This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Irita Van Doren hosts. Speakers include William White, Quentin Reynolds, and Tyrone Power.
William L. White discusses "Back Down the Ridge" and combat journalism. He speaks about some of the developments in the Korean war, such as blood transfusions and the proximity of mobile hospital units to soldiers.
Quentin Reynolds discusses "The Amazing Mr. Doolittle."
Finally, Tyrone Power discusses and performs a dramatic reading from "John Brown's Body."
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71176
Municipal archives id: LT3406
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Your city station bridge you know least six of the cities in this book and author luncheons from the scribe earlier this afternoon at the Hotel Astor these affairs a mainstay of the city's cultural life are co-sponsored on a nonprofit basis by the New York Herald Tribune and the American Booksellers Association along our guest Tyrone Power. Literary Editor of The New York Herald a mistress of ceremonies for the book and author luncheon. With us to. CORRESPONDENT. White light. The story. Cradled in the wastebasket. And. Might. Be that true or not it is a fact that at the beginning of the. Already recognized paper. To the front. You reported. Different newspapers. Broadcast to C.B.S. one of those has become a classic it was from the front line undefined it was. The one hand. The script with a part in a. Christmas tree it was this broadcast that. The inspiration for his play shall be no night the second trip on Europe. To destroy is that the United States to Britain in exchange for Atlantic bases. Reporting. What was happening. In the story of men and women under bombardment of soldiers at the front. On minesweepers in the child of. God perilous of the. The shattered. Result of this trip that he and his wife adopted a little. Girl the book he wrote about the experience is honest and touching. And broadcasts reported experiences on European battlefronts in Germany shortly after the declaration. During the Russian invasion. With the Germans. In Britain during the worst of the bombing and. Just ahead of the German aggression everywhere he was interested in how people lived under such conditions what they thought how they. Died proudly report on the Russian report on the Germans he gave us his observations another book most successful they were expendable presented the. Philippine campaign the Japanese attacked the horrified surprise of the Americans when they found that they had been on the ground like a sitting duck the courageous defense of the rock and the final evacuation of my God Mr White told that story. To help too complacent to its own fate. In his new book. He is telling us what happened. In. This documentary story. Telling in the language of the medics and the wounded man is an account of what happens to a man from the time on the ridge and shipped home for recovery. And in. No place. The devoted and courageous men and women of human ingenuity and human in durance when the need is great the drama of life and death by letter by jeep truck and helicopter. From the to. The time ten pieces of shrapnel still falling to my. Surgical Hospital. Expecting any moment to. Pick up equipment and before they are coming. To hospital. And finally home lives by such quick frontline attention. To make it possible the devoted efforts of surgeons nurses. And parts of a hospital unit seem terribly real. It's not a pretty picture the very words. Out there on the ridge. As we sit at home comfortable. For instance has to be. An ambulance. And I. Know it's not pretty but it's home and should be supreme. To any woman whose husband. Is doing the duty of a. You. Can always find something sweet to say. I suppose. The first thing I'd like to make clear I've discovered is a little misconstruction misconception going around since this book come out is that I was not in. Most people. Jump to the conclusion that I was on the book plainly states that I was but somehow forget that I suppose I should make some. For writing about a place I've never visited. Dr Harlow shape up at my alma mater a distinguished promised. Land and lay on the moon he's never been there. But. I think I can have a few more qualifications for. Knowing a little bit about the subject of because as I read it was kind enough to say ever since I was a kid in my late thirty's. I've been in and out of these things starting thirty nine. When I was in Germany in Finland and ending up with a Jewish Arab while the tail end of it in forty nine. Was. More or less I knew what the boys were talking about. I was a sympathetic listener the didn't need to ask too many simple and elementary questions and. Knew what their mood was and a good deal of their circumstances. I would say that it was impossible. For me to have done it if I hadn't known something about it in advance. The main thing that. Also it wasn't however an old story there were a number of things that were new and very stimulating to me. Anybody who knocked around was a study it was a constant rise between weapons and means