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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 24, 2011 10:00am-6:00pm EDT

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>> target is our major sponsors this year and the washington post which has been with us from the beginning. wells fargo came in and will be present on our grounds and doing some fun literacy things. many smaller sponsors, penguin and scholastic and pbs folks are involved and have their characters here and others. ..
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>> now, if people want to come down, what is the best way to get down here? >> well, the subway is, frankly, the best or to get here. mattress system. all the smithsonian is the closest you can also use federal triangle and archives which are closely within walking distance. >> well, thank you for hosting this year at the national book festival. project manager of the national book festival of denounce -- library of congress. now is beginning editor of the washington post will be introducing eugene robinson after he is done talking he will be here for college show. >> please be mindful of that as he was the presentation. please don't sit on the camera
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risers in the back. who would not want a camera atop when anybody. if he could silence the cell phones. i am the executive editor of the washington post. we're proud to be a charter sponsor of the best laws we have bent and the 11 years since it has been going. as you all know who are here, the festival is one of the cities and the nation's great literary festivals, a place for books and writing, think in the people who do all those things are celebrated. it is my carper was today to open by introducing a eugene robinson. the active introducing him to an audience in washington is pro lee and exercise and redundancy. he is a big figure in this town, and for many it reasons. a longtime reporter and editor at the post. he now writes a column for the paper and website and the syndicated nationally. as you know, if you read him, he writes toughly and compassionately and has written on just about any and every subject you or i or anybody else might find interesting.
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he has also held just about every job post. @booktv as a reporter covering city hall, city editor, south america, london bureau chief, foreign editor, and assistant managing editor overseeing the style section before he began writing opinion columns in 2005. he won a pulitzer prize. today he is here because he is also an author. his latest book, "disintegration," is a fascinating exploration of the ever shifting sands and understanding of race in america. this train that he has covered powerfully before. in his book as south carolina native describes himself as an african-american who once was black, once was a negro, once was a colored boy. in that but there is a telling sentence that sets up the idea in his new book. he writes, and a chronic integrator. sometimes by accident, sometimes by design whose ancestral has always been either a black sedan
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that was schools or a black employee at white institutions. contrast that with the title of the first chapter of his new book, black america does not live here anymore. you get the idea of the journey he is taking, an extraordinary one and one i hope you'll join when you read his book. eugene robinson. [applause] >> thank you so much. thank you. thank you, everyone, for coming, and thank you, marcus, for that wonderful attraction. marcus is a great journalist who has what i think has to be one of the toughest jobs in america, adding a great daily newspaper in the era of the internet, an era that is not being kind to great daily newspapers.
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maintaining the quality of the journalism and the ambition and a compass when of the loss in the post. he does it eloquently and has been doing it for several years now. he has not been over, as most of us would be, or crushed by the pressure. so i -- let me first applaud him and thank him for his position. [applause] i am going to talk a bit about disintegration which is just out in paperback and how that book came about. what it is about and then open it up to questions, and we can have more of a conversation for the second half of this time
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that we have together. disintegration, by the way, is just out in paperback. coming out right now. so anyone who was interested to my think the nice folks at barnes and noble would be happy to sell your copy. "disintegration" is a book that grew out of a nagging feeling. it was -- to the extent that there was a conversation at all about black america, i felt, it was an unreel conversation. it seems to be -- it seemed to have very little connection with the reality that i was seeing everyday. so this kind of thought worked on me for really a couple of
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years, 2005, 2006. i was thinking that low, maybe there is some sort of booked here. maybe -- my thought was that black america was really much more diverse economically, socially, and culturally than it was -- than we made it out to be. and we talk about black america we talk about it as if it were still might. ♪ @booktv our 1968. you should make certain generalizations that system or its balance anymore. so i did not know where this led, and in 2007 actually three things happened to that made me think this is steadily a book. the first was that the pew
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research center which does all sorts of interesting survey is about anything under the sun did a survey of african-americans. varied toward the end of this survey finding was the following question and response. thirty-seven percentage of the black americans who were interviewed by pugh said they no longer believed black americans could be thought of as a single race. i said, wow, that is a really we're finding. there was no kind of backup to say check what that meant, but i said to my you know, that seems to fit into what i have been thinking, and a think it is probably -- i think it means something, but that on budget what it means.
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second thing that happened was that a group of black publishing executives from the african-american press run the country or in washington for a meeting, and there were invited here, invited to the "washington post" for reception. i was asked to deliver a few remarks at this reception, kind of a drive by greeting, five minutes, hello, how are you, welcome to washington. you can guess the charlie outside. see you later. so i went downstairs to our auditorium and a spoke with this group for a while. i started getting into this question of diversity in the black community and within when we talk about black america we were talking about reality. and the response was incredible. this five manager by turned into
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an hour in which was more of them talking to me than me talking to them. people said, you know, it's really true. you know, there is this group in the middle class is doing well, but there is also this group that is not doing well. somebody pipes up, what about the immigrants, like immigrants. it was just a really energizing and in some ways validating dialogue. maybe think will, there is something here. so assertedly research, started looking at census data, marketing studies coming academic papers to my journalism, anything that i could get my hands on that kind of address this question of what was black america today as opposed to the black america 40
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years ago. and then i actually worked up the proposal for disintegration and signed up with doubleday to do the book. and then the third thing happened in two dozen seven which is that the presidential campaign of barack obama caught fire. this junior senator from illinois who had a name of the guantanamo detainees list of a sudden was not just a viable candid for the democratic nomination but looked like he might get it. so i talked to my editors, my book editors who were by then patiently waiting for me to you started, and explain that i didn't really think i could do
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this book until i knew how the story came out. so i did wait for the story to come out. i will tell to stay below brief story. as some of you know, i grew up in orange where, south carolina in the late 1950's and early 1960's toward the end of jim crow. up went to segregated schools, lived in a black neighborhood on the black satin town because that is where one lives. i was too young to remember, but dr. king did visit my church. to black colleges. in 1968 there was an incident that became known as the point spurt massacre.
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students from south carolina state university began a demonstration over a segregated bowling alley in the heart of orangeburg called the all-star lanes. long since closed. it was a whites-only borelli, and this protest over the bowling alley grew into something larger and mushroomed over the course of three nights. after the second night the demonstration was about 500 yards from my house, so we have kind of a direct line of sight. after the second night i remember putting up in the morning. the schools were all close to. i was looking out the window to see what was going on, and my father who was an extremely gentlemen yell the me in a voice that he'd never used before and
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said it down out of the window right now. so i ducked down. then he let me pique over the wonder so. right across the street from our house there was a line of 12 highway patrol cars. state troopers were out of the cars behind the open doors of their cars with the rifles pointed at a house two doors down from our house. there were looking for the organizer from the student nonviolent coordinating committee. a man in cleveland sellers who they correctly suspected was the outside agitator who was stirring a pall of the call of folk and orangeburg, and they were coming to get him. he had better intelligence than they had, so he was long gone, so there was no gun fired up morning. however, that night there was. when petro clinton had been fired upon from the campus. gunfire was never demonstrated.
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it was never proved that anybody on the campus that anyone that did buy into a crowd. when the smoke cleared three young black men had been killed. a couple of dozen other people were injured. that was the orangeburg massacre. ventura to election night 2008 when we are about to see how the obama story was coming out, i was at rockefeller center with my very interesting but somewhat dysfunctional immense nbc family on the anchor desk. it was that. when it was really dysfunctional ahead keith coleman and chris matthews. rachael mellon i were there trying to figure out what the
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deal was with keith and chris. and at 1040 fund that evening we heard through our earpiece is that the network was born to call the election for obama. and so i got to live one of the moments of my life that will never forget, i got to the at the next break taken myself on and call a father and mother. my father was then 92 years old. he died several months later actually, like before the inauguration. get to call a father and mother who was 87. tell them that they have lived to see the election of the first african-american president in u.s. history. it is a moment that i will never forget, among the none of us will ever forget it. offensively a moment that kind
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of rounded out the arc of the story that i had decided that wanted to tell with "disintegration". essentially that there isn't one black america anymore. i somewhat arbitrarily because i think says decisions are almost always arbitrary, came out with not one black america, but for. they are as follows. from all the research are did come all the interviewing added, it seemed to me that number one there was a majority of african-americans, not a huge majority, but a majority that had managed to enter the middle class such as they're is a
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middle-class in this country anymore. we can discuss that and we can also discuss the impact of the recession. but if you look not only that and come but if you look good education and other sorts of social indicators and try to make a realistic assessments of not only where people are, what the prospects are, i see a majority that answers the middle-class and call that group of mainstream. it was clear to me, however, that there is also a very large minority of african-americans. 35 percent, perhaps. did not make that cry from
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poverty to the middle class and for whom that climb is more difficult and actually becoming more improbable there has been in decades simply because so many runs a missing. those blue-collar jobs that used to exist that a person with -- who perhaps did not have a college education to but wanted to work and do better for his our family to get a job, half chubs security, a good salary, good benefits, pension when they retired, could have a house, to send their kids to college so their kids will have a better life. millions of african-americans, many of whom participated in the
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great migration from south to north ticket vintage of this great sort of escalator that the other industry in detroit provided and that other industries in chicago or baltimore or wherever provided. welcome an example is michele obama's family. the way -- her father is sort of the person i think of when i think of this striving achieving group of african americans. and where those jobs. row, there are and -- they are in china, lot of them were in china. there will be moving offshore from china at some points and to places where you could be even lower wages. but there are not here. they're not going to be here.
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so i huge graphic and americans that to my mind has become abandon to practically. that is what i call that group. the abandoned. and then i saw something is new. a group of african-americans to have a chief to were attained wealth, power to more influence on the skill far beyond anything we had seen before, not just go to to other african-americans, but anybody in the world the number one example would be president obama, president of the united states. also oprah winfrey the founder of black entertainment television
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the first black billionaire. richard parsons who was chairman and ceo of the world's biggest entertainment media images in a company, time warner. and then was asked to come back after retirement, leave his vineyard in tuscany and come back to help buy the share after the collapse. and so we had ed tete lows that if we could never have had ever in history. african-american president grappling with the worst financial economic crisis as the great depression season at a steady hand is needed at this giants broke important financial restitution and is it what to call on african-american seasoned ceo to come in and
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apprenticeships. they could not have happened before. so i called this tiny group, the transom in crude. actually opened the book with the scene from the party that vernon jordan sounds that was quite interesting finally i saw something new that i call them immersed in black america. this emerging group to my further subdivided. one is the record number of black immigrants from the caribbean, but especially from africa who have come to this country in the last two or three decades to a special last of the years to arrive from ethiopia or
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nigeria or donna, intact families, without a lot of money, will with a tremendous amount of education. the best educated group of immigrants coming to the country today. and his children are doing spectacularly well. a few years ago skip gates at harvard did an informal survey that has been since replicated with more rigor. what did it was they just took a list of the incoming black freshman at harvard and check how many were african surnames. it was a little more than half my belief. my wife for several years branda college access and a scholarship program that she founded for
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african-american students from washington. we found the same thing. we found that at least to my would say, 35-40% and at times more of high achieving by students in this area have african surnames. clearly obviously either ethiopian are nigerian. and this sort of record of achievement tells me of this is going to be a very, very important group in the future. the other emergent group that i saw is the increasing number of biracial black, white americans who self identify her as african-american combat his relationship with white america is somewhat different in nuanced
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waste, but somewhat different in mind as president of lama has talked about. remember during his re speech in philadelphia when he essentially said before he threw rev. right under the bus he said, i can no more through rev. red and the bust and i could my own grandmother, my out white grandmother whom i've heard save racially insensitive things. seems to me that this is a nuanced -- is a distinction. so those other groups and assault. mainstream abandoned it, transcendent, emergence. and disintegration really is about how we got to where we are and eventually where we're headed. where i really come out is that
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whatever is left of affirmative action, whenever tension we have, we get some and for promotion of equality and justice in this time. if it means the rest of us have to fend for ourselves, that's fine, but we are in danger of losing millions and millions of people who are just jumping off the map in terms of the society. so thank you, again to much for coming. i'm going to stop talking now so we can do a few minutes of questions. thank you. thank you. [applause] a couple of microphones appear.
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>> yes. a just wanted to ask a question regarding the primary basis. >> sir, could people might down. >> sure. okay. your primary thesis that you have these three groups, so the speak. don't you think this same situation applies to many ethnic and racial groups, you have a, what you might call an emerging group, transcendent crude, and those that might be left out. that might apply to other ethnic and racial groups. >> the question is whether that, this sort of scheme applies to other ethnic or racial groups. you know, i bassein a general sense i think you could certainly -- you could certainly
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look at other groups in a similar fashion. i am not sure you would, with the same way of kind of figuring out distinctions him for example, if you were talking about latinos you might put some emphasis on national origin which is still, you know, kind of an important factor in some people's lives. but, yeah, you could use the same method to my think, for kind of looking at other groups to. >> you made a distinction along race lines, but as you were speaking it seems as though addressing the problem would be as much a plus in economics as racial. >> yes. right. are we talking race or are we talking class?
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at the inevitable answer is both. and what i -- you know, i tried to go into the book with an open mind. i tried to prepare myself to be led to the conclusion that really we didn't need to talk race anymore. we just in to talk about class. i didn't come to the conclusion. i understand. i found it impossible to kind of ts the two apart. yes. certainly the economic -- the economic situation of the abandoned will be addressed when we -- here is an idea, when we
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talk about poverty and ways to alleviate poverty and actually pay more than lip service to the notion that everybody deserves a chance in this society. >> thank you for your comments. perry much of meyer your work. >> thank you so much. >> and a look forward to reading your book. i have not had the opportunity as yet, but it strikes me in your comment about jobs going away, in china and elsewhere in the world and that they're not coming back. i think that is true. i think that companies are very invested outside of the united states, but i think that also they could make more of an investment here in the united states if they were motivated to do so. for example, just retraining of the abandoned regardless of class or ethnicity, but the returning aspect of building
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more schools, secondary schools, thinking of two-year tug schools, with that of their focused on that. wonder if you address solutions in your book and think that that might be a way to and since companies, manufacturing companies and otherwise to focus more on that. >> i do try to address some solutions in the book, and i kind of decided not to confine myself to what i thought could get 60 votes in the senate because otherwise i could just call susan collins and olympia snowe and ask them what we should do because they would be the votes. but where i came out is that, you know, the one thing i've
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seen that really works is a -- is very expensive because it is a holistic approach. you have got to work and education. education is complicated. i use the sample in the book of a program that my former colleague, a pulitzer prize-winning columnist of the post to retired and started a nonprofit called baby steps in his hometown in mississippi, a tiny little town of mostly black and very poor.
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if there was nobody in the household who was capable of doing that in no way that really helped the children, so he needed a center for those kids to come to. he needed to do, you know, very thorough assessment work for families can into the program. he needed a center for kids to come to. then he found that he needed to do with nutritional and health issues because there were a lot of, you know, chronic diabetes, obesity, and questions about, you know, kids who were eating a lot of empty calories, but not could calories. he had to deal with the health aspect. it just kind of mushroomed. having a real impact. you know, a famous newspaper columnist his name is recognized he got his phone calls returned
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with the called the toward foundation and other brick foundations and he managed to raise a lot of money that is having a real impact. very expensive. we need 30 million. >> yes. to make from the point of view of working in schools in arlington. their i saw that the african-american, historically african-american kids versus the african, historic african kids saw themselves as to complete and not as a surly friendly groups. gathering for what you're saying, things get better by college-age, but how do you see this? >> tina, i do think that at least in my fairly limited experience -- we have not had a chance to do a longitudinal study of the relationship, but it strikes me that it does, that
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the friction which received in the schools in the elementary and secondary schools and a culture clash seems to attenuate, diminish over time. you see a lot less of that in college and then, of course, as this large sort of group of foreign-born or first generation kids moves out into the workplace, the dual see it even less. as they turned increasingly identified as african american rather than as ethiopian or nigerian organ in and as african-americans and explain their definition of african-american. thank you. >> i would like to know from
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your research on the fragmentation of blacks if you get a sense that the election of barack obama would go the way of the election of her washington, a moment in time not to be repeated anytime soon or has the country gun to a real turning point? >> i don't know. you know, if i knew i would be in tremendous demand as a pond of. for what we have seen cents a think you could make a good argument that the stars aligned in an unusual way. nonetheless, you know, they could the line again. it wasn't an accident, and it does reflect, i think, obviously
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real change in the country because it could not possibly have happened to, you know, 20 years ago or 30 years ago. i don't know if it happens again next year. i don't know. and does it happen anytime soon? and rethink he was the man for the specific moment. if the man and woman for another specific moment emerges, but you just don't know. you just don't know. >> should morning. enjoy watching you on cnn. okay. my question to my going to piggyback off of a previous comment from a different perspective. i'm paraphrasing. was about the abandoned class. all of that. and i wanted your take on, okay, the abandoned class. that issue has to be addressed, but oftentimes when he addressed the abandoned class as perceived as welfare or classism or
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socialism, but on the other and you do have -- in and not try to make it this political. corporate welfare, bailouts and what not, but it is not perceived in the same way and they are both almost the same. what do you think that, okay, if you help the underclass there is a perception or socialism. it is not viewed in the same way if you bail of a larger company. corporate welfare. >> welcome and that is an excellent question. i don't have an answer as to why we don't see corporate welfare, we don't recognize corporate welfare and we do recognize -- well, we don't even have welfare anymore. we are certainly determined to get rid of social welfare. so, you know, i don't know. i don't know.
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the similarity seems clear to me i can't hear you. >> what part of the opposition to president obama did you feel is racial? at first it might seem obvious, but clinton has such an upward opposition as well. duty that is part of the system now? >> the question, what part of the opposition to president obama did i think is racial, i don't know. 48 percent. 52i think it is a lot. some of it i think is consciously racial and some of it is broadly -- probably not to
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listen or conscious. for some people i think his race militates against legitimacy in some way. it is striking to me of the extent to which people feel they have permission to consider the duly elected in a landslide president of the united states has about a legitimate, and a legitimate holder of the office, that is just the birth there, but -- and you know, if you think i'm overstating that the house show you my e-mails. i get it. it's sometimes very ugly.
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>> thank you. i may special educator in montgomery county schools. even though i think it is not a special education perspective, the problem in education today i feel is that the vocational programs in has schools of a shutdown. you could be a very intelligent person but not interested in the academic program. there seems to be no addressing this in the race to the top program. >> i agree. we have not been creative enough in thinking of education and offering viable alternatives, particularly, you know, in the
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vocations. we're going to have to find some way to do that. navy is through community colleges. but why not start in the secondary level. it is an excellent question. no one side does not fit all, and we know we're not giving people the kind of education that they need to compete at a high level without a surly of a classic liberal arts colleges vacation. >> i really enjoyed watching you. if you have the upper to the to speak with president obama would you tell him about the abandoned class to make and take notice, he and his senior advisers to try to help the class you have so well identified? thank you.
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>> i would say read the book. did in a plug. and i would -- you know, i would throw out some numbers and statistics. he would already know them. he would say -- he would respond that what he has tried to do and what he would like to do is pursue policies that would uplift all people who are similarly situated, but policies that would necessarily have a greater impact among african-americans simply because the problems of central poverty in this function are some much greater. i'm told that i am out of time, so i'll take one more question and that's it. >> a quick comment on the republican field for presidential nomination.
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>> a quick comment on republican field. well, it says a lot that after, you know, we had several weeks of -- rick perry didn't. now it is, you know, where is chris christie. they still to my mind have not found -- and i think this is clear to the republican establishment, have not found a candidate yet to their confidence can be president obama next year. you know, about the toughest candid for him to face a customer on what had been romney. i don't know if republicans primary electorate will choose mitt romney. thank you so much. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> and that was eugene robinson, washington post columnist and author of "disintegration". mr. robinson will be joining as here at the national book festival live to take your calls, e-mails command tweet in just a minute. the phone numbers are up on the screen. 202 is the area code. 737-0001. (202)737-0002. for those of you in the mountain and pacific time zone, our twitter address, twitter dot com / book tv. e-mail. you can contact mr. robinson to master question that way.
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it will be just a minute. after mr. robinson will we will be talking with best-selling author of unfamiliar faces of the history of hawaii. she will also be taking your calls. not only is this a national book festival weekend on book tv, library of congress sponsors the national book festival on the mall a motion in d.c. it is also book tv looking at the literary life of charlotte north carolina. recently our local contests vehicles were down in charlotte looking at different aspects of the literary life of charlotte. you want to show you this from charlotte and will be back live with eugene robinson. >> online sales. >> yes. the website. >> we have been doing is as refined as we go in on twitter and make a note.
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>> absolutely. >> very cool. >> it is my e-book only. our total takeover to corporate books. >> wonderful. >> a bunch of those. i can leave them. >> that was the smartest thing that they went dead. >> i love it. >> is and as i saw that i said i'm going to go home because i have been wanted to do something, but i wanted it to go through parker because you guys are awesome. a sales representative for random house, so i've been in the book business my entire adult life. just in the difference. >> i was selling independent bookstores and beloved. of carolina, south carolina, and savannah. different from what they're reading in columbia, south carolina. exciting. at the end i was just selling to large chains. it was not fun.
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i could have been selling anything. i really like place in the book and somebody's hand in seeing that immediate command its is felt like i was another card in the wheel. >> what do you say about the relationship between publishers and independent booksellers? a strong relationship? >> with some it is a very strong relationship. i know editors, publicists, marketing people. this in this manuscript, ask your opinions. adjust that a sales representative on the phone right before you came asking about the availability of to of -- books for your gross what kind of market was there. and so i think we stay in constant communication. we see each other at book expo. the independent booksellers alliance. very strong relationship. >> says that compared the
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relationship? >> the larger book store, the probability of people and. >> staying at the store for a while and developing a relationship is sometimes possible, but do the most part for people looking for a job, not as a career for doing it. everybody that works here at the store has been doing it a very long time. over 120 years combined experience of bookselling. there is not that chance for relationship to evolve in a chain bookstore. there are always exceptions to the rule. but it is also the chain bookstore, random house, barnes and noble, they're not talking just front-line booksellers, not talking with people who actually placed the book assemblies and. >> very cute. [laughter] >> we have to. >> so with the big box
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bookstores clothing, what does that mean for the smaller independent? >> a huge epic jennifer s. to reestablish ourselves. the front runner of rubble be new and upcoming in literature and the book world. we don't think of the big box store can survive with that amount of square footage. this i really think is an opening up for small stores. we have seen an increase in small stores, the american booksellers association. reseeded booksellers school. we just see a lot of people not being interested. they don't want to be everything to everybody. they just want that little bit bookstore that caters to the needs. >> and that was a look at park wrote books in charlotte, north carolina. now you're looking at a live picture from the mall in washington d.c. a little bit on the cloudy saddam but no rain. this is the national book
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festival weekend. of all the today and tomorrow. now has promised an adjoining as is washington post columnist and author eugene robinson. he is here to take your calls to me mills, and tweets. who put up all that affirmation on the screen to show how you can contact him. just a couple questions before we do go to calls. where did you grow up and how did you grow up? >> i grew up in orangeburg, south carolina. in the late 50's and early 60's. it was still jim crow. there was a black satin town of the white side of town. it was segregated. is home to two historically black colleges. south carolina state university and clapton university. so it was an odd place to grow up and away because my mother was a librarian. most of the adults i knew were
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associated with one of the two colleges. so the black orangeburg i knew was a college town basically. white orangeburg was the seven agricultural community. so it was kind of an odd take on the south. interesting place to grow up. >> in your book, "disintegration", there is a chapter called the mainstream, a double life. you tell a story about bill o'reilly in this. you write about bill o'reilly. what do you write? >> i've read about his visit. a famous soulful restaurant. bill o'reilly was taken there. believe it was with reverend al sharpton to eat at sylvia's.
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after that he went on the air and said to allow. it was just like any other restaurant. white tablecloths and table manners and nobody was, you know, cursing or anything. his astonishment that there was such a thing as a white tablecloth restaurant where middle-class and wealthy black folks a in a civilized manner was told. he could believe such a thing existed. it kind of set something. or, you really ought to get out more. >> why do you subtitle that chapter a double-edged? >> well, a double life, you know, we talk to of this over the years so much. almost a cliche. it is true. i think african-americans to have done well in this society,
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and to the middle class and $0.10 feel they belong to two worlds. to an african-american world and also to the larger mostly white world in which they probably have their work lives and in which they are examples of success. so you go to work 95 monday through friday. on the weekend you're probably at home with a family. you might be in the neighborhood. you go to church. almost surely in a black church. it is crossing back and forth between world's. >> pulitzer prize-winning columnist eugene robinson of the loss of impost, author of this book just out in paperback, disintegration. our guest. pittsburgh, your first up.
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>> yes. hi. here is the thing. people don't even understand that it is really not just the black class anymore. it is now the white class. with wages being stagnant it almost seems like there is none of class. without their being a middle-class there is no hope. what do you think that can be done to help this? of a rapid take your answer off the line. >> that think that is an excellent question. when i talk about the group of black americans i call the mainstream who have entered the middle class aisle was qualified and say to the extent we still have a middle-class in this country. you know, i think education is vitally important. the reality is, i think, a lot of the -- a lot of the
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blue-collar jobs that provided the latter for people to climb into the middle class and system in the middle class for so long, a lot of those jobs are gone and are not likely to come back. said the challenges story to be adapting to the new global economy that is going to require creativity in economic management, you know, clean energy is probably a part of this. the whole solution 21st century, we need to cultivate and developed. many tear -- and in education and training and retraining of workers. all this will cost money, and we are constantly told we don't have money. the biggest hurdle will be to convince ourselves that there is
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something we can do and decide to do it rather than shrug and say let the market take care of it. >> are next call comes from mobile, alabama. please go ahead. you're on with eugene robinson. >> good morning. when you were aghast in the morning. >> thanks you very much. >> two things that i would like to talk about. one has to do with a loss of the industrial education in high schools, and the other has to do with the corporate welfare approach to the social effort. ..
