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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 23, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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>> most history books portray north vietnam's decision to go to war in the late 1950s and early 1960s solely at the response of the situation in south vietnam. basically during this period
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south vietnamese congress forces were being eradicated by saigon troops and said that called upon the party for help. according to this interpretation, "hanoi's war" was a defensive protective measure. although i agree the southern cries for help were important to north vietnamese leaders, what i found was party leaders in hanoi might've also had internal problems. there were no internal problems on a mine when they made the decision to go to war. following an unsuccessful land reform campaign facing increasing opposition and criticism from among the intelligentsia and the major cities, and finally the road to socialism over all extreme it difficult with state plans that were not coming to fruition, party leaders concluded revolutionary war in the south have the power to deflect from the powers domestic problems in the north. wag the dog so to speak. so in addition to parting the
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hedge in hanoi and bringing it to center stage in this tragic story, i also revealed how his military, strategy prevent him from compromising at the negotiating table, how will awareness affected north of the many societies, have southern communist leaders were marginalized in their very own struggle, the soviets in the chinese bullied the north vietnamese, and how america's allies manage to obstruct u.s. withdrawal, something we're also i think most likely to see in afghanistan, and finally how hanoi's small power diplomacy eventually defeated america's superb power politics. i have now put north answers to questions that have long consumed me. however, one of my journey from the vietnam war has been successful, my historians have already come up with new questions that will shape my next foray into the war, and without i will take any questions if you have any.
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[applause] >> in your experiences in the archives in hanoi come in vietnam, a lot of times governments make decisions based on intelligence that goes on. and in the '60s they knew, hey, a lot of americans were against the war, how do we milk it and that determined strategy and 68 or whatever. did you discover any of these things? >> an excellent question. what i saw in the archives, the north vietnamese were much better at analyzing u.s. domestic politics than our american leaders were. think it's been a lot of time looking at what was going on in the united states. and you can even see this in henry kissinger's memoirs and on historical record and an archives in our archives over
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here how the negotiator for the north vietnamese would bring this up to kissinger. he would bring up what was going on in congress, was going on in the streets to try to rattle kissinger who would always answer this is beneath me, i'm not going to talk about what's going on in the united states. at any end i i believe that north vietnamese leaders never really relied on negotiations to win the war. they knew that they had to win on their own and it had to be militarily on the ground. thank you. >> several years ago i had the opportunity to travel around the it now for six weeks, about half the time in the north, which is to be the north, about half the time in the south. and in talking with people, my impression was people in the north, very proud of having defeated the united states, the great power. people in the south, very sad that the united states hadn't in
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some way managed to stay, to keep with economists. is that consistent with your understanding of the point of view of people in the northern and southern parts of vietnam to a? >> i would generally say that's true. mainly because where you were pre-1975 when the country was divided, the north and the democratic republic of vietnam, and the south being the republic of vietnam, america's ally during the war, there wasn't much movement after 75. there was an influx of party officials in hanoi who moved south to take over key positions but on the whole, i don't think many south vietnamese moved north. so you still have sort of those allegiances for some, and for the vast majority who didn't have any political allegiances, who were basically in the country side, i would say that
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generally i also think that it would be true that those in the south might have also possibly been sad about their defeat, and the north being proud. but i think that is more to do with the fact that the population at 1975 didn't really leave, and so you political allegiances static during the war with the north, you know, fighting against the united states, with the south fight on the same side of the united states. so that's how i would answer that question. >> thank you for your work. i'm a fellow refugee. i came over at the same time. about the class warfare, the south vietnam during the war and how it devastated the war efforts there, but i guess the mythology about north is that this is a war that coalesced,
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that unified the nation. and i was wondering if you found any evidence of similar class strikes in the north during the time? army, in the south my parents always said life lived, life in the north was held. they didn't have electricity or refrigerators up there. of course, that's not the party mantra. i'd like to hear about what you found out as far as if there were similar class struggles between the well-to-do and the not so well-to-do in the north? >> i alluded to that in my talk about the campaign that that was before the war began. this took place in 9053-9056, that the party care that was called land reform and party organizational rectification committee which was basically to redistribute wealth. and for those who are most -- it was class warfare.
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the policy were deeply unpopular, and there was bloodshed. there were kangaroo courts that were built throughout the country, and so yes, there was picked by the time the war began, initially there was much enthusiasm, people volunteered, served, and it was a rallying cry for the people who did want to liberate their southern comrades. and so the war was extremely popular, but and this makes sense after some years after dozens of years, it became unpopular. there was war weariness. and although i can't, the evidence is quite hidden comment you can't easily find in the archives here what i did see where the materials from the ministry of public security, at the ministry of public security is in charge of they see the security and what they did with that was they used that to clamp down any dissent. so only through the speeches and the materials i found on the ministry public security was i able to know that dissent exists.
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they said themselves that are so may people opposing this war, they don't know what's going on. we need to nip this in the bud. i found stories of what they called yellow music, back then yellow music was banned. you weren't allowed to play and i found these magicians, and it been anything since then in hanoi. they were arrested for playing romantic songs, pre-1975 songs, songs from other countries because it was considered unpatriotic and not something you do when people are dying. there are hints of that but it's very difficult to find that sort of the extent of war weariness in vietnam, in north vietnam. >> the groups that i was involved with opposing the war in chicago, it was for a much a part of our civil rights movement. chicago is the most segregated city in the country at the time. baltimore, maryland, was the
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second. and what concerned us, we felt we had read a lot about the history, the treatment, the poor treatment of the north vietnamese, we were funding that war in the 1950s. france was broke. and do you have any comments on our use of agent orange against a country that, as far as we could find, hadn't done anything to anybody? and whether any observations that you came across on the 1968 democratic convention? and do you see any hope for this country learning something, rather than perpetuating? and i did meet soldiers who said they saw shell oil trucks crossing the front lines into north vietnam. i don't know whether you came across any ties to the oil
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industry as part of this. thank you. >> in terms of the agent orange, i didn't actually run across much of that in terms of what i saw in the documents in united states. one of these issues, i mean, you know, if i were alive in the non-i would have opposed the american intervention. i think the situation over there was already complicated, and what u.s. intervention ended up doing was making the war much bloodier than it had to be at the same time, i guess i feel extremely fortunate and i owe a lot to the men who served both in the united states and in the republic of vietnam, so i do have this very difficult, i find myself in a very difficult position. in terms of your question about what was going on in terms of
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north vietnam and today, do they serve and less what was going on in 1968, i did come across documents that the north vietnamese leaders were saying we really hope humphrey wins and we should try to help him win. nixon, we would get terrible terms under nixon, but they kind of realized that too little, too late and they could, they weren't able to sort of exploit that to its full extent and try a propaganda campaign, a marketing campaign so to speak, in order to help humphrey. instead what i found was the u.s. allies in saigon were much more calculating. and indian put more resources into helping nixon when and i've read in many places that they actually, that that matter because nixon did win at a very razor thin victory. >> thank you very much. i have a question about intelligence report. because before the united states was go to war with any country,
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they would have to, like they would have to go based on an intelligence report. so my question is, is there any politics like on the intelligence from the intelligence, they just didn't get it right? >> that's a good question. which is found out recently in the nation secure archives has this on the website. i say recent, about two years, that if you look at the gulf of tonkin document, it's like the attack never happened. this is what gave lbj the blank check to rage war in vietnam. he knew then that north the torpedo boats did not carry out the second attack. and so again you could see so many similarities, especially with what happened with the war in iraq. so in short what i can just say was that yes, but the gulf of tonkin documents reveal that, they were doctored.
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>> with the benefit of hindsight and research, were there any policies or strategies that the united states could've adopted at the time to change the outcome, to achieve our political objectives? >> there are two types of the stories. there are the historians who love to play with counterfactual is an do that what if, and there are those who don't like it. i'm on the side -- but it's a good question. and i would say no. even though i say that in certain ways the unsung heroes of my book are basically ho chi minh and giap. they were the moderates in the war. and it would be incredible just to think about how different that war would've been had actually been in fall. i think would been far less bloody for the vietnamese communists. but there was no way that we could unseat him. so even though one of the things that his detractors kept
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pointing to with the damage that an american bombing was doing to socialism development in north vietnam, had we been more supportive of the peaceniks and the moderates in north vietnam, with that have forced hanoi to go to negotiating table earlier? one could never know but that's the only thing i could say that maybe had repaid a little bit more attention to the internal party politics and the power struggles going on, something could have opened up. >> i think you may have partially addressed this question, and may not want to answer from your previous response. i see a lot of parallels between vietnam and afghanistan, supporting installing and supporting basically a corrupt government, a war of insurgency,
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juno, one minute they're plowing the fields, the next minute they are shooting. and you know, misguided policy. would you care to draw any other parallels, observations? >> you know, i'm going to -- i can get your e-mail address and i'll send you my "new york times" op-ed which does more comparisons, and i'll answer a few of them for you. spent okay. >> i'm sorry, i think has run out but for those who still have questions, i can be over here and take them. thank you so very much for coming. [applause] ♪
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♪ >> you are listening to a professor at the university of kentucky, and this is booktv's live coverage of the 12th annual national book festival here in washington, d.c. coming up there is one more event in history and biography tent that we will bring to you live, and that is jean edward smith, along with david and julie nixon eisenhower. they chatted with the ice announced just a little while ago. they are here. they'll be talking in the tent and will bring that to you live. after that we will have a call-in with the eisenhower's and jean edward smith. so that's all coming up and our live coverage today, first day of the two-day national book festival 2012. but we're pleased to be joined by an old c-span face, doug brinkley this most recent book is this, "cronkite."
