CLICK Image to Buy "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"

CLICK Image to Buy "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"
WHEN LIONS ROAR is 'Brilliant' says Washington Post, Buy Now on Amazon

Chris Matthews Likes WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"

Chris Matthews Likes WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"
"What I like most in Maier's giant work is the spine of this saga, the all-important record of influence the great soldier-statesman-historian's life exerted on the future American president." -- Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, review in Chartwell Bulletin, The Churchill Centre

Thursday, September 1, 2016

"Masters of Sex" Book Excerpt -- "Betrayals" -- What Happened to Bill, Libby and Virginia Johnson When The Masters Marriage Exploded


Betrayals
Coming home one day from school, sixteen-year-old Howie
Masters found his mother in inconsolable tears. He’d never
seen her like this before. He pleaded with her to let him
know what could be so wrong.
Libby Masters, her eyes reddened, gazed sadly upon her son.
“We’re getting divorced,” she cried. “Your father has moved out.”
Howie looked around and noticed a disturbance in the serene,
orderly atmosphere of their house. All of his father’s belongings were
missing. “He was gone, had moved his stuff out,” Howie recalled.
Until this day, the life of young William Howell Masters III
had seemed ideal. Not far from their large suburban home, Howie
attended the prestigious Country Day School in St. Louis, where
his friends included Gini’s son, Scott. He chose to attend Hamilton
College, his father’s alma mater, but didn’t harbor the pent-up
anger that had driven his dad at the same age. He was thoughtful,
soft-spoken, and considerate, more like Libby Masters in temperament.
Yet Howie became enraged to see his mother so upset,
to have their otherwise happy life turned upside down. He demanded
that his mother tell him where his father could be found.
She eventually mentioned the address of a small apartment.
“I remember jumping into a car and driving downtown and
finding him in whatever place he was, and storming in and sitting
him down, sitting right in front of him, and giving him a real earful,”
recalled Howie.
For quite a while, Bill Masters listened to his son’s irate words.
He paid polite attention to Howie’s rant until enough time had
passed, allowing him a chance to respond. Bill maintained an even
keel and spoke dispassionately, as if he were conducting a psychotherapy
session with some adolescent stranger rather than his
own son. Bill began by stating the hard, irreconcilable truth. As
Howie recalled, his father “communicated to me that the relationship
was over with my mother. Regardless of whether he had
fallen out of love or into some new love, whatever the reasons, it
was over—and it was something that wasn’t going to be salvaged.”
Bill never mentioned Gini Johnson’s name. Instead, he carefully
explained to his teenage son how two adult people can slowly
drift apart in a marriage. He spoke calmly and considerately. “What
he told me was honest and completely made sense,” remembered
Howie. “He didn’t pull the punch. He wasn’t somebody who was
going to lie to me or tell something that wasn’t true, or tell me what
he thought I needed to hear to make it easier.” Bill informed his
son he had been considering this move for years. He didn’t attack
Libby or blame her. He treated Howie like a young man, worthy
of his respect, without adult condescension. Yet persuasively, perhaps
even manipulatively, he made his son realize that the quietude
in their house had been partly the missing bond of communication
between a husband and wife.
Because of his demanding career, Bill wasn’t home very much.
His absence made his presence and words even more valued by his
son. Howie very much wanted to believe his father, particularly at
this awful moment, the fracturing of their family life. Years later,
Howie could talk in hindsight about how his father calmly handled
this confrontation. “It was something I appreciated, actually,
because he could defuse a young kid who was confused and angry
and left with a teary mother who was sort of a basket case,” Howie
remembered. “I had to go home now and pick up those pieces. My
life had changed and my role had changed. What would any kid
feel when you come home and life as you’ve known it has exploded?
That doesn’t sit too well. I felt it warranted an explanation—and
I got it.”
Elisabeth Masters knew deep in her bones about Bill’s infidelities.
