tv Q A CSPAN May 30, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
>> this morning, major general jeffrey buchanan gives an update on iraq and the progress being made by the iraqi security forces. that major general james and malory discusses training the afghan army and police forces. after that, the center core american progress will talk about counterterrorism strategy
in afghanistan. finally, fawn johnson talks about the national highway trust fund and the role federal and state guest texas play in its funding. "washington journal" live this morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this week on "q&a" -- part two of our conversation with historian david mccullough. his book is called "the greater journey: americans in paris." it's the story of some of the americans who went to paris between 1800 and 1930 to further their training careers. >> david mccullough, author of the greater journey of americans in paris in the 1800s. of all of the people you wrote about in this book, who would you not want to meet and talk with because of what you
learned about them? >> i can't think of one, and i will tell you why. this book is different for me in form than anything i have ever done because if you're writing a biography or you're writing the history of an event or accomplishment, there's a certain obvious track, a certain structure that's built into the subject. and you're obligated to respect that and -- and cover it, write about it, in all fairness to your reader. the cast of characters is
already ordained. with this book, i can cast the book myself. i would pick the people that i wanted to write about. there's probably 12 major characters in this book probably 20 some people overall appear in america but that's the fraction of the number that went to paris during this 70-year period that i'm covering. so in organizing the book, organizing my approach to the subject, i was in many ways like a casting director. they would come in, show in what they could do, tell me their story, and i would say, don't call me, i'll call you, in effect. so i'm picking the people that i want to keep company with for
four years. and i didn't pick anyone that i was interested in or that i thought would be uninteresting. so there's not none of them that i wouldn't give a great deal to meet, to talk to. >> of all of the characters in the book, which one has the most to see in the united states, in other words, a home, a museum or something you can see their work or their life? >> saint-gaudens -- >> augusta -- >> augusta the sculptor. >> what did he do? >> in my opinion and in an opinion of a number of others is the greatest american sculptor maybe of the 19th century, maybe ever. his most famous work is the shaw memorial in boston, which is about colonel shaw and 54th massachusetts regimen. first all-black regimen in the
union army, which many or most of them were killed, including colonel shaw at charles town. this is the first piece of american art to portray black americans, african-americans as heroes. it's spectacular and there's a copy of it in the national gallery here. >> yes. >> his famous adams memorial, in rock creek cemetery, which is for the wife of henry adams, which is a very mysterious sculptural work, which remains constantly of interest because of its mystery. and then there's the sherman statue, which is in new york city.
the equestrian statue of general sherman with the goddess of victory leading him from 59th street to 50th avenue, yielded a magnificent piece. i think the greatest equestrian statue in the country. and then there's the farragot memorial, which is in madison square in new york city. again, these were done in paris, as was the sherman statue. and then there's some home, a national site in cornish, new hampshire. which you can see. he's done coin and all kinds of things. he's conspicuous. his paintings are, of course, in most every museum, as are mary's paintings. i would say james fin moore cooper's novels are still read in school, still popular, still
important. >> is cooperstown, new york, named after him? >> no, it was named after his father. his father founded the town and he grew up there. >> john singer-sergeant for a moment. let's talk about him. >> there he is. >> what was his age? >> john singer sargent was a senior sergeant. he was a notable, astonishingly gifted painter when he was still 18, yet 18. he painted several of his major masterpieces when he was still in his 20's. his madam x as it's known. his daughters of edward boyte. his spanish dancer. all done in paris, excuse me, and all done when he was still in his 20's.
there's madam x. madam x was from quattro. she was also an american. most people didn't realize that, living in paris. and this painting was at the time considered scandalous because of her pose, her low- cut evening attire. there he is, a sergeant as a young man standing in his studio with the portrait of madam x behind him. >> who is mary cassatt? >> mary was a young woman from pennsylvania who decided she wasn't just going to be a woman who paints but she was going to be a painter. that's her self-portrait, a beautiful water color self- portrait, and she became the only american artist who was accepted by and taken in by the impressionists as one of them in paris.
and her painting -- this is a painting of her mother is called "reading with figure row," the number. first of her impressionists paintings and her paintings are largely, almost entirely about women. women seen in private life, the security of the home or the garden, doing private things, knitting, reading, having tea. and their hold on the viewer has been consistent for well over 100 years and her importance as a master, as a genius of american art, only increases with time. she was a brave woman. so she went to europe, went pursuing a career seriously as no woman ever had.
