Tag Archives: University of Kentucky

Kentucky Novelist, UK Professor Enjoys Sweet Peach of a Summer

“Another sweaty summer presents itself like a gift. Sun is a peach outside the window, grass all calmed down.”

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University Press of Kentucky author Crystal Wilkinson has had a summer of gold. From her novel, The Birds of Opulencebeing named the winner of the 2016 Appalachian Writers Association‘s Appalachian Book of the Year for Fiction to Wilkinson herself being appointed as the 2018 Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Murray State University, Wilkinson has spent the hot summer months earning both professional and personal honors.

Birds follows four generations of women in a bucolic southern black township as they live with—and sometimes surrender to—madness. The book hones in on the hopeful and sometimes tragic navigation of life as seen through the eyes of the Goode-Brown family. This marks the fourth award The Birds of Opulence has won, including the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, the Weatherford Award for Fiction, and the Judy Gaines Young Book Award. Wilkinson’s novel was also named the debut selection of the Open Canon Book Club, which was created by New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash to introduce readers to varied voices and portrayals of the American experience.

Birds is not the only one of Wilkinson’s books that has gotten attention this summer. Her second short story collection, Water Street, has been selected as the One Book Read at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. The program is a community-wide effort to help eliminate illiteracy in the region, with faculty and staff at WKCTC collaborating with many local and college partners to promote reading.

WATER STREET

Wilkinson’s work has earned her personal honors as well. The Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Committee and the West Virginia Center for the Book selected her for the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award. Previous recipients include Henry Louis Gates, Charles Frazier, Frank X Walker, Denise Giardina, and Silas House. In conjunction with the award, she will be the One Book, One West Virginia Author for 2019, and Water Street will be read by students across the state.

In addition, Wilkinson has gained speaker representation from Authors Unbound, which will broker her events in the form of literary engagements, one book programs, distinguished lectures, keynote appearances, community visits, and a variety of signature events.

Pictured at the top is Wilkinson sitting on a book bench designed by Bowling Green artist Lora Gill. Book Benches: A Tribute to Kentucky Authors is a public art project that features book-shaped benches, each themed around a different work by a Kentucky author, that have been placed around Lexington as a way to encourage reading. Wilkinson’s bench will be installed along South Limestone Street in front of the University Press of Kentucky office in November.

To top it off, Wilkinson accepted a new position as Associate Professor of English in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at the University of Kentucky. Further information on Crystal Wilkinson, her books, and her upcoming events can be found on her new author website: https://www.crystalewilkinson.net/.

From all of us at Kentucky Press, congratulations on a wonderful summer, Crystal!

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Remembering Dr. Paul Karan

Dr. Pradyumna (Paul) Karan, long-time University of Kentucky professor of geography and Japanese Studies, passed away on July 19, 2018. Dr. Karan was a highly regarded and respected professor and colleague. In the words of Anne Dean Dotson, Senior Acqusitions Editor at the University Press of Kentucky, “He will be missed dearly . . . . He was a special, patient soul, and his familiar chuckle will never be forgotten.”

Karan

Born in India in 1930, growing up with the importance of education stressed by his parents, Dr. Karan studied economics and geography at Banaras Hindu University, and later got his PhD from Indiana University. Hired in 1956, Dr. Karan was one of the first international faculty members in UK’s history. Over his sixty-year career, he was a professor of human geography, director of Indian Studies, taught in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and was heavily involved with the UK Japan Studies program. Dr. Karan traveled extensively to Japan, China, and India for research and speaking engagements. He also taught at several universities across the United States, Europe, Russia, Japan, and India.

Dr. Karan worked extensively to understand the connections between economic development and the environment, particularly in India, Japan, and the Himalayan states. He conducted research that aimed at reconstructing and rebuilding in Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011, among other work focused on simultaneously preserving local cultures and the environment.

The University Press of Kentucky is privileged to have published a number of Dr. Karan’s books over the course of his career. In honor of this esteemed educator, here are some of his works:

Karan book 1

 

Japan in the 21st Century explores the crucial political, economic, demographics, and environmental challenges facing the nation now and moving forward. Karan highlights challenges that will face Japan in the coming years, and offers insights into how these problems might be addressed.

