tv Bill Minutaglio and Steve Davis The Most Dangerous Man in America CSPAN February 17, 2018 11:01pm-12:01am EST
"broken" can the senate save itself and the country. we are out of time. i congratulate you on a well-written book and i hope our audience will take the time to read it. thank you very much. >> guest: thank you, tom. .. [laughter] >> select author -- no, no we're not going that far. well definitely, those that are here good afternoon and welcome
to book passage. thank you for not only supporting an afternoon event which is not very common. but for supporting local, your local independent bookstore. i'm paula i'll be your host. as always, you're welcome to take photos of today's vent and share with friends and family about how wonderful book passage is. but please remember to silence your phones. if you haven't bought the book today's featured book, feel free to do so either now or right afterwards because both of the authors will be happy to sign your books. and with that -- we can get started in 1971 timmy leery ex-harvard professor dubbed high priest of lsd run for governor against ronald reagan. escaped from prison and a set off a dynamic chain of events involving groups such as the weather underground and black panther an president nixon there
was almost too wild to belief. but true they were in its all chronicled in today's featured book the most dangerous man in america. authors bill -- minatalglio combined research of events, with just recently uncovered sources which i'm sure they'll tell us about that, and firsthand interviewers. the result it is are fun, fast, trippy, historical thriller that spans time, politics, encounter, culture, america. this is definitely a page turner. and as i told them when i first met them, it's begging to be a movie or tv series. i don't think they intended that when they wrote it but boy it sure could be. it's a page turner. and bill is an award-winning awrtd who has written several books including dallas, 1963.
he has also written for "the new york times" and washington post, among others. and steven is the president of the texas institute of letters. and has written four books focusing on icon class including dallas in 1963 with bill and with that, hold on to your seats get ready for the ride. and please welcome to book passage bill and steve. thanks so much paula i can hear myself so i guess you can hear me too. bill and i got on a plane in os it been this morning iftion up at 4:00 three hours earlier than i'm normally awake so phil do my best to sound like i know what i'm saying and we'll -- but you didn't have any trouble waking up this morning -- >> still not technically awake. so i'll stay up you know all
night and -- >> i slept i think -- an extra hour than you did. yeah. well, it has -- it's great to see you all. thanks for coming out today. as you notice we don't have a moderator so we'll ask other questions so i'm going to start by asking bill to tell us about meeting timny leary. >> sure. i should ask is anyone here met tim he spent a lot of time in this part of the world. yeah. i would like to talk to you later we probably should have interviewed you for the book if you've seen mistakes don't point them out to us publicly. thank you. [laughter] yeah i met tim -- in the early 1980s and it was actually a somewhat similar gig to what we're doing right now. he had written a book called
"flashbacks" that was his autobiography and he was pass through houston on his tour. and you know one of those things slow day at the newspaper where i was working the houston chronicle. and editor said anybody like to interview timmy leary i knocked over everybody in my path and said yes let me do it. and it was an extraordinarily memorable day i had spent the afternoon with him several hours -- in the oldest oldest or bar actually building that happened to have old oest bar in the city of houston it was raining outside, and we just -- talked for hours and hours and hours and at the end of the conversation he said -- it somewhat mysteriously like let's stay in touch i didn't know if he meant telepathically or whatever but he gave my his phone number to be serious and i
had in my rolex i remember organize od under letter i like looking at it said l. leary timmy so i would call him over the year and he was very gracious to just talk with me. and i like to say i'll let steve you know weigh in -- on all of this and how we with got interested really in working on tim. but in the conversations that i had with him he was predicting certain things that are familiar to us now like the internet. i don't know -- if al gore is still being credited by some invented it but tim talked about a lot look how how human would be connected in ways through portable computers and a lot of things we take for granted now tim was very, very visionary that's the kind of stuff that we would talk about. half of it i didn't understand. but -- my fascination with him kind of lingered and then -- when steve and i became friends we worked together on a book.
