tv Bill Minutaglio and Steve Davis The Most Dangerous Man in America CSPAN February 25, 2018 10:00am-11:01am EST
10 pm eastern. the keys afterwards nine, tar westover details are like growing up with survivalist parents in the idaho mountains and her introduction to formal education at age 17. and we wrap up our primetime programming can with the 10 american literary awards that recognize books in a range of categories from biography and science writing to essays and poetry. that all happens tonight on tv, television for serious readers. >>. [inaudible] no, we're not telling that one. well, definitely those that are here this afternoon, welcome and thank you for not only supporting an afternoon event which is not very common, but for supporting your local independent bookstore. i'll be your host as always, you are welcome to take
photos of the days events and share with friends and family on how wonderful this can be remembered to silence your phones. if you haven't bought the book, today's featured book, feel free to do so. you can do so now or right afterwards because both of the authors will be happy to sign your book . and with that, we can get started. in 1971, timothy leary was dubbed the high priest of lsd who had run for governor against ronald reagan. this put him in prison and set off a dynamic change in events involving groups such as the weather underground in the black panthers and president nixon.that was all too wild to believe, but true they were and it'sall chronicled in today's featured book , "the most dangerous man of america". authors bill minutaglio and stephen davis combined research of previously known
events with just recently uncovered sources which i'm sure they will tell us about that and in person interviews. the results are a fun, fast 50 historical thriller that spans time, politics and counterculture 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 a tv series. i don't think they intended that when they wrote it, but it sure could be. it's a page turner and bill is an award-winning author who has written several books including dallas 1963. he has also written for the new york times and washington post among others and stephen is the president of the texas institute of letters and has written four books on iconoclasts including dallas
1963 with bill and with that, hold onto your seats, get ready for the ride and please welcome to book passage bill and stephen. [applause] >> thank you so much paula. i can hear myself, you can hear me too? bill and i got on a plane in austin this morning, i was up at 4:00 which is three hours earlier than i normally would be . i like to know what i'm seeing and but you didn't have any trouble waking up thismorning . >> i'm nottechnically awake . >> i just thought we would stay up all night. >> i think the extra hour. >> well, it's great to see you all. thanks for coming out today. as you notice, we don't actually have a moderator you ask us open questions we will
do the best we can. and i'm going to start by asking bill to tell us about meeting timothy leary. >> i should ask has anyone here met tim? i spent a lot of time as part of his world . i got to talk and publish an interview after the book, if you see any mistakes, they will pointed out to us publicly. yes, i met tim in the early 1980s. it was actually a somewhat similar data what we are doing right now. he hadwritten a book called flashbacks . it was his autobiography. passing through houston on his tour and you know, it was one of those things. slow day at the newspaper where i was working, the east chronicle and an editor said would anybody like to interview timothy leary and i knocked over everybody in my
path and said yes, absolutely. unequivocally, let me do it. and he was an extraordinarily memorable person. i spent the afternoon with him, several hours in the oldest bar, actually the oldest building that happened howthe oldest bar in the city of houston . it was raining outside and we just talked for hours and hours and at the end of the conversation, he said that some what mysteriously, let's stay in touch. and i didn't know if you meant telepathically or whatever, but he gave me his phone number to be serious and i had. i had in my rolodex for a long time. it was a letter on the rolodex, after we organize and i like just looking at it . i call him once in a while over the years and he was very gracious to just talk with me and i like to say that steve, i'll have him
wail in on all this but in the conversations that i had with him, he was predicting certain things that are familiar to us now like the internet, i know. is al gore's still being credited with investing it. but tim thought a lot about you how humans would be connected in ways through portable computers. and a lot of the things that we take for granted now, tim was very visionary in, that's the kind of stuff we would talk about. i didn't understand but my fascination with him kind of lingered and then when stephen and i became friends we work together on a book that was mentioned earlier that was kind of a heavyweight book in the sense of it being kind of grinding.
it was about the prelude to the assassination of president kennedy. we decided we would work together again. we said we should work on something that on occasion is happy but at the same time might have some comic absurdity and that'show we wound up working on this book . >> him talk to you about this period in his life and you heard about what this book is about. you had been running against robert gibbons for governor of california. he had campaign song written forhim , did 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, having his family station wagon and he basically got the maximum sentence. it was in the california men's colony, up to a 10 year sentence. he was 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 global manhunt for tim leary
by an increasingly obsessed richard nixon and that's what i wanted to ask you about because him talk to you about that period in his life. >> this is the early 80s, he was trying to figure what had happened in his life and it wasn't as a consequence, the easy joke well he had done too many drugs, therefore he couldn't remember. our book takes a look at the fact that he was hunting. richard nixon really turned him into a poster child and why would he do that? 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 . in some simplistic way of framing it but the countrywas in turmoil . some cities work aflame. and nixon, we came across what we thought was a cool find. we were listening to the secrets richard nixonwhite house tapes . and.