For years, Bill’s audaciousness with his sex research, his
drive to become recognized in his field, and particularly the absent
nights and personal indignities of his intimacy with Virginia Johnson 
were painfully apparent to Libby. She recognized enough telltale
signs, so she didn’t want to know anything more, as if to keep
her old image of Bill intact. “She just loved him very much and
she had nothing but respect for him,” recalls her friend Dodie Brodhead,
whose husband, John, served as a foundation board member.
Perhaps Libby hoped her husband’s recklessness would all go
away. Perhaps the sex studies would cease, his need for Gini’s assistance
would dissipate, and his everyday life as an ob-gyn doctor
based at the university would return. “She acted like this was a stage
he was going through and it would pass,” explained Judith Seifer,
a therapist friend who later helped Bill prepare his unpublished
memoir. “And so, if you pretend like it’s not there, it will all go
away.” Bill’s nonstop work schedule undermined their marriage,
never allowing for much of a home life with Libby. “From January
1954, when I started the clinic to December 1971, I never
missed a day of work, seven days a week,” he said. In asking for a
divorce after twenty-nine years of marriage, Bill could be clinical
in his postmortem: “Ultimately, my wife and I had to face the fact
that our relationship was essentially nonexistent.”
Libby’s life, however, was devoted to her children and her community
of friends and neighbors. “She was fiercely devoted to us
always, but certainly after [the divorce],” said Howie. “She lived
for us.” To not disturb this universe, she sacrificed and worked
hard to keep her family intact. She tended to Bill’s mother, Estabrooks
Masters, until she passed away in the 1960s. She encouraged
Bill to remain in touch with his younger brother, Frank,
a plastic surgeon who lived in Kansas City. At age fifty-four, Libby
remained thin and active, though her hair had turned gray and her
appearance increasingly more reserved. She was true to her Episcopal
faith, enough to make sure their children were confirmed,
even though her husband didn’t encourage church attendance. “My
father preferred—in the best years of our little insular family’s
lives—that on Sundays, we’d go bowling,” said Howie, who tagged
along with his sister. “We thought it was a riot that—out there in
the suburbs of St. Louis—people went to church on Sundays and
we’d go bowling instead.” As attentive as she could be to her husband’s
needs, Libby perhaps felt no match for Gini Johnson, a
younger woman, more vibrant and more crucial to Bill’s ambitions.
Yet Libby couldn’t bring herself to dislike Gini, no matter how uneasy
she might feel in her presence. “Gini and Betty were friends,”
recalled Peggy Shepley, the second wife of Ethan Shepley Jr., then
the foundation’s chairman. “That’s the damnedest thing of all time.
I can’t imagine being friends with the first wife. Normally there
isn’t any love lost between the first and second wife. But Gini and
Betty became friends.” 
Intuitively, Elisabeth Masters seemed to understand
she and Gini shared Bill, that he had defined both their
lives, and they would always be under his sway. “I knew her well
and we liked one another in a way,” Gini said of Libby years later.
“I think we would have been pleased to conspire against him, but
she didn’t quite have the sophistication to do that.”
Those who knew of the long-running personal affair between
Bill and Gini wondered about Libby’s reaction at home. “I never
quite understood why Bill left Libby,” admitted Bob Kolodny. “It
didn’t make sense to me. Was something missing from their marriage?
Was Bill put upon in some way? I never heard Bill say something
critical of her.” At work, Kolodny sensed that Gini envied
the stable, upper-class lifestyle the Masters family enjoyed in the
suburbs. “She undoubtedly was somewhat jealous of someone who
was securely married, lived in a nice house, and everything seemed
to be hunky-dory,” he said. “Gini lived in a different world than
Libby.” In an emotional match with Gini, some believed Libby
never stood a chance of retaining Bill’s fidelity, no matter how long
they had been married. “I’m not so sure that Betty Masters and
Bill had that sexual intimacy that he needed, that he may have
found with Gini,” said Torrey Foster, who always distrusted Gini
while he served on the foundation board. “Maybe it was one of the
ways that drew him towards her, as opposed to staying with Betty.
