tv QA CSPAN July 31, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
kaine campaign in ohio. after that, it is on the 2016 presidential campaign since the close of the conventions. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ ,"nouncer: this week on "q&a joshua kendall. he discusses his book "first dads." brian: joshua kendall. what is this book about and where did you get the idea? my last book was called "america's of senses" and added profiles of seven american icons were control freaks, from
thomas jefferson to steve jobs. people with character disorders that had difficulty butting to other people were amazing movers and shakers. i wrote a chapter on jefferson. jefferson, of course, is america's most articulate proponent of freedom and most articulate enemy of tyranny. with his own daughters, he was a control freak. he told them what to do, what to wear. jefferson also was an amazing politician. we all know how brilliant he was. election ofut in 1804 he was -- jefferson was a great visionary thinker and a great leader, but as a dad, so-so. he also neglected his daughters a little bit.
paris come heo sticks them at a convent school. one of his daughters famously had to be shepherded from london when she comes to visit him in paris. this question of how one leads a nation and a family -- sometimes there is a big disconnect between the public and the private man. another example would be franklin roosevelt, who was a great communicator. he was one of the great presidents of the 20th century. he got us through the great depression, the nazis. most americans feel when he dies in april 1945, as if they have lost a father. but with his own kids, he is kind of distant. his own kids literally hold him up. 1921 and hiso in comeback in 1924, he is leaning on his son, james.
fdr as president holds of the nation, his relationship with his kids is topsy-turvy and his kids take care of him at various points in his life. his kids hold him so he can hold the nation. another president of the same old, perhaps the 20th century's best public and president, ronald reagan. communicator, great, inspiring leader. got americans to feel great at about themselves. but with his own children he was also very distant and this came out when tracy agan died earlier this year. a lot of the commentary was about their terrific marriage. the bond often left their children feeling excluded. that was sort of the governing thesis of the book. it was -- i wanted to look at how one leads the nation and how one leads a family. sometimes, the president is the same and public and in private.
john adams was an authoritarian president, he gave us the alien and sedition acts in 1917 -- in 1798. he was also what i called a tiger-dad. he really was very tough with his kids in very authoritarian. he tells john quincy, his eldest, you will either be president or be a failure. john quincy lives up to the challenge, but is two brothers do not do so well. the struggle with alcoholism. an authoritarian president, an authoritarian dad. truman was a connector as both a the same and a dad in way that obama i think as a connector as a president and a dad. i describe both obama and truman as nurturing dads.
margaret truman once described herself as a total daddy's girl. obama, whatever everyone thinks about his politics, most are very proud that he has read all seven volumes of "harry potter" to malia. obama and truman both of the same kind of criticism that they are too soft. republicans have been criticizing obama for giving away the store to the iranians. truman had that he was too soft in his decisions. but his public self was very similar to his private self. i think that is also true with obama. brian: 43 men have been president. 153 children? mr. kendall: that the illegitimate children. brian: i'm not. five presidents had no children. he most children born to anyone -- legitimate -- 15.
five that did not have any children? what impact did it have on them and the presidency? mr. kendall: the first, george washington, that was very significant in our history. in his firstites inaugural, he never actually says it, but he says something to the effect of -- you can trust me, americans, because i do not have any biological children and is therefore there is no danger i will pass on the reins of power to a child. the last thing we wanted in the 1780's is a monarch. americans seem to the dynasties, to this day. i wrote an op-ed a year ago when jeb bush announced -- and i think some of his problems had to do with his hatred of dynasty.
one.ngton was he was actually a very sweet dad. he is an interesting case because he had a very critical mother. -- the argument that run churn out lays out his terrific biography, that washington had a very difficult mother. he developed a sense of control as a child. that became his sense of control and the quorum as a leader. -- and decorum as a leader. notaid to himself, i will be the lousy parent i had. his father died when he was about 14 and he decided to be very sweet. made an effort with martha's children. he is a nurturing dad. not quite as gifted as a parent because it did not come naturally, he work at it. but nothing truman and obama, naturally. because they had a lot of support as children, they were very nurturing. anys polk did not have
biological children. another case is james buchanan. james buchanan is our only bachelor president. his new biography i read about in the works that will argue that buchanan was gay, and that seems to check out. but buchanan adopted his niece. who did not have biological children all adopted children. you can see from those relationships, you can get a sense of what they were like as family leaders. what is so interesting about children as opposed to wives, his obvious leave and tell something about character, about how i man interacts with his wife. but the children are really powerless. -- is it is certainly more of an equal relationship. maybe not so equal in the 18th century.
