that was accomplished by dedicated people who were working hard to come up with something that nobody else had ever done before. so we still take lessons from that and from oppenheimer leadership. a mixed legacy, partly it's a mixed legacy because of the nuclear power plant accident that happened, fukushima, chernobyl, three-mile island. partly it's a mixed legacy
because of the divided opinions of the public, of looking at people who work at los alamos as either saviors of a democracy or shadowy figures have their fingers on the armageddon. it's a complicated thing to try to wrap your head around. a lot of times there's no black and white easy answers to this. >> by the time the americans come out her to this part of the world come to the will he becomes the united states, this is already old. this place is already old, even the european histories are all already. >> we took a driving tour of the city with new mexico state parks interpreter and park ranger alwx mares. >> thank you for showing us around the area today. >> thank you for inviting me. >> you were born and raised in this area come right? >> yes. a child of the desert and my family can wear multicultural, bilingual, like a lot of people
here in the southwest along the border area, native american and the interact with my chapter people all over the world. >> we are at leesburg danced a part but we're also going to visit a lot of other places. where are you taking a? >> today we will see the state park area that will travel in closer to go within the village, a native indigenous community. we will also see old coetzee and they will see parts of old downtown las cruces as well. >> let's get to it. right now we're overlooking leesburg danced a partner tell me a bit more about this area. >> so this is a really, really old area. if we just start with the natural environment, the geology and the terrain, the rio grande, that river right below was is only one of five rivers in the entire planet that is an invalid that it did not create.
the reason that river is in the valley methods because it sits atop a raft. as a result of this rio grande rift, underneath the valley underneath part of the river, like here at leesburg there's actual still geothermal activity. so there still magma. as a result of groundwater and the river water that, to contact with that when it gets pushed back up, hot springs. these springs in addition to being geothermal and hot in the riverbed mixing with cold water they also contain element known as radiant which has a radioactive half-life and there's a lot of people that believe it has therapeutic, healing properties, medicinal properties. but this is what has attracted people for thousands of years to this area, this water in the desert and these hot springs. >> when you say thousands of years, you really mean early
early settlers to the area. >> early early settlers. this area here where look out to come the mountain on the right inside is the range. the mounds off in the distance are the highest mountain area, just shy of 9000 feet above sea level. so between here and those two mountain ranges are prehistoric villages and artifacts of people from the last ice age, ten or 12,000 years ago, to people from the archaic period 4000-6000 years ago, to the people that are the ancestors of today's modern public people. we still have modern pueblo people living in new mexico today that dissent from these people. and then of course we have spanish history. all of the old hispanic families that you found in northern new mexico, all of them, their
ancestors had to have come through this area. this is the immigration rhetoric this is where the came out of what later becomes old mexico. >> what year are we talking? >> so in the early 1500s, about 1530, 1540, the first spanish explorers and conquistadors come to this area. >> so things that happened here, it predates the rock. >> the predates most would happen back east. a predates the old early american colonial period, the american revolution. this is all happening a century or more prior to all of that. >> we are talking about immigration to the area. you are very close to the border in las cruces. what is the relationship with the u.s.-mexico border when it relates to new mexico? >> if you are talking culture, i always like to joke with tourists and visitors that my whole life i've heard about this international border and these
state borders but i've never seen them. they have shown them to be on paper but i've never seen them. and, of course, what i mean by that is, if you're born and raised in this community, this border community, and it may be true for other poorer communities, anglo hispanic alike, we are so interwoven, interwoven, interlaced, interdependent and even intermixed and we really, really tight. it's a cross-cultural cross-border community. movement between the two countries has always been pretty easy historically that it's been pretty fluid and pretty easy-going and there's a lot of people that a family on both sides. the people have been her here r than the borders have been here and the types of relationships go back when the borders have been moved, you know? so the borders have been both an change but the people that
pretty much, the relationships have pretty much stayed the same. same. so you will have families in this community, we are talking 150 years ago, they already intermixed, and it's reflected in our language, are borderline which it is oftentimes a mix of english and spanish. the food is another prime example. heavy heavily influence of mexican culture in our food. >> as we turn left and you're speaking of the food we're going to pass a lot of pecan groves. does agriculturally big role in las cruces at in southern new mexico? >> yes. the big river was there. their primary reason for billington is to trap and store melted snow and rainfall from southern colorado and northern