of protection. I mean the. Machine gun is invented and for this is a stalemate. In World War One it was completely hung up with a machine gun and therefore where in months present the tank is invented as an answer to the machine. Whenever any weapon is invented so far in human history when it starts with this all right comes somebody quickly hurries round and gets a method of more or less reasonably adequate protection not complete. But the weapon isn't a terrifying thing that otherwise might. Now I'm not certainly don't want to be on record here. It will turn out a kind of grease so the. Explosion will only produce a flood. That I don't think will ever happen but I was surprised in this waterfront. So many. New things for the saving of law and I think. Fascinating ones that I could write into. Nylon body armor. It's a childishly simple say why did we think of it in World War two Well why didn't we think of the tank in World War One some puttering around in the tank came out toward the end of the war but here is a simple and obvious answer. You of course remember the nylon shortage in World War one but that was largely because of World War two but that was largely because chemicals were being devoted for other purposes and the only real use for nylon that I can remember was for parachutes but because of the wonderful us to City of the nylon are they now get out of Brazil steppin out that. Stocks sixty eight percent of all missiles sixty eight percent of everything that's liable to hit you when you're in uniform. Except maybe a dishonorable discharge. Is held by this thing and it bounces back and all that leaves is a black and blue mark now of course there are some things that it won't stop. It won't start to stop a thirty caliber bullet at short range. But it will stop one pretty long. It will stop almost any kind of fragment from a shell and in other words sixty percent of the things that hit you it will stop it is reduced to the chest and Bell I won't of course if you get an arm blown off you still can do that but if. But much many more people die of abdominal and chest then die from the actual loss of the limits reduced them by about seventy percent Incidentally it would have done it in the last one I had we had this thing then another and slightly more complicated thing is the. Work they're doing on Dextre. That is a plasma expanding I hope I'm not talking over the heads of too many of my audience but I suppose most of you realize that most of the wounded man who died. On the battlefield die of shock not from actual wounds and that usually means blood loss now as you know it's almost impossible to get a pint of blood. Right up to the front lines and give it immediately to the man who's wounded in the first place the. Blood has to be refrigerated and has to be handled even more carefully than milk is handled in New York City has to be kept cool all the time or it'll spoil. It has to be taken up in the glass but well obviously that's impossible so they've been giving. Plus my but plasma is hard to come by. For these emergency sings out on the front it's you can think of it as well if I'd call it a sugar solution I'd be wrong and a chemist would jump up and I argue with me for twenty minutes or so the difference between decks drawn on a sugar solution but it's related to that it's how the it's a chemical doesn't come from the human body all and also it doesn't transmit hepatitis which plausible often does and which with is a genuine hazard it's not sell them for it's not often fatal but nevertheless it's a great musicians and all military hospitals because I think a certain amount of blood you can't help but there is a contamination some blood of blood donors had hepatitis doesn't know what gives the blood and of course the blood is necessary to save the life but nevertheless you do run a slight danger of coming down with you don't get this from dextrose. Also it's infinitely cheaper to make. But there's no real substitute for blood. Dexter doesn't have the red corpuscles that bring the oxygen it doesn't have the white corpuscles of a fight disease but it does give that necessary fluid and strength that the boys got to have after he's lost a couple of pints of his twelve pints out on the edge and if he doesn't have something else. In an hour or so he's going to die. It does save the boy's life until he can get back to the hospital now another tremendous thing that they've done in this war and I am not sure that they'll be able to do it in future ones but it is a vital thing and this is another rather simple contrivance of. Moving the hospital closer to the voyage in the old days the base hospital used to be sometimes one hundred twenty five miles back at the front maybe fifty long you were wounded you were taken to the battalion I'd station which was ordinarily a mile or so from where you were hit. And then if you were alive you were a lot of hospital train and you went back. To the base hospital when out that trip could sometimes take a couple of days. What I mean from the time you were. The average was something like ten to twelve hours anyway. With