tv Book TV CSPAN November 24, 2013 4:00am-6:01am EST
there he found an exclusive campus he. it he resented it as an undergraduate and came to resent it as a professor there. he then became president of the college. and it was at this time he decided now i have the ability to change what this college is. wilson's predecessor in the presidency of princeton was a man who used to brag he ran the finest country club in america. [laughter] he did. there was no question about it. it was an enclave for the sons of the very, very rich. wilson tried to tear that down. it was in doing that, he began writing about what he was doing and speaking about what he was doing. this is how the most immediate oric rise in american history occurred. people began to look at wilson, who used the princeton campus as a great metaphor for america.
he believed higher education should be the great catapult for people. anybody from any class in a country that has no classes but in such a country, anybody who is educate and works hard should be able to leapfrog. it should be able to go up a step a rung or two or the ladder. wilson became famous for this, so much so that some of the political bosses in the democratic party were attracted to him. thinking he was a perfect combination to be their puppet. namely he sounded very progressive and reformist, but also he was a professor he would be very weak. little did they know when he got elected governor of new jersey when he served for about 18 months, the first thing he did as governor was kick out the very machine that put him in office. [laughter] so everybody saw this was no weak college professor. >> well, let's turn to the women in the president's lives.
i'm always interested in the woman behind the man. i always wanted my husband to be like nancy reagan, for example, as an elected official. i'm interested in how these women helped these presidents. >> you know, what interested me there are actually three women i'm writing about. roosevelt and tell mely taft, and, ida. they each had choices to make. there were narrower choices for women than today. roosevelt came from a family where her father had been wealthy, lost his shipping business, and became an alcoholic. she lived near teddy when she was a young girl. they had to move to more modest homes. forever after she drew a productive curtain around herself. they loved each other. they were boyfriend and girlfriend through college. they had a fight in his soft more year in college. he fell madly in love with a
beautiful young girl from boston. he married alice to the devastation ofth edith. he thought he would never love again. the light had gone out of his life. he married her. it was a strong marriage. all she wanted from the marriage and her first ladyship was to give companionship and strength and a sanction ware to her ever-restless husband. she said when he became first lady she had no intention of being a public person. she wasn't going give her view for the politics. what only mattered is be in the newspaper twice. married and buried. nelly taft had ambition from the time she was an adolescence her sent her brothers to harvard and yale. not she. she decided to start teaching to her mother's dismay.
and she decided she might not marry. she meets young will and he adored her. it really respected her independence. and he made her his partner had his whole career. she's partly responsible for him choosing politics eventually instead of the judicial route he was on. she helped with his speeches and strategy. and became an extraordinary first lady in the few months she was there. activist concerned with working women. she brought the charities to washington. she opened the guest list to more people than before. created a public park with free concerts. and incredibly sadly for him. two months after his inauguration, she fell as they were on a presidential yat. collapsing had a devastating stroke. she recovered her power of walking but never to speak connective sentences again.
he spent her days to teach her phrases. and this is again, you never know how things alter. it absolutely contributed to his troubles as presidency. and then lastly, ida tar bell growing up in northwestern pennsylvania, watches the frustration of her mother when her own family industry is hurt because her father is an independent oil producer making more money than dreamed. she was a teacher. jd rockefeller comes in and undoes his business. the mother hoped to go on to higher education. has to worry about the family's economic. ida prays she will never take a husband. and she does not ever get married. becomes the most famous journalist of her are a. when she writes her standard oil expose they reported john d. rockefeller was willing to pay anyone to take her on trips around the world. it's so interesting to think
today however much trouble we have today the choices are broader than they were. it's interest for me to see. they made a choice that fit their own needs and desires. it's the way women were. they were indispensable to their husbands. those two first ladies in very different ways. it. >> and scott? he has a bunch of women. [laughter] >> i didn't mean it in that way. [laughter] >> no, you certainly did not. [laughter] now i feel as low we on queen for a day, that old show. you have to come up with the most pathetic and most romantic story. woodrow wilson had two wives. not at the same time. [laughter] but the first was a young woman he met in georgia when he was a struggling lawyer in atlanta. he was a minister's son. he met the minister's daughter
in a little town called rome, georgia. they fell instantly in love. and he was realizing he didn't really have a career as a lawyer. and so he took up academia at that point. the good news for me, the biographer, she and he began exchanging 3,000 of the most passionate love letters i have ever read. yes, i'm talking woodrow wilson. [laughter] they're almost hard to believe. they are emotional, they are sexual, they are revealing, they -- it's just -- yes, woodrow wilson. [laughter] it's true. it's true. and she gave as good as she got. and -- >> what does that mean? [laughter] >> just -- [laughter] let your conscious -- conscience be your guide. they married. she became a professor's wife, and a college president's wife, she poured a lot of tea.
and the interesting thing is she was a very good artist. she painted extremely well, should and could have had a career as an artist. gave it all up to be a proper wife as indeed, you know, the role of women was dictated back then. and she was the most supportive wife there could be all the way to the white house. and one year in to their living in the white house, ellen wilson died. the -- yes, the big awe. and the president was crushed. he could barely get out of bed. he being so religious did not talk about suicide, but he did say more than once he wished somebody would just shoot him. he couldn't deal with it. two things got him out of bed. the first was, the very week she died a war broke out in europe. and now rapping on the door
saying, mr. president, there's something happening and we need you here. the second thing that happened over the course of the next few months is, woodrow wilson had a cute meet the way in movies. he was introduced to a young attractive widow who lived in washington, d.c. over the course of the next year, the president went courting. he's having private dinners in the white house, always chap roaned and writing hundreds of the most passionate love letters you have ever read to this one. now the other letters did to ellen. you see that was puppy love. this is a mechanic? -- man in his late 50s having his last stab at romance. he wins her, marries her within a year, and now she became the most supportive presidential wife one could imagine. they never left each other's
side. it reached the point where wilson, who often used to walk to other departments of the government just to stop in and have meetings, mrs. wilson would invery belie go with him. she was trained in the memos he was writing. it was almost as though fate was dictating. what happened after the war after wilson came back with the league of nations peace treaty and went around the country to 29 cities to try to convince the american people that they should convince the republican senate to ratify this treaty, which the republicans did not want to do, in the middle of this tour, woodrow wilson collapsed. and he was rushed home to washington from the middle of the country and there a few days later woodrow wilson suffered a stroke. now here is where mrs. wilson comes in. she, and handful of doctors, engaged in which i consider the
greatest white house conspiracy in history. because three or four people decided they would never tell anybody the president had suffered a stroke. and so for the last year and a half of the wilson administration, for all intents and purposes, edith became the first female president of the united states. [laughter] yes, yes. [laughter] bring it on. she was making no decisions on her own, she insisted. she said she was merely a steward but nobody saw the president of the thousand of people who want to see him, nobody saw him. the handful only of that without passing through miss wilson. all the documents and things that required signatures, commissions, whatever memorandum. nothing appeared before the president of the united states' eyes until mrs. wilson decided
what and when the president would act upon it. so she became a pretty supportive wife. >> i guess so. if i can underscore something scott said which i said earlier but so clear when you talk about letters. i don't know what is going to happen 200 years from now when we don't have handwritten letters as historians to look back on. maybe e-mail will be saved. it's written stay staccato. when people had the only means of communicating through letters. when you find the letters, it's the treasure. there was a military aid named archie butler and in those days the military aid was with the president all the time. teddy loved him like another son. taft adored him. when the break occurred he wrote letters every day to his family which are absolute gold. and he talks the way we know how deep that was for especially for taft. he recounted what taft was feeling as teddy talking about.
calling him a fat head. and the relationship was so strong and finally he was supposed to take a trip in the spring of 1912, before the nomination thing began to heat up, and then at the last minute when teddy threw his hat in the ring, i had -- he decided i can't go. i have to stay with taft. he needs me. he didn't want me to know but he tells taft he canceled the shipping order. and he said you have to go. you'll be back. he goes to europe, he goes for about four weeks, and he comes back on the titanic and lost his life. taft was stricken yet again. everywhere he went he felt like he was missing this man. and this man, as the ship titanic was going down, was telling somebody who wrote a letter to taft that he the letters in storage and hoped maybe they would be remembered someday. they have been gold to biographers. >> you are right. >> and anyway. >>.
