tv Q A CSPAN May 23, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
♪ >> this week on "q&a," historian david mccullough. his latest book will be released this week. it is about the many americans who went to paris from 1830 to 1900 to further their vocation. the book is called "the greater journey: americans in paris." >> david mccullough, where did you get the title for your new book, "the greater journey"? >> it happened on november 15th as a matter of fact. i somehow or other know exactly when i suddenly thought, that is the title, "the greater journey," because i was trying to think what is this book about. it's about a journey, but a different kind of journey, or a mission, or an adventure, or an odyssey.
i kept working with these words. the word journey kept coming back. then i was thinking about the voyage of these americans who ventured off to france at a time when they all were only able to go across the north atlantic by sailing ship. it was rough and anything but traveling on a cruise liner, and what a journey that was. and then they landed at the same place, almost all of them, and they went by land to paris, which was a two-day trip by a huge, cumbersome stagecoach affair. they would stop at rouen for the first time, and they would see for the first time a european masterpiece, the
cathedral. many of them wrote at length and very much from the heart about the impact of this one building, this one experience and that they knew something greater had begun, being in the old world. the old world to them was the new world. i thought that's it, the greater journey. they know them that they were on a greater journey, which will be their experience, their spiritual, mental, professional journey in the city of paris where they are trying to rise to the occasion to excel in a particular field, whether it was writing, or music, or
painting, or sculpture or medicine. because many of them that day were medical students because paris was then the medical capital of the world. they were ambitious to excel, and they are going against the trend. to go off to europe then wasn't fashionable, and it wasn't part of broadening one's education yet. many of them had no money. many had no friends in europe, knew no one in paris, and spoke not a word of the language. and yet they were brave enough to go, to embark on the greater journey. >> this painting, i thought, did it cost him a lot of money to put it on there?
is that a copyright, or do you own the painting? >> no. that belongs to a museum. it is the pont neuf, the new bridge, but in fact it is the oldest bridge in paris. it is still there. it looks exactly like that. you can walk out to that very spot on the bridge, and except for the wagons and horses on the bridge in the painting, it would be automobiles and buses now. for many people that bridge -- particularly in that day before the eiffel tower had been built, that bridge was the essence of paris, and it still is. it is one of the most magnificent spots anywhere in the world. you really feel you are there. when you are out on the bridge, you are looking up and down the river. you see notre dame, the louvre, the national institute on the other side, and the next bridge
up the river. one fellow, john sanderson from philadelphia, said i began to breathe when i got out on that bridge, breathe the free air of paris. >> a person by the name of william b. mccullough took this picture? >> yes. >> where is this, and when was it taken? >> this was taken last october. william b. is my second son. he is a former cameraman in television and now has his own business as a builder in new england. he is a wonderful photographer. he is a wonderful fellow to travel with. the picture was taken just outside the sorbonne. they could go there for free,
and they could go to the university for free. they had a policy that they could attend the university for free. they had to pay for room and board. once they got there, there was no charge for attending the university. it was the greatest university in the world. imagine a country doing that, and the experience of that changed several lives dramatically and consequently changed our story, our history. that is what interests me particularly. what did they bring home? what did they bring back? how were we affected? how did our outlook, culture, politics and country change as a consequence of the paris experience of these americans? >> how many times have you been to paris?
>> well, my wife and i first went in 1961. i was then part of the kennedy administration, very young, and we were on our way to the near east. i was doing a magazine about the arab world for the u.s. information agency. our first time, there were no jets as yet. so we flew over on a prop plane, took forever. we landed at night. it was february. it was cold and raining, and it didn't matter in the slightest to us. we were in paris. we walked for hours that night because we were so thrilled to be there. we have been going back fairly often since. i haven't counted the times we have been to paris. probably 20 times, maybe more. but i have also done research there. part of the john adams book took place in paris.