 

 

 

Karan book 2

 

Japan in the Bluegrass, edited by Karan, examines the regional and local impacts of the globalization of Japanese business in the United States. Particularly focusing on the impact of Toyota in Kentucky, these essays explore beyond politics and economics, delving into the social, cultural, and environmental effects of Japanese investment in Kentucky.

 

 

 

Karan book 3

 

The Japanese City, edited by Karan and Kristin Stapleton, is a collection of essays aimed at addressing the issue of inner-city violence in American cities, particularly through examination of the city of Tokyo. Factors, such as urban landscape, spatial mixing of social classes in the city, and environmental pollution, are utilized in comparisons between Tokyo and the American city. This work offers a comprehensive look at the contemporary Japanese city.

 

 

Karan book 4

 

Written by Cotton Mather, Paul Karan, and Shigeru Iijima, Japanese Landscapes: Where Land and Culture Merge is a visual guide for Japanese landscapes. The authors look at the complex interaction of culture, time, and space in the evolution of landscapes in Japan. By examining everything from home gardens to roadside shoulders, this work offers a unified analysis of the Japanese landscape.

 

 

Karan book 5

 

Local Environmental Movements, edited by Karan and Unryu Suganuma, examines how grassroots organizations have worked to promote sustainable development in the face of defeatist attitudes towards environment crises. Drawing on a series of case studies, this work illustrates how local groups in both Japan and the United States are working for environmental protection and cultural preservation.

 

Karan book 6

Edited by Karan and Shanmugam P. Subbiah, The Indian Ocean Tsunami analyses the aftermath of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Focusing on the response and recovery to this tragedy, this collection studies the environment, economic, and political effects of the tsunami.

 

 

 

 

Karan book 7

 

Japan after 3/11, edited by Karan and Unryu Suganuma, considers the complex economic, physical, and social impacts of the 2011 earthquake that triggered a tsunami and the Fukushima meltdown. This collection includes strategies for reclamation and rebuilding, interviews with victims which explore the social implications of the disaster, and much more to serve as an invaluable guide to the planning and implementation of reconstruction.

 

Meet the Press: Hayward Wilkirson, Book Designer

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Name: Hayward Wilkirson
Position: Book Designer
Home state: Kentucky
Alma mater(s), area(s) of study: International Center of Photography, New York, Documentary Photography; University of Kentucky, Economics; Transylvania University, Political Science

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

This is a semi-new position at the press. We have had a full-time designer on staff before, but it has been years. Basically, my job is to design the covers for all of the books that we publish. Pressure, much!?

 

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Sir Barton, 1955. Courtesy of the National Museum of Racing

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

 

I think it will be Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown, as long as the powers that be go with my favorite of the three cover concepts that I just submitted. Just kidding.

 

 

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

Shaker Village for the architecture, Mammoth Cave for the wonder, the UK Art Museum for the art, and the rooftop patio at Dudley’s Restaurant for the drinks.

What’s your favorite word?

Nice cover. Oh wait, that’s two words.

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

Do you have a favorite child?

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

I’ve been interested in art and design for many years, but when I was a kid I wanted to be an astronomer.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

Why ruin the illusion?

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

My mom is 98, so we try to get large-print books for her, which I sometimes pick up and read. The last book I read was one of her large-print Patricia Cornwell novels, and no, I would not recommend it.

Any hidden talents?

Hiding my talents.

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

Sailboat captain.

Hayward

Farewell to a Sports Legend

NewtonC.M. Newton, a giant in the history of the University of Kentucky, the Southeastern Conference, and in the sport of basketball, died Monday, June 4. Newton launched a basketball coaching career that spanned three decades at three different institutions. He began in 1956 at Transylvania College (where he recruited that program’s first African-American player), followed by coaching stints at the University of Alabama (where he recruited that program’s first African-American player and led the Crimson Tide to three straight SEC titles) and at Vanderbilt University, before returning to his alma mater in 1989 to become UK’s athletic director, a post he held for 11 years.

Newton is widely credited for navigating the resurrection of UK’s basketball program after the NCAA imposed three years probation and other sanctions following the 1988–89 season. He also hired Bernadette Mattox as UK’s first African-American women’s basketball coach (in 1995) and Orlando (“Tubby”) Smith as the university’s first African-American men’s basketball coach (in 1997).

