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Former U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard Working Talks About George Soros; Veteran Journalist And Author, Nicholas Lemann Aims To Answer What's Killing The American Dream; Bernadine Evaristo, The First Black Woman To Win The Prestigious Booker Prize. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired December 9, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here is what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): I want to be absolutely clear, the integrity of our next election is at stake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice over): Another week and another move by Congress towards impeaching the President. Former U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard now
working on democracy in Ukraine joins me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNARDINE EVARISTO, AUTHOR, "GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER": One of the sort of things I've been saying about the book is that I'm so fed up of us being
invisible in British literature.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Invisible, no more. I talked to Bernadine Evaristo, the first black woman to win the prestigious Booker Prize.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLAS LEMANN, AUTHOR, "TRANSACTION MAN": We just saw empty houses everywhere. It's just such a struggle to keep that neighborhood going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice over): What's killing the American dream? Veteran journalist and author, Nicholas Lemann aims to answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (on camera): Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. House Democrats kick off this week with more
congressional evidence and aim to end the week voting on Articles of Impeachment against President Trump.
Lawyers for Democrats and Republicans are laying out their case for and against.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADLER: President Trump put himself before country. The record shows that President Trump withheld military aid allocated by the United States
Congress from Ukraine. It also shows that he withheld a White House meeting from President Zelensky.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): At the end of the day, all this is about is about a clock and a calendar because they can't get over the fact Donald
Trump is President of the United States and they don't have a candidate that they think can beat him. It's all political.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, Democrats argue the President abused his power by asking Ukraine for a favor to investigate his domestic political rivals. As you
know, President Trump calls all this a witch hunt and a hoax.
The whole process has shone a spotlight firmly on the endemic corruption in Ukraine though. Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros has spent
years working to promote democracy in that country and other emerging East European democracies.
And Soros has become the target of conspiracy theories that portray him trying to undermine President Trump.
George Soros is a liberal, a Holocaust survivor and an enduring target of conservatives and the far right, especially since the start of these
impeachment hearings. Patrick Gaspard is the President of the Soros Open Society Foundations, one of the world's leading and largest philanthropies.
He was also U.S. Ambassador to South Africa under President Obama and he is joining me now to discuss all of this from New York.
Welcome to the program, Ambassador Gaspard.
PATRICK GASPARD, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH AFRICA: Thank you so very much for having me on again, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So you know, you've been in the White House Legislative Affairs under President Obama, you've been an Ambassador in South Africa. And now
for the past several years, you've been working with the Soros Foundation to promote democracy, openness and an end to corruption.
Why do you think and on what basis is George Soros kind of Exhibit A in the enemies or rather in the allies of President Trump?
GASPARD: It's a great question, Christiane. And unfortunately, I think that the response to that compels me to talk about a long history of
attacks not just against George Soros, but against figures like George Soros. We have George Soros's Jewish ancestry, who have survived the worst
horrors of the 20th Century and who have attempted to make a contribution to opening society.
George Soros, as you said, Christiane, is of Jewish descent. He survived the Holocaust. And there is a long history, as Fiona Hill pointed out, in
her testimony, a long history of anti-Semitic tropes that lean into the notion that somehow there are these invisible Jewish protocols and a group
of leaders who are owning and corrupting elements in government in the private state. It's the worst kind of anti-Semitism.
Regrettably, it is not a new thing. But it's unfortunate to see it being transmitted in the highest corridors of office in the most important
elected office in the world, which is the presidency of the United States.
AMANPOUR: So let's take bits of this -- of what you've just said. First, the anti-Semitic tropes, and the anti-Semitism that you say is behind all
of this. You mentioned Fiona Hill. She, during her congressional testimony a few weeks ago, said she was called a Soros mole.
Were there any -- and she said also Marie Yovanovitch, the Ambassador to Ukraine had also been sort of smeared by being in the quote, "Soros camp."
AMANPOUR: Were there any ties between the Open Society Foundations, George Soros, that might even have excuse this kind of connection?
GASPARD: Not in the least, Christiane. Like all propaganda, there's a way that authoritarians will take a thread of information and twist and distort
it to meet their own political means, and too often their own corrupt interests.
George Soros and the Open Society Foundations have been engaged in work in Ukraine for 30 years now. At the end of the Cold War, George Soros made a
determination that he was going to support the transition from communism to open and robust societies where the average citizen can hold their
governments accountable by launching a series of philanthropic initiatives in the region that would enable civil society to create vehicles to push
back against corruption, vehicles to create equal access to justice and to healthcare and to education as well.
And particularly in the Ukraine, George appreciated that the energy sector was powerfully corrupted by special interest and created resources that
made it possible for civil society in the Ukraine to take up the transparent accountable transition of their energy sector to a private one.
That's a long history that was supported not just by Democrats, Christiane, but most especially by Republicans. Republicans like John McCain were
proud to work with George Soros to create an opening behind the previous closed-off societies behind the Iron Curtain, and it's reprehensible and
altogether shocking not to see Donald Trump's attack, not to see Rudy Giuliani's irresponsible behavior, but to see senior Republicans in the
Senate, the Mitch McConnell's of this world, the Lindsey Graham's of this world and most recently, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas, not only being
silenced in the face of these anti-Semitic attacks, but now doubling down and taking up the propaganda from Vladimir Putin's Russia about Ukrainian
intervention in the U.S. elections. It's beyond irresponsible.