There was a very bright sexual attractiveness to Gini, and Betty
Masters was a very plain Jane. . . .”
After Bill moved out of their English Tudor house in Ladue,
several months elapsed before the divorce became final in December
1970. In the meantime, friends of Betty Masters rallied to
her side. They expressed outrage at Bill’s actions and voiced their
previously whispered contempt for Gini. By then, many had heard
of Gini’s summer stays at the Masters house, while Betty was away
in Michigan with the kids. “He just brought Virginia into the
house, just blatantly was there with her—I think that’s a pretty
ruthless thing to do!” said Dodie Brodhead. “Betty was a lovely
person who never understood something could happen, because
she loved Bill and assumed he loved her that much. But Virginia
was the other woman—cherchez la femme—who wormed her way
in and Betty was out, which devastated her. And it was very hard
on the children too.”
Dodie’s husband also felt his friendship had been abused. At
considerable risk as a local businessman, John Brodhead agreed to
join Bill’s sexual research foundation as an original board trustee,
mostly as a favor to Betty. John had known Betty as a teenager,
when their families vacationed in Michigan, when she was “a marvelous
girl, very gregarious, energetic type.” He admired how Betty
had overcome the adversity of her mother’s death and her father’s
abandonment, and had grown into “a remarkably well-balanced
and resilient person.” Although grateful to Bill for their successful
fertility treatments, the Brodheads were offended by his callousness
toward Betty, prompting them to choose sides. After six years
as a trustee, John resigned from the Reproductive Biology Research
Foundation. Nearly everyone knew why, but no one on the board
asked his reasons for leaving. “I got off the board when Bill and
Betty split,” he said. “It was pretty hard to be neutral. If there had
been any discussion of who was right and who was wrong, we decided
it was Betty.”
The Masters family, and their seemingly serene life in Ladue,
were never the same again. At the time her parents split, Sali Masters,
a year older than her brother, Howie, attended boarding school.
She had been sent away for school because her parents decided the
nasty phone calls and snide remarks from the community about
what transpired at her father’s clinic were too much for a young
girl’s ears. “Our children were socially ostracized,” Bill later recalled.
Too often, he said, Sali heard other parents tell her friends, “I don’t
want you hanging around with that Masters girl—her father’s a sex
maniac!” Years later, Sali declined to talk about her experiences but
Howie remembered her situation well. “Sent away, my father would
always say, because he wasn’t sure what would happen with his
work, that she could ultimately as a young girl be put into too
many difficult circumstances if she was around home, so it was
safer to have her at boarding school,” he said. Sali came home to
find that her father would never return. Bill compounded the hurt
with coy, deceptive comments about his reasons for leaving. At
least once, he denied Gini’s involvement in the breakup. “After my
divorce, you won’t see us running off to Mexico or anything like
that,” he told The Atlantic magazine, the same month his divorce
decree was finalized by a judge. “But I may take it upon myself to
chase as many women, eighteen years and older, as a slightly fat,
bald, fifty-four-year-old can catch.”
Libby adopted her own defensive posture. She never accused
Gini of wrecking her marriage. “If she did expect that Gini was,
say, an ‘interloper,’ she never said it. If she was jealous, she held it
pretty close,” recalled Howie. “She would have stuck it out longer
with my father if he hadn’t walked. She was a loyal sort, one of her
great strengths and one of her great faults.”
During Howie’s last year at the Country Day School, the Masters
house in suburban Ladue was even quieter. Libby tried to carry
on, but the central focus of their family life had been shattered.
Not wanting to lose contact altogether, Howie traveled occasionally
into the city to see his father. They talked at length but never
discussed Virginia Johnson or whatever Bill had in mind for his
own future. “I’d go down and have dinners with him, wherever
his new digs were, his new apartment, and scold him or talk to him
about whatever was going on,” Howie said. “Pretty soon after that
[divorce], I was gone. I went away to college and started my professional
career. But it didn’t have anything to do with St. Louis.”