He served as president of USA basketball from 1992–1996 and helped select the United States Olympic “Dream Team” of 1992. In 2000 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

brunkCover.inddNewton reflected on his career in Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats by Doug Brunk. In honor of this sports legend, here is an excerpt from the book:


Having grown up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida I had never seen snow before I went to Kentucky. Being in such a different environment was quite a culture shock to me. In fact, there were times I was so homesick that I thought of leaving the program and returning to Florida. My teammate Ralph Beard and our team manager Humsey Yessin talked me out of that. They’d say things like, “you don’t want to leave Kentucky” and “we’re here for you.” So I stayed.

As a player I never had a significant impact because I was a substitute. But I always felt a part of something really big. The fact that I played on the 1951 national championship team, the fact that I made the travel squad, and that I was one of the first substitutes off the bench made it palatable for me.

Coach Rupp was very important to me because he motivated in a different way than what I was accustomed to. He motivated by fear, mostly, but he was an outstanding basketball coach. I never did break through that fear of Coach Rupp. For example, I’m the only player that ever played for Coach Rupp who went on to coach against him and won. This was in 1972, during my third year as coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of Alabama. We beat the Wildcats 73-70 on our home court. Coach Rupp always considered former players as “one of his boys.” You never were a peer, but I wanted to be a coaching peer of his. When our Alabama team beat him that day I thought that might be a breakthrough on the way to that goal but it wasn’t. After our win he congratulated me and said we deserved to win. Then he said, “but…” — and with that I was transported right back to the player-coach relationship. “You’re trying to do too much offensively,” he told me. “You need to simplify your offense.” He wasn’t being critical; that was just his nature.

My freshman year as a player for UK was Coach Harry Lancaster’s first as a full-time assistant coach. Coach Lancaster actually did more teaching than Coach Rupp did. He was very good to me over the years, and very demanding. He became UK’s baseball coach my junior year and I was a member of that team. He was a task master but he was great to be around. I enjoyed him a great deal.

My teammates and I were student-athletes in the truest sense of the word. We were expected to come in and perform well in basketball as athletes, and we were expected to earn a degree in four years. Today’s players are much more coddled and recruited and different in that respect. I never will forget our transition from the 2,800-seat Alumni Gym, where I played until my junior year, to the 11,500-seat Memorial Coliseum. At the time many people thought Memorial Coliseum was just too big. “They’ll never fill it up,” critics said. But they did. There were similar sentiments expressed by critics and even by some coaches when Rupp Arena was built. Yet today, it’s difficult to find an open seat at any UK game played there. 

I was the head men’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt University in 1989 when I got a phone call from UK’s then-president Dr. David P. Roselle asking if I would consider becoming UK’s athletic director in the wake of an NCAA probation. I had no thought of leaving Vanderbilt for UK or anyplace else. But Dr. Roselle convinced me that I was not only wanted as the athletic director but that I was needed. It was the “needed” part that really got to me because UK had been so good to me over the years. They’d provided me an opportunity to receive an education and to play basketball. I had become a successful basketball coach because of my experience there. So off I went to UK.

[. . .]

The Big Blue Nation is fanatical about UK basketball. The way I see it, their level of devotion is on par with that of fans who follow Alabama Crimson Tide football. They are great fans in every respect of the word. Sometimes I felt like they took it too seriously and took it over the line, and yet you’d rather have that then have them be indifferent. People really care about Kentucky basketball. The Big Blue Nation includes people from all walks of life: alumni, bankers, coal miners, and even some who have never set foot on campus in Lexington. It doesn’t matter; they’re Kentucky fans.

Who Inspired John Wall, UK Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee?

Wildcat memoriesWhen the news broke that John Wall would be inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame this year—the first of Coach Cal’s Cats to earn that honor—we were reminded of his poignant contribution to Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats. For this book, author Doug Brunk interviewed some of the program’s greatest coaches and players and asked them reflect on the people who served as their mentors during their tenure as Wildcats.

The following is excerpted from Wall’s chapter in the book:


My mom, Frances Pulley, has always played an important role in my life. After my dad passed away when I was nine years old, she worked three or four jobs to make ends meet and to make sure that my sisters and I had a good life. She provided us with opportunities to reach our goals. There were times when Mom didn’t pay an electric bill so that I could compete in an Amateur Athletic Union basketball tournament. She’s been one of the biggest influential figures in my life.