-- theydren just have are really at the mercy of their parents. what can they do? you get a sense of how a president treats someone who is powerless. a really interesting example was james garfield. president in 1880. the book starts with garfield -- i was so moved by how sensitive he was to his boys. the book starts in july of 1881, garfield is about to go to the 25th three union at williams college with his two sons were about to start at williams college. he is jumping around the bed with them and singing gilbert and sullivan songs with them. you get a sense he is a tune to what his children were feeling. garfield also had tremendous empathy to african-americans. in his inaugural, he wanted to make that a centerpiece of his administration.
sadly, that day he goes to union station a few blocks from here and gets shot. he dies a couple months later. stetson andim crow race relations are horrible for the next 80 years. if you have an watching a news the summer, race relations are still in not great shape. brian: oren harding had no children. but tell the warren harding story. his wife had a child and he also had some grandchildren. he never was seen with those grandchildren. some grandchildren through his wife like washington. washington was very proud of taking care of his grandchildren. harding, no one knew about it. harding, i have a chapter in the dadscalled double dealing with illegitimate children. harding is one of the well-known examples.
woman a mistress, a young -- he was in his 50's when he was president. he had a young woman from ohio in her early 20's and the a sexual relationship. no one knew about it and the first inkling came in 1928, five years after his death, when she writes a memoir. no one believes her. she said the president father her daughter. no one believes her. the rest of the mainstream press says, no way. the 1960's, a harding biographer stumbling upon and hes scripts in ohio, finds 200 love letters that harding wrote to another woman. those letters were recently released by the library of congress. then people say, if he could carry on with this other woman, maybe there was something to her allegations. , ancestry.comer
today in a testing and she was telling the truth. brian: how long do they all live and how long did kerry phillips live? kerry phillips lived about 20 years after harding's death. how close to the oval office to the harding love affair get? mr. kendall: if you want to go for details, i think it was sex in the coat closet. brian: of the oval office? mr. kendall: yes. and he does not leave the daughter any money in his will, and that is why she writes the book. the harding family thinks she is a muddy grabber. evidence does seem to check out now especially with the dna. interviews did you do with ancestors or people
who knew something about these presidents? mr. kendall: i do 18 of the presidents in depth. .ix chapters each chapter i focus on three presidents with illegitimate children. i focus on harding, grover cleveland, 1884. then tyler. the couple apparently had lots tyler,e children -- john who apparently had lots of slave children. i do 18 presidents in depth. in many of those cases i spoke to descendents. he is born in 1790 and i spoke to his grandson, which is amazing. his grandson was born in 1928. brian: his grandson has alzheimer's? mr. kendall: yes. the reason for that huge age
discrepancy has to do with the theme of that chapter, that tyler was a lusty fellow and he was having children when he was about 70. sons was having children when he was 70, and that was when harrison was born. let me quote something you used from a professor. that tyler often boasted about having fathered a staggering total of 52 children with black women over the course of his life. interviewed i hasell dans and she written a book quoting a lot of present-day tyler's -- pr esent-day people who claim to be tyler's. in that chapter i lay out the case and circumstantial evidence which is pretty compelling. i'll so have a photo of one of
who looks aler's lot like tyler. i think be tyler allegations are kind of where the jefferson allegations were a generation ago. now there is dna evidence, but --il annette gordon reed harvard professor, started writing her terrific books about sally hemmings, most journalists that.storians poo-pooed was compelling circumstantial evidence about jefferson. i make the argument that the tyler case meets the same -- there's a lot of circumstantial -- one one day begin out day be dna evidence. brian: his life was extraordinary. 15 children. how did that divide up between lies? -- wives.
