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Interview with New York Times Magazine Staff Writer and "Rise and Kill First" Author Ronen Bergman; Interview with "The Women" Author Kristin Hannah; Interview with Artist Antony Gormley. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired May 17, 2024 - 13:00   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up. Israel says it's recovered

the bodies of three of its hostages from Gaza. We'll get the very latest.

Then, as settler violence intensifies in the West Bank, I speak to "New York Times Magazine" staff writer Ronen Bergman about the forces tearing

Israel from within.

And the forgotten nurses from the Vietnam War. Author Kristen Hannah joins Walter Isaacson to discuss her new novel, "The Women."

Also, ahead, awe inspiring art. Sir Antony Gormley takes Christiane on a personal tour of his exhibition at London's Royal Academy.

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

We begin with news from Israel, where IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari just announced that the Israeli army recovered the bodies of three hostages in

tunnels in Gaza. Here's what he said.


DANIEL HAGARI, IDF SPOKESPERSON: It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that last night, the Israel Defense Forces and ISA (ph) forces rescued

the bodies of our hostages Shani Louk, Amit Bouskila, and Itshak Gelernter, who were taken hostage during the Hamas massacre on October 7th and

murdered, and was murdered, they were murdered by Hamas.


GOLODRYGA: Just thought over a hundred hostages are still being held by Hamas. Let's bring in correspondent Nic Robertson who joins me now from

London with the details. Just a devastating news to hear that the bodies of those three hostages had been recovered. Shani Louk had been somebody who

we've become quite familiar with sadly after October 7th, after photos of her body being driven back into Gaza were made public.

Nonetheless, here, finally confirmation of her murder along with two other Israelis who had escaped the Nova Festival. Tell us more about what we're


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We're learning this was an operation that was combined between the IDF, the military and the

intelligence services, the Shin Bet using intelligence. We understand from the IDF spokesman that their bodies were found in a tunnel.

The narrative that he has of what happened, I think, really underscores just the brutal nature of every day that the families have to wait for

information because what Daniel Hagari has said here is that they were murdered and it was their bodies that were taken to Gaza on October the


So, these more than 200 days since where their families have been wondering where they were, were they in a tunnel, were they getting enough food, were

they being brutalized? They'd heard the experiences of the other hostages who were released late last year, built up their hopes, had their hopes

dashed, built their hopes up, had their hopes dashed campaign day and night for the government to focus on bringing their loved ones home. And it comes

to this.

and the information is shocking, I think, in itself that Daniel Higari said they did manage to survive the Nova Music Festival and run away, as a

number of people did, and getting 10, 15 minutes away in their car and taking refuge amiss a film -- a kibbutz that was so close in some ways to

putting them in a place of safety, yet it wasn't, because that had been overrun as well.

And I remember driving past that kibbutz just a couple of days after October 7th and there were vehicles strewn in the road, shot up baby

strollers in the road. It was chaos and carnage there.

So, for these families now, this is the knowledge that their loved ones have been found that their bodies have been recovered. And another phase,

if you will, of their suffering can begin after they can give them a dignified burial at home. It's what all the families are asking for.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and just to learn more of the horrific details that these three managed to escape one terror scene only to find shelter, or what they

thought was shelter in another, and be so brutally murdered.


Where does this put the hostage negotiation talks and talks of a ceasefire now in terms of this is government in Israel, what the prime minister is

saying, the focus thus far has been on Rafah and its operations this past a few days and past week. Once again, though, that this highlights the plight

of these hostages and the fact that these family members are so desperate to get a deal done to bring the remaining hostages home.

ROBERTSON: It really does. It throws it into very sharp focus. Just last week, Hamas said that they'd signed up to a hostage release deal that

Israel hadn't been party to the details of and wasn't in the scope of what they were set to or willing to agree to.

But what Hamas did by literally setting out how many hostages and which hostages, not by name, but by category, would be released and how many of

their prisoners they would want released really built the hopes up for so many families that a deal was sort of almost within grasp. Again, another

very brutal moment and a manipulation by Hamas.

Certainly, that's what most people -- how most people interpret it. But it also put pressure on the government and for the public. There was polling

last week that said, rather than another military operation in Rafah to clear out the last of Hamas and get to the leadership there, the majority

of people in Israel, surveyed in that poll, said that they wanted a deal to release the hostages.

So, this really heightens that. And for hostage families now, one of the main forums have said, look, the recovery of these three and the bringing

home of their remains for burial in Israel is just a reminder that that's what we want. We want all of them brought back to Israel.