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doug brinkley, if you had to describe walter cronkite, influence in america, how would you do in 20 words or less? >> most trusted man in america became his monitor antiwar tree will. it was great pressure to call the most trusted man, that he carried our country through things like mercury and gemini and apollo missions at their heyday. he was our voice of the civil rights movement of the vietnam war, watergate, nixon's resignation, the birth of earth day. he was the person who brought by not invading and anwar sadat together which led to a camp david peace accord. so similar broadcast journalism. the big three for broadcast journalism our edward r. murow, walter cronkite and hold thomas. >> how did he get to be that guy? >> he was a good wire service reporter, and the wire service for the united press come you have to condense your stories. you're given about 1000 words
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and she can't put a lot of adverts and adjectives in it. so he learned how to write unknowingly, though it was perfect for television where you only have 50 minutes or half hour news broadcast. it has to be tight and get to the point. so cronkite didn't throw loose language around. he was very precise. >> was he political? >> cronkite was a new deal democrat. >> was that no? >> no, it was not. he became a fan of franklin roosevelt, cheered for them as a boy growing up in the 1930s. in the 1950s of people that cronkite was republican because his boss, was. the founder of cbs worked directly for dwight eisenhower in world war ii, and i ache just personal loved walter cronkite. so when you have the 20th anniversary of d-day, eisenhower took cronkite to the beaches,
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omaha and utah and wandered around there. so there was a feeling in the early '60s that cronkite made the republican. but the vietnam war, particularly by 1968, showed him to be a little. and as i write in the end of the book, he came up publicly saying i'm a man of the left, in a speech in front of the liberal congresswoman from texas. >> did that hurt in? >> no, because at that time it stepped down as the anchorman in 1981. he played mentor objective quite welcome in more than if you go to a doctor and getting a surgery, you don't care if the doctor is a democrat or republican. but he did something, when he came out and voice some dissent on the vietnam war with the beginning of editorializing and today we see people in television whose editorializing all the time. that's a slippery slope we are on now. and also you see with cronkite the birth of celebrities and television. were cronkite would go to a row with senators, people running for president, everyone
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bumrushed and. they wanted to meet cronkite, not a senator from wisconsin or arizona. >> how would you describe him as a private person in? >> a lot of fun. walter cronkite could not stand pompous people. he would purposely do things to a licit laughter at parties he would drink a lot. he would sing full-time songs. he would sometimes take part in a strange kind of striptease act just to get people to crack up. but that's why -- i interviewed tommy different people from his good friends on the left like jimmy buffett and mickey hart, two on the right, you know, all of the reaganites like walter cronkite, to know walter was to like them. >> what is your connection or was your connection to walter cronkite? >> i knew cronkite, he came to the party of mine in 1993 from ib august the dean acheson. he thought i was david brinkley son which i'm not.
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i had to correct them, and then later we would have lunch with arthur schlesinger, jr. in new york, so i got to know him and he did a blurb for my book the american heritage, history in the united states. he knew i was doing this book before he passed. i was with him about six months before his death, but at that point a form of dementia had come in. while each ou memorabilia, talk a little bit, he was not up for a true drilling on his back pages. >> this book came out five, six months ago. what's the next book for you? >> well, i have been working on this what i'm calling a wilderness cycle, conservation of history but i like the word wilderness more than conservation. i do the wilderness warrior on theodore roosevelt, if in a book on saving alaska wilderness. and now i'm writing for story in chief franklin roosevelt, the ccc in wild america.
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on looking out fdr and people like different pinchot in being darling help get 2 billion trees planted due to this youth corps in the 1930s to come riding about the fastball, saving of the everglades, olympic national park, king's canyon and many other iconic landscapes spent i don't mean to give anything away but we were chatting before this interview, he would tell them you spent seven hours with neil armstrong. >> i did. i grew up in ohio. i don't have time to get to detail but i got to be the official oral history for nasa right after the 9/11, and he doesn't like talking, mr. armstrong, so i was able to bernsen takes with him which i'm very proud of, justin rosenthal, an editor of "newsweek" briefly found out about it, and i wrote a little piece, a long piece actually in "newsweek" about neil armstrong. in my university, rice, which is filled with the 50th
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anniversary of john f. kennedy challenging america to go to the moon on the campus that i teach. and kennedy said we'd go to the moon, and listen to kennedy's words 50 years ago about them in check, you wonder why politicians today don't get behind a war on cancer or don't talk up going to mars or something. we seem to have lost that sense, hopefully it will come back. >> we've been talking here for a short time with doug brinkley. is his most recent book, "cronkite." as always we appreciate your being with us on booktv. >> thank you for all c-span does. appreciate it. >> as i mentioned earlier, one breathing in history and biography 10. we will go there now. this is what we do chance to talk about dwight david eisenhower. jean edward smith has written a very recent biography of president eisenhoweisenhow er, and he is joined by david come his grandson, and julie nixon eisenhower who is the daughter of course of david nixon and the
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wife of david eisenhower. they will be joined in the conversation by jonathan, of the "washington post." so, therefore, people out on stage. we want to show you the room now so you can get an idea of the crowd size but it's pretty much standing room only in the. they will be introduced, to introduce will be coming on stage in just a minute is with wells fargo bank, and he will be introducing all these folks here in just a minute. and that is michael who is the region president of the washington area wells fargo bank. so you can see the crowd, and just another reminder. after this presentation, we will join the eisenhower's and jean edward smith on stage and you will have a chance, with your phone calls, talk with them as well. so back to the history and biography 10 as we continue our
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live coverage of the 12th annual national book festival. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ >> i have an announcements about an additional program. at 6:00 the national book festival festivities end, but from six-seven in the pavilions will be a call-in show with the eisenhower's and peter slen from booktv. they will be taking questions from the audience, so we have two microphones. we hope that you will stay. i think it will be really enjoyable. so please stay tuned until a
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little eight or than you planned. -- a little eight or than you planned. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ [inaudible conversations] ♪ ♪
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>> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. i'm from the library of congress and we hope you have been enjoying this extraordinary national book festival that is offered. [applause] >> we have involved more authors than anytime in the 12 year history of this festival, and it's an event we are especially thankful. many generous sponsors make the free public event possible, and one of them is wells fargo which has been the sponsor of this particular pavilion, history and biography. in a moment i will introduce to you michael golden, wells fargo's regional president for george washington -- i'm sorry, for your greater washington. d.c., will introduce our closing authors today. we are privileged to have with
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him of course not own an extraordinary biographer, but also to composers who are inheritors of the legacy of the man who not only led what is often been called the greatest generation to victory in world war ii, but also lead the country to eight years of peace and prosperity which are now becoming recognized in good part thanks to these authors that we have with us today to close things out. being recognized by historians, by people for the remarkable contribution that is made to our national life. so ladies and gentlemen, i'm happy to hand over for the last act in your main content, wells fargo sponsored for us mr. goldman who will introduce everybody, and it's a tremendous
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closing act, if you like him to a wonderful day blessed with sunshine with all of your presence. i think we have an extraordinary cast for this, which you will be pleased and others to introduce, and i'm sure we're all going to profit from this, this wonderful last act to a memorable day. thank you. [applause] >> thank yo, doctor billingsley. wells fargo is delighted to be the sponsor both one of the key sponsors of the book festival tt next river for a special program devoted to life and legacy of our 34th president dwight david eisenhower. i'm especially pleased to introduce this segment because i was actually born at the end of the eisenhower presidency. some of my grandfathers favorite
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memories, or my favorite memories were spent with my grandfather who was a huge president eisenhower fan. such a fan that when he visited my mother and i in the hospital for the first time, he told my mother, his daughter, i have the perfect name. let's name in dwight david golden. my mother preferred michael, obviously. but throughout my childhood my grandfather reminded me many times you were really supposed to be named dwight david golden. how delighted with my grandfather be if he knew who i was about to introduce today? we are fortunate to have david eisenhower and julie nixon eisenhower are joining us. gave it is an author, public policy fell and grandson to president dwight eisenhower. is a public policy fell at the school of communication at the university of pennsylvania. in 1987 he was a finalist for a pulitzer prize for his book,
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eisenhower at war, 9042-1945. david's new book co-authored with his wife julie eisenhower is "going home to glory: a memoir of life with dwight d. eisenhower, 1961-1969". like her husband, julie eisenhower is also an author. she is in addition the daughter of the 37th president richard m. nixon. 1973-1975 she was assistant managing editor of the "saturday evening post." during that time she wrote ion nixon. we also welcome jean edward smith. that establish biographer for the 34th president whose new book is critically acclaimed "eisenhower in war and peace." mr. smith is also written biographies for franklin eleanor roosevelt and ulysses s. grant. mr. smith is a senior scholar at columbia university and after many years of spending time at the university of toronto and marshall university. finally, our moderator for this program will be jonathan
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yardley, pulitzer prize-winning critic for the "washington post." mr. yardley has been a fellow at harvard university and was awarded and anwar doctor of letter by george washington university in 1987. his most recent book, his second rating, a compilation of some of the most memorable reviews have noted and neglected books from the past. please join me in welcoming david and julie eisenhower, jean edward smith and jonathan yardley. [applause] >> thank you very much. can you hear me? >> no. >> no? okay. we don't have much time some going to ask our panel is to get right to. i'm going to ask first mr. smith and in the eisenhower's to tell you a little bit about the books they are here to talk about. >> thank you very much.