It borders on criminal, and it's appropriate that the U.S. Congress is taking up these matters with the seriousness with which they've taken on
these impeachment hearings.
AMANPOUR: So just on Cruz, yes, I mean, he did over the weekend, sort of repeat this unproven idea that Ukraine or the bogus idea was involved in
the 2016 elections. But then when pressed, he said no, I also think Russia did it as well. But I also think Ukraine did it. So it's kind of weird,
all of this.
You did mention Rudy Giuliani, who is the President's lawyer right now. And he also talked about how, you know -- well, this is what he said in an
interview on CNN and we'll talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: George Soros has a not- for-profit called Antec. Antec is the one that developed all of the dirty information that ended up being a false document that was created in order
to incriminate Manafort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So he says he has proof -- I don't know what he's talking about because Antec was not a George Soros organization. I mean, what are his
links with it? I mean, I know that it's an organization that a Ukrainian anti-corruption activist started and leads.
GASPARD: Yes, you know, Christiane, there's so many things about that interview and about Rudy Giuliani's performance in general that are
powerfully just distressing.
As a longtime New Yorker, I understand that Rudy Giuliani has a long history of grandstanding, but it's astonishing to see him lift up these
attacks and to not have those attacks checked by Republicans.
Antec is an organization that we are proud to have provided 17 percent of the funding for from 2012 to today. As you noted, Christiane, it was
started by Ukrainians. It's led by Ukrainians and if not for their existence and for their hard work, much of the progress on anti-corruption
in the Ukraine would not have been possible.
Ukraine sits at 120th of 180 countries that were reviewed by Transparency International on the corruption index. That is an acute problem in the
Ukraine that Rudy Giuliani and by extension Donald Trump are exploiting to their own political advantage.
Antec not only has been supported by the Open Society Foundation and our International Renaissance Initiative in Ukraine, but it's also supported by
the U.S. government, a quarter of the support for Antec comes from USAID, the British government, the U.K. provides 10 percent of the support for
GASPARD: The Netherlands, historically long supporters of anti-corruption work in the Ukraine are proud supporters of the work of Antec as well.
These tactics are bizarre. They're sad. And this is really a tragic moment in our politics that Rudy Giuliani makes these attacks in ways that
are not questioned and checked by those who know better.
And if I can say this here on CNN, that they give him a free and open platform on Fox News to carry those attacks not only by Giuliani, but by a
whole host of their allies who are deliberately trying to take attention from the fact that the President of the United States and his agents tried
to use their leverage -- their considerable leverage -- to coerce a foreign leader to interfere in U.S. elections. That is fundamentally what's at
This is a question of democratic integrity, and all of these distortions and anti-Semitic attacks from Rudy Giuliani and their whole host of allies
will not dissuade Congress from focusing on what's at stake.
AMANPOUR: Well, look, you have mentioned Fox News and the platform, the Soros Foundation of which your President has requested banning of a
frequent guest on Fox, who continues to say that Soros controls quote, "a very large part of Korea Foreign Service" of the U.S. State Department,
activities of F.B.I. agents overseas who work for NGOs in Ukraine and you've written a letter to the network calling this McCarthyite. Do you
have any hope of breaking through? I mean, have they responded?
GASPARD: They have not as of yet responded to that one letter, Christiane, but I will give Fox News and their editors some credit for activities --
actions that they took some months ago when a guest was on the air, said similarly insane things on the Lou Dobbs Show and the editors immediately
issued a correction and they have prevented that individual from coming back on their airwaves.
I hope they will do the same now with diGenova, who is a retired military leader in the U.S. who incredibly seems to have been captured by extremists
who are promoting Putin talking points on the air.
But the problem isn't just this one instance of Rudy Giuliani making a comment or this gentleman who went out over the ledge on the Dobbs' Show
there is a pattern and a history of this kind of irresponsibility, this propagandistic responsibility on that one network, and they need to be held
accountable for that by average citizens, by their Board members, by shareholders and by major corporations who continue to advertise on the air
despite some of the worst elements of our polemic politics being lifted there.
But if I can, Christiane, I just want to say quick word on behalf of the extraordinary men and women who labor without credit in the U.S. Foreign
Service. I had the honor of working with them serving with them when I worked, both in the White House and when I served as Ambassador to South
Beyond their Intelligence, there was a profound level of integrity and a determination to maintain their non-partisanship. It hurts my heart every
single day to see their President attacking them on social media, attacking them in interviews and suggesting somehow that the enemies of the United
States like Vladimir Putin, for instance, have greater honor than people like Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill.
It is -- it's heartbreaking, but I know and trust at this moment shall pass and the strength of our institutions will overcome this petty corruption
that we're seeing right now.
AMANPOUR: What does George Soros himself think about all of this? This vilification? Because it's also happening by the self-declared illiberal
democracy the government of Viktor Orban in Hungary. They've actually kicked out the university from there and it's moved on to Vienna, Austria.
But let's face it, George Soros has given away $32 billion of his wealth to charities, and it's not just in the current impeachment affair. It's the
Pittsburgh synagogue shooter who was apparently obsessed with Soros.
Erdogan, the President of Turkey has accused Soros of leading a Jewish conspiracy to divide the country. Even the Brexiteer, Nigel Farage has
said Soros was encouraging people to flood Europe, and that he is a danger to the Western world.