new mexico. >> you also know for green chile. >> green chili. as a matter fact, the committeef hatch and the hatch valley has gotten its of the patented and copyrighted, no one can legally call their chili hatch chile unless it's grown in the hatch valley. they've gone to court over that. so it's a big deal. chile is king and not pecan is rising up close second is being king in about. >> where are we heading out? >> right now we're traveling down the valley from the north end to going down the center. we're going to go again close to the river. we are going to cross the rio grande and were going to stop by a roadside historic mark marker which basically is a monument to the signing of the gadsden purchase. >> we have pulled off literally into the dirt on the side of the road to see this small-market although it's tiny, it has a ag role in southwest history and
american history. >> the u.s. goes to war against mexico 1846-1848. mexico loses and actually they lose, the moment they decide to give in and to say okay, stop fighting, we give up, was right after the battle, the lower to marry is south of his invalid going towards el paso. so then have to decide, okay, where's mexico and to end and is the u.s. going to begin? so the mathematics and instance they had to survey and measured as good as had at the time they were still off. so they decide that the rio grande is going to play a role in this border, but the problem is the river moves back and forth. they decide to set some fixed markers and so that's why decide to make an actual fixed marker here, and this is one of the corners of what's going to become known as the gadsden
purchase. so this corner marker is at that time 1848-1850, is actually the beginning of mexico and the end of the u.s. the little community we're going to go to, the reason that exists is because there's about 50 or 60 families at this time, 1850-1852, that did not want to become u.s. citizens. so it's one of those instances in history where we can say that all makes and want to become americans ignited but he is trying to jump over here. these folks jumped out of the united states in new mexico. >> okay. we should go to old miss sia and see. >> we just entered the town of ms. cfa, city limits. it's a real common to find cars driving or parked in and around this area on by both angle and hispanics i like to have a
bumper sticker that says -- [speaking spanish] and sometimes will have the translation, i'm a proud -- they are very, very independent, very proud of being often from this area. it all goes back to the history of them wanting to become u.s. citizens after the war. >> tells about that. >> so before the gadsden purchase, about 50-60 primarily hispanic families literally pick up all of their belongings, leave their homes, load up the wagons, look across the river east to west, see a little hill, hence the name -- little table and this events will be going to move to. we're going to move back into mexico and that's what we're going to go with those and that's why they call it this. now, history has a twist. so a year, to usually when you do the gadsden purchase they
wind up back in the united states. we don't entered, this is the plaza, the old historic plaza and if you notice the kiosks, gazebo comes both the u.s. and mexico flag. the in is for mesilla, the 50 50 for a speaking fit for when established themselves with the signing of the gadsden purchase. this corner, billy the kid was in jail there and this was the courthouse. these are all old adobe buildings. the brick sidewalks, brick patio, sidewalks, the street is even brick. >> ssa large place for tourists? >> this is tourism center right here. this is the magnet or have really for this area. >> so we're leaving the old mesilla, leaving the plaza. where to? >> we are going to head to another little community that is not as old but is still very unique and distinct.
>> we are turning into this neighborhood. tell me more about this area. >> it is plural for trouble, so it's turtles. they are pueblo people. so the story is that when they flee to mexico in 1680 as a result of the 1680 refold, there are two groups, one group is about two weeks and of the of the group and its a mixture of mexican indians, spaniards and pueblo people who are fleeing the revolt and their force by the spanish to flee within. the straggly group, the group behind the main group, the main group says that they complain or sales people living with, then moving like turtles. so this building over on the left, kind of terra-cotta i guess you'd call it color, that building, is putting in that building all three you noticed of the same kind of terra-cotta
color. these are the social and religious and ritual ceremonial structures that they built, and the biggest day, the biggest event of the year for these people and tourists come and family members come from all over the world that have moved away, they come here during the week of december 12. december is the date of the -- on the of the you will have a -- they will have candles and they will dance all night long and they will have ritualistic prayer and dance. it's a mixture of both roman catholic and indigenous belief. and the people here are really kind of a neat microcosmic example of a lot of new mexico. they are as a mixture of hispanics, mexican indian, and native new mexicans. >> it shows the diversity of the
area. we seem the tijeras neighborhood. she would see the downtown? >> yes. >> we went all the sistrunk locations and now we're entering a modern downtown of las cruces. >> right. one of the things the seat of las cruces did several years ago is it consolidated all of their museums to be all shoulder to shoulder locator here on main street and they come it took so used to renovate this entire main street district. it's ultra modern, everything is brand-new, the parking, the roads, the sidewalks, the lighting but they still try to keep that kind of feel of a certain time period. but now everything is within walking distance. you can walk to restaurants, you can walk to the old historic rio grande theatre. you can walk to the bookstore. you can walk to all of the
