1997 Bill O'Reilly Interview of 'Angela's Ashes' Author Frank McCourt



Angela's Ashes is the most compelling story about poverty I've ever read the book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 27 weeks and is about Frank McCourt his five brothers two of whom did not survive and their parents the book takes place in Ireland but it could be located anywhere and Frank McCourt joins us now the the portrayal of poverty that you wrote in your book is and I've been in the business of twenty years and I've seen on poverty all over the world the most affecting account that I've ever read and it seems to me that as an adult you remember those days as if they were yesterday is that what you don't forget one of the things I realized as I got older was that my life was very uncluttered in a material sense nothing it's very hard to explain when I was a teacher tried to explain to the kids how I grew up that there was nothing there was a table there were two chairs in the trunk and there was a side sticks of furniture with her literally there was no we didn't have electricity nothing digital nothing electronic so we were very clean in that sense and food there was no refrigerator no lard or nothing like that so in addition to that we lived in a house that was falling they were built in the time of Queen Victoria they were called artisans dwellings two up two down but the bottom floor was uninhabitable because in wet weather from October until April a lake would form at the bottom of this lane and flowing under our door so we have to move upstairs because all wet dance tell the audience that you lived in Limerick in early on say a fairly good-sized town and the reason that you were so poor was because your father didn't support the family quite frankly not call he was a drunk and he spent his money on his booze and your two little twin brothers died now in the book it's almost as they died from malnourishment weather were neglected there wasn't elected deliberately there were neglected all the ignorant they needn't have died I had a sister who died here she was 21 days old they all died of something respiratory bronchioles and ammonia and so on and there was no need for because my mother and father were very slow to to go to doctors they were afraid of doctor I am I said I'm rarely go to doctors I'm afraid of the doctors and lawyers but how they died not delivered it that my parents were delivered they caught what they were torn apart where these kids died what the they might have been up to survive if they've had but the unions had to be had no aggressive I mean they had no nutrition now your father could have supported the family as a labourer he chose to drink instead what I don't think I could have forgiven a person who did that if I were a child I don't think I could have forgiven my father if my father had done that did you forgive your father no it's not that I didn't forgive him it's not that I did forgive him I just don't I can't I can't sit in judgment anymore I feel like after 27 years of teaching I had to get out of it because I couldn't give this kid in a and that can't be anymore it's very hard for me to sit in judgment I just like to relate what happened and let let the reader make up his own mind is it painful to for you to think back when you didn't have any food in your yeah it is not it not having the food was bad enough but the psychological effects of poverty is what interests me a whole it robbed you of your self-esteem it took me a long long time to get some some kind of self esteem I only got it as a teacher in Stuyvesant High School when I when I achieve some kind of success but the poverty I arrived in New York or back in New York when I was 19 voluble wide open that angry all the time because if you don't have self-esteem you just you're just angry and I think the best portrayal of lack of self-esteem is from your mother yeah who is basically trapped there she was try me and she has these kids she has no money coming in to beg on the streets you know demean herself just to get you guys to survive another day then you get back to nothing again people say well why did why didn't your mother do something why didn't she get a job where no I was there were no jobs and there were no factories not America in a system that was not America there was there was nothing we only have a minute left I think everybody in America should read the book because it gives you more compassion for people who are poor but in this country we do have safety nets it's different in America and do you have any any words for people who may not feel sorry for poor people should we pity every port I think so we should we should understand and we should try to understand what poverty is I've become a connoisseur of poverty because I wanted to convey the stink of it particularly any debt you see you see that you see starving kids on television in Africa and so on Haiti but until you get the stink of it you don't know what it I know did you feel that the hopelessness of it you don't know what it is well thanks for writing that book and I hope you'll come back again for further discussion and it was really a moving book that everybody should rethink it

36 thoughts on “1997 Bill O'Reilly Interview of 'Angela's Ashes' Author Frank McCourt

  1. RIP Mr. Frank McCourt love to hear all is interviews….. a wonderful man… too short of a interview.

  2. WTF at the comments? Do you guys realize that all of the U.K and Ireland literally had no social programs at all prior to world war 2. The poor were sent to their deaths out on the streets and there was no NHS until 1947. The U.S back ''then'' was like dreamland to an Irish or British person. The U.S today is a very different place of course.