So, I think part, you have that real pressure on the government, public pressure on the streets, demonstrations that they should cut a deal and not

go for the military option at the moment. And the IDF this week in Gaza and ongoing battles, losing a number of soldiers. So, there's a real need to

show by the government and the IDF that they really are getting something done, they are bringing some of the hostages home. And it's a pressure on

the Prime Minister as well to show that he does prioritize the hostages, even though many people think that that's not at the top of his list.

GOLODRYGA: Quite an emotional week that comes to an end now with this devastating news that started with Israel's Memorial Day, followed by its

Independence Day, and then obviously this horrific news as well. Nic Robertson, thank you.

The Israelis will surely unite in grief today and demand that more be done to bring home those hostages still trapped in Gaza.

And now, while the world's attention continues to be on the enclave since the attacks of October 7th, the occupied West Bank has seen a spike in

violence by Israeli settlers. Home to over 3 million Palestinians, the West Bank has been the scene of over 800 violent sometimes deadly attacks

against Palestinians in the last seven months, according to the U.N., often with few consequences for the settlers. And what was once a fringe movement

now sits at the very heart of the government.

So, how did these radical forces come to be in the driver's seat of Israeli politics? A year's long investigation by journalists Ronen Bergman and Mark

Mazzetti for the "New York Times" tells that story in painstaking detail, and finds that extremist settlers threaten not just Palestinians, but the

very integrity of Israel's democracy. And Ronen Bergman joins me now live from Tel Aviv.

As we noted, Ronen, this is a very important story to talk about and relevant to current events, but it's something that you've been working on

for years now, and that is what has been growing power and impunity among the settler community and its movement, what had once or by many still view

perhaps as a fringe movement now has landed two very important and controversial seats in the current Netanyahu government.

And your investigation helps answer some of the questions as to how this power was able to accrue over the years and this immunity and impunity

really for the settlement movement as a whole. Talk about what you've learned.

RONEN BERGMAN, STAFF WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE AND AUTHOR, "RISE AND KILL FIRST": Thank you. Thank you for the kind words. Together with our

colleague Natan Odenheimer, Mark Mazzetti and myself really, we looked at this through years.

I started in 2015. Regrettably, the assessment, the dark predictions of Israeli high rank officials, including leaders of the Shin Bet, the Israeli

domestic secret service, those are not left-wing human rights activist. Their predictions back then in 2016 became today's reality.


And in a way, it's almost obvious that decades of impunity, decades of a total failure, if not more than failure, of law enforcement -- of all of

the law enforcement agencies, the Shin Bet that's supposed to fight terrorism and the police that's supposed to fight hate crimes, and the

judges, the prosecutions, and all of them, and the politicians who gave them pardon after a very short time, all of them, after years and years and

years of impunity, of looking the other way of the Israeli public.

You know, this is beyond the fence. Though, you know, this is like 20 minutes from where I sit now in Tel Aviv. But for most of the Israeli

public and Israeli media, this happened in another land. And in that land, while a massive wave of -- waves of terrorism by Palestinians were dealt

with very tough hit by Israeli military and by Israeli Shin Bet, the domestic secret service. When it came to Jewish terrorism, it was

definitely a very different way.

They were like two sets -- there's still two sets of laws where Israeli citizens, even if they are settlers, some of them illegal settlers, in the

West Bank are treated by the Israeli civil criminal law and the Palestinians, by the military law. So, you could have one -- alleged

suspected terrorist on one hill with Jewish, the Israeli, and the other one Palestinian on the other hill, they are suspecting in doing the same thing,

but they will be dealt with total different set of tools that menace and courts.

And you know, one of the former -- considered to be one of the best leaders of the Shin Bet, a former military Navy commando leader, Ami Ayalon said,

the cabinet signal the Shin Bet that if a Jew is killed, an Israeli Jew, Israeli citizen Jew is killed, it's horrible. But if an Arab Palestinian is

killed, it's not good, but it's not that bad.

And that spirit throughout decades led not just to terrorist activities, but also to many, many, many thousands of violent attacks against property,

against farm, against herd, against animals, against people that was basically -- that basically went unpunished.

GOLODRYGA: You mentioned Ami Ayalon, the former Shin Bet chief, who you spoke with. I want to read what else he said. He said, you have to

understand why all of this is important now. We are not discussing Jewish terrorism. We are discussing the failure of Israel.

And to get back to your earlier point about conviction rates and the real imbalance there, it's not anecdotal data. I mean, for Palestinians,

historically, the conviction rate in military courts is in the '90s. For your piece, you bring data that shows the conviction rates for Israelis

accused of violence, and let me read for it. Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, looking at more than 1,600 cases of settler violence in the

West Bank between 2005 and 2023 found that just 3 percent ended in a conviction.

How is that justified in Israel's legal system?