museums. >> we had been all around the las cruces area. we talked about its history, we saw what the early summer start and now we are here in the modern downtown. what would you like to see next for southern new mexico? >> the next thing really is to make a reality the idea of making this a destination for specifically cultural and ecotourism, heritage tourism. i really think that we are poised for that. i think with as great or even greater potential for that than any other place in the southwest. >> alex, thank you so much for showing us around the area today. >> thank you. >> twice on c-span cities tours takes booktv and american history tv on the road to explore the literary life and history of a selected city. working with a cable partners we visit very literary and historic
sites and we interview local historians, authors and civic leaders. you can watch any of our past interviews and tours online by going to booktv.org and selecting c-span cities to or from the series dropped out at the top of the page. or by visiting c-span.org/citiestour your youn follow the c-span cities tour on twitter for behind the scenes images and video from our visits. the handle is at c-span cities. >> booktv visited capitol hill to ask members of congress they are reading this summer. >> thank you for as me what i'm reading this summer. the first book which i love which i hope people go out and get is called tyrant by stephen greenblatt, a shakespeare scholar. sometimes the shakes politics and it says kind of character profile of all of the tyrants in the shakespeare place. macbeth is in the average the
third and use people may be were not originally hybrids return tyrannical like king lear. but he's trying to look up at t are the common personality traits and the political patterns that surround tyranny and so there's a kind of pathological disregard for the feelings or even the realm of other people and what they are going through. there's extreme pathological narcissism in doing everything through one's own perspective and one of those neat and insatiable appetites. their sadism and a relish in bullying of the people and taking advantage of them and ridiculing them and mocking them. and then there is a systematic contempt for the law and for rules. there's an idea that the tyrants trample all norms, all manners, all forms of civility and
civilization. so it doesn't mention a single word about in the current political leader or administration or political party, but it's enormously insightful about what's going on. it describes enablers and people who surround the time it and make it possible for the tirade to continue what he's doing. when i say he, i mean he come in every case it is a man. i suppose lady macbeth comes closest like a tyrant that she is on enabler of macbeth. there are just certain repeat character flaws that run very deep. the big question is what happens in society that allows this particular character type to rise to the top and why did they get to continue for so long doing what they're doing before the society finally rises up and
says no, and there's an excellent discussion in which greenblatt says basically what you've got is kind of old school style board using politicians, owing to being the savior of society who are able to assemble society as a simple opposition to a tyrant to say that the people have needs, too. you generally look and what politicians do in terms of delivering peoples sources could he checks or the va benefits are helping people get a passport. but in reality that's where most people live and you can't put the narcissistic fantasies of the few above the material needs of the many. that i think is a basic and ultimately honorable theme of democracy. it's a great book. it's a very fast read. it's enjoyable.
it passing for people like shakespeare and even for people who are not yet shakespeare fans. you've got to check out hybrid. >> of any particular passages from this book that you enjoy? >> there's a great chapter on fraudulent populism that is the despot tyburn, someone who pretends to be on the side of the common man but, in fact, have tremendous content for common people and travels the need for the interest of common people. that's what i could read to you, but there's actually a nice chapter that character called a matter of character and i thought i would read just a little passage about something that he perceived and all of the tyrants in the shakespeare place. that time it is not merely indifferent to the law. he hates it and he takes pleasure in breaking it. he's a too because it gets in his way because it stands for a notion of a public good that he holds in contempt picky divides the world into winners and losers. the winners are out for guard as
src can use them for his own inns, the losers arouse only his score. the public could is something only losers to talk about. what he likes to talk about is winning. so i i thought that was an instructive passage about shakespeare's tyrants, at about the psychology of the tyrant which is to have contempt for most people and the people who doesn't have contempt for are or people he fill of themselves bullies and many tyrants of the confused in order to get to where he is going. >> what else are you reading? >> all right. as you can tell haven't had much chance to read any thinking. what to get back to stephen king what i can but we are living in some tough times some sticking with political philosophy for the summer and have everybody doesn't think i'm too boring. here's a great book called the sleeping the sovereign, inventf modern democracy.