>> in the states, nixon was the only person who knew that these states were being made. his age, officers had no idea. >> super double secret but in one of the nixon comes in and basically says to haldeman, ehrlichman and the other infamous members of the inner circle of the nixon administration, what can we do, boys ? you know, and not being treated fairly by the media. there's a lot of fake news out there about me in the administration. what can we do? and ifyou listen to the tapes you'll see this in the book . that they basically decided what they needed to do was diver attention away a lot of the big headline issues. the war and thedraft . the assistant to the draft, student revolution, black panther movements and they declared a war on drugs and
they thought that might really resonate out of the american heartland, people would go 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 sounds familiar in today's political environment, that we need to demonize him one. we need to find someone americans seem to like, we can find someone wearing a black hat, a billing. they decided that o'leary, and in the opening pages of the book, not to give too much away illustrate that nixon with his aides began chortling with greater excitement that they identified the poster child, chanting timothy leary nixon yells out we got room in the prisons for him so that's really how, we call it an adventure story begins . >> when we set out to write
this book, we both were interested in tim leary. we both read robert greenfield's biography which has a negative slant on him as a person but had this one mall really intriguing chapter about this episode in tim's life and we both been around stories . there's really something more there that hasn't been told and so that's when we talked about tim and we still point said the new york public library acquired the very archives that was 600+ boxes of material. they had just been catalogued and available to researchers who were able to take advantage of that. and of course, all those nixon eight, most of them, many of them had been digitized and are available to listen to and i still remember when bill had headphones on and heard that white house take and call me up immediately to tell me what he has found because we went into this and really wanted to tell the story about the weather underground breaking him out of prison. we would see what we can find on that in his life on the land, what eldridge cleaver
and the white panthers in algeria. you guys may know that the algerian government in those years did not recognize richard nixon as a representative of the american people and instead, they recognize the black panther party as legitimate representative to united states so the black panthers were getting their own very opulent embassy in algiers. and eldridge cleaver set up kind of a government exiled to plot the revolution against babylon you're back home. so so little was known about that and even about the panthers themselves and algeria during those years and these archives were just extraordinary for us to get into. cleavers papers, uc berkeley, stanford and there's even a strange little collection of black panther material at texas a and m university. a great conservative, well-known conservative
school in texas that had this archive and what we found in the archive that was fascinating is this really gives you a window into this time and place where these people were living to moment . what we found there is eldridge cleaver's wife at that time, you guys know who that was, she was pretty famous icon. kathleen cleaver. there is a famous photograph of her wearing a miniskirt and brandishing a rifle in this era and she was seen as a strong feminist and everything but with what we found looking at the black panthers papers, it was a story about how kathleen was treated and how women in the counterculture were treated at this time and this is the beginning of the movement of feminism and in kathleen's case, eldridge would discipline her for misbehavior and one of his punishments was to require kathleen to write down every single thing she did every day in the black panther embassy report with her husband and kathleen was an orderly person, relatively well-educated, the only panther was in french and algerian.