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eisenhower in war and peace deals with president eisenhower's to careers. first as general and then as president. we are dealing with really one of the most underrated figures in american history of both as a general and as president. one of the reasons for that is because eisenhower made everything he did look easy. you may recall those bumper stickers in the election of 1956, ben hogan for president. equivalent of a call for let's have a good one. [laughter] -- if we are going to have a golfer, let's have a good one. >> eisenhower was franklin roosevelt's first choice to commend the d-day invasion. eisenhower had three amphibious landings under his belt at that time. he got along well with the british and with churchill. that was very important. and for president roosevelt there was no question he's going to take eisenhower, although he gave general marshall the
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opportunity to except, to command the invasion if he wanted. and eisenhower with characteristic self-discipline refused to as an opinion and ike's generalship is incomparable. his decision to land on d-day, in spite of the weather caught the germans totally by surprise. they had no idea that invasion was coming. can you imagine 5000 ships in the english channel and the germans not knowing it because of the weather? that happen. the decision to take paris was ike's come to take paris was ike's decision as well. plans in the west which would bypass paris in pursuit of the german army. someone said he would not destroy it if the allies could get there. and they really only had two days to do that otherwise -- ike
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changed his plans and took paris. ike took command at the battle of the bulge in the summer of 1944. eisenhower took personal command. gave the command south of the breakthrough to patton and all the command to the breakthrough to my family. including the americans seventh corps. and run state simply ran out of gas. we did the german army was a longer cable of any type of action. it was an incredible decision that eisenhower made, and he made it on the spot. eisenhower also is grossly underrated as president. eisenhower made peace in korea. immediately upon assuming office, before assuming office he went to korea, flew a long the battle line, look at the battle line and decided this was unwinnable. over the objections of the party, of the generals on the spot in korea, mark clark, and
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sigmund reid. eisenhower made peace. after eisner made peace in korea, not one american serviceperson died in combat for the next eight years. [applause] >> eisenhower delete in limited war was a contradiction in terms. that you don't go to war in less you mean to go to war and that you do it all out. and as a result united states remained at peace for the next eight years. eisenhower also was evenhanded approach with our allies. when britain and france and israel invaded, took the suez canal, our two oldest allies, our youngest ally, general eisenhower insisted that the withdrawal, and he not only insisted that he organized through secretary of the treasury iran -- are run on the bridgetown which left the british and alternative but to
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withdraw. domestically eisenhower was progressive conservative. he believed ardently and a balanced budget. he was against deficit spending we also the government had a positive role to play. the interstate highway system, it was eisenhower's brainchild. [applause] more money was spent on interstate highway system than spent in the new deal would've zero impact on the budget because it was paid for their gasoline taxes. [applause] the saint lawrence seaway connecting the great lakes, opening the great lakes to ocean traffic. akin, it's been on the drawing board since the administrator pell theodore roosevelt and eisenhower pushed it through congress. eisenhower assumed the presidency at a time when mccarthyism and incredible
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communist, eisenhower broke apart the ism. he broke mccarthy and he did as he did so many things in the background. it was eisenhower who orchestrated the army's response and the army mccarthy hearings. i'm not going to get into a contest, but that still, he told his brother, milton. and when it was over mccarthy had indeed been vanquished. but i think it was the desegregation issue perhaps in which eisenhower is almost underestimate the president truman had ordered the army to be de- segregated in 1950, but the army had not complied. 85% of the army was still segregated. ike ordered the military services to desegregate and, of course, this was a new supreme commander whose word they immediately open it.
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he eliminated the vestiges of segregation of the civil service. and after brown v. board of education, and the order, the integration of central high school in little rock, and the demonstrations there which brought the desegregation, eisenhower ordered the 101st airborne division from fort campbell to little rock to enforce desegregation. that was a forceful message to everyone in the south that be desegregation integration was the law the lan and that eisenhower was going to support it with the armed forces of the united states, with a powerful message. [applause] >> finally, eisenhower did not take the lead and argued advantages of integration as john f. kennedy and lyndon johnson did. eisenhower felt that this was a
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very difficult pill to swallow, and the best way to get them to do that was to stress that this was the law this was the rule o law and he as president was going to take care of the law. made an easier pill to swallow. [applause] >> jonathan, it's great to be with you today, and with all the booklovers at this fabulous festival, and with a very distinguished biographer, jean edward smith, who i think has contributed immeasurably to the eisenhower scholarship. and i have to agree, he was under estimated, definitely, and i'm so glad that you have written such a powerful book. i think it's fascinating in reading the book to see that more of the book is focused on the military career, even though as you just spent almost most of
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your time talk about the incredible eight years of the eisenhower administration, and dave leaned over and whispered, i never the interstate highway system applauded before. [laughter] >> that was great, pretty exciting. >> first time. i have to interject. all those people who are applauding the interstate now have to go out and be on 395 and stuck in traffic for three hours. [laughter] >> right. our book is a different kind of book. really it's a memoir. it's david's memoir about life with his grandfather. it starts the day his grandfather left office, and really, the book you can look at in three ways. it's an intimate story of a grandson and a beloved grandfather. it's a story of the '60s and that whole turbulent time, and the war in vietnam and the protests. and it is also a study in power because on january 20, 1961,
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dwight eisenhower was the most powerful man in the world. and as we do in our democracy, peacefully, he surrendered power to his successor, john f. kennedy. he got in his 1957 chrysler imperial with mimi, and they went on up to gettysburg and to the horn and say goodbye to the secret service. and one of the things that we do that a truly david's book on my help them right side of what to say we so much, but the assistance, one of things david does with my hope is to talk about how eisenhower filled a very important role in the '60s, counseling his successors. kennedy, johnson, nixon. when you think about the war and i think jean smith made a good point that eisenhower didn't believe in incremental steps in a war, he tried to counsel johnson. certainly when my father came into office, because he died only three months after my dad was in the presidency, my father
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missed having that voice. but again, it's great to be with all the booklovers. i am also among your ranks and now i turn it over to the author of the book, i am the helper and a system, but he is the one, it's really his story, so, david. [applause] >> it's an honor indeed to be here as this book festival, which is an extraordinary event, and being in the presence of jean smith has done something that rate -- that i really admire. that is, write a synthesis, and that is synthesizing a military career and a political career all in one, very formidable subject to each. my efforts in this field were enumerated at the beginning of the program, and i'm proceeding at a very much slower pace.
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actually in the book that julie is referring to, "going home to glory" is the eisenhower's third career. he was an army general anthony was a president and then he became a farmer in gettysburg. and my family, my father, my mother, i three sisters and i, the aid of us in gettysburg, literally neighbors. and this is about growing up with dwight eyes now and him as a neighbor, a grandfather, abb abbas, -- a boss, julie made a very important point and that is a significance of this transition. where this book picks up. dwight eisner is the first president to serve under the operation of the 22nd amendment. under the 22nd amendment, america, and this is different, america requires men like dwight eisenhower, men with extraordinary vitality, we require them to give up power. these are people who would rule for over a in lots of society.