>> all i can say is keep track what you're writing to people. so the biographer who comes along 1200 years from now you'll have stuff. >> take a pen out every now and then. it's different. we have shared in this, the men we have written about -- and women too, for that matter, wrote so beautifully. and when you take the time to write, you compose a thought and this is a nice thing. you put it in lovely language, as was certainly the case with wilson and his wives. >> i'm going ask you one more question and then open it to the audience. if you would like to start coming up to the microphone, we'll hear from you as well. my final question is this: president obama is having such a difficult time right now. so what advice with your presidents give him? [laughter] >> you can go first. [laughter] >> president wilson would say,
get to the president's room! [laughter] go there, start a dialogue. now woodrow wilson had a contentious senate in the end. a contentious house of representatives as well. he didn't get everything he wanted. but here is what wilson engaged in. it was a sustained dialogue for eight years that was a lot of consternation. there was a lot of argument, there was a lot of disagreement, but there was an ongoing chat between these two houses -- these two branches of the american government. and i think that is something wilson believed in so strongly. the second thing, and it's related to it, and it's especially ironic because we do have such an image of such a stiff figure. the fact is wilson personalized the presidency. he was not afraid to go down to the congress. he did not just sit in the
imperial white house. again, very ivory tower-antiivory tower. he was willing to go there and willing to do anything to open the conversation. at one point he had a foreign relations committee of the united states senate come to meet in the white house. he said, let me open the house to you if that's what tick it is a too get something passed. let's do. he was always keeping the diagnose going. >> i agree with scott. in addition to going to the congress more, it's using the tool of the white house. those congressman want come there. i know, there are been difficulties. i know, the president innovated various republican members not willing to come and not wanting to be seen because the terrible riff. it looks like they're loyal to their base if seen with the president. there's something special coming to the white house. johnson used to have them for breakfast, lunch, dibber. he called them at night. he called at 2:00 a.m. and said
i hope you didn't wake you. he said no, i was lying here hoping my president would call. the whole political culture in washington changed. they used to stay around on weekends 50 years before they raced home to make the stupid funds -- campaign finance is the answer, actually. it's absolutely the poison in the system. they used to stay together. their wives knew each other. they drink together, they formed friendship across party lines. when johnson needed to get to dirkson to break the filibuster, they were friends. he could go to him. passenger's side through few friendships at any point. none of them or few have served in the war together. they knew what it was like to have a common mission. you have a common mission. they lost that sense of a common mission, which is our country. and something has to bring that back.
and if we can bring teddy and wilson and the lbj and the presidents in there to figure out both sides of the i'm, congress and the presidency, it's time that we are able to start dealing with our problems. [laughter] >> thank you. thank you very much. now it's your turn. yes, ma'am, please introduce yourself. >> my nam is janice, i las live in washington, d.c. i'm a founding member of the national museum of women's art. [inaudible] my question to mr. berg is, in the education that we had in our training, we were asked to read a book called "jailed for freedom." which was a series of essays written by the suffragists who were lawyers, physicians, judges, women who were fighting for the right to vote. and president wilson totally ignored them. and i wondered if you
encountered this -- >> i don't think it's exactly right. he totally ignored them. >> sorry. he was quite aware of what was going on. wilson -- [inaudible] wilson believed the women should have the vote. he believed there should not be a 19th amendment for many years. he came around on that. and he rather famously, in 1915 got on a train and went up to new mexico because -- new jersey because it was a states right thing and should happen by state-by-state. there were protests outside the white house. alice paul and her sister suffragists were being arrested, taken to jail. wilson said, let them go. don't put them in jail. just let them go. i know, the issue. i'm not prepared to for fight for a 19th amendment. the whole thing, alice paul could have walked out any time. she clearly wanted to stay. she was fighting for attention and making her point.
now, by 1917, wilson was bringing the country in to war, and at this time he had a major shift, and he had been playing to the more conservative wing of the suffragists for years, who believed in state-by-state adoption. beginning in 1917 he was coming around for two reasons. we were fighting in europe for peace and freedom there. he said, how can we not have half the women in this country voting? it seemed to be a huge mistake to him. the second thing he saw during the war, once we were in it, was the role women were playing in the role -- they were leaving the house for work. they were actually doing a lot of just good works for the war movement. so, wilson had an overnight change of heart, and actually began actively campaigning for
the 19th amendment. such that even -- by the time he came out for, again, called another session of congress, and told them it was a war measure that is how important it was. we had to have national suffrage, universal suffrage in the united states because of the war, and he thought it would be a good way to get everybody to rally behind it. and within a year it was a done deal, and even alice paul came around to thank woodrow wilson for it. so i would say he was late to the party, but once he got there he had the lamp shade on. [laughter] >> one next question. we are going to move on. >> no -- i'm sorry, madam, we're going the next question. thank you. >> good afternoon. what an honor to hear you be able to ask you a question. mr. berg, you alluded briefly to the answer of this regarding president wilson at princeton. but the three presidents, what was their relationship or perhaps complicated relationship
to status and class? we get a sense that tr was with the common man but not much of the common man. he was a harvard man. taft was a yale man. we know t. r. -- >> a princeton man. >> yeah. and we know t. r. was friends with jake brought him down to the lower east side where my great grand parents set upshot 100 years ago. on a specific ♪, did the immigrant lower classes, were they part of the america of these three presidents? what was the class issue? >> it's a great issue. i mean, i think what happened for roosevelt -- when he first went to harvard he thought he was -- he thought he should be dealing with the people of hiss -- his class. underline that attitude he came from a wealthy family, obviously in new york. but his father had been
interested in social justice. had become a philanthropist. it worked with young news boys and that instinct was somewhat in teddy. then the real place where he began to shift away from that harvard-class mentality was he became a state legislature right after congress. and at first he went and thought the irish guys guys with with the tobacco and their cigars were of a different class than the ones he wanted to. and he started becoming a histrionic rhetoric guy even in the legislature yelling and screaming about the political bosses. he was always against that. and at the certain point he realized he wasn't getting anything done. he wasn't reaching as cro to the other people. he said he realized he came aa cropper and had to learn how to deal with people of all classes. just as you said, jacob reese became his friend. took him to the tentment. originally he was against regulation of the tenement.