and those were legitimate. i make a joke that that was the most for tile election in history -- fetile election in history. there are allegations that he was from -- he may have had four black children. 10 from harrison and 15 from child or -- from tyler from two marriages. eight from his first wife, 7 from his second wife. en he marries a beautiful woman 30 years younger with an hourglass figure in 1844, julia tyler. then he has seven more children with her. the allegations about the black children go back 30 years. brian: how much of these former
bysidents having children black slaves, in most cases, is new information? the jefferson is well-known but the other presidents, it is not well-known. ,hat i found was so interesting was that martin van buren's vice richard johnson had black children, and that was known in the 1830's. johnson was eventually kicked off the ticket in 1840 because of opposition. quote one of tyler's alleged slave children who told a newspaper in the 1840's, such things happen on plantations, the slaveto the birth -- slave masters having
children with black women. it was not as rare as we think today. in 1845,om your book, a critic accused the president of staging wild sex parties with his two would build sons, robert whomohn junior, both of worked as presidential aides. again you are talking about john tyler. what kind of a person was he? mr. kendall: john tyler was a very tempestuous person. this is the chapter on doubledealing dads come in a focus on harding, tyler, and grover cleveland. an argument that runs through that is that these were all often mentalized men, who have affairs are that way. in fact, both cleveland and harding had dual personalities. cleveland refers to himself as having two personalities --
grover the good, who was the politician -- he is considered in the top half of a lot of presidential polls. he had grover the good, and big steve. use known in buffalo as a womanizer in a drinker. harding had dual personalities. he even had a name for his member -- jerry. jerry was the kind of sexual side of harding that had the affair. brian: did he use that word in his relations? mr. kendall: privately. jerry, he would use that name. tyler, i did not come up with evidence of a second name, but very compartmentalized. southern gentleman but he also had an aggressive side. school, he in grade
bound and gagged a teacher. i wrote a piece comparing it to donald trump. donald trump punched out his third grade music teacher. humana remember he then went to military school and had behavioral problems. tyler was a little like that. he is very compartmentalized. he could be a southern gentleman. with his children it was, do as i say, not as i do. brian: and those were his children we are talking about? mr. kendall: yes. i try to relate the parenting to the politics. for instance, grover cleveland had an illegitimate child that he really had nothing to do with , and i argued that he kind of betrayed thatt -- trout. but as a president, he was -- be
trayed that children. but as a president, he was quite solid. when the civil war starts, we have five ex-president's and tyler is the only one who signs up for the confederacy. be in the legislature of the confederate house of representatives. lincoln can't stand tyler come even though lincoln was a wig in the 1840's. tyler is the only president whose death was not mourned. lincoln refused. his first family, he left them out of his will. i argue he kind of betrayed his country and had this penchant for betraying his kids. at the same time, what is so interesting about tyler's he was kind of a wheeler and dealer and got some things done.
his biggest economic was getting us texas. he was kind of a trickster. i guess what i'm really interested in looking at trying to capture the complexity of human beings, and fathering is kind of a way into character. we tend to think that this is a bad guy or a good guy, but you see that a lot of these men who had been president had different parts they were cut penalize, and some can be very laudable and some could be disappointing and horrified us. brian: where you live? mr. kendall: boston. brian: what do you do? mr. kendall: author. brian: full-time? when did that start? mr. kendall: this is my fourth. brian: what did you do before that? mr. kendall: journalists.
i freelanced, a lot of health and science. brian: did you grew up in boston? mr. kendall: manhattan. brian: where did you go to college? mr. kendall: yale. a small affiliation with my college i spent a lot of time researching at yell. -- yale. that kind of reconnected me with my our modern -- my alma matter. brian: what led you into writing in the first place? maybe --ll: i guess this book is dedicated to my own father. my own father was kind of a tiger-dad. i really to john eisenhower, ike's kid. my father was -- i resume he about myiece in slate
father because his history was amazing. i father was a secret nazi jew. infather was born in romania 1925. my grandfather was a soldier in austria, sawn ande -- saw anti-semitism decided to convert. he nazis marched in, and served in the nazi army as a jew. that was the safest place for him to survive the holocaust. brian: did they know? mr. kendall: they did not know he was a jew. my father then moves to the new york in the 50's. i thought he was catholic. brian: did they raise you catholic? mr. kendall: they raised me
without religion. i father went to jesuit school and he spoke ken lay would just and would recite latin. i loved words and writing as a kid. i have a very complicated relationship with him. on one level you is very inspiring, another level, very tough. dwight eisenhower, he was very tough. john eisenhower died a couple years ago, he wrote military histories and was very inspired by his father. also found his father tough to take it eyes. brian: what does it mean to be a tiger-dad? mr. kendall: ike is a tiger-dad. john eisenhower graduate from west point on june 6, 1944. that was tough to turn down. i have a scene in the book where he graduates -- right after he