and the jefferson-adams- franklin time in paris is an important part of the american story. i was also there to do research on my book on the panama canal. so much of that research material was there. then i went back to france to follow harry truman's experiences in the army in world war i. most of my visits have been because of my work, though we have had a few times we went strictly for pleasure. always with pleasure, but the work is a pleasure, too. >> up on our screen is the gallery of the louvre, which you write a lot about in the book. what is it? >> that is a painting by samuel f.b. morse, amazingly the same man who invented the telegraph, one of the most important inventions of the 19th century. morse felt obliged to bring
european culture back to america. he went to paris because he said he would become a better painter if he spent time there. they all felt that, and hundreds went, but he was one of the first. he decided that he was going to do a painting that would show americans what the inside of a great art museum looked like and what great masterpieces looked like. keep in mind there were no museums of art in the united states. this was 1832 when it was painted. no museums of art. you couldn't go to the museum and look at paintings anywhere in the united states. and very few paintings of any kind, unless they have been copied for private ownership were of the great masters. now most of these are
renaissance paintings, italian paintings, some of which were already part of the louvre. you see the mona lisa there in the lower right-hand corner. that had been purchased by francis i, and it hangs over the door on the right-hand side, right at the corner. >> how big was this painting? >> the painting is six feet by nine feet. it is huge. it was much bigger of anything of the kind attempted by an american. no american had ever tried to paint anything like this until then. he did an earlier painting, a famous painting, which is here in washington of congress in session, which had never been done before. he was always trying to break new ground. but the thirty-something paintings in this picture, and
they are not how they were actually hung in the louvre. he went through the entire collection, over 1,000 masterpieces, picking out those paintings he thought americans should know about. or he thought, "these are the paintings that i love and care about, these are the treasures of the world, and i want to share them with my countrymen." so he arranged them in his mind, did a copy of each of these paintings as they hung in the gallery at the time. many of them were hung high up. so he had to build his own special scaffolding to get from spot to spot to get up there to paint them. he himself gave a key to this painting so that if you went to see the paintings, you could
see which were which. but what he didn't give was a key to the people in the painting. there is in fact a code to this painting done by the man who virtually at the same time invented the morse code. he got the idea for the morse code, for the telegraph and the code, while he was in france. but the code -- every painting is a collection of choices by the painter. it is not just what is in the painting -- nothing is in a painting by accident. it is there because they thought about it. but it is also about what is not in the painting, what am i leaving out. when one composes a symphony, you are leaving a lot out.
you have to. so in painting this picture, which he has done because he wants to give scale to the room and to the painting, the grand gallery, which is in the center of the painting was the largest room in the world. that is sort of the vista in the painting. this is a smaller room, all exactly the same today, by the way. the paintings aren't there that way. but he is showing you the expanse of this space, the scale of this public cultural treasure, open to the public. but he's not showing you the public that really would have been there.
there are no french aristocrats in the painting, no soldiers in the painting. no priest said. all of whom would have been there. every time the public was present. there would have been huge crowds always. this amazed americans, not just how many paintings were there, but how many people came. and all kinds of people. there is a woman who stands at the door to the left with her back to you and her child. that is probably to show that people of all walks of life and who don't live in paris are welcome here and come here. you can tell who she is by the peak of her cap. the white cap was sort of the symbol of people from brittany. he is down stage front and
center. he is the man bending over the pretty young student making a copy of the marriage of cana. he is showing himself not just as a painter, but as a teacher. he was very proud of that, samuel morse was. over in the left hand corner is his best friend in paris, the great american author, james fenimore cooper. with his wife and daughter, who is also an art student. coming through the door is a sculpture, and there is another friend of his over on the left who is an american artist in paris. now what this painting also
doesn't show is the tranquility of the setting, the warmth of the red walls, the warmth of the glow in the grand gallery. it conveys a sense that all is right with the world. outside those very walls is one of the most horrific, deadly scourges ever to hit paris, the great cholera epidemic of 1832. people were literally dropping dead in the streets, 18,000 people died in less than six months in the city of paris. both of these men were terrified that they would contract the disease and died, too. everybody who could get out of paris was leaving. but cooper, who was very wealthy because of his books,
such as "the last of the mohicans," did very well. his wife was ill. >> how old was he? >> he was in his 40's. they were both in their 40's. morse, who had no money, and was living very modestly, was staying because he was determined to finish that painting before his money ran out and he had to leave. cooper, out of friendship to morse and to see him through this ordeal came to the louvre every day to be with his friend, so sit with him and talk with him. it is an amazing story of friendship, of a friend in need. both of these men were similar in some ways.