he saw it and changed his mind and early on for regulation. then these reporters, we he became police commissioner took him to where people were living in the middle of the night. what helped him he had so many different jobs. when he was in the rough riders he had a group of people with him. and he kept his relationship with these reporters much more involved in the knity gritty than he was. they were able to criticize him rather than become -- my favorite there was a guy mr. duelly a famous chicago bartender in a humorous column. he wrote a review of the rough riders book. and he put himself in the center of the action it was as he was the only person but he should have called it alone in cuba. what did teddy do? he regret to tell you my wife and entire family loved your review of the book. now you owe me one. i want to meet you. through the reporters, through
people like jacob and people involved in the settlement houses. he began to see the conditions of life and he later said when he gave his talks that my harvard buddies think my talks too folksy. they are homely. but i know i'm reaching people because i now know those people. and he took train trips months at the time going around the country talking to people in village stations. waiving to people in the trains, he would even stand up in the middle of lunch at one point he said he was waiving so much and the people seemed so indifferent. it turned out it was a herd of cows. i think that's what is -- [laughter] something had to jar him away from that background. just as fdr's polio transformed him. he was aware that fate dealt him an unkind hand. he reached out to other people whom had the same thing happen. >> wilson did not believe in a great class structure in this country. he was from a lower, lower
middle class. being a minister's son. what believed; however, was the educate class. it was the class that mattered for him. as i said before, this is a man who spent most of his life in career on a college campus either as a student, professor, or president. this is a man who believed that was the great level leer of all playing field in this country. and so, the interesting thing when wilson became a politician, and it was a really fascinating tool he used. as a politician, he never spoke down the audience. he never got folksy. he used rather elevated language. he spoke invery belie without any notes. he get out there and could deliver an hour, hour and a half speech with a card and five bullets on it and speak in perfect sentences, heightened vocabulary.
he could do. the fans loved it. they fund, they felt elevated by it. and wilson, you see, never looked down on them. that was a wonderful thing for them. it was a great tool he used. and as such, i think he was pretty effective in that regard. >> you know, lucky for rose -- roosevelt he spoke with notes. in 1912 when he was campaigning, he had the 50-page speech in his pocket when an assassin shot him in the chest. the bum let re-- bullet remained within him. he delivered got-hour speech. because the 50 pages of the speech in his pocket it went upward rather than probably killed him on the spot. so they each had their own way of talking. and living. >> i'm afraid we only have time for one more question. >> speeches can save lives. [laughter] >> for mr. berg, about wilson
about the league of nations, the thought is -- i've heard he was so intransient. not willing to accept some of the reservations that some of the senators wanted. i'm wondered if you can reflect on that. for miss goodwin. thank you. i'm reading it now and it's incredible. >> thank you. >> i was wondering -- it's such a big question that choose whatever part you like. either comparison between tr and fdr, similarlities, disalready similarities. reflections give that yesterday was the 50th anniversary of killing of kennedy. how in the world do we get to campaign finance reform? , ii mean, everyone is so disheartened about the road where we are. what do you see in the future? >> thank you -- thatch. i don't think it was in my job discrepancies to answer that question.
i heard something about the league of nations in there somewhere. [laughter] which wilson wanted to have pass so we might have fought the war to end all wars. and wilson was intransigent. i think for a couple of reasons, one of which he was a stubborn guy as a rule. when he was over in paris, and he was there for six months, the president of the united states left the country for six months to negotiate in treaty. during that time, especially toward the end month five and six saying agree, i have a country to get home too. he began to make some comprises. one or two big ones in the end. he came back, and i think when he found this senate that was going to be completely unwilling to accept the treaty with its league, that is the moment, i think, the curtain came down for wilson and he said i'm not giving away another thing. and indeed this congressional battle went on for weeks which
is what prompted his tour of the country. even after his stroke, after he had come home. the battle went on in the senate. and wilson even though comprises were presented would not buy them. at the very end his rival in the senate, the dean of the republican party and the head of the foreign relations committee came in with the 11th-hour comprise which was a few sentences and largely sin tactical. and wilson simply would not buy it. so i feel -- he's the stuff of greek tragedy. this is man who didn't shoot himself in the foot. he truly stabbed himent -- himself in the heart. >> and i think what that raises is when we live with these people for so long, you really do end up caring about them so when they disappoint you, when they do things that you wish that they hadn't done, obviously i adored roosevelt and eleanor,
and yet wishing roosevelt hope -- opened the door for jewish refugee and not incarcerated the japanese-americans. he was allied leader that ended the threat of hitler. the greatest threat to western civilization. any kids used to hear me franklin be nicer. she loves you. eleanor forget that affair that happened so long ago. and similarly with roosevelt i have such respect for his domestic policy and just his persona, his views on war, i have no respect for. he would say the victory of war were greater thant victory of peace at any moment. he had the are manhattannization of war. i have a son who graduated from harvard college in june of '01 was going to go to law school. september 11th happened. he volunteered for the army next day and later got a bronze star
and went back to afghanistan. but importantingly for this substitution, he had written his thesis at harvard on roosevelt and loved him. after he came back from combat he said he could never u understand having been in combat how anybody could are -- but that's part of the glory of being a biographer. all human beings have their strength and weaknesses. it's up to us to really not forget the parts that is weak and bring it up. but at the same time, i could never choose somebody ultimately to write about that i didn't want to be with. i loved with them so long. i could never write about hitler or stalin. luckily i have found people i overwhelm overwhelmingly feel affection for. >> the last word hold on. we have been given a ten minute
reprieve. >> those who wanted to ask questions can come back. i want to give those chances to people in line first. enabling i'm the executive producer of "forgotten hollywood." what an inspiration you both are to all authors in the room and to everybody at the fair. [applause] just a very simple question. can you both speak to the importance of eugene in the election of 1912? regarding wilson, taft, and roosevelt? ? thank you. >> go ahead. >> well, -- 900,000 votes. >> he if mighty well. he was extremely important. i think he was more than just paprika in the big stew of that election. which was a really fascinating -- you know, there was an election
really of ideas. and there was so much progressivism in the air. it becomes extremely important in wilson's life later on. he's one of the people who will be arrested under the wilson law, the alien and is and sedition laws. he was delivering the speech said i know i'm going to be arrested for this. and now i'll tell you. i have gone through the feature -- speech he gave. i keep looking for the sedition. i can't find it. he was basically telling the people some workers that this was a capitalist war, and that they did not have to be cannoned toker in it. and for that, he was arrested. he was put in jail, he was found guilty and went to the supreme court. they came down against him 9-0. he was in prison. it will tell you a lot about wilson. the war is now over.
wilson has had a stroke. in he's in the white house he's about to leave the white house. people in his government, his attorney general who basically had put him in jail came to him and said, mr. president, debs is an old man now. he's sick and served his time. the war is over. he's clearly not a danger any longer. here is the pardon all written. all you have to do is put your signature on it. and where the signature would go wilson wrote "denied ." you didn't cross wilson more than once. it was simply because wilson felt one we had gone to war that sort of speech telling people not to go to war that was sedition to him. and he said long i'm in charge of two million people risking their lives, i cannot let anybody speak out against them. and so that is why he was just intransigent on the subject.