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we see the sign that appeals to us most been that we ignore the other part of the situation. that thing about not making our children be workers was a more or less liberal idea. i guess we would say the conservative idea was get a job. >> guest: i am not sure that was a liberal or conservative divide actually. but i do take your point that
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there isn't any vocation to speak of in high school anymore. we have to take into account education can't be in a vacuum. take into account changes in the economy and the fact that what kind of education would that be? when i was in high school we had shop class. there was a circular saw we were supposed to be careful around. we were doing things that don't typify -- what you have to do in that sort of manufacturing job or even in construction it is a different more sophisticated kind of vocational education. a lot would be information technology. the information age.
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one thing this country does as well as any place on earth is computer software. that is a market that will be expanding rather than contracting. we need to meet that challenge. part of the answer is what we used to call vocational education. we will call it something different. >> host: next call for gillick surprise winning columnist and author eugene robinson from here in the suburbs. silver spring legal maryland, live from the national book festival. >> caller: eugene robinson, glad to speak to you. i want to talk to you about i am retired federal retiree in maryland and i attended the black caucus convention in d.c. yesterday. one thing that keeps coming up
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about the disparity between white and black families, the question i have is this. if the federal government caused disparity between white and black families should they be a part of fixing the problem? >> guest: in a perfect world, yes they should. i don't know what contribution the federal government will end up making to alleviating that disparity. but that disparity is a real. if you look at income, compare black middle class to white middle class in terms of income it is very close. but when you look at wealth
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meaning that worth, there is an enormous disparity and the recession has essentially wiped out black wealth in this country. for many families who are under water with their houses, even if they were beginning to accumulate some wealth before have seen it evaporates. it is a huge problem going forward. we were starting to address it as incomes rose but now we are going backwards. do i think the federal government will help? no i don't. >> host: this week came in for you. i don't know if you saw this but what was your reaction to the video of the gay soldiers who got a nasty reception at the gop debate? >> guest: that was totally
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unacceptable and i think most if not all the candidates would agree with that and i wish one of them had spoken up. that was disgraceful. whatever you think of gays in the military or don't ask don't tell, a soldier who is risking his life in defense of this country overseas to be booted in that way even if it was just a few people somebody should have said something but it was disgraceful. >> host: in your chapter in your book "disintegration: the splintering of black america" we know who we are but who will we be? now that disintegration has cleaved one black america into four will we still not to each other when we pass on the street? what does that mean? >> guest: when i was growing up and in many ways to this day if you are walking down the street
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in an unfamiliar place in a mostly white situation and you pass another black person and you just not. a kind of acknowledgment -- kinship is the wrong word but it is close. acknowledgment that we are here together. that is it. and i wonder as we become economically and socially more diverse and the distance between the abandoned group of impoverished african americans and the rest of black america is growing rather than shrinking we have this new group of immigrants that has come in with someone different cultural values and different history. as we become more complex will
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we still gnawed to each other? if you not at somebody can you count on getting that nod back? >> host: is it less than it was? >> i am not sure that it is. there are couple ways in which you can argue against the pieces of my book but the thesis of my book is right. that might be one example that that little nod is still there. the other example is the big one. in politics. you would say you look at african-americans as a voting bloc and conclude that black america -- by answer would be that is certainly true only until the republican party or
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some other party other than the democratic party sets out to give black americans reason to vote for it. as long as the republican party gives the impression to a lot of black people of being not just unsympathetic but hostile to the interests of black america they won't get those votes. frankly as long as president obama is running they won't get those votes any how. it doesn't matter what they do this time. but some day they are going to realize this will be a majority/minority country in 2045 or something like that. there is not going to be any racial or ethnic majority. everyone will just be a bigger or smaller minority. the republican party is either
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going to recognize this and has to win african-american and latino and asian votes or it is not going to exist. >> host: eugene robinson is the author of three books. last dance in havana and cold supreme. the latest just in paperback, "disintegration: the splintering of black america". los angeles, good morning. you are on live with eugene robinson. los angeles, please go ahead with your comment or question. >> caller: my name is joe steed. i am a black american. my age is 75. when i listen to public discussion about welfare when it comes to americans, i hear the same answer that you couldn't give a few moments ago and that
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is why we can't explain why welfare is given so freely and lavishly to our financial system but when it comes to welfare anywhere else it is assumed by news people and authors like you and the general public that any other welfare going to black people and we don't want to give them anything anyhow. i was surprised a person of your stature couldn't answer that question. >> guest: that is not my subject. i don't assume that when you say welfare to an individual you are talking about -- just talking about black people or the context of our conversation was black america. african-americans are a minority. in no sense could use a most welfare ever went to black
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americans or ever would. what i was trying to say and what i am trying to say is this distinction or relationship between corporate welfare and social welfare, corporate welfare is by many politicians and many voters and certainly many campaign contributors not seen as welfare at all. if you want to pick a villain in this one place to start is the way money plays the role money plays in our political system and the fact that to run for office you have to raise huge amounts of money. where do you get that money? from people who are wealthy. from institutions that have
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money and therefore wants u.n. office behold and to interests. what is the solution? public financing of elections. that would go a long way toward taking money out of politics. you have got to overcome the hurdle. political system that depends on money must get rid of money and so far that hasn't happened. >> host: next call from wakefield, road island. you are on the air. >> caller: >> host: please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: 5 thought by now you would be giving a show with pat buchanan. i was wondering your impression of pat buchanan and your relationship with him and if you get along as well as you seem to. >> guest: one of my great disappointments when i started doing television was to meet pat
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buchanan and find in an interpersonal sense he is a very nice guy, easy to go along with, nice in that he doesn't have to be nice. i went in prepared for his political views and social views. so objectionable that i was hoping he would be an obnoxious guy to sit next to so i could really let him have it. but his political and social views are totally objectionable. the closest i came to losing it on the air was once -- a couple of -- a couple times. i really almost lost it when we talked about the sonia sotomayor confirmation anti managed to work himself into such a span
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about hispanics and hispanic immigration that he was arguing sarah palin's educational credentials were better than sonia sotomayor's and he persisted in this ridiculous viewpoint and that is as close as i ever came to exploding, having my head explode on the air. >> host: why did you call it a great disappointment to like pat buchanan? >> guest: i wanted to hate the guy personally and i couldn't. but that doesn't stop me from finding objectionable a lot of his political views and his social views. he believes that white christian america is under assault in some way not so much by black folks.
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that is not the problem. but the mexicans and latinos and some sort of different cultural ito's. that is crazy and racist and objectionable. so i fight him on that. i listened to him carefully on this when he is evaluating the content and effectiveness of a presidential speech. that is something that he does straight down the middle so president obama gives a good speech that will go out and say that was a good speech and here's why. >> host: how can disparate groups coalesce around issues of race and class raised by the fort davis execution? >> guest: good question. i found the true way davis
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execution very troubling because the death penalty is troubling. it is it refundable--irrevocable. what we ought to coalesce around is it is time to end the death penalty. that is going to be a long slog because 64% support the death penalty. 29% against. that is a mountain that is going to have to be climbed. we can start by not forgetting the troy davis case and by looking at other cases where maybe not in a legal sense reasonable doubt but there's some doubt. you kill somebody when there's still some doubt i think not. i hope someday we won't.
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>> host: this tweet from mo barbie a. your reaction to being a pulitzer prize winner and is there pressure to maintain a certain standard or aspiration to win another? what did you win your pulitzer for? >> guest: won for the presidential campaign in 2008. i was absolutely stunned. i didn't know that i was a finalist even. we didn't know who the finalists were that year. so i wonder around in a daze and the day came they gave it to me and they can't have it back. it was thrilling and i can honestly say that i don't now
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feel pressure to try to win another one because at the moment i am not eligible. i was fast to become a member of the pulitzer board last year. if you remember the board you can't also win a pulitzer. you never relax with the calm. i will do my best that i got to stop that because i can't. i don't have to worry about that. >> host: we will keep being nice to you if you are on the board. eugene robinson has been our guest. his latest book is "disintegration: the splintering of black america". thank you. coming up we have just begun our live coverage on booktv of the national book festival. coming -- coming up in half an hour columbia university professor and historian eric foner will talk about his latest
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book "the fiery trial: abraham lincoln and american slavery" about abraham lincoln and slavery. after his presentation he will be here to take your calls and e-mails and tweets but coming up next sarah vowell. this is her latest book. it is "unfamiliar fishes". it is a history of hawaii. she is the author of assassination nation and the wordy shipmate. she will be out here and we will talk about this book and you can tweak your questions or call in your questions but first our colleague rob hardest and is out and about at the national book festival. let's check in with him. >> at the poetry and prose pavilion we are talking to jonathan yardley, offer of second reading, notable and neglected book revisited. how did you come up with the title for this book? >> for eight years during the
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first decade of this century i wrote a column called second reading in which i reconsidered books that i had read when i was younger and wanted to see how they held up over the years. it was a great deal of fun. >> some books you reviewed include tom jones, the great gatsby and catcher in the rye. all of the notable but why they neglected? >> notable and/or neglected. in the case of tom jones i wanted to see how this wonderful novel held up two centuries after it was published. in the case of the great gatsby which i have read ten times it was a chance to go back to my favorite book. in the case of the catcher in the right it was to take a look at a book that is more popular than it deserves to be. >> why did you say that? >> it is badly written and
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infantile and takes an attitude toward adolescence that i find indulgent and superficial. >> talk about lesser-known books you would find in this review. >> i don't think many people know the long season which was the 1960 baseball season. he was a relief pitcher who ended up with the cincinnati reds from the same louis cardinals. it is the first really good nonfiction baseball book. there is the death of the heart which is highly regarded in literary circles but is not very well known to the general readership and deserves to be. it is a masterpiece. for the wilder's the bridges and louie race is widely taught in high school but when i first read it when i was young i didn't really connect with it. that happens in rereading. very often when you are in
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school your assigned books like the sound and fury are too difficult for a 17 or 18-year-old reader. you need some life experience so coming back to a book can be an eye opening experience. that was the case with me with the death of the heart and it was interesting because my wife who is peruvian american and i now own an apartment on this pacific coast and i know something about rule. i was interested to see how foreign wilder who had never been there treated a country i had come to be fond of. >> thousands of people will come to the national book festival to meet and hear their favorite authors. why is it important for you to come here? >> to sell books. the wonderful thing about this festival and all book festivals is you meet the people who read
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you. i have been a journalist for half a century and most of that time writing pieces that express opinions. to me the greatest satisfaction of the job particularly in the age of e-mail is the interchange with my readers. it is a wonderful job for a wonderful newspaper. i have been happy here at the washington post for 30 years. that exchange with readers is the most enjoyable part of my job. here they are around the national mall on the day that turned out to be better than we thought it would. they are wandering around listening to offers additional buying books. >> everyone is a critic. why are you a critic worth reading? >> nasty question. i am careful. i am jack of all trades and master of none. the title that carries a lot of responsibility, reviewing across
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the spectrum. fiction and nonfiction, history. i bring a well-informed mind. i am fair to books. i don't go in with a bias for or against the subject or the book itself. i make a point of quoting from books liberally because i want to give the reader of my reviews what it feels like. the critic is the first line of defense between the reader and this huge world of books. 60,000 new trade books are published every year. how do you find the book you would like to read that will connect with you? a reviewer you come to trust could be a first stage of filtration that gets you toward books you might find to your liking. >> we're talking to jonathan yardley, author of second
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reading. notable and neglected books revisited. he is of the poetry and prose pavilion. if you want more information you can find it at >> thank you. out and about at the national book festival. this is the eleventh annual national book festival held in washington d.c.. it has gotten so big you can see the crowds on the national mall. it has expanded to two days and booktv will be live both days and we have just begun coverage for today. eight hours of live coverage today. if you are in the area for half way between the mall and the capitol in washington d.c. booktv is all set up. we are now by the author of this book alvin felzenberg 18. sarah vowell is our guest. this is about the history of hawaii. how did you get interested in
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the history of hawaii? >> guest: it is about the history of america's relationship to hawaii. first, i went there i went to see pearl harbor. just as a tourist. i wanted to see that. while i was there i went to see the old palace of the hawaiian monarchy and realize those two sites are related because the japanese never would have attacked honolulu harbor for being part of the united states if the united states and descendants of american missionaries had not overthrow the hawaiian queen who handed over the island to the u.s.. that was the start of my interest in the relationship between the two countries. >> host: when did the missionaries first go to hawaii? >> guest: they left boston harbor, new england calvinist
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left boston harbor in 1819 and arrived in hawaii in 1820. the first new england whalers from boston harbor arrived because hawaii was a great stopping of point between whaling grounds. these groups arrived within six months of each other and they had an enormous impact on the island's. >> host: what happened? >> guest: the missionaries set up shop and settle down and set about christianizing and westernizing the hawaiians and teaching the entire population to read after they had invented a hawaiian written language and translated the bible into that language. they were well established and well acquainted with hawaiian
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monarchies. whalers were sailors on leave every time they came to hawaii because they would stop between the wailing ground in peru and japan so hawaii became there are and are spot. the whalers and the missionaries felt they were basically from within 100 miles of boston. they frequently clashed because they had differing goals. missionaries were held against the monarchy to do things like outlaw prostitution and regulate liquor. when sailors on leave came, liquor and the company of women were high priorities for them. so the hawaiians at this time get the worst of america. they get our puritans and our
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sailors on leave. >> host: sarah vowell is our guest. her most recent book is "unfamiliar fishes". she has written several other books. the word he should make about the puritans. we will put the numbers on the screen. 737-0001 in the east and central time zone and would like to talk to sarah vowell. 000 2 for those of you in the mountain and pacific time zones. -- is our e-mail address and is our twitter handle. would you call yourself a historian? >> guest: no. i am a writer who writes about history. i like to tell stories about history but these are narrative's. they are non-fiction so they are factual or i hope they are but my goals are to have personal
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interaction with historic sites. i do a lot of reporting. i am a kind of journalist so a lot of what i do is hanging out talking to locals. my book tells the history of americans in the horn islands but i will do things like rent an apartment in a building where jack lord stand in the opening credits of hawaii 5-0 and talk about that and how that relates to the history of americans in hawaii. it is placing history within the context of the present and go to a lot of sights and talk to people on the ground. >> host: when did you find congress became interested in the hawaiian islands? there's a reference to president john tyler in 1842. >> guest: our relationship with hawaii was discovered by
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europeans in 1778 and this is when george washington is holed up at valley forge. immediately -- he is the one who put hawaii on the map. anyone who takes a look at that map and see where these islands are there between the west coast of the united states and a great market that is china and the rest of asia. it is obvious that these islands could be important stopping off points and important in terms of trade with asia. once they are on the map and the man with a cash register in his years covets them. the united states seized the islands as important in terms of strategic location and commercial. in terms of new england shipping
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industry and commercial wailing it is obvious from the get go that these islands are going to be very valuable and crucial. the tyler administration recognized the hawaiian islands as a monarchy. as a kingdom. it is interesting because americans were there so early. we hadn't even settle our own west yet. later on in the 1840s as we push westward and start selling oregon and california and the gold rush happens what new england missionaries accomplished in hawaii which was to christianize them and build a churches and schools and try to turn hawaii in to these new england communities a lot of people on the east coast of the united states, senators and government officials as well as business men sees the example of what the missionaries
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accomplished in hawaii as perhaps being inspirational to what we could do on the west coast of the united states. the missionaries brought their wives and something they saw of what happened in hawaii as these creatures and their wives and exerted this westernizing influence on these islands people hoped could happen on the west coast of the united states. >> host: first call for sarah vowell is from michigan. good morning. you are on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: thank you very much. i would like to ask sarah vowell if she thinks the western is asian of hawaii was more religious than cultural. what they call the white man's spirit or was it commercial? people basically wanting to make
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money? commercialization versus the white man's burden? >> guest: it is the united states. you don't have to choose. you have missionaries and commercial sailors. you have both things going on at once. those missionaries, especially the early ones were not quite idealistic and they accomplished a lot in terms of literacy. culturally the interesting thing about what they did besides teaching the entire population to read within a generation, hawaii was the most literate country on earth because of their efforts. as a consequence those missionaries taught the first generation of wine writers and historians to write. at the same time they are trying to dismantle the traditional hawaiian culture especially in terms of religion and dress the
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missionaries had a problem with the hawaiians's way of dress or lack thereof. there is that but because they taught the first generation of writers and historians to right, we have impressive records of the old culture. because of their invention of written language a lot of the old hawaiian language was preserved. that is an interesting paradox but because the whalers arrive and that coincides with the heyday of wailing in the nineteenth century they completely change the island in things like agriculture. hawaiian farmers started growing products that american sailors wanted to eat. potatoes, cattle and things like that. commercial development of the waterfront especially in
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honolulu. this typical relationship going on with the west coast of the united states. the honolulu waterfront was built using timber from the pacific northwest. the change in terms of the culture. both commercially and in terms of religion was radical and had do with the christians and the sailors. >> host: why was 1898 so important? >> guest: that was the year of the spanish-american war and the year the united states annexed hawaii and takes over the philippines and invade cuba and the philippines, takes over guam and puerto rico. the year we became an empire and the year we became who we are now. and hawaii is part of that. there was a cute debate at the time because we love to bicker.
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a lot of people who objected to becoming an empire and acquiring colonies saw it as a betrayal of our original ideals. the ideal of government based on consent of the government. the majority of the hawaiian population did not want to become an american territory. the philippines who had been our allies against spain in the spanish-american war when we acquired the philippines as spoils of that war our old allies, the philippine rebels started pointing their guns at us. who could blame them? we took over those islands and colonize them and they became our property. same thing with hawaii. that is the corner we turned that there is no turning back from. it was this -- it is a question of does this country want to be good or great? people like the or roosevelt and
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henry cabot lodge and men in the government and military who saw greatness as empire and wanted to build up the navy and acquire these islands specifically to use as naval stations to support and navy. to become an old-style european style empire and they saw that as greatness and they won and we live in their country. whatever you think about that on one side or the other and there are points for either position, that is the moment when that happened and we are still dealing with the ramifications of that. >> host: next call from washington d.c.. you are on booktv. please go ahead. >> caller: i have read all your books and i wonder if you are working on anything and what we can expect from you in coming
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months or years? >> guest: i don't know if i want to give anything away yet. i am thinking about architecture. i am not ready to talk about that yet. >> host: give us a synopsis of the word he shipmates. >> guest: that was my book about the founding of the massachusetts bay colony in 1630. it boiled down -- also about the founding of rhode island after the massachusetts bay colonist gets booted out of massachusetts by his brethren for being a rebel rousing loudmouth and he goes on to found rhode island. it is sort of deals with the two things i admire most about the american puritans sort of hinted at in that title. i love them as thinkers and
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writers. my -- one of my favorite pieces of writing is john winthrop's sermon a model of christian charity where he imagines new england as a city on a hill. i love them as thinkers and writers. one reason i wanted to write about them is when someone says puritans people think of them as stupid and these were the most educator, intelligent abstract thinkers of all time. they just happened to be born before the age of reason. the other thing i love about them that is at the heart of winthrop's sermon is there communalism. their love of one another and the idea of community. it is this poem of community that we must be as members of the same body to rejoice together and suffered together and mourn together as members of
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the same body. there's something beautiful and idealistic about that. is also the force of the whole dark side of that community that anyone who spoke out for didn't conform to their narrow ideas and ideals were banished. it is a refusal to tolerate the ideals of others. it is an even-handed portrait of them but there are things i do admire about them. >> host: where did you grow up? >> guest: i lived in oklahoma until i was 11 and then montana. >> host: next call from north carolina. >> caller: i like everything
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write. [talking over each other] >> caller: the roll corp. played in the overall -- overthrow of the queen in hawaii. >> guest: that came later. the goal of newfoundland the pineapple plantation was a distant relative of sanford gold who was one of the missionary descendants who helped overthrow the queen and became president of the republic of hawaii, be short-lived government in between the hawaiian kingdom and hawaii becoming american territory. there's no real relationship other than they were distant cousins. at stanford is an interesting figure. his father was a missionary. first feature at the school founded by the missionaries to educate missionary children in honolulu and that is the alma
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mater of our president. it was interesting to me at the inauguration of president obama when he had his alma mater marching band playing in his inaugural parade and from this school founded by sanford's father whose ended up overthrowing the queen and taking her place as figurehead of hawaiian government and when they were marching in his inaugural parade they were playing a song written by the queen being played by the high school marching band of a school attended by all the missionary descendants who overthrew her. i love irony. >> host: is that where president obama attended? that was founded by the missionaries. any evidence the missionaries ever enjoyed waikiki beach or
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had a picnic? >> guest: the thing i love about the early missionaries is they are not ones to have a good time but they worked very hard. i especially became he enamored of the wives because they did all the wife and mother nineteenth centuries of raising children and making food but also had to teach school. also had to teach school. their journals are remarkable for the amount of complaint and they had reason to complain. they had very hard lives. if you want to connect memoirs i would say the hawaiian missionaries are not your true source but they are interesting. >> host: california, you are on with sarah vowell. >> caller: my name is mike. i read assassination vacation. i was really intrigued with the story about lewis powell.
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something i didn't understand was as i recall in your book they found his skull in a box in the national archives or a repository. how did a skull end up in a box and nobody thought that was a little odd? >> guest: lewis powell was one of the conspirators in the lincoln assassination. what happens is ves you are one of the people who plot to kill the president and other high government officials and you are executed they are loose with what happens to your remains. so lewis powell who was executed for his part in that conspiracy, he is the one who stabbed secretary of state seward. powell was hand with the other conspirators. somehow his skull ended up in the smithsonian with all the
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american indian remains and when the law was passed to start repaot iating those american indian remains back to their tribe researcher who was going through all of these bones in the smithsonian worked at ford theater museum or one of the other associated -- recognize powell's names so that stalin made it back to florida and was buried near powell's mother. that is one of those sot ange things. if you want your remains to be intact and placed in the burial place of your choice do not plot against the american government. words to live by. >> host: sarah vowell is our guest at the national book festival. live coverage from booktv on c-span2. last call for her from salt lake
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city. >> guest: hello. >> caller: i am a big fan. i wondered about the whole hawaiian islant history byir ames michener. how did you become with the real facts andn'tpdates and everythig like that? second of all would you care to comment how the mormon missionaries have defected and have a college there and stuff? >> guest: i write nonfiction so that is the hand are have been dealt but with the mormon history it is interesting. one of my favorite people to write about was walter mary
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gibson who wasn't a con man but he can't reckon young into defending him to hawaii as a mormon representative and he became the head of the mormon church in hawaii. the mormon sainh t settled on te island of lanai which is -- walter murray gibson's dream was to build an empire in the pacific that he would lead. so his journals and diaries are so tingscinating, he is in this meadow and thinks he will rule the pacvesic ocean. he sees these poor mormons where they try to live as this 3 saters fdrled with babies and odr and
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memories of me. eventually the higher-ups' in sat c lake got wind of what he was doing and self-absorbed ideas what the mormons should be accomplishing but sent representatives to hawaii to re he was premier of the government and he corepissioned the statue in honolutat. he ended up having an impact on hawaiian history but the mormons recovered from his leadership and went on to a sot ong religious presenc ba the brigham campus is one of the main colleges and at they also run the cultural center which might be the main tourist attraction on the island.
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they did quite well for themselves in hawaii. >> for those who didn't get through we will invite her back on be fk bo. and here is her most recent book "unfamiliar fishes". the next is thinking about architecture in some different way. we will look forward to that as welrd sarah vowell has been our guest as we continue live coverage in washington d.c.. in just a second in the tent we wdrl betl- meet mur. eric fone columbia professor and pulitzer prize winner for 2011, "the fiery ot ial: aousaham lincoln d american slavery" is his latest bohe he will be joining us to take your calls.
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here's eric foner. >> thalia you for that introduction. i am delighted to be here. wonderful for a writer to see people coming because of their love of bohe liousary of congress and everyoe who organizes this festival. we wdrl hg. take a few. everyone knows abraham lincoed is the most iconic figure in american history. there are 10,000 boo rem on aous 2am lincoed t of one kind another. there are tves iee hollywood moo sto four that the there were jut made or in the works. the conspiratorir ust came out.
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steven spielberg is doing the film about lincoed t. liainoln the va ba the way. there is an old adage that ther is no prodyour cat on earth who sales can't be increased by associating with aous 2am liainoln. i am glad to see james a drlington of the library congress appreciate this because lincoln is on the front page for this festiir urd one thing that is remarkable about lincoln is he was self e ycated by readinn tou he had one year of formal schooling in his entire life. makesiniou wonder if my job is even necessary, teaching. lincoed t learned by readinn tou he was a voracious reader as a
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youth and adut c. he read everything he could get his hands on. he was not a deeply religious man but he read the bn't ble an new the bible and debate it with ãcf1 o abinisteeven . he new economics and politics through reading. there's a lesson in at at this festiir urd why did i feel like wanted to write another book about liainoln? i tend to write books when i get not aofeoyed butn'tnhappy with e current state of literature and over the past decade as bohe get bored out about lincoed t i 2009 when we had the l bcentennial of lincoed t's bi many of those are wonderful books. i am not here as a 3 sitic of what one reviewer called the
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lincoln industrial complex but there has been a tendeainytl- those are too introverted. self referential. in other wort lincoln just study lincoln. want togannoyoutwhy lincoed t d something as president you look at his law career. fou want to ainsow wte i he he certain views about slavery you study his early readings. the water world has a way of slipping out of view and too arlch literature on lincoed ttl wanted to put lincoln in the historical contemil. this is not a biogry dte i of lincoln. there are many of them. it isolates this question but it is a question about slavery and liainoln's relationship to slavery and changing attitudes and policies regarding slavery across the coueven e of his car.
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i want to situate lincoln in the history of what charles s muner called the anti slavery enterprise. i like that term because enterprise is not an organization. is not tir sten it. it is a conodyomeration of peope working sometimes disagreeing with each other but working for a general end. involved radical abolitionists who demanded the irepediate freeing of the slaves and bringing them in as equal citi 1ns of american society. included others who wanted a gradual asedroach taking many decades including monetary compensation for loss of edroperty and people who th the solution was to encourage aduack people to leg.
