tv Call-in with David Mc Cullough The American Spirit CSPAN October 13, 2017 8:55pm-9:21pm EDT
the library of congress is the greatest library in the world. no question. [applause] and we did it, we did it! have you ever looking at american culture, youth may want to know that there are still more american libraries in this country than there are starbucks. [applause] >> thank you for the great conversation.>> thank you. thank you very, very much! thank you. [applause] >> david mccullough whose recent book is called the american spirit, who we are and what we stand for, 202 is the area code, 748-8200. that is an agent time zones,
748-8201 for those in mountain and pacific time zones you are familiar with his work, familiar with all of his books, john adams, harry truman, the wright brothers, that is just a couple of the books. that he has written. american in paris, that the greater journey is the name of that book. that is 50 of the book. you know you want to ask him. we are here to facilitate that conversation. jeanette and sarasota florida, you are on both to be with historian, david mccullough. >> hello mr. mccullough. >> good afternoon. >> i love your work and in fact you in sarasota or bradington about a year ago and i wanted you two autographed by john evans book but i could not get a ticket. but here is my question, when you were writing about abigail adams and of course, we all know that john adams wife was
just about the most liberal lady in america. but when she was in england, and she went to see othello she said there were something that brought prejudice in her that she did not know was there. she said that othello was the blackest man she'd ever seen and was repulsed the fact that othello was touching the skin of the fair desdemona. she called othello a -- >> what would you like mr. mccullough to respond to? >> i like him to respond to that. i mean i don't know if this really a question. >> thank you very much. jeanette, david mccullough.
>> percival i am unaware of this incident you're talking about. but i do know that abigail adams was passionately -- convinced and dedicated abolitionist. and she and her husband, her husband was the only founding father who became a president we never owned a slave. it was largely because she was so adamant on the subject. and it was the next president who had never owned a slave was their son, john quincy adams. so jif she ever does anything like you are talking about, that was something i am not aware of. but her actions often as they do, speak louder than words. >> would you agree with jeanette with that she was a
so-called liberal for her time? >> will know, i do not think she was a liberal. i think she was a puritan. they were for education and most of them adamantly against lavery. in adamantly for freedom of religion. and for opportunity. and they were not a bunch of stiffnecked unemotional people as they are often portrayed. in many respects, the puritan traditions were part of the bedrock superstructure of our country and our way of life. and apical adams was one of the bravest woman of her time. she left after her family while her husband was away as ambassador in europe and her oldest son was also gone. abigail adams reminded the home, the farm, she kept them going in his absence. angie was one of the best writers of that era of anybody. her letters are phenomenal. to me she is one of the truly
most admirable woman, nudges woman, americans in that extraordinary and formative time. >> bob is calling in from easton pennsylvania. good afternoon bob. >> good afternoon. mr. mccullough i would like to ask you a question. i enjoy your writing and i also enjoy your speaking very much. can you describe a typical day when you're at home? i understand that you live on the vineyard. your writings, what you do through the course of the day and just -- >> thank you. i like to get up early, my favorite part of the day is the early morning. when i was working on my book about harry truman, i read how he took a walk every day and gives the machinery going. so i tried to take a walk every day. i love breakfast, i think is
probably the most important meal but also the most delicious. and then i go to work. i tried to get up to the office about 8:30 a.m. i see if their phone calls or messages. i have lunch and then i go back to work. i work every day, wvery often seven days a week. the time goes by faster that way than anything i do. i love my work. i do not play golf, i do not play tennis, i am not a big sailor. i just enjoy my work. i'm often sketching or painting. particularly when the weather is good. and in the evening, we have dinner and i usually read for a while after dinner. and then i go to bed! it is a good day. and if i have had a
particularly productive day i have written two pages, typewritten, doublespaced pages that i consider all right for the time being at least. and then when i finish the chapter, usually around 25 or 35 pages, i put all of those pages together and if it is good weather i find a nice comfortable outdoor chair to sit under a tree. can i show that brilliant editor that i am, i show him how to make it into something more or less acceptable. one of the requirements of being a writer is to be a good editor of yourself. in fact, i often tell students and others that they should learn to edit yourself and your almost halfway or more.