graduates he visits ike at the front. he is a nervous wreck, he has no idea how d-day is going. tiger-dad mode. he criticizes john. he is all over john's bidding. john gets a speck of dust in his uniform and is horrified. forget -- we can to footage ike from 1950's -- but he is a great physical specimen. he once tackled jim thorpe in a game. never hitthat ike him, but if he had he would have killed him. john said he was born standing at attention. he was terrified of his father. at the same time, he admired him. that is kind of what tiger-dad
stupid they push the kids really hard. brian: when do you remember your own father push you the hardest? mr. kendall: when i was in high school and he was telling me to be in the military. when i was 16, i was fighting for hitler. pushing me to get into college and study. -- john adams was very tough on john quincy. in a weird way, that was my inspiration to be a writer. i've always want to be a writer. brian: how much of being in hitler's military impacted the way he was as a father? mr. kendall: it is very complicated because on the one hand, he knew that hitler was a nut, a mass murderer. on the other hand, there is some kind of weird admiration for hitler. martyr.ssel was a nazi
the nazi national anthem. if you sing it berlin today, you will get arrested. there is serious business. i was exposed to that. there are not too many jews for whom these chilling lyrics bring out memories of a frolicking father. he has this weird tied to the nazis. the rise and fall of the third reich, and the 1970's my father's copy was framed. he takes the dust jacket off and ands out the swastikas saves them neatly. he says, i do not want the swastikas to go to waste. --the same time he would say my mother was jewish and i wold say, dad, i consider myself jewish.
he would say, josh, you are just like hitler. hitler considered judaism a race. it is a very interesting argument and i wish i could have had it with him in terms of fleshing out the intellectual side of what judaism is. is it a race, a culture, a religion? he got so adamant. when i talk about in the slate piece is the terror that he must have felt. it must never have left him. if it had been discovered that he was jewish, he could have been shot. brian: when did he die? two years agoabout and the book is dedicated to him. obviously i was thinking about him a lot, especially after he died. brian: back to tyler in cleveland. we really have not talked about how john tyler became president. mr. kendall: william henry
harrison, 68 years old, has a cold on inauguration day after giving a speech for a couple hours. then he is considered, the exit that the president. he is the first vice president to become cuts -- president and tyler to give very strong stand. there was some question about whether he was really in acting president or if he was actually the president. tyler took a strong stance and said i'm the real deal. else part of his personality. tyler like to be in control. he would say that no matter what the constitution said. he had a strong constitutional argument that was eventually fleshed out in the 27th amendment that the vice president takes office. doings part of tyler's
and he set the pathway for all the other vice presidents. ford, people who are not elected president. >> the story about how he married his second wife and the story of the vote? tyler'second wife, first wife dies in his quite flirtatious with every eligible woman who comes his way. >> you said he chases them around the white house. chases -- he chases julia, the bell of long island. she's on a boat with the ship of his father, his next and and r literallys and tyler -- she literally jumps into tyler's arms and that becomes the basis for the courtship. i argue that tyler, he ends up
becoming a father to his own wife. he is 30 years older than her and he ends up becoming a father figure to his wife just like harding was a father figure to his 20-year-old. ship? at a navy >> there was an explosion on board and several people, including her father and i think his secretary of state also dies, there were some prominent people. >> you call this chapter the doubledealing dad. he would also emerge as a surrogate father for his own wife. she's not interested in dating telegraphers and once she ates her father -- tyler first and want to loses her father, the loss is so severe , he kinds is kind of of plugs the whole.
he becomes the husband and father figure. influenced byvery everything that tyler says and she is from the north from long --and and seemingly immediately, i think the saddest paragraph in the chapter, she immediately sort of parenting everything -- parroting everything that tyler says and they go away for a couple months and they go back to the house in sherwood forest. >> down in southern virginia. >> that is where my harrison, he can make a grandson tour. grandson, he did may tour. while they were away, about a 10-year-old slave boy ate some dirt and dies. julia writes a letter to sibling
and says there goes $300. adjusting so she is totally buying into, you would think something from -- someone from the north would accept it. she buys into his mindset and it seems like her, she is not a fully formed person when she marries him and that's where he is a father figure to her. >> and all the presidents are outred, -- did you find anything that no one knew? >> i interviewed jimmy carter -- chip carter and i say some new things about to become it. people forget, most of us only think of amy and we forget that jimmy had three sons and as jimmy has acknowledged in books, without those three sons, he probably never would have been president. he is on what's my line in 1974.