>> partly of the question nobody is perfect. no president is perfect. i written a book -- [inaudible] and it deals with eastern progressives and their religious -- [inaudible] you mentioned tr and the rough rider that could easy by will called teddy roosevelt and the buffalo soldiers as many as -- [inaudible] and wilson -- my gosh he said -- >> he had a symbolic gesture he invited booker t. washington to dinner and it produced outrage in the south and other part of the country there was equality of a social relationship that he backed down, i think, he -- but he also held imperialist
attitudes. racist attitudes. these people are unfortunately men of their generation. his record on race there was a riot in brownsville and a group of blacks arrested because they couldn't figure out who started it. it was wrong, he was wrong. and these are those moments you're absolutely right, when all you can say is that you have to remember the context in which they're leading. even lincoln, you know, in the 1850s was against, obviously, against intermarriage. against blacks sitting on juries. hef for the black law. you say how could lincoln have done this? the important thing is he grew from the attitudes and eventually allowed the blacks to come in. they were so important as soldiers in the army it changed the whole course of the war in many ways and issued the emancipation proclamation. there's no answering for them except to pave the context in which they are ruling and see if
they are way behind the context or in the middle of it or sometimes if you're lucky, the person you're dealing with is ahead of that. >> jo ann. >> i have a question. -- [inaudible] this is such a magnificent high-level conversation. i want to go a moment of history and passion in a different level. and that is, what did it feel to be like in fenway park -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> i tell you, having been a passionate baseball fan all my life and having only experienced one vict i are with the brooklyn dodgers in 195, -- [applause] then obviously i chose another team after the dodgers abandoned and wednesday to california. i went to harvard and choose almost like falling in love again with the boston red sox and he all the years and lost and lower house and almost win. finally in you're and '07. we have the season tickets to the game. so we were at every game, and
every playoff. every division. and to be in our town and see them winning and share it with boston, i mean, that's what is so great about baseball. somebody asked me what would you have done if the dodgers had been against the red sox. how would you have dealt with the divided loyalty. i thought about it and my answer was the dodgers were my first love. my father growing up in brooklyn taught me to keep score. that's where my love of history began. when i was able to record for him the history of that afternoon's brooklyn dodger game going over every play. he made he tell i was telling a fabulous love. i had a first love of a boyfriend before i married my husband. but the boston red sox have been my sustaining love for almost 40 years. and my husband i've been married for 38 years. the boston red sox would be my love now. [laughter] [applause] we have time for one more now. >> on that note, i got to tell
you some quick thoughts. i didn't know you were having coauthor -- i brought one gift to you. is that baseball, my love for you through your writing and all you have done, and i always feel you're the tim rustin of the "today" show. you couldn't give me a better compliment. i love him so much. >> a couple of weeks ago you were to be speak to us in a way we could understand. i love your energy. on baseball, my wife and i's first date was to a cleveland indians game, which is the boston red sox farm club in the '60s and '70s. >> i know. >> our first date was an indian games. lennie parker pitched a perfect game. >> and you are still married. >> oh. yes. >> hooray. >> we have a great thing every summer and it's called admitted night sun baseball game. it starts at 10:30 at night. my gift to you is to --
[laughter] -- and so -- >> it's beautiful, thank you. couch. an invitation to you if you would like to come a mid night sun baseball game. june 21st, every year. >> i see. summer -- >> we can get you up there it would be so great. >> thank you, thank you. >> and i will happily wear it! [applause] >> okay, any closing comments from our historians? scott?? any last words. >> what a pleasure it was to have this conversation. [laughter] [applause] [laughter] >> thank you. [applause] [laughter] [applause] >> okay, thank you, both, for being with us. it's been a wonderful, wonderful conversation. great moment in miami. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] live coverage from miami book fair international continues. doris kearns goodwin talking with the audience there. and author of wilson talking about the last turn of the century together. by the way, everything you're seeing today on booktv's coverage of miami will reair tonight beginning at midnight. a couple of more hours of coverage today, and we're going to do a couple of call-in programs next. after that, the next event in chatman hall we'll be covering. written about bunker hill.
and brenda, "ecstatic nation: confidence, comprise, -- thawl be talking about the development of the united. joining us now on the set is susan. day job president of the aclu. she's the author of this book "taking liberty." susan herman, where do we stand with -- when it comes to patriot act today? >> guest: the status of the patriot act is something i think a lot of people don't understand. because when it was enacted five weeks after 9/11, in october of 2001, congress hasn't had any hearings. they didn't get any idea what was going wrong. they had ideas about what tools to -- [inaudible] so the patriot act, ever since 2000 has been -- [inaudible] given the government all the dragnet tools to do surveillance and all these things. i found when george w. bush left
the white house people asiewmented the patriot act had gone away. people were telling me what does the aclu have to do now? couldn't grow out of business and saying mission accomplished? the patriot act is very much with us. the current events i actually one thing i hope we can talk about. i think there might be some prospect for change. >> where? >> guest: one thing that happened. i started writing this weak in the -- book in the middle of barack obama's first term. at that time, people didn't understand that obama continued bush's policy. the surveillance and everything we were doing domestically. and so linda greenhouse referred my book to the wake-up call. people didn't wake up that much. people were not looking to re-examine the decisions that had been made in the fall of 2001 about what our antiterrorism strategies should be. so what i would say is there was
a snooze alarm. and the wake-up call came with snowden. when he started releasing documents about what actually is going on behind the curtain and what kind of surveillance there is, i think people did start to pay more attention. i think for good reason. and so, well, i'll tell you i think it matters more than ever people be aware of what is going on and what is happening politically. there's pending in congress right now a bill both a u.s. aid freedom pact. i wonder how many of your viewers know the u.s. aid pact rate act was an ak anymore. if you visualize the letter stand for the name of the bill. which is uniting and strengthening america by providing appropriate tools required to intercept and obstruct terrorism. that's the name of the act. somebody -- [inaudible] so the u.s. aid freedom act all capital letters is something of a -- [inaudible] dragger of that tight. uniting and strengthening
america by, you know, having freedom from electronic eves -- eavesdropping. this is something that is pending in congress. it now has over 100 sponsors in the house. i don't remember in the senate. it's the first time that congress has been looking seriously at the idea of rollingback some of the patriot act surveillance provision. >> host: does the aca lo support the u.s. freedom act? >> >> guest: we do. i think one thing that it does is it addresses one of the things we have learned from the snowden documents. the government is doing both collections about information, about the telephone calls that every american. who we call, what numbers we call, what numbers we get called from. the duration of our calls, how often we call, what time of day it is. and so this is just on all americans are collecting all of this information. and to me, the problem here is that what we're doing and i think a lot of people assume we need to give up our liberties in
order to be safe. thing are more calls here and fewer benefits than people realize. one of the cost of this phone collection i think it's exactly the kind of massive surveillance that the people who wrote our institution particularly the fourth amendment were trying to prevent. so the fourth amendment is the part of the bill of the rights that protect us against unreasonable search and seizure. we could be secure in our persons, houses, and parents. the reason our founding father wrote this in the bill of right they didn't like the idea that the king's agent might be able to search what they were doing and look in their homes to see if they had sexual sedition locateture. -- literature. the concept there's an important value that the individual should have privacy and that the government not just be able to find out everything you are doing. everything though the fbi think they knew at the time the risk was maybe somebody was
committing a exriem in the home. maybe the government wouldn't be able to find out. because they weren't allowed to walk to the home at will. they had to go through a court and process. to me what the patriot act enable -- enacted with the dragnet. it's one reason it's supporting having some limit on the government. no reason to suspect that the person has done anything wrong. >> host: what is the status of the fisa court? is it still active? >> guest: it's very active. so that's one of the things that happens. in the fall of 2001, what the congress did in order to be allow the government more surveillance power they built on a couple of areas there wasn't that much fourth amendment protection. the fisa court, the foreign intelligence surveillance court had been established as part of a comprise in the late '70s when people were very upset about
nixon spying on political enemy. there was a church committee, frank church ran the important committee where they did a complete exploration of the american history about intelligence area. and they decided it was not permissible for the government to spy on americans without going through the court. but it was all right to spy on the soviet embassy to see what they were up to. it was the cold war. the idea that mens get constitutional protections foreigners don't. the 2001 legislation, and some legislation we've had since then basically said that even though if the government is targeting somebody who is a foreigner. and it's one end of a cfghts, they can pick up whatever the americans are saying at the other end. one thing that the fisa court authorized is in addition to what has been called the meta data. the telephone numbers you call or which you get called not the content. the government can pick up the
content of american's e-mails, telephone calls, skype, whatever. within the foreign intelligence surveillance act as long as there's a foreigner someplace. that was another of the revelation of the snowden documents. but the fisa court has more to do with americans than you might think. >> host: since 2001, has the patriot act, the fisa surveillance, increased or decreased? >> guest: yeah. it's a great question. i think it's actually been increased. when president obama was a candidate, when he was running for office, he said no more national security that spy on americans. but now that he's president i think he sees the power differently. and he felt if he can be trusted with the dragnet powers. it sounds as if the fisa court allowed actually is an expansion and there's more and more material being collected in bulk and that what is being collected under the foreign intelligence surveillance act even though on americans has also increased.