  3. "Psychological aspects of poverty," geeesh, isn't that well over O'Reilly's level? Nice of him to mention the "safety net" given the network he works for does all it can to see it go away.

  4. F**king modern media. Always trying to pull out some angle and spin it to their own needs. Like any mature adult, McCourt long ago moved away from judging his parents for their shortcomings. But not old Bill. Oh no. He's gotta play God here and try to pull out some kind of edgy quote. So glad McCourt didn't play along.

  5. The movie made me literally vomit and sob. It is just so compelling.

  6. What a stupid interview. O'Riley clearly shows his ignorance and elitism in his ill thought out questions.

  7. absolutely the best book that I have ever read in my life! words cannot say,how much I adored it!

  8. Boy did this guy ever miss the chance to listen to one of the greatest writers of all time. Terrible interview!

  9. The McCourts were poor because they were abandoned by their father and because their parents had way too many children inspite of their poverty.

  10. Bill O'Reilly is such a terrible interviewer- like a bull in a china shop– I wish I had a better way with words. …

  11. This scumbag O'Reilly always has to have an ulterior motive. He didn't care about the potency of Mr. McCourt's experiences, only how he could leverage them to promote his own politics.

  12. If O`Reilly could ever get past having diarrhea of the mouth his interviews would be notable and infamous.

  13. How could O'Reilly invite esteemed author and teacher Frank McCourt onto his show and give the man only 5 minutes of time?? Bill took good amount of that time just to ask questions, but they had no depth whatsoever exploring "Angela's Ashes". A competent interviewer could easily have spoken with McCourt for one hour on this topic, and it still would be too short a time for hearing this guest describe his work. Did Bill read only the blurb printer on the back of the book? I got no sense that he read it at all. Very disappointing interview on Bill's part.

  14. I suspect asshole  O'Reilly's childhood was a lot more cushioned compared to McCourt's

    bill, you, jerry doyle and other  GOP salesmen sellouts  are an embarrassment to the Irish  people 

  15. america has plenty of safety nets – too many really – what about welfare – aid to families with dependent children –  rent vouchers – food cupboards-the list goes on and on – you people are ignorant fools

  16. Safety nets in America? are you kidding me. Maybe in the 1940s America had more safety net than Ireland, but certainly not anymore. RIP Frank McCourt, Thankfully I was fortunate to grow up in Limerick in better times

  17. O'reiilly promotes propaganda, he is a very much hated figure of disinformation.

  18. ''it's different in America''

    Does he realize this book was based on the Ireland of decades ago and that in 1997 Ireland was going thru the Celtic Tiger …

  19. In the movie the father left and the mother was screwing for one of her relatives so they'd have a place to stay.

  20. I saw the movie and read Frank's book called Teacher Man. In both books he starts by talking about his miserable, Irish, Catholic education. As he puts it. Since despite the poverty the Church encouraged people not to use birth control and have kids,Even though they could not afford them. I also had a miserable Catholic grade school education.So I sympathize with Frank.

  21. I did read it and thanks for the advice even if it's a 3 years old one lol <3

  22. I disagree, the movie definitely had some funny parts like what the narration would say. But I haven't read the book so I don't know about that.

  23. "its different in america" as it was in ireland when the inteview took place bill, you fucking tool.

  24. I read Frank McCourt's book & the one thing that really stuck in my head was something he said along the lines that "the Priest were more concerned about little boys playing with their selves than making sure they were getting enough to eat" it was something like that, I'm just getting that from memory. but poverty is still bad no matter what Frank or anyone says.

  25. To be fair he only had a certain amount of time to work with and McCourt was rambling on a bit at the start.

  26. Bill is going beyond the beyonds, as Angela, Frank McCourt's mother would say

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