An Interview with Frederick Downs.

Abstract from Interview

1:20 – Downs’ book came to be on Booknotes because he wrote about Vietnam, a topic which Brian Lamb was interested in, and because they already knew each other.

2:30 – Downs did not prepare for his interview on the program, preferring to go with the flow. 

3:41 – From his appearance on the show he remembers most that the atmosphere was very comfortable, with an amicable staff.

6:38 – Downs considers his book, No Longer Enemies, to be the final piece of his first person trilogy about Vietnam. He then discusses his military experience, the process of dehumanizing the enemy, his war injuries, and his post-war life.

13:45 – Downs thinks that the hour long format of Booknotes is very important to get a thoughtful dialogue between the interviewer and interviewee so that the public can understand the purpose of the book, making the work more significant.

15:23 – As an author, Downs thinks the questions Lamb asked about the process of writing are very important. He also thinks that the reading public is very interested in this topic.

16:04 – Being asked biographical questions by interviewers is very unique. Downs appreciated these questions because he thinks that it is important for the public to know.

22:40 – Downs was not surprised by any of Lambs questions, but he was surprised by how thoroughly he had read the book.

23:16 – He had watched the program occasionally before his appearance. Being on the show and seeing how prepared Lamb was for the interviews helped Downs understand why he liked watching the show.

24:12 – Downs thinks that the Booknotes collection at George Mason will help to show what issues were important at that time, allowing researchers to tie in different perspectives of events from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries from the people who actually lived through them.

24:43 – There was a spike in sales after appearing on the show and all of his books are still in print. 

29:02 – The lasting impact of Booknotes is to show people the importance of having this kind of discussion and in-depth analysis of a book on television so that hopefully someone else will create a similar program. 

31:51 – Downs would have absolutely appeared on the program again if he had been asked back.


Misha Griffith (Oral Historian), “An Interview with Frederick Downs.,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed October 7, 2022,


Output Formats

Dublin Core


An Interview with Frederick Downs.


Misha Griffith (Oral Historian)


15 May 2014


Mr. Frederick Downs is interviewed as part of the Booknotes Oral History Project on 15 May 2014. Mr. Downs discusses his appearance on C-SPAN's Booknotes program on 26 January 1992, where she discussed his book "No Longer Enemies, Not Yet Friends: An American Soldier Returns to Vietnam."


Booknotes (Television program)
Lamb, Brian, 1941-
C-SPAN (Television network)


Booknotes Oral History Series. R0143 Box 01 File 04.


George Mason University Libraries


Copyright held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.


Video recording