professor talk makes a fascinating argument. he says that today we think of sovereignty and government is basically the same thing that we think they are coextensive. the original modern political philosophers, russo and hobbs and john locke distinguished sharply between government and sovereignty. government audit office of administration that we set up in order to do the people's business but the sovereign in the democracy are the people. we the people are the three beautiful and most important words of the american film constitution to we the people are sovereign and we set up a constitution that might have limitations and failures as ours in delhi do it first written, tolerate and abetted slavery, for example, into a got to the civil war and the reconstruction amendment and exclude women and we got to the 19th amendment and so on. so it's not necessarily the constitution that should always be glorified or idolize what is the idea of the sovereignty is the people we're constantly
expanding and deepening our conception of the people and who is sovereign. relating it to today, still i think may be the highlight of this whole time since i was elected to congress and hitter in january 2017 was the great women's march in washington because it was a moment not of government and public policy work partisanship or any kind of our to policies, all of the people stood up to reassert the primacy of we the people, the idea that government belongs to the people and the people are sovereign, and if government runs away from us or this or that later runs away from us, the people of the power to reign it all back in. >> so thank you for writing that book. i wish i had written that one. there was a day when i used to write books. now i write tweets that it is what it is. maybe one day i'll the coextensive writing books again. here's an old favorite of mine,
ordinary phthisis by judas scolari who was a great sensational luminous political philosopher in in the 20th century and she was my professor and my thesis advisor. but she wrote the book that was all based on just a passage. he wrote an essay about cannibalism and he said in france we love to do for the cannibals because it makes us feel better about ourselves because we are able to look down on these people who eat people. but he said in the anthropological work that's been done on cannibals, we can record maybe two or 300 people who were killed. but he said here in france we participate in religious wars between the catholics and protestants were hundreds of thousands are slain routinely and we don't even eat them for
the protein. we just kill them for ideological reasons, for religious reasons. he says i don't know we should necessarily feel superior to the cannibals given the way we behave. he said that only to mention the most atrocious crimes that we commit as a civilization. it's not even to get into the ordinary phthisis of civil life. there he mentioned cruelty, hypocrisy, the trail, misanthropy and snobbery which with a five ordinary phthisis and mentioned in passing. so the professor wrote this amazing book about the ordinary vices, about those five vices. she basically makes the argument that liberalism begins around the time of the french and american revolutions as rebellion against one specific fights and that price is cruelty, which liberals basically establish as the worst
vice, the paradigm vice, because it's about the intentional infliction of pain on people or animals who have less power than the person who is exacting the cruelty, who is inflicting cruelty. and all of the other vices she says has something to say for them, and they exist kind of on a spectrum. so she makes this argument which is kind of a moral and philosophical infrastructure of liberalism. and i view it in substance as kind of an implicit critique of john rawls, because he was her but he made the argument that liberalism begins with the idea of the original position and a kind of theoretical position that you don't make things better for most well-off people in society to make things better for the least well off but she said that's two intellectuals to cognitive. liberalism of begins as a revolt
against cruelty, and that's why we've got the eighth amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment in the eighth amendment of the constitution, and it's why the great civilizing movement of our history have targeted cruel manipulation and exportation of other people like abolitionism, like the movement for women's rights which is about emancipating women from a the cruel hardships of being subject to other people power and control and so on. so anyway, she has a chapter on each of the phthisis, and i think there's only an implicit argument that conservatism hold out not cruelty but the trail as the worst vice. and/or hypocrisy. she thinks that conservatism is obsessed with hypocrisy, that's like a big argument is truth against teddy kennedy. here's this rich guy who says it
all about helping the poor but look at the life he leads. you get some of that in the critique of nancy pelosi the sum of their something hypocritical about being a a person who is wealth and yet is committed to the solidarity with working people and so on. she says look, hypocrisy is just the distance between our self professed ideals and a that we live, and in everybody's case, all of us have some degree of hypocrisy. none of us ever lived up to the best we can do and most liberals kind of except that and affect the easiest way not to be a hypocrite is to have no values or ideals at all. nobody ever accused hitler was a link of being a hypocrite. infinitely cruel and abusive but there were not many hypocrites because they told except with the wanted to do. so she says for liberal hypocrisy is certainly advice and a send but it's one that's kind of built into a society
where people have some value ideals and it should be organizing principle of your politics, as maddening and as infuriating as it is an certain as member of congress as maddening at infuriating it is to me to see people proclaim the imports of family values and then support the separation apparent from the children or look the other way when one of their colleagues is having an affair are going to get their mistress to have an abortion or whatever. it's infuriating but ultimately it's not a very good guide to moral and political judgment. cruelty and reducing the amount of cruelty and pain-and-suffering suffering ad what is a much better guide than that. so when you what i would love to like spindle to talk about that book but that is really a masterful book and think everybody should check out whose interest in moral and political philosophy and judith shklar is great unsung hero of political and political philosophy. radical equations, bob of course