he's the one that dealt with the government ministers, irate landlords allotting back payments on rent black panther apartments and things like that and in these papers, you see this extraordinarily detailed day-to-day accounting of what's going on inside the embassy while they are dealing with this crazy existential threat of having an lst professor timothy leary show up at their doorstep begging for asylum but what i wanted to get to is that when we set out to tell the story, we wanted to follow tim leary this adventure until he eventually got recaptured after by the unwitting law enforcement. j edgar hoover said, 10 billion when he first heard of the breakout and we just doubled into thisamazing nixon component . which was really extraordinary. >> in the acknowledgments section of our book, the thank you section of the book, the first line says thank you to tim leary for leading an interesting life and that the height of an
understatement. he, we already wrote a book about him and he led an extraordinarily fascinating life . a lot of it self-directed, a lot of it visited upon him and when you have the president of the united states in a little room just outside the oval office basically declaring war on you, your life becomes interesting for good or bad. in this case, for bad reasons but he was an extraordinarily intelligent guy, and incredibly charismatic guy, and influential person in some of this might be lost to the prism of history but he was on the cover of every major magazine and polarizing i suppose in a way, as some people viewed him as the devil incarnate, other people saw him as a guru or a mentor, someone who can make the world a better place, simply put so i was describing them really as a court in a raging river.he sort of led out into life and
things happen to him and like clerk would get submerged a little bit and he popped right back up. but not to give too much away, we hope you would buy my books. >> but we begin with him being brought to heel basically, brought to prison in the then book marches forward chronologically, following his escapades that he wasmentioned in this , and in our generous international heritage. >> he busted out of prison, he was anextremely unlikely person to bust out of a well guarded california prison . there were other people there might have been on the shortlist i had of him and he was quite dramatic and when he did with the assistance. the joint forces, if you will of the most important people in the underground.
the domestic revolutionaries of the time, the weather underground, literally the black panthers and then a really fascinating group that some of you might have heard of called the brotherhood of eternal love . who were discredited by the nixonadministration as being the biggest drug cartel in american history . others these are just a bunch of southern california worker dudes who like to bring in a little pot inside their surfboards that are howled out. there was a gaggle of people in laguna beach and down south who had really believed in tim leary and helped to fund his estate, gave money to some of the revolutionaries and help bring him. and then we were on, i was on national public radio talking about tim and i referred to him as a mister magoo on lsd. i almost like a real thatback in a sense . people don't even remember who mister magoo is but he was, mister magoo was a
visionary, enlightened and moving at work speed in terms of his surroundings and the people around him and you have tim leary but what i meant is that when tim would open a door and step through it, he would open doors out of curiosity . and it involved a lot of his experimentation with lsd. he would jump through that door.other people would walk through it tentatively but he would jump through it and the way i described it on the radio is he would plummet. he would go zooming way down into the darkness but he had a trampoline and vault up to the floor, about the one in which he had first entered the door. and that's the way his life was led and you know, as steve said, we took a look at tim leary and said this was a really unique american cultural icon. how can we write about him in a way that different and relevant. there had been a full dress
biography, a couple of attempts but we really thought this 28 month training when he was identified by nixon as public enemy number one, they literally were comparing them to our own . and you know, he decided let's start from there, until he's finally captured 28 months later because in that time, we could understand his personality and the way america was changing . kind of the birth of this demonization in politics or the paranoid politics . also just simply as a yarn. just this riproaring inventor of the guy who actually was able to stay the head of richard nixon. it was not an insubstantial foe. he was an amazing feathe went undercover after getting out of prison. he was spirited out of the country. things that would just not
happen today , he went to algeria. had to actually we algeria for reasons that we are outlined in our book area he really thought perhaps you would be killed there. but at the minimum, he was being held hostage. being held prisoner yet again . by the black panthers. so he escaped from there, goes to your and start running into andy warhol. trying to communicate with keith richards. is totally gone down to a secret mailbox drop off where john lennon is sending him letters with $5000 in them . head of the law, have nixon. so we kept leading a more interesting life, culminating again, not getting too much away with his going to afghanistan which i think might strike you as an unlikely place to seek refuge, especially today back then, tim thought it would be a safe . but i won't give away the ending. >>.
>> the last part of the book does take place in afghanistan. at least the collating part of the book . and while tim is getting ahead of nixon during these years, it's at the same time where nixon is really beginning to sort of just lose control of his sanity in the white house. he becomes increasingly paranoid and obsessed with enemies and of course, there's as you mentioned, there's the age of paranoia. nixon ordered that secret white house taping equipment installed in february 1971. also in algeria in february 1971, that's when eldridge cleaver ordered secret taping equipment installed in embassy thoughit was one of those crazytimes in america and in the world . that was really , a lot of the great writing on this book isrecapturing that manic spirit . it was sort of a wild ride for a lot of people at the time and had its ups and downs, but it was interesting time to say the least.