another american woman. and bound to excel. and she certainly did. and starting much of her life to look after her parents, with whom she lived in paris most of her adult life. excuse me. >> which -- not which one but who -- who are the ones that had the most interesting personal stories, relationship with their wives and children and all of that when they were in paris? >> well, i think in many ways saint-gaudens is the most interesting personal story. immigrant shoemaker's son in new york who was put to work when he was 13 years old cutting cameos, which was an art form or craft form of real consequence then wearing cameos was popular with women and men.
he learned the art of cameo cutting. also demonstrated he had ability as an artist and sculptor beyond that and his shoemaker father helped to pay for him to go to take some art courses at cooper union in new york. one of the first art schools, this is after the civil war when things had changed in the united states as far as availability of training and art. and went off to paris at age 19 to become a sculptor. he was the first american admitted to the bose arts. to be admitted to the bose arts was a coup. it would be like getting into one of the great environment of our universities today. >> let me just ask you that question. what is the bose art? >> the bose art is school of art, architecture and sculptor in paris on the left bank. still there, same place where he went. he was admitted as a student in sculptor and he study -- studied in paris up to the outbreak of the franco war.
he was there for two years as a student. forame back in the 1870's another three years, by which point he was married. his wife was a painter. he met when they were studying painting in italy. the story -- the story of their marriage is extraordinary. i was able to tell that story because her letters, which number more than 200, have all survived and they're all in the library at dartmouth college, which is very near cornish, the home that they finally established on the connecticut river in new hampshire. >> do you go there? >> oh, yes, indeed. both to work with the letters from dartmouth and to the site at cornish. >> how many -- i know you stated you used information from over
30 different institutions in the united states, how many different places did you physically go? >> just about all of them. harvard, yale, collections in boston, collections in new york, collections here in washington. >> and chicago. >> chicago. >> how many times -- >> i love that part of it. >> how many times did you go to paris in the middle of writing this? >> we would go at least once a year so four times and we would stay about two weeks or so. the research was almost all here, brian, because the letters are here, diaries are here. letters are written to people back home. the diaries were brought home. so the diaries are accessible in this country and -- and as is of utmost importance, a newspaper which was published in
paris in english -- >> and he was -- >> the library of congress has the complete set of all of those newspapers and they're invaluable. and it is still a book shop in paris on the river italy. >> isn't he italian? >> he's italian -- he was an italian from england who started the newspaper. it wasn't an american paper. it was english language initially for england but every american read it and it was filled of news of americans in paris. >> how much of that did you read? >> enormous amount. i would guess that what goes into a book is 1/20 of what has been read. so that i read -- i don't know, how to quantify it, hundreds of pages of -- typewritten pages.
>> did you do it here in town or go to the library of congress? >> i would do it at the library of congress with someone who works with me or might take transcriptions of it from the library of congress, typically transcription of letters because he's much better than reading handwriting than i am and very fast on the computer typing it up. so he will often spend days at the library of congress or archives. transcribing these newspaper accounts or the letters. but then i have to go through them and decide if i want this or i use that or i need more of such and such. and there were times we would both go together to look at things. i couldn't do what i do without him, his help, to come -- to
leave home to come to washington or to go to philadelphia or wherever these different collections mick time after time after time. and sit and transcribe, my book probably would take me seven years instead of four. and i am at the stage now if you were to tell me he doesn't want to do it anymore, then i possibly wouldn't do that kind of a book. i would write something more personal or more accessible for my own collections or my own recollections. >> i'm going to ask you a question. you probably don't want to answer but i will ask it anyway. you have written, what, ten books -- >> nine. >> nine books. >> yeah. >> how do you think this book is going to do? >> i don't mind answering that at all because i don't know. i have never known how any book what do.