>> do you use a typewriter or -- >> i work on a typewriter. a manual typewriter. which i bought when i started my first book. i started work on my first book, this was more than 50 years ago.o. the manual typewriter was secondhand when i bought it. i paid $75 for it. it was 25 years old. and i've written everything that i have written on that typewriter, every article, every speech, every book. and there's nothing wrong with it. it has been in full-service for over 50 years. i had to change the rhythm once in a while but other than that, i guess with the typewriter, there is nothing obsolete about it. it is a marvelous machine. and tesometimes i think maybe,
maybe just maybe, it is writing the books. >> next call for david mccullough comes from hawaii. this is stu. >> how are you? aloha. >> please go ahead. >> the question for mr. mccullough was that just a personal aside, i feel the will of the american voters and if thwarted place in the last 16 years because of the electoral college. in his opinion, and his blended opinion, is there any future for the american electoral college in america's future? >> the electoral college, sir. >> that is a very very good question. as we know, mrs. clinton received almost 3 million votes above what was voted for
president trump. and that raises a big question. and i have learned not to talk about something that i do not know as much about as i need to know what i'm talking about. my opinion is, my sense is that yes, we need to re-examine the process. and do so seriously. because in a sense it is a violation of the will of the people. but we have a lot of problems to solve before we get to that. >> david mccullough won a pulitzer prize for his two books on us presidents. john evans and harry truman. the next call from comes from kevin in hartford connecticut. kevin you are on booktv. >> hello gentlemen.mr. mccullough i have a question for you. the first book i ever bought of yours was 1776. i followed that up with john adams. i live with hbo did with the
miniseries and i know you put a lot of work in on that as well. i cannot help but wonder if there was ever any desire on your part to be involved in similar projects for 1776? i think bthat would make a fantastic miniseries or drama. >> not only is it under consideration, we have a number of people who have already done important work on the idea. tom hanks is the one that is interested in it. he of course, as you probably know, is s the one who produced and had a very important role in the creation of the john adams miniseries on hbo. so the answer to the question is yes. and i hope it will happen. very much. >> who was running the country between the constitutional convention of r87 and george
washington's presidency? >> congress. and congress had some difficult issues to settle. for one thing, we were in the midst of a terrible depression. people don't understand that. and the depression lasted as long as the war had. and most people do not understand how long that war lasted. 8 and a half years. except for vietnam it is the longest war we had ever been involved in. the plight of people, particularly in new england was really serious. and people going to jail for death. which was not what they had fought the war four. and it led to what was known as -- rebellion. there was a very unsettled and unsettling time. and it was the northwest ordinance that was passed by the congress.
one of the most far-reaching decisions any congress ever made.that provided the opportunity of inexpensive land for veterans of the revolution and the wealth money they had been paid which was called a script which was only worth about $0.10 on the dollar. so it was the opening up of the west as it was unknown or northwest which was north and west of the ohio river. which ultimately became immensely important states of ohio, illinois, indiana, michigan and wisconsin. and that was among the most important decisions of that congress. and that came just before the decision on the constitution which happened that same year. >> there is a new book on the
northwest territories coming out, isn't there? >> is in the works, yes it is. very deep into it and i enjoyed it greatly. >> next call for david mccullough comes from -- in maryland. are you with us? we are going to move on, let's hear from ron. ron is calling in from valencia california. ron, we're listening. go ahead. >> hello mr. mccullough. i read several of your books. but one of my most fond memories and thoughts of you is when you did a political roundtable with david -- and i wonder if you would talk about that for a moment. >> i would like to talk about
that because both david and george are wonderful men. david is no longer living. the honor of sharing innermost feelings, interpretations of what was happening in the world with those two, it was a good spirited -- one of the translated david was always full of good cheer. and he spent his summers on the island of nantucket. and rsi went over to give a tal on this. what i do not very often go to. my wife and i before the event took place for taking a stroll on the main street. and a car came along. and window rolled down and the voice of david shouted out, get
out this island there is not room enough for two of us. [laughter] and i thought there is a truly good guy. he never let his fame for his importance go to his head. he maintained a sense of humanity. which ceis what we all needed. do not get too full up with ourselves. fino matter who we are or what do. >> how anonymously can you be -- how anonymous can you be these days? >> not as much but i enjoy it. i do not mind people stopping me to talk or shake my hand. i like it. i have always liked being with people, i have always been raised to be open to everybody. and i tried what i'm teaching and atlecturing and calling these, i tried to encourage students to talk to people, ask
