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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 14, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT

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if they could solve both of these he would be judged a great president. he often called -- referred to something called the high court of history. well all presidents governed but not all care deeply about how the high court is going to judge them and historians rank rather than achievement kennedy would be close to the top. to use martin luther king's metaphor swinging for the fence and first day of office determined to be ranked with or above lincoln and fdr. after meeting kennedy and in the white house in 1962 isaiah berlin the british philosopher noticed that whenever kennedy spoke about churchill lenin or napoleon and this is quoting, his eyes shone with a particular lent. and it was quite clear that he thought in terms of great men and what they were able to do.
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.. every day week brought the 100th anniversary of some great nefnt the civil war where lincoln's presidency. in fact, when he commissioned them to write a first draft the inauguration address. he told him to study the
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gettieses berg address and learn the secret. he also invited karl sand berg, lincoln psychological leer to the white house for a private tutorial on lincoln's greatness and must have been pleased and he said there's more a more favorable set of circumstance for a president to face since lincoln. more evidence how much he was thinking of lincoln after he successfully settled the cuban missile crisis. he turned to an aid and said tonight is the night we should got -- go to the theater. he also invited historian and lincoln expert, david herbert donald to the white house and peppered him with question how does a president acquire greatness. would lincoln have been ranked a great president if not assassinated. donald wrote to a man this is a man determined to go down in the
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history book as a great president. he wants to know the secret. now in the rest of my talk, i would like to concentrate own the ramifications of the treaty. we talk in the -- his relationship with jackie over the 100 days and vietnam as well. ed like to just -- for right now. i would like to show you how signing the test ban treaty lead to what i call kennedy's forgotten. a day tonight largely forgotten because of dallies which was a historical black hole when erased from public and historic memory a lot what was going on in the 100 days beforehand. you all know how the how determined ken i -- kennedy was to put a man on the moon. it's not news to anybody here.
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it's part of what i'm going to talk about. there was secret negotiations with castro through intermediary. at the same time both castro and kennedy were at odds. kennedy was trying to -- had approved a program of sabotage, there was also a plan to reduce a thousand advisers from vietnam. but most of all, what struck me most of all is kennedy's reversal on the space program. now in fact, i would like that say how kennedy lived we might have seen neil armstrong taking a first step for mankind together on the moon. let me tell you why. during the 1960 campaign, kennedy told a scientific journal that, quote, certain aspect of the exploration of space might be handled by joint
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effort and said in the inauguration creases address let both sides seek to invoke the wonder of science instead of the terror. together let us explore the star. he changed his mind quickly after the soviet union launched the first human in to orbit. within weeks secretary of defense and nasa administrator web presented him with a report recommending a program to land an american on the moon before the soviets did. they argued that dramatic achievement in space symbolize the technological power of a nation. and such achie.s mike by economically -- the u.s. should pursue space project aim at enhancing national prestige recognizing the competition in space was part of the battle along the fluid front of the cold war. for a keen competitor like kennedy a race to the moon was
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competition. he embraced it. he gave a nationally televised address to a joint session of congress in 1961. he compared the exploration of space to explorers like lewis and clark, and said that we would land man on the moon by the end of the decade. over the next two years, kennedy remained somewhat conflicted about the moon program. the romantic, the visionary kennedy liked the daring challenge. the practical kennedy. the kennedy who checked the ice fretted about the cost and wondered if it was a cold war stunt. things began to change in the summer of 1963. july 20th 1963 press conference a reporter asked him to comment on the rumors that the russians were abandoning the moon race and whether we should reconsider our own program. he answered that america had to push on with its own program and call a moon landing important
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for the own sake. it would demonstrate, quote, the capacity to dominate space. five days later, u.s. and soviet negotiators in moscow agree on term of the test ban treaty. it was signed on august 5th. on august 26 ted the soviet ambassador came to the oval office, we know what went on. ken i kennedy had a taping system he activated when he thought there was something interesting, player something he wanted to use in the memoir. he was competitive in advance about the memoir. he knew that arthur was going write memoir. they wouldn't have the actual tape behalf had gone on during the important meetings. anyway, he said to make further step from the good start taken by us and thrurnlg be no slowing down of the pace. and ken i i did also said he