i was mentioned earlier that was kind of a -- heavy weight book in the sense of it being kind of grinding. it was about the prelude to assassination of president kennedy and said maybe we should work on something that -- that occasion is heavy but in the same time i would have comic absurdity working on that. >> let me ask you because tim talked to you about this period in his life and you guys heard a little bit of what this book sb. you know, timmy leary had been running against ronald reagan for governor of california. he had a campaign song for him does anybody know about that song that john lennon wrote for him. come together, join the party which the beatles, of course, recorded as come together, and he got busted for having two joints in his family station wagon and he bairvegly got the maximum sentence he was -- sent to --
california u up on the cusp of turning 50 years old and decided to break out of prison and our book chronicles this story plus the -- ensuing 28 month hunt by increasingly obsessed richard nixon that's what i want to ask you about because tim talked about that period in his life. >> tim basically -- this is the early 80s he was trying to figure out what had happened to him what had happened in his life and it wasn't as a consequence of the, you know, easy joke while he had done too many drugs therefore he couldn't remember. our book taking look at fact that he was hunted richard nixon turned him into a poster child why did he do that? at the time period in which we were writing 1970 to 1973. nixon's approval ratings were swooning. the war in vietnam was obviously causing a lot of consternation
almost a simplistic way of framing but it was in turmoil some city were a flame and nixon we came across -- what we thought was a pretty cool find. we were listening to the secret richard nixon white house tapes. and -- >> in his tapes you know nixon was only person who knew these tapes were being made, you know, is -- is a cabinet officers and speedings had no idea. fnlings yeah. superdouble secret. but -- in one of them, nixon comes in and basically says to -- hold them in elect men and other infamous members of the intercircle of the nixon administration what can we do boys? you know, i'm not being treated fairly by the media. there's a lot of fake news out there about me and the administration what can we do and if you listen to the tapes you'll see this in the book
that -- they basically decided what they needed to do was divert attention away from a lot of the big headline issues. the war, the draft, resistance to the draft. student revolution, the black panther movement. and they declared a war on drugs and they thought that that might really resonate out of the american heartland people would go that's a greater enemy that's something you really should be afraid of. and -- the clever thinking was we need to demonize someone i don't know if this is familiar in terms of the political environment but we need to find someone a american seem to like it to find someone wearing black hat a villain to decide it would be timny leary and opening pages of the book not to give too much away. nixon with his aids actually began with great excitement they have identified poster child and they're chanting timmy leary nixon yelling out we have room in the prisons for him, and
that's really how our -- i would call it an adventure story begins. >> you know, when -- really when we set out to write this book we both were interest in the tim leary we read the biography of tim which has a pretty negative slangt on tim as a person but has this one small really intriguing chapter about this episode in tim's life, and we both been arranged stories and enough to think to ourselves there's really something more there that hasn't been told, and so that's when we talked about tim and we thought at that point that new york public library had acquired leary archive that was 600 plus boxes of material. that had just been cataloged and valuable to researchers so we were able to take advantage of that. and o.c. you know all of the nixon tapes now -- most of them many of them have been -- digitized and are relatable to listen to. and i still remember when bill had headphones on and heard that white house tape and it was, you
know, called me up immediately to tell me what he had found because we went into this. we wanted to tell leary's story about -- you know the weather undergroundbreaking him out of prison to see if we could find on that and his life on the land what cleaver and black pan they are you may know that the -- algerian government in those years did not recognize as the legitimate representative of the american people and instead they recognized the black panther party as legitimate representative of the united states people. so the black panthers were tbich their own very, very opulent embassy in al jeers and a they set up a government exile to plot, you know, the revolution against babylon here back home. and so -- so little is known about that time and even about the panthers themselves in algeria during those years and archives were just extraordinary for us to get into. you know papers at uc berkeley gary newton at stanford everyone
a strange little collection of black panther material at texas a&m university a conservative well known conservative school in texas that has this archive and what we found in that archive was fascinating because this gives you a window into this time and place where people are living moment to moment -- and what we found there is -- the wife at that time you guys know who that was -- she was pretty famous icon kathleen cleaver you know a famous photograph of her wearing miniskirt brandishing a rifle during this revolutionary era seen as a strong feminist but found looking at black panther papers it was a very different story in how kathleen was treated how women in the counterculture were treated at that time. and this was really beginning newness of the feminism. and kathleen's case -- eldridge would discipline her
for misbehavior and one of the punishments to require kathleen to write down eve single thing that she did every day in the black panther embassy and follow report with her husband. and you know, kathleen was worried in person she was real educated only panther fluent in french and algeria for example, she's one who dealt with the government ministers, the irate landlords demanding back due payments on rent for panther apartments and things like that. so these paper use see this extraordinarily detailed day-to-day county on what's gong on inside the black panther embassy dealing with this crazy the threat of having lsd professor timmy show up at their doorstep begging for asylum but what i wanted to get to is when we sought out to tell this story we wanted to follow tim leary through this adventure until he got recaptured before outwaiting law enforcement j. edgar who said having ten years when he heard of the first breakout, an a we kind of stumbled into this
