tv Book TV CSPAN January 21, 2013 8:30pm-10:15pm EST
technology show. we will be back next week with more programming from this convention. david maraniss began writing his book "barack obama: the story" in 2000. he traveled around the world in his research including trips to kenya and in asia hawaii in chicago. booktv documented the kenya trip with the author. next david maraniss set down with booktv to discuss his book. we will show the extensive video from his trips throughout the program. this program is about an hour and a half. author david maraniss researching and writing his tenth book "barack obama: the story." for this project at the turn pulitzer prize winner traveled across the world to kansas in
tunisia kenya hawaii new york and chicago. david maraniss spoke with relatives of president of president obama in kenya and discover the president african ancestral history. he toured toured the houses were young barack obama lived in indonesia and found the kansas family home where his mother's family began. and for the next few hours david maraniss joint booktv joined booktv to discuss his latest book "barack obama: the story." we will take your calls e-mails andta tweets. >> host: david maraniss you write in "barack obama: theth story" that no life could've been more the product ofs randomness than that of baracks obama. >> guest: is the whole world coming together accidentally in honolulu hawaii. a father who's destined to come there from kenya because he readsb a story in the saturday evening posted describes thesci university of hawaii is a great place because ofun its diversity
and a mother who gets there because she has a father who ha this wanderlust and is nevernv satisfied wherever he he is in and set them selling furniture. the meat in a russian class but here comes barack obama whowh emerges as a whole global random existence of his own until he u becomes president of united states. >> host: where did their lives begin in kansas? >> guest: well, in a countyny called butler counties where obama's grandmother grew up in grandfather madeleine kaine and -- done him but i start theh story in topeka. stanley's parents live there for a short time. his father the president's great-grandfather was an auto repairman upa there and the great-grandmother got married ad age 15 and had a very difficult marriage in the book begins with
her suicide in topeka. and then young stanley the president's grandfather comes back to butler county and that is where he meets thend t grandmother. it would not have happened without that. th oost: we want to show you a video montage shot by your wife linda maraniss on your trip to kansas in april 2009. >> this is the heart of the ridgedale. >> the tiny town of eldorado. >> where barack obama's grandfather grew up. in the nearby town of augusta
kansas where obama's grandmother was born and grew up. >> 2009 heading down to eldorado on easter sunday. >> this is topeka kansas, the capital of kansas and the scenet of the tragedy and obama story. this is where his great-grandmother had committed suicide and stand down him, obama's grandfather was eight years old at the time that obama's great-grandmother died.o they lived in a little house on began and street down a few blocks and the great-grandfather ralph done him rent a garage in auto shop on sixth avenue which is right around the corner.
that is where she took some strychnine and was found dead on the night of thanksgiving 1926. >> can you drive a little slower? we are now approaching the house at 703 buchanan. a little white two-story shotgun house, no more than 10 feet wide one house from the corner of seventh on buchanan. at little front porch. i'm sure it's the same house since 1926. this is where ruth dunham died. this is the garage where the
drug is parked. >> that brick is old. >> yeah. >> host: at david maraniss how n old was she when she killedself herself? >> guest: she was 26. she was born in 1900.l >> host: why did she kill herself? >> guest: she killed herself because, well she left a suicide note that said she was distraught over her husband's -g so that was the immediate cause. >> host: that was the>>os president's grandfather stanley dunham's mother? >> guest: yes. she would have only been 26 and
because of that traumatic event stan lee on to his older brother ralph moved back down to eldorado with ruth dunham's parents are living with his grandparents and his great-grandfather the character of made -- named christopher columbus clark who fought in the civil war. >> host: where did stanley andgr mandelson meets?>> guest >> guest:: they met in augusta which is 12 or 15 miles frommle eldorado. it's sort of on the way to wichita and that is where madeleine grew up. stand up and out of high schoold for several years of madeleine was a senior in high school. he was working in construction in a renovation of an oil plant down there. >> host: what was there lifelike in kansas?as? >> guest: their life before afte they marriedr? her after they married? >> guest: . >> host: after they married.
>> guest: her parents did not like him. them. as a matteral of fact the first thing that her father said was i don't want you marrying him her s dark skinned and an element of race even in that and she married him secretly before she ridgely the from high school she was a very smart young woman who had always been on the honor roll until she met stanley who was slick talking out of arkansas, kansas, and sorry, and that's what she wanted. she had grown and the sophistication of hollywood and stan promised something else he promised to take her back there and then they are somewhat unstable. not the marriage was necessarily on stable but the jobs were always unstable and they never
knew where they were going next said it was a rocky road. >> host: where did the obama clan began? >> guest: it began actually in sudan. i would start the story in the small village by lake victoria to the south and east of the major city in the province which was a very poor part of kenya. it's where the little tribe is basically center the second referred largest tribe in africa and the about where the obama's found themselves. >> host: on the president's paternal side where the grandparents? >> guest: he was born in the
late 1800's and was in the first wave to be westernized they had come out and he learned english and became sort of inculcated into the british culture so he worked later as a chef and cut for many british military people and folks in nairobi and the mother came from another village in that area, and she did not -- he was a very difficult guy to live with. he had several why of this and when he moved to the area near
where she grew up it was back to another home state of the clan around lake victoria. she had enough. she had a younger wife along with him and so she ran away. she left the family when barack obama, the president's father was a very little boy. >> david maraniss his grandparents died in 2006. did president obama ever meet him? >> guest: no, he never met after the 1980's after his grandfather had died. aside from the very early days of his birth but he didn't get back to kenya until both of his grandparents were gone so there's a dramatic difference in that part of the story.