Friday, August 19, 2016

It's the Sixties and Seventies, Baby! Season 4 of Masters of Sex features more scenes from the book.

   The Showtime drama series MASTERS OF SEX is a real experiment in narrative story-telling on television. It has combined many characters and events from my non-fiction biography, along with some remarkable fictional creations by showrunner Michelle Ashford (most notably, the Emmy-winning turn by Allison Janney). Michelle and her writing team have done a wonderful job of adapting my book into a drama. 
    For this upcoming Season 4, Masters of Sex delves into many late 1960s scenes from my book, including the hilarious encounters of Masters and Johnson with Playboy's Hugh Hefner but also some deep Proustian remembrances of lost loves by poor Bill Masters with his beloved Dody. 
Lizzy Caplan and author Thomas Maier
on set of MASTERS OF SEX
(I watched some of Bill's ruminations about Dody being filmed last week when I visited the Hollywood lot where Season 4 is being filmed.) I think fans of my book will be very pleased with the new episodes of the show premiering Sunday September 11 on Showtime.
Michael Sheen and author Thomas Maier

Thursday, July 14, 2016

3 Prime-Time Emmy Noms for "Masters of Sex," 11 Emmy Noms in Total

Here we offer a few acting tips to Allison (only kidding!)
Congratulations to MASTERS OF SEX for 3 Prime-Time Emmy nominations today, including Outstanding Guest Actress for Allison Janney. That makes a total 11 Emmy nominations for Masters of Sex in the past three seasons (including best actress for Lizzy Caplan as well as a Golden Globe best drama nom). Season 4 starts this Sunday September 11 at 10 PM on Showtime. It's based on my book of the same title. (As a producer, I get to cheer for everyone and claim credit for everything whether I deserve it or not, lol!)

Also, I'm delighted to see that the limited series ROOTS also picked up an Emmy nom today. It was written by Mark Rosenthal and Larry Konner, who are putting the finishing touches on ALL THAT GLITTERS for Bravo. Glitters is based on my book, "Newhouse: All That Glitter, Power and Glory of America's Richest Media Empire and Secretive Man Behind It."

Saturday, June 18, 2016

How Boris Johnson Ignores History When He Claims Churchill Would Have Favored Brexit; Read This 1933 Scene from 'When Lions Roar' where Winston Pushes for the 'Sterling Dollar'

Author Thomas Maier with Boris Johnson in 2014
When Boris Johnson says Winston Churchill would be pro-Brexit, he ignores history. He obviously didn't read this scene with Winston, FDR's son James and Joe Kennedy at Chartwell in 1933 from WHEN LIONS ROAR (also in Martin Gilbert's accounts):


Churchill, gazing at young Roosevelt, admitted quite candidly his ambition. “I wish to be Prime Minister and in close and daily communication by telephonewith the President of the United States,” he declared without hesitation. “There is nothing we could not do if we were together.”
Churchill then motioned to his secretary to bring him a piece of paper. On it, he etched the British sterling pound insignia and then intertwined it with the American dollar symbol. He drew the union of the two with a great flourish.
“Pray, bear this to your father from me,” Churchill beseeched to the president’s son. “Tell him this must be the currency of the future.”
Jimmy looked perplexed. “What will you call this new currency, sir?” he asked.
“The sterling dollar,” Churchill replied.
Roosevelt, who enjoyed a good laugh, teasingly asked, “What, sir, if my father should wish to call it the dollar sterling?”
“It’s all the same—we are together,” Churchill declared.
After that memorable afternoon, the Roosevelts would travel to Paris and then on to Rome. Rose Kennedy joined them on this relaxing trek, during which they would meet the Pope at the Vatican.
But Joe Kennedy had a much different agenda. Kennedy stayed behind in London to finish out the business deal for British liquor that he’d so carefully put together.

(Page 80-81 in WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys, Crown 2014.)