And as you remember, in the United States, he is accused of being behind one of those caravans coming up with migrants from Central America. I
mean, just on a personal level, how does he feel about this vilification?
GASPARD: You know, thank you so much for the question about Mr. Soros, Christiane. I can tell you that he is someone who takes the long view of
GASPARD: And somehow, through all of the turbulence that we're going through in this moment, he continues to be optimistic about the future for
So George has said a number of times, that he is proud of the enemies that he has because those enemies are brutish authoritarians who are trying to
snuff out the freedom of expression of average citizens who are trying to distort democratic practice and who are creating tremendous harm to the
most vulnerable, the most marginalized communities all over the world.
So whether it is Erdogan, whether it's Salvini, Viktor Orban or the President of the United States, George Soros understands that he is a
stand-in, that he is a convenient, anti-Semitic opportunity for those who hold these sentiments, and those who are really at risk, for organizations
like Antec, who are taking the courage to demand accountability every single day, and organizations who are working in the United States at the
border to protect children who are being held in cages.
So George is proud of the accomplishments of the organization. He is humble about the journey -- the personal journey -- that he has been on
from surviving the Holocaust to now being the target of these attacks, but being clear all along about what the mission is, who we are working on
behalf and what it is that we're in service of.
We're in the service of democracy. We're in the service of free and open societies. And if that's a problem for Rudy Giuliani and for Ted Cruz and
for Viktor Orban and for Salvini, and for Erdogan, so be it.
AMANPOUR: The Anti-Defamation League has taken a very serious stance on these issues saying that anti-Semitism and the like is not fringe anymore,
it has become mainstream. And they have issued, you know, they've told whoever they'll talk to or will talk to them, "An extremist, a hardcore
anti-Semite who hears a mainstream individual, a pundit, a politician, anyone articulating these sorts of conspiracy theories, they may be
emboldened, they may feel that their anti-Semitic ideology has been confirmed. This may energize them in a way they may not have seen."
Do you really believe that President Trump is an anti-Semite? I mean, you know, as you know, his very closest relatives, his own daughter and son-in-
law are Orthodox Jews. Do you think it is anti-Semitism? Or is it political, and that George Soros is a, you know, an Olympic liberal who
gives money and support to liberal causes that just ticks off the conservatives and the hard right?
GASPARD: Christiane, it is both anti-Semitic and political. You know, Donald Trump's history in trafficking, in racist language, of racist tropes
and taking racist actions didn't begin when he ran for President.
As I said before, I'm a longtime New Yorker and you know that I've been involved in politics in my city for a very long time. Donald Trump first
came to the attention of many of us when he lifted up the violence language to talk about young people in his city who lacked the opportunity, and who
were accused despite their innocence of some of the worst crimes.
He has had the worst language then, took activities that were horrific --
AMANPOUR: You're talking about the Central Park Five.
GASPARD: I am talking about the Central Park Five.
AMANPOUR: He exonerated the Central Park Five.
GASPARD: He exonerated the innocent Central Park Five, and as someone who was a young black man in the City of New York at that time, who was well
aware of the housing -- the racial housing violations of Donald Trump and his father, it did not surprise many of us to see the kind of language and
actions that he took then, and it has continued in a way that is uninterrupted.
I'll remind you, Christiane, that Donald Trump is the person who trafficked in the worst racist accusations about Barack Obama not being a real
American, being actually Kenyan and this alien African. When he launched his presidential campaign, he said the worst things about our Mexican
brothers and sisters, our Mexican neighbors, and he has gone so far as to attack a Federal judge who is of Latino heritage to suggest that that
person was not capable of administering justice because of their ethnicity.
I won't go on about what he has done at the border of the United States that is dehumanizing.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much indeed for joining us.
AMANPOUR: Now, when it comes to other rising, we turn to a woman who has been fighting stereotypes. This year, Bernadine Evaristo became the first
black woman and Britain's first black author to win the Booker Prize.
She won the prestigious Literary Award jointly with Margaret Atwood, a rare occurrence for the Booker. She won at the age of 60, almost 40 years after
she began her career, and her novel, "Girl, Woman, Other" follows the lives of 12 British women, most of them black, and deals with timeless questions
about feminism, race, age, gender, and fluidity.
She joined me here to discuss this amazing recognition after a career spent trying to make black women visible in literature.
Bernadine Evaristo, welcome to the program.
EVARISTO: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So this is an amazing honor. How do you feel about being jointly awarded the Booker Prize?
EVARISTO: Absolutely delighted. I don't think it's really sunk in yet. It was a couple of months ago and it is a dream come true and it's such an
honor. And it's also a game changer in terms of my career. So it's been amazing.
AMANPOUR: And it's also because you were jointly awarded with another author, Margaret Atwood, it's actually put the Booker Prize much more on
the map and really forced a discussion about literature, about this -- the prize and about the subjects that you're tackling.
EVARISTO: I think so. And also, you know, Margaret is such an international superstar. I think that you know, winning it has been
amplified in a way that perhaps might not have happened if we hadn't done it jointly.
I'm very happy to win it with Margaret. You know, the fact is, we have won it. We haven't won half a prize. We've won it jointly. You know, we're
co-winners. And I think it's amazing.
It's very hard to win the Booker Prize. Almost nobody wins it. I'm the first black woman to win it. I'm very happy with the way in which the
judges made their decision.