BERGMAN: I think that there was an agreed silence. But anyone -- and there were many, many, many Israeli top officials who really tried to make a

difference. Our report, I think, is unique because it's not based mainly on NGOs, and I have a lot of respect for them, and not on American

intelligence, and not the Palestinians. We are basing it on Israeli officials, Israeli top-secret memos, and documents, and recordings, and

videos, because there are many.

There's -- in fact, the Israeli government is at war with itself, that a lot of people are trying to change, but the camp, the voters who brought

Netanyahu to power are very strong and those extremists, the ministry of treasure, Bezalel Smotrich, the ministry of national security, Itamar Ben-

Gvir, holding the Netanyahu's coalition and are not enabling any kind of any other policy.


And so, what happened is that since this government took office and especially since the war on October 7th started, the police under the

command of Itamar Ben-Gvir stopped completely enforcing the law on Jewish settlers. They are not coming in most of the cases when they are called for

help by Palestinians villages that are being harassed, are being threatened, are being attacked. Some of them had to leave.

We -- Natan and Mark and I, we have been in some of the villages that just had to leave and are not seeking justice from the Supreme Court. And I'm

not saying it because the -- only the Palestinians told us, the Shin Bet, Israeli very important and very central intelligence service is saying that

the police stopped coming. They are not giving justice. They are not giving help. They are not investigating.

And in this situation, I think what Israelis are now learning is that it's impossible to have part of the land controlled by the Israeli government

with total impunity, with lawless. Because soon after the lawless will become the law and they will try to legislate their agenda on everybody.

GOLODRYGA: And that's what's actually happening now. I mean, we were showing images of Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, and these are the

two men who most would agree bare responsibility for Netanyahu having his hand tied. Now, no one is feeling sympathy for Netanyahu who knew what he

was getting into.

There was a point not so long ago where he wouldn't even be photographed with these two gentlemen. But to save his own political career, he decided

that it was fine to build a coalition with them. And now, because they control 14 seats, fast forward to today, one of the concerns as to why this

war perhaps isn't coming to an end sooner or there's no day after plan is because of these two men.

BERGMAN: With no doubt. The famous Israeli columnist, maybe the most famous, Nahum Barnea, chief columnist for the Yedioth Ahronoth (ph) Daily

once said that for -- usually for politicians, they have to themselves at the -- in the center and all the rest at the background. For Netanyahu,

Nahum Barnea wrote, there is no background.

Netanyahu is consumed with his coalition, and he will do everything to make sure that its integrity is not damaged. And every time that Netanyahu is

even thinking of doing something, either in the West Bank, or in Gaza, those are very different places, but yet, if he even thinks of doing

something is -- they immediately say we will leave the coalition.

And it's not a coincidence that just two days ago, the minister of defense came out and publicly aired the deep disputes inside the war cabinet when

he said, I do not support that the military does not support and we will object as much as we can any kind of Israeli continuous rule of Gaza or

military rule, while everybody know that the extremists are not just calling for their deputation of security reasons to continue to control

Gaza, they want to annex the West Bank as much as they want to annex Gaza and re-establish the settlements that were taken out during the

disengagement in 2005.


BERGMAN: This is taking Israel to a very, very difficult position. And I just -- I'm just thankful to all those people, to all those really high

rank officials who had nothing to gain, but risking themselves and being exposed in delivering information and documents that they should not to the

"New York Times" and they came and they helped, because while having nothing personally to gain, they said, we have a lot to get, which is our

country. We're so concerned that Israel will stop being a democracy that is based on the rule of law that we are willing to risk ourselves.

GOLODRYGA: Because that's what this ideology dictates. I mean, what's so important about this piece is you take a step back to show how we got here

after 1967 war, after Israel gained the lands and the occupied territories.

Do we have Ronen? Oh, there you are. Sorry, I thought we lost you for a minute. How these settlements came about. And it wasn't just they were

being built illegally, it's the ideology that it was based on.

Meir Kahane had been an extremist who came to Israel from the U.S., developed a huge following that then passed down to multiple generations in

his family. And that -- there and of itself espouses the disconnect between democracy and what Israel was founded on and their vision of where Israel

should be.


BERGMAN: You know in 1994, one of the followers of Rabbi Kahane, who came with him from Brooklyn, a physician called Baruch Goldstein, went into the

cave of the patriarch during a mass prayer honoring Ramadan of Muslims, of local Palestinians, opened fire and murdered -- massacred 29 of them and

wounded 150.

And the day after, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was later assassinated by one of the followers of Kahane as well --

GOLODRYGA: Yigal Amir.

BERGMAN: -- but he's still a follower.


BERGMAN: Yigal Amir. And said to the followers of Kahane, to the followers of Goldstein, he said, you don't belong here. We and you, we are not the

same people. This is not the same religion. You despise. You are against anything that we believe in. And he was courageous to stand there and

refuse to give Baruch Goldstein even the place to be buried.