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agreed he hope there had would be no slowing down and agreement and he said, we have to find the right point. he pushed back finally kennedy said maybe our two nations should coordinate our space programs. he said since neither of us is exploring space for military program. it was scientific press teeing. it turned out fleeting three day wonders. does it sound like the kennedy who said it was the great challenge and we had to be the -- no. it's the kennedy after the test ban treaty has been signed. he said, finally, if we're both going to the moon we ought to go to the moon where an arrangement
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we don't use some resources for something in the final analysis not that important. it was not just an off-the-cup remarking. he said, quote, space lost a lot of glamour. and wonder of beating the russians there should be a priority. now the test ban treaty and the soviet insistence on following it up probably account for kennedy's change of mind. if then seemed likely the treaty would lead to more agreement and further reduction than beating the soviet to the moon with less important and harder to justify. given the cost and the joint program could symbolize and further the emerging day taunt. given the option of being remember rant of the president who ended the cold war probably seemed like a surer path to immortality and a favorable ruling from that high court of history than putting a man on
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the moon ahead of the soviet union. there were plenty of other signs of this throughout the fall. in a speech to the united nations general assembly spoke of the beginning of the end of the cold war. and after coniferring with kennedy and early october he told report ease we have begun the process of reaching it with the soviet union. cia reports with the soviet policy and soviet moves aimed at relaxuation of tensions. "the new york times" reported the 1963 general assembly experienced the most harmonious start in london in january of 1946.
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at the session soviet foreign minister visited the u.n. in september secretary of state informed him that kennedy wanted to build on the success of the test ban treaty and suggested they have a private discussion how it could occur. they took a drive to the suburb and walked along a suburban road without interprets. once they were alone he told him that kennedy wanted to reduce the size of u.s. forces in europe. news that would have dismayed america's nato allies. it was an offer, he later wrote, quote, seized our attention. and finally in ceb i kennedy's speech long forgotten speech to the u.n. general assembly on september 20th. he began by praising the agreement saying today, the clouds have lifted and then he sprang his surprise. saying that in the field of spacex mirror ration there is room for cooperation.
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i include among the possibility a joint expedition to the moon. he asked why a moon flight should be a matter of national competition. why there should be duplicating rernlgt. he proposed then sending to the moon not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries. and then he concluded with some poetry. a note of great optimism. i believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings. he said the test ban treaty was a lever, and reminded the delegates which explaining the principle had said give me a place where i can stand and i shall move the world. my fellow inhabitant of the planet, let us see if we can move the world to a just and lasting peace. this was big news at the time. i don't know if you can see this, this was "the new york times" front page. the next day.
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see the banner headline? it says "kennedy asked joint moon flight be u.s. and receive yet as peace step. urging new accord. cold war called. washington is surprised by kennedy's proposal. he -- this was kept close to his chest. he only told a couple of his advisers. here is tito said blocks are out of date. soviet condemns china on the test ban. anyway, i'll leave it up here. you can look at it, after words if you would like. again, largely forgotten. later a few weeks later there was a meeting between kennedy and in october. there were more agreements kennedy took him away from interpreters, away from everybody else, and they went out on to the lawn in the white house. they had a private conversation about where they were going go from here, and kennedy explained that he couldn't move too fast
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because there were a number of hard line hawks in his own party. and he said there has to be the proper timing for this. again, you have -- the feeling of kennedy putting the brakes on the soviets. because of domestic political problems. anyway, the test ban treaty and this agreement also had a lot of effects of other aspect of the kennedy presidency. and one of them, i can just go over one. i just am going talk for another five or ten minutes. then we'll have a lot of time for questions. i think it contributed to something that i was very skeptical about when i started my research. that is whether kennedy would have replaced lyndon johnson as his running mate. this idea was thrown out by kennedy's secretary lincoln. in her book in 1968.
