WYSO

Best of the Book Nook: Footfalls in Memory-Readings and Reflections, by Terry Waite

Feb 14, 2018

Hundreds of cassette tapes are filed away in drawers in my office. These are author interviews I recorded years ago when cassette tapes were still considered to be a perfectly respectable way to preserve sound. As I scan the names on the tapes I am often puzzled to encounter unfamiliar names. I'm sure if I listened to these mysterious authors I would say, oh, that's right, I remember this interview. I used to do 4 or 5 interviews every week and sometimes it could become a blur.

Then there are the names of people who gave such memorable interviews that their words will stay with me as long as I have a memory. One of those conversations took place when the Anglican cleric Terry Waite came out to Yellow Springs to appear on the program. He was publicizing his memoir "Footfalls in Memory-Readings and Reflections from Solitude."

Do you remember Terry Waite? It seems like a million years ago but back in the 1980's there were some terrible hostage situations taking place in Beirut. Terry Waite worked for the Archbishop of Canterbury and he had some success as a hostage negotiator. He had interceded on behalf of some of these victims of kidnapping and been able to secure their releases.

Waite was sent to Beirut to try to negotiate the release of some hostages who were being held there. Something went terribly wrong and Waite was taken hostage. During the first year that he was held they kept him chained to a wall in a dark room. He wasn't allowed to look at another human being. Some people who were forced into that kind of captivity might have lost their minds. Terry Waite was made of sterner stuff. They held him hostage for four years. He was tortured. They made him go through mock executions. Of course at the time he couldn't have known that they really were not going to execute him.

In this interview he describes the incredible ordeal he went through and how he was able to keep from losing his mind. And he never lost his sense of humor. What a remarkable man he is. Years later he went back to Beirut, met with his captors, and he forgave them.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.