I’ll be on the Northern Alliance Radio Network tomorrow from 11 to 1, central time (that’s 12 to 2, eastern). You can listen on the web by going to the Patriot’s web site.
Starting at noon central time, we’ll be interviewing Stephen Hunter, novelist and film critic for the Washington Post. We’ll talk about his new book (co-authored with John Bainbridge), American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman, which recounts the assassination attempt by two Puerto Rican nationalists in 1950–an attempt that came dangerously close to succeeding. I finished American Gunfight on an airplane this afternoon. I highly recommend it; it’s an engrossing narrative, written in a breezy style that sometimes has faint echoes of crime fiction of the ’40s and ’50s.
The assassination attempt is largely forgotten now; but one thing that should not be forgotten is the heroism of the Secret Service men and White House policemen who saved Truman’s life. One man in particular, Les Coffelt, deserves to be remembered. He was manning a guard box outside Blair House, where Truman was living while the White House was being renovated. His usual duties involved giving directions, not gunplay. So he didn’t have a chance when one of the Puerto Ricans walked up to his guard booth and shot him three times at point-blank range. The assailant then shot two other agents and stopped next to the entrance to Blair House to reload. It’s impossible to say what might have happened, had Coffelt not, as he was dying, dragged himself from the guard booth, risen to his feet, and killed the would-be Presidential assassin with a single shot to the head. It was Coffelt’s last conscious act. (Yeah, that was my reaction too: why doesn’t everyone know that story?) Clicking on the image below will take you to Amazon, if you’re interested in buying the book.
And that’s just the first half hour! Next, we’ll go on to talk about the Oscars. Stephen has listed his favorites for 2005 here.
If you miss the broadcast, you can catch up with the podcast. If you go to iTunes, you’ll see that “Power Line Podcasts” is now listed as “New and Notable.” We’re currently number 5 in the News and Politics category, ahead of Sean Hannity and the House Democrats, but, regrettably, trailing Mother Jones.
UPDATE: Amazingly enough, we’ve now moved up to #3, passing Mother Jones, and ahead of ABC News, the Senate Republicans, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among many others. Thanks to our readers! If you haven’t experimented with podcasts, I do recommend you check it out.
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