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frankly, nobody who was close to kennedy believed her. let me just step back and give you reason why johnson didn't fit to kennedy's agreement. first of all, he was adamantly opposed, he was more of a hawk than kennedy on vietnam. but also adamantly opposed to the weak deal. we were going sell surplus wheat to the soviet union. johnson was against it so much he turned to ken o'donnell, kennedy's close aid and said it's the worst political mistake kennedy has ever made. then he paused and said you tell him i said that! well, this is not going endure johnson to kennedy. another thing happened. september 2nd, johnson flies to cape cod to see kennedy. about to go on one of the good will tripses to scanned scanned
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knave ya and said i would like to add poll land. the last thing kennedy wanted he was going to go to poll land. none of the speeches were seen by the state department. kennedy vetoed it. and said do you have any speeches you're planning to deliver? and johnson handed the speeches. he was going deliver and kennedy took a pencil and crossed out a lot of stuff. i wish i could find out what he crossed out. i looked in the johnson and kennedy library. it's not there. i guess it was tough cold war rhetoric that kennedy thought was inappropriate. anyway. on the 13th of -- on the 13th. 12th of november, kennedy convened the first forma'am meet -- formal meeting of the reelection team. it's unlikely kennedy forgot to invite johnson. which he did. he knew he was sensitive and he
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knew his feelings would be hurt. one of kennedy's complaint about johnson he was too sensitive. he said he was excluded because he was, quote, not part of the inner circle and didn't have the warmest relations with or full confidence of everyone in that room. i think that includes jfk. anyway, if kennedy was undecided whether to run with johnson, it was doubtful he wanted him to attend a meeting from an election which he was going to be excluded. kennedy stop at lincoln's desk to chat as she was reading the memo from the meeting and said staging a con convention as exciting as 1960 was going to difficult. everybody knew was going happen. he said, i don't know about it. there might be a change in the ticket. all right. about a week later, on the 19th the famous conversation happens between kennedy and
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lincoln, the controversial one. kennedy's schedule was light. he had just been to tampa and miami. he spent long stretches that morning sitting in the rocking chair in her office speaking slowly. he talked about the reception in miami, the wonderful pictures of him and john that were going to appear in "look" magazine. then he said if i'm re-elected in '64 i'm going spend more time making government service an honorable career. he thought it was crazy in the space age the chairman of a congressional committee could tie up a bill indefinitely any. do this i'll need a running meat in '64 who believes as i do. who is your choice of running mate? looking straight ahead, without hesitation he said, at this time, i'm thinking about governor terri sanford of north
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carolina. but it will not be lyndon. sanford was a logical replacement. he supported kennedy in 1960, he was part of the enlightened new south that kennedy wanted to court. sanford later said he had no doubt that kennedy said this. he never mentioned it to him. but he thought it might have been one of the things you say to get it off your chest. wul others have been less charitable. in the 1977 biography of robert kennedy. he questioned lincoln's voracity. writing when he informed bobby of the account. bobby insisted his brother never intended to replace johnson saying can you imagine the president ever having a talk with him about a subject like that? historian writes that the dismissal of the johnson story, is quote, in line without given invirtually all book on kennedy or johnson and recounts interview with them in which they told him that lincoln was,
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quote, a flight rather real estate-brained woman. so much for earning a ba from george washington university in the '40s when being the daughter of a congressman and having two years of law school. two more years than kennedy had, by the way. what is the truth? i was skeptical at first. then i found in box 6 of lincoln's personal paper in the jfk library, her notes her shorthand notes. she wrote it down in her diary. it was somewhat scattered brained. she would write anything at hand. piece of memo paper. an engagement bank. book. two found two sheets. head of the white house washington dated november 19th. 1973, and there it is the conversation tribed exactly as she reported it in her book.
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there's been recently released information that confirmed that jfk would have seriously considri replacing johnson. in ted's memoir he reported that when he asked jackie to read the manuscript of "kennedy" and make comments. she deleted or moved every complimentary reference to johnson. she criticized the statement that the two men had enjoyed, quote, a deep mutual respect writing i think you overstate this a bit from jfk's side. then crossed out the entire sentence. she told him that his blowing reference to johnson did not, quote, reflect kennedy's thinking. adding you must know as well as or better than i his diminishing opinion of him then. as his term progressed he grew more and more concerned about what would happen if lbj became president. he was truly frightened at the prospect.