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we not only require them to surrender power. we require them to be good sports about it. [laughter] and so on january 20th 1961, even as he is turning over the reins of power to success and he he knows his legacy is now in the loving hands of the democrats, he is required to be a good sport about this, and to make this work. and i think that this is a very important dimension of an ongoing story that is chronicled in jean edward smith, "eisenhower in war and peace." what america's doing is america's rewriting the rulebook, a long section of mr. smith's book deals with the military-industrial complex, as he was leaving office, made a speech which addresses the great paradox of the 20th century. and that is how we can combine
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such growth and such progress of a highway system being a part of this with the horrors of the 20th century, the first world war, the great depression, world war ii, the cold war, the threat of nuclear annihilation. these great horse and great progress sort of coexisted throughout the 20 century. and the idea was in eisenhower's mind that this was a paradox and american democracy which have been growing so quickly and on such an overwhelming scale had to understand or reorient itself in these new circumstances. and so he ran i believe as a trustee, he was republican, particularly when i knew him in the 1960s, very much republican. in fact, i was raised in sort of a nonpolitical family. i was a perfect -- for one of the greatest practical jokes in history, and that was my election nomination and election
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by acclamation and in absentia, the only partisan political office i held and those secretary treasury young democrats. [laughter] [applause] this became a news story which is how my parents found out about. they thought it was fun. my granddad didn't think it was funny at all. the man -- he was a partisan in the 1960s. but is also a trustee and he was somebody who came to power at the end of this enormous victory which had costs and great complex issues for our society, like every surviving society of world war ii. and spent afford a somewhat determined to restore a two-party system, restore a constitutional balance between the presidency and the congress. and then by his example, depart office in to establish 20th century, 21st century custom. as a reminder that we are a
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nation under laws and that no one in america is indispensable and that what is distinguishing about our country is leadership at all levels and of all places. i think that's what his life and legacy really is. it is an honor to be here in washington at this wonderful event. we are looking for to respond to anything members of the audience would have to say. again, i admire mr. smith's ability to synthesize on this subject. we have dealt with the areas that we've covered in great depth, and these are very so approaches, but to a very wonderful subject, and one that i'm glad to be see as receive such attention today. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> iosa a couple of things. if you'd like to address questions of the house, come up and line up behind that you. we will be ready for you to start in just about a minute to i just want to make the observation that we are talking this afternoon about a president whose reputation has fluctuated fairly substantial over the half-century since he left the white house. and mr. smith in particular will be able to address this because the first book of his other bread, and in many ways the book of his that i still admire most passionately in his biography of ulysses grant, who of course waited for my than a century to see his reputation pulled out of ashes of this great misunderstanding of the service in the white house. so anything that you all might like to say about where ike's reputation is now and we see it going, i think it will be
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interesting. >> i think there's a question that eisenhower's reputation is on the upswing, just as general grant is on the upswing. i am guilty of animation. eisenhower had three careers. is also president of columbia university. he was president of colombia for five years, and he did a marvelous job at columbia. the budget was in terrible shape. he organize colombia's first drive. he defended academic freedom at columbia at a time when that was not popular. he defended columbia faculty who would been called for congress to keep her fighter really an unbroken which every of the university president could hide. he would've gone onto been an outstanding university president except that in november of 1948 tom dewey lost the election. and went on to we lost the election in 1948, eisenhower had bigger fish to fry. because the republican
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nomination in 1952 was going to be open at that point, and he lost interest all of in columbia and went to the nato forces and so forth. but he did an outstanding job at columbia and it would've gone on to do an outstanding job except had a higher calling. spent day become as i recall you and julie so early in the book that you saw ike's reputation ending somewhat. you still feel that way, and returning? >> in fact the connection to me is very interesting. i think that we look back nostalgically of world war ii as this great unqualified success. so i think that one thing that we have not recognized i believe that voters and you liked it in the 1950s did recognize the fact is that we really were undergoing a postwar reconstruction period in the 1940s, 1950s. so the parallel between
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eisenhower and grant, lincoln and roosevelt was a very compelling one. and i think another reason that people have not focused on the parallel is because of ulysses grant's while reputation. and i can remember being set right by that on that subject by, of all people, senator charles robb was a friend of ours and came to visit us when julie's dad was in the white house in 1969. and we were standing in a room where ulysses grant signed treaties, and i made some crack about his reputation. and as a marine, chuck said this is a clear that has to be completely re-examined. and for the reasons that i think that you have laid out the america underwent a postwar reconstruction, and i think it lasted until the moment that julie and i were involved with in 1972 and 73, firsthand, the
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end of the vietnam war in china. this is a long postwar which america rebuilt asia, rebuild asia and rebuild a better world. and eisenhower is a global version of grant as fdr is a global version of abraham lincoln in that scheme. >> thank you. we have about 10 minutes for questions, and you our first. >> president eisenhower first grand 60 years ago. where do you think you would be if he were running today and on issues of today? [laughter] [applause] >> that's directed to mr. smith. [laughter] >> that one is in the family. >> i'll say one thing. i think without contradiction i believe that jean edward smith would agree about this, is the motif of the connection between
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the republican party and the republican part of the late 1940s and early '50s is the fact that places on the private sector and free enterprise but one of the things, and this is the episode of the eisenhower administration that i remember best, and i have to say i think is the most important, certain parts of his second administration. that was the desegregation of central high school at little rock in 1957. i can remember, we were living in northern virginia, and we were driving past segregated schools every day when we went, we were in school in the northern virginia area. and what the gop has done since the late '50s is it has established itself in the south, but it did so come and julie's dad, a follow up on this as well, as was reagan and other important republican politicians, when the south became a two-party region, it became that on the basis of
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economic and private enterprise questions. texas became a republican state because of tremendous and very rapid economic development in texas, develop in the energy sector and so forth. virginia and north carolina and other states by the idea was that the republicans were not going to south and outbid the democrats on segregation. but they would try to transcend the issue by emphasizing economic develop and. this is the connection between the republican party, for as long as i can remember. julie and i were guests in the white house about six years ago, and we had an occasion after dark to walk on the south lawn and around the driveway where we had walked so often before. and julie excused herself and walked up the walkway to peer into the oval office. and she saw the bust in president george w. bush's
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office of dwight d. eisenhower. he kept the bus there throughout his eight-year presidency, as a texan. and that some of the recognized as his father did, and as southerners did and as republicans did that the eisenhower presidency and 52 begins a dialogue that we have had ever since, in which the positions will wax and wane. but we have a robust private sector. we also have an effective public sector, and the republicans basically are advocates for the private sector and that is the connection. the rest of the, julie, do you want to take it? ..
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>> above all, he's a leader on the farm because he took everything we did so seriously, and he was so well informed on everything we did. i think the lesson i take away is that you do not ask others to do that which you are unwilling to do yourself. he's somebody who understood his operation. he was also the first person to hire me, so i was grateful to him as a boss. [laughter] he was the first person to fire me. [laughter] so i was surprised by that. i relate the in "going home to glory," we played a game of honeymoon bridge that went a little long, we thought the general was downtown. as it turned out, he was on the
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grounds, broke up our game, and i experienced the eisenhower temper. that was seeing the mouth move, and i wasn't sure exactly what he was saying, except i did pick out you're fired. [laughter] two hours later we had a golf date, the two of us. i wasn't sure whether he was going to show up, he did. we went out to gettysburg country club. we played the first and second hole in silence, at the end of the third hole -- and i'm sure from smith knew this -- he said, david, i've allowed people one mistake a year, you've had yours. and by the end of the fourth hole, i had been rehired. [laughter] what i knew about him was this was a leader. he's somebody who took things seriously, he knew when to be tough, and he knew when to be forgiving, so -- >> yes, sir. >> yes, i have a question for
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david eisenhower. this could also go to julie. in 1968 richard nixon, of course, looking for the republican nomination to run for president, i understand that eisenhower was, basically, trying to be neutral in the entire thing, but at some point he felt compelled, and i've always tried to figure out if there was any influence or what was the process? i know he was facing a coalition of reagan and rockefeller, and i guess even george romney's in there somewhere. but i'm just curious what you guys had to say about that. >> the sequence goes like this. julie and i were engaged in november of 1967. richard nixon announced for the white house january 31, 1968, and dwight eisenhower endorsed him in late july of 1968. now, i am describing the happiest day of my high. [laughter] when finally he stepped down from his position of neutrality to endorse richard nixon. i think the idea there is that
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1968 was a year in which republicans could win, and i think that, therefore, dwight eisenhower extended an endorsement very carefully and made it very clear to me when julie and i were together that he would be doing, observing his own practice and so forth in the elections. he finally became persuaded that his vice president, richard nixon, had the qualifications to address the conundrum of 1968. there was a dominant issue in 1968, the vietnam war, and we were losing. and richard nixon campaigned on a, almost a riddle, a pledge to win the war and the peace. and dwight eisenhower understood what that meant and finally
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decided that he had the qualifications to become president in 1968 that he would prevail over his earlier defeats and finally endorsed him in 1968. we had, julie had something to do with it because my grandfather was very entranced by julie. [laughter] and i promise you, i had nothing to do with it. i knew the if i raised it or even asked it, this was taking liberties that i had nothing to do wit. >> we have time for only one more question, but those of you who are in line, you can ask questions shortly. but here in the pavilion, one last question. >> thank you. you mentioned being a good sport about turning over power, and i think it's very interesting that both your grandfather and your father were clearly partisans. but had to be a good sport. that capacity seems to be largely missing. do you have perspectives on where we are, what's gone wrong,
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maybe even how we can fix it? >> gee, hmm. >> eisenhower had a republican congress for the first two years. joe martin was speaker of the house. and he had a very difficult time dealing with republicans on capitol hill. the democrats took over in the election of 1954. sam rayburn became speaker again, lyndon johnson was majority leader. eisenhower got along marvelously with rayburn and johnson. eisenhower happened to have been born in in re -- in reburn's district, which didn't can hurt. they put the national interest first. they were aware of the party interests as well, but they had no difficulty working together, and almost all of the legislation of the eisenhower period stems as the time when there was a democratic congress.