they each had a distinguished father. they each went to yale university, yale college as it was then, and each was vastly talented. they each lived in new york. and yet they were vastly different and more important ways. and yet this bond of friendship was like very little i've ever written about or known about. it's a terrific story, and i felt that not only is it an immensely important painting, an interesting painting to say the least, but it was an amazing story. i could have written a whole book just on the painting. >> how long did it take him? >> a little over a year. started in the fall of 1831, and finished in the late summer of 1832. >> i read it is coming to washington? >> it is coming to the national gallery. it has just been to yale, which was a thrill for everybody there because morse and cooper went to yale.
the morse papers are at yale. but the fact that is it is coming to the national gallery is thrilling. it deserves much more attention than it has been getting for a long time. it has been in storage for years. >> who owns it? >> the terra foundation in chicago. >> he used to have a museum? >> yes. when he finished he thought he may get enough money to more than compensate him for his work in it. he thought he might get $3,000 or $4,000. it was a considerable amount of money then. he could not sell it. townne from cooper's home bought it for $2,000. in the 1980's, it sold for over $2 million, the greatest amount of money ever paid for a painting by an american. it is no longer that way. it is a very important painting.
>> in your back you have acknowledgements. you acknowledge a lot of people, including a man named mike hill. >> yes. >> an interesting thing i read was that he unlocked the magic of the eli washburn diary? >> yes. >> where is the diary and where was it found? >> mike has worked with me for 25 years as a research assistant. he lives here outside of washington. he has access to the archives and places like the smithsonian, and also places like charlottesville. he does research for lots of other people, not just me. >> who has he worked with? >> he works with nathaniel. evan thomas.
and number of people. i do not know all of his clients, but he is the best. >> a little background. elihu washburn was a congressman from illinois, who was a fellow politician in illinois of abraham lincoln's, and a close friend of lincoln's. when lincoln became president, it was washburn as much as anybody else who kept telling lincoln you've got to give this man, grant, a full chance to show what he can do. washburn came from galena, illinois, which was where grant was living before the civil war started. what also distinguished washburn is he was one of four
brothers who all served in congress in the house or the senate. all four from different states. all got re-elected regularly. all four had distinguished careers. one was a general in the civil war. another was as the governor of maine. he appears to have been the first person to refer to the new political party as the republican party. and they grew up on a hard scrabble farm in western maine in utter poverty. 10 children, and all of those children were exceptional. it is an amazing story. their mother could read, but she felt very embarrassed because she might make it embarrassing for her children, who became so distinguished if she were seen to be someone who
wasn't as educated as she should have been. but she was a very wise, bright woman who insisted to her children that education was everything. and if they could get an education, and keep learning, and keep the love of learning, there was nothing they couldn't do. after the civil war was over -- and of course grant had distinguished himself conspicuously, washburn was exhausted. when grant became president, he first offered him the position of secretary of state. washburn was quite ill, and he declined it, said i can't do it. so he appointed washburn the minister to france. washburn went over thinking this is going to be just what i need to recover my strength and
have peace and quiet with my family. he arrived on the eve of the franco-prussian war. shortly paris was cut off from the world. all the other ambassadors from all the other powers left the city, got out, except washburn. he says my duty is to stay here. he stayed through the entire siege, which lasted five months, and he stayed through the horrific, god-awful, commune that followed, where the french were killing each other by the thousands in the city of paris. he not only stayed and served admirably, getting workers out of the city at the request of the german government, some
20,000 of them. he organized and arranged all that. a magnificent humanitarian successful mission. but through all that he also kept a diary every day. the diary wasn't just did this, did that, lunch with so-and-so. no. they are long, superbly written entries of real substance. there is nothing like them in existence, and they were unknown. mike hill found them, and he found them in a place no one would think to look, in the library of congress.