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counwany. slaves should be freed but sent to africa or central america or other places. lincoln occupied different places on this specwan mu. the theme of my book is lincoln's change over time. this is the hallmark of his greatness. too many people take one speech of lincoed t and s a this is the essential link in. the hallmark of his greatness was his cy dacity for growth. he occupied different position than the end of his lvese on questions of slavery and related question of race and race relations than he outiwas ied earlier in his career. lincoln had a complex
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relationmonip with these radica abolitionists who worked to coviince public opinion on the evils of slavery and radical republicans who were abolitionist but working within the political system. he was not an abolitionist and never claiked to be an abolitionist but this was an enterprise he monared with them. in one speech lincoln said every schoolboy knows the name wdrberforce and shark. the leaders of the british movement in the 79s to abolish the slave trade from africa. not slavery itself but selling of y dtg. world. every schoolboy knows the name of wi o terforce and shayoutbut who can name one man who oppose them? lincoed t saw history going in certain direction toward
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eventually abolition of y dtg. he wasn't part of the most radical edge. liainoln was a politician tves iour sout his life. he ran for office at the age of 22 and from then on he was in office or running for office most of his lvese for a little ederiod in the 1850t buwhen voted himself to his law career. i mention that because i monouldn't say this in this cit but today politicians are held in low esteem in this country. if you look at gallup polls in ranking politicians as outiwas ation is slightly above wall street bankers but lincoed was a politiciao p he was a member of the whig party in the first part of his
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career in illin. ns. in the first twenty years of his career he said little about y dtg. .. sometimes his language is quite similar to that of abolitionists. all slavery a monstrous injustice. he prefers -- refers to it as a cancer on the body of american politics. he absolutely insists that
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slavery must be prevented from expanding westward. the issue in the 1850's was not the abolition of slavery perce, but whether slavery should be allowed to expand westward into the territories beyond the mississippi river. lincoln condemned slavery on many grounds, as economic, moral, political, but altman -- alternately lincoln spoke about slavery, you might say, as a form of theft. that the theft of labor, every person he insisted, had a right to enjoy the fruits of his or her labor. slavery stole labor of one person and then appropriated it to another. this is not really a racial argument in any way. everybody is as an actual right to enjoy the fruits of their labor. that is so he understood the wonderful wording of the declaration of independence from a life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
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the pursuit of happiness and the ability or the opportunity to rise on the social scale and improve your condition in life, as lincoln, himself, of course, had done coming from very humble origins in his youth. and he felt that that opportunity existed in the north. that was the civilian difference between free society and slave society. society blocked off the path of opportunity, the path of improvement. obviously for slaves there was no hope of improvement in the condition of their lives, but even many white people of the south, he felt, were sort of kept in a degraded positioned because of slavery. well, with this language condemning slavery, why wasn't lincoln an abolitionist? why didn't he demand the immediate abolition of slavery? because lincoln had other commitments as well which were equally important to him.
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lincoln was a lawyer, a deep believer in the constitution. a believer in a sort of sense which we still hear a lot about today. of course american mission parity, the united states the last best hope of man. in other words, he held this view that the united states was a symbol of democracy to the world, that we exemplified the superiority of free institutions in a world still overrun by monarchy and aristocracies and tyrannies. the role of the united states, the mission of the united states was to demonstrate that democratic institutions were superior, and that is, of course, when he said the gates burger dress, the point of the war is to preserve government of the people, by the people. democracy. so there is -- this paulsen into a different directions. on the one hand slavery is a
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contradiction to that. slavery makes us into hypocrites. we talk about freedom, we talk about liberty, democracy, and yet 4 million people in this country by 1860 are denied those basic rights of self-government, liberty, and it makes people around the world condemns us for not even believing in our own professed values. on the other hand, lincoln says, we cannot let the american nation sunder, let it fall apart. because of the nation's blitz on this issue of slavery, then this mission of democratic progress will be, you know, will be destroyed. now, i should mention that lincoln is a believer in this mission, but not in what was called manifest destiny at the time. th
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nation is to abide by the compromises of the constitution. william lloyd garrison, the abolitionist, burned the constitution saying it is a covenant with the devil because of its clauses relating to slavery. lincoln said, no, even though i oppose slavery with respect to the legal right of the south on the slave, protected in the constitution, we must return their fugitive slaves. much as i hated. those new terror. sadness to see fugitives track
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down and returned, but that is part of the constitution. it is part of the compromises which made the creation of the punitive states possible. lincoln, in the 1850's, like many americans, lincoln cannot really conceive of the united states as a biracial society. he is charged in the 1850's by his democratic opponents with believing in negro equality. this was sort of like the nuclear weapon of politics. communism in the 1950's. if you could accuse someone of that, that would weaken their political position. lincoln says, no, i am not actually in favor of negro equality. he sort of hedges it. on the one hand, yes, but people are entitled to the natural rights of the declaration, life, liberty, and property. everybody is entitled to that. on the other hand he said, as for the right to vote, no, i am opposed to that degree come from
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illinois, as did which is deeply racist, severely discriminatory laws against black people. he shares many of the rachael -- racial prejudices of his day, and he is not really think of the united states as a biracial society. lincoln's solutions to the problem of slavery is he takes it from his -- the two political leaders. thomas jefferson and henry clay. and that is what we call colonization. slaves should be free, but encouraged to leave the country. they should enjoy their natural rights bill but somewhere else. bradley's ten years we can promote this idea of colonization because -- not because he thinks there is anything wrong with black people. racism is so deeply embedded in american life that even if every black people will never be able to achieve equal rights. it is simply impossible in this
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country. now, this, of course, led to much criticism. frederick douglass, the great black abolitionist said, no, this notion of colonization is based on the idea that black people are not genuinely american. what needs to be done is to condemn racism and slavery as well, but lincoln supported those two issues. he said combined against slavery. i'm an agnostic. i neither condemn nor adopted. he did not think debt race was the second political issue as slavery, but during the civil war he will change on this and other issues. much of my book is trying to track down with guns evolution during the civil war. of course it is the evolution of the nation itself, not just one man command of the entire northern population really, by the end of the war. i'm not going to try year to give you all of the steps from the beginning of the war to the emancipation of slaves.
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in the early days of the civil war lincoln actually comes back with this plan, if you want to call it that, he had that before the civil war. that is to say gradual emancipation with compensation, monetary compensation and the colonization of the freed slaves outside the country. early in the work, some people say oh, he is slow. i don't think you so when all. in the fall of 1861 before there has been any significant military combat begin goes to the four border states, the slave states that remained in the union, delaware, maryland, kentucky, and missouri. he brings in the congressman from delaware. delaware only has 1800 slaves. he said, look, we have to get this emancipation thing going. delaware can take the lead. here's the plan. it will pay you for your slaves. it will be done gradually.
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it will make sure you leave. delaware says, no, sorry. we know what your plan. we want to keep our slaves. you don't understand. we are slave owners. some money we want. slavery is the essence of our society. to give up our sleeves would change the entire nature of delaware society. well, delaware, 1800 slaves rejects this rather moderate plan, what is south carolina going to say? alabama and kentucky. so the plant does not go anywhere. it falls apart on one end, but it also falls apart on the other end. but people did not want to leave the country. lincoln has a meeting in 1862 with a group of black leaders and he says to my want to encourage you to leave, you know, to have your people accept this colonization idea. he says your people suffering the greatest wrong ever suffered by any people.
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that is pretty strong. slavery is the greatest wrong ever suffered by any people. but, he says, there is a prejudice against you that will make it impossible for you to achieve equality, whether it is right or wrong. he is now willing to take a position on that. they come back and say, i'm sorry. we are staying here. we are americans. we have as much right to be in this country as you do, and we're going to stay here and struggle. his plan is falling apart at both ends. meanwhile, all sorts of pressures are building up for a change in policy. of just mention a couple of them. one, they are not winning the civil war. by the middle of 1862 the war is still made. fighting the war is army against army is not working. more and more people are saying you have to attack the infrastructure of society. that is slavery. second of all, slavery is beginning to fall apart on the
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periphery. wherever the union army goes swiss are running away to the union lines. you heard mention that the british in the american revolution of for freedom to slaves who came over to their side. this is typical in warfare. you offer freedom to the slaves of the other side to weaken the other side. it happened in the caribbean all the time. lincoln did not say that exactly, but on the other hand he allowed the army not to return their slaves. finally in 86 to two congress forbade the army from sending slaves back who had managed to run away to union lines. so the action of these slaves is putting the question of emancipation on the national agenda. then there is the problem of waning enthusiasm for the war. the beginning of the war people said, nuys and romantic. it will be one big battle. walmart often cover ourselves of
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glory. by 1862 it is pretty clear it is a long, bloody war, not romantic in the slightest, and for the north particularly you need all the manpower you can get. at the beginning of the war they did not allow black people into the army. blacks volunteered. then slaves. more and more people are saying we need to enlist black people. we need this manpower. so all of these things and many others are propelling lincoln toward a different policy. in september 1862 he issues a preliminary emancipation proclamation. of january 1st 1863 the final amounts to mission proclamation. in know, one of the most important turning points in all of american history. and also very misunderstood. people still think that lincoln
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just freed of the slave of the stroke of his pen to know, that is not object to what happened. the proclamation exempted the border states, the four states that were in the union. it did not apply to them. he also exempted certain spare parts of the confederacy which were under union occupation because the only legal justification for the emancipation proclamation was that it was a war measure. he sees it under his power under the constitution as commander in chief of the armed forces. it is a military necessity, he says, that enables them to take this action against slavery. so the proclamation, if you read it, is a rather dull legalistic document. it is a military order. only at the very end to see say it this is issued under military necessity and believed to be an act of justice. active justice. an act of justice is not legal. kansas a.m. doing this as an act
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of justice. there has to be a constitutional basis. nonetheless, despite that the proclamation is a critical turning point for the war and for lincoln and self. what is interesting is how it is completely different from his previous outlook of slavery. it is immediate, not gradual. over 3 million says jeffrey at the moment. it is the role of the army to protect their freedom. secondly, there is no mention of compensation. henceforth southerners will not get money for slaves. there's a legally recognized as property. the property right is liquidated with no monetary payments. finally, lincoln toxicity of colonization. no longer are we talking about blacks leaving the country. in fact, the other different vision emerges because the proclamation for the first time
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authorizes the endless and a black man in the union army, putting them in the army is a very different vision and telling them they have to leave the country. and by the end of the war 200,000 black men have served in the union army and navy. in the last two years of the war after the proclamation lincoln's ideas will begin to change in a remarkable way on these fundamental spirit once the issues a proclamation he won't go back. think of america as a biracial society. once he got the idea of colonization you have to think about the rights that these people are going to enjoy within american society at the end of the war. i think the service of black soldiers is very important. it comes to feel that by fighting and dying for the union they have staked a claim to citizenship in the post war
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world. no, just briefly on what sub mentioned where lincoln in is up just to talk for a
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so lincoln is ahead of the curve in terms of public sentiment by advocating partial suffrage for black men in the postwar south. then there is one of the most remarkable speeches in american history. many of you may be familiar, his second inaugural address march 4th 1865. the lincoln memorial, it is on the wall. let me read you a couple sentences, setting the scene for that inaugural address. on march 4th 1865 lincoln took the oath of office for the second time. the setting itself reflected how much had changed in the past four years. when lincoln delivered his first inaugural address the new capitol dome which replace the original wooden one was only half completed. now the statue of freedom was up there. the statue of freedom crowns the finished edifice.
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symbolizing the reconstitution of the nation on the basis of universal liberty. for the first time in american history companies with black soldiers marched in the inaugural parade. according to one estimate, have the audience that had the dress is black. it must have been very tempting for lincoln to use his inaugural address to review the progress of the war anchoret site himself on the been the victory. instead he delivered a speech in almost unbelievable privity in humility. he began busting there is no need for an extended address for a lever discussion of the progress of arms. he refused to make any prediction as to when the war would end. one week after the inauguration senator thomas beyer of delaware wrote that he had slowly and reluctantly come to understand the wars remote causes. he did not delineate them, but in the second inaugural lincoln did. slavery, he stated forthrightly,
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was the reason for the war. he did not call it seven slavery. he called american slavery. the whole nation, he went on, was complicitous in the crime of slavery. that is why this up to love my book is ever and lincoln, an american slavery. he goes on to say then nobody knows what does well is in this war. we want the war to end, but god may well have brought this war as a punishment to the nation for the evil of slavery. the war will continue until all the wealth piled by the bond manse 250 years of unrequited toil is sunk. there is vestal labor again. 250 years of unrequited toil. may all have to be destroyed to fill the will of god. then until every drop of blood
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drawn with the lash shall be repaid by another drawn by the sword. every drop of blood drawn by the lash. begin rarely talks about the physical brutality of slavery. he generally talks about it as an abstraction, a question of rights and democracy, but here he is reminding the audience that the terrible violence of the civil war had been preceded by 250 years of the terrible violence of slavery. that is the moral equation that he is asking people to think about. in other words, lincoln is -- he had to sit talked-about compensation to the owners, now implicitly raises the question of compensation to the slaves. maybe not monetary compensation, but more compensation and political compensation. he is asking the country to think about what we hope to the slaves what other requirements
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of justice in the face of that reality? what is necessary to enable these emancipated people, their children, their descendants to enjoy the pursuit of happiness that he had always said they were entitled to but that had been so long denied to them? ", of course within a month or so clinton is killed. he does not live to try to address those profound and difficult questions. in some way these questions of the legacy of slavery and how to actually ensure equality in this country, those questions are still on our society 150 years later. thank you for listening. [applause]
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thank you. we have a little time for questions. let me take the tournament at the mike there. >> i recently heard the claim that ever and lincoln was the only u.s. president that was never a member of an institutional church. why do you think he never joined a church? how seriously do you see him using his obviously fast biblical lawless and applying that slavery? >> okay. i don't know if he was the only president who never joined a church, but it is certainly true that he never -- he attended services with his wife, but he never became a member of the church. lincoln was really a child of the enlightenment and of the era of the revolution. if he had religious use there were more of this kind of diaz kind. most of our founding fathers and thomas paine. that is, you know, god had created the world and created the laws of nature.
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and then he left town. there was no point. an organization of religion was beside the point. he didn't really have this personal notion of jesus christ as savior the way so many americans did. he understood the importance of evangelical religion and a clear days to fix giving, with ministers in new the bible up and down absolutely, but he never had the personal religious faith. why? how can you explain why somebody has religious faith and the person doesn't? during the war he moldova this question of god's will. in the second inaugural it is almost like a sermon. lincoln was a very private man. he did not keep a diary, ride a lot of letters. the only way we can gauge his
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innermost thoughts as to his public statements and his actions. he did not have that deep religious personal sense of commitment that so many americans of his era and our own to. the fact that he could get elected president at that time shows you that we live in a different political world now. adult think we have yet to many candid it's a never joined a church and their whole life. thank you. over at this mike. do we have a question to mac. >> system we do. >> just. >> my question is what george washington's abuse of power. >> speak a little closer to the my. >> my question is george washington and his abuse of his presidential power in regards to slavery. >> george weston. >> george washington used slaves , and he used them in philadelphia even disregarding what abraham lincoln was trying to pursue their rig and just
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wondering if you have any take on george washington's abuse of power in slavery. >> george washington, yes. the first capital of the united states of course was not here but in total fee and a 79 these. philadelphia -- pennsylvania and abolish slavery. you were not allowed to bring slaves into pennsylvania, except for a very briefly to time. a slave owner. he brought slaves. he kept them there. sometimes the shuttle them back and forth to virginia to avoid the law of pennsylvania. one of his slaves escaped into the dry to recover him. you know, washington, like so many of our founders and virginia were slave owners. yet in that sense he is using his power as president to get around the local law pennsylvania. it is also true, of course, that
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unlike thomas jefferson in his well washington provides for the free of all the slaves. one of the very few of the founders you actually freeze all the slaves he can in his will and indeed in the will it is like he underlines it appeared he puts it in bold letters. his trustees are to execute this part of the will first. i don't care if i'm in debt. first to free the slaves and then you do with all the other property. he was very adamant about that. this was the contradiction of the american revolution. you heard one contradiction. the men and women who fought for liberty often were slave owners. lincoln is trying to do with that contradiction a couple of generations later. >> you put forth the proposition that delaware rejected clinton's offer of money because said it was fundamental to their society and there will.
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sorry. plainly absurd. it was five or 6 percent of the economy. so just kind of relating it to the evolution that happened in delaware where they did finally come to agree with lincoln and affected, related to today, we have politicians making pledges. i am wondering of delaware wasn't part of the same political trap. we have to reject lincoln because we made this pledge. >> you're perfectly right. utterly peripheral and delaware. it happens that wherever there is slavery the slave owners dominant the politics. it dominated by slave on as politically even though there was such a tiny part of the population. to the slave owners of delaware as to the rest of the slave owners in the south slavery was essential to their way of life. most of delaware had nothing to do with slavery. the slave owners would not
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consent to is plan of gradual and compensated emancipation. that is the point those trying to make it read to the point is if you can get a state like delaware to abolish slavery voluntarily how are you ever going to get anyone else to do it voluntarily? that is the key problem. >> what you say, this idea of black women in the country, more in favor college you think we look to blacks and for weight? >> i didn't quite -- the questions about this, this idea. exactly is the question? >> the question is do you think -- interesting because the question mostly is to you think we look at blacks and a different way now?
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>> it's an interesting question because if you pick up most books about lincoln -- this is one of the things that actually surprised me. you might say we know everything there is to know about lincoln, and in a certain sense that is true. nobody is ever going to find a big chunk full of documents summer in an attic. look good all this the stuff. no. everything is totally unknown. every letter, every speech. it is all out there. the library of congress. however, i was surprised by some of the things in my research. i was surprised how long went and spoke about this idea of colonization. if you read most books about lincoln you will find that is not mentioned at all or only in a throwaway sentenced to say, oh, well, he could not possibly have believe that this was possible to be jesus said it for political reasons as something like that.
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what is more interesting to me is that lincoln held a said the and then abandoned it and moved some of the position which was that in the 1850's he could not see black people as an intrinsic part of american society. he saw them as an alien people who have been unjustly and violently uprooted from their homeland and transported to the new world. they should enjoy their liberty, but there were not really part of american society. by the end of the work he is seeing them as citizens, participants in reconstruction, a complete change, and i think that is more interesting. much of the industry once likened to be perfect from the beginning. born with a pin in his hand, ready to sign the emancipation proclamation. but that was up the way it was. it's much more interesting how his ideas evolved, how he outgrew some of his early prejudices' spirited should not be surprising that a person born
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in -- not born in illinois, grew up in illinois held those prejudices. that was one of the most racist states and the union at that time. as i say, did he believe this is possible? well, all i can say is he talked about it for ten years as a plausible plan. there were millions of people coming to the united states in the 1850's. so the gestation of people was not so crazy an idea as in a way it may seem to us in retrospect. we may have time for two more questions. let's take one over here. >> as you suggested, slavery was the creator of wealth for many individuals and enterprises. the descendants of which exist today. has anyone tried to investigate this condition, this situation, perhaps, with a view of suggesting that these descendants of society?
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>> well, of course there has been from time to time the issue of reparations for slavery which was sort of up the alley of what you're talking about. you know, people have talked about it. i think it would be utterly impossible to actually work out something like that. as lincoln said, this is a national institution. it was not just the slave owners have benefited from slavery. the city of 11, new york city, its wealth came from slavery at that time. new york had a stranglehold on the cotton trade. new york ships shifted. new york bankers financed it. new york agreement and the ships. you know, new york was totally tied into this for south to read a lot of the wealth went into the north. to try to track of the wealth of slavery would be virtually impossible because it was so widely spread in american society. to be the greater issue is not -- as we said to not far from here is the new martin that the
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king jr. memorial. fifty years ago king stood on the steps of lincoln memorial and delivered his great speech, i have a dream. he began the speech by saying, we are here to cash in the promissory notes, the emancipation proclamation of 100 years. you're right. it has not been fulfilled. he is putting on the question of the issue, how do you actually fulfill the promise of freedom which is to my mind not a question of payment to slavery but a social policy for american life to deal with inequality would still exists in american society. that is really how i would think about it. one more question and then we will call the day. that is not on, don't think, the microphone. >> out you do it? >> given the amount of time that lincoln spent thinking about his
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impending death to messy side, do you find anything that he ever gave any thought to what can the president johnson would be? >> she did think about impending death. he had a dream about his own death and visiting the white house. how did -- beasties me, sir. you know, let me put it this way without mentioning any individual. very often in our political system people are put on the ticket as vice president to run not because of their qualifications to be president, but because they will appeal to some segments of the audience. andrew johnson was put on the ticket 8064 not because anyone wanted him as president, but because he was a southerner, unionist. it bought it would expand the a tour base of the republican party. johnson turned out a month later to be the worst president in american history.
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it was a tragedy that lincoln was killed. the problem of reconstruction was a deep, deep problem, but johnson was utterly incapable of dealing with it. maybe lincoln would have been able to better, but on that note of counterfactual history let me stop and think you all and have a nice rest of the day. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> live from the national mall, the national book festival, the 11th annual. this is book tv on c-span2. that was columbia university professor and lincoln historian.
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now, joining a seer to take calls coming in else, and tweets. numbers are on the screen if you would like to talk. 202 is the area code. you can send an e-mail, book tv at, or tweet joining us in just a few minutes. after that we have several collins. still coming up the former fbi agents. sylvia nasa, grand pursuit, and isabel wilkerson, winner of the pulitzer prize for 2011, we will be joining her on stage at the national book festival at the end of our coverage today, and we will be live again tomorrow, of course.
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not only is it national book festival weekend on book tv, but it is also charlottetown north carolina weekend on book tv. here is another look at charlotte, north carolina's literary. [inaudible conversations] >> give me a little bit of the history. >> it was painted in 1922. that makes it one of the oldest organizations and of carolina. did not know if you were the oldest immobile one of the oldest. it started off all little more of a social club, reading club for lovers of literature, and then it just evolved over time. it is going to be 90 years old next year. >> what is the focus of the club? >> we have a variety of focuses. we want to be a support group for writers.
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we offer workshops, contests, we meet once a month during the academic year and listen to presentations by established writers. we want to offer resource and networking for writers, but we also have members are publishers, editors, people who love reading or literacy. we're advocates for literacy as well. people that have published a number of novels, poets, playwrights. but we also have a number of young people who are just starting out who have not published anything. i like the fact that is very eclectic. journalists, mr. riders to my friend who writes a zombie in vampire read novels. academic poets, historians, a little bit of everything. i think that is wonderful. it is not an academic group. we have people who write best sellers and so on.
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and then charlotte is an interesting place because it is a large city. it also has different kinds of communities, and the communities in different kinds of groups. that makes it fascinating. and i would guess maybe as many as half of our writers belong to critique groups, and these a typically four to six writers in the group. it might be a novel group or a science fiction group or poetry. sure stories, a children's literature. etf enter each other's work. writing is a lonely endeavor. you do it by yourself, but you want to go rob an interactive of the writers and get feedback before you send it to the publisher. the offer a lot of that. we offer opportunities for new writers to connect to people, get a mentor, join a critique group. listen to these presenter's come in. we have a number of great
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writers to come in to talk about their writing. they read from it and then they talk about how they wrote or answer questions about publishing. we have them and coming and our september meeting, kevin morgan watson. the founder and editor of press 53, one of the leading independent publishers and put carolina. he is going to targeting published with an independent prestowitz is a little bit different than some of the mainstream. novelists, october. published with the mainstream. chicken talk about that. so we try to offer a lot for our members. >> that was another look at charlotte, north carolina literary life, and we're back live at the national book festival on the mall in washington d.c. we are between the washington monument and the u.s. capitol. as you can see, the promise rain
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has so far held off. the crowds at the many tens of the national book festival, and we are pleased now to be joined on our book tv set. the author of this tool surprise when the book, the fiery trial, abraham lincoln and american slavery. it won this 2011 pulitzer prize for history and also won the bancroft prize, lincoln prize, and it is a notable book for the new york times book review. thank you for being with us. >> a pleasure to be here. >> before we go to calls the will put the numbers of so viewers can get involved, but when is the first reference to slavery that you are able to find with regard to abraham lincoln? >> in his own words? well, i think the first time lincoln said anything of any significance of slavery was in the illinois legislature.
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they pass a resolution basically condemning the abolitionists and saying, look, the southerners are right to own their slaves congress should not abolish slavery in washington d.c. lincoln and one other member of the legislature, only one other commission with a call the protest were they issued a statement. lincoln does not vote for this resolution. one of very few who don't. their statement says we believe that slavery is founded on in justice and bad policy. on the other hand the abolitionists are just making things worse by agitating it. that is a very modest it meant, but in illinois it was fairly courageous at that time. >> 1837. >> 1837. >> refer in your book is 1861 letter to oracle browning. what was the significance? >> well, he wrote a lot of letters. are you talking about the one after -- were he -- when he
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rescinded fremont's ordered that general fremont of missouri had issued an order freeing the slaves in missouri and this was not the clinton administration policy. he said to look among the general can make a political policy like that. that is up to the president. browning wrote in a letter saying you're going to have to do this at some point. you're going to have to free the slaves regardless of what you think you're going to do now. lincoln wrote a letter explaining this, explaining why he didn't, he overturned fremont, leaving open the possibility that maybe in the future he might have to take more dramatic action against slavery. >> and he referred to this in your talk in the history of biography, but if you would again, his last reference to slavery or to african-americans. >> welcome his last was in no recall his last speech to maple 1865, just a couple of days before he was assassinated. he did not know it was last speech, but it was.