>> for barack obama the story how many interviews did you do over the course of the last four years? >> guest: i would say almost 400, and i had a wonderful assistant who helped with some of the leader interviews in the story but i traveled all over the world and so everybody could find in every part of the life of president obama and his parents and grandparents. >> host: barack obama sr. was born in 1936. what was his childhood like? >> guest: from a fairly early age he was dealing with western culture in the british. he was a very smart kid. his father was difficult to get along with and was not often there mostly in the nairobi and he was growing up.
he was lucky in the sense that he was smart enough to get into a very good school in that area, and although he never totally finished he was a very smart student. they had that clash of old and new. for all of his youth and adolescence he was in a colonial country in a very poor part of the kenya, so he lived in the mud huts with cowles and no television and stuff like that. a century behind in some ways and get kenya was starting to
emerge. the rebellion was beginning, the push for independence was beginning and the generalization he was a part of that. >> host: how long were you in kenya and what did you see? what was it like to be over there? >> guest: kenya was one of the great experiences of my life. every day was unforgettable. we were there for about two weeks, and it felt like a year. every day was so rich. we flew from washington to london to nairobi and spend a couple of days interviewing people there because barack obama sr. had spent much of his career in nairobi and then after several days we drove from her
nairobi across the highway up west to one of the most unforgettable drives of my life and the experiences were so different from nairobi. the point was twofold. to find as many people as i could and interview them. he's a great young >> guest: i ended up doing about 40 or 45. most of them during those two weeks. a few of them over the phone later and a few of them where people were not available so i
provided the questions and he would conduct the interviewst afterward.r a >> host: booktv traveled with you to gideon conducted an interview there as well and we want to show you that now. >> david maraniss its january 15, 2010. we have been in western kenya for today's and you've been working on your new book "barack obama: the story," correct? >> guest: yes. >> host: has it been worth it to be in western kenya?t what has it been like? >> guest: i would save these days are a source of of but face it remind me why i do what i do. everything about it from morning to do. zrom morning to night it nightes but this fs the reality behind so many that know.
i got to see the see and things i never could see in my lifetime any other way but i just think i'm so lucky and in these last two days we have travelled around this part of western kenya based on the kind of capital of this country, and it's the main try the out here is the tribe from which barack obama's family came. we came from a little town where we interviewed barack obama. the sister of barack obama, senior. living in a small one-room house
back in the back streets of this tiny village with only a couple couches and about five pictures and a few calendars on the wall then most of them made it to the president of the united states. to think that this woman -- you can't go anywhere from the western world to this small village in africa. it was a mind-boggling revelatory, so that is how we started today and from there we interviewed three other members of the obama plan in the area around lake victoria.
they were stories you can never get from anywhere else about obama's grandfather or younger obama. his father, barack obama senior. we watched and saw the grave site of his great-grandfather, the person for whom the name derives. a kind of amazing stuff all day. >> host: you spend a lot of time talking about the kind of situations in kenya. what importance does that to your book? >> guest: it explains a lot about barack obama, senior. and this book is more than just the biography. it's about the places that created him come the people created him starting to generations back and moving
through to obama himself. his father in some ways represented the promise and the frustrations of africa and kenya and all the more personal level there's a brilliance in the full and some of the tentative it tribalism. the second largest tried in kenya and the colonial period when the british dominated created this sort of tribalism on the different reserves in the different parts of the country so when they got independence and they got power, there was this unfortunate sort of conflict for power, and basically ever since 1963 they've been dominated by the larger tribes, and barack obama,
sr. was a nationalist. he wasn't a tribal list. when he came back to kenya in 1965 and started his career, he suffered and i wanted to get the full context of that. another character in the story that fascinated is the intellectual leader. he was a major spokesman before the bullets left. he was always thought to be a possible future president of kenya. in the cold war era he was western. if they liked him and a halt in many ways he was also the patron
of barack obama, senior. by the time he got to the united states the whole reason that barack obama our present exists he organized the left the prouty 81 opinions to the united states. the presumption there was by people higher up in the leadership who are afraid that he would become president. it's never clearly established but for the man that was tried and hanged as the assassin his last words why didn't you go after and that assassination fuelled barack obama senior's frustration. >> host: what are you talking
to folks about barack obama, senior the term keeps coming up and this might be misleading that if you would answer, politically connected and political intrigue. >> guest: he was trained as an economist with at the university of hawaii and harvard before he got his ph.d.. but even a fairly brilliant macroeconomist. but his wives and all of his movements were in the government in nairobi in the ensuing decades filled with political frustrations. after just doing five days of interviews in kenya, three in nairobi and two of them out here
my mind is spinning with all of the intrigue that i've heard. it's just one story after another of the manipulation and the death threats and people losing their jobs because of tribalism or some. he was caught up in that. >> host: is that a term that has come up? >> guest: i think barack obama, senior differently had a drinking problem. many of the people i interviewed they wouldn't go that far they would just say he drank a lot. but there were a lot of locations where many of the people i've interviewed said that he loved his double double, double whiskey, a double scotch,
and they really did affect his life and they attributed to an alcoholic as a general thing but because of his family and employment ups and downs it exaggerated its. i think the word womanizer actually is used in kenya and the same way that it is in the united states partly because much of kenya is a polygamist culture. from where he came as part of
the polygamist culture. his grandfather for what we've been told has as many as 15 lives. barack obama himself had -- sr. had four wives. he was divorced from his american wives at two different points but he also -- with a minute, yeah, the word womanizer i didn't feel comfortable using it but he definitely had a lot of women in his life. it hasn't come up except one guy we interviewed said there might
be children scattered all over kenya but from his wife's he had eight children and that's really all i've been able to confirm at this point. islamic of those eight are there any talked about in here? katasa not yet, and it's silly interesting they would imply the 13 nomination. the actual half brothers and sisters we will see maybe tomorrow. >> host: you have been asked in many different ways for the
remuneration. is that common in the states and how do you handle that? >> guest: it's not common in the states and it's a fascinating -- i don't know if it is a dilemma but i've had to think about different things including cultural values and expectations, with the are giving up to talk to me, and what it means. at the "washington post," there is a -- traditionally he had the strong guest ethics rules that you could ever imagine or the editor for a couple days went down and he didn't even vote. pure and pristine. all i, myself, have always had a