the questions. and with the idea that you will never meet anyone who doesn't know something you kndon't know. no matter how much educational opportunity they have had. do not turn your back with keeping in touch with everybody. as your experiences progress. >> if you want and live coverage of the national book festival this year you saw david mccullough earlier in conversation with david rubenstein. 2500 people in a packed room. people waiting in line as you can see around the set here, quite a crowd gathered to see mr. mccullough.raymond and delaware, please go ahead. >> hello mr. mccullough. and i wanted to speak with you. i have many of your books. as one of our noted historians can you comment on one of the most recent elevated efforts to take down our national statues? does that have withstood time
over 150 years? thank you. >> i find that very complicated and emotionally charged issue. i think that when the statue was built, when the edifice was created in memory of someone, it has a great deal to do with whether or not it is something that maybe ought to come down. the statues to the heroes of the confederacy that were put up in the 1890s, were being put 89up at a time when racism was rampant in the south and black people were being hanged by mobs. it was an ugly, horrible ideal of equality in our country. if it was a monument erected as per george washington who own
slaves and it was long well before the civil war then i say no. that is not how they felt about the subject then. it was very different. keep in emind that this civil war was fought on the principles of slavery had to stop. slavery was evil. and those who fought against that were saying no, slavery is all right. it can stay. that is very, very different. if we lost more human beings and not more than any war we've ever been involved in. and to ignore that is one side was right, and the other was wrong is to live in a kind of age of romanticism. now, having said that, i am more concerned about monuments, statues we have not raised. here we are in the nation's capital and there is no monument, no buildings in the memory of john adams.
one of the most important figures in all of our history. so we ought to be thinking more about the people for whom we should be ohonoring. i think there ought to be statues for the most gifted and devoted an important and influential teachers in our country in every city we have. and every town. because they are doing the most important work of any of us. and they have been doing it all wrong. and they do not get enough credit. it isn't that they are just not paying enough, we cannot celebrate them enough. for what they do for all of us, for our children, our grandchildren and for us. >> last call for david mccullough comes >>from adele i -- miguel in corpus christi. >> hello. things are good. we were fortunate the storm went 30 miles west north of us.
we got some of it but unfortunately for the surrounding communities, it was houston aggressive front of it but thank you for asking. >> well the whole country is thinking about texas and will be for a long time. and all of us chip in and help to contribute to help the people in this. and we will, we do! that is the way we are as americans. >> yes, i also lived in houston for a while in houston ethnically and it is diverse city. mr. mccullough, my question is, his opinion regarding the electorate and how we select national candidates, much has been written and said about the kennedy and nixon debate. have television changed how we vote for people. and now we are in a situation
where social media, television and a generation that has grown up with that.and i wonder if the future, with the current president and people in the future, something changed in the electorate and what is valued -- >> ipod as we are getting close on time. we have enough to work with there. david mccullough? >> is a very important question. we'll never really understand the impact of television on all of us. but it is s here to stay and it is part of our life. i for one think that the first amendment is among the most important bedrock foundations of the whole way of life. i think that the journalists who have been governing this presidency and the election, that led to the presidency, journalists spoke in print and
on television and on electronic means of communication. with some acceptance to have done a superb job and are doing a superb job and they ought to get four more credit than they do. they are brave, their professional and we have to remember that having that kind of coverage is essential to our way of life. >> this is david mccullough's most recent book, the american spirit, who we are and what we stand for. his next book is on the northwest territory, the northwest ordinance. >> thank you. >> this is an era before cable-television. i'm incapable news was not there really.
it was before cnn and other news. the talk radio, there was the big media. and c-span. and he quickly realizes the potency of giving special orders every afternoon. giving a five minute speech. because it was being carried over the cable to homes around the country. and former congressman -- and he said of course that is what you are doing with c-span. special orders every afternoon. so c-span became, quickly becomes a political leader and
he's getting 700 letters a week from people around the country. to the backbench, a junior member from georgia who is already achieving a national power. >> watch after words on c-span2's booktv. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good morning everyone! welcome to the third mississippi book festival. i am chris goodwin