Kathie Lee & Hoda: Bob Dotson American Story Review
Bob Dotson has been reporting on stories for NBC for over 40 years and he recently collected some of his favorite stories about the everyman in American towns across the country and assembled them into his new book, American Story. Dotson spent his entire career criss-crossing the country listening to the stories of any person he passed, visiting the towns no one wanted to visit and talking to the ordinary men and women who made America the great nation it is.
“A chorus of voices singing the American dream,” Dotson said. “Not just for the money and the fame. This is the story of us.”
Dotson said he didn’t want to turn to pop culture and Hollywood to get the big stories. He turned to small town America and found the “people in the smallest places with the greatest stories.” Dotson said it was never the big politicians who had the answers to every question. He said it has always been the “grandmas and grandpas” who built this nation.
“Wisdom does not wear a suit,” he said, adding that these are the people who didn’t wait for a good hand to be dealt to them. They learned how to play the bad hand they were dealt.
Kathie Lee & Hoda: Bob Dotson First Interview With the Migrant Mother
One such woman who played the hand she was dealt is Florence Thomas, the woman featured in the iconic photo from the Great Depression, Migrant Mother. Dotson said she was 29 in the photo, had five children, another on the way and her husband had just died. She struggled through the Great Depression and 50 years later she talked to Dotson, the first reporter she told about her journey. She told him she did what she had to raise her 10 children, from tending bar to cleaning hospital floors. When Dotson asked her if she ever lost hope she told him, “If I had lost hope, America wouldn’t be here.”
Kathie Lee & Hoda: Inspiration For Americans With Disabilities Act
Mark Wellman was another person Dotson will always remember interviewing. Wellman is the first paraplegic man to climb El Capitan. Dotson said they went to shoot an interview with Wellman for a day and ended up staying for a week watching Wellman climb the mountain, one excruciating pull up after another, finally reaching the top 7,000 pull ups later. Wellman also became the inspiration for the Americans with Disabilities Act.