very strong personal ethics, but i'm operating in a different culture. i had to make a few interesting decisions. a few months ago, someone we wanted to interview before we got here. when you visit in elder you are expected to bring a gift. it wasn't like paying to talk to him, it was .. i've made up for the difference. we've gotten a few photographs and because of -- to get the
photographs it is totally in pounds was set up by publishers saying why can't i pay some poor kenyan for some? so it's been that kind of situation. >> host: you've been to law e, texas, kansas for your research on this and now you are in kenya when does the research part of it in the? >> guest: you just know when you get there. actually the research never ends. there is a point i say i am ready to start writing. i started this book the essentially the day after obama was elected president that's when i decided i'd got to do this book. i'd written a few pieces for "the washington post" before that so i had a basis of
research particularly on his mother, and i think when i get home from this incredible journey i will have the kansas side of the story pretty much completed and that's where the story begins, it's a weaving these incredible worlds that helped create this person. >> host: who came up with the title? >> guest: i did. i was just bouncing around of africa and then i set out of africa come out of dalia, kansas, indonesia, chicago, out of this world. the book is two things it's the world that created obama and then how he recreate himself so i'm not sure the proportions yet and will be important to get it
right but perhaps even the first half of the book the main character isn't even on the stage yet and the second act of the book is largely chicago with his education in california, new york and boston thrown in some but largely chicago and that is when he recreate himself as a political been, so when you think about it we are all sort of created from a lot of different strengths but i can't think of anybody with a more fascinating mix them obama. >> host: tell us about the team here. >> i can't tell you how happy i am about the people in working with. i don't know swahili which is the mother tongue of this part
of kenya and most people speak english, they all don't and the drive on the other side of the road and i would have been dead if i tried to drive myself plus there are no road signs. the places we've, i couldn't find in a million years and i'm pretty good at finding things, so i definitely needed a great driver and we got one. he is a friend and interested in politics. i needed somebody on the ground to help set up interviews and the national archives and elsewhere. i looked out and got ken who is 40-years-old, investigative journalist and kenya, very tough, straightforward, smart,
savvy, political the instinctive who has helped me immeasurably and has done interpreting for me i have beatrice who is a graduate student at the university of wisconsin and last summer when i needed documents translated my wife and i live in madison in the summer. there was one speaker who came over to my house in the afternoon to translate it for me and then i discovered that she would be here right now when we were going to come to kenya and her family is about ten minutes from one of the obama homes so she's been our interpreter today
and tomorrow. there's another member of my team, too which is my wife. >> host: she's been on a lot of your trips. >> guest: she's an environmentalist who were retired about seven years ago with and has gone on almost every major trip i've taken since then. i'm not a ground or anything but i seem like one compared to my wife is the best ambassador any person could have so she makes friends wherever we go. >> host: we're going to get there but i have one question before that. this is not a cheap trip. you have three people on the staff for a number of weeks.
those and author's advanced cover all of this were just a portion? >> guest: i can't speak for every author but this is my tenth book and i get enough of an advance to pay for all of this and and as an author i have corporation through me and lend us of that has funds that i can use for all this stuff and i do spend -- why do it if you aren't going to do it thoroughly and i couldn't have done this trip without that kind of team put together so it's not like to get an advance of what goes into making the book.
>> guest: >> host: the obama family connections to i don't know who is who. >> guest: the screen to be a challenge for me one is it is a very complicated family web and the second reason which is unavoidable unfair is the leaders of the united states can sound different and to remember who is who etc so i have to be able to do with that and that is a challenge for any writer and i have some news i've done in the past and essentially what is important to me is that the quoting somebody when you write in long narrative you aren't putting together a string of
quote, you're building a narrative story so i will take elements from each of these people i've interviewed into the story by telling and some of the mold. some of the monk and they will appear in ways that the family tree will become understandable that your right there are different -- there's the whole obama clan in one section of the kindu bay area which the united states knows better and that is where mama ciro lives that is obama's step grandmother. she's the one of the he goes to visit and thinks that is where the obamas are from. there's a whole group of obamas
i'm going to deal with any more substantive way than what the zero of where the story comes from the reminded me a little bit of what i was doing in the clinton book and it was in clinton's acceptance they had a film in southwestern arkansas and the simplicity of local life and he's from hot springs, a completely different place when with a dark side to it. the obama story is not the ciro and the story of his father takes place somewhere else and that is where the section of the book will start. >> host: one final question. we want to introduce their
viewers [inaudible] >> leo you cannot make up. he belongs in an awful. he's 73-years-old triet he walks around with a menacing sort of club, she has a deep voice and laugh and he seems to know everybody in africa from the area the president of tanzania, the dictator of ugonda back in the 70's and 80's to everybody in kenya and he traveled with us. we met him yesterday and had three or four hours of fascinating discussions and then he traveled with us today in the morning and he was jury close to
barack obama sr. and the patron and knows all of the political intrigue of kenya, and a lot of the personal promise was barack obama senior. >> was he valuable and? did you have to listen carefully to what was said? you can't go on a trip like this, so i spend months studying the kenyan politics learning everything i could going to an archived at the university of syracuse i knew a lot of the background if you had a conversation with leo you wouldn't understand a word he said but i knew where he was going and have the beginnings of the stories and so yes i could
piece it together yet it filled in 100 holes in the politics of obama senior personal life. >> host: last question you found and went to the house president obama stayed at a 1987. where was it? we are going to show the video. you looked excited. >> guest: that is one of the moment i described in this interview we just think i am right here. this is an incredible place and impossible to find just out of the blue. what is called the obama clan compound in a little tiny village or compound in kendu bay
and it's just some fun another one of those. it had a cement floor but we were told it wasn't there it was just mud and he spent nights there when he was visiting the area in that part of the plan on his journey through africa. it has nothing to do with how i feel about obama and i don't approach it that way any way. he's just the main character of my book. it has nothing to do with with and i like or dislike him. has to do with the history of seeing this little place before anybody knew who the hell barack
obama was. he was 26-years-old making the journey back to the land he had never seen before. i was looking at this spot on the floor where he slept on the nights in 1987 and it just it didn't overwhelm me but it made me realize that to see history is more powerful than to just think about or read about it. i'm able to portray it brings my work alive. >> host: that interview was shot over two years ago. anything you would like to change? >> guest: i would like to change my look [laughter] a couple things that have changed since then is obviously the title of the book. we determined out of this world even though it was meant as a