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in that when he says something publicly that neither he nor any president had never said publicly, which was that he thought some black people ought to enjoy the right to vote, particularly some of louisiana, and he singles out to groups. one is what he calls a very intelligent, this sort of educated propertied free negro class of new orleans, but then he adds those who serve our cause as soldiers. 200,000 black men by the end of the war have served in the army and navy. lincoln has come to feel that they have staked a claim to citizenship by fighting and dying for the union. i guess the point of juxtaposing these things is to show how much lincoln's fuse had evolved and changed over the course of his life. he is really moved way toward the more radical position on these issues of slavery and race and he started out in the 1830's >> tweeting dan, what is like his views on the various treatment euro proposals before
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he died? explained debate with radical republicans. >> well, that is a good question that would require a lot of time to discuss, but you know, lincoln did not actually intervened that much in congressional deliberations except on the few issues. the freedman's bureau, which was an agency set up to oversee the transition to freedom and to assist the former slaves, it is march 1865 that this bill is passed. so that is right, a month before lincoln's death. lincoln doesn't really say much about that bill be read the signs it. he signs just about everything that was passed by congress, including some radical measures. lincoln and the radicals are at odds with each other very often. lincoln in these radical republicans in congress cooperate because they ultimately have the same goal in mind, preserving the union and abolishing slavery. they have different ideas about how to do it, but they both understand there in the same
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boat, so to speak. >> columbia university professor and winner of the pulitzer for 2011. baltimore but, you are on the air. >> hello, c-span. thank you so much. he fell my weekends with great delight. i have a question regarding slavery in american presidents. it is my understanding that lincoln was one of the very few of the first 16 presidents that actually did not own slaves and so folks like washington and jefferson who by their actions value their own slavery, were not men of sufficient conscience or courage to my would say, to free their slaves, but instead said, you can be free after i'm dead and gone and can no longer read the value of your enslavement. i just want some clarification on that. i have heard other writers
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regarding slavery in the president. how delightful it is that these men decided to free these folks after they died, but they did not have as my answer would say, sufficient conscience to practice their virtues consistently, to go ahead and free those people when it came to their consciousness. >> us your question. first of all, you are right that most of these presidents before lincoln was of a slave owners, absolutely. the first bonds were from virginia, except for john adams. then you get john quincy adams, neither john adams are john quincy adams ever wrote -- on the slave. then you get jackson. then you begin to get more northern presence to love and caring and later on franklin pierce and you can't. there northerners' the dawn of slaves, with their tied into the south. defenders of slavery. lincoln is the first anti slavery president. that is the first president who is elected because he is anti
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slavery. now, you are right. our founders were trapped in this dilemma. they talk about liberty, but many of them owned slaves. washington did free his slaves in his will and jefferson did not. so they were trapped in a dilemma of slave morning in a democratic country, and it took a civil war for us to get out of that to limit. >> charleston, south carolina. please go ahead. >> good afternoon, doctor. thank you for your wonderful talk today. thank you. i really have two questions. i try to keep it short. i am concerned about david herbert donald. lincoln reconsidered and also his lincoln biography which did not win the pulitzer. i don't know if you want to get into that. i am also intrigued by lincoln's lending in going into library of congress and checking out the keys to uncle tom's cabin.
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>> well, he was a great historian. the fact it did not win the pulitzer prize is utterly immaterial. it is an arbitrary process. i think the biography of lincoln is an excellent book even though i don't entirely agree with his interpretation of lincoln, but he certainly was one of the great scholars of that time. lincoln, yes, when he was a congressman checked out books all the time. if that is correct i to know he checked out the key to uncle tom's cabin. i don't know. that was written in the 1850's, and lincoln was not in congress at that point. maybe when he was president. he was able laces reader. that is how he learned. as i said in my talk, that is why this book festival is an lankans, you know, a legacy in some way. he learned by reading. that is a lesson to all of us. >> when is the last time you read uncle tom's cabin? >> quite a while ago. >> would you recommend it today?
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>> absolutely. first of all, of course, is a classic american literature. to understand that, it is rather melodramatic and may not have the san novelistic qualities that some people are looking for today, but the popularity of it, the enormous impact that it has gives you insight into the northern mind of the 1850's and the growing sentiment against slavery. >> the fiery trial is just out in paperback. here is the cover. greenwich, connecticut. you are on book tv. >> high. i have two questions. the first one is, have you written anything about slavery and new york and the surrounding areas of new york? would you consider doing so if you haven't? >> color, what is your second question? >> my family goes back to the early 1800's in key west, florida. i have heard that there was not
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any slavery in key west. is that true? >> all right. slavery in new york, have not actually written on slavery in new york, although i did assist the new york historical society when they had two excellent exhibits some years ago on the history of slavery in new york. many people don't even realize there was slavery in new york. we tend to associate slavery purely with the south, which is not correct to at least until the 19th century. and it is a great subject. i can't stand to be a telex bernanke west. probably not true that there was no slavery, but key west was basically an american naval base at that time. i would guess there were some slaves. i don't see any reason why there would have been. florida was a slave state, but it certainly was not a plantation area. you would not have large numbers of slaves. >> you did refer, in your talk, to the economic benefits of the
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new york to arrive from slavery. >> well, new york was the major port for handling cotton. cotton was the most important export of the united states from the first part of the 19th century. new yorkers got the stranglehold. it was new york ships that ship the cotton, new york merchants that took care of that, new york bankers that finance the cotton. much of this shipbuilding industry around new york was geared to seven trades. new york was very tight end to the southern slave economy even though by the 1840's and 50's's there was no slavery in new york. the mayor of new york suggested that new york secede when the south did to one not to join the confederacy, but to become a free city so that it could trade equally with the north and south. >> next call from officer eric former comes from seattle. >> yes. good day. first of all, i really enjoyed immensely appreciated your book
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20 years ago on reconstruction. i think it is a definitive revisionist interpretation. >> thank you. >> the question you had from the audience this morning, the last question that pertained to andrew johnson, and you indicated that of course it was a horrible politician and totally botched his reconstruction policy. while it is certain that lincoln would not have done much better, given the deep-seated prejudice and violence instead brutality in the south, do you really think he could have succeeded? i no there were some successes, and of course the compromise of 1876, america lost interest. just think of the half-million troops we had to have in germany. only had a few years. >> reconstruction was a terrible dilemma. it was a gigantic challenge. the civil rights movement was
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sometimes called the second reconstruction. it took the country 100 years to get back to the basic agenda that equal rights of reconstruction. could lincoln have succeeded? our don't know. that is what we call counterfactual history. i do think that lincoln would have cooperated with congress, as he always did but he had far greater compassion for the former slaves ben johnson did. he had already talked about some of them in join the basic political and civil rights of white americans, and, you know, i think he would have gone maybe not as radical a policy is immensely was adopted, but one with the united support of the north without the president trying to undermine it. maybe it would have gained more acquiescence among white southerners. maybe not. maybe you still would have an all this violence and the people. there's no way of knowing. you change one thing in history and everything else changes. all we know is that johnson
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failed utterly and maybe lincoln might have done better. his nose. >> we are live here at the national book festival on the mall in washington d.c. thanks to technology we can take your phone calls, e-mails commander tweets. if you want to send an e-mail, book tv at we have this for you from 48. i'm mispronouncing that and sure, but to president lincoln ever express concern about the economic consequences of the emancipation? >> he did. he worried. one of the reasons he did not believe in the immediate emancipation early on. he thought it would be disruptive. even though slavery was an immoral institution, as he said, it was the fundamental economic institution of the south. suddenly to abolish it, what
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would take its place? in the emancipation proclamation he directly addresses the freed slaves and he says i urge you to go to work for reasonable wages. in other words chinese seems to think a wage system can replace slavery. it is interesting he used the word reasonable, not just any old wages, but reasonable wages. at one point he thought about an apprenticeship system where you in slavery, but the slaves was still have to work for their owners for a while. it became very clear that was a nonstarter. slaves did not want to work for their former owners as apprentices. so he was very interested in the experiments and free labor there were going on in the south, even in the civil war. information from generals and others, putting blacks back to work in the mississippi valley. what is happening, how was it working? he did not have a fully worked out plans to mall but i think once he decided on immediate emancipation he had to say, okay, now we have to figure out what will come next.
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of course he died before any real plan was implemented. >> what book would you recommend on the reconstruction? >> well, self interested answer to that because i wrote a 600 facebook on reconstruction with one of the earlier callers mentioned. i guess that to be immodest, i would recommend my own book. there are many, many other fine books on reconstruction, and it is one of the least well understood times in american history. >> this is his latest, the fiery trial, winner of the pulitzer for this year in history. sentences to, you moron. >> real listening. please go ahead. >> like. i severely disagree with you regarding the idea of colonization. if every politician and as for
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colonization 6 million people would have been alive rather than holding out for medical or theoretical national rights. in view of the really horrible history of race relations in the united states, don't you think that colonization would have been at a great alternative to those who will not going to assimilate to the national public best in? >> that is what lincoln said. racism was so deep in america that even when freed by people would never be allowed to achieve equality in this country. he did not condemn them. he did not say they're uncivilized, unfit for rights. he said this society cannot accept them. ..
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i don't know if you are suggesting actual -- a slightly different thing. i am not as pessimistic as lincoln was. i don't think we solve racial problems but we moved very far toward a really egalitarian society. i don't need to mention we have african-american president. something that was inconceivable in lincoln's day. i don't think we should give up
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hope that the promise of america can be equally and fairly shared by everybody regardless of their race or background or religion or national origin. that is the fundamental guiding principle of american society. >> host: calif.. you are on with eric foner. >> caller: another hypothetical counterfactual question about slavery. didn't the economic incentive you talked about had the south not lost the war, what do you think would have been the evolution of slavery in the north and the south in the western hemisphere according to wikipedia, the entry on slavery there are more slaves today than at any point in history even though it is outlawed in all countries. >> guest: with all due respect
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to wikipedia it is not always accurate. on the other hand some books are not always accurate too. there are millions of slaves in the world today. i know that is the case. it is a terrible tragedy. in the united states there is no question if the south had won the war slavery would have continued. they reciting for independence but also to maintain slavery. they said that very directly. that is what they said in their secession statements. slavery is in danger and we need a new national government that can protect slavery. they wrote it into the confederate constitution. there's no evidence whatsoever that the south would have voluntarily agreed to give up slavery. would slavery still exists today? probably not in the united states or in the confederate states if they were independent. but how that would happen i don't know. some economists have analyzed this and said during the great
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depression the price of cotton fell also blow that slavery would have not been economical. it would have been impossible to own slaves with the price of cotton so low. that is 80 years later or 70 years later from the civil war. that is a long time for slavery to survive if the south had won the civil war. we don't know what would have happened but a more interesting question. point that not only the number of slaves and now but 1860's there were more slaves in the western hemisphere than at any other point in history. even though the british abolished slavery, the spanish american nations abolished slavery, there were eight million slaves. slavery was not dying out. it was not a declining institution. it was thriving in the u.s. and cuba and brazil and no reason to think it wouldn't have continued for a long time if the american civil war had not taken place.
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>> host: connecticut, go ahead with your question. >> caller: i appreciate your books very much. i know lincoln was a free thinker clearly. however there was a bishop simpson who had quite an influence on him as far as the emancipation proclamation is concerned and officiated as a general in springfield. can you comment on that? >> guest: bishops simpson talked to lincoln and lincoln read his orations. howie influenced lincoln is unclear. the emancipation proclamation was lincoln's decision. i don't think it was bishops simpson or anyone else. one thing about lincoln is this intellectual curiosity and open mind so people influence him but ultimately it was his decision based on his own anti slavery beliefs and the nature of the war and political reality and the desires of slaves. it is hard to pinpoint one
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person. lincoln's religious beliefs will remain a little bit of a mystery. >> host: this is dr. eric foner's book "the fiery trial: abraham lincoln and american slavery". winner of the pulitzer for history for 2011. thank you for coming on booktv on c-span2. we continue our live coverage at the national book festival. want to show you who is coming up next. this is ali soufan's book published by norton. he is a former fbi agent and the book is called "the black banners: the inside story of 9/11 and the war against al-qaeda". as you can see this book was checked by the fbi and the cia. ali soufan left that in the book. we will talk about that in a few minutes. after that candice millard has an intriguing book out on the
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assassination of president james garfield. she will speak in the history and bio attend. several hours of live coverage. you can get updates on the bottom of your screen every 15 minutes or go to the entire schedule is laid out for you. we will be back in a few minutes with ali soufan. right now our colleague rob hardesty is out and about at the national book festival. >> edmund morris is author of pearl roosevelt and joins us outside the pavilion. take us through the first two books and how we get to colonel roosevelt. >> through the first two books in five minute i got news for you. let's skip the first two and go to colonel roosevelt. >> colonel roosevelt is the story of his post presidential life until 1919. the youngest ex president we
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ever had and a period of extraordinary adventure and cumulatively tragedy. everything from a narrative point of view. is one i enjoyed book -- writing. >> tell us how he remade himself after relieving the white house as an ex-president and political power broker. >> that is the story of the book. he gave up the presidency in 1908 when he could have had a third term if he wanted on a silver platter. but he decided two terms was enough for any man but as soon as he gave up power for his great safari he began to regret the power in gave up. he came back and ran again for the presidency and progressive party ticket against his hand-picked successor and was defeated but to this day the most successful third-party candidacy in history. >> mark twain called teddy
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roosevelt or theodore roosevelt the most formidable disaster that has the fall in the country since the civil war. what made him say that? >> two prima donnas. they were and tech in the sense that mark twain was anti imperialists liberal and teddy roosevelt was and imperialists conservative. even if they had been politically harmonious they still would have fought and clashed because they read two giant egos and giant egos never get on well. >> what do you want to get across to the audience when you talk about your book colonel roosevelt? >> what will surprise most people is what an intellectual he was. although he was extraordinarily gifted politician he was also an intellectual who wrote 40 books. 1 50,000 letters, read and largely memorized a book a day. and he wrote some amazingly
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error date -- be erudite articles some of which have never been given much attention until i wrote my book. for example the conflict between orthodox religion and evolutionary science. the same feel logical debate we are having nowadays in the southern states. a lot of this stuff which i explored in the book speaks to our contemporary situation. >> being here is almost like a homecoming for you because you worked for a time in the smithsonian building right behind us. >> amazing you should choose this location. i had a study of very 1993. those windows at the top. i was a fellow at the wilson center where i began my book theodore racks. i felt strange because i had never been in an academic environment before.
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>> what is it like to be back? >> mixed feelings. i lived in washington 20 years and wrote both my major books here. i feel nostalgia when i come back but as a new yorker born and bred i am coming back -- the city feels strange. >> why did you choose to write about the roosevelt? >> i really don't know. there was something extraordinarily hypnotic about him. i felt his magnetism. the complexity of his character and the literary side. his dramatic qualities. very theatrical and cinematic. that is why i was drawn to him as i was to ronald reagan, another theatrical personality. now to thomas edison. another giant intellect of great
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imaginative depth. i find this subject in exhaustively interesting. >> what lessons do you think the roosevelt has for current politicians or anyone thinking of getting into american politics? >> the simplest message is he practiced what he preached and did what he promised. he was what he was. he was an authentic person. so many if not a great majority of our political candidates these days are packaged. they are not real people. they are the sum total of all their advisers and other managers. they are not the guy inside the package. whatever you thought about teddy roosevelt he was what he was. if you voted for him you got what he promised to give you. >> the book is colonel roosevelt. we are speaking with edmund morris. you can go to our web site,
1:12 pm >> host: thank you at the national book festival. you can see great crowds in washington d.c.. this is live coverage from the eleventh annual national book festival. here on our set joining us is the author of this brand new book "the black banners: the inside story of 9/11 and the war against al-qaeda". ali soufan, how did you joined the fbi? >> i wasn't one of these guys who always dreamed of being an fbi agent for working with the government. when somebody in college suggested that, and administrator in my university suggested that, i thought it is a silly idea. it is like telling me to work in a circus or something. but i thought it was a big challenge. a lot of people in college especially my fraternity started
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to make bets if i can make it through the process of being an fbi agent. i thought that was interesting. by the time i graduated from graduate school i finished my graduate work, the fbi offered me a job and ended up in virginia in the new agent club. >> how many years did you serve? >> guest: i served eight or nine years. >> host: you were born in beirut. how did you get to the united states? >> guest: my family immigrated with the war in lebanon and everything so i grew up in pennsylvania and went to school in pennsylvania. my first real job after graduate school was fbi stationed in new york. i moved to new york in 1997 and continued to live in new york throughout my fbi career and after my fbi career i still live in new york.
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>> host: what years did you serve? >> guest: 1997-2005. >> host: what did you work on? >> guest: i focused on terrorism. discussed many of the missions are was involved in and cases that i worked on in the book. the focus of the great majority of my career was bin laden and al qaeda. >> host: do you speak arabic? >> guest: yes. >> host: where were you on 9/11? >> guest: i was not in the united states. i was working on investigating the uss cole attack in yemen. we received a phone call from headquarters asking myself and my partner to stay in yemen and follow up on some leads concerning 9/11. that was september 12th. i was really shocked. why do we need to stay in yemen? did we miss anything during our investigation of the uss cole?
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that caused this event to take place in the united states? later on, later that day i was handed a file and in that file i was surprised to see the information we had been looking for all over the place overseas where we have teams in different areas overseas trying to find people who are connected to the uss cole attack two of the people in the united states and not only that but the plane that had the pentagon. that was a game changer. >> host: who had that information? >> guest: the cia. >> host: did the fbi and cia work well together? >> guest: absolutely. we worked together on al qaeda and different counterintelligence stuff and
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terrorism. i discussed in the book a lot of joint operations we did in fbi and cia in jordan and albania and other countries around the world. i thought the operational relationship on the front line was great at the time. >> host: why was in that file shared with you? >> guest: i am still looking for that answer. we heard the 9/11 commission coming up with a theory that people did not connect the dots. we heard a chinese wall theory between criminal agent and intelligence agent. if you look at what the cia inspector general reports regarding 9/11 it said that if the cia pass the information on
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a timely basis to the fbi and the state department and immigration and naturalization or at least if they put the two hijackers on a no-fly list 9/11 could have been stopped. the same conclusion came by the 9/11 commission. the 9/11 commission report said if the central intelligence agency passed this information to the fbi team investigating the uss cole attack, a lot of things could have happened early on that might change what took place on september 11th and caused 2,977 people to parish. >> host: much of your book looks like this.
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why is that? >> guest: there is a small portion of the book, 2% of the total book that is redacted. the book went to publication review with the fbi and after three months of this process the fbi approved the book without one single redaction and suddenly i found out the book is going through another full-blown prepublication review by the central intelligence agency. something i still don't know why because i wasn't an employee of the cia nor do i have a contractual agreements with them. however, after the pier publication review that is what we have. we have some rejections. those reactions do not hamper in any way the message of the book. people still get the point, get the message. the book made it to the top ten
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new york time best seller list and is no. 3 according to the washington post. you can understand the book with the redaction and obviously people are buying the book anyway. >> host: you put this book in the front of the book dated august 23rd, 2011. what is this note? >> guest: this note telling the reader what i experienced in the prepublication review process and how the book was reviewed by the fbi and was not fully approved by the cia for publication. i need to respect the reader in explaining these things to them. >> host: you say much of the information that got redacted is public information already or from a senate hearing. >> guest: readers can make their mind. a section where i am talking to
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senator graham. this was taken from you can google my name and senate hearing and you will find the video tape on youtube. data exchange between me and senator gramm has been redacted. portions of the 9/11 commission have been redacted. declassified documents of the cia itself, my statement that was broadcast on public television has been redacted. for the most part of the reductions are not only information that is publicly available but information that has been declassified and authorized to be publicly available by the united states government. >> host: >> host: did they ever explain? >> guest: they said in the process of negotiating and
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trying to understand why. >> host: one time you testified in 2009 you were behind a screen. we have a shot of that we will show our viewers. was that your choice or the senate's choice? >> guest: mostly both. i did a lot of work in my career in the fbi. i did undercover work. at that time we fought for security reasons it is better not to show my face. >> host: ali soufan is our guest. "the black banners: the inside story of 9/11 and the war against al-qaeda" is the book. phone-number are on the screen as is the twitter and e-mail address. first call for ali soufan from troy, alabama. you are on booktv. >> caller: thank you. i am looking forward to reading your book but i will wait until the paperback so there will be
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less lines in it. did you find anywhere in your research a justification for going to war in iraq? >> guest: no. i talk about this a lot in my book. believe me. you can get a lot of facts about what happened in the war against al qaeda. even with these reductions. actually what i discussed in the book, i discussed there was a lot of pressure with evidence linking saddam hussein and al qaeda to each other and linking saddam hussein and al qaeda to a wm d program. the fbi could not give that evidence because it did not
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exist. the evidence came later from al qaeda associates. not al qaeda member but an individual who associated himself with the organization. after torture he admitted that al qaeda and osama bin laden were working together. after we went to iraq and found out he was lying they came back to him and asked why he provided that lie that ended up in the security council where secretary colin powell mentioned it in his speech to justify the war in iraq. he said you were torturing me and i gave you what you needed to hear. so i discuss these things in detail and all this stuff has already been declassified by the united states government. the story of the link to the iraq war, the falls link to the iraq war has been declassified by the senate armed services
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committee for example. >> host: maine, you are on booktv. ali soufan is our guest. >> caller: good afternoon. i look forward to reading your book. could you discuss if you know anything about it, the fbi agents in minneapolis who were trying to tell a man named mallseat who dismissed the warnings? >> guest: this came up in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 but if you look at the issue of mr. masawi he said he wants to know how to the part but not how to land. he did not want to learn how to land. immediately he was arrested on
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immigration charges. later on, there was some allegation regarding his laptop and the fbi did not look at his laptop on of timely basis. there is a lot of concern regarding this. even if they looked before 9/11 into his laptop there's no evidence on the laptop that could have stopped 9/11. he was part of a different cell not connected to the one that carried out the 9/11 attack and we have a lot of evidence that shows the leadership of al qaeda did not even want him to know about the other operatives in the united states who were planning the attacks on 9/11. >> host: what was your interaction with abu zabaida? >> guest: i was the first
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american to be there at the undisclosed location. the relationship, the interrogation was good from the beginning. the first question i asked was what is your name? gillick that me and gave me a false name. looked me in the eye and gave me a fake name. whatever i call you honey? he was shocked. he had that look on his face like my game is up. sunni was the name his mother nicknamed him as a child. he figured out of this guy knows what my mommy knows now everything about me. and started providing us -- we were shocked about actionable intelligence. the information he provided to us early on in the first hour of our interrogation how to save his life because when we send the information to washington
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people in washington realized this individual has a lot of valuable intelligence that can save lives. that is why they send the doctor from here to oversee the treatment. >> host: did you ever use enhanced interrogation techniques? >> guest: i discuss a lot of that in my statement to the senate and in the book. i discuss a lot of examples how regular interrogation helps save lives. i talk about bin laden's personal driver and propaganda secretary who we had no idea who we was. the senate considered his interview one of the best interrogation in the war on terrorism and how we got the information we got that was
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essential for the war planning in afghanistan. i discuss a lot of these things but as far as interrogation techniques i agree with the inspector general report. i agree from firsthand experience that we cannot verify one single plot has been disrupted. that is not me saying that the cia chief. >> host: any response to former vice president dick cheney's new book in my time, talking about how he would use the same techniques? >> with all respect to vice president cheney, he is a public servant who did lot of things over his years but he wasn't there. i was there. we got colleen sheikh mohammad as the mastermind but identified him as the mastermind of 9/11 in april of 2002.
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water boarding did not start until august of 2002. he was in custody in may of 2002. water boarding did not start until august of 2002. we can go through these alleged claims of the success of enhanced interrogation that i discuss in detail. the timeline doesn't make sense. there are a lot of politicians who are part of this program or invested a lot in the program and people who agree strongly about the program and believe -- we know from the stephen bradbury memo from the office of legal counsel, these declassified documents happened recently because the memos in the office of professional responsibility or review of it we know they went back to him and they said the efficacy document about water boarding
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says he was arrested in 2003. it can justify the time line. but he was arrested in 2002. why not check your facts? he said my daughter is not to check facts but to believe what i am being briefed. a lot of other people in washington believe what they were briefed and that created the myth about the alleged efficacy of water boarding. >> host: california at the dismal you are on booktv with ali soufan. >> caller: you said you participated in the uss cole investigation in yemen. i understand there was quite a fishing contest between john o'neill leader still head of the investigation and the ambassador to that country. given the fact that you might talk about that, given the fact
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that distressing your investigation, do you think in retrospect you got enough actionable intelligence on principle in the planning for the planes plot, the fbi might have been able to break that case before it occurred? >> guest: you ask a very good question but i have to separate it into a different issue is this the first issue is the john o'neill -- the u.s. ambassador to yemen at the time and the issue of intelligence that could have stopped the attack. we got all the information we could get from yemen. one of the people who participated in the uss cole attack admitted he delivered $36,000 to southeast asia to operatives over there.
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that information went to the other intelligence agencies and we ask if anyone knew anything about it. we sent requests about information in november of 2002 -- november of 2001, june of 2002 and so forth. unfortunately we did not get back any answers until sept. 12, 2001 and was too late. as for the relationship with john o'neill it hindered the investigation a little bit. but i don't make the claim it could have prevented the attack on 9/11 or provide additional information from that country that could have stopped the attack. the information that could have stopped the attack was in the united states. wasn't in yemen. >> host: who was john o'neill
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and what was your relationship with him? >> guest: he was a legend. he was really high up in the fbi. when i met him he was a special agent in charge of national security handling terrorism and counterintelligence for the new york office, biggest fbi office in the nation. john was an interesting character. he is still considered a legend. you could make movies on him. very hard worker day and night. his life was connected to the fbi. i was so lucky that john saw something in the early on and took me under his wing. i learned a lot from him. one first things i learned from him that there is big danger from a person named osama bin
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laden and al qaeda and eventually they will hit at home. unfortunately john live the tragic life. he retired week before the world trade center attack. no one was listening to him about the dangers of al qaeda and he took a job as head of security for the world trade center. he died on he died on september >> host: "the black banners: the inside story of 9/11 and the war against al-qaeda". atlanta, you're on with ali soufan. >> caller: i value your opinions very much. i would like you to weigh in, the book you just put out. i know you always come up with pragmatic things.
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what would actually happen if president obama won the election by 50% of the vote and john mccain won by 46,000 -- 46% of the vote. what if the ones that voted for john mccain did the same thing they're doing in libya to rebel against the government? would president obama and the united states military have to shut these riots down? gadhafi called them terrorists. these uprisings, they would not just overthrow the government but what would happen if this happened in the united states? people have been killed for protests. >> guest: thankfully we are living in the united states and
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we have a constitution. we have democracy. we have separation of powers. we have a peaceful transformation of government. we are not living in a place like libya. we have the freedom to demonstrate freely. we are blessed that we are living in the greatest country in the world. >> host: what are the black banners? >> guest: the black banners. i wanted to name the book the black banners because it shows what we know about al qaeda or how little we know about al qaeda. the black banners is from the prophet of islam, the prophet mohammad. the accuracy is still out there but there's an alleged had read that at the end of time the black banners will be victorious and won't be defeated. osama bin laden when he issued
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the 1996 declaration of jihad against the united states signed it from afghanistan, the region that allegedly the profit spoke about is a region in central asia between afghanistan and pakistan and a little bit of iran and so forth. al qaeda believes or bin laden believed al qaeda and the islamic mujahedin are the black banners which is interesting because it shows there's a counterculture not from mainstream islam but on the fringes of islamic extremism that al qaeda created for itself and try to sell themselves that the final battle between good and evil is between al qaeda.
