The Texas Book Festival is pleased to once again partner with C-Span2/Book TV to host and livestream engaging and relevant cultural conversations about a wide variety of big topics, from climate change to big tech to international relations, health care, and more. See below for the weekend’s schedule of conversations.
Saturday, October 26th
Understanding Immigration: What It Means to Come America – 10:00 am – 10:45 am
NPR’s Aarti Shahani (Here We Are) and Pulitzer Prize finalist Suketu Mehta (This Land Is Our Land) push beyond the headlines to discuss the real experience of immigrants living in America. Sharing their perspectives as natives of India who relocated to the United States, Shahani and Mehta scrutinize generational differences, bureaucratic hoops, unforeseen obstacles, the argument of who “really” belongs in America, and the complicated truths of the American Dream. Moderated by Rakhee Jain Desai.
In The Hands of Our Hubris: Human Behavior in the Face of Climate Change – 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Building mansions up to the edges of coastlines, disrupting the deserts for oil; short-term human goals consistently come up against the obvious and ongoing effects of climate change. In their new books, journalist Nathaniel Rich (Losing Earth) and Pulitzer Prize-winner Gilbert Gaul (The Geography of Risk) examine human hubris in the face of our environment’s increasingly drastic cries for help–and its threats if our behavior doesn’t change. Moderated by Juli Berwald.
Border Wars: The President’s Assault on Immigration – 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
New York Times Washington correspondents Michael Davis and Julie Hirschfeld Shear provide an inside account with never-before-told stories of Trump’s opposition to immigration to the United States. They discuss how the President and his allies blocked asylum-seekers and refugees, separated families, threatened deportation and sought to erode the longstanding bipartisan consensus on immigration, all with decision-making driven by gut instinct and marked by disorganization, paranoia, and a constantly feuding staff. Moderated by Carlos Sanchez.
Inside the Radical Right: Mike Pence, The Council for National Policy, and Our Nation’s Shadows Networks – 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Political analyst Tom Lobianco (Piety and Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House) and journalist Anne Nelson (Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right) take us deep inside America’s Radical Right, revealing the people and groups masterminding media tactics, bankrolling politicians, and coordinating its strategic nerve center, with a focus on the rise of Vice President Pence and the Council for National Policy. Moderated by Daniel Oppenheimer.
The Education of an Idealist: Samantha Power in Conversation – 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
Heralded by President Obama as one of America’s “foremost thinkers on foreign policy,” Pulitzer Prize-winner Samantha Power, who served as Obama’s human rights adviser and was named US Ambassador to the United Nations, traces her journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official. Join her as she shares her unique experience navigating the halls of power while trying to put her ideals into practice. Moderated by Megan Labrise.
Information Wars: The Battle Against Disinformation – 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm
During the final years of the Obama administration, Time editor and Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel was the single person tasked with unpacking, disproving, and combating both ISIS’s messaging and Russian disinformation. In 2016, he quickly came to see how ISIS, Putin and Trump all used the same playbook. Join him as he shares his singular insights about the global rise of disinformation and how we must find a way to combat this ever growing threat to democracy. Moderated by Evan Smith.
The High Drama — and Harrowing Hubris — of Big Tech – 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm
Big pay-offs, epic power struggles and spiraling mega-companies make for dramatic stories of major wins and harrowing hubris in Silicon Valley. In new page-turning accounts, Mike Issac (Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber) and Ben Mezrich (Bitcoin Billionaires) dive into the headline-making worlds of Bitcoin and Uber, exploring the characters and companies behind big tech windfalls and executive rock bottoms with all of the dazzle, defeat, and indefatigable spirit of the people innovating our future. Moderated by Suzi Sosa.
Sunday, October 27th
Unpacking American Health Care: What’s Gone Wrong and What We Can Do – 11:00 am – 11:45 am
From the generic drug boom to untangling rising medical bills across the country, award-winning reporter Katherine Eban (Bottle of Lies) and surgeon and professor Marty Makary (The Price We Pay) demystify the opaque business of American health care. Fraud, false data, price-gouging and all of the executives who come between Americans and our health are on the table in this discussion of why medicine in this country has become a financial crisis with life-threatening effects. Moderated by Debra Pratt.
Fentanyl, Inc.: The Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic – 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
Ben Westhoff (Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic) discusses his remarkable four-year investigation into the dangerous world of synthetic drugs—from black market drug factories in China to users and dealers on the streets of the U.S. to harm reduction activists in Europe—which reveals for the first time the next wave of the opioid epidemic and potential long-term solutions to the drug crisis that has affected so many.
Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA – 1:00 pm – 1:40 pm
Former CIA agent Amaryllis Fox tells the riveting story of her ten years in the most elite clandestine ops unit of the CIA, hunting the world’s most dangerous terrorists in sixteen countries while marrying and giving birth to a daughter. Recruited at twenty-one, Fox was fast-tracked through training and deployed as a spy under non-official cover, sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in remote areas of the Middle East and Asia. Now, she shares her incredible story of astonishing courage and passion. Moderated by Nate Blakeslee.
Understanding Racism: How We Enact Change – 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
Scholars and bestselling authors Harriet Washington (A Terrible Thing to Waste) and Ibram X. Kendi (How to Be an Antiracist) discuss new ways to deconstruct racism, examining facets ranging from systemic environmental racism to intersections with gender and sexuality. How can we change our systems of thought, government, and culture to transform the conversation around racism and enact social justice? Moderated by Ashley Farmer.
Crossfire Hurricane: Inside the President’s War on the FBI – 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Josh Campbell, now a CNN analyst, served as special assistant to FBI director James Comey. In his new fly-on-the-wall narrative, he takes us behind the scenes of the earliest days of the Russia investigation–codename: Crossfire Hurricane–up to the present, revealing fresh details about this tumultuous period. Join him as he explains how the FBI goes about its work and its historic independence from partisan forces; and describes the increasing dismay inside the bureau as the president and his allies escalate their attacks on the agency. Moderated by Steve Goode.
Guns Down: A Frank Conversation About Gun Control – 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm
Igor Volsky, director of Guns Down America and vice president at the Center for American Progress, sits down with a representative from Moms Demand Action to talk about the practical steps that can be taken to significantly and permanently reduce gun deaths in the United States, from working with representatives across the political spectrum on bold new regulations to reduce the number of guns in circulation, to understanding gun enthusiasts, to taking on the NRA. Moderated by Harel Shapira.