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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 21, 2011 1:40pm-2:20pm EDT

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been left aside and people have focused on it as much. yes? >> i was really moved in your book at the end when you talk about you can take tours of one of these plantations and with brochures describe this, it made me wonder do they really know the real story of people doing these tours and that is the way they see it? can you, and more about that? >> when i went to new orleans i went on these plantation tours. i don't really look like much of a radical so i've think i got the standard for of the plantation. i want to read to you the brochure. he personally be headed 18 slaves and staring out the window at be headed corpses of slaves he personally killed. now i will read to you a passage from the brochure.
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everyone worked hard from family members to slaves because life on a plantation was not easy. it has been documented that the slaves were treated with fairness and their health needs provided for. one of my favorite stories is i wrote an article for the times and we have this great freedom trail where you can walk the trailer and see these but you guys in new orleans erect a freedom trail to put up a commemorative plaque where francois cavs grave is and have someone wrote -- one of my favorites -- we don't need these northerners with messiah complexes to teach others about our own history. >> what made you become independent in 1904? >> i must have missed something.
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>> i am asking when you were doing your research did you find it was before that? >> the revolt started in 1791. they won in 1803 or 18 or 4. i can never remember. >> what primary sources were most valuable to you? >> the sources that were previously relied on in newspapers and letters of william claiborne were quite biased because they wanted to keep the story secret. i went to the next levels forces, financial records of the planters and court transcripts and filled databases. best way to understand -- by building a databases for financial records and used google maps to triangulate for military records that event a happened at 9:00 a.m. and would take three harris to walk from
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point a to point be. a lot of detective work. that is why this revolt has not been battered in is doing that work was pretty difficult. thank you all so much. appreciate it. [applause] >> thank you. i want to remind everyone that daniel will be signing books that the autograph area to my left and your right. thank you for coming. i remind you to fill out the survey over here. returned it to the information desk and you have a chance to win and the reader. if you would like to get our news reader it is over here as well. enjoy the rest of the day and thank you for coming to the book festival. [inaudible conversations] >> a few minutes we will continue with our live coverage
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of the 2011 gaithersburg book festival with anand giridharadas on "india calling: an intimate portrait of a nation's on american history tv on c-span3 from lectures in history, prof. regina williams on the music of duke ellington on american artifacts. a look at the smithsonian's efforts to preserve an exhibit, the jefferson bible and live sunday from jackson. personal mississippi the 50th anniversary of the freedom riders 13 men and women black and white boarded we to buses for new orleans to integrate. get the complete weekend schedule at or press the c-span alert button to get your e-mail directly to you. and now anand giridharadas and "india calling: an intimate
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portrait of a nation's remaking". >> good afternoon and welcome to the gaithersburg book festival. ims accounts will member. gaithersburg supports the arts and culture and we are pleased to bring you this event free of charge thanks to the support of our generous sponsors. a couple of quick announcements. for the consideration of everyone here, please silence any devices that make any kind of noise. your feedback is critical in helping us continue to improve this event. surveys are available here at the info desk and on line on our web site. everyone who submits the survey will enter into a random drawing for a nook color. we welcome booktv and reviewers. if there is time during the presentation for audience questions please make sure to
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use this microphone here so everyone in the television audience can hear you. anand giridharadas will be signing books immediately after this presentation. his book are on sale in the barnes and noble tend which is right over there. my first fascination with india came from reading of the raj quartet in the 1970s. in the closing years of the occupation but the indians and british had strict rules for behavior and the book explored the consequences for ignoring the rules. the british left in 1947 but it has taken a long time to reverse some of the rules and effect of their presence. our offer, anand giridharadas, grew up in suburban cleveland. his parents came to the u.s. after their marriage in 1979. he attended the university of michigan at st. edmund hall. he frequently visited his extended indian family and periodically immersed their life in india.