what had happened was that the family or somebody had taken his letters -- he also wrote letters during this time, and copies of the diary -- the diary was written on separate sheets of paper and later bounded together. they were bound in with the letters. if it was a letter, it didn't say dear fred. it just said april 9th. these were all mixed in with these hundreds of letters. mike going through the letters suddenly realized these aren't letters. he went to the man who runs the manuscript division there and said what is this? what is going on? jeff had never looked at it before either, closely, and
they suddenly realized these are diary entries. but they were letterpress. where were the originals? where is the original? well, the original it turns out was up in maine at the family homestead. well, in writing the book, i was able to draw on this experience and his attempt to save the live of the archbishop of paris. he was going to be executed by the common arts, as they were called. washburn was a protestant, not a catholic, but he greatly admired the archbishop and knew this was a terrible thing that was happening because they were executing priests. he was unsuccessful in saving that man's life. he was executed. but nobody tried harder to get him out. this is a man that, again, was quietly heroic.
his sense of duty was amazing and admirable in the extreme. but i think he felt a strong sense of duty to keep that diary. he would come in after a terrible day of seeing the most heartbreaking and sometimes nauseating experiences and acts of human savagery, and sit down at 10:00 in the morning and write long entries in superb english. the command of the language is humbling. here is a man who never really had an education as we would call it today. but this is true with the letters and diaries of worked with through the whole book. people like charles sumner, people like emma willard, the great champion for higher education for women, or
elizabeth blackwell, the first woman doctor in america. they were wonderful writers. they weren't writing to be published. they were writing letters. it was part of life, part of what you were expected to do. sumner's story is so arresting. >> massachusetts? >> massachusetts senator, senator charles sumner, one of the most important figures of 19th century america in that he was the most powerful voice for abolition in the senate. he was nearly beaten to death on the floor of the senate with a heavy walking stick by a senator from south carolina who was offended by what he said. he went to harvard law school,
practiced for three years and decided i don't know enough. my education is not sufficient. i want to know more. i want to learn more. i'm going to go to paris. so he borrowed $3,000 from friends, closed up his office, and he went over to the sorbonne, attending lectures, and all classes. >> in french? >> in french. everything was in french. he did not know how to speak french and so he had to learn it. he organized tutors, and in about a month he was able to do it. the undaunted courage was inspiring. he attended the lectures, and he kept a journal. the journal is fabulous. it is four volumes.
in the journal he writes about what he is listening to, who he is meeting, what he is learning and so forth. there is one entry where the speaker is sort of tedious, and he found himself looking around the lecture hall, mind wandering, and he noticed that the other students, and there were nearly 1,000 people in this lecture hall. that the other students treated the black students who were there just as though they were like everybody else, dressed the same, acted the same. >> what year? >> this was in 1836. >> how old was he then? >> he was young, still in his 20's. he wrote in the diary maybe how we treat black people at home is the result of what we have been taught and not part of the
natural order of things. now that is almost exactly, quote-unquote. it was an epiphany for him. it was as if he suddenly saw the light. we know he had been to washington on a trip before he went to paris and had seen slaves working in the field in maryland and thought they looked like that's all they were good for. he had no sympathy for people in bondage, no sensible interest in african-americans at all. he came home, was elected to the senate, and he became the powerhouse force for abolition, coming home from paris.