Kentucky is a special place to be and a special place to play basketball. The Wildcat fans are amazing, twenty-four thousand strong at all the home games. What sets the state apart from others is that the people there love basketball so much. There are no NBA teams, NFL teams, or Major League Baseball teams in the state, so there’s nothing bigger than UK basketball from a sports standpoint.

WallI had always liked UK, and I made a couple of recruiting visits to the campus when I was in high school. I was impressed by the fans and how they treated me as a recruit, but the biggest reason I signed with UK had to do with Coach John Calipari being hired as the head basketball coach. My goal was to be in a program where I felt comfortable and was able to have fun. When I first met Coach Cal he seemed more interested in me as a person than as a player. We spent most of our time talking about life, not basketball. That impressed me, because when you’re being recruited you don’t want to hear a coach beg you to death and talk to you only about basketball, because there’s more to life. Choosing the college program you want to play for is a big decision, and once you sign the letter of intent, you’ve given your commitment. Coach Cal made the decision to sign with UK easy for me. My mom trusted him right away, and he became a father figure to me.

The people who were most influential to me during my year at UK were the basketball coaching staff, my teammates, and Randall Cobb,¹ who played on the UK football team. I looked up to Randall as a star on the football field and for how he played multiple positions. He was real competitive and a class-act guy. I watched every game I could to see how he performed. Every time he touched the ball he was trying to make a fundamental play, not a heroic play. That impressed me.

My coaches at UK taught me ways to become a better leader not only to lead the team but to go out on the basketball court, have fun, and enjoy myself. I could talk to them about anything. If I was having a bad day or if I was down about something, they’d pick me up. They didn’t babysit me and my teammates, but they wanted to make sure we were doing the right things on and off the court. I related to Rod Strickland² in particular because he was a point guard during his college and NBA career. He taught me some moves and ways I could improve my game. In my book he was one of the best NBA point guards of his era, so it wasn’t hard for me to learn from a guy like that.

Another person influential to me was Reese Kemp,³ a boy from Nicholasville, Kentucky, who has cystic fibrosis and diabetes. I had the opportunity to meet Reese at Kentucky Children’s Hospital in 2009, and he’s been in my life ever since. He’s attended some Washington Wizards home games, and today I’m kind of like a big brother to him.

When I was given an opportunity to become the starting point guard for the Washington Wizards, I knew what would be expected of me thanks to the leadership lessons I learned at UK. That certainly helped me in my current role. I’m grateful that fans of the Big Blue Nation support me because I sure support them. Whenever I have the opportunity to see a game in Rupp Arena I travel back for that. I no longer wear a Kentucky uniform, but in September 2013 I returned to Rupp Arena with the Washington Wizards to compete against former Wildcats Anthony Davis and Darius Miller and the rest of the New Orleans Pelicans in an NBA preseason game. To be able to play on that court again was big-time special.

Notes:
1. Randall Cobb was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. He will also be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.
2. Rod Strickland was a member of John Calipari’s coaching staff from 2009 through the 2013–2014 campaign.
3. Reese Kemp is the founder of Reese’s Resources, Inc., a foundation aimed at raising awareness of cystic fibrosis.


Read more personal essays from Kentucky basketball legends including Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Dan Issel, Joe B. Hall, Kyle Macy, Darius Miller, and Tubby Smith in Wildcat Memories.

New Releases: Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series

For those headed to Arlington this week for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) annual meeting, swing by our booth; say hello to our representative, Melissa Hammer; and browse a few of these great new titles!

Click here to view all titles in the Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series.

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Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow
Confidential Diplomacy and Détente
Richard A. Moss
Foreword by Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)

“Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow will become an instant classic. For all of the books that mention the back channels—Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s most important foreign policy tools—this is the first to exhaustively mine the archives to explain their origin, how they were used, and to what end. Lucidly written and superbly researched, future works on Nixon foreign policy will have no choice but to consult this essential work. It is a must read to understand the era.”—Luke Nichter, author of Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World

Most Americans consider détente to be among the Nixon administration’s most significant foreign policy successes. The diplomatic back channel that national security advisor Henry Kissinger established with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin became the most important method of achieving this thaw in the Cold War. Kissinger praised back channels for preventing leaks and streamlining communications. These methods, however, were widely criticized by State Department officials and by an American press and public weary of executive branch prevarication and secrecy.

