Today@Sam - SHSU Campus News Online Sam Houston State University Seal
In the News
SHSU Homepage

SHSU Experts
SHSU Stats
Sam the Man
SHSU History
Austin Hall

Heritage Magazine
Huntsville Item
The Houstonian
Gov. Links
Useful Links
Theater & Dance
SHSU Athletics
Rec. Sports
Request Info
General Info
Then & Now
The President
Public Relations
Post Office
Search SHSU

Controversial Congressman is April 14 Distinguished Lecturer

Charlie Wilson"Charlie Wilson's War" is the untold story of a whiskey-swilling, skirt-chasing, scandal-prone congressman from Texas, and how he conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch the biggest, meanest and far-and-away most successful covert operation in U.S. history.--Description of a book about Charlie Wilson.

Coming soon, to a theater near you--the real Charlie Wilson.

Coming later perhaps to a theater off campus, a movie about Charlie Wilson, starring Tom Hanks.

Former Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson will be this spring's Faculty Distinguished Lecturer Series speaker. His presentation is scheduled for 11 a.m. April 14 in the Lowman Student Center Theatre, with a book signing to follow.

Wilson's topic is "The Red Army's Last Battle and the Collapse of the Soviet Union."

The book "Charlie Wilson's War," released in April 2003, was on the New York Times bestseller list. The entertainment publication "Variety" reported last summer that Tom Hanks' movie production company, Playtone, had bought the rights to the book and Hanks will play the lead role.

Reviews of the book reveal why Wilson is expected to be one of the most colorful speakers in the history of the Distinguished Lecturer Series, which was established in 1980.

Speakers have included Ashley Montague, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Zbigniew Brzezinski, John Kenneth Galbraith, Alvin Toffler, Richard Leakey, George Gallup, Jr., Larry McMurtry, David Halberstam, Lech Walesa, former president George Bush, and others.

The reviews include:

"Americans often ask: 'Where have all the heroes gone?' Well a lot of them come roaring through in this tour de force of reporting and writing. Tom Clancy's fiction pales in comparison with the amazing, mesmerizing story told by George Crile. By resurrecting a missing chapter out of our recent past, Charlie Wilson's War provides us with the key to understanding the present." -Dan Rather

"A cross between Tom Clancy and Carl Hiassen, with the distinguishing feature that it's all apparently true . . .. Throw in a middle-aged Texan belly dancer, an assortment of Congressional loonies, a few beauty queens, some ruthless Afghan rebels, and a murderous Pakistani dictator who only wants to be understood." -Gerard DeGroot, Christian Science Monitor

"An engaging, well-written, newsworthy study of practical politics and its sometimes unlikely players, and one with plenty of implications." -Kirkus Reviews

"Crucial and timely. . . . Criles' book, with its investigative verve and gripping narrative, is a comprehensive political assessment and sobering account of the power structures that run parallel to, but apparently unknown by, official government authorities." -PW Daily

"An amazing tale, made all the more amazing because it was missed by the press. George Criles has written a book revealing the extraordinary details and intrigue of a secret war, and that alone would be a monumental achievement. But he has also written a book about how power works in Washington, about how the C.I.A. succeeded in this war but failed because it armed an ally who became our enemy, about how we might better understand Islamic fundamentalism, about how a solitary Congressman guilefully moved the U.S. government, and all of this comes with a breathtaking cast of characters worthy of a LeCarre novel. Only it's all true. And just as vivid."-Ken Auletta, media critic, The New Yorker

Born Charles N. Wilson, in Trinity, Texas, he attended Lon Morris Junior College, Sam Houston State Teachers College from June 1950 to September 1951, the University of Texas from September 1951 to February 1952, and then the United States Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1956.

While serving 12 years in the state legislature and 24 years representing Huntsville and Sam Houston State University nationally, the Lufkin resident held some of the most influential committee assignments in Congress.

He is credited with bringing more than $20 million in appropriations to Sam Houston State University in the last 10 years of his Congressional career. He was presented the SHSU Distinguished Alumni Award in April 1989.

In Congress Wilson was known for his escapades outside its hallowed halls as well as for his passion for U. S. national security, military preparedness and foreign policy.

George Crile's book, "Charlie Wilson's War," chronicles the central role Wilson played in getting U. S. support to Afghan rebels during their war with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It presents the case that it was this war that resulted in the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Wilson is the only civilian to ever receive the CIA's "Honored Colleague Award," presented in 1993 by James Woolsey, CIA director.

"Though that war is of historical interest in and of itself, the topic is most timely because of its implications for the terrorist attacks of 9/11," said Mitzi Mahoney, assistant professor of political science and chair of the distinguished lecturer committee.

"Congressman Wilson offers a fascinating analysis of the conditions that led up to the rise of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan," said Mahoney. "He can also offer insight into the war on terror, the war in Iraq, and the future of Middle East politics."

Charlie Wilson is currently the president of Wilson Associates, LLC, representing the interests of the government of Pakistan and defense and aviation firms.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
March 22, 2004
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to

This page maintained by SHSU's Office of Public Relations
Director: Frank Krystyniak
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834