i think there's a possibility for another increase. for awhile until 2011, the government was also collecting e-mail addresses, internet dresses that we visit, the fisa court authorized that. and the government actually stopped collecting all of that information in 2011. but they could do it again because they're authorized to do that. this is tremendously broad power. >> and we're talking with susan herman. this is her book. 202-585-3890. time zones dial in if you like to have a discussion about what we're talking about here freedom and surveillance, et, et. cetera. surveillanceyou served as president of the american civil liberty union. she's a professor of law at
brooklyn law school as well. edward snowden in that parlor game hero or goat? >> guest: my usual response, peter, when people want to talk about snowden. my first response is to say instead of talking about the messager, should we talk about the problem? and i think snowden has done us a great favor. he said the reason he wanted to start releasing some of the documents so the american people could make the decision about whether they think we have gone too far. or whether they are too many costs? i think that's in fact discussion we're now having. i think his strategy worked. the american people are being informed. because one of the things we learn is not even just that the government was spying in ways i was already describing in my book, but that we had in the fisa court we had secret law. there was law that the court was making that the american people couldn't find out what the law was. to me, it really went too far. >> host: is there anything in
the patriot act you agree with? >> guest: there was a lot. there was a collection of amendments to hundreds of previous laws. one of my favorite part of the patriot act which was wonderful at the time. it was a sense of congress resolution. saying we don't want to use 9/11 as an occasion to start discriminating against muslims. up fortunately that was easier to say than to actually effect. >> host: you say sketchy foray in to history suggests that a bipartisan commission may have the best chance of rising above the politics ha hamstring all branches of government and inspiring reflection and perhaps change. >> guest: right. i think what we could use at this point in time is something more like a church committee. i was mentioning before the u.s.a. aid freedom act which is a small fix for some of the things that are wrong with this collection it just goes too far. my book also talked about all sort of other kinds of laws nut to place on --
accept, october, of 2001. and these are expanded criminal laws that, you know, examples i give i chose stores about a person prosecuted farred crime for posting links to controversial speech on a website. a woman who was prosecuted for supporting a foreign terrorist organization, this was an iranian woman imprisoned in iraq for supporting the pro democracy group opposing the laws there now. when she finally got out of prison and got political asylum in the united states we prosecuted her for supporting the same pro democracy group. there are laws that people adopt know enough about. we don't need snowden to tell us those laws. i think if they don't know about abuse nothing happened. i think to have a -- the reason snowden paper give us the occasion to really look back overall at what we have done. i can understand the fall of 2001 we had laws that went too far. because at the time it was
premature to figure out what the ante-dote should be when we hadn't yet analyzed the problem. we didn't have the 9/11 commission. we didn't understand what happened had on 9/11. if congress overdo it, i think they did. there was too many -- some of what they allowed is counter productive. but i thought that, you know, ten, 2012 years after that it should be possible to have a better conversation and the better informed the public is, the better the conversation. where congress is just beginning to look at the tip of it. i think it helps. >> host: is susan herman is our guest. cary in connecticut.. >> caller: i have to say that as much as i agree with the thing your organization does, okay. i also believe when it comes to christian rights, for example -- [inaudible] religious symbols, prayer in the schools, where are you there?
that's number one. number two, i believe the patriot act -- [inaudible] and because, remember, the -- [inaudible] even though they weren't the radicals they were the ones that caused 9/11. so we are going to scrutinize those people. -- [inaudible] that's all i wanted to say. you have a great holiday season. bye, bye. >> guest: okay. thank you, carrie. two quick answers. on your point about the christians if you go aclu.org we have an entire page about christians. we are in favor of the freedom of religion which is something we support. i think the more information you get the more you find out there are -- [inaudible] myths out there about the aclu
-- my book is about people not only terrorists not only about them but us. now peter was asking before about the impact of some of these surveillance provisions and so forth. i was talking about how it gives us less privacy under the fourth amendment. it's not just the fourth amendment. it's also, you know, you talk about freedom of religion. that's about the first amendment. and my concern is that we're losing a lot of first amendment rights in term of freedom of speech, association, and of religion. so the freedom of religion if the government went after muslim charities right after 9/11. there were a lot of charities shut don -- down or doing badly. even though there was no evidence doing anything wrong. this that harms the first amendment. a study publish a week ago -- they did a survey of their members, the journalists and writers members of it. and what they found was that one in six of the people they surveyed said they centered them
and no longer writing, speaking, or publishing researching certain subjects because they i were afraid they might attract the government's attention. they censored themselves. an additional one in six said they thought about censoring themselves. we're worried the people are going to call the aclu the government has a record of the phone number and who they called. and i just think it changes who we are as a society. ..
it just seems to me, is it just too much of a conflict of interest for them to be overseeing rests? >> i think that we got a point. is this something that the aclu is concerned with, and of the gay concerned with this and that is mostly political question. and that is the checks and and we also have congress and the courts. and i think that this has
resulted in in the failure of checks and balances said september 11. the president, if he is asking us to trust him with all the dragnets, congress will prove with this, although we may be able to in the courts have not been involved. one of the things i talk about in my book is about this that the courts have been avoiding common questions that have been raised. the aclu has been challenging them, their legality, constitutionality, and what the courts say about the supreme court confirmed last year. they said that they will not consider you to have standing unless you can prove that you are subject to secret surveillance. episodically a catch-22. they don't play when they are spying on you. and they will have to be proving
that spirits of the problem is that we have the constitutional check in all three have been an echo chamber and we assume and i think that that is really unfounded. >> we have richard the main and taking liberties in the name of the book. >> hello, thank you for taking my call. speaking of being censored. i wonder if you're familiar of the book called extreme prejudice. >> richard boucher a little bit earlier, he asked the same question. >> have you heard of a susan landau? >> no. >> at the second time he's called without question.