Monday, April 18, 2016

Why Americans Love Winston Churchill, the British Leader Who Was Half-American.



The leadership of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965), during World War II made him unforgettable to Americans. This excerpt from “WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys,” by Thomas Maier (Crown) helps explain why his memory endures.



  Mark Twain, the longtime bard of the Mississippi, introduced Winston Churchill to a crowd of wealthy Americans packed inside New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel ballroom in December 1900—one of those rare meetings of historic figures that occurred so often in Churchill’s life.
“I was thrilled by this famous companion of my youth,” Winston recalled of Twain, a literary inspiration. “He was now very old and snow-white, and combined with a noble air a most delightful style of conversation.”
 Winston expected to be lionized by Twain but instead had his tail tweaked. The twenty-six-year-old celebrated British war correspondent was on a lecture tour, picking up handsome fees to talk about his bloody adventures and headline-grabbing writings on imperial conflicts around the globe. By contrast, Twain, at age sixty-five, loathed the chest-beating of war—especially the jingoistic, romanticized accounts of farm boys ground up and left for dead on the battlefield. Twain feared his nation might someday become an empire like Great Britain. The night’s verbal swordplay between the old American and the young Englishman reflected so many differences between the Crown and its former colony.
Within no time, Twain whittled Churchill down a peg or two. Although his friendly introduction wasn’t a tar-and-feathering, Twain made plain how wrongheaded Churchill had been about the British Empire pestering those poor indigent people in places like India and South Africa. Churchill “knew all about war and nothing about peace,” Twain told the standing-room-only audience, many of whom seemed to agree with him. As an account of the evening by the New York Times explained, “War might be very interesting to persons who like that sort of entertainment, but he [Twain] never enjoyed it himself.”
Graciously, Twain ended this battle of wits by proclaiming he’d always favored good relations between England and the United States. He even touted the night’s guest speaker as a product of such amity. “Mister Churchill by his father is an Englishman, by his mother he is an American—no doubt a blend that makes a perfect match,” Twain declared. “England and America, we are kin. And now that we are also kin in sin, there is nothing more to be desired.”
Churchill’s encounter with Mark Twain appears in the former’s 1930 autobiography, My Early Life, certainly one of his most revealing books. On display in it are the conflicting themes of Winston’s life: his tortured relationship with his famous father, whose legacy he strove to exceed; his sense of being half-American despite an unswerving loyalty to the British Crown; and his fascination with war, both as an adventurer-writer and a statesman-politician who deeply understood the power of words.
While war and peace provided a backdrop for his 1900 lecture tour, commerce remained Churchill’s frontline concern. He had been elected recently to Parliament, but without a steady source of income. A seat in the House of Commons then didn’t pay any salary, and Churchill depended on his writing assignments for a living. An agent convinced him he could earn a tidy sum by lecturing in America. “I have so much need for money and we cannot afford to throw away a single shilling,” he confided to his mother.
America always held a special affinity for Churchill. Five years earlier, he had visited his mother’s New York cousins and been mightily impressed by the young nation’s restless energy. “Picture to yourself the American people as a great lusty youth—who treads on all your sensibilities and perpetrates every possible horror of ill manner—whom neither age nor just tradition inspire with reverence—but who moves about his affairs with a good hearted freshness which may well be the envy of older nations of the earth,” Churchill described to his brother in a note echoing Alexis de Tocqueville. In New York, he met Congressman William Bourke Cockran, an Irish American friend of his mother’s and a riveting public speaker, upon whom Winston modeled his own rhetoric. “You are indeed an orator,” Churchill told Cockran. “And of all the gifts there is none so rare and precious as that.” Winston learned to argue convincingly rather than divisively, to persuade rather than condemn.
Although British at heart, he described himself as “a child of both worlds.” His mother, Jennie Churchill, grew up the multi-talented daughter of Leonard Jerome, a Wall Street speculator and racetrack operator (his initial fortune made in Rochester, New York, publishing the newspaper house organ for the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party). In describing the aggressive tycoon Jerome, Churchill biographer Roy Jenkins later said “there was a touch of Joseph P. Kennedy about him.” Jennie wed Lord Randolph in Paris after an abrupt romance that produced Winston’s premature arrival eight months later, on November 30, 1874.
Friends such as Violet Bonham Carter thought of Winston as half-American—both “an aristocrat and yet our greatest Commoner.” This potent cross-Atlantic combination of genes seemed a key to Churchill’s compelling personality, what the British historian A. L. Rowse called “the strength of the two natures mixed in him—the self-willed English aristocrat and the equally self-willed primitive American—each with a hundred-horsepower capacity for getting his way.”
Winston was amused by those who traced his American roots to the Iroquois or to America’s 1776 Revolutionary leader against the British. “It certainly is inspiring to see so great a name as George Washington upon the list,” Winston said of one published genealogy. “I understand, however, that if you go back far enough everyone is related to everyone else, and we end up in Adam.”