>> what was your biggest? >> "john adams." >> second biggest? >> i'm not sure. i'm not sure. "1776" might be. i have never schacht down and thought, what -- how will this sell, or what do people want to read about now? that doesn't -- you can't do that. >> what about your publisher though? >> well, they never said no to me. whatever i wanted to do, they said fine. i may have told you this story before, but we're old friends. you got some of these stories more than once, right? i was working on my second book and i went one night a party and we were introduced by the host, a woman from washington who was a somebody or at least she thought so.
and i was introduced -- this is david mccullough. he's writing a book about the brooklyn bridge. she put her head back and she said, who in the world would ever want to read a book about the brooklyn bridge? well, i was young. i was in my early 30's, and i was just launching into my second book. and i was really -- i was really mad that she had said that. and on the way home i was practically punching the dashboard as i was driving the car. but before we got home, it suddenly dawned on me, that's a perfectly good question. who in the world would want to read a book about the brooklyn bridge? and what's your answer, mccullough? and my answer was, i would. i want to read a book about the brooklyn bridge. the book that i want to read about the brooklyn bridge doesn't exist. i will write it so i can read
it. and that in many ways is what i have been doing with all of the books. i want to write about john adams -- i want to read about john adams. i want to know about john adams. whether the great reading public does, i have no idea. and i have had a publisher who believed in what i was doing and believed in my books and i never had a different publisher from simon & schuster and all of my books are still in print. and that means more to me than almost anything else about my writer's life. >> have you had different editors at simon & schuster? >> yes, i have, three different editors. >> what kind of role do they play? you had so many in your family read it? >> it's like life, each has contributed constantly in his way. i'm very fond of the people at my publisher. a lot of authors don't feel that
way, but i am. the reason i stay with simon & schuster is i'm so fond of the people that i work with. i've had the same copy editor since i published my first book, more than 40 years ago, still there, gypsy devilia. wonderful, wonderful woman. wonderful human being as well as terrific copy editor. >> well, have you changed the way you write and what you write on? and what about this book? you said you wrote some of it on martha's vineyard, some of it in maine, some of it when you traveled. >> yes. >> sounds like a computer now? >> no, no, no. i work on a manual typewriter. >> still? >> still. >> take it with you? >> take it with me. if it can't go, i'm not going to write. when i decided i was going to try to write a book in 1965, we were living in while plains, new york. i was working in new york as an editor and writer at american heritage magazine.
and i thought, well, i'm -- i did my writing at the office on the job. and i had a portable typewriter. but if i'm going to undertake a book, i better get a real typewriter. i bought a secondhand royal typewriter, high rise black typewriter, the kind with the little glass cover for letters, little dished letters. and i -- i probably paid $50 for it. maybe less. i had written everything i have written since, everything on that typewriter. and there's nothing wrong it. it is a magnificent example of superb american manufacturing. nothing wrong with it at all. it probably has 975,000 miles on it. and -- and i have to change the ribbons, obviously. and my children, my friends,
others say to me, don't you realize how much faster you can go if you use the computer? of course i can go faster. i don't want to go faster. anything i want to go more slowly. i don't think all that fast. and i love the idea of a key coming up and printing a letter. i can understand that. i would be horrified to think as i was working if i pressed the wrong button, it was going to zap out two weeks or two months of work. i'm technologically challenged, i guess is the explanation. and sometimes i wonder maybe -- maybe it's writing the books, the typewriter. >> what do you do about the information that you have gathered, references and all of that and diaries, how do you do that when you travel? do you have that on a computer? >> no, i have it in file folders and i take it with me.
i take whatever chapter, the material for pt chapter i'm working on. so i put it in the car, put it in the back, put it in the trunk. just along with the typewriter. away we go. and i'm writing all the time. i'm writing when i'm flying in a plane. i don't mean literally writing. i'm thinking. people often say to me, perfectly good question, how much of your time do you spend writing and how much of your time do you spend doing research? great question. no one ever says how much of your time do you spend thinking? and that's probably the most important part of it. just thinking about it, thinking about it, what you have read, what you need to reread, what you need to think more about, putting things out literally out on the table and looking at them, putting a painting, reproduction of a painting and really looking at that painting or thinking about
that painting, or the setting. when things happen is very important to me. this whole book that i have just written is set in paris. where it's happening. another book i wrote was set in brooklyn. another was set in panama. much of several books have been set here in washington, and i believe that the setting has great effect on the way things happened, the way things went. the setting is part of history, just as the who is part of the why. and so i really have to soak up the setting. so when rosalie and i went to paris, i went there to walk the walk. i went there to see it in the
winter when it's awful and damp and cold and gray in the summer, in the spring and in the fall. i went to, if i read something that took augustus saint- gaudens 20 minutes to walk from his apartment to his studio, i went out and made the walk from his apartment to his studio to see if that was right. i -- i want to be out on the bridge the way we up and others were and the way they felt. >> it's a bridge. >> yes, the bridge in the heart of the city. it means the new bridge. in fact, it's the oldest bridge in paris, 17th century. the whole -- i think listening, smelling, feeling what the they're feels like.