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so it was a different time n that respect. and if i might differ slightly from the answer to the first question as where eisenhower would be today, back in 1952 running for the republican nomination it seems to me that eisenhower defeated the republican party of today. >> on that note -- [laughter] [applause] >> i would like to thank, i would like to thank our exceptionally distinguished panel. it's been an honor for all of us to have the three of them here. i urge you to realize their books which are every bit as good as you might think they are, and i hope you have a wonderful time this evening. [applause] >> i have an announcement so, please, stay in place for just another moment. c-span will be here shortly to, with david and julie nixon eisenhower and with gene edward
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smith. they will be, it'll be a national call-in show where they will take questions from here. so, um, it starts at 6:10, that's just about five minutes. stay with us. thank you. ♪ [inaudible conversations] >> and as you just heard from the history and biography tent, we will continue our live coverage with a call-in on president dwight eisenhower with gene edward smith and david and julie nixon eisenhower. so we'll put the numbers up on the screen shortly, and you'll be able to dial in and talk with the the eisenhowers and gene edward smith as well. so as we continue our live coverage here from the national mall, before so we can get set up on the stage up there at the history and biography tent, we wanted to show you a few videos of president eisenhower that we
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have in our booktv archive. all of these are available to watch online at your leisure, but here's just later bit from the booktv archive as we get ready for our national call-in. >> it is a special challenge, as i learned at an event this spring, to people to -- to speak to people in abilene as you are unusually versed in his legacy. so rather than review his presidency sort of in broad strokes, i thought i'd focus in on a particular episode and relationship that stands at the intersection of my two books, the recently-completed examination of his presidency, "the white house years," and my 2006 biography of earl warren. ike and warren had a rocky relationship, but it climaxed in a powerful and much-misunderstood moment in american history, one with profound ramifications for our democracy, for civil rights and
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for the relationships of the branches of our government as well as between the federal and state governments. those are relationships that rely upon a subtle blend of power and mutual respect, and this particular episode, the little rock crisis of 1957, provides a vivid example of what occurs when the fundamental deference to reason and authority -- in this case between the states and federal government -- falters and gives way. it is, i hope, a reminder that our government, indeed, our society itself depends upon a modicum of mutual respect and common sense. we place much faith in our courts, but we must recognize that our judiciary's authority derives only from the habit of obedience. no order of any court, no mandate no matter how worthy exists without someone else to make it so. reason is the binding agent of social justice. without it we are all imperilled because when reason fails, all that is left is force.
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dwight eisenhower and earl warren were men of modest beginnings who built stunningly successful careers, though of somewhat different types. ike was born in texas and raised about 100 yards from here in a little house smaller than the office he would eventually occupy as army chief of staff. as you well know, his parents were members of the river brethren, and yet when eisenhower left for west point, the it was the only time his brother milton had ever heard his mother cry. he was, of course, the triumphant hear' of world -- hero of world war ii, finally with a push across the northern european plain beginning with the d-day landings in normandy. he was urged to run for president in 1948, but he declined and then agreed in 1952. and once elected he distinguished himself principally in foreign and military affairs, but he also embraced the construction of the st. lawrence seaway to open up the center of the country to commerce and trade and later, of
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course, would sponsor the federal highway system, at that time the largest public works project in american history. eisenhower was a military man, but he was not militaristic. this is, that he did in not think war was a solution to anything. he was, as one aide recalled, slow to pick up the sword. ike's public persona, that grandfatherly man with a big smile and a love of golf was largely ike's personal invention. behind the scenes, he was strategically rigorous and a tough-minded commander in chief. the people who worked for him never doubted who was in charge. eisenhower was a citizen of the world more than any other president. yet he never forgot where he came from, that's why his presidential library is in abilene, kansas, close to where i live. ike was not a professional politician, yet he was one of the most successful politicians in our history, and supremely protective of his hero's image. ike did not hesitate to use
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subordinates like john foster dulles as lightning rods for controversial policies that were, in fact, ike's creation. eisenhower was volatile-tempered, a temper that exploded like a rocket but at tense moments requiring great decisions he was unfailingly cool, calm and deliberate. this was a profoundly religious man who had prayer at the beginning of cabinet meetings. yet when that famous temper erupted, he could turn the air blue with soldierly profanity and did so frequently. above all, eisenhower saw himself not as a warrior, but as a peacemaker, and that's what this book is about. >> from his exposure to secret intelligence and his ability to use it, game true world war ii, eisenhower knew that the sow outs -- soviets were behind, so he essentially said we don't
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have a need to increase defense, it's more important to have a balanced budget. any other president in the 1950s who had done that would have been probably crucified. >> the u2 affair. how much of that was in the newspapers? how big were the headlines at the time, how con contemporaneos was the coverage? >> a lot, and maybe for your viewers who may not remember what that was. may day, 1960, an american spy plane called the u2 went down in the soviet union, and kruschev revealed it quickly, there was an enormous fracas. and at the time i wrote that book, you've read it a lot more recently than i have, peter, but the general view of this was that, you know, it was an incident, but it didn't really have too much effect on the history of the world. one reason i wrote it was that that was the moment for which in american/soviet relations and foreign policy history we could
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get the most recent documents just declassified. this was early '80s, these were documents in 960 -- 1960. and as i went through the documents, i began to realize this influenced world history much more than certainly eisenhower had allowed. reason was this. eisenhower, as identify suggested, wanted to reduce the harshness of the cold war, so he had kruschev here. they agreed to have a summit in the spring of 1960, and there was a general thaw in the cold war. and i think at that summit in may of 1960 serious business could have been done that would have accelerated this thawing of the cold war. so when this plane went down, kruschev demagogued it, said, you know, the americans have sent planes over our territory, it's an act of war which legally it was. eisenhower accidentally put kruschev in a position of having to be extremely tough, summit was canceled.
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eisenhower had to be tough in response. and so the air that was set for the fall campaign between kennedy and nixon was a very tough cold war air in which the two of them competed not for the mantle of who could continue eisenhower's opening to the soviets which would have been the case, but instead, who would be a tougher cold warrior. that was the fall that the kruschev went to the u.n. and pounded his shoe on the table. if it wasn't for the u2, there would have been no shoe being pounded. c-span: here's a picture that most people will recognize. you write a couple times about your grandfather. how important was he to you? >> guest: oh, i think he was very important to me. he was elected when i was about 18 months old, so certainly in my early years we had a very, um, intense relationship due to the fact that he was in the white house. sometimes people think that, um, creates all kind of barriers.
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in fact, it brings many, many families very close together because families are the principal source of support and solace and friendship really even. so, um, then he moved up to gettysburg in his retirement years, and my father worked with him on the writing of the two volumes on the white house. so that i think i saw him probably two or three days a week for many, many years. and i was extremely fortunate to have that opportunity, i think. c-span: what do you remember most about him. >> guest: well, i'd say if i were to stand back and think of what he was like as a grandfather, he had one quality that i thought was absolutely marvelous. in retrospect, i always admire it when i find it in other people, and that is you always knew where you stood with him. he budget the kind of guy that would get -- he wasn't the kind of guy that would get angry and not express himself. he was extremely affectionate
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and engaged with us. and for grandchildren that's very lucky. c-span: your father is -- >> guest: my father is john eisenhower. um, he is my grand grandparents' only surviving child. they had a young son who died at the age of 3 back in the '20s, so my father ended up being an only child. and i think that consequently brought us much closer to my grand parents too. c-span: where is he today if. >> guest: well, he lives outside of washington, d.c. in the, on the eastern shore, and he is a professional writer, as you may know, he's written many distinguished books on military history. c-span: your brother david. >> guest: he's a writer, too, and he and his wife julie live outside philadelphia. >> here are some of the top selling independent titles around the country according to indie
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first on the list is "no easy day," written by a member of seal team six under the pen name mark owen. second, "the price of politics" by bob woodward examines the attempt by congress and the white house to restore the u.s. economy. next is "wild" by cheryl strayed, explaining how her travels changed her life and mental health. the late author christopher hitchens chronicles how he dealt with facing death in "mortality," it's fourth on the list. following that is a list of poems my francesco marciuliano. in the sixth spot, laura hillen brand details the story of an olympic runner's time in world war ii with "unbroken." eight is dearie, the remarkable
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life of julia child. bob spitz recounts the life of the former office of strategic services researcher and chef. jeffrey brown is ninth with his parenting book, "darth vadar and son," and number ten, ben mcintyre chronicles the allied attack on normandy from the point of view of double agents in "double cross." you can find more on these bestsellers by going to and clicking on indie bestsellers. >> here's a look at some books that are being published this week. ann coulter presents her thoughts on race in the united states in "mugged." michael gordon, a chief military correspondent for "the new york times" and journalist and retired marine corps lieutenant general bernard treynor in "the endgame."