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>> host: that ends in jerusalem. one of your interrogation quoted that. >> guest: many of them mentioned the black banners. many mentioned the end of time epic battle that was going to happen between islam and the enemies of islam. many al qaeda members believe they are part of that epic battle. is a cult more than anything else. >> host: west virginia, ali soufan is the guest. >> caller: please comment on your views and the fbi's views regarding -- if there were any adverse effects on the intelligence community. >> host: i couldn't quite understand that.
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>> caller: could you please comment on the outing of valerie plane and did that have any adverse effects on the fbi community? >> guest: absolutely. she was an example of a professional hard-working intelligence officer who got stuck with -- in the middle of the political game of washington. unfortunately they burned her as an individual because of politics. every person in the cia and the fbi or any other intelligence agency thinks very deeply about this. shows how politics and national security became inseparable and that is a dangerous move. >> host: are there enough arab americans in the fbi and the
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cia? >> guest: we need more not only out of america but also pakistani americans. afghan americans. iranian americans. muslim americans in general. the muslims are different culture. the culture in pakistan is different from the culture in iran and the arab culture. there's not one arab people but arab peoples. the culture is different from north africa and the arabian peninsula. not only the language but we need to understand the cultural context of what is happening. today al qaeda is a different organization than it used to be on september 11th. i talk about how the organization evolve prior to september 11th from the 80s to the soviet jihad. until the first gulf war when bin laden moved to sudan it was
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a different organization that bin laden and al qaeda moved and created a different structure of al qaeda network. today al qaeda is different after 9/11. is not the chief operator anymore. it is more the chief motivator. you have many networks working around the world. you have al qaeda mostly in algeria -- that region. we have started seeing connections between them and nigeria. we have al qaeda in iraq working on the sectarian divide between sunni and shiite to get funding to make itself relevant. you have al qaeda in the arabian peninsula which is very different than both other kinds working on the tribal divisions. the saudi and yemeni wins.
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we have the relationship being established between certain entities and we saw a terrorist attacks away from somalia and you gone the supported by the al qaeda network so in order to fight these threats you need to understand the cultural context and political environment and the geopolitical context for how this al qaeda in that specific region operates. to do that it is good to have people who know the language and culture and so forth. the greatest thing about america is a melting pot. we have people who are willing and anxious to serve their country. >> host: why did you leave the fbi? >> guest: as you see from the book, i did a lot during my
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career. you can lead or be led or get out of the way. i thought it was better to get out of the way. >> host: the book is the black banners:the inside story of 9/11 and the war against al qaeda. ali soufan, former fbi agent is joining us at the national book festival. thank you very much. >> guest: thank you for having me. >> host: live coverage from the eleventh annual national book festival continues from the mall in washington d.c.. up next we go back to the history and biography tent. candice millard has a new book on the assassination of president james garfield. she will be talking about that. she is being introduced. you can get schedule updates every 15 minutes on the bottom of your television screen or go to and get the full schedule of events. we have several hours of live
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coverage today and tomorrow. here is id at introduce in candice millard. >> an exceedingly sharp eye. her first book river of doubt was inspired by the historian james chase who mentioned in passing one day that he had never seen a book about president teddy roosevelt's harrowing trip down the amazon. fascinated by the few random shreds of evidence that she could find she threw herself into the research. the result is a book that not only plumbs the wilds of a mighty river but sounds the depths of a single dealer american bristling with adventure and filled with vibrant invitations of nature in formed by a president humanity.
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river of doubt gives the state teddy roosevelt we have never known. now with similar acuity candice millard offers a moment in the life of another president. "the destiny of the republic: a tale of madness, medicine, and the murder of a president" focuses on james garfield. he is quiet than roosevelt. more circumspect. not at all inclined to adventure but a man who ended up nevertheless in the cross hairs of an assassin's gun. the book is about the shooting of james garfield. the doctors who failed to save him from death. about a tragedy that ended up unifying the country. candice millard is part biographer, part historian. she is if you allow me to distill his skills to a single phrase. delay bloodhound historian. she is a writer in tents on
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discovering new things about historical figures we think we know all about. those new things have less to do with offices and responsibilities than the human side of things. if you haven't seen her marvelous as a in the washington post last sunday on how she came upon the very human side of these two presidents i strongly urge you to look up on line. just google candice millard writing life and washington post and you will see a different glimpse into how writers shaped and made. ladies and gentlemen, it gives me special pleasure to introduce a very talented writer about the interest disease of american history, candice millard. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much for that introduction. maria is one of my favorite writers so it is a great honor
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to be introduced by her and a great honor to be speaking here at the national book festival. thank you for coming. at heart this book is not about politics or science or even the shooting of a president. it is about an extraordinary drama that took place inside the white house over 80 days. in the 130 years that garfield's death the story of his assassination has been largely forgotten. but even at the time, even though the entire nation, the entire world was watching, no one really understood what was happening. what began as a shooting became a bitter struggle over personal power and ambition. and the result was the brutal
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death of one of our most promising leaders at the hands of his own physicians. this is an intimate, heartbreaking story of ignorance versus science, agreed versus heroism. james garfield was not just a bland bearded nineteenth century politician. he was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. although he was born into extreme, desperate poverty he became a professor of literature, mathematics and ancient languages by the time he was a sophomore in college. by the time he was 26 he was a university president. he knew the entire a need by heart in latin.
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when he was in congress he wrote an original proof of the pythagorean fear rum. to me what is more impressive and inspiring than his brilliance was his decency. i wrote a book about the roosevelt and have great admiration for theater roosevelt. he was the firebrand. the hero, the center of every drama. that is not garfield. garfield was the calmest, wisest man in the room. he was a good, kind, honest man who was trying to do his best. he was a real person not consumed by ego. he was sincerely trying to do good things. even after 17 years in congress and one of the most ruthless, vicious year as of machine
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politics garfield never changed. his friends used to marvel at his patience and forbearance even in the face of the most brutal personal attacks. garfield was incapable of holding a grudge. he is to shrug and say i am a poor hater. although garfield took his presidency very seriously he never had what he called presidential fever. he never ran for and the office. people would ask him to run and he would but he wouldn't even campaign. he always made it clear he was going to act on his own conscience and conviction and if people didn't agree with him they shouldn't vote for him. when garfield went to the republican convention in 1880, not only was he not a candidate but didn't want to be one. he went to give a speech and was kicking himself because he
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wasn't prepared. he wrote a letter home to his wife saying he was sick about the fact that he hadn't written something before hand and now he wouldn't have time. the convention was in this enormous hall in chicago. there were 15,000 people there. the favorite to win by far was ulysses s. grant who was trying for a third term at the presidency. in the midst of the chaos and noise of this convention thousands of people, garfield got up to speak. that speech was so powerful and so eloquent and extemporaneous that the whole slowly fell silent until all you could hear was garfield's boys. the audience was riveted. they were spellbound. at one point garfield said and so gentlemen, i asked you, what
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do we want? someone shouted we went garfield! the entire hall went crazy and when the balloting began delegates started casting their ballots for garfield. he wasn't even a candidate. he stood up and tried to stop what was happening but the votes kept coming. a trickle became a stream became a river became a flood of votes and before he knew it garfield was the republican nominee for president of the united states. what i found again and again while researching this book was not only was garfield's life and nomination and brief presidency filled with incredible stories that the people surrounding him were equally unbelievable. he couldn't make them up.
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there is charles grewco, his would-be assassination. he was a dangerously delusional man that very intelligent and articulate. if you read most accounts of garfield's assassination he is described as a disgruntled office seeker but that doesn't cover the smallest part of it. he was a product of this country at that time. time when there was a lot of -- there was no one to understand what he was up to and hold them to account for it. he was a self-made mad man. he was smart and scrappy and a clever opportunist and would have been very successful if he
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hadn't been in sane. he tried everything and failed at everything. he tried law and the vandalism and even a free love commune. he failed even in that. the women in the free love, and nec gained him charles get out. he traveled all over the country. never by train. never buying a ticket. he took great pride in moving from boarding house to boarding house and slipping out when the rent was due. even when he occasionally worked as a bill collector he would keep whatever he happened to collect. after the republican convention he became obsessed with garfield and the immediately after the election began stalking him. he went to the white house nearly every day. at one point he even walked into the president's office while garfield was in it.
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he sat on a bench waiting for garfield to come out. he even attended a reception and introduced himself to garfield's wife, shook her hand and handed her his business card and slowly pronounced his name so she wouldn't forget him. it was like a hitchcock movie. incredibly creepy and absolutely terrifying. finally he had what he believed was divine inspiration. god wanted him to kill the president. it was nothing personal he would later say. just god's will. as strange and fascinating and nearly as dangerous was roscoe, plain, a brutally powerful machine politician who appointed
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himself garfield's enemy. he needs to wear canary yellow waistcoats with lavender ink. he had a great curl in the middle of his forehead and he recoiled at the slightest touch. his vanity was so out side that he was famously ridiculed for it on the floor of congress by another congressman. but he was no joke. he was dangerously powerful. as senior senator from new york he controlled the customs house which was the largest federal office in the united states and controlled 70% of the country's customs revenue. he tightly controlled patronage and expected complete and unquestioning loyalty. his apartment in new york was known as the more. he was enraged when his
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candidate, former president and didn't get the nomination but was at the political and he knew he couldn't control garfield. the attempt on garfield's life was his ticket back into power. for the first time in his life nothing turned out as he planned. chester arthur what garfield's vice president but conklin's man. politically he was completely conkling's creation. the only other political office he held besides vice president of the united states was controller of the new york customs house. a position that conkling had given to him through president grant. he made as much money as the president. he never showed up to work before noon. parter preferred a life of leisure. he liked fine clothes and late
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dinner parties and he was even more preening than conkling and moved his birth date back a year to appear more youthful. even within the republican party arthur's nomination to the vice president she was considered a ridiculous burlesque. after the election arthur made clear where his loyalties lay. he went on vacation with conkling, lived with him for a time and took every opportunity to criticize the president publicly. suddenly everything change. after garfield was shocked arthur made it transformations' those stunning and complete that nobody could believe in it. the entire country was horrified at the thought that arthur might become president but unlike conkling archer was grief-stricken and devastated by
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the shooting. the last thing he wanted was for garfield to die. he hid himself from public view and refused to go to washington for fear it would look like he was waiting in the wings and cut himself off from conkling. finally after turning his back on the man who made him arthur found moral strength in the most unlikely of places, in the letters of an invalid young woman named julia sands. she believed in arthur when no one else did. when he didn't even believe in himself. after the shooting, there is a spark of true nobility new now is the time to let it shine. faith in your better nature forces me to write to you but not to beg you to resign. do what is more difficult and more brave.
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reform. to everyone's amazement not least of all his own he changed dramatically -- he became an honest and respected leader and never forgot julius and. he kept her letters and wrote her back and even went to visit her. after sunday dinner when they julia was at her brother's house and a highly polished carriage pulled up and to her astonishment out steps the president of the united states who had come to thank her in person. this wasn't real. no one would believe it could happen. ..
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he had enthusiastically sold something which was supposed to cure cancer, syphilis, ulcers, chronic lung diseases, you name it. disgraced for taking bribes and had even spin a brief time in prison. when lincoln, robert todd lincoln center for him after the shooting bless saw in his national tragedy it once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fame and power. he immediately took charge of the presence medical care even though no one had given him authority. he just took it. he dismissed the other doctors and completely isolated airfield
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in a room in the white house and would not even let him see his secretary of state. and what happened in that room inside the white house is nothing short of horrifying. bliss and a few surgeons that he hand-picked to help pump repeatedly inserted unsterilized figures and as germans into the president's back surging for the bullet again and again and again day after day. alas thing wanted was for a car filled to die. yet too much at stake, but his own arrogance and ignorance were slowly and excruciatingly telling the president. the only hope for brazil was to find a bullet and end the search. but this was 14 years before the invention of the medical x-ray. what happens next is nothing short of incredible. only the most brazen novelist would make it up.
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none other than alexander graham bell stepped forward to help. a young restless genius had invented the telephone just five years earlier when he was only 29. by 1881 the telephone had and have some money and a lot of fame, but he wanted nothing to do with the company that had grown up around it. he said it was hateful to him at all times, and it fitted him as an inventor. worst in the business itself with a lawsuit against it. 600 lawsuits against the bell telephone, five of which made it to the united states supreme court. finally bell had enough. he said he was sick of the telephone and could the bell telephone company. bell just wanted to help people. he had lost both of his brothers to tuberculosis before he was 24. both his mother and his wife for deaf, and he knew that he could make life better for people,
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maybe even save lives, but he worked so hard that his parents and wife were terrified that he was literally working himself to death. when he was working he would not stop to eat or rest. his only respite was playing the piano deep into the night, but even then he played with such intensity that his mother had taught him to play called it a musical fever. when garfield was shot bell turned his life upside down to help him. it sickened him to think of garfield's doctors blindly searching for the bullet. santos should be able to do better than that. abandoned everything he was doing and spent a day and night investing something called an induction balance. it was basically a metal detector connected to a telephone receiver which he slowly rain over the president's body listening for a telltale
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buzzing that would tell him where the bullet was lost. in the end bell ensigns were defeated, but not because the invention didn't work. it did work. in fact, it went on to save countless lives for the invention of the medical lectures. alexander rimbaud was defeated by the president's own doctors. as i began my research, the question that kept coming to me was how could this have happened to? what i found first of all was that the presidency in 1881 was very different from the presidency today. first of all, secret service, this is 16 years after abraham lincoln's assassination, and there is still on the secret service protection for the president. in fact, garfield had only an aging police officer and his 22 year-old private secretary. the only was the president not protected from the public, he
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was expected to interactive them 1-and-1 face-to-face on a daily basis. you have to remember, this is the height of the total system, and many americans believe that they were entitled to government jobs and even if they had no training or credentials for them. more than that, they insisted on making their case directly to the president himself. garfield was forced to meet with office seekers and 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day. the situation made in desperate. he longed for time to work and think, and he wondered why anyone would ever want to be president. but while he found office seekers tiresome and even maddening, he never considered them to be dangerous. he said that a fascination can no more be guarded against the death by lightning, and it is best not to worry about either. garfield walked around the city
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by himself all the time. in fact, one night he left the white house, walk down the street to his secretary of state's house, walked together a loan to the streets of washington the fall of the entire way holding a loaded gun. stalking the president for weeks. even fallen into his church in considered shooting in there. finally made his decision, the president would be at the baltimore potomac transition which is where the national gallery of art stands today. the morning of july 2nd 1881. the moment garfield stepped into the station that morning he stepped out of the shadows and shot him twice. the first bullet went into his arm, and the second ripped through his back. by an incredible stroke of luck, however, he did not kill
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garfield, he of the wounded and. the bullet that tore through is backed not his spinal cord, and it did not hit any vital organs. today you would have spent a few nights in the hospital. even if he had just been left alone he almost certainly would have survived. unfortunately for garfield and the nation dr. bliss' step in. bliss took advantage of the fear and chaos that followed the shooting to assume control of kraft builds medical care, but he was not only ambitious and arrogant, he adhered to the most traditional methods of the time. bliss gave garfield and alcohol. he took great satisfaction in what he called the healthy process issuing from the president's infected wounds, and he avoided any treatment that he considered to be new and radical, including antiseptics.
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the renowned british surgeon had discovered in introduced and accepted 16 years earlier. in his hand to -- the death rate immediately plummeted. he traveled all around begging doctors to sterilize their hands and instruments and warning them that if they didn't they ran the very real risk of killing their patience. widely adopted, but the most experienced and respected doctors in the united states still dismissed it as useless, even dangerous. some of them didn't even really believe in terms. they laughingly referred to them as invisible terms and certainly did not want to go to all the trouble that antiseptics required. they took great pride in what they call the good old surgical sink. there would not change or wash the surgical aprons because they believed the more blood and pus
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and crested on them more experiences showed. even though he tried antisepsis and had little success for reasons that today seemed painfully apparent, they would sterilize. if they drop in during surgery there would just pick them up and continue using them. if they needed those of their hands there would hold a knife in their teeth and then continue to use it. even alexander graham bell could not arrest the infection. the story, however, does not end there. garfield's death brought about tremendous changes, changes in medicine, politics, and the fabric of our nation. as soon as garfield's autopsy was released, americans understood that the president did not have to die, and they understood why he did. bliss was publicly disgraced and antiseptics was adopted across the country.
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americans turned their rates in their grief on the political system that had encouraged madman. chester arthur himself who owed his entire career to patronage signed the pendleton act which was the beginning of the end of the spoils system. garfield's death also brought the country together in a way that had not been seen since the 70 -- since the civil war. lincoln's assassination have only deepened the divide, but car fields have been the first presidents of the civil war to be accepted as the leader of the whole country, north and south to mammograms and pioneers, freedman and former slave owner. his death was their loss, and there, agree brought them together. above all our fields death changed the presidency itself. you could argue that this is really the end of the idealistic
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or even now leave concept of the president alone meeting with office seekers personally making appointments and every level of government. it was obviously an unworkable system for a lot of reasons. it was open to corruption. it was completely inefficient, and it was personally dangerous. it would never have worked as the united sister into a major world power. it is good that this is gone. at the same time these changes also make it almost impossible to ever again and let someone like garfield. the presidency today is not about a single person. it is about a large, complex institution. the president may be our greatest political celebrity, but his personal power is bounded and filtered through many layers. he is surrounded by a lever security. his contact with the public is carefully controlled, and he operates in a bubble a secret service officers, high
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officials, and the press. it is very unlikely that what happened to garfield could happen today, but by the same token, even if we could find someone like garfield, we probably couldn't let him. the presidency is too big and too distant for americans to be able to choose someone who is in even trying to be elected. we have hopefully of crown the day when a madman could just walk into the oval office and win an incompetent doctor could seize control of the white house for nearly three months. but will likely have also out crown the day when americans could recognize the promise of of fine, honest man with no financial support, no political machine, nothing but the strength of his own words and ideas and in a shining moment of democracy make him our leader. thank you. [applause]
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[applause] of the happy to take questions. >> how did the relationship between ulysses s. grant and james garfield change from the republican presidential convention through the assassination of james garfield? how public or private oval did grant play in the early days of a car filled administration? >> grant -- i think grant was highly unhappy with their results of the republican convention. he seemed to resent garfield. in fact, garfield talks in his diary about the fact that grants was staying in a place in new jersey. very sick with malaria. they're recovering. grant, you know, never came to
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see them. there was no sort of interaction between them despite for the tip of his hat. so conkling was very close to grant. conkling, of course, had been furious with the results of the convention. and so it did affect their relationship. i'm sorry. yes. >> can you tell us more about garfield, the man? and the stand he was quite an academic. >> he was really a brilliant man. he was a pacifist. because he was very poor to pay for his first year of college he was the school's janitor and carpenter. as i said, by his second year they promoted him to literature, professor of literature and mathematics and ancient languages. you know, he was just a brilliant pacifist and devoted to education. in fact, he had been involved in helping to establish the first
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department of education, which was very small at that time and very different from today. it was one of the things that he was most devoted to, and always an incredibly voracious reader. reporters would talk about going to his house and binding books and papers everywhere, even in the bathroom. just piles and piles. >> as you have just pointed out to my garfield was an intellectually brilliant man. wonder if they will read. eloquence, a good writer, a brilliant writer. one of the very, very few genuine intellectuals who has ever been elected president of the united states. today -- i mean, we started off in a race to the bottom or at least many aspiring candidates seemed to fall over each other proclaiming how on intellectual they are. they seem to take pride in their absence of meticulous.
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what do you think is changed in this country, a country which in 1880 was happy to elect a man like garfield with his broad intellectual range and today in a country which nominally is filled with people on paper who are far better educated and seem to dislike it? >> it is a good question. it is difficult to talk to you about today's situation. i'm more looking at the past, but i think what drew people to garfield at that time is that because he had come from such poverty, because his parents had been pioneers, he had lost his father before he was two years old. very desperate circumstances, and he had risen through the ranks, not with an over ambition, but through a love of learning and an understanding of who he was and his own beliefs. i think that appealed to many people, especially at that time because i think to them he was
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one of their own. he showed, you know, so much promise and so much hope for them and their children and grandchildren. i think that is part of what made him so appealing. >> excuse me. the time between lincoln and roosevelt in terms of the american presidency is not one that is very highly regarded by heather historians or the general public. the power of the presidency was generally in its eclipse. and sure you must speculated at this personally is not in the book about what might have been if garfield had survived to serve out his full term or perhaps even the second term. could he have made any really positive contributions to american life as president? >> of course it is impossible to say with any certainty because
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see, you know, had only been in office for months before he was shot, but i think what -- what gate garfield a particular and kind of rare power is that he was his own man. because he had never hundred for the presidency as so many men around him at that time to and still opposite faction. amazingly garfield defeated
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conkling, the head, arguably the most powerful and corrupt man in that country. just a few months. and so you have to believe that someone with that kind of character and with that personal power because he was his own man would have made a difference in the country. >> talk more on the trial, the line of its starts with him saying i didn't kill the president. i merely just shot him. >> that's right. your honor, i shot the president. his doctors told him, which is true. so the insanity defense. obviously one of the best known and most controversial. frankly if anyone deserves to be found not guilty by reason of insanity it was charles. in sin for a long time. his family knew it, try to have
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him institutionalized, but he live this entirely solitary life. he would slip away. but the country was so grief-stricken and so enraged that they were determined to see him hanged, and he was. >> have very particular number who was vital to a chester arthur's transformation? as chief of staff for personal secretary who helped him along the path? >> you know, chester arthur, as i was saying, made this incredible transformation.
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>> a lot of americans aren't familiar with garfield popularly. one colleague of was going to hear someone who wrote a book about the cartoon cat. >> that's very unfortunate. >> what prompted you, what inspired you to write this book? what was it the spark your interest? >> well, you know, i did not know anything about james garfield beyond the fact is he is assassinated. i was not necessarily interested in writing about of the president. i was interested in science, and i was researching alexander crambo. i just kind of stumbled upon the story but him trying to get sicker feels life. and it really surprised me. i had never heard this story before. i cannot understand why bell who was really at the height of his
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fame and power. again, only five years after he had invented the telephone, would turn his life upside-down to try to help garfield. he discussed everything he was doing, had a family in boston, wife, to children. his wife is pregnant. he worked night and day in this laboratory. it made me wonder what scarfo was like. the more research into the more astonished to was. i knew that i had to tell the story. >> i really enjoyed the river of doubt. it was a great read. if you could go back -- [applause] [applause] >> thank you very much. >> if you could go back in time, this may not be a really fair question, but if you could go back in time and have a beer with roosevelt or garfield, who would you have a beer with and why? >> that is a great question. that would be a very difficult
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decision because they are such different man. and theodore roosevelt was so exciting and had all of this the venture. i hate to say i think i would choose car field. my sister is here. she can tell you, we come from a family of four girls and have the most incredible father. i am just a good, kind, honest man. all these years i was working on this book, a trough of reminded me of my father. in know, such incredible intellectual. i think i would have to choose them. [applause] [applause] >> hi there. as an aspiring journalist in a pretty big fan of history and wondering about the unique challenges that come with when you're writing a book that is primarily about people who live along time ago spreading about
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the past a meal to make his characters come alive even though it can ask the questions directly. >> is a great question. i would say you want to go into writing. to me one of the things i learned is that the important part of writing is finding the right idea. half the aspects has to be, you have to have a lot of primary sources to work with. with this story i had a wealth of sources. for instance, i am in his mind. because of his particular brand of madness, because he was delusional he was thrilled after the shooting. the happiest time of his life because he had reporters coming to him, listening to him, and he
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gave every interview he could. he wrote an autobiography that was published in the new york "herald." the trial transcripts, nearly 3,000 pages long, and, again, because there were so worried that he would be found not guilty by use of insanity in not executed, they went through every aspect of his life, from his childhood, and he describes not just what he did, but what he was thinking. you know, what he had to is divine inspiration and all of it. i know everything. in garfield, you know, he was only president for six months. he had been in congress for 17 years, and so a wonderful, wonderful library of congress and the presidential papers have a wealth of the permission, and you never know what you're going to find. alltel you a quick story. the library of congress and the presidential papers, if any of you have worked there, you know there very, very strict, as they
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should be. these are our national treasures. you can only have one car at a time, and can only have five boxes on a. it can only have one box and a table and one folder out of the box and one item out of that followed. good person, carefully following the rules. i open this fall and find this of love. the front of the envelope is facing the table, and it's not sealed anything. i don't know what's in it, i open it and all of this hair spills out on the table. turn it over and says pledge from president garfield head on his deathbed. i'm trying to desperately to my you know, get it back. my career is over. it will never let me back in. at the same time terrified also incredibly moving to see these things bring these people to live. you remember that this was not only a president, this was husband to be this was father.
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the first thing guard phil did the morning he was shot is to get into his son's room, playing with them, doing somersaults, singing to them. not only a national tragedy, it was a personal tragedy as well. >> that was kendis lead talking about her brand new book on the assassination of president james garfield. this is live coverage from book
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tv onto one of the 11th annual national book festival on the mall in washington d.c. the rain as sell-off. minivans, many tense. coming up next in the history and biography tend to is justin martin, and this is the cover of his book. genius a place. if he ever been to central park, the u.s. capitol, the billboard state, stanford university, yet seen the work. talking about his book in the history and biography tent, and then he will be joining is here on the book tv set to take your calls, to recommend e-mails. national book festival weekend on book tv. it is also will look at charlotte's larry life weekend on book tv.