rubbing your hands on the surface of the cathedral sculptor on the exterior. all of that is part of getting closer to it. i'm trying -- always trying to get closer to those people, closer to that place, closer to that time. and asking questions. i do a lot of -- spend a lot of time with students lecturing or doing visiting occasions at universities and colleges. and they're so programmed, so responsible for being able to answer questions that i wonder sometimes how much experience, how much time they've spent asking questions? that's how you find things out, ask a lot of people.
people have a feeling that what i do and others do, similar kinds much work that it's a solitary endeavor. not at all. i'm with people all of the time, talking to people, working with librarians, working with archivists, talking to experts, talking to -- when i was writing about augustus saint- gaudens i spent one day with a sculptor with pieces, finding out how is it done? what's hard? what's easy? what's chancy? what's dangerous? and the same thing with painters or politicians or -- i remember reading once, for example, that woodrow wilson, when he was a historian/scholar wrote a book, very famous book,
an important book about congress. never set foot in congress once the whole time he was working on the book. you have to go and watch how it's done, listen to it. get a sense of the timing and the times when people are not doing anything much. the dead time as it were in their lives and how did they handle that? i loved reading about l.u. washburn, for example, would get so restless sitting in congress. he couldn't understand to sit and listen to other people talk. he would start to rattle through pages at his desk or he would see someone out in the gallery and go out and visit with them. he just got to antsy, he couldn't cope with that side of it. >> what do you plan to do with that typewriter? where are you going to put the david mccullough papers? >> i don't know. i'll probably -- i would like
to think that yale will -- my alma mater will be interested in the papers. the typewriter, that may become an heirloom in the mccullough family. i don't know. >> it's the same kind of thing when you go out and look -- >> oh, yes, indeed. >> people want to see your -- >> yep. the typewriter is part of the process for me. >> what about -- >> just like driving an old car you have been driving for many years. >> what about the little house you do all of your work in? >> oh, yes, right. i don't know. i don't think about that, brian, but thank you for asking. >> yeah, maybe i can get an answer someday from you. in this book, a couple people you write about are friends, more than a couple. >> yes. >> you have a big painting on one page of lafayette and also write about alexis coming here while everybody else was going there. >> yes.
>> put those in context. put lafayette in context. >> lafayette was the last living hero of the revolutionary war at the time these young people were starting over to paris. several of them, emma willard, sam unanimous f.b. morris and james cooper had all been involved with lafayette's famous visit to the united states in 1826 -- 1824. and they were going in part to paris because they wanted to see him again while he was still alive. and that painting is by morris and it hangs in the city hall in new york. it's magnificent painting, very large, very important painting. and lafayette adored these people. he gave a great deal of time to all of them. and he was terribly symbolic, wonderfully symbolic, terribly
important to them. ofthere's a big painting lafayette in the house of representatives. how important was he to this country? >> he was very important in the symbolism of an aristocrat, wealthy aristocrat joining the fight and soldiering on with our army. also, of course, he was very symbolic of the part that france played in our revolutionary war. it wasn't that they sent an army under here but they really bank rolled the cost of the war. they loaned the money that it took to carry the war through to completion and victory on our part. in fact, the army under rochambeau with the surrender under cornwallis was larger than the army under washington.
most people, most americans don't realize that. we're sitting here today in a city designed by frenchmen, the french engineer and architect l'enfant, the gateway to the country of new york, the statue of liberty, a gift to france by the french sculptor bartholdi. countless rivers and towns and universities all over the country with french names. we don't pronounce them the way they do. the influence of france on america is greater than people appreciate. we more than doubled the size of the country with the louisiana purchase, which of course was a decision made by napoleon. >> another frenchman did this painting, the wrath of medusa. >> dell'acqua.