global character could imply something else so scrap that coming into my publisher actually came up with the world brilliant idea so that is what we ended up with and i'm very happy about. i ended the book at a place i didn't extract because i got so much information about a ten year period from the time he left honolulu to go to college when he finished his community organizing to do to harvard. he's become so important in terms of the evolution on his search for identity that it can the west feared of the book and there will be another volume someday but this is the book, so
the ark of the book is different. the essence is the same. >> the book ends instead of 2004 in 99 as he's going off to boston, correct, to harvard law school? so barack obama is finally going to make an appearance in your book. it's about halfway through the book. >> guest: it's not half way. it's 54 pages into the 584 page book. >> host: we get to hawaii. how did his parents meet? >> guest: his mother was 17-years-old freshman at the university. >> host: take it one step back. how did she get to hawaii? >> guest: because her father who'd been a furniture salesman in mercer island or seattle
washington, this was right next to seattle, he got a job selling furniture in honolulu and he was always looking for the next thing to be moved from kansas to california several times went from seattle to hawaii said she came and was only 17 when she graduated from high school, excellent public school in seattle. but she was the only child. her name was stanley iain. i can tell you the story on that if you want some other time but in the case, she's there as a freshman. barack obama had been there since 1959 also an undergraduate of whom he was much older and they both signed up for russian after sputnik and schools all over were starting to teach russians. was the most important things
the public's could do to prepare for the cold war so they both ended up in a russian plus and that's where the net. >> how long did they know each other before they got married? >> guest: the new each other for five months. gannet in september and got married in february. she got pregnant before that, so everything about it was -- it wasn't a normal courtship, let me put it that way. >> quadcore madeleine and stanley's reaction to occur bringing home and african blacks >> guest: madelin told another biographer -- she died before i started this book. david who did the first book said madeleine described obama senior to him as very strange.
and of course of reveals around him. beauvis were not happy. was very difficult for them and it wasn't necessarily because of race is to read his personality of their daughter was only 17 when they met and she got pregnant and she was an incredibly intelligent young woman so it had a difficult effect on her life. they didn't know, but another element is that obama, senior -- and i notice of this why was reluctant to use the word womanizer, but he was and he was doing that in honolulu so she is by no means the only american woman he had been with.
>> host: barack obama senior married first four times. did they ever get divorced? >> guest: interesting. they got married in kenya and according to obama, senior you could just say i'm divorcing my wife and that was eight when stanley myriad barack obama senior she didn't know he was already married. she was under the impression he was divorced which he wasn't so in essence he was a polygamist when he married her. estimate the married in february and legally married through 1964 barack obama sr. was also married to ruth baker we will talk about leader and his final marriage was one to one jael. how many children did barack
obama senior have on how many have siblings does he have? >> there are a couple of -- i don't want to get too far into that but i'm not sure the paternity. it could be as many as eight. >> back to hawaii, february 1961 barack obama senior and speed will get married. the president is for 1961 and by the end of the first month of his life, ann has taken him to seattle. >> there is a lot surrounding the period that has nothing to do with the idea of him being born in mumbai or some other place. the documents are completely fabricated. he was born in honolulu on august 4th. but as he would tell the story later in his own memoir it
wasn't until his father left for harvard that the family split up and even the reasons for that are not what he says in the book. but shortly after he was born on his mother went back to seattle and enrolled part-time in extension courses at the university of washington so they never really lived together and when i interviewed all of the people that knew barack senior before he graduated and left only one person could even remember ann. there was a mystery she wasn't even there. she was in seattle. >> how was she in seattle? >> about a year and a half as a single mother. she had babysitters and went to school part time, got herself back together. the semester had been difficult because she got pregnant so she had to sort of reading herself
academically and she did that. after barack sr. had left, she came back. >> 1962 to 1967 they were back in honolulu. who is her second husband? >> her second husband is another international by from indonesia. she met him at the university of hawaii. he had flown from the east-west center which brought students from various countries and brought americans to honolulu to go to asia were and that's where she met him. he was a tennis player and a very gregarious at that time. >> at what point did they move
to jakarta? >> he moved back first. both barack, sr. and lola watched by the - and different regulations on these us and so long so lola could only stand a short time. he kept trying to extend the visa after he married her and he got certain jobs he said were related to the geography that he learned and typography in honolulu to keep him there but eventually it was changed in very political ways and he was forced to go back and 66. in 67 in october, obama and his mother moved back. >> so the president lived in indonesia from 67 to 71, age six through ten. >> just about, yes. >> while you were in jakarta you
>> in the corner in the back? >> in the middle in the back. [inaudible conversations] >> that school is a statute, david maraniss. islamic actually the statue is out of the second school that he went to with shorts and a short sleeve shirt. the second school had more money than the first one. the catholic school he went for two and a half years and then the family moved, he got another job and if more money. >> was that put up after -- >> was a couple years ago and
was very controversial. there were people that didn't want the statue to go up. obama i think if he ran for president of indonesia would win in a landslide but nonetheless, there is everyone in the world has some controversy about any politician. there were some questions about it but not everybody in indonesia is proud. >> what was his life like in jakarta? >> he was completely immersed. imagine being a 6-year-old kid thrown into a culture you don't know the language and this sort of middle class section of town with narrow alleyways and the exotic sounds and smells of a big city of jakarta with your mother going to work and father riding a bike to his job and just being thrown into the neighborhood kids that was his
life and he had acted. he had to adapt to the his life is a series of adaptations. >> why did he leave jakarta in 1971? >> he left because his mother -- by the way, there's an international school his mother couldn't afford to send him there. for those three and a half years he was in the native language. she was looking up at 4:00 in the morning to teach him with english schoolbooks to supplement but it was very difficult, and the whole process was something she realized. she was still married and wanted to stay but he is coming to the point she has to make a key decision. it turned out he could get into the best elite school in
honolulu so he went back in fifth grade to start. >> and he lived with his grandparents in an apartment? >> by that time they moved into an apartment, five blocks from the school and he lived there from fifth grade to his senior year. this mix of ages 11 to 18 he lived with his grandparents in honolulu. >> i should correct that. there's a period where his mother did come back to study graduate school. they lived a couple of blocks away and then go to indonesia again. the bulk of that period. so that was 7179. pushback in honolulu. what was his life like? what did he study and what kind of grades did he get?