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our local content vehicles were recently in the charlotte, north carolina it's one of the literary life in the historical life of that city that is hosting the democratic convention in august of to c-span. wow, here is a little bit more from the literary life of charlotte, north carolina. >> i am kidding mccormick, says a university librarian for special collections here. we are here today in the harry and mary dalton room. how collection consists of about 9,000 roebucks spanning american literature in the 18th and 19th century. literature, local history as well as religious texts. some of our gems include first editions of a book tom's cabin as well as first editions of hawthorne, hemingway, many of the major american authors. we also have a first edition moby dick that was our 500,000
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volumes here in the library. amelya volume was a first edition of gm's elias' the wasteland, which to were very excited about. this large collection multi volume set of early british trauma spanning the 17th and 18th century, one of the more complete sets of contemporary trauma at the time, comedies, farces, musical dramas, this particular said the launch to princess sophia, the daughter of queen charlottes and king george the third for whom the city of charlotte is named. there are some volumes that have even some of her notes. the earliest book in our collection is a latin translation of the servants of job from 1471. you can see it was prole rebound and a 19th century.
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but the text block itself, you can see the inscription there. it is the original text block. so this would have been created in the earliest time up printmaking as opposed to him many strips. but you still see the hand to tell with certain of the letters and color accents that occur. another of our earlier items in this bible, english bible from 1591, 1599 to macy's me, printed in london, one of the noteworthy things about this particular edition of the bible, and it's
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time, and later it was known as the breeches bible. predates the king james version of the bible by just a few years to my belief. it was very popular until the publication of the king james. it is called the breeches bible because and genesis chapter three of verse seven the text states from the eyes of them both for open and then me that there were naked. they sewed tree leaves together and made themselves preaches as an apron. instead of a leaf and mitch and the change in the cancellation of the text for the king james version, this is the first time they see breaches. another area that our collections are quite rich and is the poetry.
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we have the personal library and art collection. hurt cubby of alexander pope's palms and some other things as well as her own copy of the first edition of her palms. another strength in our collection is children's literature. some of the earliest examples of we have, this is a hornbook. what have been used in primary education, particularly in the 17th and early 18th centuries when paper was both expensive and rare. the horn overlay is clouded a
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bit, but it is a simple page of letters, a-z, numbers, 1-0, and then one syllable words. the lawyer is there is a hole here. a child would have won it around his or her neck to read it. in some stories of hornbook was sometimes used as a paddle for unruly children. and not sure that this one was ever used. after this the battle or, this one dates circus 1774. again, rebound in a much later date. this one printed in philadelphia also a simple educational tool. a to z, one to zero, and then matching letters to phrase this.
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small illustrations for those to be recited back. we also focus on a manuscript collection, university archive, oral histories, local documents. the collections are primarily focused on a regional history basis, so we collect the history of charlotte, the county, and the greater region. one of our areas of strength to civil rights. in those collections they preserve director reginald hawkins, carry alexander sr. camacho's mclean involved with the naacp as well as harry golden who was the editor of the carolina is your life. also t.j. redding he was a student here and unc charlotte,
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an activist, and is now a poet and renowned artist. this is an example. this is a letter he wrote to his professor, his sister repressor here on campus shortly after the assassination of dr. martin to can explaining why he did not commit class. my now attending class there was another indication of my lack of interest in history. history has shown me how often and devastating situations are conditions can be *. with respect to someone i admire because of his stunts foothold and understanding of this pair of human life, i could not bear to sit in class when knowing that an honest appraisal of my heartfelt emotion would not have allowed me to be an all attentive. my absence then is to render my personal memorial in dedication and give more time for some reflective thought tom and i did not agree with that of times and all the senses, but to one
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nonetheless who fought tenaciously but non violently and with strong convictions seeking the kid brother heard, justice, and peace. and just that you understand my involvement. t. james ready. i think this is a poignant example of a young man's response. the assassination of dr. martin luther king, head motionless was, but also reflects the to visit the time. we do have some examples. dr. hawkins was a civil rights activist, advocated for the desegregation of the dental school, was a north carolina gubernatorial candidate twice in 1968 and 1972. was a student at johnson c. smith university who organized
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the civil rights actions here in charlotte and across the state. dr. martin it to king jr. said several telegraph to him of the course time regarding or as the activities and national. dr. hawkins involvement was coordinating its activities here in charlotte. in national events. one of the most poignant telegrams. the original is on display. a telegram to dr. hawkins dated april 2nd 1960 explaining that dr. king would not be able to attend a scheduled meeting here in charlotte on april 4th because of the situation in memphis with the striking sanitation workers. poignant in part because it
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would be -- dr. king would never make it. he was assessing the the very day that he was to be here in charlotte. >> and back live at the national book festival here on the mall in washington d.c. this is the 11th annual but festival. it book tv on c-span2. we will be alive today and tomorrow from the festival. lots coming up today including pulitzer prize-winning author isabel wilkerson, sylvia nasser. both will be doing call-in programs. tomorrow david mccullough will conclude our coverage on sunday afternoon by taking your calls, e-mails, and tweets. right now we're going to return you to the history of biography. he will introduce you to justin martin. he is the author of a new book out on frederick law olmsted, genius of place, the life of frederick law olmsted. he will be here on our book tv said after his presentation to take your calls.
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he is being introduced by a given their deck, national editor of the "washington post." >> please do not sit on the cameras is located in the back of the pavilion. please silencer cell phones. thank you. got there we have with us today is fabulous. his name is justin martin. he is the author of the widely held the biographies of to a iconic figures, alan greenspan and ralph nader. both of him i think would be really interesting and novel. [silence]
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[silence] >> nadir, published in 2002. in the definitive biography of a consumer advocate emporia a president can't it this sometimes leaves voice messages on my voicemail asking the post to cover one thing or another. he also played a controversial role in the disputed election of 2000. just and became one of the gut to the experts to explain natick appearing on cnn and other shows in the to the six deccan entry in unreasonable man.
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seems a place, the life of frederick law olmsted, is the story of the brilliant landscape architect pierre designed central park in about 50 other green spaces around the country. also was a sailor, scientific farmer, a crusading journalist, noted abolitionist, and civil war hero. a lawyer for the of the careful eliminating justice -- just as martin treatment. a former staff writer and has written molly for such publications as newsweek and money. a graduate of rice university in houston. and he seems to have been destined to write his current book on homestead as he was married in central park, which is almost as greatest achievement. he also happens to live in the new york neighborhood designed by olmsted's son, frederick
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olmsted jr. with that as they please welcome justice martin to the states. we will be signing books from four to 5:00 p.m. as well. [applause] [applause] >> rudd, thank you for that really nice introduction. it is so nice to be here at the national book festival. i am actually hear as well as an author, as a fan. i have had a great day going around seeing different speeches. it has been fun. in my book is called the life of frederick law olmsted, pretty restless genius. but it makes the most sense to break my speech up into a couple of different parts. first and going to describe the really said to his path that he took to becoming a landscape architect and then i will briefly describe some of his
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greatest achievements, some of the greatest designs in the concept to the context of all the various is can travel down. actually informed his most masterful design. then it will be time for questions, of course. >> having some problems with this live signal from the national mall. rita going to try to fix the problem and bring you back to the book festival listen as possible. >> in your book america flame you see the civil war is america's greatest show your. why is that? >> it was a failure because we went to work. it was a particularly political failure because the political process could not accommodate differing viewpoints on the major issues of the day. the major issues of the day were, of course, primarily slavery, particularly slavery in the western territories, and secondly immigration.
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believe it or not americans were fighting over immigration in the 18th just as much as we are fighting over immigration now. and a fight over immigration concerns the influx of about 1 million irish catholics into america between 1827 in 1857. now, most historians when they talk about the coming of the civil war, talk about the issue of slavery. but, in fact and what i found in my book, these issues are a link, anti-catholic, particularly anti irish catholic immigration and anti slavery. both of these issues came together in a new political party in the 1850's. ♪ believe this and will take you back five to the national book festival and progress. >> never mind, he pressed ahead. he arranged to serve an
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apprenticeship under the survey. and he proceeded to completely abuse the situation. well, pretending to learn the useful trait of surveying he wandered around hiking, fishing, paddling a canoe. he learned very, very little about surveying. he certainly didn't have an appreciation for landscapes. at this point his father decided it's time for all instead to buckle down and become more serious. his father arranged for him to move to brooklyn to, got him an apartment in brooklyn. also got him a job in manhattan where he would be working for an importing firm. now, olmstead was deeply lonely in brooklyn. he was deeply lonely there. he also hated the job working for the importing firm. he hated the fact that it was a desk job. he hit the long hours. he hated.
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there was only one thing about the job that also like to, and that was that periodically get to go on board the ship and inventory their wares. well doing this a new idea of something that he might like to do with his life. he decided he wanted to become a seller. now, once again this makes eminent sense. one of the professions available to people in that area that did not have much formal schooling. desired very honestly. a whole long line. go back generation after generation. so in april of 1843 he set out on board a ship headed for china. and on july 4th at 1843, rounded the cape of good hope right beneath the southern tip of africa, and absolutely ferocious snowstorm. now, traveling to the southern hemisphere. and it is possible for weather conditions to be reversed.
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so you can have some pretty wicked winter weather. in this case this was an incredible storm. he looked around at his fellow sailors to many of whom were very seasoned. panic in their eyes. this should really might sink. the wholesale. what this meant was for him to become completely uncontrollable. whipping this way and that. acting as a detriment. he and his fellow crewmen went below deck. for three days and three nights they pitched on the sea, almost completely on hand, completely uncontrolled. he thought that at any moment they might crack open, the paste into the ocean and to certain death. fortunately that did not happen. continued on to china. delivered its american goods. it picked up a load of chinese tea and started heading back to
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the united states. along the way he's. stock kinds of privation. he did not get enough food, he did not get enough water. he did not get enough sleep. he wanted his fellow sailors or representative for even the tiniest of infractions. when the ship docked in april of 1844 and when olmsted disembarked on dry land he swore to never ever go to sea again. he needed to find a new profession. so now the idea of becoming a farmer. once again this made farming a profession. this area that was available to someone with pretty limited formal schooling. the profession in the united states practiced by 70 percent of the population. identified a man. received a commendation for running a model scientific form. arrange to work with this man as an apprenticeships.
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also having the very first pang of wanting to be a social reformer. very much like the idea of being a scientific farmer as a way to accomplish that, and the reason why is all instead did not have much formal schooling. very well read, and so he thought that he could read the latest arab cultural journal, learn the latest best practices in farming. he could disseminate this information to his fellow farmers to many of whom were illiterate. this way he could act as a social reformer. completed his apprenticeships and started off on his own for life as a farmer. true to his word he really was very talented. true to his word he wanted to be a social reformer. the agricultural journals. the best practices, the latest getting his practice. he disseminated disinformation to is fellow farmers.
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but then he learned that his and her brother was planning to take a walking tour across england. it became almost pathologically jealous. he could not believe that his little brother was getting ready to take this traded venture while he was stuck on the farm. he started writing a series of letters to his father which he pleaded to be allowed to leave the farm and join his brother on this trip. the only wonder why man now in his mid-20s would need to beg his father's permission. his father held the mortgage to the farm. his father was also a very kind, very generous man, particularly by 19th century standards. so he agreed to let him go. furthermore he stake in the some money for the tour that he took across england. now, when he returned he was the beneficiary of the relief fortunes coincidence. one of his neighbors on s.i. was a man named george putnam.
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george putnam was a hobby farmer. on s.i., and s.i. was not yet part of new york city. it was simply an island off the tip of manhattan. george putnam is in name that might have resonance for many of the people here in the audience today. a publishing magnate, and the publishing company he founded parises name and is still in existence today an innovator who had been working on something called paperbacks' which is a brand new to the world in this era. publishing all kinds of different paperbacks. publishing treatises on philosophy, collections of poetry, selections of short fiction and was selling the but $0.25 a pop. approached his neighbor, is a neighboring farmer on s.i. and if he would be interested in producing an account to be
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published in paperback and his recent walking tour across englan a brand new newspaper. this was the early 1850's. a brand new newspaper called the new york daily times. became the new york times, and as the paper was in a competitive fight for its life. this is the era when most big cities had about a dozen dailies. and so the editor of the new paper, trying to figure out how to separate it from this large
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field of competition. he came to the conclusion that the best way to do this was by focusing on veracity. this is the era of yellow journalism, so a dozen or so competitors were in the habit of just stretching the truth mightily are making things of. some of the topics of the day. at this point in the early 1850's once again their rising tensions between the northern and southern regions in the united states. the issue of slavery. they appear to be one of their periodic flashpoints. many people thought there might be violence or even civil war. and so also applied for this
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job. he had a five minute interview, and he was handed this absolutely assignment. you might think how he got this. pretty underqualified. he did have a book to his credits. maybe more importantly he was a farmer. the south in this era was nothing if not an agrarian society. from the autumn of 1862 after the harvest is over, still a farmer by trade. set off for the south. the only way to describe it is nothing could have prepared henry raymond, the editor of the times, nothing could have prepared anyone for what and able reporter he proved to be. he went everywhere, talks to everyone. he talks the plantation owners, slaves, poor white farmers, and produced a series of spectacular dispatchers that literally put a
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brand-new new york times on the map. in 1861 dispatchers were compiled into a book they read all i can tell you is here it is. a hundred and 50 years later, 8061, and the condom kingdom is still in print. if you want a window into the south on the eve of the civil war was the movie gone with the wind which is fictional but simply has some great and accurate observations about the south and the antebellum or you can read olmstead, absolutely stellar reporting. now, a member of what he calls the literary public a competitor of another brand new magazine. an amazing stable of writers. publishing emerson, thoreau,
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longfellow. while working as an editor, olmstead taught the editor a couple of short stories. while working he also decided that he wanted to become much more deeply involved in abolitionism. given the fact that he traveled through the south on assignment for the new york times, this was a cause that he certainly wanted to become involved in. and so 1855 demean @booktv man named james abbott travel east from kansas. the head of the militia. the melissa was devoted to making sure that if they enter the union as a state it would enter as a free state, rather than a slave state. he was headed east to give money to raise money to purchase weapons for his melissa. first he went to connecticut and rhode island committee raise enough money to buy about 100, what were nicknamed sharp rivals. they went down to new york, and naturally the person he wanted
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to connect with was olmstead, involved in abolitionism, deep well of contacts in the literary community. readily agrees. stuttered reaching out to the various people he knew around the york city. one of the people he restocks to was horace greeley who has been the editor of the new york tribune and was the very person who coined the term leading cancer. minister raise about $300. an energetic friend. kept him apprised of the activity but writing to purchase a howitzer. captain apprised of his activities by writing him letters that employed a ridiculously credible code. he referred to the howitzer as an h. now, it was the code that was real difficult for anyone to figure out. at the same time it reflects
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that he was so very aware that they were involved in these very dangerous endeavors and wanted to avoid detection with these letters. also arranged to break it up into several different pieces and to send it to kansas broken up into component parts. mccain and arrived in kansas it was once again assembled, reassembled, placed in front of the hotel, and does comport itself very admirably. ..
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>> he decided to take a job that was down compared to rubbing shoulders. he took a job in which he started clearing a really unattractive piece of land, clearing swamps on a very ugly piece of land that was named for its position of being in the middle of new york city. it's called central park. he was cleaning this land for someone else's design. calvin was an english trained architect, and he looked at the plans and was disgusted. he couldn't believe how it was. he designed approaching the
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board saying, tiers of all, this is a terrible design for the park. i suggest that you get rid of it. secondly he said where i'm from, if you want the best design, hold a public competition. the board listened, they tabled the existing design, and they announced there would be a public competition for a new design. at this point, he sought out frederick olmstead to see if they wanted to be partners. he could have gived a wit that he was part of the literary public, but he was rubbing shoulders with all these luminaries. the reason voxmented to partner because frederick olmstead was draining swamps, and if they partnered up, they would have a leg up on the competition.
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they partnered up for the competition, and the only way to describe it is parallel to the southern reporting. in this case, nothing could have prepared vox or anyone for what incredible ideas frederick olmstead brought to the design. when they turned to the design, it was the clear winner. there were 33 different people who entered the design competition. 32 of them produced something -- produced designs that would rate somewhere between a b-minus and a flat f. olmstead and vox were an a-plus and they got permission to proceed with it. one of the design elements that set their plan far apart from the other designs that were turned in by other contestants. the board of the park spelled out all the contestants had to follow certain elements, and one
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was there had to be four roads crossing central park. central park is an unattractive shape for a park, it's very narrow. the other contestants complied with that requirement. they produced park plans that had -- that were crossed in four places with roads that resulted in crimped plans and it was it was not possible to have a meadow or vista. they came up with a brilliant innovation and agreed to do the mandatory elements, the four roads crossing central park, but they had an idea called sunken transverses. they were channels that would travel across the park in four points. in certain places, they designed land bridges that would cross the channels, and this opened up the park plan making it possible to have an expansive meadow and have a long view or vista. what's more, it meant the
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traffic of not traveling at eye level throughout the park. your view would not be interrupted by clattering carts. well, vox's plans continue to pay dividends to this day. there can be traffic traveling nearby, busses or taxis, just traveling through so you don't see it or hear it either because it is muffled because the traffic is traveling beneath ground. they proceeded with the plan for central park and did most of what they wanted to do, and what they had not done, they had in preparation ready to go when in 1861 the civil war broke out. now, olmstead wanted to be involved in the union cause. what he did at this point was come down here to washington, headed up an outfit called the
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united states cemetery commission. it was a release outfit providing immeasurable relief to battlefield wounded during the civil war. after the war, there were a whole series of convolutions and it morphed into the american red cross. come the battle of gettysberg, they were restless again. it was clear after that battle that the north was going to emerge victorious, the south would be defeated, and it was just a matter of time and temples. from oldstead's standpoint, it was just a malter of time before the commission ended, and he would have to have a job. he looked around and didn't consider landscape architecture, the profession he pioneered.
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central park was a masterpiece, but they didn't think there were that many cities who wanted parks designed. he headed to california and became the supervisor of a gold mine. while he was there, he started visiting a place that was about 30 miles away from the gold mine, and it's yosemite valley. he was enhasn'ted. by some accounts, he was one the first 500 non-native americans to even enter yosemite. that's how remote this valley was in this era and how distant it was from civilization. he loved walking amped there. he started to make a human cry to preserve this place. he recognized that america's population was going to expand, and at some point, yosemite would be in danger of being diminished by having so many people visit it.
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olmstead suggested no private interest should be looked to to preserve this natural wander and suggested a farseeing government should step in and take care of this beautiful place. this was unbelievely before the national parks system, but civil war ended, and all the sudden in the north, at least, there started to be an economic boom. all the sudden, all of these cities were clammoring to have parks designed. they teamed up again, a a bunch of different designs. they never got along well, always at each other's throats, and they broke apart. olmstead continued solo and did a lot of designs. the reason why people respond to
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them like they do today, why they are so set apart today, is very much because of how he drew on all the various dead ends he traveled down and career eddies he traveled over before finding landscape architecture. he brought those varied experiences into play. what i'm going to do now is describe just three of his greatest works in the context of his earlier experiences coming into play. the first of the designs is up that way, the ground of the u.s. capitol. he was called upon to design the capitol ground in 1874, and the very first thing he did was he became extremely fix sated on finding a circulation system, a logical way for people to travel over the capitol grounds. in this era, there were 41 points where the person could enter the capitol grounds, and people were in the habit of entering the ground at any one
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of the 41 points and making a b-line for the strains of the capitol producing grid work with people just walking in straight lines criss crossing one another. he came up with the idea of having the best way to describe is it like tributaries feeding the larger tributaries feeding into a river. frederick olmstead decided that what made since was it didn't matter what point they entered into to, they were fed into a tributary to be fed into a larger tributary path that fed them into a couple very broad singular curving paths to deliver the person to the entrance of the capitol. congress was a client on this project and they were puzzled. they hired him to create a striking design for the capitol grounds, and here he was fixated over a circulation system, but this had everything to do,
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completely rooted in olmstead's earlier career as a farmer. working as a farmer, he experienced many times conducting his goods to market and having a wagon get stuck in a road. that meant disaster. that meant the produce was going to go bad, he was not going to get money, and so when he became a landscape architect, he kept that lesson with him. often clients were puzzled as congress, the client in this particular case, was. they thought we hired you to do the incredible project, and here you are with a road fix asian. it doesn't matter the beautiful design, if there's not a rational way for people to be conducted over the grounds, it'll be confined to failure. that was from his time as a farmer. the second project in the context of frederick olmstead's earlier experience coming to
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bear was his absolutely visionary design for the world fair in chicago in 1893. it was called the columbian exposition. he cited the fair, picked where the fairgrounds would be and decided it would make sense to put them on the shore of lake michigan because it was a really striking backdrop. he then came up with a really out there idea. he decided he wanted to cut channels that would travel from lake michigan, through the fairgrounds, and so there would be water. there would be waterways traveling over the fairgrounds, and it would be possible for people to go from a traction to a traction at the world fair by boat. now, he had a vivid, almost hallucinating vision of how he wanted the boats to be. he wanted them to be small to seat a maximum of four people. he wanted them to be brightly
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colored, and he modeled this idea in his mind on the chinese that he had seen during his sea voyage to china 15 years before. now, daniel burnam, the administer of the fair, thought it was a ridiculous idea. having people travel through the fair by boat was a stroke of genius, but limits -- little boats four at a time made no sense. he went behind frederick olmstead's back and signed with a steamship company. when he learned about this, he was furious. he wrote burnam a series of memos that are obsessive, demented, but logical. he made the argument in these memos that first of all that ultimately the world fair would be confined to memory. it was going to open in the
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spring of 1893, close in the autumn of 1893, and that would be it. the point he made was what would people rather remember, a steamship, people waving their hats, steam whistle going off, or remember brightly colored boats gliding along the waterways. he argued this would provide the greatest amount of good to the greatest number of people. if you had a handful of boats carrying four people at a time, not everybody got to take a boat trip, but he made the point that everybody would enjoy the sight of having the lovely quiet boats traveling over the waterways. now, burnam was a man of indome will. when the fair opened in 1873, what was available was brightly
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colored boats with four people just as frederick olmstead had seen in his trip to china. the white city as the world fair is known, has a place in the american memory. one of the things that contributed to the sight, to the am bee yawns were the waterways with the small boats. the final landscapes i want to describe are the park systems, and this is an incredible idea. frederick olmstead and vox were thee pioneers of the park system building the very first one in the world in buffalo in 1868, and once their partnership broke up, frederick olmstead cometted on and perfected the concept designing a park system in milwaukee, wisconsin, one in louisville, kentucky, one in
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rochester, new york, and also a park system in boston. now, one of the things that made the park system a really great idea is -- what it was was a series. you could have two or three or more parks that were attached or connected by parkways, and it meant you were no longer tied to a single piece of land for a park, and you wouldn't have to have something like central park which was -- until it was designed, a really unattractive piece of land. instead there were several parcels of land with different attributes. for instance, one might be hilly, another has a nice natural lake. far more important to frederick olmstead than this variety of landscapes, was the fact it was in the center of the city, middle of the city, and you could have a variety of different parks, all of them serving different neighborhoods, and in those different neighborhoods, there's all kinds of different people who from all
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backgrounds could mix and mingle in the parks. now, this was completely drawn, so very drawn, the idea of the park system on frederick olmstead's earlier travels into the south. making that trip, one of frederick olmstead's most enduring observations was the south in this time was in the grip of a kind of cultural poverty, and frederick olmstead ascribed the poverty to the fact that people lived at such great remove one from another that no kind of cultural commerce was possible. plantation owners lived far apart, and frederick olmstead noticed they just didn't get together and share ideas and share information, and so the park system, what this was meant to do was to allow people to come together from all different backgrounds and all different neighborhoods within a city and mix in a democratic experiment. i'll close by saying it's wonderful to be here in washington where an example of
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frederick olmstead's landscape is so very true to how he originally designed it, and the wonderful thing is here in the 21st century, you can find his work still in tact and find his vivid democratic spirit so very alive. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> peaceful abolition of slavery affecting frederick olmstead in his persuasion of england of joining the south in the civil war? >> let's see, the basis of abolitionism is greasing. he was a gradualist, another
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qualification of getting the times job. they wanted someone objective or sort of objective to go there, and gradualists believed slavery was wrong, but thought you couldn't impose -- one region of a country couldn't impose on another region. it was a complicated institution that needed to be unwound. because he was not a rabid abolitionist, he was a good person to travel to the south. the fact is as he traveled and you read his 48 dispatches, he makes an amazing transformation from being a gradualist to being someone who becomes an abolitionist because of what he witnessed, and one of the most annealing things he witnessed was seeing a slave -- one thing that happened while travels, people jealously guarded from him, the various people he meant was, was the punishment of slaves. that was a very guilty thing for
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the south. he travels around plantations and no one punished slaves in front of him, but if an overseer was comfortable with him, proceeded to whip a slave, and it was horrifying for him. he felt come police sit because he didn't stop the overseer, but also he's on horse back in a gully, and the horse flaired its nostrils and rushed out of the gully, and he took that as a natural symbol, a horse's reaction that this was a deeply morally wrong thing, slavery. that was one of the real events that caused him to deepen his abolitionist sentiment. yes? >> i'm sorry -- >> thank you so much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> you're watchingbooktv on c-span2, and this is live coverage of the 2011 national book festival on the mall in washington, d.c.. that was justin martin you success saw talking about the life of frederick olmstead. now, mr. barton will be here in a minute to take your calls about frederick olmstead. the numbers are on the screen, 202-737-0002 in the mountain time zones. 23 you want to e-mail or tweet, you can do that. e-mail or tweet tweet @booktv at
3:22 pm tv. we'll continue live coverage today. coming up sylvia smith, the author of a beautiful mind and grand pursuit about economics and economists. she'll be up later for a call in, and pulitzer prize winner talking about the 2011 pulitzer prize winning book, "the warmth of other sons." we'll join her in the tent for your calls, tweets, e-mail, and audience questions, so that's the coverage for the rest of the day. we'll be live again tomorrow, and by the way, just a reminder, we will be concluding our live coverage tomorrow afternoon with author and historian, david mccullough. it's also charlotte weekend on booktv. recently, our local content vehicles went to charlotte to
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look at the history of char lot, the literary life of charlotte and political life since it's the host city of the 2012 democratic convention. we'll show you the literary highlights, and here's more from charlotte. >> online, you have online sales? >> yes. >> okay. >> we have the website. >> okay. we go on twitter and then make a notice that you can buy signed stock. >> absolutely, absolutely. >> that way they know where to get them. >> i made these off of what pen penguit did. >> you are wonderful. >> i have a bunch of those if i can leave them? >> yeah, that was a smart thing. >> yeah, i love ited. as soon as i saw it, i was like i'm going home. i want people to pick it up, but
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i want it through park road because you guys are awesome. >> if you have more, and if you do, i'll put them by your book, the front and book. i'm a sales rep for random house. i've been in the book business my entire adult life. i was selling independent bookstores and loved it. i had north carolina, south carolina, and savannah as my territory, and it was great because everybody was reading something different. it was exciting. at the end, i was just selling two large chaining, and it was not fun. i could have sold anything. i really like placing a book in somebody's hand and seeing that immediate, and i felt like i was another cog in the wheel rather than spreading the words about books. >> what do you say about the relationship between publishers and independent book sellers? is it a strong relationship? >> with some, it's a very strong relationship. i know editors, publicists,
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marketing people. they send us scripts, ask our opinions. i just had a sales rep on the phone before you came asking about the availability of books for young girls dealing with their body, and what kind of market was there for a chapter book in that, so i think we're, you know, we stay in constant communication. phone calls, e-mails -- we see each other at winner institute, book expo, independent book sellers alliance, a very strong relationship. >> how does that compare to the relationship between a publisher and a larger bookstore? >> well, the larger bookstore, especially if you are a chain, the probability of people, clerks staying and at the store for awhile and developing a relationship is really, sometimes it's possible, but for the most part, they are people just looking for a job. they are not looking as a career for doing it. everybody that works here at the store has been doing it a very long time. we have over like 120 years of
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combined experience in book selling of the there's not that chance for relationships to evolve in a chain bookstore for the most part. there's always exceptions to the rule. with a chain bookstore when random house goes into sell barnes & noble, they are not talking to the front line book sellers or the people who places the book in the people's hands. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> we have two. >> so with the big box bookstores closing like borders, what's that mean for the smaller independent? >> it's a huge opportunity for us to reestablish ourselves as the front runner of what's going to be new and upcoming in literature and in the book world, and we don't think the box store really can survive with that amount of square footage. this is an opening up for small
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stores. we have seen increases in bookstores and american book sellers association. we see it at book seller school and people now being interested. they don't want to be everything to everybody. they just want that little niche bookstore that caters to their needs. >> we are back live at the narnl book fest -- national book festival in washington, d.c.. on your screen is a picture of the u.s. capitol, and just down the street on the mall is where the book festival is being held. now, the capitol is significant for our next segment because the grounds of the capitol were driened by this man on the cover of this book, genius of place, the life of frederick law olmstead, and if you've been watching, you saw justin martin talking about frederick olmstead. mr. martin, how well known was mr. frederick olmstead during
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his lifetime in >> by the end of his life, he was quite a celebrated figure, but the middle of his life, he's celebrated as a journalist. as an architect, he had a measure of fame for central park, but at the same time, it was a different era. people were not the celebrities they are today, and he was a known and notable figure, but he wasn't, you know, he didn't cut that giant of a figure until sort of postture and people realized the incredible work he'd done. >> at what point in his career was he in charge of the capitol grounds? >> he started that project in 1874, and because congress was the client, it took him 15 years to get everything he wanted done. it was a hard fought battle. he won most of the battles. it's pretty true to his vision. >> what was his personality like? >> it's interesting. he's often been longly described
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as a calm man, but he was very much an artist, hard driving, a creative person, but also very hard driving in the pursuit of his vision. >> now, paul monday tweets in what park is considered his most brilliant and enduring? >> there's all kinds of debate about that. myself, as a new yorker, there's debates between prospect park or central. others say it's emerald necklace or the biltmoore state. he did enough true masterpieces there's a good lively debate on that. >> justin martin the guest, frederick olmstead is the topic. california, you're on booktv on c-span2. please go ahead. >> caller: i'm -- >> we'll move on next to california -- are you with us?