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the transcripts of kennedy's 1964 oral history interview with him were published in 2011. in them, she described her husband becoming increasingly worried about the prospect of a johnson presidency and repeatedly saying, oh god, can you imagine what would happen to the country if lyndon was president? well, a few days after, of course, lincoln's conversation, with wendy he was assassinated. at the funeral, the delegate, the official delegate was first deputy premiere. jackie took his hand and said to him, tell mr. crew khrushchev
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would have brought peace. he have to doty a loan. -- do it alone. anyway, finally in conclusion. i think that the forgotten agreement magnified the grief and the mourning particularly abroad that followed his assassination. you know, bobby kennedy tried to comfort jackie after wards by telling her if jfk had been shot in 1961, after the bay of pigs, he would be remembered as the worst president ever. he knew both of them knew jfk well enough to know that this was actually a comforting thought. anyway, the chicago did a survey within days of the assassination.
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they discovered 53% of americans reported crying real tear between the death and funeral. even a third of white southerners said they cried. they told pollsters that they mourned him as if he was someone close, very close, and dear. a result perhaps of giving a press conference televised every 16 days. george bundy said he mourned him more than his father. jimmy carter cried for the first time since his father cried. they're crying all over france. as if he was a frenchman. she felt she lost a brother or lover. i was crushed, he said, it was a personal loss. she threw down her brush and didn't paint for an entire year. because americans and foreigners felt they knew him, and had been almost a family member. they wanted a memorial close at hand they could visit and so we
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get the roads, bridges, highways, buildings name for him creating this grief-stricken empire of asphalt and mortar and brick and bronze. more name for him than lincoln or washington. as i say in the book, an empire so extensive if you could extinguish every light on earth except those aloom -- illuminating something for kennedy they could see it from space. and more if west virginia changed the name to kennedy-ana. or massachusetts stamped land of kennedy on the license plate. george or well once wrote it was impossible to prove defin -- definitively that shakespeare it was a great author. there's no test of literary
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except for survival. that's a opinion. by that standard alone kennedy had been a great president. author james mcgreger burns who wrote the only authorized biography before the election said it was an admiring biography. burns criticized him for lacking moral passion. being more harbored than irish. face with explain requesting a man he faulted for lacking passion had excited such passion and grief, burns wrote was it he was handsome? his wife and kids? a statesman who had cute kids. it had to be something that transcended this. i think the reason was that kennedy was being mourned for the promise as much for his accomplishments. and those accomplishments and the promise had become more
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evident in the 100 days proceeding his assassination. i think the real -- really statesman put it best. after defining tragedy as the difference between what is is and what might have been. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] >> good. we have twenty minutes. i'm going it say one thing. i have this up here and my ipad. if anybody is interested in coming and seeing, i have the -- i think i have the shorthand from lincoln i can put up here. there it is. okay. who would like first question? oh. they are lined up. >> could kennedy got the '64
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right act through congress? >> i have any doubts about that. i do. i think first of all, johnson had the assassination factor. which kennedy wouldn't have had. i think he would have passed it in '65. i think that one of the there's an extraordinary article that came out in "look" magazine shortly after johnson was re-elected. in that they asked all of the senate majority and minority leaders mansfield and dirkson, the house, charlie, and help me, somebody. dirk zen was the senate. anyway. we're going to figure it out. [inaudible] no. no. no. -- karl albert. all right.
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so now they all knew. they dealt with johnson for years. they knew he was a vitamin -- vindictive man. he was a proud man. they were going have to deal with him for four years. here's what they tell "look" what happened to the kennedy program. it wasn't be trying to memorialize kennedy. mansfield said the assassination made no difference. dirkson said the program was is on the way before november 22nd, 1963. it's time it come. house minority leader said the assassination made no difference the program was already made. these may have been exaggerations. it's poking a stick to johnson's eye. i don't think the people would said it unless they believed there was a certain amount of truth to it. okay. i guess my question is sort of a followup. i'm from montana.
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i was a junior in high school when kennedy died. but listening to you it's -- it reminds me of discussion of a more recent president who really not a great success in congress, and never really was very interested in congress. what i remember -- it seemed like the civil right bill and most of the other domestic agenda was kind of stuck. >> well, the civil rights bill had actually gotten through the house judiciary committee. he backed it. ken i can had done some horse trading and mayor richard from chicago leaned on people. it was through the first hurdle at the time. interesting charlie, had when he got together with kennedy after wards, kennedy asked him what, you know, and he said, sometimes a guy does the right thing. and then he said, well, you know, every time i go down hot springs, georgia.