to were going to let him go. next caller. >> caller: hello, i'm concerned about the national defense authorization act you think the representatives would be out on vacation, the president in the and the house and the senate all signed in and would you please comment? >> yes, we were concerned about some of the things about that as well, and one of the things that they did was they authorized future president as well to detain people who are considered enemy combatants, including americans without adequate due process and i think that was a real problem that a lot of this law has never seriously been looked at. and there have been some money off reauthorization come up with a serious look at i think it needs and what you are suggesting is that other laws are coming into this area without really enough public attention and scrutiny and
thought and do the people think that we have gone too far? >> has this happened a couple of times in our history similar to what the patriot act is like? >> there have been other times they have been similar. one of the things that i would talk about is around president nixon. and is it okay for the government to be spying on the american people. this includes history of the nsa and so forth and he said with the edwards noted documents every day is christmas in because he is learning about what we are doing now. so he has looked to telecommunications and so forth just turn over information. so we do have a history of spying, but this has gotten worse because the idea if it builds on this theory that the
supreme court hacks. you don't have anything with a third party. so you shouldn't have told your banker your financial information and therefore the government can demand the information in the supreme court decided that this was fine, but think about how much more private information you and your viewers are sharing with third parties and what does your internet service provider know about you. everything is on the cloud and that means that if you take this seriously, even though the permission that we gave the government earlier, taking that 25, it's the same thing they did before the implications are greater. because we are talking about the government been being able to find out about their entire lives and we talk about how the
patriot act inverts the conditions of democracy and the whole idea is that we are supposed to have a private enclave to think and exercise and decide who speak what in the government is supposed to be transparent to us that we know what they are doing. so what we are living with is that the government is having increasing secrecy and what we are doing is becoming increasingly transparent for the government. it also cuts off the avenues of repair. so you probably remember the librarians and the government cannot find out this. that is not american democracy. so i talk about the library and in the internet service provider to fight back and he was not
allowed and he and librarians were not allowed to testify before the congress. this is further than we have gone before allowing them to use powers in this includes the great poet and playwright. i heard him speak a few weeks ago and he said that people thought it couldn't happen and he had come here as a messenger to say be careful what powers you give the government. he was responding to this and a lot of people were to say why should i care what the government goes about me if i'm not doing anything wrong and that would be with disbelief and derision. and i think that there are a lot of reasons that our freedom of speech goes down. >> do you censor yourself these
days? electronically or in any form? >> i really try not to. the pan american center says that one in six have been censoring themselves and one additional one in six said that they seriously thought about censoring themselves, people who wanted to write about the middle east are now not doing it. and there was one person interested in writing about this, and i think that civil libertarians are unusually stubborn and unusually stubborn. every time an american has to think twice, before telling their doctor that they have a drug problem within the are googling the world nuclear, we are changing who we are as a society. >> anthony, you are the next caller with susan herman, the
author of the book "taking liberties" and the president of the aclu. >> caller: yes, ma'am. i want to say that i was involved in a criminal case and my phone was tapped in the prosecution got that information. how they got that information, but they used that in court. my private phone calls with my attorney. would you comment on that on how far reaches? >> how often you get calls like this? >> well, we get calls a lot, people have a lot of concern about what the government is doing. i want to relate to what anthony was just saying. about the collection of data. because the government lawyer in this case says you don't get to challenge them, but they say it is okay because the government will tell them how they have been spying on what anthony is
just describing the many found out it wasn't true. so the department of justice recently changed this they were collecting evidence and then they were not telling the defendants in criminal cases how they obtained the evidence. so it's another big thing as well. >> were you surprised by the edwards noted documents after the bush administration's? >> we already knew how brought these powers were. we already knew that there was a curtain they didn't know what was going on behind the curtain. >> i was just saying that i told you so. >> has there ever been a history
when this hasn't been the case? >> i would go back to the beginning with the columnist that were thinking about having an american revolution and they were afraid that this would be the case. where people would have some privacy where the government can do everything. i've been talking about the rights that are at stake in the surveillance programs and another kind of story that i tell we are doing what we need to do and we don't need to give up liberty to be safe. they expect that it's going to be someone else and i see one of the callers who have suggested. the number of people are those who suffered from not and there
is an american citizen as well. and this includes the surveillance happening under the foreign surveillance intelligence act even though he is an american. there is a man who lived and worked brooklyn and he was stopped in the subway system 21 times before he got upset and said this is supposed to be random stops. why do they keep picking on me. a statistician calculated that the odds of his having them stopped to him that many times and was one in 165 million. so you ask about history. and we also have a kind of -- some chapters in our history where we decide to go for the dragnets in the lockup of the japanese-americans during world war ii because we couldn't figure out disloyal people were.
we need to learn the instance of the founding of the aclu and the attorney general was rounding up people and deporting them because they were foreign and they looked sly and crafty. so i think we should've learned that you have to watch this and what you give the american government and its not a way to keep our constitution. >> we have ed from spring hill, florida. >> hello. >> did you write the book? >> yes, that's interesting. people sometimes say, why did barack obama change his position. and i think that it changed he didn't trust george w. bush and i think when he became president, he felt differently about it and he trusted himself to use it wisely.
or the president, i might not want to. but we don't have a chance of changing this as president, i don't know that we will ever have a chance. one thing he does say i don't care what people regional library, i only want to go after terrorists and nobody can really prove the abuses of his power. and number two i think that history shows us that there will be of use. and we have some of this noted documents. in this includes this as well. so i would like to think that i
could remember the it is important to the that the constitution and i understand the difficult position. >> the next call for susan herman. margaret from florida, hello, and go ahead with your question or comment. >> hello. >> i'm so glad to hear you on this program and i am such a supportive. for the last 50 years i have watched and listened, but since 9/11 and the patriot act, i have just seen the country changing, and i see it changing and making the individuals less secure. because who can possibly go against the powers of the government and we saw this in germany and we saw this happen
and you have this and that end with any other country we would be horrified. so thank goodness for your work and bless you. >> thank you. i very much appreciate your comment. we are trying very hard to keep our rights and democracy. one reason i'm optimistic that we are beginning to get a lot of pushback, particularly germany, as you mentioned, because they know that someone of the things that people are realizing is that the americans have had this over the internet. and one reason it's been so easy is the fiber optic cables and
they are turning over information voluntarily or allowing the government to have a lot of access. it was just at a meeting of the white house were there a lot of people from the telecommunications industry who told the president that if we don't have better data protection, we will lose money because people are going to stop trusting the american companies and europeans will create their own ella communications companies and not come through unless they start pushing back and refusing to turn over this and they estimate that i just read as it can cost american businesses $21 billion per year. when you add that to the decimation of our rights and democracy. i keep coming back to that and that's the subtitle of my book.
if we allow these things to go unchecked, there will be a next chapter and the next chapter and we could turn into the country of chile. >> you talk about some other countries. but it has been coming out in the press that this information, we spy on ourselves. >> we are guilty of spying a lot of other countries and people have also been saying this as well, but they may be doing the same thing. as well as those saying what have we unleashed here. this is something of an anti-american reaction. because of the american companies that have really been cooperating with the government and allowing it to happen.