>> jericho. >> jericho's wrath of the medusa was a painting that simply flows, captivated, enthralled americans first arriving at the louvre and still does. one american swept away by it and wrote very passionately and eloquently about it was harriet beecher stowe. most people don't think of harriet beecher stowe in paris but she was there a great deal and loved it and had a very profound affect on her. >> what did she do in paris and why was she there? >> frankly to hide away from the publicity that surrounded her publication of uncle tom's cabin. she'd been on a tour in england where the book was not only in print but had become sensational bestseller and hadn't yet been published in french and when
she got to paris, she could go anywhere without causing any stir. and she spent a lot of time at the louvre and spent a lot of time just walking the city, wrote wonderfully about the experience, started studying french, came back again another time. it's fascinating how paris, how it affected her. and what it did, she said it emphasized to her how much beauty had been denied her in her puritanical upbringing in new england. and the beauty isn't just something you see that someone else has created, the beauty is in you and the love of beauty is part of being human, and it's by being in a place where beauty is so respected and so considered such an important part of
life that you suddenly discover how much of that love and that respect is in you, part of human nature. >> your book on john adams ended up as a series on hbo. >> yes. >> is there a series in this book? >> well, the book hasn't been talked about with any serious intent that i know of yet. >> but in your opinion, is there a story here? >> i think so. brian, i could have written a whole book on at least seven of the chapters in this 14 chapter book. >> give us an idea of which seven. >> the story of the medical students, which in many ways for me was the most absorbing and exciting research and reading for the whole book, what those yuck him -- what those young people went through, how much they learned about medicine they never could have learned here, how far behind medicine in the
united states was and why it was far behind. and the marathon, the gauntlet that intellectual student gauntlet they had to run in order to keep pace with the doctors that they were studying with. >> two, give us a second one. >> the cooper-morse story surrounding -- peter cooper and samuel f.b. morse and morse's painting of the gallery of the louvre during the horrific cholera epidemic and what they went through and the friendship that developed as a part of the consequence. >> we have a lot of print history around elihu washburne but i wanted to ask you about the french republics and how many republics there were in your
seven years you wrote about. >> i don't understand your question. >> there have been five french republics. i wrote down the dates. >> i think there were two. second and third. >> one between -- the first one is between 1792 and 1804 and the second one, the empire -- you get lost. >> yes. >> in the story. and the second republic was 1848-1852. the third one was 1870 all the way to 1940. >> yes, the three. >> and what happened in france in the 1800's, what was the overall story, what went on in that country? >> well, you went from a king, he was a so-called citizen king, louis philippe who got power by a coup d'etat and then he was
thrown out by an uprising and escaped with his wife and their lives and lived out the rest of his life in europe -- in england. he's a very interesting man, in part because he spent a good time here in the united states when he was in exile from france because of the french revolution. he had an aristocratic lineage, although he had fought in the revolution as a soldier for the revolution. but he came to the united states, sailed down the ohio river all the way down the mississippi with his brother. he was young, still in his 20's, he was a guest of washington at mount vernon. he worked for a while as a waiter in a restaurant that's still in business in boston, the union oyster house. so when the americans showed up over there, george katlin was there with his indians and
paintings in the 1840's, those american indians, native americans, were astonished to hear him as he'd been out there on the great plains, he'd spent time in there with their tribes and could speak some of their language. and he really seemed more of western -- what was then the wild west than all but a very few americans had. so from the point of view of americans who came from paris, louis philippe was a wonderful king and he would take a walk in the gardens in the afternoon. it was sort of a quasi-republic with a monarchy but it didn't last. it lasted about 10 years. and then came in another first republic and then after that came napoleon iii as he called himself, who made himself the emperor. and that led to the -- this
whole complete rebuilding of paris under napoleon iii. the paris that we see today is really the paris that napoleon iii and his chief officer in charge of the reconstruction of paris george houseman, that's the paris we know today with the grand boulevards, the opening up of avenues, the planning -- planting of all the trees, the expansion of the balone and was done by the napoleon iii epic. and then came another revolution, or came the franco- prussian war and after the war another regime took charge after the defeat of the communards, which they're called which in effect is the french civil war where they slaughtered each other in the most atrocious fashion
irrespective, men, women, children, just a hideous bloodbath in paris. and the americans, many of them, were witness to this. and sometimes to their detriment and other times just as part of the adventure of that experience in their life. one of the most admirable of all is a young woman named mary putnam who was the first american woman to get a degree of medicine from the school of medicine who refused to leave during the siege of paris and the commune, very dangerous time to be there, very difficult time, people were starving to death. and because she was determined she was going to get her degree. and she came back to become one of the leading figures in american medicine. >> how many of these americans you wrote about died in paris? >> relatively few.