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in "ike's bluff: president eisenhower's secret battle to save the world," evan thomas recounts the tenure of president dwight eisenhower. dakota meyer and former assistant secretary of defense ben west recount the or first medal of honor to a marine in over three decades in "into the fire." janet wallich recounts the life of eddie green who made her fortune on wall street in the early 20th century in "the richest woman in america." in "our sarah: made in alaska," sarah palin's father and brother tell their personal stories of the former vice presidential candidate. a collection of recordings from july 1962 of president kennedy
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in conversation from to value office and the cabinet room in "listening in: the secret white house recordings of john f. kennedy." look for these titles in bookstores this coming week, and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and on [inaudible conversations] >> this is yeta, by the way. [laughter] [applause] my c-span wife. [laughter] >> host: and we are back live at the national book festival on the mall in washington d.c. booktv on c-span2. [applause] and as you can see, we have a great audience still here in the history and biography tent. we're joined by gene edward smith, an eisenhower biographer and, of course, david and julie
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nixon-eisenhower, grandson and granddaughter-in-law and, of course, daughter of president nixon. so we're very pleased to have everybody here. [applause] we're going to put up the numbers on the screen, 202-585-3885 in the east and central time zones, 585-3886 for those of you in the mountain and pacific time zones. the eisenhowers and mr. smith we're talking earlier with jonathan yardly, so you heard a lot about their presentation. i have one question for each, we've got people lined up here, and i'm going to get everybody a chance. i'm just going to get my questions out of the way really fast. gene edward smith, did president eisenhower like campaigning? >> guest: certainly not in 1952. [laughter] in 1952 this was a new job that he had to learn. but he learned it effectively, and in 1956 he campaigned quite effectively. no, he did not like it.
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[laughter] >> host: david eisenhower, in "going home to glory," the book that you and mrs. eisenhower wrote, you say that president eisenhower once described you as very able. was that about an a+ compliment from the president? >> guest: yes. the point that i -- the "very able" comment, that was his way of complimenting people. kevin mccann who was a speech writer and somebody who helped him write his books including his memoir, "at ease," is somebody who recreated for me, and we tried to capture that in "going home to glory," the ambience around the eisenhower office in gettysburg in the 1960s. people are sitting around and enjoying sort of a quiet morning over coffee and so forth, and i think in that period rusty brown and dr. mccann pick up a lot of things that dwight eisenhower
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did conversationally. and one of the, one of the comments that they made that really stayed with me and i reproduced it is that his highest praise for anybody was to call them able. and what he was trying to do was to deflate the language. he felt that everything was being inflated in the 1960s. our notions of drama on the national level. in fact, a very telling book, very searching and interesting book on the year 1968 by a trio of british writers is titled "american mello drama." everything is so dramatic. what eisenhower's trying to -- and i think he was doing this as president as well -- to restore a sense of proportion, and so being very able was something. i want to add something, too, to what dr. smith said about
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campaigning. i've spoken to a lot of my grandfather's colleagues over the years in putting eisenhower books together, and one in particular was lynn hall who was a theodore roosevelt republican and former national chairman of the republican party. i interviewed him in oyster bay, new york, very close to the teddy roosevelt homestead some years ago. and i asked him that very question. and i think that he would have agreed with your response entirely, that dwightizeen our was not -- dwight eisenhower who enjoyed campaigning, but he said the two greatest natural politicians he had seen in his entire life were al smith and dwight eisenhower. he said these were two people who had a natural talent for it. that is the ability to say the right thing at the right time to make the gesture and so forth. and he had, he had a talent for campaigning. and i think that that is manager that he -- something that he
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probably did not -- he was also older, remember. i mean, he was well into his 60s when he was running, so he did not have the energy of a richard nixon running in 1960 or obama running in 2008. so on. >> host: and, mrs. eisenhower, a lot's been written about your parents' relationship with the eisenhowers. how would you describe it? >> guest: well, i think that one of the things i enjoyed doing when i was working on the project of eisenhower's retirement years was to look at that relationship and to think about it more. and i'm amazed that eisenhower and nixon got along as well as they did because when you think about it, you have two presidents rumbling around together. now, a president is going to be someone who's very driven, he has an agenda, he has a vision, he knows where he's going, so you have dwight eisenhower, then you have richard nixon who at 39 becomes his vice president who already is showing signs that he's on his way.
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so the fact that they got along so well, i mean, as well as they did, i would say, i think is a testament to several things, but i think first of all eisenhower should be praised because eisenhower made the vice presidency significant. he sent my parents to 53 nations around the world as goodwill ambassadors. they were in vietnam, for example, in 1953. they were in africa and asia and all over the world, 53 nations, because he believed in person-to-person diplomacy, so he used his vice president. and, of course, i think my father liked that. so let's say that eisenhower led the way on that relationship with making the vice presidency more than what it was called a warm bowl of spit or who famously said that? [laughter] so -- >> to add to what julie was saying and something that mr. smith's book cover as well, this idea that they got along well in spite of their
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capabilities, a case in point would be eisenhower and macarthur. when you see pictures of them together in this cozy situation in manila, you have the general, and then you have the staff aide, and the staff aide is leaning over respectfully, and providing the general with a draft of the message that he is to approve and so forth. and he's all very humble and all that kind of thing. but what i think they're going to blow up. this was a relationship that's going to blow up, and you look at it in retrospect, and you say, of course it was going to blow up. this is the person who commands u.s. forces accepts the japanese surrender in tokyo bay september 14 -- september 1945, this is macarthur, the great far eastern theater commander, dwight eisenhower commands the european theater, these are two people that are not matchally subordinate or in a superior/subordinate relationship to one another. no wonder they blew up, and they did.