Winston Churchill’s American lecture tour in 1931 appeared a great success, as many enjoyed this visiting Englishman’s wit and speaking style. “Some of his epigrams, so it is wickedly asserted by his enemies, are carefully prepared in advance, and even practiced before a mirror,” declared a New York Times editorialist. “But their sting and point are nonetheless delightful.” On December 13, 1931, though, the Churchill bandwagon came to a screeching halt.     That evening, Winston planned to go to bed early at the Waldorf Astoria, his Manhattan hotel. Instead, at nine o’clock he received a telephone call from Bernard Baruch, inviting him to his home on Fifth Avenue to meet with two mutual friends. Into the night, Churchill took a taxicab. Along the way, he realized he didn’t have Baruch’s precise home address, only a general idea of its location from an earlier visit. At one point, Churchill bounded out of the cab toward the sidewalk. He looked left but not to the right. When he turned, he saw “a long dark car rushing forward at full speed.” The driver hit the brakes, but too late. In a lingering split second, Churchill, then fifty-seven, thought to himself, I am going to be run down and probably killed. He fortunately wasn’t—another near miss in a life lucky enough to rival any cat’s. His heavy fur-lined coat seemed to cushion some of the blow. But the automobile took its toll, smacking Churchill’s head to the pavement with “an impact, a shock, a concussion indescribably violent,” and dragging him for several yards. “I do not understand why I was not broken like an eggshell,” he later observed. In the middle of Fifth Avenue, a boulevard of American ambition, Churchill lay prostrate, bleeding and in pain, as police and a crowd rushed to his aid.
“A man has been killed!” someone cried.
While being picked up and carried away by rescuers, this fallen stranger was asked for his name.
“I am Winston Churchill, a British statesman,” he moaned.
By the time he arrived at Lenox Hill Hospital, Churchill felt sharp pain yet realized he would survive. Baruch and Clementine soon stood at his bedside. “Tell me, Baruch, when all is said and done, what is the number of your house?” he uttered, a sure sign he’d get well and that his quick wit never needed a crutch.
This almost-deadly car crash derailed Churchill’s lecture tour, which he needed most urgently to pay his bills at home. Instead, he spent the next several weeks mending, and mulling over his future. “You will find me, I am afraid, a much weaker man than the one you welcomed on December 11,” he wrote to Randolph, back in England. Clementine conceded to her son that Winston had suffered “three very heavy blows” in recent years, leaving him without either political power in Parliament or much of his personal savings on Wall Street. “The loss of all that money in the crash, then the loss of his political position in the Conservative Party, and now this terrible injury—He said he did not think he would ever recover completely from the three events,” Clementine wrote. The prospect of a diminished life seemed more unbearable to Winston than if he had been killed on the street. It marked the darkest period in his “wilderness years,” an agonizing time when he felt pushed aside from his countrymen and good fortune.
By February, Churchill had recovered enough to travel and fulfill most speaking engagements in the United States. His loyal circle of friends and patrons rallied to his cause, deciding to buy him a Rolls-Royce “to celebrate his recovery” and deliverance from oblivion. “We think there is a certain appropriateness in the presentation of a motor car to a man who has been knocked down by a taxi-cab!” wrote Brendan Bracken to Baruch. Though his career seemed over in England, Churchill’s popularity among Americans stayed intact. Some in the press pondered if Winston, born to an American mother, would ever consider running for president. “I have been treated so splendidly in the United States that I should be disposed, if you can amend the Constitution, seriously to consider the matter,” he joked.