some died there because they decided they would stay, mary cassatt died in france, she never really came home to live. but by and large, they all went home. george healy lived a very long life and was still in demand as a portrait painter late in life, but he knew his days were numbered and he wanted to die at home so he came back and settled in chicago. >> we mentioned a couple books you could write off a chapter, can you think of another one? >> i easily could write a book about augusta saint-gadens. >> he was called gus and she was called gussi. >> he was agustus saint-gaudens and she was a cousin of homer, the famous american painter.
but the chapter that is about mary cassatt and john singer sargent i would enjoy doing as a major book because there you have these contrasting personalities, contrasting american geniuses who are painting in paris at exactly the same time, living in an entirely different world within the world of paris. paris is like all great cities has many worlds within the world of paris. and mary cassatt and john singer sargent lived worlds apart but yet they were right practically neighbors in the same city and both were painting what would prove to be american masterpieces that would more than stand the test of time and
would become more important with time. >> one of the people you write about we haven't talked about is benjamin rush's son, richard rush. >> richard rush. >> where does he come from? >> was the son of the famous benjamin rush who was a physician in philadelphia, one of the founding fathers, declaration of the independence, youngest signer of the declaration of independence, and benjamin rush had a distinguished career as a diplomat and he was assigned to be our minister to pair his a period earlier than elihu washburne was assigned. and rush is very interesting because he decided to recognize the new republic of france after the overthrow of louis philippe when communication between america and france was still a month at best, when
they had to come by ship, mr. morse hadn't invented his telegraph yet and he decided on his own to recognize the new government of france, not waiting for the government in washington to tell him that's what he should do. a very brave decision to say the least and a very important decision which was enormously welcomed news and applauded not just in paris by the new government but in washington as well. >> how did they communicate in those days when they were over in paris, i know things changed from the 1930's to -- >> by letter. >> how long did that take? >> a month at best. >> and was there a telegraph near the end of the 1800's? >> atlantic cable was laid and they could communicate directly. >> what did that change? >> oh, it changed everything. instant information.
the franco-prussian war, for example, the people in cincinnati or here in washington were reading reports from the front two or three days after the report was written. and if there was a delay, it was just getting the message to the nearest telegraph center where it could be put on the atlantic cable and sent here. >> did any of these people die in trans -- coming across the ocean. >> many people did die coming across the ocean. and the only one who did of note was margaret fuller who was a very gifted young woman, writer, important american writer, an important american person. and she died on a return trip. the ship went down right off of and in view of the beaches on long island. >> i want to ask you -- i never asked you this before, but you
have a first sentence in this book, i'm going to read it. they spoke of it then as the dream of a lifetime and for many for all the difficulties and setbacks encountered, it was to be one of the best times ever. how long did you think that sentence through, and when did you write it? >> i rewrote much of the first chapter two or three years after i wrote it the first time because as has been my experience with all my books, you know much more by the time you get to the end of the book than you did at the beginning. and the first page or page and a half of any book is crucial. you're setting the direction, you're giving the audience the
opening theme of your symphony or whatever it is. and i wanted to make it clear in the first pages of the book that these people were not going over to paris because it was the fashionable thing to do or because they were on a diplomatic mission assigned a particular task or because they were in somebody's employment and they were being sent by the remmington arms company or whatever. they were going -- and they weren't going for power or money, they were going out of an ambition to excel in their work. in many way this is book is about work. and the joy and the test of one's purpose in life that work
can pose. these medical students who really were put to the test like few young men i have ever written about, would later refer to it as the happiest time of their life, and yet it was the most difficult time of their life. and i think there's something very important in that truth, something important we all should -- the ease and hard -- the ease and pleasure are not necessarily synonymous. singleidn't find one example of any of those young people, male or female, who went to study medicine under the most difficult conditions,
particularly the language barrier at the beginning, not one of them who quit, who said this is not for me or i can't take this and went home. there may have been but i never found one that did. and all of them later on would talk about that time in paris. the other thing i love is that henry bowditch who was one of the doctors who went over to study in paris had a son years later who was leaving to go abroad to study medicine. and he said to his son remember what you learn over there is a value to yourself as a son and doctor is not something you'll learn in medical school but learn by the culture that surrounds you in paris. he says, i think i've probably done more good by some of my patients by telling them stories about some of my discoveries and how much i learned in various fields of interests