But one of the followers of Kahane, Itamar Ben-Gvir, then 18 years old, but dangerous enough not to be recruited to the military, he erected a shrine

for this person who murdered 29 people. He called him a saint. He said he died as a saint with clean hands. And then Itamar Ben-Gvir is now the

minister of national security of the State of --

GOLODRYGA: And the same Ben-Gvir who is convicted of inciting racism as well. I just want to end with you by something we heard yesterday when

Christiane spoke with leading author David Grossman. I don't think we have time to air the full clip. I'll just read for you the first line of what he

said for blaming really Netanyahu for normalizing these extremists.

And he said, I think that the great sin of Mr. Netanyahu is the way he whitewashed those people, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, and brought them into the

government and gave them files of ministers. No sane person would have done that. You know, when it shows, it just proves the cynicism of Netanyahu.

Is that a view you think more and more Israelis currently share?

BERGMAN: Yes, with no doubt. But it's also a fact. Netanyahu facing charges of corruption and bribe had less and less possible parties that

would join his coalition. So, instead, he built an alliance with the ultra- right and the ultra-religious, ultra-Orthodox.

He even forced those two, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, who don't like each other so much, to build one party, a major force. And he connected himself to

them and made them part of the -- part of his coalition and basically fulfill the dreams because (INAUDIBLE) that they need to join politics in

order to control the system from the inside, and this is what they're doing every day as we speak.

GOLODRYGA: Ronen Bergman, it is a must read really dynamic piece. I know you spent so many years working on. Thank you so much for joining us to

talk about it.

BERGMAN: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, now, as we've discussed, international pressure is ramping up on Israel, and the U.S. students are demanding a ceasefire in

Gaza and transparency from their leaders. For many, the images of young people demonstrating on campuses and clashing with law enforcement evokes

memories of the protest movement during the Vietnam War. A setting used as a backdrop for a hit new novel, "The Women," by Kristin Hannah. It shines a

light on the thousands of forgotten nurses who served their country and returned home to a bitterly divided nation. Kristin Hannah joined Walter

Isaacson to discuss the novel.


WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Kristin Hannah, welcome to the show.

KRISTIN HANNAH, AUTHOR, "THE WOMEN": Thank you so much, Walter. It's great to be here.

ISAACSON: You've been the author of more than 20 novels, and your latest, "The Women," talks about the combat nurses in Vietnam. Tell me what

happened when you first pitched this as an idea, maybe 20, 25 years ago.

HANNAH: Well, yes, I pitched it in 1997 to my then-editor. And, you know, we had a long talk about it. And the bottom line was, she had been at

Berkeley in 1968, my editor, and she said, you know, the world isn't ready for this book, and frankly, you aren't ready to write this book. You aren't

old enough, you don't have enough perspective, and you aren't good enough. So, you know, come back when you think you are and come back when, you

know, we think that we're -- the country is ready to hear this story.

ISAACSON: What's happened in the country that you now think it's more relevant or we're ready to hear it?


HANNAH: Well, you know, I mean, just to go back a bit, I was a child during the Vietnam War. And my good friend in fourth grade, her father

served and was shot down. And so, we wore -- back in those days, we had the prisoner of war bracelet which we wore in remembrance of the soldier who

was lost in the hopes that he would come home when we would take it off.

And so, I had this bracelet on for years and years and years. And I was constantly thinking about him and the other soldiers who didn't come home.

And then as a girl, even, I saw how the soldiers were treated when they did come home. So, this was sort of the thing that I wanted to write about, the

part of the Vietnam experience that I wanted to write about.

And I kept checking back in with it over the years as I was writing other novels. And finally, in -- it was March of 2020, when in my hometown of

Seattle, we were on lockdown from the pandemic. And I was watching the nightly news and seeing what we all were seeing, the political divisions

that were, you know, I felt tearing the country apart and the anger, and it felt very much like the Vietnam era again.

And then, I was watching, you know, our nurses and our doctors who were on the frontline of this pandemic sacrificing so much for all of us. And not

always getting the thanks and the gratitude and the support that they needed. And that's really, I think, when it all came together and I

thought, OK, I'm ready. I'm ready to write this novel. I think it's important. I think it's time. And I'm going to go for it.

ISAACSON: Well, the book centers on a woman nurse, Frankie McGrath -- Frances McGrath, known as Frankie. Tell me, who is she and why is she the

person that best represents what you were trying to do?

HANNAH: She's not based on any actual nurse, but she is certainly inspired by several of the nurses whose memoirs I read in research. And they had a

very sort of -- there was a lot of commonality with the women. A lot of them had come from families whose parents had proudly served in World War

II, you know, the greatest generation. They had been raised to be patriotic. They also came from the conservative, you know, end of the

1950s. And a lot of them were extremely young, fresh out of nursing school.