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and eisenhower/nixon in hindsight, ambition was an engine that never rested. and you have to have that to be a president. to even be eligible to become a president, to even be within the zone of people who are considered for the presidency. so they both have this tremendous inner dynamism. and they were bound to clash, and i think what's remarkable is that they -- i think the answer is they were of separate generations. i think if they had been contemporaries, it would have been very difficult. >> host: well, the first call for our guests comes from carl in elizabeth, new jersey. carl, you're on booktv. please, go ahead. >> caller: thank you, peter. this is a great privilege. just a week ago i got mr. smith's book on eisenhower out of the local library, and i'm absorbed in it, and i've also, i'm in the middle of drafting a letter to david and to his father. and now that i see the two eisenhowers on stage together, it's going to have a third
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addressee, ms. eisenhower as well. i have a specific -- i also want to say that my earliest political memory is my mother weeping when general eisenhower was nominated at the '52 republican convention, so that gives away what my age might be, but i have a serious question concerning how history is recorded regarding the u2 incident of may 1, 1960. and i have reference to a memo of general goodpastor who was an aide to president eisenhower writing that after checking with the president i informed mr. bissell of the cia that one additional operation, a u2 operation, may be undertaken provided it is carried out prior to may 1st. that memo -- unless it's written to cover mr., general goodpastor's rear end --
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suggests that the u2 might not have been authorized by president eisenhower, but, in fact, would have been a rogue operation directed by the director of central intelligence. can any light be thrown on that, please? thank you very, very much, i appreciate it. >> host: professor smith. >> guest: general goodpastor did not go out on his own on anything. the president approved the last u2 flight. there's no question the president approved it. there's no question the president regretted approving it. but he approved it because the cia insisted on it, and he allowed them to have that one last flight and, of course, francis gary powers was shot down over the soviet union, and eisenhower always regretted it. and to eisenhower's great credit, he did not blame this on mr. dulles or mr. business el, he took personal responsibility for it even though khrushchev
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gave him ample opportunity to place the blame on someone else at the paris sum. eisenhower refused to do that, he took personal responsibility for it, and he did approve it. >> host: our next question comes from right here in the audience. hi. >> um, i had a question about eisenhower's ability to recognize talent. i've read that he was quite good at identifying maybe what other people would consider hidden talent, and i wondered if you could comment about that, if you also found that in your study of him and whether or not there's a particular trait that he looked for in people that allowed him to identify people who might otherwise have been overlooked. >> guest: when you come up to a military career as president eisenhower did, one of the things that you learn very early on is how to identify talent. and eisenhower was a superb identifier of talent, and i simply to give you one example,
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herr berth brown el -- herr berth brownell and mrs. clay who were very close to mr. eisenhower. afterrizeen our was elected -- can after eisenhower was elected president in 1953, he immediately took off to play golf in augusta and turned of his cabinet over to clay and brownell, because he knew these people, and he recognized their talent and ability, and he understood they knew more about who should be in the cabinet than he did at that point because he'd been in nato for the previous three years. so eisenhower was a superb judge of talent. as i say, he learned that through his military career. >> guest: i would say, amplifying that, i would say that is probably his most important political contribution as president. dwight eisenhower was a republican and proud of being a republican, and he believed in
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limited government, but he was governing in a democratic era. he was governing in the fdr era. and so what the eisenhower administration does politically is it applies the brakes to overreaching, it ratifies and, in fact, makes bipartisan many policies of the new deal but applies the brakes on others. but it is not an aggressive administration presenting a republican blueprint and driving for a mandate on policy questions. what the eisenhower administration did in the '50s, however, methodically was it recruited talent. it is hard to find a republican presidency that doesn't trace its origins to the eisenhower administration. george w. bush being the latest actual incumbent in the white house to have acknowledged that debt. george -- mitt romney who is running, he's a republican
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nominee year, his father was identified by eisenhower in the early '60s as a comer this michigan, and he promoted romney's fortunes. the idea is that with the power of the presidency and control of the the executive branch, the republican party in the 1950s had an opportunity to train a whole cadre, thousands of future leaders who would go out and make a difference in the future, and i think that's one of the great accomplishments of that administration. it was early, early republican administration governing against the new deal tide, governing sensibly, governing in a bipartisan way and getting a lot done and governing well, but above all promoting from within and creating opportunities for people down the road. and i think thaw succeeded very well -- they succeeded very well. >> host: our next question comes from steven right here in the silver spring suburbs. hi, steven.
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>> guest: i'd like to ask any of the speakers, in particular david and julie, as somebody who's writing his own book on president nixon's vietnam policy, i'd be very interested to find out what, if any, advice president eisenhower might have given president nixon on an informal basis on vietnam. >> guest: we do cover it. i covered that in a certain sort of way, and i think it was -- what happens in late 1967, in fact, there's this wonderful account that richard nixon wrote that was, basically, his last business meeting with dwight eisenhower. and what i see here is that a torch is passed. 2008 eisenhower was -- dwight eisenhower was somebody who knew two things, and first of all in his era, he knew the nature of soviet communism, and he knew america's importance in sort of holding up, defending the free world. but he also knew that his
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perspective and his wisdom was generation-bound. and that the next generation -- and nixon represented the next generation -- would have to make its own evaluation of the situation. i think that what nixon was presenting eisenhower in '67 was for eisenhower probably confusing. what you said about the eisenhower doctrine, that is if you fight a war, you mean it, you go on to win, that was not applied in vietnam. and richard nixon was running for president in 1967 on a platform, he was not promising to blitz rate north -- to obliterate north vietnam, what he was promising to do was win the war and win the peace. so what happens and dwight eisenhower and richard nixon's final meeting, eisenhower has read the articles, he approves, he thinks he understands, and he realizes that he is now older, and he will not have the energy to see this, see this project
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through. and this is why we turn to able people, this is why we turn to energetic leadership, why we regenerate the presidency, because nixon was in a position to make a call in 1968 that would have endless, positive international ramifications, ending the war, winning the peace. >> host: mrs. eisenhower, did you want to add anything to that? >> guest: the only thing i would add is that last sort of farewell meeting where my father travels up to gettysburg, he has a copy of foreign affairs in which he said we need to end this isolation of china, and we need to recognize that the united states and china have to move forward together. and, of course, eisenhower had based his presidency and even postpresidency in saying no recognition of red china as it was then called. so, but at the end eisenhower came to agree that it was time for a new shift. >> host: you're watching booktv on c-span2 live coverage of the national book
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festival. gene edward smith, biographer of president eisenhower, and david and julie nixon eisenhower. "going home to glory," about president eisenhower's postpresidency. next question from here in the audience. >> yes, this is to david eisenhower and julie nixon-eisenhower particularly. the '60s was a tumultuous time, and feminism was certainly in the air, and i'm bond -- i'm wondering at home on the farm if president eisenhower had anything to say about these changes, and also mamie, what was her role in these discussions, and was she consulted by your grandfather, your grandfather in-in law on some of these issues, and did general eisenhower have anything to say about women in the military, some possibilities for them? and, of course, we've seen what has happened over the past decades. [laughter] >> guest: i don't, i really -- and i just was sort of
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exchanging glances with gene. i don't think eisenhower ever made comments with people in the military, but certainly women moved forward -- >> although the women's army corps was created, but that was during world war ii when eisenhower really hadn't -- you're right. >> guest: one of my favorite clips is in pbs the presidential, the american experience. there's a wonderful two-part documentary on eisenhower. one of my favorite clips is eisenhower returned to uniform in 1951 and taking up his nato command, and they show him exchanging a salute with female officer. and it is all business. in other words, dwight eisenhower does not see male/female. she's an officer, and he is a superior officer, and they are exchanging -- it's a very interesting picture selection. dwight eisenhower is somebody who, the closest i can come to that is he give a commencement address to my sister.
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he was very proud of my sisters, my three sisters, and there were four of us grandchildren. and he addressed the shipley school in the spring of 1967, and he was addressing these hemlines that were going up, right? miniskirts? and he says, remember, ankles are always neat but knees are always knobby. [laughter] something like this. in other words, he was not very modern, but he's somebody who loved people, male, female. he loved humanity. and that really came through in everything that i experienced around him. i'm talking about these evenings on the sun porch in gettysburg and dinner and guests and so forth. i don't know how he would have formulated a position about feminism, but i think that the key to human relations in his view was mutual respect, and he had tons of relationships like that, male and female. very definitely.
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>> host: next question, john, in woodland hills, california. good afternoon, you're on booktv. >> caller: thank you, good afternoon. let me first say that president eisenhower is one of just a handful of presidents for whom the office of presidency was not the greatest accomplishment in his career. he would have been an historical figure even if he never ran for president. but my question concerns the nomination of senator nixon for vice president. reports have been stated on tv that eisenhower was approached after he was nominated, and they asked who should be vice president, and he said isn't that up to the convention? and then his staff said, well, the convention will vote for whomever you suggest. and then they recommended senator nixon. but that story always seemed to me to be a little insincere. it seems to me that there was more to that than met the eye. i think general eisenhower and
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president eisenhower was very good at appearing less involved than he actually was. it always seemed to me this was an occasion where he had made the choice, but he wanted the responsibility to fall on the staff. and so since we have people here who are intimately involved with the eisenhower and nixon families, i wonder what they can say about this appointment or this nomination of senator nixon for vice president. >> host: thank you, john. professor smith? >> guest: many years ago i had an interview with herbert brownell who was eisenhower's attorney general and really ran eisenhower's presidential campaign. and in that interview mr. brownell told me that evening after ike won the nomination in chicago, he and lou shus clay and the general were having dinner at the blackstone hotel, and mr. brownell said, so i asked the general, general, whom do you want to be your vice presidential candidate?
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and he said the general looked at me, and he said, well, i think that mr. smith, they had american airlines, is an enormously effective executive. charles wilson is an e formousely effective executive, i think he would be a good vice president, and brownell said lou shus and i were sort of rolling our eyes at each other, and i rallied and said, general, they're all very fine men, but i'm sure the convention is going to want a candidate whom they can recognize. and i'm sure they're going to look to you exclusively for guidance. and so the general nodded his head, apparently, and mr. brownell then said, general, if you haven't thought about it very much, lucius and i believe we should go with richard nix sob. -- nixon. nixon's young, he was in the navy, he's from california, he has a good record in the house and in the senate, and the
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president said, well -- or general eisenhower said, according to brownell, i think i've met him. i think i've met him. clear it with the taft people, and if the taft people say okay, that's fine. and i can't say that's exactly how it happened, but certainly that's what herbert brownell said was the way it happened, and mr. brownell was a key player at that time. >> guest: i have something to add to that, actually. i think there were the first two vice presidents to be selected with the idea that they would be future presidents, the first two were harry truman in 1944, and there is an argument right now between roosevelt and truman scholars over whether that is the case, but based on stories that i heard growing up, that is pretty true in my mind, that truman was selected in '44 with the idea that roosevelt would not survive his term. and the second was richard nixon in 1952.