and what we really found to, the more we followed this case is seeing the amazing levels of frustration that richard nixon and his administration exerted on the foreign governments that were offering asylum to tim leary. so you talk about tim, falling out of a nine story window and having a trampoline and landing on a 10 story window. when he fled from the back black panthers after their calling out in algeria , a few days later he was like in this billionaires house, lake geneva with being served by all kinds of sermons and everything. it was an extraordinary change of circumstances and you can see what the nixon administration was doing in for example when tim was in algeria. we did not have diplomatic relations with the algerians but as far as our state, william b rogers at that time met with algerian foreign ministers to have this
discussion about the us and algeria eventually through some kind of relationship. guess what the secretary of state talk about in this meeting? why are you holding tim leary? this was the most important priority for nixon in terms of his foreign policy, it seems. when tim went to algeria in afghanistan, that regime was really leaning towards the soviet union at that time. it was the front lines of the cold war. it was an incredibly strategic geopolitical goal for us to have good relationship with the afghanistan. we were givingthem all kinds of foreign aid but the regime there , the king was a little bit unstable and we went in just hard to get tim leary out of afghanistan and risk sort of losing a lot of what we invested in that country.
so to also see that, another thing about tim leary and this goes back to the brotherhood of love, to see the book that switzerland was a little bit reluctant to surrender to the leary for having been arrested for two joints because his sister, that would basically be the equivalent of a parking ticket. though the nixon administration teamed up with a lot of prosecutors in the us to do what we talked about earlier, tim leary public editing number one and at this point he was tied in with the root of the journal, he was there not bother essentially and there was a $500 bond put on his head at that timewhich was the highest criminal bond ever posted for an individual in america . >> nixon sent attorney general john mitchell to switzerland to basically lean on the swiss and say give us leary. i think we can pat ourselves on the back, that had been written about the whole lot. that was the level of obsession nixon had.
i was going to say the thing that kept them using us as we work on it about 10 was his ability to encounter a lot of interesting people. i mention andy warhol. he was writing letters to mick jagger saying can you send a boat to algeria to rescue me? this is the kind of world he lived in. he was best friends with alan ginsberg, the great american poet and communicated with him enormously. and then when tim was finally captured and brought back, it was unbelievable, a catch me if you can escapade. it does seem like something out of a movie. he was brought to full some prison, a pretty famous prison obviously in, and hear someone, his new cellmate who he can't see, a person in the cell next door trying to communicate with him and welcoming him and tim finally figured it out that is that
you, is that charlie? charlie manson. so right from the beginning in the white house nixon is talking about him and again, i'm not giving away too much of the plot of our book but it essentially concludes with tim's most unusual conversation with charlie manson about what road to take. and charlie amazingly said, and i'm paraphrasing that 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 kind of concluding scene i want to get away too much but tim. >> about the nixon library here? tell that story. >> that might ring true or might be relevant to anybody who's visited the nixon library. in your fine state. tim decided basically, he was at war with nixon and they
were at war with each other both personally but really at what each other stood for. manson stood for death in some way and tim for love. i'm not sure what nixon four. that's for another discussion but they were defined by each other forever and ever and tim decided that lay in his own life and lay in nixon's life that he needed to perform anexorcism on richard nixon . and so he basically arranged to be invited to the nixon library. i don't think the library really new who they were allowing in. it was under the guise of being sort of a high-tech future looking kind of conference. >> they were having financial difficulties. they wanted to allow visitors
to the nixon library in those years, they were renting the place out . >> they were allowing girl scout cookies thereto, i don't know. but tim managed to arrange a giant fiesta on the grounds of the nixon library and then performed what some people said was an exorcism on richard nixon. all that we know is what we reported and wrote in the book, that nixon passed away a few months after that exorcism . but we'd be glad to -- is there anything else? no, let's take questions. >> i think we'd almost rather take questions. that's nice of you to ask though, if there are any, we can tell some more tim leary stories if you wish but i'm curious about questions. >> you talked about his
intelligence. you talk to about his playfulness 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 . >> i'll tell you this and like to hear your experience. i really did have a feeling when i was speaking with him that he was certainly in the moment. we were having a fun conversation, an interesting conversation. it was really far ranging but i also felt that 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 wasmy own paranoia . i was trained or raised as a journalist so it was my own
healthy skepticism and we were having this, maybe it really wasn't a conversation. i was overthinking things because i think he was extremely sensitive to people and we noticed that in our research that he, when talking to people wanted to know more . you 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, what's the context, where did you come from? so he's a trained psychologist and by the way, people whomight be predisposed to dismiss him in some ways as a kook or a druggie , that's really the way nixon wanted him portrayed, his investigation into the use of lsd and other psychedelic drugs was based on trying to help people. >> ..