And so, I really wanted to show the fullness of the arc of a lot of the nurses, not all of them, of course, but, you know, going to war, being sort

of woefully unprepared emotionally and in their nursing skills. And then, you know, to become these amazing combat competent nurses and come home to

a country that was vastly different than the one they left, and where their reception was, you know, unexpectedly negative for them. And left them for

years trying to -- you know, trying to come to terms with what they had done and how their parents and their friends in their country felt about

what they had done.

ISAACSON: One of the more visceral scenes in the book, or a lot of them, involve the medicine, you know, involve being there watching these

procedures. I think you're a lapsed lawyer, right? How did you get all that medical stuff? And what was your point of being so realistic and almost

brutal in the -- in your description of the medicine?

HANNAH: You know, that's interesting, Walter, because I really made that choice to really make these scenes in the surgical units visceral and

brutal and difficult, and that was for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, on my mind was that often in this war and in other wars, when female vets come home and seek help, especially if they are

suffering from some kind of PTSD, one of the first things they tend to hear is, well, you weren't in combat, because, you know women in combat

officially is a very recent thing. And it was important for me to show what they had gone through, what they had lived through, why they would have,

you know, emotional trauma stemming from this afterwards.

And so, that's part of the reason that it was -- that it's so difficult to read, because I want the reader to understand this slice of war and what it

means and what it feels like and how it affects you.


ISAACSON: You also tried very hard to capture the devastation of -- that happened to the Vietnamese civilians. Why was that important to you?

HANNAH: Well, the -- you know, the thing about writing about this era, and I hope actually that this book sparks a lot of other fiction about it and a

lot of other nonfiction about it because I think there are so many avenues to be explored and stories to be told.

But what I was trying to do, you know, was this single woman's story of one woman gone to war that really addressed not only the futility of war and

the difficulties endured, but the -- you know, from all sides, how it affected other people. Obviously, the story of the Vietnamese people and

the civilians is not my story to tell, but it was important to me, you know, that it felt real.

ISAACSON: You know, finding love amid war, or the aftermath of war, it's been one of themes in your books. In this case, I think one of the closest

relationships is with two women. I think Ethel and Barb. Tell us about the friendship and why you focus so much on female friendship here.

HANNAH: Well, you know, we are all so used to seeing male camaraderie during war, Walter. And it -- you know, when I was like writing this book

and I set out and, you know, Frankie goes to war and she ends up in Vietnam and she enters her hooch and -- which is their living quarters. And, you

know, there would have been two women there.

And I realized that in as difficult a setting as this, those kinds of friendships and the humor, the love, the difficulty, the intensity, all of

that would come to fruition, you know, as a friendship between these women to save each other during, you know, this really difficult year.

And since female friendship is so important to me, I'm such a believer in this idea that women hold each other up, that women, you know, speak out

for each other and care for each other. And so, it was really great to have this novel that is, you know, about war and about the aftermath of war to

also be about the fundamentals of friendship and the importance of friendship and about women being almost soulmates to each other throughout

their lives.

ISAACSON: One of the issues facing the nurses when they came home is that their service didn't count for certification as nursing service. Tell me

about this and what was done about that.

HANNAH: You know, that was a really interesting part of the research to me. I was shocked to discover that -- you know, as I said earlier, these --

a lot of these women went to war very young, right out of nursing school, or just having received their nursing diploma degrees. And so, had very

little clinical experience.

And -- you know, and then they go to war and they're thrown into, you know, this hell of combat surgery and combat medicine and mass units. And you can

tell through the book, and I could certainly see through the research, the level of nursing skills that they were attaining over there.

And I mean, from so many of their memoirs and from speaking to them, what they faced when they came home was, you know, an -- all too often a

disregard for everything that they had learned over there. And so, in other words, the hospitals and the people hiring them in the U.S. we're looking

at their U.S. service and seeing, well, you know, you don't have a bunch of experience here. So, let's start you as a beginner nurse again. And for a

lot of them, I think that's led them out of the nursing profession because they had so much experience and weren't being rewarded for that.

Although, interestingly enough, I met a woman, who is now a judge in California, who was a former army nurse. And I asked her about this very

point. I said, you know, what was it like coming back and being treated, you know, as a lesser experienced nurse than you were? And she said, well,

the interesting thing about the whole experience in Vietnam, and one of the things that it changed in them was this idea that once they had been

through that and come home, they felt that they could do anything.


And so, a lot of the women that I met were now doctors or dentists or judges or -- you know, so they had gone back to school to become something


ISAACSON: You know, this work is a piece of historical fiction, like many of your works, especially famously "The Nightingale," which I think sold

more than four and a half million copies.