beyond medicine than all the pills and tonics i've poured down their throats, that it's the old business, are you treating the disease or are you treating the patient? and still a very crucial concern to the education of medical students today. and among physicians today. this realization that must be essential to the outlook of a doctor that that person you're treating is a human being. curing're not just tuberculosis or a trick knee but attending a human being and you have to understand the human
condition and appreciation for the human condition as well as understanding medicine. >> by the way, did you read the audio book? >> i read the first chapter because i did not have time to do the whole book. the schedule i had at that particular juncture of when these things are done, so i read the first chapter. i read the chapter and i was very pleased to be asked to read the first chapter because that's the chapter that the mission is stated. >> who read the rest of it? >> ed herman who is superb. >> this is the last part of your book, other than the acknowledgements. you have a quote, ms. cassatt as usual did the talking and her mind galloped along and then there's an elipse. is abysses and the reinforcement of courage and life and enthusiasm still lay hidden
inside the frail body, unquote. why did you end the book like that? >> because that's what the book is about, the life spirit, the curiosity, that love of the -- of the level that sometimes can be reached in art, music, ideas, by some people if they really work at it. the quote that i feel sets the emblem for the book is the quote at the beginning from agustus saint-gaudens. >> no, that's charles summer in, i read it earlier at the very beginning, i assume. this book is -- >> saint-gaudens was one of these people what wrote superbly
that never went to cool. >> let me read that, for we constantly deal with practical problems with molders, contractors, derricks, stonemen, trucks, rubbish, plasters, and whatnot else all the while trying to soar into the blue. >> yes. sculptors are different than painters and they work in a studio and they have a canvas and pallet and paints and brushes it. sculptures are more like a workshop and have people who make the molds and bring in the sack of plaster. i love the word "rubbish" in there, there's junk around. and yet you have all this practical kind of necessities of the trade to deal with. as is true in everybody's work. all the while trying to soar
into the blue, to reach that level, that ah, there it is. that happens in painting, music, oratory of the gifted and it happens to the audience when they hear it, when they listen to it. to rise beyond the limitations of mortality and do something that will speak to the human heart with your fellow men and women, but also to -- for generations to come. historians write history, biographers write biography, thank goodness. that's part of it. and by doing that, they're participating in history and biography.
painters, sculptures are also writing history. you want to have a feeling about general sherman, go to a look at the statue of sherman on horseback at the entrance of central park at 59th and fifth avenue and look at his face. it's the face of a madman. sherman is the one that says all war is moonshine and hell. ofs looked into the face hell in his march from atlanta to the sea. he said it, but saint-gaudens is saying it in form, not word, in three dimensional form in a way that you never forget once you look at that face. he's being led by victory, victory is a beautiful young woman, goddess with wings.
the model for that young woman was an african-american, heady anderson. and she's the goddess of victory. she's not -- she is not glowing with the joy of triumph. she looks dazed, she looks in a trance of some kind. there's a mystery about it. now, that sculpture was created by a guy dealing with cementmakers and rubbish and trucks coming, he doesn't mean the kind of trucks we mean but something you wheel in and out. this huge statue, working with heavy steel superstructures inside the statue and iron -- taking it off to the bronze foundry to have it cast and bronzed, shipping it all to america, shipping it up to the studio in new hampshire where it was all guilded and then
brought down. he had to deal with all kind of complicated, difficult, practical problems and employees that numbered maybe as many as 15 at a time, all the time trying to soar into the blue. that's the human condition, it seems to me. >> david mccullough, author of "the greater journey: americans in paris." thank you again for your time. we are out of time. >> oh, brian, thank you so much. what a joy. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> visit us at q-and-a.org. programs are also available as podcasts.
>> here is a look at our schedule. next, "washington journal" after that president obama names army chief of staff as the joint chiefs of staff and more from president obama as he has to arlington national cemetery to deliver his annual memorial day address. starting knack -- >> , "washington journal." our guests include major general jeffrey buchanan who will give an update on iraq since the withdrawal of u.s. troops and progress by iraqi security forces. then major-general james mallory discusses the u.s. efforts to train the afghan army and police purses.
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