challenging the restrictions may want to be able to tell their customers that is the marketplace speaking but the people around the world. >> about people from the other side? >> this includes what we can take the information we can do via the information. >> i do think that we should have more restrictions. this includes europe and canada and for years, we are talking about the bottom line and it's been a big problem with multinational corporations and they are required to give this information to government the government and in europe are not allowed here. so to pavlov's dog situation we've been registering for a long time having these data privacy protection laws that would be more consistent with
the countries that we consider his peers we do. even if they have this information, it is different for this. >> last call for susan herman. kennesaw, georgia. please go ahead. >> caller: hello, i am a supporter and contributor to your organization and i think you on the front lines of a battle to preserve our liberty. bringing up the point, that is just that people who claim that they don't find the nsa spying because they have nothing to hide in fear areas and that is 70% is being done by private
corporations that allen hamilton is owned by cargo, which is really a centerpiece that runs this country in the bushes were part of it and so on. the point is that you'll just have to trust the government, you have to trust the corporations that are implicated oftentimes in polluting the water and the air and so on and so forth. >> okay, i think we got the point. thank you for calling. >> thank you. we have to be concerned about this as well. government doing that in through law so the companies that have
this information don't just hand it over at will. the other thing is the role of the individual. so the rule is to dissent is patriotic to talk back to the government and say why are you doing this and this is going too far and i think what we are also discovering is the corporations are going to listen and google is taking a different approach now than they were 10 years ago. >> the book is called "taking liberties." the erosion of american democracy. susan herman is president of the aclu and the author of the book and she has been our guest. thank you for joining us. a couple more hours of coverage from the miami book fair international and this is live on c-span. coming up, you're going to have a chance to talk with lawrence wright. his most recent book is about
scientology and hollywood. he is also the author of the looming tower from several years ago and he was a finalist for the national book awards this year for this will go in clear and we will have a chance to talk to him in just a moment. and then the development of the nation. about half a half an hour or so. two well-known historians will be here as well and we will be able to chat with them and talk about their books and now will be live on c-span2 on booktv. but first we want to show you a little bit from wednesday night. george packer on the national book award and i'm going to show you a little bit of his acceptance speech and then we will have a chance to talk with lawrence right here in miami. here he is.
[inaudible conversations] >> hello, i spent an hour with brian lamb on our progr> hello,h brian lamb on our program, our "q&a" program. >> just come and that is right. >> you will be live this weekend. the you're one of the finalists in the nonfiction category and is this the first time you have been nominated? >> yes, it has been tremendous and an honor. we all listen to each other from the four categories in the quality was just incredibly high and everyone had about three or four minutes. so we didn't have much time to get across the field and it was impressive and i felt honored to be in that company.
>> which story did you tell? >> i read a passage that dean price was thinking about, the landscape of his landscape and what has happened to it recently. and he is listening to these trucks go by and he has some of them are full of chickens that are headed to the slaughterhouses which happens in the dead of night. and he begins to think about where these chickens go and the bojangles where he owns a restaurant and it's an elaborate and kind of dark picture of an economy of imported oil and people getting poorer in his part of the country. >> do you see what is going on in the country today economically as different from other transformations that we have had in our nation?
the analogy would be to the early 19 hundreds when we had vast inequality of wealth and we had a handful of individuals at the top consolidating and then we had a lot of new immigrants who were struggling to survive. fifty years of what i call the roosevelt republicans among which middle-class people beginning to get ahead started to come undone in the late 70s and now we are back to something like that vast inequality of the earlier 20th century without some of the protections so it is a repetition butterfields neil and a vision of transformation
that led to the new deal back then now everyone feels sort of isolated in their own troubles in trying to line solutions for themselves. and there is a national movement and that is what makes this a more troubling time. >> three out of the five nonfiction finalists. >> i think david is feeling very happy tonight and feeling incredibly impartial. and that is a tribute to what he has done with the magazine and what kind of talent there is across the board, not just the three of us, but really across the board. [inaudible conversations] >> the national book award for nonfiction, i regret now? >> we have eric sundquist who is
winner of the james russell lowell prize from the modern language association and the award from phi beta kappa were the best looking humanity and the academic book award. this is a professor of humanities at johns hopkins university and it gives me great pleasure to introduce him. >> good evening and thank you. it is a great pleasure to be here. and let me thank the national book foundation for the privilege of judging this year's nominations in the category of
nonfiction. and perhaps against beek for saying that in a lifetime of reading i have not had a more gratifying prizing and educational experience and we've had the pleasure of reviewing hundreds of books, 500 plus to be specific across a wide range of genres and topics. everywhere, and encountering contemporary american writing at its very best. i'm sure all of us at one point or another look back with envy at the 20 are. 1960s through the 1980s won multiple awards recognizing as many as eight different categories of nonfiction were presented. for us, however, all of those categories were crowded into one and as much as we would have loved to present many awards, we have first to know many of us down to a long list of 10 men
down to these five finalists. the book of ages, the life and opinions of james franklin published. [applause] [applause] hitler's theories, german women in the killing field by fields by wendy lauer published by harcourt books. and the unwinding, by george packer. and the internal enemy, slavery and warner in virginia, 1772 to 1832 by alan taylor. published by david norton and company.
and i feel very lucky to be given this award. and thank you to my friends and the rest. you still do it the old-fashioned way, which is still the best way. [applause] >> thank you to the wylie agency for crucial intelligence and thank you to daniel zaleski and david remnick and others for giving me just the right balance of freedom and editorial trilliums. writers both understand as well and my children, charlie and
julia, you did make it a lot more fun. thank you for sharing my life and my work and i can't imagine either one without you. and finally, i want to thank dean price and timmy thomas and jeff congleton and other americans who gave me the great guest of allowing in their lives so that i could illuminate some of what has gone wrong in america over the past generation. and in their own lines, some of what has gon much. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ >> to george packer will be here at the miami book fair tomorrow
and you'll you will be able to see an event with him and the entire national book awards and we should show portion of it right there that will re-air at 8:00 p.m. eastern on booktv. and joining us now on our site here is one of the finalists of the national book award, and that is lawrence wright. his most recent book is going clear, scientology and hollywood in the prison of bullies and you might know him as an author of the looming tower. the phrase going clear. where does it come from and what does it mean? >> well, l. ron hubbard invented the concept of dianetics and his concept was either two sides of your brain and one was the analytical side, perfectly reasonable, it's like a perfect computer, nothing wrong with it
and remembers everything and can compute perfectly. and the other side is a reactive side that is full of fears and neuroses and the kinds of things that damage your life and if you can purge the emotional power, then your analytical brain will take over and you will be clear and more intelligent then you will be able to not get ill, your whole life will be a lot better and you'll be super human and a superior race of a beating and it's like camp, once you get to be clear, you go up to the spiritual level. >> 's luis l. ron hubbard and where did he come up with this? >> well, is one of the most interesting people that i've ever had the chance to write about and he was born in
nebraska in 1911 and raised in the west and his father was a naval officer. and he really did have an interesting life and he had a tendency to try to make it more interesting than it was. he wrote for the magazines in the '30s and 40s when they paid a penny per word and the legend is that he wrote 100,000 words a month. so he wrote so quickly that he perspired and what roland paper into his typewriter and type and without a story and i have to say that this man does have the guinness book of world records
title for the number of books published, more than a thousand. but he invented this and then he went broke after making millions of dollars. and he came up with an idea that religion is where the money is and he invented the church of scientology and it really was -- to give him credit than he deserves, one of the very few religions that it survived intact. >> why did he go broke after inventing dianetics and where does that come from? >> well, he didn't really have control over it. it was a self-help type therapy thing and the idea was you and your friend or your spouse can help each other in this set the
standard at a time when the whole category was created. and he really formed a and he was a "new york times" bestseller for weeks and weeks and millions of copies as well. he also realized after he lost control of the organizations that he never really had a way of keeping the organization intact. and anyone can pick up this book is part of it and become an auditor, a therapist and to help them for themselves and not left a huge opening for professional organization that was never there. but it came out on the same time as a hula hoop and was about as popular as the dianetics all over america and other countries
as well and it is hard to put it in context, but it was part of the community of sciences and they were absolutely puzzled as well. this is, to them, a psychological heads or tails of how this phenomenon came about and what it was based upon. >> was the public person and promoting this? >> yes, he created scientology have a lot more control over the organization. and he would bring people into train and he gave those courses as well. he had a lot of legal pressure, he was driven out of england and so he decided to take it to the
high seas which is one place where he would be safe. so it would be a decade that he was there. >> is it a philosophy like other major religions? >> there is a place for god in a higher power. but it's not clearly defined. in scientology he speaks of these dynamics and there is a group in nature and so on and it is sort of a vacant throne in scientology. and it is a little bit difficult because they don't want to think of themselves specifically as a religion except for tax purposes. that is critical that they bill
themselves as a technology and it's not a belief system so much as a technology. step-by-step can build yourself up to achieving spiritual enlightenment. >> is it as far as the rs is concerned? >> guesstimate assistant interesting story. and for some reason he decided not to tax on the church of scientology. and they didn't have a billion dollars and so it was an existential moment for the church. they had to get a tax exemption. and was a leader then and they filed 2400 losses against individual agents and detectives to follow them around and irs
agents to go out and find who is sleeping around and drinking too much and they would write articles about them and they would, you know, it was very upsetting to the irs. but whatever the merits of the case was that they presented, the facts were that they had agencies and eventually they forgave this and they found a $12 million and allow them to decide for themselves and even the novels of ron hubbard are all considered scripture and tax exempt. so the irs completely caved on this. >> going clear is the title of the book.