that is not a work of sculpture, or a painting or a musical composition. but he brought home an idea and a new mission. the beating left him very damaged both psychologically and physically, and he went back to paris to relieve himself of these things. these anxieties and his inability to perform as a senator. it always helped him, and so he came home and carried on. i think he is one of the most admirable figures in our story. his statue stands in the public garden in boston. i doubt that one bostonian in a thousand knows who he was.
they should know. >> your time frame for the book was when? >> 1830-1900. 70 years, a period that has not been looked at much. marvelous things have been written about jefferson, adams and franklin in paris in the 18th century. and an enormous amount has been written in the 1920's and 1930's. gertrude stein, scott fitzgerald, and so forth. but i felt that this period was just waiting and it sure appealed to me. i have been thinking a lot about this idea, this point of view. history, as you know, is much more than just politics and soldiers and social issues. it is also medicine, and science, and art, and music,
and theater, and poetry, and ideas. intoouldn't lumps things categories. it is all part of the same thing. one of the most interesting characters in this study that i have done is oliver wendell holmes, senior, who devoted his whole working career to medical science. he was on the harvard medical school faculty for 35 years and a very prominent figure in american medicine. there was no incongruity. he also wrote poetry, and essays, and helped to start a magazine called the atlantic monthly. it was all a part of it. i think that is the way history ought to be taught, and i think it ought to be written. it is the way i would like to think myself more about as time
goes on. in my own life, i at one point thought i wanted to be a painter. at another point i thought i wanted to be an actor, another point i thought i wanted to be an architect. all along i thought i wanted to be a writer. but it is all there. it is all part of what we are about, we human beings. history is human. i was writing down something one time years ago. >> here in washington? >> yes. i was on my way to work driving, and i got to sheridan circle, and it was rush hour, and the traffic was terrific. there was a traffic jam at sheridan circle. there was old general sheridan in the center of the circle with the requisite pigeon on
his head. it is a wonderful statue. he is the one who did the faces of the presidents in the black hills. i wondered at the time, how many americans have any idea who that man is. people would drive around this circle every day twice a day, and would they have any idea who they are looking at or why it is called sheridan circle. at the same time, gershwin's rhapsody in blue was playing. i thought, he is as alive to me and anybody else tuned into this same station as he was in the 1930's. he's real, with us, he's part of us.
who is the more important character in history? phil sheridan or george gershwin? the answer is they both are very important. i thought about the movie "an american in paris," and gene kelly, and all that, and thinking about americans in paris. i don't know where the idea first began. it may have begun back when i was in high school, i don't know. >> one thing when you read through the book, over 500 pages and lots of character. you read about central paris. right now there are about 11 million people in that area. we have some photographs we want to put on the screen. you can describe where the locations are. we can throw up anything we have got of that area, the tuileries garden, the palais royal. what of all that?
how much of an area did you write about? >> right now we are looking at the tuileres gardens. they are very important in the story of all of the people i have written about. they are right at the louvre. it is on one end. you can see that in the distance there. the general neighborhood of this book is very much the same today as it was then. that of course is the glass pyramid in the center of the vast court yard of the louvre. there is the pedestrian bridge, a wonderful bridge for people made of iron as it was
originally. it is a favorite place to gather, to walk along the river today still. the palais royal -- that is the place concorde. it is hard for me to say. if i were to walk with you around that section of paris, i could show you an amazing number of places that are just the same as they were then where these people all were and stayed. my wife and i say at the hotel de louvre, which is at the foot of the avenue of the opera. if you have a picture of the avenue of the opera, it was in the back end sheet of the book.