>> when he got becky was very. he took the name so it wouldn't be confusing and indonesia to degette his life there, he was a fine student. he wasn't a serious student by any means. he was smart enough to get by, more than get by with his grades even applying himself too hard. his real love was basketball, which is kind of an interesting twist.
some of the great figures in basketball history came out of kansas. fog austin and adolph rupp. obama's lead up on mother's side was a very good as the ballplayer. pl basketball is also the way that some slack. could stir trade and defy with african-americans, living with his great-grandparents.team -- so it had these other meanings besides being something to play. that was one of the central themes. >> host: you write, david av maraniss in "barack obama: the story," barry could not know tht
luckiest thing that happened tog life his haveather had left in the spring to years of unpredictability and violence. just go to some sort of speculative, but when you sit at the history of barack obama senior, it's not. it's reality in a very difficult reality. and it grows out of what happened after. after he had that very short time together at harvard, he met another american woman, bruce baker. just like with dan, you sort of became entranced by him. she caught him as manic and she was back to kenya with him coming to nairobi and married him. and i interviewed her. i was the first reporter to interview her. sally jacobsen has written a next one book on barack senior
and that's the way these things go and more power to sally and biographers who come after. the store and assign and deeper and deeper. but in any case, when i touch every speaker, she told me the story of how a piece of barack senior was, that he beat her, was an alcoholic, incredibly difficult to live with. that would've been the fate of dairy if they'd been together. >> host: while in kenya, we talk to you about bruce baker. i went to show just a little piece of video. >> where is he now? [inaudible] the interview is a little later.
>> david, who was not? >> alice alisa alli nesbitt, an american who lives in the bus, who is also a writer. lisa has been instrumental in helping me connect the root tunis on joe, was barack obama senior's third wife, second american way. >> has she tacked to the media quiet >> she has never talked to anyone.
this is one of the key interviews. >> is the only interview that over here. was it worth coming over for? >> that is a tough question. yeah. it's too hypothetical. >> host: thank you for giving me socratic. she helped pythagoras baker and that was very important. in that interview, i'll never forget sitting in the back of the kenner carts on the lawn for several hours and was pouring our hearts out. >> host: after she married barack obama she divorced him in
state in kenya. just as she did. she married an african and took that name and had two children by barack senior and i matter they her second husband. she stayed the whole time. she's still very much part of the nairobi community and as renée kenner curtain there for many years. posted may 1864 to 1963 they were married. how long had she known him before she essentially quit: 30 kenya? just as she finished school, but was teaching by that point. she no longer new. one of those very quick things. what she did know is the reason he left cambridge was because he was kicked out. the ins and harvard have enough of them. drinking and women.
so you know, they've been following very closely. i want to go back to one little thing just because the whole purse or idea is troublesome to me and to many historian. there are ins documents that show barack obama senior all this days before and after. there's no way he could've gone anywhere else and had that baby. it was in honolulu. so he was kicked out of harvard before he got his phd arrest to go back to nairobi. so he was back. he caught himself dr. from then on, even though he never finishes dissertation. it was brilliant. she followed in a few months later and showed up in nairobi, ready to go. >> host: back to your boat, "barack obama: the story", you write what barack learned was devastating, disillusioning.
carefully constructed by his mother was shattered. far from what he had been portrayed, not the moral man, not the freedom fighter, not the polished professional. brilliant yes, the splintered by drinking them in despair, dissolution of disappointment. >> host: it is quite amazing to think about impediments to torah, obama said through in her dealings with her son, barack and why she told them the story she did was purely out of love. she never said a word about barack obama senior because she didn't want to destroy this little boy who had enough other things to deal with in his life as a half black, half white kid in honolulu. so i completely understand why she created this mythology about him. and you know coming year by year, as he grew, he started to
understand to some degree the reality had to be different from what he had been told, but it wasn't until he got to kenya himself he understood. >> host: in your introduction, david, maraniss, he surely thought he tried to short out his identity. hi, you cannot argue that you viewed primarily through racial lunch can lead to the root causes of his feelings about a misunderstanding of its responses to it. >> guest: well, this is not in any way to diminish the role that race plays information. it's essential. but there's another thing about bair, which is his search for a daddy and home is a lot to do with race, but also this involved with the dean and dean laughed.