he stumps the pound. no one knows who he is. if we have long campaigns today, i think we have jimmy carter to blame. he is the first person who really takes i was seriously -- iowa seriously. he has three sons and their all sixied and has a staff of , he did not have any money. without that staff, they are going all over the country raising small donations. poke tot to carter -- s chip carter and what came up was just how tough he was of the father. we tend to think jimmy carter, his biggest accomplish that as president was the camp david accords, he won a nobel prize, peace prize and there's no question that as a politician
and post president, he is committed to peace and extremely concerned about talking problems through but what was shocking was that in his own family he was very, hit a philosophy of spanking and jack carter, his eldest son came up to him in the 1980's and said dad, i think you run my life with your harsh parenting. picard is credit -- two jimmy carter's ready he takes jack seriously. he takes jack seriously and has written about it in a couple of his books. and tells jack, my own dad was tough and jimmy carter was born the 20th. ed by your dad and the south was, and he realizes unwittingly that he passed on
the harsh parenting he received to his sons and makes amends. i was in atlanta giving and talk and i ended up passing on a book to jimmy carter to his grandson, a political consultant and his grandson is the one who found the 47% tape that mitt romney said last election that is not concerned about the 45 -- 47%. jimmy carter's grandson found that. give it to rolling stone. i met him and i passed on a book to his grandfather and i said, to america's best post president and also to america's best post presidential dad for the courage to become a father he had always longed to be and i was so moved by how carter really acknowledged that he had not been the dad.
chapters in my first and that is the largest category. most people who become president obsessed with politics and if you are obsessed with obtaining power and keeping power, were not going to have a lot of time for children and that was true of the three people i profile in that chapter. frequent roosevelt, lyndon johnson who famously said i think about politics only 18 hours a day. >> what did you learn from his daughter lucy? >> i learned he did lucy the johnson treatment. awas so amazed, i'm not expert, but just how much she got done on the first couple of years before vietnam. amazing amount of legislation. through the johnson treatment , hecontrolling, -- cajoling
also did to his daughter. the public and the private. >> how much of the daughter know about all of the mistresses he had? >> i don't think his daughter knew much about it. in the also comes out doubledealing dad's chapter. there is a mistress who wrote a memoir which includes canceled incks about a son who died the 1990's. johnson once bragged to his staff that i had more women by accident than kennedy had by design. manson was quite the ladies and that has not come through in a lot of biographies. >> which children, 153 ,egitimate children, 43 men which had the worst relationship with the father or went on to live that lives? >> the saddest case is a suicide
that may have been a result of a contentious relationship with a father. i told you that john adams was a tiger dad. the president or else. john quincy does the same thing to his firstborn and gives him the name george washington. with that kind of freight, you know what is expected. george washington adams was a harvard, might does to wins the boylston prize, a big award and went over ralph waldo emerson. he goes up there and is smart as to what that is a little shy and he just finds his father very oppressive. in his 20's, and 1820's, george washington starts drinking, is trying to work as a lawyer and that has an affair with an irish chambermaid which results in a kid. in 1929, john quincy adams is
voted out of office, going back -- i'm sorry, 1829. of 1829, he is coming from washington going back to boston, writes george washington and says please come to washington and help me move. george washington is terrified a father will find that his life is a mess and yes an illegitimate kid. on the boat to washington, he committed suicide. he jumped off the boat. you can't say that his father killed him off. that would be crude. what you can said there was a tremendous amount of stress in that relationship. issue orhas a mental other it factors involved. what is so moving is that john quincy has an amazing comeback. after his presidency, he goes to
the house of representatives and becomes this fire abolitionist or cause abolitionist and i think that -- quasi-ocean is and i think that death -- plaza -- quasi abolitionist and i think that death changed his life. >> you talk to doctors, why? >> my interest is in personality. i think we have to try to psychology.he university,shington psychological profiles of political leaders from bill clinton to saddam hussein. this notion of trying. i'm interested in understanding what mix people take and when we think of presidents we tend to think of list of policies. coolidge, flow taxes. roosevelt, the new deal.
i'm trying to change that and have people think of them as decision-makers. how do they make decisions. i think the scene -- seeing how the decisions inside the family can flesh out our understanding of them. >> chapter five is the grief stricken. i would to ask about somebody, william mckinley. have,all it -- you coolidge and the loss of his son and think what appears in the loss of his son and a couple children. what about william mckinley? >> mckinley loses to children in the 1870's and as with john quincy adams, out of that tragedy comes some kind of energy and resolve and mckinley goes into politics in 1876 and his wife is very shaken. she developed a stroke and will be invalid for the rest of her life.