it is taken from what is called the pizarro room, which is where he did a number of his paintings, and looking straight up the avenue toward the opera house. that looks exactly the same today as it did then. this is looking at the eiffel tower, which was built in 1889 for the 1889 world's fair. the hotel de louvre, which is still there, is where morse and his family stayed, it is where mark twain stayed, and nathaniel hawthorne. history is everywhere in paris. that is what impressed everyone when they went over. everything here was still relatively new. independence hall wasn't even 100 years old. we think of it as an historic old building, and it wasn't even
100 years old. when they come to the rouen cathedral that was built before columbus ever sailed, that was to them an overwhelming experience itself. sumner called it the prestige of age. there is the louvre on your left? >> don't you have your own painting in the book? >> no. it is not a painting. it is an engraving. that is part of a collection i have. it is this one here. if you can bring up that picture on the very back page, the end sheets of the book. the opening end sheet is of the rue de rivele. and the back is of the avenue of the opera. >> there you go.
i will open it up. >> there you go. now that picture, if you took horses and wagons out and put automobiles in, that view is still exactly the same. over here is the taxi stand. we stay in that hotel, and this is very close to the view we have of the room we have been getting. turn to the front end. and that is the rue de rivele. that is about 1900. and that looks looks exactly the same today. the stores and the colonnade on the left. that is the tuileries garden on the right, and the louvre is the building rising up on the right. now that picture, and the one on the end sheet of the book
are post cards that my mother's parents brought back from paris after a visit there about 1907. the photographs were probably taken about 1900. those post cards were up in our attic in an album. they saved all the post cards, and they are just as sharp, as you can see, just as sharp and clear as if they had been taken yesterday, and they are over 100 years old. my mother was 7 years old. she remembered some of it. i heard some of these stories as a child. >> you bring your family in a lot. tim lawson is your son in law, married to your daughter? she actually represents you. >> yes. tim is a painter, a very good painter. >> what did he do? >> he went with me to see this painting of the gallery of the
louvre when it was in storage in chicago. he went with me to see the st. goddens work in new hampshire. he went with me to the metropolitan. he went with me often to the museum, particularly the museum of fine arts in boston. >> you said your daughter, melissa, read it all? >> i marshalled the whole team. my son, david jr., teaches english in high school, and he went over all my grammar and punctuation. rosalie reads everything aloud for me. i try to write everything for
the ear as well as the eye. it is like all the great writers i have admired so much of my life did. >> what book is this for you, what number? >> this is number nine. >> are you going to do another book? >> i don't know. >> the last time we talked about this business was 2005 up in the knox home in maine. >> yes. >> you said you had 12 ideas for a book, and this is the book that came out of those? >> yes. >> do you have another list of 12? >> no. it is up to 27 now. [laughter] >> was -- what was the experience of writing this book compared to the others? >> i have thought a good deal about that because it has been different. i hugely enjoyed every subjective ever undertaken, except one, when i stopped the project after a couple of months because i knew it wasn't
right for me. it was about picasso a long time ago. i am not in any way trying to say that the previous work has been less than i would have wished. it has been more than i would have wished in every case. but i have had a better time writing this book than anything i have ever done. i think in part because so much of it is about subjects that really matter to me. they have mattered to me all my life. it is what i love. not that i don't love history in the usual sense, politics, american history of all kinds. but to be able to write about people like the sculpture, or
the new orleans musician who was so brilliant as a pianist. >> and they all went to paris? >> they all went to paris. i love architecture. i think in some ways architecture may be our most important art form because we live in it. it shapes us. and paris really is about architecture. there is no natural splendor there. no snow-covered mountain range in the distance, no beautiful shoreline on the sea. the rivers are there, but rivers are in lots of cities. it is what people have built and what they have put their heart and soul into. it is not just what is in the museums, it is the museums themselves.