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-- hot springs or warm springs? he said my chauffeur can't stay in the hotel. it makes me angry. for him it was a personal thing too. the tax bill, i think, definitely would have passed. i don't think anybody doubts that. i think the civil rights bill could have taken longer. ting would have been passed eventually in '65. the problem in those days wasn't the republicans. it was the democrats. >> southern democrats. >> exactly. that was the problem. that's why it was such a getting through the house judiciary committee with the support of him and a lot of republican members was a big deal for kennedy. >> thank you. >> yep. >> thank you very much for your fascinating talk. you offered to do share a little bit with us about vietnam. what evidence have you uncovered about what jfk might have done? >> right. first of all, it's true he
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increased the advisers up to $16,000. the alternative, if he had taken the advise from all of his advisers -- i think six different occasions they advised him to send combat units to vietnam. this was suggested in 1961, i think it was tailor and tailor -- i'm just not -- he was -- he refused to do it. he repeatedly refused to send combat units to vietnam. he wouldn't do it. in 19 -- he also repeatedly told friends and others in private he would not send combat units ever no matter what happened. he planned to draw the advisers. it was announced in october of 1963, the united states -- the kennedy administration was pulling thousand advisers out of
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vietnam with a goal to have them out by '65. there's a long discussion of this in the book. i would just -- i would like to read you some of -- a few of the things in has come out more recently. these are things that have been said by george bundy, mcnamara. in the last twenty years, mac that mac that mac that kennedy's remarking before or after the interview. he was referring to an interview with huntly and brinkly was that the south vietnamese must carry the war themselves. the united states could not do it for them. in his 1971 world history. they said based on the exposure
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of the president's view over the nearly three year period i felt he was look farring opportunity pull back. and hard to persuade to -- he admitted it was impossible to know for sure what he would have done. my view is consistent with everything he did do and said before his death. adding he would have been reluctant to involve ourselves to the extend johnson did. connelly wrote in the auto biography my guess is kennedy would have withdrawn shortly in to the second term. he was less charmed by the generals. that's certainly true. than johnson and less susceptible to the pressure. i believe he concluded that the war was unwinnable. walt served in both administrations. first, as an advisers to kennedy in the white house and the state department, and finally as johnson's national security adviser. he was a waivering hawk on vietnam who pushed for more robust american commitment. while riding a sky lift in
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aspen, marine told me a couple of years ago, he turned to her and said i'm doing better with johnson. kennedy wouldn't listen to me about vietnam. anyway. there's more about it in the book. >> anything about george bundy? >> i have mcgeorge bundy? >> he's here. i mentioned that because he was a -- >> yes. yes, yes. >> 1993, arthur wrote in the diary that george told him, quote, on reflection he didn't think jfk would have ever sent ground forces to vietnam war. >> thank you. yeah. >> hello. >> yeah. >> thank you very much. this is a question that befuddled me, to be honest. i can't find an answer to it anyway. maybe if your research you have found -- >> i think so. i hope so.
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>> tough buildup. it's especially you talk a lot about -- >> yeah. >> et. cetera, et. cetera, other issues for progress. [inaudible] which was pointing the direction of him willing to accept to a certain extent -- i'm from the caribbean. i'm from a different part of the world. >> yes. >> to accept a certain level of independent nationalism. he talked, i think, with khrushchev about accepting -- some war. >> he was taupe castro to becoming the tito of caribbean. it was the gist of the conversation between the kennedy, and also the gist of a secret message he left. anyway go ahead. >>. >> i'm working up. i don't buy that. >> not yet. >> i think the question i want to ask is about the --
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the sheer historical luck that i think we have. basically the caribbean missile crisis in october not becoming a real disaster. my theory is that luckily both intellectual classes and both political classes going back to the exploding the nuclear weapons; right? in both countries. came to a sudden extend independent from one to the conclusion that this was not a -- [inaudible] >> yes. what i'm asking you. if you know something about the context. it you know, for example, what we're saying at this time. hef kind of exploding. what would have happened; right, if in some ways it was not a case. that the two political classes didn't have that? is there proof exactly what happened to lead in essence the military leadership class was in
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favor of doing something more to -- he was. >> yeah. >> did you find anything to back up the idea? >> i'm afraid that's above my pay grade. [laughter] one of the things about writing microhistory you put a particular time around microscope and see things that other people missed. that's not a period i put under the microscope. i apologize. >> yes? timothy. >> thurston, as an admirer of your intelligent yule in 1961, i look forward to reading the wonderful book. i have read all the review, i think, on the book. all of them said it's a great book except "the new york times" gave you a little crap. my question is linked to that. they lead with the headline about what if and what might have been. >> yeah. >> can you talk about the political experience.