we feel validated by the fact a lot of the research he was doing back there about how to establish a better human connection and greater sensitivity is being re-examined. a lot of things people, this is wacky, weird, illegal and felonious, absolutely is being revisited. there's constant literature now about some things he's looking at back at. >> the other thing i would say to his personality is that there are so many different components to his personality. he was so methinks to so many different people depending on the time, the place, and in the way he seemed to sort of transcend personality in that he could easily leave parts of himself behind and continue to move on. this was releasing during his years in prison after he was recaptured when he basically gave the fbi information that
was extremely controversial to many people in the counterculture because that was used to feed the paranoia that was existing in the culture at that time. the way bill and i, -- >> i hope you're going to talk about the coyote trickster. >> this gets to the way you can think of tim and get the sense of high function in a society. he was a cultural avatar, out there had so many people in terms of promoting psychedelics and their capabilities that they have, and maybe not quite understanding the negative effects that could happen. but we came to think them really as sort of this incarnation of really a mythic figure of many cultures around the world. the trickster, the hero trickster. native americans in the southwest had this coyote trickster as we refer to it and the coyote trickster is an animal that is vain and foolish
and ridiculous but also does amazing things that no other animal to do because of their daring, the coyote trickster is one who went into the heavens and stole fire from the gods and brought it back down to earth pics of the coyote can do these great things. at the same time the coyote trickster is equally apt to set its own tail of fire and run critic real. you can see tim bound up in all of these ways, the way he lived his life. it was larger-than-life kind of person. >> a really good question picky was very sensitive to think a lot of things and people. >> next question. >> it's hard to get it feels more like common some ways very intelligent but in some ways he seemed almost hapless and things were happening to him not because of anything he did but things that were happening to
him. is that, was that your sense or do you feel like he did set things off or kind that some control? were things is happening to them and just in itself in -- >> no, he was helpless really hit amec of alien world in of ways with geopolitical forces unleashed against him. this gets to what elders cleavers set about tim leary when he was in algiers picky said his mind has been blown by acid and what he meant was tim leary was not a security conscious as the panthers were who were of course raised to be paranoid, living in oakland ghettos and having the cops come after them. they lived their lives in survey paramilitary fashion. tim when he took mushrooms the first time, many of you know this story, i think he was 40 come in mexico had been a psychologist for a number and he said i've learned more about the human mind in the last few hours and have in my previous lifetime. he thought this unlocked all the
human potential and he saw as a very positive thing. he wasn't paying a lot of attention to the security issues that consume many of the people on the left, weather underground or the black panthers. there's this amazing adventure that they undertake in algeria where ten is in danger of losing his asylum. so they come up with his plan to send it over debate the plo, the palestinian liberation organization which was a twist for hijacking planes at that time. tim was supposed to travel incognito to go meet the plo and he shows up at the airport and he has this button on this cat that says turn on to name drop out. they are like no, no. he was sort of constantly just seeing the best in people and not being prepared for the worst, which got him caught up in a lot of trouble. >> people took advantage of that openness i think. one of the themes emerge that
tim was about anyway and and willing, upon nixon wanted to use and for his own devices and, frankly, people on the other extreme, the harder edge student revolutionary of the day also thought tim could help them may be to recruit people. there's a theme in a book called the marriage of dope and dynamite. yet it was the people who are doing dope, the hippies appear, they were not as politically active as some student revolutionary thought they should be. maybe we can get their spiritual guru, their godfather tim larry to conscript them or bring them into the revolution so the marriage of the dope and the dynamite would occur. tim didn't know if any of this turkish is going, i don't really, he just wanted frankly to have a lot of fun and one and less of a lot of fun. and hopefully the world would be
a more harmonious place. but in the back rooms nixon and others were figuring out, he's got a lot of influence. he really does. he's got a legion of followers. how would do we either taken dr get his followers to join our revolution? >> other questions? >> i want to follow up on, he had been busted in a a station wagon. that was crazy. you do not smoke dope when you're driving around and have this in your car. if you're timothy leary you just don't do that. >> exactly. the funny thing is, bill has this great light he wrote in our book because of the reaction when the cop in laguna beach was known for busting people, approached the station wagon, fished these two roaches out of the ash tray, he radioed timothy leary who hurtled the cosmos