amazing nixon component. which -- was really extraordinary. j you know in the acknowledge ment section of our book, thank you section of the book the first line saying thank you to tim leary for leading an interesting life and that's the height of an understatement. he led -- we're biased, of course, we wrote a book about him but he led extraordinarily pass night life. a lot of it -- self-directed a lot of it, visited upon him when you have the president of the united states in a little room, just outside o the oval office basically declaring war on you. then that you're life becomes interesting for good or bad and in his case some bad reasons. but -- he was intelligence and influential person and a some of this might be lost through the prism of history but he was on the cover of every major magazine in poizing i suppose in
a way because he was viewed as devil incarted other saw him as a guru or mentor, leader someone who can make the world a better place simply put. and so i was described him really a cork in a raging river he wept out into life and things happened to him. and he like a cork he gets submerged a little bit an he pop right back up. the book again not to give too much away we hope you'll buy books in bulk they make great gifts but you know we begin with him being brought to -- to heal bairvegly being brought to prison. and then book marches forward chronologically following his escapade steve mentioned this in our generous introduction you heard it too that he bugs out of prison extremely unlikely person to bust out of a well guarded california prison. there were other people there
who might have been on the short list to get out ahead of him and it was quite, quite dramatic he did it with the assistance of the joined forces of if you will of the most important people in the underground -- the domestic revolutionaries of the time, the weather undergrounder literally black panthers and then a really fascinating group that some of you might have heard of called brotherhood of eternal love. who were discredited as biggests american drug cartel in american history and a bunch of southern surfer dudes who bring pot inside their surfboards that are hallowed out. there was a gaggle of people in -- laguna beach and you know down south who really believed in tim leary and helped to fund his escape they gave money to some of the revolution to help him
and then we were, i was on national public radio talk talkg about tim and i refer to him as mr. magu on lsd and like to reel what a back in a sense because people don't remember who he is. but -- that he was that -- if mr. magu was visionary enlightened and moving at warp speed in terms of -- you know his surroundings other o people arranged him then you would have tim leary but what i meant is when tim would open a door and step through it he would open doors out of the curiosity that involved a lot of his experimentation with lsd. he would jump through that door. other people would walk through it ten tiferly but he would jump through it and -- the way i describe it on the radio is plummet. he would suddenly go zooming down into the darkness but hit a trampoline and vault up to the floor -- above one in which he first entered that door.
and then that's the way his life, you know, was led and, you know, this steve said, we took a look at tim leary and said this is a really unique american cultural icon. how can we write about him? you know in a way that is different and relevant there's been a full dress biography done by attempts but we thought this 28-period identified by nixon is public enemy number one therm comparing him to al capone at the white house. [laughter] and -- you know, we decided let's start from there until he's finally captured 28 months later because in that time period, we can really understand his personality in the way america was changing. kind of the birth of this demonization in politics, the birth of paranoid politics. but then also just simply as a -- as a yarn you know just this rip roaring adventure of a guy who actually was able toll stay -- several feet ahead of richard
nixon. not a insubstantial now but amazing feet. he went under cover after getting out of prison. he was spirited out of the country. things that would just not happen today full disguise went to algeria. had to actually flee algeria for reasons that we outline in our book. he really thought perhaps he would be killed there. or -- the minimum he was being held who is tailing he was being held a prisoner yet again -- by the black panthers so he escaped from there he goes into europe. pee starts running into andy warhol trying to communicate with heath richards going down to secret is mailbox dropoffs where john lennon is sending had him letters with $5,000 in them to keep them ahead of the law ahead of nixon so he kept leading more interesting life culminating not too much with going away to afghanistan which
i think -- might strike you as unlikely place to seek refuge especially today. back then tim thought it would be a safe hideout. but -- i won't give can't ending. [laughter] last part takes place in afghanistan at least half part and while tim is skepping ahead of nixon during these years that's at the same time where nixon is beginning to sort of -- to lose control of his sanity in the white house. he becomes increasingly paranoid on o seasessed with enemies. and of course you know, there's as you mentioned age of paranoia nixon ordered that secret white house taping equipment stalled in february 1971, also in algeria february 1971 when cleaver ordered secret taping recorded in embassy there so one of those kind of crazy --
times in americaing and in the world that was really -- a lot of it the great fun of working on this -- book is sort of recapturing that manic spirit. you know it was -- it was a wild ride for a lot of people at that time and it certainly had its ups and downs. but it was interesting time to say the least. and what -- what we really if you found tooe followed this case was seeing the amazing levels of pressure that richard nixon and his administration exerted on the foreign governments that were -- offering asylum to tim leary so when you talked about tim you know, falling out of a -- nine-story window and hitting trampoline coming up and landing on ten story window whatever. whenever he felling out from algeria days later he's like in this billionaire house overlooking lake geneva with being served by -- all kind of servants everything. extraordinary change of circumstances.