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what would the great jfk have done were he alive on the great era in afghanistan and the great era in united states in iraq. what would he do if syria, on today's paper. or what would he do in egypt? >> given what he was intending to do in vietnam, and his suspicious of the generals, which started with him being, of course, a junior officer in world world war ii. they had a that digs until suspicious of the brass which was magnified by the bay of pigs when the brass told him it was going to succeed he should go ahead. and for the cuban missile crisis when the brass wanted him to launch preemptive strike. i don't i had he would have listened to the military to the extend our recent and current presidents seem to be doing. to answer that. as for the -- what might have been, i make it
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very clear in the book that i'm talking about, which i think is fair game bhap kennedy intended to do. not what would have happened. but what he would intended to do. not corollary to that. let remember it's a man who established a lot of what he intended. he was the youngest elected president he was the first catholic president. he was determined or to be a war hero. he didn't pass the physical. he got another physical. he got himself engineered out to be in combat. he ran against henry cabot, jr. people said he would be creamed. he bucked thize -- eisenhower landslide and won. he tries to sexual seduce a pulitzer prize winner in 1953 shortly before his marriage to
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jackie, and he -- after he failed, he won't give in to him. they are driving around washington and points to the white house and said, see that? i'm going to be there. then he talks to her about winning a pulitzer prize. it's in her diaries. they have never been seen before. i found them. this all happened. t an interesting moment that happened when he is trying to seduce her, and i use this in the book. talking about kennedy being illusive. he was sometimes illusive to himself sometimes. when she finally rebuffs him. he springs up from the couch and said in an anguished tone of voice within i'm happy, i'm sad, i'm gay, i'm glad. i don't know who i am sometimes.
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written in her diary a week later. >> yeah. >> hello. >> thank you for coming. thank you for taking questions. i have a question about your process of writing these types of books. i read "the last campaign" thought it was wonderful. i enjoy the microhistory, as you adult, of the time period. and doing a book on jack is that more based off other research you have done? or is it just a personal interest? >> well, it was actually listening to everybody talk about obama's first 100 days, and -- the 100 days, 100 days. then i thought 100 days. kennedy what happened in his last 100 days? i knew his 100 days were not looking at. what happened in the last 100 days? i knew about the test ban treaty. there was a lot of other stuff i didn't know that came to me as i, you know, i did it a few weeks of research. and then a lot of research for this book had to be done in the
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kennedy library and the oral history with the paper. of course, there are not many people alive still who, you know, had conversations with him. but luckily a lot of people who knew him, of course, written their memoir. and also another thing is that you people remember the last conversation they had with him. and so some of those conversations, i found out, was useful for the book. people remember their last words with him. >> thank you. >> sure. >> i'm trying to figure out a one out of dozen questions. i guess the one i'll take is on the relation to the soviets. now, a couple of problems there. number one, johnson, of course continued for the first year the line. in october of '64. the soviets kicked khrushchev out. >> right. >> exactly. >> congress would never have allowed a joint mission. neil armstrong was mandated the american flag. i don't know.