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like his parents he thought leaving india was a good decision. in 2003 he returned to india to work as a consultant for mckinsey and company and later as a journalist for the new york times and their international edition the international herald tribune. his experiences are shared in his new book "india calling: an intimate portrait of a nation's remaking". this is an exploration of modern in the and an exploration of the india of past years seeing through a new perspective. mr. giridharadas traveled through the country to meet and talk about change with relatives and strangers in metropolitan areas and rural villages. he worked to reconcile his childhood view of the country with what he sees as an adult. by writing about india for outsiders he learned more about the country he thought he knew. i won't spoil the book by describing this in more detail but it seems clear to me the biggest change that has taken place is now people have to think about how they choose to live their lives.
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whether they celebrate the changes that continue to affect business and family or reject them they no longer simply carry on. welcome, anand. [applause] >> thank you for that introduction and thank you for being. . to c-span f televising of talk about books. i thought i should just explain how this book came to be and what the premise of is. as was mentioned, i grew up in this country. the son of parents who had come from india and the first fact i had available to me about india was a perfect but my parents had chosen to leave it.
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whatever else i knew about india was built on top of that fact of their departure. so began a relationship with india which was strange at best. i've never really felt at home there when we visited every few years. it never felt like my place. it felt like a place my parents had made a good decision to leave and in those days india was a very different place from what is today. it could feel quite frozen and stagnant. it felt that many people unlike my parents peterson will people my parents left behind. delivered very replicated lives where they grew up to be like their parents and did the same jobs and didn't have the opportunity for invention that i saw my parents have in this country. fast-forward many years to the end of my time in college and i somehow got this idea of being a writer. within the idea of being a
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writer the idea of going out into the world somewhere i didn't know and shocking myself with experience rather than sitting in a room and trying to write over and over again this idea came to me and from that came the idea of going to india which was not a random country for me but a country in which i had unfinished business. until i stayed for six years. this book "india calling: an intimate portrait of a nation's remaking" is a result of realizing that the india i found beginning in 2003 was a wholly different india from the india my parents left and nothing prepared me for it. not their stories or my own visits every few years or what i read in the newspaper. india is in the midst of a revolution but a revolution that was taking place in the mind. you didn't see blood on the
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streets or troops or people in korea square like in egypt. it was a profound revolution happening in the country of a million people. this is the story of that revolution. i will read from three passages in the book. the beginning, middle and end. they reflect three stages of the journey. the first stage which i began with is the bewilderment of returning to my parents's country thinking it would be fairly straight forward to make my way there and realizing among the many sources of confusion there was linguistic confusion and linguistic confusion among people who spoke english because indian english was quite different from the english i had grown up with. one example of this was in a company where i was working people kept talking about going to s&l meetings and i was slightly bewildered and july realize that means sales and
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marketing. i was relieved at not figuring out how to dress for an s and m meeting. the most mystical concept was a native place which i discovered was a village where my ancestors milk cows. where are you from? a difficult conversation would begin. washington d.c.. that is okay. but where are you from? america. no, that is very good. my brother is in new jersey. i have been to new york and california also twice. what i mean to say is what is your native place? are was born in cleveland, ohio in the midwest. no, your native place you are in the in? >> yes of course. so what is your native place? that only is what i am asking.
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my parents grew up in bombay. so basically you are a maharajah. i am half cammed one and half minutes of the. his eyes bulged at such brazen regional assassination. how could that be? they met in bombay. basically you're a punjabi? my mother is punjabi. i see. so your father's south indian. >> exactly. ok, okay. pause, relief. the pigeon has been pigeonholed. whatever you want. that was how it began.
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some what inauspiciously. it took time to go beyond those interactions. the wonderful thing about my job, a journalist and a writer was the ability to not just leave interaction that that level but to expend a lot of time asking why this is so important? people aren't crazy. this is the reason it matters the way it does. so it explained that. what is it similar to in other cultures? above all the way i was able to do that work became the substance of this book, was by going deeply into the lives of a handful of characters. only so much you can get quoting somebody from one sentence or another in a newspaper article but when you interest yourselves in 15 lines over the course of six years as i did you are able to see the richness of the old culture and the new culture pushing in and very little skirmishs with each other.