  Old Glory and the Union Jack draped the streets of Jefferson City, Missouri—the perfect symbolism for a 1946 visit by President Harry Truman and the man who Truman said had saved Western civilization.
 In an open-air limousine convertible, Winston Churchill sat beside Franklin D. Roosevelt’s successor while thousands of Missourians waved and greeted them at the train station. The two grinning politicians were surrounded by dour security agents (standing guard on the running boards) as the limo drove through the state capital on March 6, 1946. After a long train ride from Washington, the seventy-one-year-old former British prime minister was careful not to exert himself too much. When asked that year about his secret of success, the old warhorse advised, “Conservation of energy—never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.”
Only months after being turned out of high office, Churchill journeyed to a college gym in nearby Fulton to give one of the most significant speeches of his career. With the American president’s blessing, his clarion call for Anglo-American resistance to the Soviet Union’s “Iron Curtain” (his metaphor for the spread of communism dividing up Europe) would launch the decades-long Cold War. But this address in Fulton, entitled “The Sinews of Peace,” also provided another turning point in Churchill’s long life. Instead of retirement, he chose vigorous, almost defiant engagement. Rather than fade away with his glorious victories of the past, he decided to embrace, almost prophetically, the future of the postwar world with its atomic dangers. He would reinvent himself once again as a world statesman, his voice both familiar and brand new.
Not everything about this trip was high stakes, however. On the ride to Missouri, Truman and Churchill demonstrated their personal diplomacy with a card game.
“Mr. President, I think that when we are playing poker I will call you Harry,” Churchill announced.
“All right, Winston,” Truman replied.
For more than an hour, they played with a handful of aides and reporters aboard the Ferdinand Magellan, the specially made presidential train car with a thick concrete floor to protect against explosions. Churchill’s pile of chips dwindled as he lost each hand, downing sips of drink along the way. When the former prime minister, wearing one of his siren suits, excused himself for a momentary bathroom break, Truman quickly issued an executive order.
“Listen, this man’s oratory saved the western world,” Truman commanded the group, which included a young reporter named David Brinkley. “We are forever indebted to him. We’re not going to take his money.”
“But, Boss, this guy’s a pigeon,” cried one of the players, Harry Vaughan, the president’s military aide.
The president wouldn’t allow anything to trump this special relationship. As if a matter of national security, the card sharks were defanged. Winston’s fortunes suddenly turned for the better, Brinkley recalled years later, after “Truman ordered us to let him win.”
Before the evening aboard the presidential train ended, Winston displayed his considerable understanding of American history and wondered aloud about fate. “If I were to be born again,” he mused, he wished to become a citizen in “one country where a man knows he has an unbounded future.”
Truman’s entourage asked what nation that might be.
“The USA,” Churchill declared solemnly, “. . . even though I deplore some of your customs.”
Puzzled, the Americans wondered what Yankee habit so appalled him.

“You stop drinking with your meals,” Winston replied.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Before Superstorm Sandy, A 1998 Warning about Building on Long Island's Fragile Coastline

Back in 1998, this five-part Newsday series warned about the perils of massive building along the Hamptons and Fire Island shorelines - Long Island's fragile environmental jewel. It showed how some owners made millions by speculating on coastline properties. Some were under water but recovered through taxpayer-subsidized sand projects. Then new houses went up again. 

The series appeared during the '98 summer and was essentially ignored. (Although New Yorker editor David Remnick left a message saying how much he liked it).

