Thursday, August 27, 2009

Full Page Ad in US News!

I am very excited to have a full page ad in US News & World Report this week with an image of my 2004 book Notre Dame vs the Klan (Loyola Press). The ad refers to a free speech controversy that raged on an Indiana college campus last year, when a student-employee was found guilty of racial harassment merely for reading my book. I know that's hard to believe, but it really happened. Here's an article in NUVO, Indianapolis's alternative paper, who really broke the story, although it ended up being covered by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and many other outlets.

The ad was created by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an advocacy group that fights for freedom of speech on campus, and helped this particular student clear his name. It took a lot of work - for a time the school's administration was determined to admit no wrongdoing.

This book has had a lot of staying power, especially for a book that came out over five years ago. I think it speaks to the power of this story, set in 1924, when the state of Indiana, and the Notre Dame campus, was besieged by the Klan and anti-Catholic hatred.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scribner Junior High, New Albany, Indiana

While I was in the area for the August 20 event at Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville, my good friend and unpaid publicist Doug Bennett helped me line up a great morning at Scribner Junior High, in New Albany, Indiana. Not only is this the school where Doug's son, Trent, is a seventh grader: it's where I attended Junior High roughly one thousand years ago. It could not have been more enjoyable. I spoke to the entire group of seventh graders, about 300 in all, about reading and creative writing. I am picture above with head librarian Pamela Poe, and the two great kids who introduced me to their class.

Carmichael's Bookstore event

On August 20, 2009, I had the pleasure of speaking at Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville Kentucky's greatest independent bookstore. Jeff Howington, who coordinates events at Carmichael's, had the foresight to pair me with Jason Howard, an activist and author/editor of two interesting books: Something's Rising and We All Live Downstream. Jason brought with him several contributors, including a couple of very impressive musicians. My thanks to Carol Besse, owner of Carmichael's, Jeff Howington, and my friend Doug Bennett, who lined up a couple of really interesting days in the Louisville area. (See the next post about Scribner Junior High).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Alex Awards Presentation at ALA

On Sunday, July 12, 2009, I was honored to attend the ALA national conference in Chicago. Three other Alex Award winners were there: Stephen Bloom, author of the Oxford Project (pictured with me), Hilary Jordan, author of Mudbound, and Toby Barlow, author of Sharp Teeth. One of of my favorite books of the year also won this award, although he wasn't able to attend: David Benioff, author of City of Thieves. It was really wonderful to be recognized by this group of hard-working, book-loving librarians, as it was meeting the other authors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Interview with Rod Adams of Atomic Insights

I can't imagine a more knowledgeable interviewer on this topic than Rod Adams - publisher of Atomic Insights and enthusiastic advocate of small nuclear generators. I knew he was reading my book and was anxiously awaiting his opinion of it. He interviewed me for his podcast The Atomic Show, give it a listen.

As one indication of the depth of Rod's knowledge, he corrects me in the interview when I state that the Army's ML-1 reactor never went critical. As Rod correctly points out, it was critical for about 300 hours.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Washington Post Review!

I'm very pleased to have my book reviewed in the Washington Post, 4/19/09, especially by a knowledgeable journalist like Seth Shulman. His praise certainly wasn't unqualified - in general he seemed to think my focus was too broad. But he called me a "good explainer," and pointed out some of the more interesting passages in the book. So I can accept that!

Here's a link:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The National Post

There was an interesting column on 4/15/09 in the National Post, a Canadian daily. The writer, Yoni Goldstein, refers to Atomic America and a Canadian advocate of small nuclear plants for remote worksites. I thought the column was insightful, and Goldstein had clearly given the book a careful read.

Here's a link:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Coast to Coast!

Put on a fresh pot of coffee...Saturday night, 3/28/09 from 2:00AM to 5:00AM (eastern), I will be LIVE with Ian Punnett on Coast to Coast AM. This will be my second interview with Ian - he also had me on for my last history book, The Great Starvation Experiment, and I am really looking forward to this. Ian is an insightful interviewer - the kind that actually reads the book before having the author on his show. And the audience is huge, smart, and devoted. Here's a link to the C2C website:

If you're not a night owl, you can download the podcast there.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Editorial in the Washington Post

Sunday, March 22, 2009, I'll have an editorial in the Washington Post: "5 Myths on Nuclear Power." It's amazing how fast this started generating a response - on Saturday, as soon as it was put on the website.

One knowledgeable reader emailed me to point out the error in the quote I included from President Harry Truman, at the keel-laying of the USS Nautilus in 1952. Truman said, in effect, that nuclear fission was what powered the sun. It is more accurate, as the reader pointed out to me, to say that nuclear fusion powers the sun. But Truman's point was that nuclear processes are a part of the natural world - the same point I was trying to make. And the quote was accurate, even if Truman's science was not.

For a writer that grew up in a family with several people in the newspaper business, being published in the Washington Post is a real thrill.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Weird Interview on KSFR Santa Fe

Yesterday (3/11/09) I was interviewed by Diego Mulligan on Santa Fe public radio. He seemed to have booked me in the hopes that I would be an apologist for the nuclear power industry - a strange expectation, since my book centers around a fatal nuclear accident. I did say that I thought reasonable people should look at all power sources as trade offs, a balancing of risks and rewards, but Diego took this as too close to an endorsement of "Big Nuke."

It does seem like nuclear power is one of those things where people who are against it can't acknowledge anything remotely positive. Diego even contended that nuclear power has a big carbon footrprint - because of construction equipment, uranium mining, etc. I guess. He seemed to think that if we really wanted to, we could power everything with windmills and happy thoughts.