the idea that there was no school of architecture in america, none. so these people that went over, these young men like richard morris hunt, louie sullivan, charles mckim, and h.h. richardson, changed the look of america. they all went there to study architecture and came back different from what they had been. go to boston, the square. trinity church on one side, h.h. richardson. look across the square, the boston public library, charles mckim, and very similar in many ways to a building in paris, and he said so. you used the word earlier,
inspiration from paris. they all wrote they wanted to bring something home to make things better here. they were doing something they felt was a service to their country. not just of their own ambitions. >> you have not mentioned george healy, and i am going put up the painting on the screen. who is george healy? how long did he spend? >> george healy to me is a great american story. george healy was an irish boy who grew up in the streets of boston, no money, for education, but talent to paint and draw. he was told you're good. you could go all the way with this talent. but he knew he had to go train with somebody.
there was nobody to train with, no art school. so, without any money except what he had been able to save, no knowledge of french, knowing no one in paris, he went to paris, and he became the most sought-after and in many ways, most accomplished american portrait painter of the 19th century. there are seven of his paintings at the white house. there are 17 of his paintings in the national portrait gallery. his paintings are in most every major gallery in the united states. he was phenomenal. this painting right here is the biggest single work he ever did by far. ic remember the dimensions, but they are enormous. it covers the whole back wall behind the stage at nathaniel hall in boston, one of the most
historic buildings in the united states. this is webster's reply to payne. a famous moment in the congress. daniel webster is on the right, and all the characters portrayed there are from actual studies of faces that he did at the time. so it is an accurate historic document. he has also put a few people in there who were not present when webster delivered his great speech because he wanted to include them. it was painted in paris. it cost him almost two years of his work, of his life, his professional life. much like morse, he got scarcely what he hoped he would be recompensed for it. i believe it was $2,000. it was something that didn't
matter because he felt he had recorded something and made a contribution not just to the art of portraiture but for the history of this country. >> how long did it take you to write this? >> four years. >> where did you to the writing? >> i did a lot of the writing in martha's vineyard, and some in maine where we spend a good part of the year. i did some of it when we were traveling. i spent a great deal of time in washington, boston, new york, looking at paintings, looking at architecture, and of course doing research with original documents, original letters and diaries. >> the tour begins on may 25th. you have farmingham,
washington, d.c., new york city, june 8th, world fair council, dallas museum of art. june 11, pittsburgh, chicago public library. june 14, wayzata, minnesota? >> yes. >> why there? >> because a wonderful friend of mine who is very active in the national park foundation has organized an event and wants me to come and do it. >> philadelphia, harvard book store, and the tour as listed is closed later in june in new hampshire. >> yes. >> how do you feel about this? >> i love it. >> why? >> i like to meet the people
that read my work. i like to see what is going on in these different places. i enjoy talking to audiences, and particularly audiences that are a mixture of generations. i guess it is the irish in me. >> maybe i missed it, but you didn't answer my question about whether you are going to do another book. >> no, i didn't. [laughter] >> what is your thinking? >> i'm thinking all the time about it. something happens when one of these ideas just clicks, and that's it, and i can't explain what that process is. i just know that is what i want
to do. it will happen. it will be different. i've never undertaken a subject that i knew a lot about. i didn't know much about john adams. i knew a certain amount. i wasn't an adams scholar, or a truman scholar, or a brooklyn bridge scholar. if i knew all about it, i wouldn't want to write the book. because to me, the pull is the adventure of it, learning. i think about how much i am going to learn by taking on this subject. i want to be surprised. i want to make discoveries. not just some collection of letters in some place you would expect to find them. i want to make a discovery that makes you go, oh, that is how it worked.
the work is the reward. >> the name of the book is "the greater journey: americans in paris." our guest has been david mccullough, and we thank you. >> thanks, brian. i love to have a conversation with you, and i might write another book just on the chance that i get to come back, and we can talk about it. >> it's a deal. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> for a dvd copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q-and-a.org. "q&a" programs are also
available as c-span podcasts. ♪ >> join us next week and q&a for part 2 for our conversation with david mccullough. >> coming up, "washington journal." later, the house cavils and religious that the business with both expected after 6:30 p.m. and some veterans programs. this morning on "washington journal," a discussion on efforts to resolve debt issues.
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