looked at the cops paltry price and scott, is that it? two roaches? that's which are when you get me on? that's all it took. that's all they needed. you're right. that kind of slipshod approach to personal security manifests itself in other ways. there was a bust in laredo at the border and, of course, we haven't mentioned g gordon liddy, a dedicated pursuit of tim larry and he been one leading these busts in upstate new york which was the center for lsd research. >> you think you would have better things to do like watergate. he kind of zeroed in on tim. g gordon liddy of all figures pops up fairly brightly in our book as he is what was obsessed in hunting down tim larry. you earned your stripes if g. gordon liddy is after you. >> it's i want to think what
does happen in california, or in san francisco, the marijuana sentences got struck. expunged from the record and here's a guy who 28 months look at the entire u.s., chasing all over the world for that. >> i don't think it's a big leap to connect the dots between his work, if you will, just what he is doing and, frankly, been busted and then becoming a spokesperson for relaxation of drug lost to where we are today. he really did have a big influence. >> do you know what tim's, his platform as a candidate for california governor, was basically let's legalize pot and sell it through government controlled stores and have the tax revenue go to the state. he also said he would live in the governors mansion. he would pitch a tv in front of the governors mansion and live in that. -- tp.
other questions? >> a few months ago there was a talk by an author of autobiography of housley. which involves the mansion in new york and brotherhood, et cetera. >> one of the people who i knew who made several hundred thousand, maybe millions of tablets of acid which got distribute to the brotherhood. he spent some time in prison. >> i just saw that documentary, the sunshine makers. it's an excellent program. very well done. who was your friend? >> ken. then he went to work as a computer programmer which is where i i met him. >> brilliant person.
>> yes. >> steve jobs has talked about, i think he has come as any, the use of lsd? i think steve had gone here, tim to hear him speak. it's hard to quantify someone's influence but when you do a semi-autobiographical, semi-biographical work, i think it's more of a thrill adventure story. but you see these things, these moments in history in time where he's predicting the future or change it in some way buys influence the people listen to and following him. tim was an extraordinarily important person. i love coming to book readings. it's really wonderful to be here. we did one in houston where we took a question from someone who is sitting in the second row and you raised his head and said
it's not really a question i have but i want to tell you something. on the one who shot tim larry's ashes into outer space. i said please stay afterwards. i'd like to talk to you. how much does that cost? but, in fact, he was, tim's ashes, some of his ashes were shot into earth orbit along with the ashes of gene, the inventor of star trek. seen just about right. i was talking to the guy who done this work, i guide texas, that's the kind of thing we do down in texas. we should peoples ashes in space in our spare time. he said when i was talking to tim building up to that, building up to frankly his passing away, making preparations for this thing, the thought was that tim's ashes would eventually we enter earth's atmosphere in some molecular weight we would all be
ingesting tim and whatever tim might have ingested in terms of knowledge or anything else. i like to think that was his final kind of bit of comic absurdity a little bit of a laugh, a goodhearted laugh he might've had on us. it could be a little bit of tim floating out in the parking lot right here. [inaudible] >> to blow up saturn. >> we didn't. >> are you sure you want to admit to that now? we on tv. >> we do talk quite a bit in the book about blowing up things, the weather underground -- [inaudible] >> right. as you know at the time saturn was considered sodomized and getting rid of it would definitely help the astrological
situation for the whole world. i thought taking lsd is nothing compared to blowing up planets. >> that's right. i think when tim planned his prison break if you did, relied heavily on an astrological forecast for the right time to do it. it worked. >> he should have done that again before going to afghanistan which can't when the ball. >> it was amazing, a computerized basically huge, huge print out when the right moment would be. it did work. >> the great things you find in the archive spirit we mentioned earlier there were 600 plus boxes at the new york public library so you have that huge astrological forecast that was prepared. >> forgive me for interrupting. you know, you were sitting in the new york public library