i think there is a comparison between mckinley and roosevelt. at some level, frequent roosevelt, polio makes the politicians that he becomes deeper after he has polio, develops more empathy and is just a better speaker and i think the same with mckinley. out of the tragedy, he kind of develops a brand of, even though he did not have children, he is a insensitive family man taking care of his invalid wife. americans fall in love with mckinley for that reason. in 1896 andopular his wife is very fragile. mckinley, out of the tragedy, comes to the political identity and tries to come he is even keel and try to get everyone along. -- to get along. appears cases on the most horrific things i discovered.
1853, he isnuary of on a train going back to new hampshire and his third and only surviving. gets his head split open during accident and peers have to pick up his own sonith a hole in the head and if you talk to a psychiatrist, that is the worst kind of expense. it is the worst of the worst. his wife literally go psychotic and starts writing letters to all favorite dead children. pierce is considered one of our worst presidents and he did nothing to stop the slide into the civil war. and i think that at the record. it was not an effective president, but i think you need to understand that something was going on inside of him. that allows context the presidency. -- lousy presidency. i think grief has a huge impact
on america. that's an paid -- affected campaign 2015. joe biden would have been fighting tooth and nail against hillary clinton this past spring .f he had not lost beau that is part of my argument. a lot of historians ignore the family life. it think it is squishy stuff. why should we care about the kids? look at this election. this is affected by biden family life and prickly pierce, -- franklin pierce, his presidency. coolidge is another case. july 1924.or dies in when coolidge dies nine years later, the new yorker famously said how could they tell? witches he is referring to to the fact nine years coolidge was
not really alive. he was sleeping, taking these long naps, sleeping as much as 11 hours a day. before the death of his child, he was a dynamo. earthquake in japan and was one of the first national leaders to respond to it. his very energetic. he loses it and becomes lethargic and probably would have run for president in 1928. he could have run. there were no term limits. he could have run it would have been a second full term. he would have run had it not been for the loss of a child. president who is continued to don black looks for years everyday? >> the observers in washington that the white house is like a morgue. entire a pale on the administration. what is so moving, lincoln loses
willie. his 11-year-old son. one of the first people he hears from his broken peers who still along. he says mr. president, i know exactly what you are going through. in the new york times about presidential great that there are two pathways. one is post-traumatic stress, some only coolidge was out of it or pierce who is out of it. the other pathway is hinted at, posttraumatic growth. which means that the person still expenses lost and is sickened by it, john quincy adams, out of that pain, come something amazing. some kind of energy that think that happened with lincoln. he loses willie in 1862 and right around the same time he becomes this amazing civil war leader who is hell-bent on winning the war come he steps of the military campaign and unite the country and willie was his favorite kid and a few days his
shot, i thought about willie every single day. out of the pain, come some kind of hair was in. -- heroism. >> franklin pierce my not to be defeated and the election, his wife did not make an appearance for the first year. silence --ause the he put his hands in his pocket while talking about his beloved hawthorn. >> nathaniel hawthorne, the scarlet letter author. no colors monitor husband, i will not take her out of the pocket. i am in the country and i like to feel the comfort of it. >> his wife becomes really crotchety. hawthorne writes a letter and says don't worry about not sending the invitation to the white house, as long as jane is
there, i'm not so keen on going. she becomes really difficult. here's has a problem with alcoholism early in his life and she makes him references to it undermining her husband. all of the stress that peers had to deal with, he had the violent death in front of his face, his wife collapsing, i think we have to take the amylase -- family considerations. they are part of the historical record is all -- as well. >> who else did you talk to? >> i enjoyed, i spoke to a lot of the grant of the frequent roosevelt. he had five children. frequent roosevelt children did not do so well. -- franklin roosevelt's children did not do so. get five children who had 19 marriages. one of the daughters, roosevelt eldest child, she was
at roosevelt's inauguration and john botegur, another child of anna, he told me this amazing story, roosevelt was very charming, he did not connect. people felt like they did not know him. but they could be charmed by him. that is why the skills of a politician are not the same as the skills of a parent. roosevelt was a consummate politician but he really charmed john and had this wonderful memory of sitting on roosevelt's bed and reading the sunday funny papers. >> in the acknowledgments you talk about belong to the biographers association. biographers international association. what is that? >> a group of biographers and we meet every year at a conference. i'm on the board and every year
we celebrate a biographer. turnout, we celebrated him one year, for hamilton. america's -- just a worldwide group led by the american contingent. we get together for annual conferences to discuss biography and how to tell stories. >> how would you discover biographer -- describe a biographer? >> i think biographers just love information. we just had to go after everything. we can deal with the writing later. readers know what is on the page, but they don't know that to get that one paragraph it took, sometimes it can take a two-week trip or going to
mountains and mountains of documents. it is wanting to know everything. i think that is what characterizes us. yout the end of the book, say since 22 presidential children have attended harvard, 15 more than yale, the second-most popular academic it destination, i also found it useful to visit the harvard university archives. these children that attended harvard, did they get in because they were smart or because they were sons or daughters of presidents? >> summer book i read a piece for play code because melia obama is going to be number 20. at harvard. 23 at harvard. about nine presidents have attended harvard and when the president goes to harvard, they often do very well, barack obama was editor of law review, john f. kennedy, his senior thesis became his first book.