and -- but you could see what the nixon administration is doing, and for example, when tim was in algeria, you know we did not have dipmatic relations but our secretary of state william p. rogers met with the minister to have this discussion about the u.s. and algeria eventually having some kind of relationship. guess what the secretary of state talked about in this meeting and are you holding tim leary why not? so this was most important priority for nixon you know, in materials of his foreign policy it seemed when tim was in algeria i'm sorry in afghanistan. you know that regime was -- really leaning towards the soviet union at time and front line of the cold war it was incredibly strategicking go political gold for us to have good relationship with afghanistan. we were giving them all kind of foreign aid and stuff. but the regime there -- the kingings throne it was a
little bit shaky unstable. and when went in just hard to get tim leary out of afghanistan and risk sort of losing a lot of what we had invested in that country. so to see that and ilk say one other thing about tim leary gets become to the brotherhood of internal love. you'll see in the book that switzerland of the a little bit reluctant to surrender timmy leary for arrested for two joints because in switzerland that would be basically the equivalent of a parking ticket. so nixon administration teamed up with a lot of prosecutors in u.s. to -- to do what we talked about earlier make him public enemy number one and at this point tied in with internal love as god father essentially and there was a $5 million bond put on his head at that time which was had the highest criminal bond ever posted for individual america. so -- yeah nixon sent attorney general john mimple el to switzerland
the bairvegly lean on the swiss and say give us leary. kind of lost history i think we were -- going to pat ourselves on the back i think hasn't been written about a lot that was the level of obsession that nixon said. i was going to say the thing that -- kept amazing us i think as we worked on about tim was his ability to -- encounter interesting poem and he was writing letters to mick jagger saying can you send a boat to algeria to rescue me and use this world that he lived in. he was best friends with alan ginsberg great american poet, and communicated with him, you know, enormously. and then when tim was funnelly captured and brought back after this -- unbelievable catch me if you can escapade that does seem like something out of a movie. he is brought to prison very
famous prison, obviously, in he hears someone a new cell mate whom he keapght see it person cell next door -- trying to communicate with him, and welcoming him and tim finally figures it out that -- is that charlie? charlie manson? so -- right from the beginning you know in the white house nixon is talking about about him and not giving away too much of the plot of our book but it is essentially concludes with tim's most unusual conversation with charlie manson about what road to take and charlie basically said paraphrasing but i believe in the power of death and tim said i believe in the power of love. and that was it. i guess there was another, another kind of concluding scene that i don't to give away too much.
but tim nixon library here. >> no tell that story. yeah that might ring true or might be relevant to anybody or visited the nixon library. in your fine state tim decide basically he was at war with nixon and they were at war with each other. you know both prnlly but really for what each other stood for. you know if manson stood for death in some way and tim stood for love i'm not sure what nixon stood for maybe that's for another discussion. but i'm just, they were defined by each forever and ever and ever. and tim decided late in his life and nixon life he needed to perform an exorcism nixon so he bairvegly arranged to be invited to the nixon library i don't think the library really knew
who it was that they were -- allowing and it was guying of being a high-tech future looking kind of conference. >> having financial difficulties weren't attracting to visitors but renting playing out so they were allowing girl scout cookie sales there too. i don't know. but they -- i'm kidding but tim managed to arrange -- growppedz and performed what said was an exorcism on richard nixon. i all that we know is what we reported and wrote in the book that nixoned away a few months after that exorcism. [laughter] but we would be glad do you think there's anything else -- any questions? [inaudible conversations] well i think rather take
questions. you guys -- yeah. i mean. that's nice of you to ask, though. if there were any. we could -- we could tell some more tim leary stories you wish with. but -- you know i'm curious about -- what questions with you might have. >> so i have a question for you. you talked about is -- indulgence and playful lness, and many other qualities. how about his sensitivity? did any of that come through in your research that tim was psychologically a sensitive person to other people. i found that to be the case. >> yeah well i'll tell you this and a i would like to hear your experience. i really did have feeling when i was speaking with him that -- he was in the moment and i was having a really interesting conversation far ranging -- but i also felt that he was -- he was kind of hovering above the whole thing and thinking about who i really was and where
i was really coming from. and i don't know if that was my own or paranoia but a trained or raised as a journalist so my own healthy skepticism having really wasn't really a conversation but overthinking things too much. but i think he was extremely sensitive to people and we did notice that in his research that when talking to people he wanted to know more -- you know, he wanted to know something deeper than what you were talking about in the moment. he certainly wanted to know that but what brought you here, context you know where did you come from -- so a trained psychologist. by the way people who might be predisposed to dismiss him as a cook or druggy, you know that's really are the way nixon wanted him portrayed his investigation into the use of lsd and other psychedelic drugs was based on trying to help people.