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>> caller: josh -- >> we are having trouble with our phone system at the moment, but mr. martin, where did frederick olmstead go to school? what was his schooling trajectory? >> it was scatter shot, and he dropped out of school at the age of 14. he was then pretty much schooled in the school of life except for a stint at yale, three months was all. >> that was it? >> yep, three months as a kind of special student. >> how is it central park became his baby? >> it's really a pretty complicated story that basically he was doing a really -- doing a job in clearing a piece of land, and he was called upon vox was the partner on the project, emplaned about the excision -- complained about the existing structure of the park, there was a competition, they teamed up for the ex competition, and they
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won and he went from being a journalist to being an architect. central park is a landmark fist design to be involved in. >> back to the phones, see if they are working, and we'll try new haven, connecticut. you're on booktv. >> caller: he low. >> hi. >> caller: can you hear me? great. frederick olmstead is just an amazing character. >> i agree. >> caller: and he is a visionary. i think he proves that you don't have to be a president or a politician or anything like that to transform america. i think his ideas made a big difference. he invented the red cross. i think he realized that journalism was a short sided goal and really the way to transform america was to bring everybody together which is what his park systems did. >> uh-huh.
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>> caller: he acquainted with his work by the fact that my parents got engaged in prospect park in brook listen, and -- brooklyn, and i went to school off the boston gardens in boston, and then i discovered fenway and all of that, and i finally understood the national capitol was his, and i still haven't made it to central park. i want to see strawberry fields. >> thank you. >> i'll comment briefly on what you said and wonderful points you made, and what i say is you're so right. he was somebody who literally was shaping the physical landscape, shaping it in a way that had deep moral undercurrent. part of it was creating democratic landscapes, and the fact he was doing something physical, something in the way of writing or being a political leader, this makes his legacy so
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enduring. >> delaware, you are on with author justin martin talking about frederick olmstead. hi. >> caller: i kind of -- we had trouble with the cameras, and i didn't get the beginning of the history of him, but listening to the past caller, it occurred to me this man must have had adhd in a big way, and that's some of the best characteristics an adhd person can have that brings me to the point that a good person for adhd person can learn about that you can be different and jump on the boat and be something big. they are so intelligent that they are so creative, they -- >> caller, we got the point. justin martin. >> sure. it's a good point and a valid point, of course.
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the 19th century there's so many fewer psychological conditions diagnosed. i often say olmstead was a beneficiary having many psychological conditions and today he would have been therapied or medicated out of him, but he found his way through the world. he was a scatter shot person who part of his scatter shotness was he didn't have patience, had his vision, had a muse, and he found his way, and that's a wonderful tribute to his psychology. >> who was mcclain and why did he end his life there? >> all the torment he had, mcclain was a psychiatric hospital he designed the grounds for, but the condition he was suffering from, undiagnosed in that era was some form of senile
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demen sma, could have been alzheimer's disease and he was shipped off to a mental institution because he was suffering from dementia. as i said, he designed mcclain's grounds earlier in his life when he was packed off to mcclan, among the last things he said were confound them, they didn't follow my plan. >> didn't one of his daughters get institutionalized? >> his daughter. >> do you know why? >> these were so vague. charlotte was described as hysterical, worked up often, and we have gist that to go on. maybe she was not treated well as a woman in the 19th century, hard to say. >> youngstown, ohio, good afternoon, you're on with justin martin author of genius of place. >> caller: hello? >> hi. >> caller: how are you doing, sir. >> very well, thanks. >> i u.s. jury -- just wanted to talk to you --
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>> okay. you got to turn down the volume on your tv. you'll get an echo ears. ask your question, okay. all right, go ahead. we're going to go ahead and losedownstown, ohio. philadelphia, are you with us? >> caller: yes, i am. >> go ahead. >> good morning, gentleman. >> hi. >> hi. >> caller: do you think the projects today being to profit oriented and also did he ever did work in philadelphia? >> two questions. first of all, sadly, i don't believe he did -- he did so much work, but he didn't do major work in philadelphia. he might have done the ground of a private estate or something, which was a big part of his type of work. as for, you know, there's still wonderful parks being designed all over the country, but i
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guess one thing you can say is olmstead was fortunate to be in the 19th century when the inner parts of the cities whether it be milwaukee or new york or buffalo or on and on, the center of the cities was still available to create parks and cities grew up around the parks. that's a wonderful circumstance that had that opportunity that was seized in the 19th century, otherwise those areas would have been paveed in. he, himself, you know, having battled the great parks being made, he had all political bat 8s to fight at every turn to get the parks made. it wouldn't be much different today. the main thing i say, is, boy, had there not been the impressions to set the land apart, you would not have the beautiful places today. they would be out in the middle of nowhere not serving the same
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purpose. >> anyone you say is his contemporary, now anybody to compare to frederick olmstead? >> i spoke to a bunch of different landscape architects as i was working on the project. i wanted an idea of how he's viewed today, and the best way to describe is not one person influenced by olmstead. there's peter walker with officers in burkley. those people are very surely influenced by olmstead, but any landscape architect you find takes a page from olmstead. >> l.a. tweets into you, was he a good administrator of the projects? >> superb administrator. he reminded me of an earlier figure, 5 previous subjects ralph nader, was you get a park design okayed, you're not done.
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you better keep fighting to be sure these are changeable public spaces that someone could sell a tract away for development. central park, where he wanted to win the design competition, got the design the way he wanted it, and he fought the rest of his life to be sure it was not undone. >> genius of places is the name of the book. justin author is the author, polk county florida, you're on tv. go ahead. >> caller: i'm working with people with dementia, and it doesn't mean they lack any innovation or a lot of people with dementia have nice ideas just as this man did as a young man. we have the luxury of vision right now having -- [inaudible] at the time he was -- do you
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think at the time he just really was just enjoying the thing that he created and was vision in his mind at the time, did he think it could be enduring, and i'll hang up and let you comment. >> i think to speak to that question he in the moment fought hard for his various visions and knew it would take everything he had to see them through. in his case, the on set of dementia was very, very rapid. at one point, there was one morning he wrote the same letter, identical verbatim letter to one of his clients, wrote it three times completely alike. he forgot various details about the plans, and in his case sadly, it was so rapid and part of that because there were no therapies or medications at that point that he really was very, very soon within a matter of two
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years, he was income pass at a timed. two years after he designed the, finished an estate in nashville, north carolina, two years later he was starring watching duck splash in a pond. that's how rapid his decline was. >> mr. martin, what was his relationship with the vander bilt family? >> he had a wonderful relationship. he was working with george vapider bilt. he was an elder statesman, and so george vander bilt was really listening to the counsel provided. the best parallel to him was the bill gates of his day, richest man in america and in the world, and yet as a man in his 20s, he hired someone to bring the best landscaped ideas possible, and rather than interfering like some clients like stanford,
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another cline who he worked with to design stanford university, george vapider bilt was very, very, very willing to give olmstead free reign, and olmstead was very appreciative of that. >> next call from new york city which frederick olmstead had a lot of influence in. go ahead, new york city. >> caller: yeah, hi, i just wondered if you're planning an unabridged audio book version of the biography because i'll sure buy it. >> yeah, i would like that very much. you're saying an audio version in hopefully that's something the publisher will do because i'd like to hear someone narrate it. thank you. >> well, mr. martin, lots of tweets and e-mails. an e-mail next for you from somebody who says i read devil in the white city and was so impressed by olmstead's involvement. i live in detroit and wonder what you know about olmstead in his design of bell isle?
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>> i wrote a story for the "new york times" about a month ago called "ole's jewels of the west." i guess the best way to put it it is bell isle is a vivid vision olmstead had for it, but that's an example in which his original design not so much got enacted and over the years bell isle, the best way to put it is it's a beloved park and beautiful park, but it's also a real -- it's a user friendly park, all things from sprung up within the park that are not really true to olmstead's original vision, and that's okay. i mean, different parks have different needs or requirements. there are original touches, but there's also a lot of different stuff in the park now that have to do with the fact this is a city park that over time had been changing tastes and things that had to be done. >> all right. he's the cover of the book, genius of place, the life of
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frederick olmstead, a photograph of mr. olmstead on the cover. inside, there's lots of pictures in case people are interested in buying the book, a lot of designs as well. in new york, though, another e-mail and another tweet, and 24 is a tweet from vermeer417. what is olmstead's contribution to vox's bridge design in central park? >> pretty much none. vox deserves credit for the bridges he designed all over central park. those are tribute to vox's supreme skill as an architect. lack of a better term, he's a structural architect. olmstead was a landscape architect and vox made beautiful bridges. the influence on vox was the fact he traveled in the circles of the hudson river school painters. vox loved to design bridges so that as you walk under them, the
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bridge, the arch of the bridge frames your view like a hudson river school painting. >> and here is another e-mail. can you ask the author about the names of the gates at central park. i walk by them often, but have never heard any description of how they came to be or their significance to the park's development, and that's from ellen in new york city. >> a real good question you know because that wasn't something that either olmstead or vox designed, central park, like any other park, there are lots of, you know, there's a lot of collaborators, people coming in after wards putting in carousel, this, that, or the other, and the gates, the meaning of the gates -- there were entries suggested at different points, but the naming of the gates, i think there's different trades the farmers and artists gave and so dport. because it was outside olmstead and vox's, i don't know exactly
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who came up with that or whether it was a collaboration between other people, but that's a great story i'd like to know. i'll look into that. >> texas, thank you for holding, go ahead with your question. >> caller: years ago, i read a book called "a walk through texas," and it was a compilation olmstead wrote for harper's, but all i remember from it was in east texas, he saw a lot of english people he thought was trashy, and in the hill country he meant germans and thought very highly of them. i don't think there's discussion of architects, but he was more of a cosh ologist. anything suggestions of that? >> the second of those trips in the south was to texas. he thought what he wanted to do
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is the first trip was in the deep south in alabama and louisiana, those were the old slavery states. he wanted new dispatches about slavely in a frontier society. that's texas then, frontier versus the old society, and one of the types of people he encountered were germans and they were free soilers, did not believe in slave labor. he wrote about them for the "new york times" and how they had well ordered farms they ran, very economically efficient farms running on their own while olmstead's argument was the surrounding cotton farms run with slave labor were inefficient because of the economic inefficiency of slavery. that's a very interesting book full of very fine closely absorbed articles from the new york olmstead had done. >> did olmstead leave permanent impacts on the fib rick of
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chicago in outlining areas? >> one not only influencing chicago, but the nation and maybe the world which is the community of riverside nine miles outside of downtown chicago, now an inner suburb of chicago. he designed that suburb with all kinds of innovations at the time, streets that curve not to avoid impediment, but just to create a sense of restfulness and peace. lots of ample community space. the best way to put it is there's not a single suburb designed since 1868 that's well designed that doesn't take a page from riverside in chicago. >> don phos, michigan, e-mail. nothing mentioned in the book to olmstead's visit to our park here in market, michigan. he said leave it alone, it's a beautiful park the way it is. can you provide further
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information on his visit there? >> i sure can. it was my great pleasure to take a trip through the midwest recently for a story i wrote called olmstead's jewels of the midwest. i spoke of it earlier to another caller, but i visited beautiful outside marquette. he wore two hats, onefuls a park maker. to make parks, you used gun powder to blow things up, and another hat was an early environmentalist being instrumental in the preservation of yosemite and other places. when he came here, it was with the thought maybe he would design a park there, but he put on the other hat, environmental hat saying i shouldn't design a park here. this is such a beautiful spot that you should just leave it. you know, just leave it natural,
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untouched for pos tearty, and that's what happened. it's in beautiful shape, 100 years on. >> arizona, good afternoon, you are on book tv. >> caller: yes, i enjoyed the presentation. >> thank you. >> caller: i once visited riverside, california and was told then the park in river side was also designed with the same one who designed central park. did olmstead get to river side, california? >> i don't believe so. i know that olmstead -- olmstead did not design that park, now, olmstead, jr., his son, is conceivable he had something to do with that. he worked the 20th century. he was involved in promises all over the country and with the west ward migration of the american population, olmstead
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jr. did work on the west coast with the seattle park system. perhaps he was involved with that 6789 he was involved in so many projects it's hard to keep track. he had a large professional firm wok working all over the country. perhaps junior did the park in riverside. >> the one thing not addressed 1 the issue of abolitionism in the subtitle. very quickly, tell us about his activities. >> sure, well, olmstead, he was called upon to travel across the south for the "new york times" to report on the conditions of slavery. the reason he got the gig as it were was because he was a gradualist, what somebody like thomas jefferson was, believed slavery was wrong and should end in good time. they were happy to have someone with that stance go down to the south, but while olmstead was reporting, read his dispatches and you can watch him make a transition from being a
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gradualist, the more he saw in the south, the more he was morally outraged and hardened into an abolitionist. >> you wrote books about ralph nader, alan greenspan, an olmstead. is there a common thread? >> there is. funny you ask. they are all diverse people. alan greenspan was a professional jazz musician becoming a member of ayn rand, presidential adviser and a chairman. ralph nader was a lawyer, a writer, and he invented for himself the job that did not exist of consumer advocate and then became a fly in the ointment of an annoying presidential candidate. you also have olmstead being an abolitionist, a journalist, a park maker, urban planner, and several other things beyond that, so -- >> justin martin has been our guest, here's the latest book,
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"genius of place, the life of frederick olmstead." thank you very much for being on booktv. >> thank you very much. enjoyed it. >> a couple hours left of the book festival coming up. now, we'll finish the live program with wilkerson, the warmth of other suns. she'll talk about her book, and booktv will join her and take your phone calls, tweets, talk to the audience. that's the conclusion, but coming up next, you know her as the author of a beautiful mind, her most recent book is grand pursuit, silva nasar is up next. >> we're here in the book signing area of the national book festival on the mall in washington, d.c., and i'm
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talking with rasnesh. what book did you pick up? >> jane swanson's copy of bloody crimes. >> why did you come this weekend? >> two authors this weekend, one today and another tomorrow, and i wanted books autographed. >> have you seen the authors speak? who made the biggest impression? >> i just came, so i went straight to the swanson presentation before, and, you know, he's ever bit as interesting in person as in the book. >> what's about his books that keeps you coming back? >> i think more that they read like novels. man hunt reads like a thriller, and this one as well, so i think he's got the knack of captioning history into a readable format. >> do you have any game plan for going to the other tents and perhaps hearing from various
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authors? >> yes. i looked over the program and the book signing took all of one hour, so i'll make the most of what i have left. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> now we have someone else joining us. >> hi. >> your name and where are you from sphr >> linda jones and north carolina. >> is this part of your plans? >> we met up with the children, and all of us are here as a family. >> what do you like most about this festival? >> this is an exciting place to be. we have gone to other places, but this is a beautiful setting, friendly people, and we have a wonderful time with wonderful authors, and it's exciting to meet them and get their autographs that makes a special gift. >> who did you get today? >> i have been buying, i got michael cunningham, the beautiful mind, and i'm going to hit lauren long, i dream of trying. >> you have a game plan. >> my daughter who is a librarian has the game plan for
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us. >> what will you do the rest of the afternoon? listen to authors speak? >> as we can in between the activities we will, and then we'll call it a night and be back tomorrow. >> anybody in particular you're looking forward to seeing tomorrow? oh, yes. let me tell you -- oh, i don't have the list, but the author of guess how much i love you. >> you're just coming for the signings or listen to the author speak? >> we sit in as we can, but have a tight schedule. we have to make sure and it's a long wait, and we're first in line. >> thank you very much. >> thanks it was fun. >> i'm from college park. >> okay. college park, maryland? >> yeah, yeah, i go to the university of maryland. >> what brought you here? >> david eggers, my absolute favorite author and like i read everything by him. he's here speaking, too good to pass up. >> what is his latest book and what is it about him you find
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appealing as an author. >> i'm probably mispronouncing the title, but it's about a person who stayed to contribute to help in new orleans to help out after the hurricane, but what i like about him as an author is he plays with reality, and so certain characters like will be talking and they talk directly to the audience. it's really like clever, and i don't know, i just love him. >> how many books has he wrote? >> five or six, most are nonfiction, and he has like a website he started called mixedweeds and it's fun le. >> do you have a game plan or free styling it? >> bouncing around. i like sureman, but he's tomorrow so i don't know if i'll come back to see him or not. >> what is it about sherman that you like? >> prose is just so poetic. that's the only way to say it, such a beautiful writer.
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>> your first time here? >> yeah, first time here, i'm really excited. >> did you bring anyone with you? >> no, but i'm meeting my parents who live in northern virginia. they are somewhere around here, somewhere, yeah. >> it's like a family affair? >> yeah. i mean, my mom's the one who got me into reading, i guess. she's a big, big, reader, reads everything. i guess like when she heard about it, sthefs excited, so i figured we'd meet up, so e,, yeah. >> if you say i'm going to the book festival and say, i don't want to go, why would you tell them to come? >> i don't know -- just -- to promote literature, i guess. i don't know how to say it, but the vibe here is just all about books, just like heaven. >> what are you majoring in? >> english and marketing. i love books. i always read my entire life. >> thank you very much for talking with us.
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that's it from the book signing area of the national book festival. if you want measure information -- >> live at the national book festival, 2011 national book festival in the mall at washington, d.c.. we've been live all day. a couple more hours of coverage, and now joining us is the author of this book, sylvia nasar. she's a long time "new york times" economic correspondent. ms. nasar, why start with jane austen and charles dickens? >> it's not an exik textbook or a series of pore -- portraits, but a story of an idea that is so new that jane
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austen never entertained it. >> what does that mean? >> the idea that the bottom nine-tenths of humanity could ever have lives weren't just on earth to drudge their way through life in poverty and misery. .. >> had many one set of clothes, no education, potatoes were too
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much of a luxury, and you had no hope, no one thought, no one -- even someone like jane austen who was liberal, sophisticated, compassionate, observant, no one thought that your children or children's children would ever live any differently. and no authority, including the great political economists, said anything different. so what does charles dickens have to do with modern or contemporary political thought? >> guest: okay. well, only a generation later when charles dickens comes on the scene, he has the imagination to think, yes, it is, it may be possible for humans to overcome scarcity and to take their own fate, shape
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their own lives, um, and be -- not simply have to repeat the bleak and miserable past. and that's what "the christmas carol" is about. "the christmas carol" is an attack on the early economic consensus that said the nation could become richer, you know, the industrial revolution trade could make the country richer, but the bottom nine-tenths were not really going to benefit. >> host: from what did friedrich engels and karl marx, where did they come from? from what tradition, what issues? >> guest: well, they came from germany. they'd wound up in england where
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they felt, as many other people did, that they were witnessing the, um, the modern age in the most, in the capital of the world. the creation of a commercial, free market, democratic society that completely, um, overturned the traditions of the past. and their feeling was -- remember, they were germans who came from a much poorer, um, much more authoritarian country. and they came with the notion that this wasn't going to work, that this commercial society that england had developed was going to self-destruct. and their reasoning was that the nation was getting richer but that the people who worked could never, could never benefit.
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>> host: one of the things that struck me in your book was at one point in industrial england the average life span of a male in manchester, england, was 17 years. >> guest: well, cities were, i mean, this is interesting because cities were very unhealthy places, and there was a lot of discussion about whether -- it wasn't that people were poorer, but they were a lot closer together. so they got a lot more illnesses that killed especially infants which is how you got that, that kind of, um, 17-year life span. so there was a lot of discussion just as there was about is this free market system, can that possibly work? there's a lot of discussion whether cities were each viable. and lots of people thought that they were cesspools not only of
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disease, but of all kinds of corruption, sin, etc. of course, it turned out that, of course, it turned out that, um, that cities became very livable, right? and were exactly where everyone wanted to be. and they did, you know, and they also became a lot healthier over time. >> host: sylvia nasar is our guest. here is her latest book, "grand pursuit: the story of economic jeep yus." if you want to talk with our author, 202-737-2002 in the mountain and pacific time zone. you can also send her a tweet or an e-mail, sylvia nasar, who was alfred
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marshall? >> guest: alfred marshall was the person who turned economics from the dismal science into the cheerful science because he discovered that, that there was a, that there was a mechanism that was going to drive the average living standard up, and that was productivity. that was, that was all these businesses, all these, um, these firms that were being driven by competition to become more efficient, to be able to produce more with the same resources. and that -- but his real contribution was to say that that is going to push up real wages. the same competition that makes businesses constantly look for ways to do more with less is
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also necessarily going to push up the average living standards. so for the first time, so the victorian economic miracle was for the first time in history the average living standards went up. why? because of this increase in productivity. and that was, and it's the same reason that now our incomes -- even after the current economic crisis -- are five times higher than in 1930, ten times higher than in jane austen's day. and the kind of destitution that was the norm is now the exception. be. >> host: how did, how did we get there? finish. >> guest: well -- >> host: what changed?