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if, you know, we say that congress wouldn't have allowed a joint mission, and we have to remember in 1963, people were still terrified lived in terror of the nuclear war. anything going make that less likely. kennedy went west in september of '63 to go to gold water territory. suddenly, when he got to billings, montana, he threw in a line about the test ban treaty. there was applause, and hoots and cheers. he threw the rest of the speech away. he spoke about peace and the
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danger of nuclear war. people were hungry for this, i think, within a year of the cuban missile crisis. he had an absolutely try yum faint moment. he gave the best received speech. western tour. it went on and on. after ward he said i'm going run on peace in 1964. it's going to be my campaign. peace. i agree. again, that gets to the question of khrushchev kennedy hadn't been assassinated. did it have any effect on what happened to khrushchev? >> thank you. i want to point the president's efforts out. the secret correspondent and the premiere of the soviet union.
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the efforts between the president and the premiere of the soviet union in regard to space according to surrogate. the prime minister's premiere son. about a week and a half or two weeks before dallas. the khrushchev had accepted kennedy's offer, yeah. going to the moon jointly. >> yeah. you're right. kennedy on the other hand. kennedy made the trip to what was soon the kennedy space center. and saw the stood underneath the missile and got excited he rocked back and forth and kept saying to himself when it goes up, we'll be ahead of the russians. so he kind of got all excited about it. again. but i think -- i think he was serious about it. -- thank you very much, everybody.
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[applause] [applause] you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate. on weeknights watch key public policy events. and every weekend the latest non-fiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedule on our website. you can join in the conversation on social media sites. the "the new york times" book review is gettingting a redesign. it's debuting this weekend. pamela paul is the editor of the new york tiements book review. miss paul, what are some of the redesigns? >> guest: well, we really gave the whole issue a new look. the goal was to maintain what we fundamentally are, which is a book review. to keep the number of book reviews in there, the length of the book reviews, this is a section for readers. so while i think the design looks more open, and a bit more
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assessable, they aren't shorter. it is a section for reading. there are some new features, which i think will make the issue overall more assessable. a little bit more relevant and hopefully unpredictable and exciting. >> what are the new features? >> guest: there are two major new features launching in the issue. one is called the short list. and these are brief reviews, which "the new york times" book review has always run. the change here is that they are grouped according to january are a, subject, theme. it kind of take the short review from something that feels like a bit of a second thought to something that says if you're interested in horror or science fiction, these are the books of interest. enables us find a reviewer who has the experience, expertise, interest in that area and can give the books a strong coherent
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review. so that's one feature. the other major new thing we're launching this week is on the backpack. we have traditionally had an essay for a long time from outside contributor. the new feature is called "bookends" we have ten regular columnist who rotate and match it in different pairs. they're going take on a question that is out there in the literary world for the first issue, the question is are novelists too weary of criticizing other novelists. there's a debate whether twitter made writers too nice and fearful of offending and whether the book world is so small and in such desperate need of sub tense it's not right to criticize. that's the question they're taking on this week. each week it will be a new topic whether it's related to non-fiction or fiction or the way we read or poetry,
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translation, or pop culture. these ten writers will always be paired up again in different combinations. looking on that issue and trying to address it. now what it is not is a he said/she said. it's not thumbs up or thumbs down. sometimes the writers might agree on a particular answer, but because these are very strong writers with very different backgrounds and approaches, they'll look tat and write about it in different ways we think it will make a nice companion to each other. and the idea, again, is that to really promote conversation, and to not only respond to the issues out there but generate discussion. because so much of reading is about recommendations about conversation and about debate and opinion. >> host: who are some of the regular column nists going to be for "bookends? >> ." we have ten and they come from
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around the world. both fiction and non-fiction, also, criticism. zoe is the first issue. she's paired with adam kersh. best known by the recent novel "the believer" and "note from a scandal ." adam is a columnist. we also have in coming weeks -- a popular website. let see. jennifer is another columnist, and francine prose who has written more than twenty books. fiction and non-fiction. >> host: that's a nice selection. we appreciate your naming some of those. pamela, one of the things you
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mentioned the book world is or may be small. is the book world small and insular? >> ting can feel that way.pecia. from the outside it might seem like it's a huge impenetrable force that doesn't let outsiders in. what i want to do is open it up. i think that people continue to read in the same number z they always did. while the number of book reviews in newspapers in general has gone down, i think people create stories and it doesn't matter whether they're reading it on the phone or whether they're taking a book out from the library. thing is a conversation people still want to have and still want to know what they can read. what they should be reading. what is good and worth their time. >> what about non-fiction books? how does "the new york times" book review treat non-fiction? it's hugely important. in our first issue, we have new