When you do the genre of historical fiction, how much research do you do into history? Because this is a very rich tale of what it was like in these

medical camps in Vietnam.

HANNAH: Yes, I mean, it does take a lot of research to write a really authentic feeling historical novel. I mean, as a lot of us know, what

history was and what we think history was isn't always exactly the same thing. And so, you're constantly trying to be as truthful and as authentic

and as real as you can be within the parameters of fiction.

But this one was particularly, I guess, scary for me to write, to set out to write because I knew that there would be so many readers of this novel

who had actually experienced the war in a way that I had not. And so, it was very important for me, once I had done the year of research to

understand the time and the experiences to then speak to the actual nurses and the helicopter pilots and doctors and Red Cross workers to make sure

that, you know, I was telling the story in a really authentic and true way.

And I was so fortunate to come into contact with Diane Carlson Evans, who is a former army nurse and the founder of the Vietnam Women's Memorial. And

she ended up being kind of my mentor in this. And she's been just a profound help. And it's been great to meet so many of these nurses and see

how much it means to them to have this story told.

ISAACSON: Tell me more about Diane Carlson Evans, who was sort of your helpmate in a way in writing this book.

HANNAH: I was so lucky, you know, to find her. She had written this book called "Healing Wounds" about her experience as a nurse and her experience

then coming home and, you know, channeling her energy into the fight for a memorial that remembered her sister veterans, and it was a decades-long

fight for her.

I was fortunate enough last November, for Veterans Day, to go to Washington, D.C. for the 30th anniversary of the Women's Vietnam Memorial

with Diane Carlson Evans. And to see this group of female Vietnam vets at their memorial standing together, telling their stories, you know, they

were hugging, they were crying, they were introducing their children, it was really one of the most powerful moments of my life to watch that.

And I often say now, I feel like my mother who I lost, you know, when I was young is somewhere -- and put Diane and me together because it was an

amazing experience. And I'm so proud of her. And I'm proud to say that she has just been nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and I can't

think of anyone who deserves it more.

ISAACSON: At the very end of the book, you have Frankie talking almost directly to the reader, as if it were almost you talking to the reader. And

I'm going to read you from that portion, you said, Frankie would not let them be forgotten anymore. Somehow, she would find a way to tell the

country about her sisters, the women with whom she'd serve, for the nurses who had died for their children, for the women who would follow in the

years to come.

Maybe, like so many things. It began simply with words, speaking up, standing in the sunlight, coming together, demanding honesty and truth,

taking pride. The women had a story to tell, even if the world wasn't quite ready to hear it. And their story begins with three simple words, we were


Tell me about that notion of you almost talking directly to the reader saying, here's why I had to do this book.

HANNAH: That's exactly it, that -- you know, and interestingly enough, I don't know that I would have known, that I would have gotten there, that I

would have expected that to be sort of the ending pass of this novel when I started.


But one of the things I learned over the process of researching this was exactly that point, that it is so important. And again, I keep hitting on

it, on -- to remember people who sacrifice on our behalf and to honor them and to -- you know, especially now as they are aging, to make sure that we

as a society are collecting their stories and are showing that we think it matters.

ISAACSON: Kristin, Hannah, thank you so much for joining the show.

HANNAH: Thank you, Walter. This has been lovely.


GOLODRYGA: Well, now, we take a moment to admire some awe-inspiring art. Sir Antony Gormley is one of Britain's most beloved artists. His sculptures

are recognized all over the world, and include the famous Angel of the North in England.

Christiane spoke with the artist amid a major retrospective of his work at London's prestigious Royal Academy. We look back now at their conversation

about his work and how art can provide people a place to reflect on themselves and the sometimes chaotic world around us.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Sir Antony Gormley, welcome to the program.

ANTONY GORMLEY, ARTIST: Lovely to be here, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: So, this is quite an amazing, incredible exhibition, and we're sitting in the room which I think you call this particular room Lost


GORMLEY: I do, yes.

AMANPOUR: And it's all floating and fixed to the walls and the ceilings. How on earth did you even get it installed?

GORMLEY: Well, yes, I -- people are very intrigued by the engineering, but that's obviously not the point.

AMANPOUR: But it's part of the gee whiz nature of this whole exhibition, which then goes to what you hope to communicate.

GORMLEY: Yes, I think you have to stop people in their tracks and ask them to think again about what's possible. And, hopefully, that opens kind of

the doors of the imagination, and they start running with it for themselves. I say to everybody that comes, you know, you are the subject of

this exhibition, and you might say, even in this room, where there are 24 industrial fossils of me, I think that this room is really asking you to

reorientate yourself in space.