under the best of conditions but now having. Hospital up into three mobile units they'll dice hospital used to say when I'm in court and mobile army service surgical hospital or mash saves a position. It can now. Be ten twelve miles back to the front it can move quickly around with a division there's never any time. And they've cut it now down to an average of eight hours now. That's. A ridiculously long time. You have to wait eight hours to get to a hospital but consider this the conditions under which the wounded are always found a boy and I go out taking a read. Time attack he may be wounded. It may be. They may be under fire if they sent a letter to get him they were probably. Can't do that they have to wait until night to go get it or he may be wounded in a night attack and they won't see him. So there are. Many reasons that the longest part of the trip is really the trip back to the battalion. I would like to say about. Where I was apprehensive at first I wondered. Why I stopped when I finished writing I thought I wonder what I've done here to what extent is your part of. What extent if you've got to end it. To what extent will it take anything. They said these boys out here to. Do this job. Well they may want to read stories about their heroism do they also want to write stories about their suffering. But I was very gratified to find that this is a grown up and a country that you want to follow through on the boys want to know what has happened to them and I think the nicest part of the reception of this book yes. And the thing that pleased me as an author was that. The nurses the boys who wrote in and said thank you for telling the story of this little boy which was almost forgotten we think it was there. And the fact that stars and stripes for us. Because they thought it would be encouraging to the combat troops and their treatment. I wish to thank you and I can probably. Inflict a little of. Which I said. Has given to us there is not. A commentary. Thank you real. Story about it you may be tempted not to read it. And I think. Our second correspondent. In many ways is as amazing as his amazing little. In the course of acquiring a reputation as one of the world's best correspondents you graduated from law school. Paper work into all of. The respondent. Service just as Hitler was coming into power. The beginning of World War two. And when France collapsed he was one of the last reporters to get out of Paris and. In London he wrote the commentary that two documentaries. London can take it Christmas on the fire. His activities. And their. Only correspondent for instance during the war who was allowed to interview. That he made several B.B.C. broadcasts. Which begin a little all over. In fact it was so great that two hundred copies were made as press. Went to Russia and remained in Moscow for six months leaving in protest against the way foreign correspondents were censored at one time or another covered most of the battlefront. Palestine and the south west Pacific. On trips to America at the request of Secretary. He spoke of trees and. Broadcasts in German to be broadcast to the German people just before the invasion. He turned to Israel and was with me during the fighting in the spring. Life would seem. A little all right but in addition to numerous articles you collaborated on the movie Miracle of the bells what was voted the best mystery motion picture forty eight. Side seven seven seven appeared in a number of top radio and television and produced an extraordinary number of books some with the result of travel experiences such as the cross London convoy or leave it to the people later the public court room a study of Judge Liebowitz is a real hang over probably from his early interest in the law a sort of biography of widely people have appeared in recent years there not a rule. To add spice to these more substantial citizens the next week the amazing Mr Doolittle Mr Reynolds will tell you something about his friend Jimmy Doolittle. Only to speak of popular misconceptions about general. The first that he was. Reckless speedy stunt flying. One time that misconception the second that the big achievement of his life was the bombing of Tokyo you will have no such erroneous notions once you read Mr Reynolds biography you will find the do little. Good education in engineering but his research and experimentation on instruments of blind save the lives of thousands of. And American pilots landing in England. Arguments that she should develop one hundred S. and. Much to win the Battle of Britain. You find out that he played and generally supported the claim that he. Calculated risks but he was absolutely fearless and. Out of these pilots such a sense of organization judgment in the overall plan that. I somehow. Missed and journalistic skills could present such a vital character. I'm happy to. Atlanta. I think I talk for. Myself when I say that we're both very grateful for your presence today perhaps more grateful than you realize meeting such a professional writer like Bill and myself. Being a realist I know that nobody buys books anymore. People