AMANPOUR: And the first black British writer to win it.
EVARISTO: The first black woman, the first black British writer. Absolutely.
AMANPOUR: Man or woman.
EVARISTO: That's right. Yes.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's very remarkable.
EVARISTO: In 51 years.
AMANPOUR: You've been writing for 40 years. You've got eight books under your belt. Why do you think it took this long? And could it have happened
EVARISTO: I'm not sure, really, because I think, you know, prizes are basically run by the panels of people, the juries. And it depends on who
is the jury in any particular time.
And I think this year, the Booker Prize had four women and one man, and I think that makes a difference. And that, in fact, was groundbreaking,
because I don't think they've had four women judging the prize before. I think it's usually the other way around, in fact, or at least historically.
AMANPOUR: This business of the very, very bad, you know, misquote or whatever unintentional or intentional mistake that the BBC correspondent
did, which has got a whole load of headlines that the Booker Prize was won by Margaret Atwood and another author.
I mean, you did tweet pretty --
EVARISTO: I did.
AMANPOUR: You know, pretty sharply about it. "The BBC described me yesterday as another author apropos the Booker Prize 2019. How quickly and
casually they have removed my name from history -- first black woman to win it. This is what we've always been up against, folks."
EVARISTO: Well, it was shocking to see that. I mean, I'm not -- I don't really want to have a go at the presenter because, clearly he made a
mistake. Maybe he just forgot my name, maybe he hadn't registered my name.
But the reality is that I had in that moment been completely removed from history, my name, and so the achievement was null and void. And I think
it's really important that we draw attention to this because this is what happens with, you know, certain communities in this country, and certainly
for black women.
Even when we do achieve sometimes, we're not acknowledged for it. So I felt I had to draw attention to it. And there was so much outrage on
social media, which was quite heartwarming, actually, because people were just shocked on my behalf, but also shocked on behalf of all the
communities who are underrepresented and are sort of pushed to the periphery and marginalize.
And in fact, my book is about censuring black British women. And one of the sort of things I've been saying about the book is that I'm afraid --
I'm so fed up of us being invisible in British literature.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I mean, you said it and I thought it was actually -- I mean, I picked it up because I thought it was really interesting commentary
You said, you know, talking about your characters, mostly black, mostly female.
Behind all your work, you once said is this question, what does it mean to not see yourself reflected in your nation's stories?
EVARISTO: Absolutely. And that was the case when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s. But I think we still have an issue today. You know, our
society in the U.K. has moved on quite a bit in terms of our sort of gender, politics, racial politics, so on and so forth.
But at the same time, if we look at the fields of literature, if you look at the field of fiction, there are very few of us publishing books.
EVARISTO: You know, I've published eight, so I'm one of the few who has published a sort of fairly substantial number of books, but actually, there
should be many of us who have published, you know, 10, 20 books each and that's not the case.
EVARISTO: I can probably name on two hands the number of black British women novelists publishing at the moment.
AMANPOUR: Let's take the title first, "Girl, Woman, Other." So I was trying to wrestle with what that meant. Is that the chronological line of
experience? Is it fluidity, gender or sexuality? What is other?
EVARISTO: Other is many things in the book. It is the fact that the women, you know, primarily black women, they are othered on the count of
But there are also women who are of different ages, the oldest character is 93. They are from different classes. They have different sexualities.
You know, about third of the women are on the queer spectrum. They have different occupations. They have different cultural backgrounds.
Some of them are immigrants to this country, from the Caribbean and from Africa. And for all those reasons, they are othered in a society that is
predominantly, you know, white and patriarchal and you know, heteronormative and so on and so forth.
So -- but also I think some of the women would other each other. So there is -- I am not sort of proposing a particular thesis with this book. It is
not a book where I'm saying this is who black British women are. Actually, what I'm showing is a range of different kinds of black British women,
extending the representation of who we are in this society rather than defining us narrowly.
And because of that, the women would be in disagreement with each other. And so --
AMANPOUR: And they are in the book.
EVARISTO: They are.
AMANPOUR: Quite a lot. Even mothers and daughters and friends and university friends and all the rest of it. But you just mentioned the 93-
year-old woman who actually just fascinated me. The fact that she made -- I want you to sort of tell me, but she made this sort of statement about
how she was othered despite the fact that here she is, 93, that she is -- you know, living on a farm that she owns and has been in her family for 200
years. People wouldn't imagine that looking at her.
EVARISTO: Yes. So I wanted to not just have a very old woman.
AMANPOUR: Hattie, her name is.
EVARISTO: Hattie who is somebody who is a rural woman, which is quite unusual for the U.K. She has run the farm all her life originally with her
father and her mother. Now, she is living on her own, you know, her husband died a long time ago. She is fully independent. She is fully
compos mentis. She is not going to go anywhere.
Her family is trying to put you in a home. She is not going into a home. So I wanted to show an older woman who is outside of the sort of urban
environment where black people are usually positioned in the U.K. So she is in a rural environment, but she's also powerful and formidable because
we don't get that representation either of older black women or even older women in fiction or even films or hardly even in television.
AMANPOUR: Or in the news, I mean ...
EVARISTO: Or in the news.
AMANPOUR: ... honestly, I would never have known about a Hattie-type character.