and that was the wellspring. he was trying to figure out how to reduce that among prisoners in california by the way. you know, people who would be in prison and come out o and then commit the same crime and then get into this sort of cycle. so he was a experimenting really trying to treat them. we feel somewhat -- validated by fact that a lot of the research that he was doing back then about about how to establish a better maybe human connection and greater sensitivity. is being reare examined a lot of people thinking this is whacky, weird, about illegal, and you know, felonious. it absolutely is being revisited there's constant literature now about -- you know, some of the things that he was looking up back then. >> other thing i say about his had personality is that, you know, there's so many different components to his personality. he was so many things to so many different people depending on
time and the place and you know, in a way he seemed to sort of transcend personality in that he could ease leave parse parts of himself behind and continue to move on and it was really seen during years in prison after recaptured when he gave the fbi investigation that was controversial to me people o in the counterculture feeding paranoia in the culture at that time and you know the way -- >> sorry hope you're head to togs about coyote trickster. >> it gets to sort of the way that you can really think of -- tim and get a sense of how he functioned in our society because he was kind of a cultural avatar he was out there ahead of so many people you know in materials of promoting psychedelic and their capabilities that they have, and maybe not quite -- understanding that the negative effects that could happen.
but we came to think of him as a culture around the world the trickster, the hero trickster and native american and southwest have this coyote trickster as they refer to ten coyote trickster is vain and foolish ridiculous but also does amaze thing no animal can do because they're daring coyote strick tear went into the heaven had and stole fire from gods and brought it back down to earth so the coyote -- can do these great things at the same time the coyote tricksters equally apt to set his own tail on fire. you know he run around screaming around for help and bound up in all of these ways the way he lived his life it was larger than life. kind of person there -- >> really good question. he was very sensitive to i think a lot of things and people. yeah. >> next question. yes. >> paula -- >> yeah i'm just --
hard to get that he was more like -- in some ways very intelligent but in some ways he seemed hapless and things, happening to him not because of anything he did but because of things that were happening to him. is that, was that your sense or do you feel like he did set things off or o kind of had some control or o was where things happening to him and he found himself in the -- you know -- >> he was helpless really in a -- world in a lot of ways with geopolitical forces unleashed gns him and this gets what to eldridge cleaver said he said you know his mind has been blown by acid and what eldridge meant was that tim leary was not a security is conscience as the panthers were who, of course, raised to be paranoid living in okay land ghetto and having cops come after a them so they lived
their life in a paramilitary fashion. tim when he took -- mushrooms for first time many of you know this story he was 40 years old in mexico. he had been a psychologist for number of years he said i've learned more about human mind in the last few hours than i have previous lifetime. and so -- it he thought this unlocked all of his human potential saw it as a positive thing so he was -- wasn't paying a lot of of attention to security issues that can see people on the left. you know that whether underground or the black panthers and -- now there's an massing adventure they undertake in algeria where tim is endanger of losing asylum so eldridge has larry meet the plo, the palestinian liberation organization which was notorious for attacking planes a the that time and tim was supposed to travel to meet and he shows up at the airport with this button on his cap that says turn on tune in, drop out.