his father left with a wrist by kuwait, he left before he was barely conscious. his mother, even as much as as much as she loves him and inculcated her philosophy of life, she was gone for most of his formative adolescent years. so i looked on is universal in a sense it transcends race. the struggles that he had were not just about race. i mean, certainly is a key to it, bake you can't look at his life and just view it through the racial lines. >> host: and about 15 minutes, we will begin taking your calls for david maraniss, and one june 19 will publish his 10th book, "barack obama: the story." we are getting a preview of the book tonight on booktv. we will put up the phone numbers. if you like to dial-in and start asking questions for other, please go ahead and do so. we will put the phone numbers. if you'd like to dial-in and
start asking questions for other, please go ahead and do so. if you live in the eastern central time zone, 202-737-0002 for those in the mountain pacific time zone you can also send an e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org. or ask a question via twitter. twitter.com/booktv. it will all begin 15 or 20 minutes when they begin taking your calls. jeff cox, classmate of the president at puno high school. here's a quote and mrs. jeff cox talking. there he had the ability to project cool it seemed to me that almost a nonchalant was all part of the image thing, not just of him, but generally in hawaii, where in my mind there is some line between sophisticated passionate interest slacker or leave the end. exuded sophisticated detachment. he has his act together in a way. he understood how things worked maybe a little better than the rest of them. >> guest: you know, when he 15, 16 years old, just cox
decided about his classmate you can see the characteristics today presidency since he hasn't changed all that much. the broader reason for that was attachment has to do with hawaii. as jeff points out there's a native hawaiian beam or whatever else is going to run you just keep cool, man. that is a sensibility that kerry and his buddies, you know, who have some of his buddies have what they call a game, which is basically basketball and smoking dope. you know, just be cool and that is part of hawaii. it is part of their east formative years. and he's always had that. another aspect to it is more developed areas they did, i would say, to politics, which is that in this country and all of its racial dynamics and
explosiveness, a black person wants to rise in politics has to stay cool. unfortunately it's just part of the mandate of this country. >> how much pot smoking did the president do? >> he doesn't read them particulars about that. you know, the whole notion of bill clinton saying never inhaled. when jay leno asked him about it. without going overboard, may book documents it pretty thoroughly. that's what they did. he has a thing called ta, total absorption which meant not only did you inhale, but everything in the car when you're smoking it. and so that was part of his existence during that period. postcode david maraniss, winded dairy become barack? >> guest: it was very gradual. it started with the college in los angeles he attended for his
freshman and sophomore years and there are few people dare, an african student at one of the african-americans and some others who started calling him barack when they found out that was his name and like so many college students, they start to really go back and find their identity and college and that is what he was searching for it. but many of the occidental classmates called him very. even when he got to new york, columbia, there were people who called in dairy and some barack. >> host: why did he choose accidental artist who the am i transferred to columbia? >> guest: teachers accidental because he got a partial scholarship and he knew a lot of people going there. the way he tells the story there were some girl from brooklyn who he met in honolulu before that in that area and said he got
attracted to go for that reason. occidental was like putting a the next stop. it was comfortable, very beautiful, bucolic, small contained, you eat. and you know, california sunshine was just like to put a hollow sunshine. so it was very comfortable. it was a very important to years. it really started to expand intellectual event. he got his first sense of destiny during those two years, but he left because it was too much like put a hollow. he wanted to experience the world. it takes him from honolulu to los angeles to new york and eventually chicago. it is important to get to new york first. >> host: transfers to columbia. his first night in new york
city, where did he spend it? >> guest: he writes about this in his memoir. there's a bit dubious, but interview the people and it turns out to be true. he was locked out of that the spending a night in a part that would have been either. he couldn't get the keys have been a landmark. your subletting from a friend of a friend of his mother's. and so he is left outside with a suitcase. so half the dickey said terry had called and finally came over there the next morning. >> host: genevieve makes the scene in new york city. who is genevieve? >> guest: genevieve cook, an australian who's mother -- mother's second marriage was a notable american does just that
said they had american ties to genevieve with the private high school in new york state than software and then new york city at bat -- bob obama after they came from. they had a lot in common. they both had indignation connections. her father and mother had lived in indonesia. he was a diplomat, associate that there is of god in the late 1960s were young. as they are, she felt like an outsider because she, like many children of diplomats do, they don't feel connections to any place. her family would send me a prayer cracks, but she never felt connected to that, sushi and bury -- barack both had this connection as outsiders with
indignation connections as well. the baby came lovers and his girlfriend for quite a while. >> host: how did she get ahold of her? were the first release to talk to her at length? >> guest: it took two years and it was just hard work. i'm a part of me and julie k2 is a fabulous researcher at the washington post and gabriel banks who is a researcher and she was living in los angeles. the three events triangulate did everything and eventually found her. i can't tell all of that story because to protect her not because of the book, but because those she had an abusive ex-husband that we don't want to find her. but in any case, she's thousands of miles away and once we
started with just the named genevieve, eventually i found -- we found a wedding announcement in "the new york times" to bring a lot of bells because it had indignation and it, northwest connecticut and had and obama in his memoir rates about a new york girlfriend taking up to her family estates in the pond and the wild area astoundingly connecticut. and then there is steady and court records say he found another her contractor down and made the call. we had a lot of conversations through time. >> host: you write in your book, dino mauch mood you can tell who he is in a minute, but can't be a university classmate of the president to be honest w those whicy black
hihs black. >> host: mauch mood was a group of pakistani friends that barack had been started in occidental and going to new york. he made friends with several pakistanis who came to occidental and and a shared to an internationalist perspective, which he had lived in indonesia and his mother was buried and he was neither black nor white. he was searching for himself and he was comfortable with these guys. so when he got to new york, some of his pakistani friends had moved they are and their friends
were there. he was at columbia law school. and it's true. i mean, obama moved to new york to be closer to harlem and to find his blackness, but it did happen today. president obama but i interview to the oval office he made no lasting effort during his four years in new york. buddy starting to make that transition in the ark of his search for home. and that change was starting to have been an 3% to three saw that going on and took him to chicago. >> host: wedded to presidents' day in new york after graduating columbia? >> guest: he wanted to get into community organizing. he was trying to get john surry could. he applied for a job in chicago got elected mayor there. he didn't get anything.