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the second reading is from the middle of a book in it captures what most of the book is like after that initial description of my and counter. it is not about me but about these people whose lives i immersed myself in. indians living through this change in india. this is one of my favorite stories in the book about weaker brothers -- two brothers and where the traditional indian family is invaded by a new idea much more familiar to the west and you have two brothers one of whom subscribes to one division and the other subscribes to the other and this is what happens. the debate on property began downstairs. a single story horseshoe of room as a rate around the courtyard. it had been constructed when the brothers's parents who were prosperous and important people in the northern city where they lived saw the city go to pakistan and independence.
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they moved and build a house. their son is married and brought their wives into the home remaining with their parents in the indian way. they live with their traditional indian family dynamics in a noisy household filled with compromise, meddling and overwhelming love. a brother might live for some readers in one bedroom and then switch when his brother had a baby and move again to another room when a cousin came to stay for a year. the brothers worked in their father's business working in a local shop and their wives share a kitchen. there's a lovely word for families like these. which means without account. they pooled their money and share their expenses and no one took note of who and what or who worked with or purchase what food or whose liabilities. it was family marxism from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.
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the bed was the locus of life in those single story days. there was no dining room table in the house. to be with people you sat on a bed with the television on sort of watching that and sort of making conversation but mostly just being around one another. on the bed dinner with the and, children were conceived, newspapers were read, letters were written, rituals were performed and arguments wage and marriages are range. the kind of love flourished on these beds was unlike family love i had grown up with. it was ambient love. love that was not about your feelings or thoughts and psychology. it was love that hung gently in the air. a simple awareness of the presence around you. a love that felt no need to proclaim itself. use the individual were not important as an individual but rather as an organ in a greater organism. children were raised in, the.
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each child receiving a little love from everyone and a lot of love from no one in particular. an excess of personal attention was thought to grow character. every daily transaction away food was slapped on the your plate or your told to sit here or slide forward or move back the way no one asked a child's opinion of major family decisions would have reinforced a sense of one's own smallness in the larger tribe. no one can say with precision when relations in the family soured or why. the un quote claimed it was because his wife raised in a village tended to entertain often, showering guests with food and attention. he said that upstairs, chchi did not like her house functioning like a hotel but the separation was upstairsc chac
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chacha's decision. he broke the brahman way is with a tumbler of whiskey which he didn't want his young daughter to see. partly that upstairs his wife craved freedom and didn't want to consult her sister-in-law or mother-in-law who lived with the brother every time she went to the market to buy vegetables. living there subsidize his brother's sloth. he noticed his brother did not work as hard as he did or have his burning ambition. he began to want more for his daughter. he began to think of the future of where progress and india was headed and how he might secure a place in the new order. he began to dream of things. a car, television, short sleeved shirts from houston bush relate gold watch today go from his wrist. a cellphone with allowed status
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enhancing rain done. as he relayed to me in a series of conversations he began to see in his own family what he had not seen before and what an indian was not supposed to see or acknowledge, the resentment and backbiting and inwardness that sometimes lurked beneath the surface of that ambient love. he began to sense that real love was impossible when spread so thin. he felt that silent search for release that so many indians were feeling and pursuing their own ways. upstairs charge on decided on separation. he would leave the family business and set out on his own as a contractor building roads and parks and such. he would seek to become part of the state level congress party political organization. he resolved to carve out a physical face on himself in the world. a home of his own. families across india were
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fragmenting this way in villages and cities alike but in india where the old always had the upper hand and the new always are on the defensive, upstairs chacha decided to keep just enough of the old ways. he wanted to split the difference with modernity. .. it was only a question of space that lies the central pattern would remain unchanged. then in 2001, he built his own