and cleaver is like no -- it no! so he was sort of constantly just seeing best in people and not prepared for the worst which got him caught up in a lot of trouble. yeah. >> people took advantage of that openness. i think, and one of the themes that i think emerged was that tim was really a fawn in a way, unwilling pawn nixon wanted to use him for his own o device and then frankly people on other extreme you know harder edge student revolutionary of the day also thought tim could help them maybe to recruit are people there's a theme in our book called -- the marriage of dope and dynamite dope and dynamite and idea was that -- you know people whorm doing dope the hippies over here they weren't as politically active as you know some -- student ref luges theirs thought they should be. so maybe we can get there, their spiritual guru their god father tim leary to -- you know conscript them or o
bring them into the revolution so marriage of the dope and dynamite would occur. tim didn't know of any of this. he was going what wanted to get out of prison. he wanted frankly to have a lot of fun and wanted everyone else to have a lot of fun and e hopefully world be a harmonious place but in the back room nixon was figuring out tim has a lot of influence he really does. he has a legend of follow rs how do we -- either take him down or get his followers to join our rev are luges? other yeses that was actually crazy you do not smoke dope while you're driving arranged with a smell of it in your car. you don't do that. >> right. exactly. you know, fun thy thing is bill
has a great line he wrote in the book when the cop in laguna beach known for busting people you know approached the station wagon and fish two roaching oflt ashtray he hurdled cosmo on thousands of hundreds of acid trip, you know looked at the cops prize and scoffed is that is it? you be two roach, that's what you get me on but that's they needed and you're right. thatthat was kind of slip shot o personal security manifest in the bust in lour toe at the border. and, of course, we have not mentioned g. and nixon was a dedicated pursuer of tim leary and leading these busts against the compound in upstate new york the center for lsd research. >> better thing like "watergate" than he had zeroed in on tim.
>> yeah of all -- figures pops up fairly regularly in our book as he as well as obsessed in hunting down tim leary so you know you have earned your stripe as l. after you. >> it's all right to think, you know, what just happened in california -- in san francisco all of the old marijuana senses got struck right. they were -- expunged from the record and -- here's guy that held 28 months with entire u.s. government chases him all over the world for -- that. i don't yeah i don't think it's a big leap to connect the dots between you know tim's o work if you and what he was doing frankly being busted and then becoming a spokesperson for -- for relaxation of drug laws to where we are today. i think he did have a big influence. > you know, what tim -- his platform is candidate for
california governor you know -- was basically let's legalize pots and then sell it through government controlled stores and have the tax revenue go to the state. and he also said he wouldn't live in govan mansion but pitch a tee fee in the lawn and live in that. [laughter] other questions. >> stuff to work with here. a few months ago, an author about about a biography affair -- u housley -- [inaudible conversations] would you, of course, involve that mansion in new york and -- brotherhood, et cetera. >> interesting. one of the people who i knew -- was that was with him -- bears who made several hundred thousand maybe million of acid got distributed to brotherhood he spent some time in prison too. >> i saw that sunshine makers
you're talking about. an complengt program. very well done. and who is your friend then? >> tim skully. great. yeah. he acquired a ph.d. in psychology while he was in prison. >> right. right. anyway to work it was a computer programmer which is why -- >> brilliant person. steve jobs talked about -- i think the use of lld and i think steve gone here tim had read college speak and i think enduring imprint on him hard to quantify's influence but when you do a semiautobiographical work it is really more of a thrill or adventure story but you see these things, these moments in history and time when you forgive me predicting future or changing it in some way by people listening to him and following him, and tim was
extraordinarily important person. i love coming to -- i think steve does he love coming to book readings it is really wonderful to be here. we with did one in houston where -- we took a -- question from someone who was sitting in the second row and he raised his hand and said let's not really a question that i have. but i want to the tell you something i shot tim leary ashes into outer space. [laughter] i said well please stay afterwards i would like to talk to you and how much did that cost? [laughter] by the way -- but, in fact, he was times ashes some of his ashes were shot into -- earth's orbit along with gene inventor of star trek just about right and you know i was talking to the guy who had done this work, it's guy in texas the kind of thing we do down in texas. we shoot people's ashes down out
er space in our spare time but talking to tim building up to that, you know, building up to -- you know, frankly his passing away. making preparation for this thing and thought was that tim's ashes would reenter earth's atmosphere and some way we would all be ingesting tim and whatever tim might have ingested in material of knowledge or anything else so -- [laughter] i like to think of that was his comic absurdity of a laugh of -- a good hearted laugh that he might have had on us. there could be a little bit of tim out in the floating down in the parking lot right here. [laughter] >> yep. >> i came in late -- sorry blow up saturn? >> no we didn't -- >> oh. are you are sure you want to admit to that now? we're on tv. [laughter]
did you know at the time -- saturn was considered -- and getting rid of it would definitely help. the as logical situation for the whole world and they thought taking lsd is nothing compared to blowing up planets. >> that's right. [laughter] you know i think when tim planned his prison breakout he realized heavily on a computerized -- state is of the art computerized astrological forecast to determine right time to do it. so -- >> helping? >> it worked. yes, right. done that again before going to afghanistan but you know can't win them all. smg it was amazing a computerized basically huge, huge precinctout of -- stars would align and when right moment would be, and yeah. it did work.