so the best he could do was stay in new york. he didn't want to go back to honolulu. he didn't have anyplace else, so we stayed there and as he put it, he would try and make money for a year, so he got a job at sort of a magazine/consulting outfit called douglas international for about a year and he really didn't like it there. it was sort of in the business world, which held no interest to him. that is. when when they talked a lot endocytic. when he met genevieve. >> host: david maraniss, this could go back to the quote we started this program was. no product to be more than the randomness that barack obama appeared chicago became random, the fact he got to chicago? >> guest: i wouldn't quite call a friend because the election of harold washington as the first african american mayor
of chicago is very attracted to him. chicago is a point to be at that point. as i read in the book come within a six-month period, three people write in chicago. oprah winfrey became one of the most people of the world. michael jordan came. opera is about to study showed that barack obama became anonymously, arguably today the most famous of those three. >> host: jerry kelman, chicago community organizer, you quote him. obama was one of the most cautious people i've ever met in my life. he was not unwilling to take risk, but was just a strange combination of someone who would have to weigh everything to death and then take a dramatic risk at the end. >> host: that sounds a lot late president obama two. in some ways the care of his state can be booked through out his grace and career. as a currently organizer, the whole notion, the whole risky
training method for community organizing was to take action. power does not -- it's a vacuum. you have to seize it. the poor people on the southside of chicago. one of three or four other mentors or bosses said the same thing. the rock was sort of a different story. he was looking for ways to not confront, but achieve in other races that could be very frustrating at times, but it also helped them get where he wanted to go. >> host: while he was there is a 20 organizer, what was the president playfully? were to be with? were to be where? >> guest: he lived in hyde park near the university of chicago come a part of chicago and the most integrated part of the city, a city that is notorious and perhaps the segregated big city in the united states. that is what the commission
called in 1959 and still was true to different degrees in the late 80s when obama got there. hyde park was the pocket of integration. so he was comfortable there. and you spend every day going to the southside, which was 99% african-american, a sprawling, oblique breech area coverage in terms of personality, which is what he really felt at home for the first time in his life. he was embraced by a group of older black women who sort of took him under his wing and one can and just created a sense for him that he never felt before. but it was incredibly frustrating. community organizing that is 95% of the time and keep banging your head trying to get change done. so during that period, he became
a community organizer largely out of his mother's sensibility. you know, she didn't organizing of a different sort trying to help poor women, artisans survive in a male-dominated culture. you know, her beliefs were transferred to him. that's why he did it. but his mother was naïve in terms of the power realities of the world. during those three years, on the southside he started to see what powermad, how you got it and what he needed to really observe power and also took him into politics. so that is why my book ends there because he's learned everything. he found his home in chicago. the show is adamant that in some senses she's a magnet of the book because you see him eventually find that woman, michelle. and also figures himself out, his self identity and what he
wants out of life, which is political power and he needs to go to harvard and come back to really get into that life. >> host: in the interview conducted with the president of every 10, 2011, you put the president as saying there is no doubt that when i retained my politics is a sense that the only way i could have a sturdy sense of identity of who i last depended on digging beneath the surface differences of people. the only way my life makes sense is that regardless of culture, race religion try some commonality. these essential human truth compassion and hope some moral precepts are universal. just go and somebody is another variation he said in the speech that made famous in the 2004 keynote address at the democratic national convention in boston, where he said there's a red states blue states, but
the united states. he presented himself as the personification of that notion. his presidency has been a rude awakening in terms of how far you can take that. so he has been dealing with that. the promise and frustrations of that idea ever sense. as i'm sure we'll both be experiencing the telephone calls, for the show. >> host: your book ends in 1989, "barack obama: the story." he said there's another volume coming? >> guest: added y2k committed to 40 years of robert caro, so assertive cat that on the down low, but i had every intention and i've done a lot of reporting that the later years, which influences the book even though they're not in it. and i don't want to do a quickie. i tried a rate for history documents coming out later and i want to be patient.
>> host: to go against 1989, but at this point, barack obama so far 1961, born in honolulu 61 to 62 that in seattle. 62 to 67 back to honolulu into jakarta. in tunisia. back to honolulu, 71 to 79. los angeles, said in a to 81 while he attended occidental. vendor to new york for columbia that their four years from 1981 to 1985. in chicago for the first time in 1885 to 1989. then off to harvard law school. two more pieces of the book i want to ask you about so we can tie the stories together. nowe are in 1. .. father? >> guest: his father is dead. he died in 1882 in a car accident driving home drunk from sort of a makeshift bar area near the nairobi hospital to his
fourth wife's house. but we would never be we saw the streets in the area with a tragic accident occurred. who is almost inevitable. he'd been in many very serious accidents, drunk driving several times in his life and that one took life. >> host: his grandparents. are they still lead at this point? and his mother? >> guest: yes, all three are alive. database first and and early 1990s. then his mother dies right before his book comes out, "dreams from my father". i'm the first iteration of that book in 1995. of uterine cancer at age 52 i believe sushi never got to see his political career at all.
i've been matalin, the grandmother, in many ways his strong figure he died three days before he was allowed to president. hosts are too close. by the time barack had we chicago whitmire was in the 10th grade, the grandfather had retired after 20 years in the furniture business in another 20 selling insurance. the glib salesman had ended his life's work which he never liked them ever did well. as a smart man who would not come close to fulfilling his potential. during the years. look at them, the grandson alternated between taking pleasure in outsmarting the old guy into its accommodation of sadness and anger, witnessing the despair of someone who was unfulfilled annual survey, mr. maraniss, there is nothing publicly excessive about their
grand mother who then and always to be a significant and underappreciated influence on barack, in particular, in terms of his personality and possibilities of his life. talk could not tolerate gossip being that she kept her own troubles, her struggle with alcoholism private. >> guest: i should say and i don't mean to correct you, but it's pronounced shoot because it comes from two to. those are his grandparents. the grandmother -- i done a lot of reporting about the grandmother and what a rock she was in the family. president obama acknowledged to me during the interview that she too was an alcoholic. and both of them are fascinated carried yours.
