An Interview with Robert Kurson.

Abstract to Interview

1:33 – Kurson is unsure how his book came to be on Booknotes but he was thrilled that it was selected for the program.

2:50 – To prepare for his interview, Kurson tried to prepare for the kinds of questions that no one else would ask you. His publisher, Random House, set up makeshift interviews to prepare him for appearances.

4:13 – Kurson was surprised by the speed of the program. He walked into the studio and then was almost instantly in front of the camera, with no time to settle in.

5:23 – The length of the interview was unlike anything he had done before or since. It allowed them to delve into the book’s contents, the author’s process, and more details that went far beyond standard interview questions.

8:32 – The close read that Lamb did of the books that appeared on the program was very unusual. Other interviewers never did this kind of in-depth reading and thus didn’t ask the same kinds of questions.

9:54 – The general public is very interested in the process of writing according to the author’s experience with questions from the public.

11:04 – Kurson was not surprised that Lamb asked personal biographical questions because he had watched the program. For this reason, he was not surprised by any of the other questions either.

13:09 – Kurson was surprised he was invited to be on the show. He found the invitation intimidating because of the caliber of the authors who had come before him. Both he and his mother were avid watchers of the show.

15:20 – Kurson thinks that he is one of the only authors to be on Booknotes twice. On his second appearance Kurson was sick, got stuck in terrible traffic, and had to run to get to the studio on time. When he arrived, dripping with sweat, Lamb was very kind to him and protective of him.

18:09 – Appearing on Booknotes boosted sales and national attention for his book.

21:12 – Kurson sees Booknotes as a desperately missed medium that allowed the audience to really connect with the author in a way not possible either in print or online.

22:13 – After appearing on Booknotes Kurson did not question his writing process but he did feel vindicated in his process because of the attention Lamb and the program paid to this issue.

23:31 – Since appearing on the program, Kurson wrote two more books and wrote two screenplays based on his books.

27:24 – The lasting impact of Booknotes was to encourage avid readers and create new readers.


Misha Griffith (Oral Historian), “An Interview with Robert Kurson.,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed December 3, 2022,



Output Formats

Dublin Core


An Interview with Robert Kurson.


Misha Griffith (Oral Historian)


23 May 2014


Author Robert Kurson is interviewed as part of the Booknotes Oral History Project on 1 May 2014. Mr. Kurson discusses his appearance on C-SPAN's Booknotes program on 11 July 2004, where he discussed his book "Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II".


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


Booknotes Oral History Series. R0143 Box 01 File 06.


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