When Superstorm Sandy came along in 2012, the warnings were realized. Some 100,000 Long Island homes were damaged or destroyed. The before and after photos  of Fire Island are remarkable. 

Not every series has an immediate impact. But I was glad that we did series before the disaster struck -- a real public service. Here's the summary of the series that appeared in the IRE Journal

Shoreline in Peril, 1998 Newsday series: For years, the rich and powerful have built lavish second homes along the 75-mile Atlantic Ocean shoreline from Fire Island to the Hamptons, and for just about as long, the forces of nature have come along to eat away at what some have called one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. While building on property they own is the right of anyone who can afford it, this investigation found that to a large extent, property owners on Long Island's ocean shores were doing it at the public expense. By Thomas Maier and John Riley, IRE JOURNAL 


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Masters of Sex at the Scripters, Starts Filming Season 4 in Late Spring.

Over the weekend in LA, I attended the Scripters Awards with my wife Joyce and joined Michelle Ashford, the showrunner for Masters of Sex, and Sarah Timberman, the executive producer. Season 4 starts filming in late spring with Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

"Masters of Sex" Showrunner and Author Nominated for Scripter Award for Adapation of Book; Faces "Game of Thrones" and Others in the Battle of TV Literary Adapts. Touche, George R.R. Martin!


Michelle Ashford and Thomas Maier at
the "Masters of Sex"writers' room in LA.
Director Michael Apted directed this episode
based on Michelle's script.
Always fun to visit with Michelle
   Congratulations to Michelle Ashford on being nominated along with myself for a USC Scripter Award for Masters of Sex Episode 312 "Full Ten Count," which is adapted from the book.
   The Scripter honors both the author and the screenwriter of books adapted into a movie or television series. This is the first time that television shows have been eligible for the 28-year-old Hollywood award. (In recent years, the Scripter has been an early indicator of who will win the Oscar for screenwriting). 
   The winners will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 20th in ceremonies at the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at the University of Southern California. My wife Joyce and I will be attending the black-tie Hollywood event.

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford are serving as honorary chairs of the event.

https://libraries.usc.edu/28th-annual-usc-libraries-scripter-award

"Since 1988, the USC Libraries Scripter Award has honored each year's best adaptation of the printed word to film. Scripter celebrates writers and writing, collaboration, and the profound results of transforming one artistic medium into another. It stands as an emblem of libraries' ability to inspire creative and scholarly achievement. In 2016 the USC Libraries inaugurate a new Scripter award, for television adaptation. Nearly 80 shows are eligible, almost as many as feature films, and the Scripter Selection Committee will recognize the vitality of this genre at the awards show."

Here's the list of nominees:

TV

Game Of Thrones
Screenwriters David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, for the episode "Hardhome," adapted from the fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin
HBO and Bantam

The Leftovers
Damon Lindelof and Jacqueline Hoyt for the episode "Axis Mundi", based on the novel by Tom Perrotta
HBO and St. Martin's Press

The Man In The High Castle
Frank Spotnitz for the episode "The New World," based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
Amazon and Putnam

Masters Of Sex
Michelle Ashford, for the episode "Full Ten Count," based on the biography by Thomas Maier, "Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love"
Showtime and Basic Books


Show Me A Hero
Screenwriters William F. Zorzi and David Simon, based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin
HBO and Little, Brown and Company


FILM

The Big Short
Screenwriters Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, adapted from Michael Lewis's nonfiction work "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine"
Paramount Pictures and W.W. Norton

Brooklyn
Novelist Colm Tóibín and screenwriter Nick Hornby
Fox Searchlight and Viking

The End Of The Tour
Screenwriter Donald Margulies, adapted from David Lipsky's memoir "Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace"
A24 and Broadway Books

The Martian
Novelist Andy Weir and screenwriter Drew Goddard
Twentieth Century Fox and Crown Publishing Group

Room
Emma Donoghue for the novel and screenplay
A24 and Little, Brown and Company