the grandfather without the tragic ending is a death of a salesman. he's got all the big coats, studying at the very moment that the to wednesday and told matalin that he had been to california company william syria and john steinbeck and was going to be a writer. they had all these ratings yet done the been matalin's brother went into the trunk and there is nothing in there. that is sort of the fantastic life is family. and mandolin, you know, had these greater ambitions. purple model with bette davis. she wanted to be sophisticated and the moment she married dan diamond she was she would have to carry the load in this relationship. she was incredibly dependable
and rose to the office of vice president of the bank in hawaii. president obama when i interviewed him describe the characters that have not been to much if interesting. he said he was a devotee of the very popular show in its grandmother was like peggy, who rises from the secretary to one of the great at people in that show. so you know, it wasn't always easy for berry to live in that family, but he never felt unloved. and interestingly stand was more problematic and really adored and showed as much attention as he could, even though he was trouble in other ways. and matalin was always there for him even though he wasn't an emotional person. she wasn't the type who would say i love you, barry or my aunt for any grandkids of that sort.
but she was the dependable come a pragmatic one. >> host: prefer the last hour and a half have been talking with david maraniss, author of "barack obama: the story." this is his 10th book in its your turn if you say and work e-mail or tweet. numbers are on the screen. the e-mail address, but tv@c-span at her. correct twitter.com/booktv. david maraniss will begin taking this in just a minute. david maraniss, in your book on the reference transfer my father quite a bit. here's a little bit from president obama in 2004 for talking about his autobiography. >> you know, just had an appearance on charlie rose. he was asking me, how does the book connect with your politics? it's very clear to me there is a direct line between the subject matter contained in "dreams from
my father" and the types of politics i aspire to. because essentially what this story is about is a boy born to a father from kenya and a mother from kansas in hawaii with an unusual name who traveled to indonesia, came back, found himself in chicago work in some of the lowest income neighborhoods in the country and then traveled back to africa and somehow was able to weave together a workable meaning for his life as an african-american, as an american and as somebody who's part of the broader human family. and that was not an easy task.
it wasn't an easy task not because i did not have some enormous love for my family. i did. it wasn't because they didn't have people help would be every step of the way. i had that whole. but it was because i found myself bored astride a nation in a world that is so often debated, divided along lines of race, divided along lines of class, divided along lines of religion. so we had this enormous tragic history that all of us confront whatever our backgrounds are come with a white, black, hispanic, asian, muslim, or christian. the notion that in fact in the words of a great writer who happened to win a nobel prize, william faulkner said the past
is never dead and buried isn't even past. i think all of us are confronting constantly our history and slavery in this country. we are confronting the history and problems that arose of colonialism are confronting those scars of violence and oppression and struggle in difficulty and hope not only on the larger canvas of history, but also within their own families. and for me, it was not entirely obvious how in fact i was going to be look to integrate and pull together all these different strands of my life. it's a part of my challenge growing up was to figure out, hideaway function of someone who
is black, but also has white blood in the? have a function of someone who is american and takes pride in understand the enormous blessings that come with being an american, but is also able to >> we are here with the author of assignment to help. bossa cronkite andy rooney and how boyle. tim why did -- did during world war ii? >> because they made such an incredible contribution not only to wartime journalism but the journalism became after the war. if you think about it all five of these guys made a profound
contribution to the journalism that really defined our childhood and our adulthood. it's not just cronkite and not just rooney but became so noted for cbs but defined and what print journalism was. first at the "new york herald tribune" and later liebling who wrote a great column criticizing the press and assessing the press's role in post-war america in "the new yorker" and how boyle who ended up when he finally retired from a&p in the early 1970s to avoid more words for the wire service than any reporter in its history. so all five of these men were in the european and pacific theater. >> they sure weren't they were together. cronkite biggert and rooney and is very tender covered air war against nazi germany when that was about the only meaningful
action going on in the european theater against hitler. so from december 1942 for about the next year, cronkite and rooney and biggert were together almost every day covering the bomber boys and their incredibly brave missions over nazi germany. they were among the first handful of reporters allowed to fly along on a b-17 mp 24 bombing mission over germany which they did in february 1943 very early on. three of the charter members which was known as the fraternity trained by the eighth air force to fly along on bombing missions. see how much journalism experience to each have going into the were? >> very wet behind the ears. cronkite was basically a fuzz and was guy and boyle had only a little bit more experience than that.
rooney had never written a real news article in his life before he joined stars & stripes in the fall of 1942. tigard was basically a city guest reporter for the "new york herald tribune" that had never really distinguished himself. of the five, the only one with the real credentials in the beginning of the war was a.j. liebling and even liebling was basic leah failed newspaperman. he wrote essays but all five of them, all five guys found themselves and define journalism for america during the war. >> the older more established with a have been in the theater? >> yes. for the most part the guys who were assigned to the european theater rigell like cronkite and rooney and all the rest but there were some experience reporters as well. i think what they experienced in
and the way they were able to capture it and the way they were really part of the greatest crusade in history to find their lives and define their careers. >> if you think about walter cronkite and -- wrote a book in the talked about cronkite's reports from vietnam during his evening broadcast. cronkite and rooney and the rest, did world war ii shape their later careers? >> it sure did and i think the reason concrete was able to go to vietnam with some credibility is that he had experienced world war ii and then later korea from the front lines. so after the tet offensive in january 1968 when cronkite went to vietnam and concluded that the war was not winnable that the war objectives has gotten so murky it was hard to remember why men were fighting and dying in vietnam. that gave him residence in the country and he knew he had a
bully pulpit and he used it sparingly in his career. one of the times he uses was vietnam. >> tim to get the chance to speak to any of the journalists families or to andy rooney? >> i sure did. mr. rooney passed away about a year ago at this time thanksgiving time of last year. he could not have been more generous with his time. he sat down with me where to, three hour-long interviews. his sons and daughters were terrific. cronkhite's children were also great and then all the various relatives, the other five that were all around. >> we have been talking with the author of assignment to help. thank you. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. >> next on booktv paul dickson presents a collection of words popularized by american presidents. the author's collection includes warren g. harding's founding fathers invoked during his 1920
IN COLLECTIONSCSPAN2 Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on