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>> guest: okay. some people would say that it was technology. but, but the fact is that, um, those 2,000 years, you know, between, between the roman empire and queen victoria when nothing changed in the way that people lived was full of advances in invention, hot of invention -- lots of invention. i think the medieval chinese invented everything that was -- [laughter] but none, none of those inventions ever were applied to the ordinary business of life and, therefore, they never affected the way people lived. okay? so what changed? it was ideas. ideas changed. and, first, the idea of the early, the people who came
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before my book -- adam smith, the early political economists -- who argued that the wealth of a nation wasn't the gold in the king's coffers, but the income that you could generate and that, um, in other words, what you could do with the resources that you, that you had. and who argued for breaking up these royal monopolies and letting people move from their towns, all these -- creating competition, okay? so that was, that was the first thing, and that did, that unleashed this tremendous explosion of, you know, people were all of a sudden applying all this accumulated knowledge, but to produce things that people wanted, okay? so that was, that was the first breakthrough. and, but then the question was,
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then the question was, you know, would -- first of all, would it benefit most people? because most people were still, you know, impoverished. so that was the debate, that was the debate, could it. and marshall really, um, you know, before marshall economics was about what you couldn't do, you know, and the message to most people was resign yourself to the station in life to which you were born and hope for a better one in heaven. after marshall it said that you, you know, that you can look forward to a better future, and you could even influence your children's future because if it's productivity then, then education will matter. then, you know, getting job training will matter. moving from one industry to another, there are all kinds of
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ways that ordinary people could affect their future. >> host: sylvia nasar, are we living in a john maynard keynesian world? >> guest: well, yes, in the sense that, in the sense that the problems we're facing right now aren't, our problem is not that we have slow productivity growth. i mean, i think that, um, if the u.s., for example, just continues to repeat its track record of the last 20 years, in another, in another generation our incomes will have doubled again, okay? so that's not the problem. the problem that keynes addressed was these temporary but very acute economic breakdowns that resulted either in extreme insulation or extreme
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unemployment. extreme inflation or extreme unemployment. and those breakdowns came from disruptions in the flow of money which determine the level of economic activity in the short run. and right now we have had a big financial shock, right? from the collapse of, of housing prices that very much damaged our financial sector. we have big debt problems just as keynes faced at the end of world war i and which caused a tremendous amount of economic instability. so he was looking at, not at problems of -- he wasn't worried that, you know, about europe not getting richer in the long run. he was worried about the political fallout if you don't do something about the acute
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suffering that these crises create. and that's, that's kind of the issue now, that we have, had more than 9% unemployment for more than two years, and obviously, it's not creating the kind of suffering that 25% unemployment created in the be '30s because our incomes are five times as high. unemployment is half as much, and we have more, we have more savings, we have more resources. so it's not -- but, but it's not, you know, it's causing a lot of, you know, it's still causing a lot of suffering. and the question is should you, should you let nature take its course, or should you intervene? and then the question is, well, do we know how to intervene? and keynes would have said, yes,
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that we knew, we knew what to do after world war i, we knew even better what to do at the beginning of the great depression, and we didn't do it then, but we did do it after world war ii when, finally, as a result of those earlier experiences his advice was taken. and, by the way, endorsed by none other than his ideological opponent, friedrich hayek, who also agreed, no, you know, high unemployment, extreme unemployment and extreme inflation are not compatible with democracy and free markets. be okay? >> host: sylvia nasar is our guest, "grand pursuit" is her newest book. she's also the author of "a beautiful mind." the first call up for her comes
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from bridgewater, new jersey. new jersey, you're on booktv. please, go ahead. >> caller: hi, i, as a european-trained physician with the emphasis on social medicine, i can assure you that i will read your book. so, but i wonder if i could ask you a sort of philosophical question. um, there was a time when humans lived in the countryside with their animals, and they had the natural enemy and bacteria who would cut down the population a lot. and there was a sort of pyramid or production did help us, and urbanization did help us from separate ourselves from the infections. but now we have a reverse pyramid where the entrepreneurs and the producer and the consumer expend so much of the garbage accumulation, that we are now being poisoned as our ancestors were being poisoned by the bacterias in the countryside
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by our own waste and our own garbage. and do you think the capitalist notion has to undergo, now, some sort of restraint on how much junk a human being can accumulate? >> host: sylvia nasar. >> guest: well, i'm surprised by your assertion that we're poisoning ourselves because it looks as if, it looks as if longevity is increasing and that even though we have some new health problems like obesity that come from being rich, that generally people are also better nourished and healthier. am i wrong? >> host: caller is gone. >> guest: oh. >> host: do you have any more that you want to add to your question? >> guest: no. >> host: all right, we'll move on to philadelphia. you're on with sylvia nasar.
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>> caller: hi. thank you so much for taking my call. i read "a beautiful mind," it's a remarkable book. it's so beautifully written, it's so, so well done. i want to tell you that identify recommended -- i've recommended it to others, i even did a number of courses on writing for auditors and accountants, and i talk about books when i talk about writing to try to get people more interested in reading. and i did recommend this book and told them how much it really impressed me. so i just wanted to tell you for thank you for the book, it was beautifully, beautifully done. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: you're quite welcome. have a good day. [laughter] >> host: first of all, you're a former economics correspondent for "the new york times", correct? is. >> guest: yes. >> host: how did you find, "a beautiful mind"? >> guest: well, i was going to add that i was also a literature major before i encountered economics. but i found the story of john nash, i was an economics
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reporter at the times, and i was covering some economic story, and i heard a rumor that this crazy mathematician who hung around the math building at princeton might win a nobel prize. so i asked the person who told me, what is his name? and he said, nash. and i said, oh, you don't mean the nash of the nash equilibrium? and the nash equilibrium is something that's so old and so basic that you learn it in the first week of graduate school, and you would never imagine that the person, that the nash would be alive because it's such an old result, and it's so basic. so that intrigued me, and long story short, ultimately, a year and a half later i wrote when nash did win the nobel, and i realized right away that when i first heard the story that,
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you're a journalist, it was the most amazing story that i'd ever come across as a journalist. it was like a fairy tale. there's so few real-life stories that have a third act, and when he won the prize, i wrote a story for the sunday business section of the new york times. yeah. [laughter] >> host: well, i will tell the caller that "grand pursuit" does not read like a textbook. you find out quite a bit about the people behind economic ideas; the friedmans, karl marx, etc. and this is her newest book. fairfax, iowa, you're on with sylvia nasar. please, go ahead. >> caller: hello. and thank you so much for taking my call, and i certainly look forward to reading this book. my question is, over the past few years i have had this feeling that we are moving towards a dix sewn yang kind of
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life lifestyle here in the united states, not quite as extreme, perhaps, but in attitude and spirit. it seem like it's going to happen. i also feel we have many of our dukes and duchesses and kings and queens, economic kings and queens and so on in this country we just don't call on that. our ancestors left the old country to come here for a better economic opportunity, and so many people now, i think, are just feeling helpless. what do you suggest over your span, of the span of time that you have included in your book, what was the most effective thing the people did in order to rise above the almost oppressive economic situations that we have now in this country and in the world? thank you. >> guest: thank you. that's, i think that's a question that is on a lot of people's minds, and i would say that the person in the book who,
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whose attitude was the most helpful in economic emergencies was john maynard keynes because even when everything looked dark and it was midnight, he knew that morning was going to come, and he was able to communicate that. he was able to put things in perspective and remind people how far we've come and how we've overcome crises that are just as bad and, in fact, were much more devastating than the one we're facing now. i think it really, i think it's a sort of general truism that, that when you're facing a big challenge, it really -- it doesn't help to throw up one's hands and to say, oh, my god, things are so bad. it really helps to remind one's
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self how many right things that we've done and that this, that this challenge doesn't mean that, you know, that we don't know anything or that we have been doing everything wrong by any means. because, because just think about this one thing which is that right now even after a nasty recession and this very lackluster recovery and all these problems that are still sitting out there, the average income, the average standard of living in the united states is higher than it was in the middle of the 2000s. that is six years ago. so that shouldn't make us feel that we don't need to be energetic about facing our problems now, but it should also make us feel like we don't have
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to panic. we can, you know, we can confidently address this. >> sylvia nasar, you have a picture here of john maynard keynes with harry white, the so-called father of the bretton woods agreement. first of all, do you think harry white was a spy, have you come down on one side or the other as far as his spiness? >> guest: well, i think there's no question because the evidence is, the evidence is overwhelming that harry dereker the white was -- dexter white was an agent of the kgb, and, but he also, he also was keynes' partner in laying the groundwork for postwar recovery. so, you know, one doesn't,
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one -- he was disloyal, that's for sure. he was deluded, that's for sure. but he did something that was, that was very fine. >> host: bismarck, north dakota, please go ahead with your question or comment for sylvia nasar. >> caller: hello, thank you very much for publishing this. why didn't communism work? >> guest: why didn't communism, central planning work? well, the person who had the most insight about this was someone named friedrich hayek who in the 1920s he and his colleagues in austria realized that our market economy is, in a sense, is a, an amazing
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generator and aggregator of information. and that you can't have, that can't be reproduced by any group of people no matter how smart they are or any, any planners. and, and they, they argued that no modern economy could be run centrally because, because you could never generate the information that markets do. because markets set prices, and prices are based on our signals that we then with our own private information be respond to. ask that's the wonderful thing about -- and that's the wonderful thing about our economy be, that in pursuing, in be acting on what we know, we bring forth what we need and want. >> host: well, unfortunately, we
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are out of time. we didn't get a chance to talk about joan robinson, irving fisher, the friedmans in general, but this is the most recent book by sylvia nasar, "grand pursuit: the story of economic genius." are you working on a new book? >> guest: oh, please. i am going to spend a lot of -- i'm going to cultivate my garden and think, and think thoughts. [laughter] >> host: several ya nasar, thank you for joining us at the national book festival here on booktv. well, we've got one more author coming up, and in just a minute isabel wilkerson will be in the history and biography tent. here is her book. she is a pulitzer prize winner. this book is a winner of the national book critics circle award. it's "the warmth of other suns," and thest the story -- it's the story of african-american immigration to the north. ms. wilkerson will be talking about her book in just a minute,
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and then booktv is going to joiner in the history and biography tent. we're going to be taking your calls, your e-mails, your tweets, talk to the audience. so join us here for the last of the coverage here at the book festival today, and all day tomorrow we will be live again. you can find all that schedule on now we're going to take you over to the history and biography tent. isabel wilkerson is just being introduced. >> the book also has excited the critics. "the washington post" be calls it extraordinary and e evocativ. another newspaper says it's a landmark piece of nonfiction. a third says it's brilliant and stirring. one very special reader has taken an interest in isabel's book, that's the reader-in-chief who went vacationing at martha's vineyard this summer and who whs said to have the book in his beach bag. the warmth of other suns tells
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an epic tale that charts the migration of some sick million blacks from the -- six million blacks from the south to the north between 1915 and 1970. as isabel writes, it was the first mass act of independence by a people who were in bondage in this country for far longer than they had been free. the migrants are bound together by a need to escape segregation in the south, and isabel writes: by their hopeful search for something better, any place but where they were, they did what human beings looking for freedom throughout history have done, they left. the tale of these southern blacks is uniquely american. they set off for a better life, for the promise of the american dream. and the influence of their great migration was profound. shaping the history of urban life in this country, spreading african-american culture and setting the conditions for the civil rights movement. the story is also isabel's
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story. her own family made the journey north. and for isabel, things have turned out pretty well. for years she was a national correspondent and bureau chief for "the new york times." she is the first african-american woman to win a pulitzer prize in journalism and the first black to win for individual reporting. [applause] so, you see, isabel knows a good story when she sees one. she has said the black migration she writes about in her book is one of the biggest underreported stories of the 20th century, and it's a big, come my candidated story too. it took her 15 years to research and write, and her dedication earned her the national book critics aword for nonfiction. it's my pleasure to introduce isabel wilkerson. [applause]
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>> thank you so much for that beautiful introduction, and thank you so much for every one of you here you should this tent -- under this tent to hear me speak. it means so much to me, it's so emotional, actually, for me to be here in washington d.c. i'm a daughter of washington d.c. i would not exist, literally, if it were not for washington d.c. washington, d.c. was the other sun for my participants, s-u-n. it was the other sun, and it's what drew my parents from the south, deep south, to here in the hopes that life might be better for them. and so washington, d.c. n many respects, was the inspiration for this book. this is the book, this is my copy. this is my copy of the book. you can see it's very well worn. it's called the salad, actually.
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it has been all over the country and to europe. and it is my version of it. this book took me 15 years to write, to research and to write. it took me 15 years to get to the point where i could stand before you today and talk about it. and that's why it's so special to me. and if this book were a human being, it would be in high school and dating which is quite frightening. [laughter] but there you have it. that's what it took. the reason why i wanted to immerse myself in something that a lot of us think we know but really, truly don't is because almost every book begins with a lot of questions. and i had these questions. where did we come from and what did it take for us to get here? what was the world that the seem in this book left? what would propel six million americans to leave the only place that they'd ever known for a place that they'd never seen
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in hopes that life might be better? what did it take for them to get out? be how did they choose the places that they went? how did they make a way for themselves where they landed? and why didn't they talk about it? and the goal for the book was to have all of us think about and ask ourselves what would we have done had we been in their places, what would we have done? now, the subtitle of the book, the book is, of course, called "the warmth of other suns," and the subtitle is "the epic story of america's great migration." so it would appear that it's about the great migration, but in actuality this book is really about the forebearers of all americans really. these people are proxies for someone in all of our backgrounds, wherever we might have come from, who had to have done what these people did, the people in this book did, just for us to be here today on this soil in this lace at this time.
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in this place at this time. somebody had to make this great leap of faith in order for us to be here, someone in all of our backgrounds. if you think about it, how many of us know or are related to or do descended from someone, say a great grandmother from ireland who crossed the atlantic and then met and married a great grandfather from ireland -- from italy, ireland, too, parts of ireland, from lithuania, latvia, russia, poland, asia, other parts of the world and created whole newlinages? that is what happened during the course of the great migration. people who never would have met otherwise, would never have met actually met and created whole new lineages in the north, the west. this is one of the greatest underreported stories of the 20th century, but it also was an
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unrecognized immigration within the borders of our own countriment it began during world war i, and it didn't end until the 1970s, and it is the result of this that the mass majority of people that you might meet, african-americans that you might meet in the north, midwest and west are actually descended from this migration. and that's because when the migration began, 90% -- 90% of all african-americans were in the south. by the time the over in the 1970s, half of all african-americans were living outside of the south. that's a massive relocation of an entire people. and so this is in some ways the universal human story of longing and fortitude and courage that is what, in some ways, made the country what it is. what these people did, though, had a different tone to it because these people were defecting a caste system that
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existed within our country, a system that controlled their every move. in some ways they were defecting and speaking political -- seeking political asylum from a world that's almost unimaginable to us today which is why i wanted to be able to understand what it was that they left and understand the magnitude of what they had done. these people were, in some ways, forced to become the only people in our country's history to have to leave the land of their birth and to go someplace within the borders of their own country just to be recognized as the citizens to which they had been born. so i want to say a little bit about some examples of the absurdity of the world that they were living in. for one thing, it was against the law for an african-american, for a black person and for a white person to merely play checkers together in birmingham.
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against the law. someone must have seen a black person and a white person playing checkers together this birmingham, and maybe they were having a good time, maybe too good of a time. and someone must have seen that and said to themselves, the entire foundation of southern civilization is in peril, and we cannot have this and actually sat down and wrote this as a law. throughout the south in courtrooms, there was actually a black bible and a white bible to swear to tell the truth on. a black bible and a white bible to swear to tell the truth on. and what that meant was that the sacred text, the sacred scriptures that many of the people in that region built their entire spiritual world view on was not acceptable for the two races to touch. and i found out about this through reading a newspaper article in which it was referred to not because of the absurdity of it, but because it had
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actually disrupted a trial that was in progress. because they could not find the black bible for the witness to take -- to swear to tell the truth on. so that meant the bailiff and the sheriff had to search the whole courtroom in order to find the bible for them to be able to resume the trial. and i've been asked since i've talked about this, well, were there different versions of the bible that they were to be, was there a king james version for the white witnesses and maybe the american standard for the black witnesses? and it turns out it was the same one, but they could not touch the same text. i've been all over the country talking about this, the absurdity of the world that they lived in, and i find that one of my most challenging and beautifully challenging audiences happen to be high school students. and so i try to make it come alive for them as i do for the be reader. and i came upon, well, it's in
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the book, but the one i settled on that seemed to be the difference for them is one that is based upon a question i'm going to ask you. i'd like to see a show of hands of those of you who in the last week have been driving and actually passed another driver on the road. yeah. yeah. i mean, really. the two people who didn't raise their hands, you know you must have done it in the last couple weeks. [laughter] and, it's funny, when i ask the question, seem to be a little quizzical like, is there a new rule that i don't know about? [laughter] as far as i know, it's perfectly legal. but if you were african-american during the era of jim crow which began in the late 19th century and did not end until the civil rights legislation of the 19 1960s which meant it went on for more than three generations and into the life span of many,
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many americans alive today, if you were african-american, you could not pass, you could not pass a white person, a white motorist on the road no matter how slowly they were going. and that alone would probably account for a couple million right there wanting to say, i'm leaving. and so when i tell this to the high school students, i was sharing that with high school students in hawaii, actually, and i heard this murmuring in the back of the room where someone said, well, i would have honked. [laughter] and when they said that, i had to say, now, let's start again. [laughter] let's start again. if you could not pass individuals on the road, you most certainly could not honk. and so then someone else said, well, knowing that maybe they weren't supposed to make any noise, well, i would have tailgated them. [laughter] and i would say you couldn't pass them on the road, and you
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couldn't honk, you couldn't tailgate either, and isn't it in some ways a beautiful thing to realize that this is so far removed from the reality of young people today because of all that's happened in part because of this great migration that they cannot fathom the world that propels this great movement of people. now, a little bit about this caste system that they were living in. this caste system was created in many respects to insure the economy of the south. the south relied on not just the supply of cheap labor, but an oversupply of cheap labor. in order to plant and chop, tend and harvest the tobacco, the cotton, the sugarcane and the rights that were the staples of the southern economy. and they needed to make sure the people were ready and available and oversupplied so that the
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labor costs would be as low as they possibly could be. many of the people, of course, were working, were working not even being paid, they were working for the right to live on the land they were farming, they were sharecroppers. and so they were in a very difficult fix all along. this migration did not begin until something happened that would effect the entire world, and that was world war i. there have been people who want to believe for many, many, many decades, but they didn't leave until the opportunity arose and world war i began. and it was world war i in which the north had a problem. the north needed hay boar, and that's -- labor, and that's because there were, there was a loss of labor, of people who had been european immigrants, who'd been working the foundries and the factories and the steel mills of the north, and they had a great need for labor, and they began to go to the south to find the cheapest labor in the land, and that was african-americans in the south.
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again, many of whom who were not working for pay, but for the right to live on the land they were farming. and so what that ended up doing was, it meant that african-americans in all of the major northern cities that we know were actually, they arrived at the express invitation of the north. that is how this began. the south, however, did not take kindly to this poaching of their cheap labor. they did everything they could to keep the people from leaf leaving. they would arrest the people on the railroad platforms as they were preparing to go on the northbound platforms. they would alet's them from their -- arrest them from their train seats, and when there were too many people to arrest, they would wave the train on through so that people who had been waiting for months and months and months to get to freedom had to figure out how were they going to get out. this migration is so huge, though, that i decided to tell
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the story, "the warmth of other suns," from the standpoint of three individual people. the three represent the six million. and those three people are amazing, extraordinary individuals in their own right, and they each follow the three major trajectories of this my tbraition. this migration, like any migration s not a haphazard unfurling of lost souls. it was an orderly redistribution of people along the most direct routes to what they perceived as freedom. and so that meant that when you're in the north even now, you can almost tell where a person is from on the basis of the city that they happen to be in the north. and that's because people followed three distinctive routes, and the routes that brought people to washington, brought my parent here, was the route that took people from florida, georgia, the carolinas and virginia to washington, d.c. which was the first stop, then on to philadelphia, new york and
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on north. there was a second stream that took people from mississippi, alabama, arkansas, tennessee to chicago and cleveland and the entire midwest. and then there was a third stream that carried people from louisiana and texas to california and the entire we've coast. in other words, every migration is in some ways a referendum on the place the people have left, and it's a show of belief and faith that this new place will be better. and the beauty of any migration is that people follow certain streams so that it's almost a predictable outcome as to where they will go. in the same way that if you were to go to minnesota, you'd find that there are a lot of people from scandinavia because that is where that migration stream left them. now, this migration as any
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migration often occurs not because of the individuals themselves. a lot of them have already suffered in some ways whatever it is that they had to face in the south or wherever they happened to be coming from. any migration which is how all of us ultimately got to where we are happens because someone across the atlantic, across the pacific, across the rio grande decides they want something better for themselves, but more importantly for their children and the unseen grandchildren and the unseen great grandchildren, meaning all of us. and that means they had to make a great sacrifice in order to do that. and in many respects what this does is it means that these migrations are n some ways, leaderless revolutions that occur one person added to another person added to another person being able to change history. and that is what happens when you have large masses of people
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leaving. now, one way this migration changed our cub was it was the very -- our country was it was the very first time in history, american history, that the lowest caste people signaled they had options and they were willing to take them. there had been efforts to resist the problems and the challenges and the restrictions, and in some ways the violence of the south for many decades. but it wasn't until world war i that the people began to act upon that. this was the first time in our history that the lowest caste people showed that they had options ask were willing to take them. it also meant that, you know, the civil rights movement would have happened ultimately, but this propelled the civil rights movement to happen even more quickly than it would have otherwise. and that's because while there had been resistance all along, there had been very little attention given to it in this many parts outside of the south. and many of those efforts at
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changing the south were crushed before they could even get started. and so when these people left, they began to exert pressure on the north to take notice just by their being there. if you think about american history and how america gets involved in conflicts in other parts of the world, you realize that a lot of time america gets involved when there are a large percentage of people, a large enough group of people from that part of the world whether northern ireland or parts of the middle east who by their very presence can exert pressure on the united states to intervene. and the same happened with this great migration. by having large numbers of african-americans in new york, in washington, d.c., in chicago, in boston and be all these other places in the north where there was great industry, where the media were based, suddenly the cameras and the attention and the reporters began to go down and pay attention.
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it's as if trees for falling, but no one was there to hear them s finally there were. this migration, also this outpouring of millions of people, people who had been the life blood of the workers in the south, this outpouring of people did other things. it served notice to the south whether it wanted to hear it or not that something was happening and that they were going to have to address it. in many respects they actually became harsher on the people who were there. in other cases they began to loosen. but ultimately, it created a safety valve for those who decided to stay. those who decided to stay now had options that they had never had before. suddenly, somebody knew someone in the new world as was the case for people who lived in other parts of the world and had relatives in america. they also were sending money back home to help support the effort, to support their families as all immigrants do.
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and so all of these things combined helped to propel, accelerate the move towards civil rights. and finally, many of the people who stayed would off visit -- often visit people in the north. they would visit the relatives they had. everybody had an uncle, an aunt, a minister, someone they knew who was now in the north, and they would come and visit. and they would see how freer these people were in the new land, and they would go back and say to themself, why can't we have here? and unone of the most important people who ever said that was martin luther king who had the opportunity to go to boston university from georgia and to, where he met his wife, coretta scott. he would never have met her had he not been a part of this movement. and he was one of those people who sauer the freedoms -- limited though they might have
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been in those days, but freedom nonetheless -- and he went back, clearly, as that was an inspiration for him to go back and lead the final battle for freedom. and so this migration had many impacts north and south. but i think to me what i want, what i would love people to take away from this book is beyond the fact that, first of all, there are three amazing stories of people with great fortitude, courage and great sense of humor, just amazing people who i had the privilege of getting to know. ida may who was a terrible cotton picker. you don't think about people being good or bad at it, but, you know, not everybody's cut out for that. [laughter] and i also think about george starling who had, who -- ida mae left mississippi for chicago. and george starling who attempted in his small way to try to get little better wages and treatment for people who were picking citrus fruit in
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florida. and as a result of his small and quiet effort t to try to do that, ended up having to knee -- having to flee for his life from florida to harlem to safety because there had been a lynching that was planned for him. and finally dr. robert joseph pershing foster who left for california because he could not practice surgery in his own hometown of monroe, louisiana. and that was a journey that i recreated myself by renting a buick as he had. he said, if you'd seen his buick, you would have wanted it too. [laughter] and i recreated that journey. i wanted to be able to see what it was like to drive that are without being anal to stop -- able to stop. during that era african-americans in the 1940s, 1950s and into the 960s could not be assured of a place to rest, to get gas, to
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recharge their batteries, to be able to even eat, to get a meal. so they had to take great care, planning and caution. after a certain point be one could stop, but he had a very difficult time. so i attempted to recreate that journey. i rented the buick, i had my parents with me as tour guides, and we got to this dangerous, frightening part of the journey where you're going through the desert, and it's night, and i had not slept for hours as he had. it had gone on for many, many, many hours and into the night without being able to rest. and my participants were with me as i was about to rear off the road. -- veer off the road. and at that point we're in the mountains, and we're seeing the signs that say 80 miles to the next gas station. i mean, it is a forbidding area and terrain in be parts of our country. these states are countries unto themselves. but i was veering off the road,
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and my participants said, you need to stop the car, and if you won't stop the car, let us out. [laughter] we will tell you about it. we'll tell you everything that you need. and so we stopped the car in yuma, arizona, because it was no longer 1953, things had changed so much. we have a long way to go as a country, but things have changed so much that we had no trouble finding a place. we had a choice of places, and that actually made me feel even more empathy for what he had gob through because he had not had that option. this migration is so inspirational, i think, or should be or could be to all of us if we think about it, pause this was a leaderless revolution. there was no one, as in any migration, who sounds the day or the hour of any migration movement. these were individuals who made decisions that they thought were best for them and their children
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and unseen grandchildren. in be some ways it renews one's faith in the power of the individual decision. it's almost as if they realized within their bones that there were too many people, too many of them concentrated in one part of the country, one region of the curve. they said, there are too many of us here. our very, our work is devalued, our very live are devalued. perhaps we will fare better elsewhere. and is they set out on journeyses that took them from portland, maine, to portland, oregon. they went all over the united states within the borders of their own country as immigrants would even though they had not been truly immigrants. and so when you think about this, you think about the fact that it took this great migration for this group of people, the lowest caste people to, ultimately, gain the independence that they had
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deserved all along on many respects. if you think about it, these people one added to another, added to another were able to do as individuals what a president of the united states could not do; abraham lincoln. did what the emancipation proclamation could not do. they did what both houses of congress could not do. they did what the powers that be, north and south, could not or would not do. they freed themselves. they freed themselves. and that is, in some ways -- [applause] thank you. that, in some ways, should be an inspiration, i think, if aural of us -- for all of us who benefit in ways that are even hard to imagine from what the people did.
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in some ways what they did helped to open worlds up for people that we now view as icons of the 20th century. ultimately, changing 20th century culture as we know it and literature. toni morrison whose parents migrated from alabama to ohio. had they made the decision to not do that, she would have been raised in a world in which it was actually against the law for african-americans to go into a library and take out a library book. and you kind of need to be able to get a library book now and then if you're going to become a nobel laureate. people such as richard wright and august wilson, lorraine hasn't bury. almost all of their work was devoted to if you think about the content of their work, was devoted to understanding this migration and the impact that it had had on the country and on <