if you would like to participate in a conversation, please call. if you live in the east and central time zones. those of you in the mountain and pacific time zones, send a comment via twitter at the tv, and that is our twitter handle. was it at all appealing to you at the concept of scientology after spending this time researching it? >> i have written about a lot of things. i suppose i have an interest in religious beliefs. and if you don't find that come you can make up your own as l. ron hubbard dead. but yes, i think what people get out of it, they offer courses
and if you were to walk into your local church and say that you're curious to know what they do here, they would say what is ruining your life and keeping you from progressing morally and spiritually and romantically and we can help you. we have a menu of courses and people do get lots of help. he took a communications course and he's not a scientologist, but he credits it and there's a lot of story like that. then there is the therapy and it is done with what is called an eager than there used to be some soup cans with a meter connected
dialectical liars and has a current that measures your galvanic responses. one totable lie detector. and it's like being in a therapy session with a lie detector, which changes the relationship and people find a lot of that and they sometimes have mystical experiences. many have it reported to me that since having an out of body experience, it validates it was a true memory and that's very powerful. because of you have this thing saying that this is true, that means that you have life that that really is a family go from one life to another and that's
the central message of scientology. >> is difficult in your view? >> i don't call it a cult. there's only one organization makes a distinction that is the irs and everything else is just opinion. the irs decided it was going to record an with the same protections than any other established religion in this country has. and this includes legal inquiries that otherwise might be undertaken. >> why hollywood? >> he knew that there was one thing that americans really worship and that seems to be celebrities. in the capital of celebrity is hollywood. so he set up his church and created this and began cultivating entertainers and movie stars and young people that would beam going into this
business. and all the time, they sent out a roster of scientologist and the late bob hope and walt disney and they wanted them in the church. and just like sports stars were on wheaties cereal boxes. they wanted people to advertise the benefits of scientology may have eventually got that. >> gloria swanson, the faded star of silent movies and some others, like elvis presley walked into the church weekly, his widow and daughter are still from the church and prominent members and members of the grateful dead and leonard cohen, a lot of people went in early
on. and it wasn't until john travolta came along that they snag someone that was a visible, you know, the biggest star in the world at the time. and then tom cruise who is certainly the most famous scientologist since l. ron hubbard himself. >> is a wealthy organization? >> estimate they have a great deal of this and it would be difficult for the catholic church to cough up a billion dollars in cash right now. who's membership and they are hemorrhaging members. and i think that they are really
suffering as long as they have we have a billion dollars to sit upon. >> do think it is one secret from the catholic church? >> is more interesting to compare with the mormons. and they were the most stigmatized religion in the country and there is never -- there's never been a more persecuted set of people than the mormons and they were chased out of one set over the other. and they had a lot of hatred directed at the mormons that was unbelievable and the leader was assassinated and eventually it was something called the utah war, general custer was sent there to try to deal with this
and eventually the leader of the church had a revelation that we no longer wanted to be a theocracy and we wanted to be a part of united states and we no longer want to be polygamists. and that's not even an issue. this includes how this organization was. it is one of the fastest going religions seen as an american religion. and i don't know if that will happen in scientology. >> lawrence wright is our guest the book is "going clear." we have a call from west virginia.
>> caller: hello. earlier today he spoke in a presentation with some members and suggested that quite a few of us that have talked about this, primarily tom cruise. and perhaps they could bring this to bear on the hierarchy. but i'm wondering of the approval of these leaders to maintain their high profiles in hollywood. and what does not harm their careers? >> thank you, that's a really good question. i want to mention this and these
are people that have joined the church and become a part of the clergy and oftentimes as very young children and people. and a sinus for a billion years of service with the idea that life is infinite and so it's not too much to ask. they are paid $50 per week and there is a core benefit of this labor on a number of occasions. they handcrafted a limousine for him and it is the most prized possession. nobody in the church is given the kind of treatment that tom cruise is given. and i am sure that he knows about the abuses that have taken
place inside the higher reaches of the church and its cadres. at least 12 people have told me personally that they have been beaten by the leader of the church and they are confined and for years at a time. and the leader of the church as a mormon, by the way, and he has been in this double wide trailer that they have on the headquarters for seven years. so it's not just a weekend stay. and these are serious abuses and i think scientology has to face this what is going on. it is a religion in the courts have held that these are
religious practices and there's nothing they can do. there are only two avenues, one is the irs and i don't think that they want to go back to this. the other is some of the celebrity superstars that have been advertising the benefits could turn the microphone around and demand does and no one more so than tom cruise who has benefited inside the church. >> yes, the two-time academy award winner. and tommy davis was the head
spokesperson. and he was going through scientology. on a sunday afternoon at 3:00 o'clock he became and that he would agree. you agree to fact checking questions. an archer, tommy davis' mother, and some other prominent members of the church. and tommy agreed to answer these questions in our first round and there was this and tommy davis and his wife came to the new
york offices along with these two respond to these questions. i was in heaven. this was, to me, my editor threw me aside and said you know what you've got. and in that sense i was given a lot of operations and then they turn off the spigot and is continued to send backchecking theories and they were very reluctant. but they did respond somewhat. >> his book is "going clear." we have about a minute left with another color. go ahead, david. >> thank you.
do you know the book in the name of science, which criticized dianetics in the 1960s. and then the quote that sunlight is the best disinfectant. what are your thoughts? >> i used to be a subscriber and it's really helpful. some like being the best disinfectant, it seems to be the only way to deal with this organization. i ran into an fbi investigation and they were talking to some of
the same people and i found out what they were telling the fbi and the fbi was preparing to free all of these people at the headquarters and then a judge in colorado ruled about this, but these are religious practices of the judge was involved in. so they dropped the investigation and the government can't do anything. the only thing that can be done is let people know what is actually happening inside this church. >> good afternoon. sheila? @> caller: hello, i am still >> caller: hello, i am still here. >> hello, this is sheila,. >> caller: there is a location
called gilman springs i don't know if this is the organization that you are talking about. but it does seem that people drive by there and they have cameras and they turn the sprinklers on for people to stop by and they don't like people poking in and it's almost like a compound. >> what you are talking about is actually the international headquarters near hemet in southern california. formally an old spot.
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