so -- >> the great things you find in the lear archive we mentioned 600 boxes that public libraries that had a huge astrological forecast that was prepared for him -- [inaudible conversations] >> frifer me for interrupting you -- you know sob you're sitting this the new york public library that looks like hogwarts to feel like a library should look burnished wood with a dark cavern, and dusty tone. it felt, you know, rich with history and we were being given boxes many of which folks hngt seen yet because some of the papers were recently released to public so we happen haded to be lucky to be will at the head of other o folks and you know reaching inside and here are letters from alan ginsberg and letters from john lennon and letters from alsly. ciaments -- fbi documents. which by the way not to interrupt but i will say that --
we first tban working on this book we filed our four-year request freedom of action request with the fbi to get the leash leary paper, files and you know it's four years later now we still have not gotten those papers from the government but tim manage to get those during his own lifetime is a good chunk are in his archive so thankfully we have that as a resource but that's how difficult it can be to get. >> the survival of his archives is almost documentary in a story on to itself. can you imagine your -- you're in prison you're on the lam you're in dis guys on the run in a foreign nation. and then you're in another foreign nation. you're hop skipping your way around globe staying ahead of the arms, the agents, attorney general of the united states. is coming after you -- and all a of the while some really, really resolute fateful -- friends of tim were keeping this paper they were keeping all of
the correspondents we dedicated our book flft to them to the stall work -- michael and bob barker who are based in sphrifng. sphrirveg san francisco they were fanned and believed what tim wases saying and advocating saying possible we would like to keep your papers for you know them from a hole in a wall but trusted them because he read them, really well and the fbi kept demanding them searching them. you know, trying to find them. they kept them hidden and then low and behold now they're in the new york public library. >> as you said that's a story in itself i should mention that michael has new book coming out in a couple of months with the knock public library of selected documents from the leary archive air for those of you interested in this topic check that out as well. >> the scope of his life -- is rather amazing in the archives again.
i keep going said this four times. pretty cool to me to be sitting there reaching into a box not knowing what's in there. and here's a letter from, you know, john and yoko to tim, that essentially says you know here's $5,000 back in the day -- 1970s worth you know a lot more. just to help you stay free. to be free. we mentioned come together but it was really written in inspired written for tim inspired by tim so that's something to think about he was close to john lennon but as well on give peace a chance. the other beatles song -- john gives a big shoutout to tim leary in the song if you listen carefully he shouts out timmy leary. clapping tim right there clapping he's youtube videos
from the famous bet-in you remember -- stayed in bed to protest war and bring down peace. tim was there as well. [laughter] he was a -- bit of a forrest gump in a way and those means that he was omnipresence seemed to show up and had outrageous adventures really -- >> center of so many of the -- >> yeah. yeah. >> if you have one -- let's do one more question -- okay, yes, sir. >> okay two nor start with -- >> yeah, please. >> write it and how do you collaborate on how you research together. but it seems like quite a project in a lot of time spent together and how does that work for you guys? >> it's actually you know it's -- bill and i both strong willed poem and vision driven so it can be difficult. we had some difficult times. we've been good friends for a
long time and so, you know to me the friendship is always been the most important thing. and that really kind of carries us through difficult times that we have bill is gracious and generous but in terms of the writing he's a little bit -- genius sort of a -- >> words roll out of bill like, you know, gusher in a way. >> i have to interrupt your book you're hearing fiction now our book is nonfiction. >> but the way it was really started is each of us would -- four main sections of the book we would each start with -- you know divide it we would each take two sections and then we would rewrite each other's work constantly although i can pick out bill phrases because they're just gorgeous. but -- by the end it was a unified voice in the story telling this was something we did dallas 1963 book as well so we both relengtless researchers and just --
try to find everything and everybody to fill in the story too. and then -- >> yeah other guy said mysterious when someone is asks that question just like a marriage. leave it at that. [laughter] >> but no it works steve was a brilliant writer and a great researcher, and one of my best friend in life so we made it really, really easy. one thing i want to o tell you you almost have to hover of bo this it look down at one day trying to figure out what is this book about. what's the beating heart of it in the mar owe of the deep -- >> before we tell you we have done this book on the far right in dallas and how they created the city of hatred. that was notorious for its zealous treaty and on opposition to jfk an emotional book to write and hard charging in lots of negative things that the tea