Richard A. Moss’s penetrating study documents and analyzes US-Soviet back channels from Nixon’s inauguration through what has widely been heralded as the apex of détente, the May 1972 Moscow Summit. He traces the evolution of confidential-channel diplomacy and examines major flashpoints, including the 1970 crisis over Cienfuegos, Cuba, the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT), US dealings with China, deescalating tensions in Berlin, and the Vietnam War.

Employing newly declassified documents, the complete record of the Kissinger-Dobrynin channel—jointly compiled, translated, annotated, and published by the US State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry— as well as the Nixon tapes, Moss reveals the behind-the-scenes deliberations of Nixon, his advisers, and their Soviet counterparts. Although much has been written about détente, this is the first scholarly study that comprehensively assesses the central role of confidential diplomacy in shaping America’s foreign policy during this critical era.


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Foreign Policy at the Periphery
The Shifting Margins of US International Relations since World War II
Edited by Bevan Sewell and Maria Ryan

“Even after the United States became a global superpower, some regions of the world remained peripheral to American interests. What set these areas apart? And why did the U.S. eventually become drawn into their affairs? In this smart collection of original essays, an all-star lineup of historians answers these questions, and more, and uncovers the powerful dynamics that have shaped America’s rise to globalism.”—Andrew Preston, Cambridge University

As American interests assumed global proportions after 1945, policy makers were faced with the challenge of prioritizing various regions and determining the extent to which the United States was prepared to defend and support them. Superpowers and developing nations soon became inextricably linked, and the decolonization of states such as Vietnam, India, and Egypt assumed a central role in the ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. As the twentieth century came to an end, many of the challenges of the Cold War became even more complex as the Soviet Union collapsed and new threats arose.

Featuring original essays by leading scholars, Foreign Policy at the Periphery examines relationships among new nations and the United States from the end of the Second World War through the global war on terror. Rather than reassessing familiar flashpoints of US foreign policy, the contributors explore neglected but significant developments such as the efforts of evangelical missionaries in the Congo, the 1958 stabilization agreement with Argentina, Henry Kissinger’s policies toward Latin America during the 1970s, and the financing of terrorism in Libya via petrodollars. Blending new, internationalist approaches to diplomatic history with newly released archival materials, this book brings together diverse strands of scholarship to address compelling issues in modern world history.


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Reagan and the World
Leadership and National Security, 1981-1989
Edited by Bradley Lynn Coleman and Kyle Longley
Foreword by Jack Matlock Jr.

“Coleman and Longley have assembled a terrific line-up of contributors, and both are accomplished scholars whose reputations and skills enhance this valuable contribution to understanding a contested presidency.”—Richard H. Immerman, author of Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz

Throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan sought “peace through strength” during an era of historic change. In the decades since, pundits and scholars have argued over the president’s legacy: some consider Reagan a charismatic and consummate leader who renewed American strength and defeated communism. To others he was an ambitious and dangerous warmonger whose presidency was plagued with mismanagement, misconduct, and foreign policy failures. The recent declassification of Reagan administration records and the availability of new Soviet documents has created an opportunity for more nuanced, complex, and compelling analyses of this pivotal period in international affairs.

In Reagan and the World, leading scholars and national security professionals offer fresh interpretations of the fortieth president’s influence on American foreign policy. This collection addresses Reagan’s management of the US national security establishment as well as the influence of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and others in the administration and Congress. The contributors present in-depth explorations of US-Soviet relations and American policy toward Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. This balanced and sophisticated examination reveals the complexity of Reagan’s foreign policy, clarifies the importance of other international actors of the period, and provides new perspectives on the final decade of the Cold War.


9780813169057US Presidential Elections
Candidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton
Edited by Andrew Johnstone and Andrew Priest

“This book is part of an important trend in examining the connection between domestic policies and foreign policy. Its chapters will have enduring relevance.”—Elizabeth N. Saunders, author of Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions

While domestic issues loom large in voters’ minds during American presidential elections, matters of foreign policy have consistently shaped candidates and their campaigns. From the start of World War II through the collapse of the Soviet Union, presidential hopefuls needed to be perceived as credible global leaders in order to win elections—regardless of the situation at home—and voter behavior depended heavily on whether the nation was at war or peace. Yet there is little written about the importance of foreign policy in US presidential elections or the impact of electoral issues on the formation of foreign policy.