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there is a -- and i have some personal insight into this. richard nixon this his memoir recounts how in 1951 he gave an address in the waldorf-astoria in the president of governor thomas dewey, and dewey came up to him at the end of the speech and said make me a promise, senator. don't get overweight, stay in shape, someday you will be president. i believe that governor dewey was the one who was behind brownell and clay, and the idea was that nixon would be the political arm of the, of the eisenhower years, and he was. he was -- nixon took on enormous responsibility for keeping the republican party in business in that period. and the reason i think that there's a lot to this is that when richard nixon was elected in '68 and julie and i spent so many evenings with him, '69 and '90 and so forth -- '70 and so
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forth, one name that kept coming up over and over again -- and i think this would be an interesting article someday -- documenting the personal relationship based on complete confidence and fondness between richard nixon and thomas dewey. nixon wanted to name dewey warren's successor. he wanted to elevate him to the supreme court. dewey basically said, i'm too old, i can't do this. he wanted to be secretary of defense, he wanted to be anything in his government. and this was gratitude, but a relationship that was forged without question, i think, back in a time when thomas dewey identified nixon as a young political -- >> guest: and i would adjust one thing to both those comments. i know that after my father was nominated and eisenhower and my father met, eisenhower admitted that he didn't realize just quite how young my father was when he had made the decision for him to be the running mate. i don't think he realized he was 39, you know, maybe he thought he was 41 or something, but that's -- so he -- thought he
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was 42? >> guest: that's right. 39, think of that, 39 years old. >> guest: let me go back to what david said about governor dewey. that's exactly right. eisenhower's campaign for president was run by dewey, brownell and clay, but dewey always stayed in the background because he's run in '48 and '44 and lost both times, so dewey remained very much in the background. but die by, indeed, invited nixon to give the keynote address, the lincoln day address to the republican party in new york in 1952, and at that time nixon went up to the suite afterwards with brownell and with dewey, and that's when really they formed that opinion, that he should be the candidate, there's no question about it. >> host: next question from right near the audience at the national book fest. >> hi. this is to david primarily. um, you talked about being, um, being, have a mild manner and having a farm in pennsylvania
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and having just toning down rhetoric, and things should be on scale, and i was wondering if you or any of your sisters if they're listening have any comments on the proposed memorial for washington, d.c.? >> guest: well, i think i just heard my sister susan was on c-span as we were coming in, i was listening to her comments, and all i'll say about the memorial commission are two things. first is the gratitude or the satisfaction that our family feels that as many senators and congressmen, as many distinguished people have served on the eisenhower commission would devote the time and the resources and so forth to them moralizing dwight eisenhower, this means a lot to us. and second, we drove right through the, through that area where the eisenhower memorial's supposed to happen as we were
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coming in this afternoon. and it was a reminder, it's very close to the capitol. and, in fact, at presidential inaugurals for tens or hundreds of years to come looking over the shoulder of the president towards the crowd, one will see the site where the eisenhower memorial's supposed to happen. i think that seeing that site was a reminder that this is precious real estate in the district. this is a really important spot, and we've got to get it right. in other words, the memorial has got to satisfy everybody; the congress that is going to look out on it, the citizens to come who will attend inaugural ceremonies. so i think that the commission has made enormous progress. they have, it took 40 years to build an fdr memorial. this has been in business for a little over ten. and it doesn't surprise me that given dwight eisenhower's career which mr. smith covers in such
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a, this is such an incredible life, literally a war career which stands on its own and a presidency on how to do all of that in a single site, probably 500 ways to do it, maybe a thousand ways to do it. it doesn't surprise me that a controversy has arisen over the area of design. and i think that that will be sorted out. it has to be because this is a beautiful site in washington, and the commission and the people responsible have to get it right. >> host: we are talking with authors david and julie nixon-eisenhower, "going home to glory," is the name of their most recent book and, of course, gene edward smith. "eisenhower in war and peace." the next call comes from the mike in los angeles. hi, mike. >> caller: hello. my question's for david. um, your father was an amazing president, one of the greatest republican presidents ever to actually serve over our country. um, but it seems that the republican party has fell short
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in recent years. i mean, look at the last republican president and his eight-year administration, look at where the republicans convention is a primary example of the problems that the republican party is having in current events happening today. i mean, you have different sects inside the republican party. i mean, you have the tea party movement which is, pardon me for saying, seems like a joke in itself. but what do you think your grandfather would have viewed the republican party, and what would his advice be to republican leaders in today's society? >> host: we'll get an answer from both eisenhowers on the evolution of the gop. >> guest: and also mr. smith who has very interesting views on this. my view of it is ha to pose -- that to pose that question, and it is a very interesting what if, it's like asking how franklin roosevelt would have viewed the democratic party in the jimmy carter era. in other words, this is, it's the same idea, but it's being carried forward under different
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circumstances. in fact, a very interesting speech that we studied at the university of pennsylvania is a speech that jimmy carter gave, famous speech. douglas brinkly is here, he's among the authors who is here, he's written the best book on jimmy carter, "the unfinished presidency." but he gave an article about the national malaise speech. if one lines that up against the first inaugural of roosevelt's, one sees the same arguments, same values, same everything with one exception, and that is the role of the american people. in 1933 the american people were overwhelmingly ratifying the new deal. in 1979 the american people had more or less abandoned the new deal. so what you see is a change in circumstance. i think that the gop right now, i mean, the vicissitudes have a lot to do with circumstance, but i would say -- and this is going back to the '50s and the debt
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that the bushes acknowledge and others in the republican party, what dwight eisenhower did in his selection of vice presidents, you know, blackstone in 1952 picking charlie wilson and other business people, he's somebody who greatly admired the private sector of america and looked for ways to delegate authority to the private sector in his era. now, that is sort of my response. what would you say, gene? >> guest: well, i think i would assert the zeke manure rule at this point. some of you in the audience may be able to remember him, he played first base for the washington senators back in the 1930s. diseek -- zeke was a big rolely poly fella, but he always led the american league in fielding. and one time a newspaper report said, zeke, how can you possibly lead the american league in
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fielding, you're immobile there at first base. [laughter] and he said it's perfectly simple, if you don't touch the ball, you can't make an error. so i think i'll pass. [laughter] >> guest: so will i. [applause] >> guest: he's also a heck of a hitter. >> host: next question here from our audience. >> i just finished reading the presidents club which talks about the role of form per presidents helping current presidents regardless of party, and you've talked about how president eisenhower helped kennedy, nixon and johnson, but i'm curious how truman helped -- >> host: very quickly, we had a little trouble hearing that. >> guest: eisenhower worked with his successors, how did truman work with him. >> guest: how did president truman work with eisenhower? when eisenhower was president of columbia and after eisenhower left the office of chief of staff, well, let's go back before that. in berlin in 1945, president
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truman offered to step down as a presidential nominee in 1948 if eisenhower would take the democratic nomination. there was a bit of hero worship on truman's part. and when it came time to get nato off the ground in 1950 and 1951, eisenhower -- president truman asked eisenhower if he would leave the presidency of columbia and go back to europe to organize nato which general eisenhower did, and eisenhower was there when he came back in 1952 to run for the republican nomination. so there was great respect between the two. and one of the reasons truman did not seek re-election in 1952 was because ike got the republican nomination. if taft had gotten the republican nomination, truman would have remained as democratic candidate that year. so there was a great deal of respect between the two.
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um, they fell out during the campaign, during the 1952 campaign. ike wasn't quite prepared for the bitterness of the campaign, and he blamed president truman for that, and there were some other things. and ike resented truman's role in the campaign. and you may recall that -- or you may not -- that on inaugural day when the president-elect calls on the president at the white house and they drive up in the limousine to the capitol, eisenhower did not get out of the limousine to go into the white house to have coffee with the president as is customary. he was smarting over his, some issues during the campaign, and the ride up to the capitol was very chilly. he had invited your father back from korea at the time without
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telling anyone, and general eisenhower took a little offense at that. but, and there were some other things. but three days later after eisenhower had settled into the white house, he wrote an effusive letter to president truman, far more generous and appreciative about how truman had facilitated the changeover and the transition. and it's an effusive letter. they didn't really see much of each other for the next, oh, dozen years. they met, i think, really for the first time at the assassination, funeral of president john kennedy. [inaudible] i think they met briefly at the rayburn funeral in '61, but that's right. there was an's estrangement, and that happens. and again, this goes back to the question of how a richard nixon would have gotten along with a dwight eisenhower,at


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