And I think that goes for the whole show. It is really about making propositions in the space that hopefully catalyze that space and make the

subject, which is the viewer, hyperaware of his or her relative position, and that's absolutely true in here.

AMANPOUR: And what I think is amazing is the beginning. Before you even get into the gallery in the courtyard, there's that tiny, tiny, little

baby, which even looks smaller than I expected from the pictures I saw before coming in. And you've just laid it on the ground, and it is so

vulnerable. Tell me what you were doing with that.

GORMLEY: I think I just wanted to make the point that art is useless if it doesn't, in some way, energize life. Here, we have a six-day-old baby, my

daughter Paloma. I didn't mold her. I hasten to add.

And I guess I just wanted that to be the initiation of a sequence of thoughts about human futures, about our relationship with the planet. So,

here is a baby almost removed from the chest or the stomach of the mother and placed onto the Earth. And I think the baby is immensely peaceful. It

seems to be at ease, and yet, at the same time, as you say, it's extremely vulnerable.

And seeing it straight off Piccadilly, where the buses roar past, I guess that's just asking a question, like Greta Thunberg asks, you know, what is

our part in making sure that our children and our children's children's future is as rich and supportive as ours?

AMANPOUR: The baby is sculpted in iron --


AMANPOUR: -- which is the core of the Earth.

GORMLEY: Exactly.

AMANPOUR: And you did that deliberately.

GORMLEY: Exactly. All of these works -- these works weigh 630 kilos, so about three-quarters of an imperial ton each. They are mass. They are

displacements of a human space in space at large. And I think of them -- you know, the traditional materials in sculpture are bronze and marble. And

I wanted to remove those in order to focus, in a sense, on the elemental and our relationship, as you say, to the core of this planet.


AMANPOUR: And I hadn't realized, but I think all these figures, as you say, I mean, this massive tonnage, but they're solid. I mean, these are not

hollow. They're solid.

GORMLEY: Yes, very, very solid. I should be able to go and, you know, you can --

AMANPOUR: Oh, boy.

GORMLEY: You can really --

AMANPOUR: Only you can do that. None of us are allowed to touch the sculptures.

GORMLEY: You can really -- you know, I mean, I think -- you know, I'm not bothered about people touching these.

AMANPOUR: There is an image of one of your very early sculptures, if not the earliest. I'm not sure. But it's also a lying figure in a street

covered with what looks like a sheet. And it I understand that came from your experience in India.

GORMLEY: India, yes. I lost all my money and my passport in Kolkata and spent a couple of weeks on the streets, and that was a very formative

experience. You know, I had a very privileged upbringing and had never really lacked for anything. And the fellowship of folk who had nothing, but

gave everything. It was -- you know, that was an amazing lesson.

And that work, which is called Sleeping Place, well, I made it very soon after coming back. I just asked Nicky Chubb, who's a friend, to lie on the

floor, and I covered her in a plaster-soaked hospital sheet. And it is absolutely a reproduction of what I saw on Howrah Station in Kolkata, but

all over India, and people sleeping on the streets, often with a couple of slippers left by the side of the head. You didn't know whether they were

alive or dead. This was a -- well, like the baby, a description of the minimum space the human being needs to survive, and, curiously, this

intimate thing, again, in the world, in the world of bullock carts and rituals and all that noise.

AMANPOUR: Is the cave also a body form? I mean --

GORMLEY: Yes, it is.

AMANPOUR: -- apparently, if you look -- yes, from above. You designed it. Yes.

GORMLEY: No, no, I will show you. I will show you in a minute.


GORMLEY: We can go and stand underneath the head.


GORMLEY: And you do actually see the whole thing.

I love the acoustics in here.

AMANPOUR: Oh, my giddy aunt.

GORMLEY: It's just a very particular feeling.


GORMLEY: You can stand up now.


GORMLEY: So, this is -- if you look up here, this is now the left arm. And then -- and now, we're in the torso. And --


GORMLEY: But I just wanted -- you know, this is a grand -- a grand building, you know, 18th century palace, really And I just thought to

introduce our first habitation or our first experience, our species' first experience of shelter was this kind of space, with this kind of acoustic,

with this -- so, it returns you to, I think -- yes, I want firsthand experience but I also want to link that in a way to maybe those feelings

that we had before we had speech, when we were in our, you know, mother's tummies.

AMANPOUR: Wow. It's just --

GORMLEY: This noise, it goes on.

AMANPOUR: That is a profound rumble.

GORMLEY: I love it. It's still going, isn't it?

AMANPOUR: I understand that, when you were growing up, and you grew up as a fervent Catholic or at least in a fervently Catholic home.

GORMLEY: Yes, absolutely.

AMANPOUR: And your family's tradition, I think, after lunch was for you all to have a nap. How did that affect your imagination, your relationship?