which looks like hogwarts the way you feel like a library should look, burnished wood with dark caverns and dusty tomes. it felt rich with history and we are being given boxes, many of which of the folks simply had not seen yet because some of the papers were only recently released to the public. we just happen to be lucky to be there ahead of some of the folks. reaching inside and here little some allen ginsberg, letters from john lennon, letters -- >> cia documents, fbi documents, which by the way not to interrupt but i will say this. when we first began working on this book we file our foia request, freedom of information act request with the fbi to get the papers, the files. it's four years later now we cannot not gotten those papers from the government. but tim did manage to get the string is a lifetime so good
chunk of those are in his archives. thankfully we had that as a resource but that tells you how difficult those things can be to get. >> the survival of his archives is almost a documentary and a story unto itself. imagine you in prison, on the lan come in disguise, on the run, in a a four nation and thn you're in another for nation. your hop skipping your way around the globe staying ahead of the agent, the attorney general of the united states is coming after you. all the while some really, really resolute and faithful friends were keeping his papers to give keeping all of this correspondence. we dedicate our book to them, to these stonework archivists. >> michael horowitz and bob. >> were based in san francisco. they managed to -- >> they basically were fans who believe in what tim was
advocating. if possible we would like to just keep your papers for you. he did know them from a hole in the wall but trusted them because he read them probably really, really well and they preserved the saints against great falls. the fbi kept demanding them, searching them, trying to find them. they kept in hidden and then lo and behold now they're in the new york public library. >> as you said that the story itself and i should mention michael is a book coming out and a couple of months with archivists, the the new york pc labor of selected documents from the leary archives. for those interested in this topic you want to check that out as well. >> the cult cold is his life is rather amazing in the archives again. i keep going, i've said this four times, really cool to me to be sitting to reaching into a box not knowing what's in there, and here's a letter from john and yoko to tim that essentially says here's $5000. back in the day, the 1970s was worth a lot more, just to help
you stay free, to be free. we mentioned come together, either somebody say that's the most often played beatles song come together but usually written and inspired, written for tent and inspired by tim. so that's something to think about. he was close to john lennon, it is well on give peace a chance, another beatles song that john gets a big shout out to tim libby in the song come if you listen real carefully and he shouts out timothy leary. >> clapping. >> there are some youtube videos if you want to see from the famous john lennon bed-in, remember john and yoko stayed in that you protest peace. piece. tim was there as well. he was bit of force come in the way. meaning he was omnipresent
dickey always seem to show up and had these outrageous adventures. >> he was at the center of so many of these. >> let's do one more question. >> okay, we will do two more. start. >> how do you collaborate on how you do the research together, but it seems like quite a project and a lot of. how does that work for you guys? >> bill and i both are strong-willed people envision driven, so can be difficult. we had some difficult times. we've been good friends for a long time, so to me the friendship has always been the most important thing. that really kind of carried us through the difficult times i think we had. bill is always gracious and generous. in terms of the writing, he's a literary genius, sort of just --
>> i i have speedy words roll ot a bill like -- >> our book is nonfiction. >> the way it was started, each of us would have four main sections of the book, we would each start with, divide it, each day to section and then we would rewrite each others were constantly although i can still pick out his braces because they are just gorgeous. by the end it was really a unified voice in the storytelling. this is something we did with dallas 1963 book as well. we both are relentless researchers and try to find everything we can't and anybody began to talk to who can help fill in the story. >> the guy said almost mr. so-and-so else ask the question, it's just like a marriage so i will just leave it at that. >> it works. steve is a brilliant writer and
a great researcher, and one of my best friends in life so we made it really was easy. one thing i want to tell you, you almost have to hover above this a look at texas. wendy would try to figure what's this book going to be about really? what's the beating heart of it? >> before you tell the story let me just say we have done this book on the far right in dallas and how they created the city of hatred that was notorious for its zealots treat and its opposition to jfk, a real difficult book to write. very emotional and very hardcharging and lots and lots of negative things. basically sort of the typhoid mary of today's tea party came out of dallas in 1960 in the way they hated jfk. going into this book had that same mindset, like we've got all this tension going on. we had this great barbecue some i hope you tell us about.