EVARISTO: Yes, yes, and I don't actually know any women of color who are farmers of that age.
EVARISTO: But you know, the joy about being a writer is that I can create somebody like that and that's what I did. And people love her. You know,
she is a very feisty, wonderful character.
AMANPOUR: Amma, she kind of opens the book. She is a black female LGBT voice on the London Theater since 40 years, and she is finally making a big
break the play opening at the National Theater.
And after years and years, I mean, I wondered whether there was a little bit of coincidence between your experience and hers. Basically, Amma is
now reflecting on her daughter's politics. So I would like you to read on Page 39, which is nicely written out there for you.
EVARISTO: "Nor is the child she raised to be a feminist calling herself one lately. 'Feminism is so herd like,' Yazz told her. To be honest, even
being a woman is passe these days. We had a non-binary activist at Uni called Morgan Mulenga who opened my eyes. I reckon we're all going to be
non-binary in the future -- neither male nor female -- which are gendered performances anyway, which means your women's politics, Mumsy, will become
"And by the way, I am humanitarian, which is on a much higher plane than feminism. Do you even know what that is?"
AMANPOUR: Do you even mean it, Bernadine?
EVARISTA: Do I?
AMANPOUR: Yes, do you mean it? I mean I think I was staggered actually because, you know, I mean feminism, you know, to sort of actually write
about another generation, kind of diminishing the importance of feminism, maybe what? Thinking that the battle had been won.
EVARISTO: You know, the conversation around gender at the moment is so interesting, and the whole idea that they are performances and that we
don't have to adhere to them.
I mean, I don't see it sort of gaining worldwide traction anytime soon. But perhaps in the future. Gender -- the idea of gender will become
redundant, but I really wanted to explore it as sort of a 19-year-old girl, talking to her political mother who has been a feminist and activist all
her life and completely undermining her in the way that can happen.
AMANPOUR: Just as also, she is actually achieving the pinnacle of her success.
EVARISTO: Yes. Yes. What I wanted to do was to look at some of these conversations that are happening and some of them are intergenerational and
some of them are interracial. Some of them are you know, actually inter- gender, and just to see how I can just explore it through these different characters.
AMANPOUR: So they're 12 there. I mean, I think at one point, you said there could have been a thousand. I mean, there's so -- how did you even
distill? How did you decide, you know, to focus on those 12?
EVARISTO: Well, I began with Carole who is the daughter of an immigrant -- Nigerian immigrant parents. She grows up in a very working class part of
London called Peckham.
She goes to a state school, a rough state school, and then she is mentored by a woman there. She ends up at Oxford and then she joins the corporate
And then Carole has a mother called Bummi and Bummi came into Carole's story when I was writing her and I really like Bummi. So Bummi is
Nigerian. She came to the U.K. with a Degree in Math, ends up a cleaner, as is often the case, and I then gave her, her story to tell -- her
AMANPOUR: So to me, it seems like Carole -- I mean, there are many other characters, but she is the one that we can sort of focus on the class
issue, I think. Right? So please read that passage on Page 132.
EVARISTO: "Nobody talked loudly about growing up in a Council flat on a skyscraper estate with a single mother who worked as a cleaner. Nobody
talked loudly about never having gone on the single holiday -- like ever. Nobody talked loudly about never having been on a plane, seen a play or the
sea or eaten in a restaurant with waiters."
"Nobody talked loudly about feeling too ugly, stupid, fat, poor or just plain out of place, out of sorts, out of their depth. Nobody talked loudly
about being gangbanged at 13 and a half."
AMANPOUR: I mean, there's just so much in there. The violence, obviously, kind of the imposter syndrome maybe. And then what she becomes, a member
of the corporate world.
EVARISTO: Yes. So she goes to Oxford. You know, she is completely out of -- she feels completely out of her league. She doesn't feel that she
belongs. She doesn't think she should be there.
You know, she is a black girl in a predominantly white university, it has to be said. And a mother, she goes home the first time and a mother says,
no, you've got to stay. You've got to -- you know, you've got to stick this one out, and she does.
But in order to do so, she has to drop -- she feels she has to drop her identity.
EVARISTO: So she loses touch with her roots, with her Nigerian background, with her working class British background -- changes the way she speaks and
completely kind of changes her identity to become this kind of corporate animal who will succeed in banking and she does.
But she loses something of herself and her mother who is an immigrant doesn't really know how to steer her through that kind of world that her
mother doesn't know herself.
So you know, the whole -- the idea of code switching.
EVARISTO: Carole could go to Oxford, for example, and actually come back to Peckham and still be in touch with her mother's culture and the culture
she's grown up in. But she doesn't know that she can do both. She thinks she has to lose one in order to succeed.
AMANPOUR: So let's just talk about the prose style. It's been described as almost like a very long poem.
AMANPOUR: Is that right?
EVARISTO: I call it fiction-fiction.
AMANPOUR: Would you say -- okay. What does that mean?
EVARISTO: So it's a book where the stories fuse with each other. So these 12 characters all have their own sections, but they're all fused. So it's
not a book of short stories. It's a cohesive novel. But also, I've written a slightly experimental form, whereby there aren't many full stops,
but it's very readable.
But it means that the sort of language fuses with itself and I'm able to talk about the women in a way that I don't think I could if I was writing a
traditional novel, so I can cover a whole life in 30 pages and go back and from the past and the present, the present to the past. Be inside then be
outside them. And also it's almost like stream of consciousness.