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non-fiction. we have reviews by "unthinkable." "five days of memorial." i think our readers look at non-fiction as much as they do fiction, personally. i read more non-fiction than fiction. i think we are trying to devote as much space to both. given the limited number of reviews we can write. we can include. and "the new york times" book review, traditionally, has only reviewed about 1% of the number of books coming out in a given year. so it's really about finding the interest from all areas. >> pamela paul is the author as well as editor of the "new york times" book reviewp. he has written books "starter marriage" what does a "new york
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times" book review mean to an author? >> guest: it's huge. i think, you know, it's the for better or worse. it's become more important because we are the last free standing newspaper book review out there. so it's, i think, it's different from the daily review and the times we reestablished critics. the book review is a place where sometimes reviewers will take a step back, look at context, look at especially with non-fiction the area that the author is writing about. and it's a hugely important review for authors. i know both the joy of getting a positive review in the "times" and getting a negative review. so i take it really seriously. i know, what it's like from the other end. >> does it affect book sales? >> i think if everyone, if people knew what affected book
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sales, there would be i don't know everyone would be a best selling author. it's hard to know what it is that makes a book jump off the shelves. i think a strong review from the "times" is certainly helps. and can often make a book. >> well, a marketing tool that a lot of books use either on the cover or the marketing materials is a knew -- "new york times" best seller splashed across the front. how are your best seller lists forming? >> that's a highly secret -- that's the coca-cola recipe. [laughter] that's actually done by the news and surveys group at "the new york times." so we don't have a direct involvement with gathering that information. what we do at the book review is really present it. we have columnist and best seller columnist who looks at the list and the broad culture
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perspective way, but we don't actually tally those up. >> and why is it such a secret, do you know? >> you know, i mean, i think that what is selling and not selling has back lot more transparent in recent years. you obviously can look at some things am dison is ranking which is 15 years ago you couldn't do or maybe a little bit longer than 15 years now. and you can -- there are kneelson book scan which supposedly captures about 85% of the market. so people who pay for the service tend to have access to the numbers. but, you know, it's still one of those areas where it's difficult to figure out exactly what is selling. books are ?old so many different ways. not only online, but at conferences and in bulk sales as well as in bookstores and
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costco. >> booktv is celebrating the 15th year this fall. how has the literary publishing world changed in the last fifteen years? >>. >> it's been completely transformed. when i -- in the last fifteen years. it's like and gent history. it changed from the number of publicly houses. the launch of e-reader and tablet. all kinds of internet totally tank formed not only where people are buying book and how reading them. a coverage obviously in the media and print media has gone dramatically down. at the same time, we have seen the rise of, i think, vibrant and exciting online community of readers, whether it's on sites like good reads or book blogs or any of those online magazines
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that regularly run reviews, or that online extension of magazines that traditionally cover the literary world. that's basically changed. i think the only thing that i think hasn't changed is readers fundamental interest in a good story or finding out information from a great non-fiction book, and being moved and transported by literature. >> and pamela paul, what is available online at the new york tiements from the book review section? >> everything is online. and increasingly there is more content online than is in the print edition. i personally am a huge print reader. i love to see it in that format. but we offer additional content. it runs in an edited version in print. online runs in full.
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this is a q & a with an author or artist or public figure of some kind about their life through reading. >> and pamela paul is the new editor of the "new york times" book review. it's been redesigned and debuting september 8th. thank you for your time. >> thank you so much. monday night our series on first ladies continues. she was a woman of combination. to me it symbolizes all of that. this is helen taft inauguration grown. she marked out indication not only her entry in to the white house, but really added it as a mark of first ladies on the united states. when she became the first first lady to donate her gown to the smith smithsonian institution. she's the founding patron. she established the tradition that first ladies would donate the inauguration gowns to it.
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every first lady who had a inauguration gown donated it to the smithsonian institution. monday night live at 9:00 eastern on c-span and c-span 3. also on c-span radio and up next on booktv after "after words." this week mark tushn et. the harvard law professor explores the opening years of the court. the more controversial decisions including the affordable care act. ..


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