was a hero of the civil rights movement who was born in europe, grew up when you come across to suit the philosophy at harvard when in 1960 he opened up the newspaper to see pictures of students from historically black colleges sitting in a restaurant in motels and hotels and lunch counters, and he said they looked the way that i felt, , ad design you that i had to go south. he made his way to the belly of the beast at that point, the mississippi and him and him that man named more who was the president of the cleveland branch, cleveland mississippi branch of the naacp and was the vice chair of the statewide naacp, and he said he wanted to get involved in making life better for the african-american population which is basically living under a regime of
political and social apartheid. an economic quasi-slavery, you know, sharecropping. moses said he went down with expectation -- expectation would be involved with sit ins at lunch counters and restaurants a motels but moore said look around if you are in a congressional district that is two-thirds african-american, and none of the black people here can vote. and, of course, they could vote during reconstruction but that ended after ten years with the termination of reconstruction, the pulling of union troops out of the south in 1876. since then at a just been grandfather clauses a literacy test and pull taxes, kkk and night writers. a lot of people are driven off the voter rolls and he said it will tell you a registered people to vote. bob moses almost got himself killed sometimes just going door-to-door urging people to vote. he came up with the phrase one
person, one vote. that was not invented by the supreme court. thank you out of the blood and sweat and tears of the civil rights movement and the student nonviolent court in committee and the early 1960s, and moses work led to the student nonviolent core dating commission, committee, the freedom summer where many people lost their lives including, just to get people rich to vote. with the sacrifice of support act of 1964. we got the mississippi freedom democratic party and the challenge of atlantic city democrat convention which helped to open up the democratic party and we because the voting righs act of 1965 which is been instrumental in opening america, you know, are less great republican president abraham lincoln talked about government of the people for the people by the people that we started as a slave republic of white male
property owners over the age of 21 it's been a struggle and constitution change that america has opened up a little radical equations because it tells the story of this young philosopher, mathematician who went south and created the freedom summer with sncc and now has gone back again to teach math literacy which he thinks his new civil rights struggle so that it has access to math and science and technology in this century. almost done. this is a great book that my daughter gave me. it's called this is an uprising compound nonviolent revolt is shaping the 21st century. it's a fascinating book because it attempts to develop a taxonomy of protests, and political organizing. so it basically sets out to kinds of models for progressive
political organizing in american history. one model is the saul alinsky model of organizers who embed themselves in communities and build strong organizational structures that are able to go out and fight for specific material things, whether it's a stoplight or stopping a highway from wrecking a community, or health services or what have you. and then he contrasts that with another model of organizing which might be typified by dr. king and the broader civil rights movement which was about mass organizing and mass mobilizing around certain specific explosive events that catalyze the attention of country great the possibility for big leaps forward and people understand of what's wrong and allow for the creation of legislation like the voting rights act of 65 with the civil rights act of 64 and only comes to the conclusion that you need to have dynamic interchange
between sort of that patient work, long-term work of democratic political organizing in peoples community and then being alive to the moment. we seen that most recently with the kids from parkland who, after the massacre down there, decided that are not going to be passive victims. it would take control of an agenda which they saw basically had been forfeited by adults who embed with the nra and they're going create a movement for real change in the country, and they did that. but they needed to have a long-term agonizing muscle and expertise of the brady campaign and gabby giffords intergroup and every town and so on. it's always going to be a coalition tween people who are alive to the spirit of the moment with people who are embedded in working with community to build democratic power. check out, this is an uprising,
a facet book and, of course, i brought with me tom pains rights of man and common sense because these are times that we need thomas paine who was the great radical democratic agitator and revolutionary of the american revolution, who wrote common sense and he wrote the crisis at the time of the american revolution when everything was looking very iffy. people did know which way is going to go. people thought tyranny was inevitable, that democracy really couldn't take coal. we could not build little democratic institutions, and he rallied the country with his essays and with his documents and with the crisis and with common sense picks up everybody should read those that i will leave you some words from thomas paine who said, i'm going to update it so it doesn't offend the sensible of a modern
audience. these are the times that try men's and women's souls. use of the time from it and women's souls. the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will shrink at this moment from the service of the cause but everyone who stands with us now will win the love and the favor and affection of every man and every woman for all time. tyranny like yelp is not easily conquered but we have consolation to the more difficult the struggle, the more glorious indian as our victory. >> booktv wants to know what you're reading. send us your summer reading list @booktv on twitter, instagram or on facebook. booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was greater as a public service by america's cable-television companies and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme