Monday, October 6, 2008

An evening with John Burnett

John Burnett signs his book at Presidential Suite at Reynolds Center at TU

John and his TU Communications Dept. brought in John Burnett to visit with students and community. He has a book out titled Uncivilized Beasts and Shameless Hellions. It is very interesting and easy to read and well written. It give a behind the scenes look at the NPR reporter at Katrina, Iraq, Waco, Guatemala and more. I highly recommend it.
We had a late night dinner with him at Kilkenny's.
Listen to him on NPR. KWGS will interview him soon.

He tells one story about being in Iraq when the statue was coming down and he was not on the scene. He needed a helicopter ride to get there with some marines to see history being made and report about it. He went up to a couple of marines and asked if he could ride, as a journalist, with them. The looked him over and realized he was not an attractive female reporter or had any special appeal to them and refused. Then he said he worked for NPR and they said, "NPR, we love car talk get in!" He writes about the incident in his book so read it for a more accurate version. The Katrina stories have incredible details giving us more insight as we see it through his eyes.

He is 6'7'' so it is hard for him to not be an obvious American. That put him in precarious situations in Guatemala and Iraq. Journalists do not usually carry guns in war zones and at one point a soldier throws a gun in his lap and says "Here, you are from Texas, use it."

These and many other stories in his book will keep you reading.

He lives in Austin, a couple of block from where I used to work at Feats of Clay. His wife teaches history at UT and they compare how he is reporting the history and she interprets it later. He uses his best judgment to stay as safe as possible.

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