rutherford b. hayes was a distinguished graduate of the law school. until recently, the kids have not done so well. i spent some time at hyde park and a lot of the kids were roosevelts. strengthen roosevelt's son james, i read his letters to his father from harvard and he struggled with the -- german and ended up talking and never graduated. partyers.s kids were sources,r thing about i viewed additional unpublished letters between tro adams at his charles adams and his father. a letter that charles gentoo john adams have long been reported that missing. there's an unpublished memoir. how is it that after all these years, someone like you, he see
something never published? >> what you're talking about is archival resources. letters that are in the archives or a memoir in the archives and publishers, george washington adams wrote that is not a well known figure and wrote a memoir about his life. if you put it in barnes & noble, no one will read it. it will be of interest to historians. by method was to read to make biographies and then do my own thinking and i went to meijer archives -- major archives. massachusetts historical society has all the adams papers. it also has the jefferson papers. thomas jefferson, virginia got, everything must be in hislottesville, actually,
daughter mercy coolidge in all the papers bulk of are in massachusetts. >> have you decided what your next biography will be about? >> i have not penalize the topic. i have spent some much time on the presidential families my think i want to, i'm just not sure what the angle is. this is a new angle. there was a book on presidential children that came out it was exciting, it is not just about presidential children, it is about the interactions with the fathers. i want to look at a new angle. associated, closest with john eisenhower the son of dwight eisenhower. all of the other dads, who would you not like to have been the son of? >> i think john quincy adams was really tough.
he had a son who is 30th in his class at harvard and he said don't come home for christmas. i will not feel any shame -- feel shame. there were 75 students in the class. boston and we thank you very much. >> it has been a pleasure. ♪ >> third free transcript or to give us comments about the program, visit us at two and a.org. two and a programs are also available as c-span podcast.
>> if you liked this q&a program, here are some others you might enjoy, evan thomas, author of being next and, a man divided. bookext author on his children of monsters. about the lives led by children of 20 dictators. and that kaplan, who shares his biography on john quincy adams. you can find those interviews and more on c-span.org. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up on monday morning, with the republican and democratic national convention is over, we will talk with the managing editor for political newsletter at the university of virginia as he previews the 2016 electoral map and key senate
house races. and then patrick tucker, technology editor talks about e-mails andof dnc what impact that may have on the 2016 election. of the president and ceo partnership for public service and center for presidential transition on how the clinton and come campaigns are preparing to occupy the white house and what has to happen before either one can take office next january. c-span'so watch washington journal beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on monday morning. join the discussion. the c-span buses in philadelphia pennsylvania this week to ask people about the democratic convention and the issue that is most important to them in the 2016 presidential campaign. >> i'm from district 43, los angeles california. so far my delicate -- experience -- delegate expense has been a
learning experience. i have learned the true innerworkings of how my party been found ands excited to share with the world. i want to be thankful for the people who elected me into this position and come here to be your voice. thank you so much. delegationthe ohio breakfast. unit is myblack issue. i feel like the lack of education in schools and school neglected foreen too long. they need to improve. of graduation rates are low. literacy rates are very low. hopefully we can get these issues fixed. >> i'm 17 years old and the young member of the california delegation. i'm pledged to bernie sanders and i got involved in the delegate process because i was
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