GORMLEY: I think that is the basis of my work, thinking about the body as a vessel, as a place, rather than an object. And that experience being sent

up after lunch for an enforced rest, when I wasn't tired -- in fact, I was highly energized, because I had just had lunch.

And lying there with my eyes closed, and feeling -- it was a particular room, it's this enclosed balcony on the first floor, very hot with a cork

floor with a particular smell and very bright. I'm closing my eyes, and my eye -- my -- the eyelids would make that light coming through them pink or

red. And it would be hot.


And, anyway, over time, over the repeated action of going up there, this space, I became familiar with, and I began to inhabit it. And it

transformed from being hot, red and claustrophobic to being increasingly more open and cooler and dark.

And when I -- I often ask people, when you close your eyes, now, where are you? You're in a space, but it has no objects, it has no edge, it has no

things in it, and this is the space of consciousness. This is the space of imagination. This is where we can go when we want to be free. You project

hopefully onto these spaces and the objects in them your feeling, your thought. And I think that's the best that art can do, return us to the

miracle of being alive.

AMANPOUR: So, is that -- there's a room beyond where we're sitting now. It's the last room with the huge pool. And I think you've called part of

the Atlantic and part of Buckinghamshire.

GORMLEY: That's right.


GORMLEY: Yes. No, it's mud and seawater. It's 30,000 liters of the Atlantic and 25 cubic meters of Buckinghamshire.

This is Host.

AMANPOUR: I love this. It's so dramatic.

GORMLEY: But what I love most is the way this is a self-producing landscape. This is terraforming just itself. And it reminds me of flying

over of the middle of Australia, this kind of --

AMANPOUR: It's remarkable.

GORMLEY: -- this kind of infinite, subtle kind of bumps and hollows. But it's beginning -- you can see, it's beginning now --

AMANPOUR: To bubble a bit.

GORMLEY: -- to bubble. So, this is a living thing. This is a primal soup. This is an organic process. There we are, some organic residues in here.

So, this is the grand rotunda in the center of the Royal Academy. And I have sort of done this -- well, this is, you know, Newton's apple --


GORMLEY: -- in a rested fall, making -- hopefully, you aware of gravity in a way that you wouldn't otherwise. These are supported by two cranes

permanently put in. And, you know, these are, you know, free to move. And well, it's difficult not to --

AMANPOUR: Are people allowed to touch it when they come in?

GORMLEY: Well, they're not really.


GORMLEY: I really like it when --

AMANPOUR: It is remarkable.

GORMLEY: That sort Foucault pendulum feeling. I like the idea that you negotiate around these two things.

AMANPOUR: It's phenomenal.

GORMLEY: So, they're like two planets sort of hanging, grace of gravity.

AMANPOUR: Just beautiful.

You have some amazing, huge works outside, North of England. And then on the beach at Merseyside, you have all these figures like this on the beach.

GORMLEY: And other places, yes.

AMANPOUR: And now, you're planning to do something on the coast of France, in response to Brexit, I think. What are you saying about our current

political climate, or why are you building them on the coast of France?

GORMLEY: I think it's an extraordinary paradox, that, in a time in which we have the greatest potential of understanding -- in other words, we have,

with the internet, this realization of what Teilhard de Chardin and Vernadsky called the noosphere, the encirclement of the globe by human mind

and our ability to communicate.

At the same time, we have this reactive force that is both fundamentalism in religious terms and nationalism in political terms. And I think we

cannot face the future, we cannot answer any of the issues of the social justice without talking to our neighbors and without realizing that our

future and their future are one future.

And, you know, I will go on doing as much as I can to work across the globe to make pieces that encourage people to think openly about what is possible

and what our species is possible -- well, what is possible for our species in terms of our participation in the evolution of life.

AMANPOUR: And you almost said to make peace.

GORMLEY: Well, no, I think you can have hubristic ideas about what the possibility of art can do. I think art is always a space apart that

hopefully allows you to look back at your own life and the world and recalibrate your relationship with it. That's the best it can do.

AMANPOUR: Sir Antony Gormley, thank you so much.

GORMLEY: Thank you.



GOLODRYGA: Wow. An incredible conversation and an incredible body of work.

And finally, a legacy of a different kind. Today, the U.S. marks the 70th anniversary of Brown v. The Board of Education. A landmark 1954 Supreme

Court case and ruling that outlawed racial segregation in American schools, a major breakthrough for the civil rights movement at the time.

President Biden met with some of the original plaintiffs and spoke at the African American History Museum for the anniversary. Lamenting that so

school inequality is still an issue and that the potential of Brown v. The Board of Education remains unfulfilled.

Well, that is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can

always catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from New York.