>> i said -- we live in different cities. i live in austin and steve says south come in between san antonio and austin. >> texas hill country, really super pretty. >> so we don't get to see each other a lot but we said let's meet at a barbecue place in texas people go over to who is the best barbecue. i'll let steep pick the spot. we went to this very small town, a little bit of a small oil town. oil and barbecue of what they got going on. it's a regionally famous old legendary barbecue place, a a y market i think it's called and we just were shooting the breeze eating big plates of texas brisket. we just sort of had this little salt to damascus moment, a moment of enlightenment occurred. we said hey, what about, what
would tim do? i am paraphrasing, but tim would probably smiling and laughing at how absurd a lot of this really was at the end of the day. even nixon. even through all of the turmoil of being hunted and imprison and charlie manson is my soulmate, next door sobek. >> it's made for absurd humor basically and that's the prison that -- >> that's how we, we left there sated with can read about a barbecue. the weird thing was you to picture this, deep, deep deep in the heart of texas. i mean really deep. we were yelling out lsd, black panthers. remember when they tried to bomb the pentagon? like we realized we probably should lower our voices. we were going to become the sheriff was is going to come. but speed is talking about some football team.
>> that could be. but it was sort of a guiding light. this is getting a little highfalutin here but maybe tim was looking down, like lighten up. maybe you could inject, try to get away as great as the circumstances were to inject a a little bit of comic absurdity. we tried to do that. i would say, i don't know how you felt come steep, that was the hardest thing of all for us to do is work together, how do balance? a lot of people would say being underground is a revolutionary in algeria, that's not comic. that's not funny nor being in prison. >> if you think about richard nixon, he was not funny at all validity, the person comic villain. >> in a way, yeah. >> that voice, talking about injecting humor. >> that was really, yeah, we worked together i think really
well. there were a lot of times when i was writing things that were not any known language whatsoever, and steve it's a please come back, bill, come back. i was untethered from the spacecraft and steve was a really good editor in addition to being a fine writer so he would reel me back and and that sometimes i would say steve, maybe we could step on the gas a little bit. we just went back and forth. it was really not that complex. i would write, steve would write something and share with me and i would write something and shared with him. hey, why don't you write this time for this section for the sink was okay, i'll take a crack at it. >> really when you're writing like that, there's a point for those of you are right as you know about this, but really it's not about your ego and what you wrote. the work itself is object, and once you both get pretty close to that vision of what you're looking for, then it's all about that and that's really the goal.
it becomes easy to work together on the same team for that goal. >> it is hard when you try to do narrative nonfiction. we really want people to read the book, and who wouldn't, right? anybody who city after talking about their tones would say that. i want my kids to read. i have a 25-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son and didn't know who timothy leary is. they barely know who richard nixon is and was what that time was that we go in, that we in a minute you did. my simple gambit was i kept thinking about, how can we write this in a real mobile way, a narrative way, a literary nonfiction way. we chose to write the book and present tense. we thought that would give you a flavor for the manic, you know, intensity of the time. things were really scary intense and thrilling. i think the challenge for us was how to find, it sounds really
pretentious but that creative voice we could both share and that we would both find common ground in through a lot of going back and forth we figured it out. >> it took a few barbecue summits to get through. you guys have been great. >> that was my question. >> thank you very much. thanks so much, all of you. [applause] >> yes, i think very much successful and kind of crossing different genres with your book. but the end result is a captivating and thrilling and a page turner. we have been at every registered in the store, so feel free to buy several copies, if you must, and they will sign. how did you set up so you can comfortably sign. thank you get for coming out on a wednesday afternoon and supporting book passage. [inaudible conversations]
a lot of people seem to really take it to heart this idea that to learn something you have to have a degree and has to have a whole institution in place to teach it to you. i'm grateful to my parents that i would not raised to think that it wanted to set up want to go to college when i was 16, it felt like something i could do that because i had a formal education but okay i need to learn algebra. i would buy a book and i will learn it. i kind of early get into university but i kept going with that. my parents took it too far. i arrived at university with underprepared. i wanted to raise my hand in the class and asked what the holocaust was. people thought i was denied. i'd never heard of it before. i will say this is the ideal education. i would not say that but but io think they seem to have something about people feeling of ownership over what they learn. if you think of education, a lot of people talk what education is
way to make money, as way to get a better job. the way i experienced it it's about making a person. i think everyone should have that opportunity to participate in the making of their own mind. i think needs to be a more active and people need to be more involved to think of their own education. >> afterwords errs on booktv every sunday at 10 p.m.. all previous programs are available to watch online on our website, booktv.org. >> good evening, everybody and welcome to the tattered cover. my name is eileen and before jumping to our event i i just wanted to thank you all for