So that I think that the form allows the reader to engage with the book on a sort of -- on perhaps a deeper level than if it was just a traditional
AMANPOUR: We've talked about class, we've talked about gender, we've talked about mother-daughter relationships.
AMANPOUR: And you tackle, obviously age as well, and Winsome, is you know, somebody who you talk about on being her own person and free from imposed
roles. So let us read that chapter -- that passage on Page 257, if you wouldn't mind.
EVARISTO: "Winsome has listened to her grandchildren's lives since they could speak and they've never asked about her. She understands that young
people are consumed by themselves, and her role is to comfort and reassure and be caring towards them when their parents are cross with them."
"Winsome likes the fact that Rachel is curious enough to know who her grandmother was before she was a mother, when she was a person in her own
right, as she described it, except she never had has been. First, she was a daughter, then a wife and mother and now also a grandmother and great
AMANPOUR: I think that's so poignant. I mean, you're 60 years old now. I'm kind of around there. And this focus on age and being invisible, and
the loneliness, maybe if you don't have a nice, warm family, like Winsome obviously does, but talk a little bit about the age, not just to black
women, but of bit of women, and where -- and today, in today's society, where people don't respect the old as much as perhaps they should, or maybe
even don't respect in the West as much as they do in Africa and elsewhere.
EVARISTO: Elsewhere. I know that in some cultures, aging is fine. I would say probably from what I know about Nigeria, you are, you know,
afforded more respect if you're aging, if you're an older person.
Whereas I think what happens here is we're completely obsessed with young people. And you know, as I said earlier, older people just don't feature
much in culture. And I would say even older women, often write younger female protagonists, whereas in actual fact, we're very interesting. The
older we get, the more interesting we become, right?
AMANPOUR: I agree.
EVARISTO: We've lived long lives, you know, we kind of know our own minds.
AMANPOUR: And the freer we become -- Annette Bening said the same thing.
EVARISTO: Freer. Yes. And we have -- we have a certain amount of wisdom and perspective, and so much to offer society. And I think it's really
important that we show that in our culture. And so, you know, I have women of every generation in this novel. There are lots of middle aged women and
Hattie is the oldest, but there are lots of others and they all have agency. Nobody is defeated. Nobody is a victim. I hate creating victims,
because that's the other thing. There's this expectation that if you create older characters, A, they've got dementia or something, and are
feeble, and they're unable to lead full lives. And that's not true.
And it's certainly not true of the women I see around me. So I just wanted to somehow explore that and to celebrate it, to celebrate aging, we should
AMANPOUR: So you're celebrating your win and your success after a lifetime of working for it. You shared, I believe, a 50,000 pound prize with
Margaret Atwood, what are you going to put your side? What do you want to pay for? Buy?
EVARISTO: It sounds so boring. But I just say mortgage.
AMANPOUR: Mortgage. Well, that's a very -- every woman thing to worry about. Right?
EVARISTO: It is. You know, so yes, that's it mortgage.
AMANPOUR: And do you think this is it now from success will breed success? What is your ambition going forward?
EVARISTO: To continue to do what I'm doing. And also I am a literary activist. So I know I have much more of a platform now to say the things
that I've got to say.
I think there'll be more pressure on me with my next book, for example.
EVARISTO: But you know, it will be my ninth book. So I will just try and sort of push that pressure aside and write the book that I want to write
and it will land where it lands and we'll see if people like it or not.
AMANPOUR: Have you already started?
AMANPOUR: All right, on that note, you wouldn't tell me anyway.
AMANPOUR: Bernadine Evaristo, thank you so much and congratulations.
EVARISTO: Thanks very much. Thank you. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And we turn now from that note of hope, to the ideal of the American dream and why for so many that is dying. Veteran journalist and
author, Nicholas Lemann offers his own take on his latest book "Transaction Man: The rise of the deal and the decline of the American Dream." Power,
he says has shifted away from government and corporations towards the financial sector.
And as our Walter Isaacson discovers, the book centers on three key people.
WALTER ISAACSON, PRESIDENT OF THE ASPEN INSTITUTE: I guess, I should say at the outset, you and I grew up together. I've been a fan of yours for
about 50 to 60 years, and especially your new book, "Transaction Man."
In your book, you talk about a period of American life through much of the 20th Century that there was some economic security that came from big
corporations and General Motors and the fact that you've got a good job at a good wage and then a pension. Explain how that happened and how it
LEMANN: Okay. So it's an interesting story. Well, let's stipulate first, there was a pretty big part of the population that worked for big
corporations in the glory days of, you know, American hegemony after the Second World War. And you know, when big industrial corporations really
Let's stipulate, not everybody was cut in on the deal. And you know, you're talking about a heavy white male phenomenon. And that meant that,
among other things, it wasn't a very stable social order.
But it didn't always exist. It was created out of the New Deal in the Second World War. Before then, it didn't exist and corporations were quite
new and corporations were forced to and/or decided to become kind of the welfare state that we didn't have in the U.S. -- in government would have
in the private sector.
LEMANN: So for a lot of Americans, things like job security, pensions after you retired, health benefits, annual raises for inflation, unions
came through your corporate employer.