party came out of dallas in 1963 in the way they hated jfk. so going into this book i still kind of had that same mindset, you know,-like we've got tension beginning on and then we have this great barbecue summit that i hope you tell us about. >> yeah. we sad man we with should we live in different cities like in austin steve lives in a beautiful town of new texas which is south in between san antonio and austin >> texas hill country. a nice part of a it shall >> superpretty there and so we toangt get to see each other a lot but let's meet at a barbecue place in texas people go to war over who has the best barbecue, and i let steve pick the spot he knows better than i do so we went to this very small -- town in luluing oil and barbecue i think that is what they got going there. it was a regionally paimtion
famous old legendary place a city market i think it was called shooting the breeze eating, you know, big plates of texas brisket, and -- then we just sort of had this -- little saul to damascus moment being the moment of a little bit bit of enlightenment occurred hey what about what would tim do, and paraphrasing but he would be smiling and laughing how absurd this was at the end of the day even nixon. and even through all of the turmoil and of being hunted and charlie manson is cell mate it has made for absurd humor basically that is prison that -- it >> that's how we -- we left there slated with we have a lot of barbecue weird thing is you have to fir this. deep, deep, deep in the heart of texas, i mean, really deep -- we suddenly were yelling black
panthers -- [laughter] remember tried to bomb the pentagon the sheriff was going to come. but -- we were -- talked about some football team. >> maybe it does. [laughter] it could be. but it was sort of a guiding light i like to think -- this was getting a little high pollutant here but tim was looking down. like light opinion up. maybe you could inject try to figure out a way as grief as circumstances were to inject but we try to do that. i would say i don't know how you felt steve that was hardest thing of all for us to do is work together. how do you pied the balance a lot of people would say you know, being underround and that is not comic or nor is being in prison. >> if you think about richard
nixon when he was president not funny at all but later becomes comic villain you know, in a way. so -- >> find that voice. when you're talking about it injecting humor. >> i think really that's where -- yeah we work together i think really well because a lot of stuff when i was writing things that i was writing things that were not in any known language whatsoever, with and steve would say please come back. bill come back. i was untethered from the spacecraft and steve was a really editor in addition to being a fine writer so he would, you know, reel me back in and sometimes i would say hey steve let's, you know, maybe step on the gas here laisht and we went become and forth. it was really not that -- that complex. i would write steve would write something and share with me. and then i would write something and share with him and you know hey why don't you write this time period o o or this section or scene. okay i'll take a crack at it and
share. >> when you are writing like that there's a point for those of you who are writers you know about this but really it is not about your ego but work itself is the object once you're close to the vision it's about that. it becomes easy to qok together on the same team for that goal. >> it is hard when you're trying to do narrative nonfiction. i would say -- you know we really wanted people to read the book. who wouldn't right because anybody who was sitting up here talking about their tome would say that. i wanted my kids to read it. i have a 25-year-old daughters and a 20-year-old son. and they don't know who timmy leary is they barely know who richard nixon is and what that time petered was was and we lived like that many did too. so i kept thinking of that how can we write this in a real mobile way and narrative way a
literary nonfiction way that will you know we chose to write the book in present tense. we thought that would give you a flavor for yeah the manic -- you know, intensity at the time it was really things were really, you know, scary and intense and thrilling. so i think that challenge for us was how to find that sounds pretentious but that creative voice to both share that we would both find common ground in. and i think, you know, through -- a lot of -- [laughter] through a lot of going back and forth we figured it out. >> took a few barbecue summits to get through but you guys have been great. ivelgt that was your question. yeah. thank you very much. thanks so much y'all. thank you very much. [applause] yes i think successful and crossing different genera with your book but end result is captivating and thrilling and phage turner and we have them at every register in the store.
so feel free to buy several copies if you -- must. and they will sign i'll get you set up so you can comfortably sign. thank you again for coming outs on a wednesday afternoon. and supporting book passage. [laughter] well every month for past 20 years one of the nation's top nonfiction authors has joined us on in-depth program for a fascinateing three-hour conversation about their work. now, just for 2018 in-depth is changing course, we've invited 12 fiction author it is on to our set. author it is of historical fiction national security thriller, science writers, social commentator like coalson and brad cory doctor and gerald
brooks and many other os their books have been read by millions around the country and around the world so if you are a reader plan to join us for indepght on booktv. it's an interactive program first sunday of every month that lets you call in and talk directly to your favorite authors. ... and now we are live in savannah georgia. .. .. celeste headley on the importance of indications in dm stillman on the relationship between sitting bull and buffalo bill. follow along the day on all our social media sites face the