In US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy, a team of international scholars examines how the relationship between foreign policy and electoral politics evolved through the latter half of the twentieth century. Covering all presidential elections from 1940 to 1992—from debates over American entry into World War II to the aftermath of the Cold War—the contributors correct the conventional wisdom that domestic issues and the economy are always definitive. Together they demonstrate that, while international concerns were more important in some campaigns than others, foreign policy always matters and is often decisive. This illuminating commentary fills a significant gap in the literature on presidential and electoral politics, emphasizing that candidates’ positions on global issues have a palpable impact on American foreign policy.


Other great books in the series:

Happy 100th Birthday to Kirk Douglas!

One of the original leading men, Kirk Douglas came along in the final days of the major studio system, and he was one of the first box office stars to take charge of his own destiny by  becoming involved in the production and marketing of the films in which he appeared.

He was a vital force in such classics as Out of the Past (1947), Champion (1949), Detective Story (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and Lust for Life (1956). He formed his own company, Bryna, and made such major films as Paths of Glory (1957), Spartacus (1960), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), and Seven Days in May (1964).

Along the way, he distinguished himself in a number of westerns, including The Big Sky (1952), Man without a Star (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), and The War Wagon (1967), while also tackling several action roles in historical period pictures like 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1954), Ulysses (1955), and The Vikings (1958).

conversations_with_classic_film_stars_coverRenowned for his support of liberal causes, Douglas is often credited with helping break down the dreaded Hollywood anti-Communist “blacklist” by hiring blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (who also celebrates a birthday today!) to write the screenplay for Spartacus.
In a conversation with Douglas in conjunction with Draw!, a 1984 HBO TV western, Ronald Miller asked the iconic actor about his work with other leading actors and actresses, antiheroes, and working within the studio system. You can find a full transcript of their conversation in Conversations with Classic Film Stars—a perfect gift for the film buff this holiday season.

In the excerpt below, Miller and Douglas discuss the unique art of filmmaking, and its pitfalls, as well as Douglas’s involvement in the Oscar-winning, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Excerpted from Conversations with Classic Film Stars:

Miller: You’ve worked with every kind of movie director and you don’t have a reputation for getting into disputes with them, but you are known for demanding a collaborative atmosphere on the set. Explain that.

Douglas: I’ve worked with [Joseph] Mankiewicz, [Howard] Hawks, [Elia] Kazan, [William] Wyler, [Billy] Wilder. I’ve been very fortunate. All of them work differently. I’ve even directed a couple of pictures, so I have respect for the work. But no matter what anyone says, it’s a collaborative art form. No matter how much one person is a binding force, it’s still a collaboration.

I think the problem today is that we’ve been contaminated by the European concept of the auteur system. I’ve had movies where I bought the book, developed the script, and cast the whole picture, but then the director walks in and says, “It must be a John Smith film!” I think sometimes we emphasize that too much.

Miller: Though you’ve avoided big hassles with your directors, you’ve had a few disputes with studio managements, haven’t you?

Douglas: Let me give you an example of that: Lonely Are the Brave. You need the proper selling of a picture like that. I thought Universal just threw it away. They didn’t give it a chance. They took it out of circulation. Then there were all those great reviews and people said, “Where’s the picture?” Their ego prevented them from making a different campaign for the picture. The longer I’m in this business, the more amazed I am that a movie can be made, good or bad.

Miller: You’ve taken lots of chances in your career, but I imagine one of your greatest frustrations was not being able to play McMurphy on the big screen in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest after acquiring the rights to the book from Ken Kesey and playing the part on the stage in New York.

douglas-kirk_03Douglas: It was way ahead of its time. When I took it to Broadway, the critics didn’t know what to make of it. The audience loved it, but it didn’t do very well. I tried for nearly twelve years to make it as a movie. I took it to every studio. But they wouldn’t do it, even with a limited budget. Finally, I went into partnership with my son, Michael, and we were able to find somebody outside of the industry to put up the money and we made a little picture that I never predicted would be a hit. So it did over $200 million! Nobody knows what will really be successful.

Miller: What do you think of Michael as a producer?

Douglas: I told him, “Michael, you’re the kind of producer I’d like to work with because you give everything to the other person even when you’re in the movie.” He did that in Romancing the Stone [1984]. He focused all the attention on the girl [Kathleen Turner]. I haven’t been that generous. I’ve been a producer, but I find a product like Spartacus or The Vikings or Seven Days in May or Paths of Glory and somehow there always seems to be a good part for me.