By the way, it's kind of you know, my book is called "Transaction Man." That's a play on a book called "The Organization Man" by William Whyte in
Now, when you look at that book, and there's a whole shelf of books like that, you still have to laugh because you think okay, you know, this is
bitter complaint about the problems with America. The problems are, damn it, everybody -- I mean --
ISAACSON: Too much conformity with what they could blame about.
LEMANN: Yes, I mean, you used to work for Time, Inc., so you can relate to this from your own experience. You know, it was, we've got to do something
about this situation where everybody has a secure job, and they work nine to five, and they can support a whole family and they can send their kids
to college. They can be confident their kids will do better than them. I mean, this is crushing the American spirit.
So that's what a lot of these liberal social critics, back then, but it went away very dramatically. And the fact that it went away, I think
created a lot of the mood in the United States that you're seeing now.
ISAACSON: So let's bring this down to a specific girth which is, I think Chicago lawn in your years and a guy who owns a Buick dealership, and you
know, in the 50s, 60s and 70s, there's nothing better you can be than sort of having a GM dealer and all the auto suppliers and the companies and
everybody worked. And this is going fine in Chicago lawn, right?
LEMANN: Well, okay, so everything looks better in retrospect. The guy that you're talking about is a character in the book named Nick D'Andrea,
who is, you know, if he is not a Trump voter, certainly when I was hanging around with him a lot while working on the book, I met a lot of Trump
And these are, you know, blue-collar people who didn't go to college and made it into the middle class through avenues that don't exist so much
So this guy, you know, started out as an auto -- he actually started out running a food cart, and then became an auto salesman, a used car salesman.
A used car salesman finally acquired a majority of a dealership in a kind of tough blue-collar neighborhood that was transitioning from white to
black and Latino. So it wasn't like the location every auto dealer wanted, but he's a gutsy guy, and he hung on and he was making it work.
And then, right when GM was going bankrupt, as part of that, a whole bunch of auto dealers were put out of business. And he got a letter in the mail
one day saying, sorry, you're out of business, you're not an auto dealer anymore.
ISAACSON: Well, let me stick up for him for a second because we did the bailout of the banks then -- all OF the financial. We did the bailout of
the auto industry back then.
ISAACSON: But the poor guy who has the Buick dealership in the suburb of Chicago, he loses everything.
LEMANN: Yes. And I would add to that, there's another version that you see or that I saw in the same neighborhood, which is the mortgage holders
also didn't get taken care of or the people who took out mortgages didn't get taken care of nearly the same way than the people who issued the
And you know, the argument, we have to preserve the financial system from collapse and so on, but boy in that neighborhood, it is vivid because you
know, when I was doing reporting there, you just empty houses everywhere. It's just such a struggle to keep that neighborhood going.
You know, there's a really palpable feeling in that neighborhood that whoever is running the country and the financial system just doesn't care
about us and they take care of their friends and they don't take care of us. And that leads to a lot of sort of anger and a kind of almost
It's really striking when you're there.
ISAACSON: What's very vivid on the ground in your book, among people who once depended on the General Motors Corporation supply chain and everything
else, jobs got shipped overseas, trade didn't help them. Immigration didn't help them. And a growing economy didn't help them.
LEMANN: Yes. And you and the other thing that you see in that neighborhood and a lot of neighborhoods is just, you know, there'll be
these big employers and you look at the big employers and either they disappear, or they're on their eighth owner in the last 20 years.
There's just - there's a tremendous amount of, you know, breaking apart and reassembling of the large units of the American economy that leaves people
feel very confused.
LEMANN: You know, as people give account of what has led to the current discontent, this is a big part of it that hasn't been in people's standard
You know, people talk about a whole bunch of different factors. You know, the left has one set, the right has another set, but I don't think people
appreciate how important this change in the economy has been in changing the mood of the country, particularly that this kind of shift from
institutional corporate kind of orientation to a very fluid financial orientation.
ISAACSON: The real villain though in your book in terms of the hollowing out of this working middle class, it's not totally government but Wall
Street and the transaction folks.
LEMANN: Yes, I would say not even just Wall Street, but a kind of way of thinking. And I want to say, you know, I don't know if this is actually
true, but supposedly Flaubert said "Madame Bovary" c'est moi.
LEMANN: And I would say, "Transaction Man" c'est moi. I mean, I don't know how you would react to this. But when I was young and coming up in
the world, I was very enthusiastic as a young liberal journalist about a lot of stuff that I now think of is a terrible mistake.
So I don't think it was just greedy, evil guys from Wall Street, I think it was bipartisan enthusiasm by sort of elite liberals on both coasts for a
different kind of vision of society.
You know, people who had read "The Organization Man" and were really convinced by it and didn't think we'll miss this one day and again, I'm in
that category, I thought wouldn't it be great if we can have a more fluid society in which we can break up some of these big institutions that are
standing in the way of progress and creativity, and we'll have a much more sort of fluid world.
So I think out of that fundamental attitude came a lot of specific things in many realms, including Wall Street, but it should be understood in that
Wall Street became so much bigger because they went from being one of the most regulated industries in the country, really tightly regulated, coming
out of the New Deal, and even the 19th Century to substantially deregulated and that was very bipartisan, that wasn't just, you know, Wall Street runs
the country. It wasn't a corporate plot. It wasn't a conservative plot. It was a bipartisan consensus that this was going to work out really well
ISAACSON: In 1997, the Business Roundtable, is it? It sort of says, shareholder value has to be supreme. That's all a company or a corporation
should focus on -- it is returning shareholder value.
This is, of course, different than the corporate world that you write about at the beginning of the rise of corporate America. Well, they cared about
the community, they cared about the workers, they cared about the shareholders, stakeholders, everything else. That seems to be an
inflection point in '97.
LEMANN: The sort of great theorist of the shareholder revolution is an economist named, Michael Jensen, who is much featured in the book and who
wrote a very influential article in 1976.
This is one of the most cited academic publications of all time saying, you know, corporations, this age, you were talking about must end and
corporations must reorient themselves toward their shareholders.
So 20 years, you know, of a lot of activity this had become conventional wisdom. If you remember the poster child of CEO then was Jack Welch of GE,
who had really embraced this. And by the way, had decided GE, which was the classic Organization Man company, no longer would have de facto
lifetime tenure for everybody and, you know, retire at 65 with your defined benefit pension.
And so that was what everybody thought in 1997. And that was why the Business Roundtable issued the statement.
Now, just in August, they reversed themselves. So that's really interesting. And they issued a new statement, signed by 180 CEOs organized
by Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase saying, nope, we changed our mind. They didn't say that way. And now we embrace something like the old vision of
the corporation, the socially responsible corporation that attends to the interests of many stakeholders and the public and so on and not just
shareholders. So that's interesting.
ISAACSON: Do you think that's going to work and it will have an impact?
LEMANN: Some but not a huge impact would be my guess. And the reason is a couple things; one, you know, legally, they have to listen to their
shareholders. So if even Jamie Dimon stops listening to his shareholders, somebody is going to sue, you know, and say, wait a minute, you know,
you're taking our money away to attend to some social cause.
ISAACSON: But didn't the law used to allow -- the Delaware court and others -- to balance shareholder value with other things, and that changed.
LEMANN: It changed, partly in less, my impression is out of legal changes than of practice changes. In those older days, you didn't have a very
aggressive set of lawyers who were sort of making the shareholder revolution happen lawsuit by lawsuit.
ISAACSON: Well, the big corporations you wrote about in the main part of your book, that General Motors or the GEs or the IBMs that looked after the
workers have now been replaced in some ways, both in the economy and in our mindset with these big tech companies.
LEMANN: Yes. Right.
ISAACSON: And so how are they going to react to this?
LEMANN: Well, they did sign the statement. Okay. So things are changing and it's an interesting moment, because it's -- I don't know if maybe you
would be willing to put a date on it, but up to X year -- 2015, 2012 -- something like that, you almost could never read anything that said,
there's a problem with big tech companies and we were really in awe of Google and Facebook and Apple and so on.
In the same way that in the late 19th Century, people were in awe of the railroad companies and people like that and it has shifted very quickly.
ISAACSON: Why has there been a backlash against big tech?
LEMANN: I think it's partly the tenor of the times that we've been talking about that the economic populism, which really wasn't part of front line
American politics has come back to the fore. It is presenting itself in this presidential campaign more than in a lot that I can remember in the
recent past, and they're an obvious target. So that's one thing.
Another thing is, I think people are realizing that, you know, there's a downside to the big tech companies, they're not human saints, they're
collecting a lot of data on us. For us journalists, you know, we've watched the newspaper business kind of decline tremendously and the
magazine business, too.
So there's a more sort of nuanced sense that you know, when something very big happens very fast, it's not a hundred percent positive.
ISAACSON: Let's look at the big picture though. We've had about a decade of good economic growth. We have low unemployment. We have a pretty
robust economy. Globally, the economy has been doing pretty well.
And yet, more and more people rightly feel that they don't have job security, that their kids aren't going to have it better than they are,
that they're not going to be able to get great educations for their kids and not be able to afford it.
So it makes sense that there's this discontent with the deal that we were given that when we all play by the rules, it was going to be better.
LEMANN: Yes, I agree with that completely. You know, this is another thing where I don't want to put all the blame on conservatives, but also on
us, liberals is, you know, I think, at least the younger version of me thought, if you can get sort of the macroeconomic policy right, you know,
tax policy and so on, that will solve problems.
And I personally tended to be very suspicious of anything that attempted to, you know, preserve existing economic arrangements, existing economic
institutions, the locations where people lived -- anything like that I thought couldn't possibly work and would be bad.
And that attitude which is pretty widespread doesn't track with the problems you're talking about, because that's how you can get to a good --
you know, objectively, a good economy that goes along with a tremendous amount of discontent.
And, by the way, embedded in what we're both saying, I don't think it's -- the discontent is just manufactured by Fox News or whomever. I think it's
real. And, you know, politicians have to realize that it's there and think about how to deal with it and they're starting to and that's a good thing.
ISAACSON: Nick, thanks for being with us.
LEMANN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And finally, it is high time we recognize an extraordinary woman overlooked by history -- Dame Janet Vaughan. Born at the turn of the 20th
Century, she is credited with discovering the cure for a rare type of anemia.
A doctor and a scientist Janet Vaughan was also one of the first to advocate for blood banks before the Blitz when the Nazis carpet-bombed
London during World War II. And later, she was one of the first into concentration camps, and scientifically devised a way to feed emaciated
And after the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, she became a world authority on the effects of plutonium on the bone. What a life.
That is it for now. Remember to catch us online and on Instagram. Goodbye from London.