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kitchen and bathroom above his brothers. a rapture had been torn. the two families began to move in separate orbits in daily life although they came together for important events, weddings, funerals, visits to the ancestral village. a few years later he added the living room upstairs which was followed by the second glass encased living room which was followed in turn by a veranda with the family could sit in the evening overlooking the lane. i asked upstairs one day to consider the household he had cleaves to be a joint family in the indian sense or two nuclear families. it is not -- after ruminating for a moment, but semijoint. over time, the household began to seem like a body debilitated by a stroke, the skin sagging and movements slowing and
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expressions doling on -1/2. with the vitality of the other half thrown into stark relief. the upstairs world began to fill with stuff, a color television, air conditioners into rooms, a washing machine, a car down below in the garage, a computer, an internet connection. downstairs the walls were decaying and the ceiling was arresting from moisture and there were so many flies that it was actually difficult to have thoughts about anything other than the flies when you are there. upstairs there were no flies because the floor was groped fresh every morning with the servant boy slipping and sliding across it after the cleaning as a kind of quality control. a certain decorative fatalism reined down stairs, such that whatever happened to the house became accepted as a divine intention. in the downstairs a bad flush tank mends of earlier in the bull. on the floor beside downstairs
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chacha's bed dozens of use matches from smoking were scattered waiting to become populist enough to reach the cleaning quorum. an old bottle of ginseng and an old can of shading cream stood in the windowsill. upstairs by contrast a new attendance rule. every detail of the house was considered and tended. the toothbrushes were arrayed in a toothbrush holder. the beds were made every morning. there was even great tubing installed by a chacha around the power lines that ran along the streets inches from the veranda. it was the only such tubing on the streets and it suggested it protectiveness and sensitivity to risk, and insistence on living in spite of the gods that had come with the new aspirations upstairs. but there is was more than a physical diversion. the greater trip was -- within the tool household senses of time.
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among the deepest differences between industrial and a query in societies was not perceptions of time. in agrarian society time is cyclical. it was to be endured, not extracted for-profit. time was the seed of life. one lived through it and didn't expect much from it. conversations involve the trading of finality send gossip. they helped the time surpass. your relatives fulfill their role bed in a linear modern world would be taken over by antidepressants and insurance policies and alcohol. they protected and occasionally intoxicated you. with the advent of modern industrial society, time began to be felt as a linear thing. the idea of progress dawn. a man was supposed to be today where he had not reached yesterday and tomorrow where he had not reached today. there came the idea of conquest and perpetual forward motion. time was to be consumed, not endured, to be seized and not
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suffered. upstairs this linearity prevailed. you slept in your bed of course but then you got out of bed and dressed yourself and moved on with your life, if that was not for lingering. time was to be managed wisely and schedules to be packed. he was constantly running from school to a tutoring session to the temple for temple for roller skating competition. downstairs the family took things day by day. they too had works to get done but i never got the sense that they had committed to be in any particular place at any particular time. upstairs the future was methodically planned and built. justice upstairs chacha constructed the three bedrooms, then the bathroom and kitchen, then the living room. sue too had he planned his political career. he determined he would remain in his current role as a local congress party secretary for four years, then run to be a municipal counselor and then five years later on for a seat
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in punjab's state legislature. downstairs the family didn't say for the future, didn't strategize about the crockery business they now ran and were blissfully unaware of their plan for tomorrow let alone for 20 years from now. upstairs chacha told me seeking to distill his philosophy, money makes a man perfect. if a man has money, all this relatives give him honor and respect. if he has no money, he gets no -- and before you didn't mean -- need money. before it is to come from love. today there is no brotherly or sisterly love. and then the final reading is from the end of the book after this journey of immersion in a handful of indian life, living through this change. a kind of summing up of many examples of what you saw there,
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which is profoundly new and in some ways alien ideas of what life is and should be about, pushing into a very traditional culture. and it is not a linear, simple shift the way. these things are intermingled and very much in contention with each other and it is not always clear which will win. but the overall direction seems plain. this is from the epilogue, called midnight. i will never be able to relate the fullness of what it was to live in india in that dawn. the world turns slowly. nations, he rose, visions of regeneration, and go. to history we are ever changed and the new is seldom as new as it seems. but there are moments sprinkled strangely among the centuries when souls open, when the shoreline of the past falls a retrieve a the plea into the
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distance. he spoke eloquently and at midnight in 1947 of the instance when the soul of a nation long suppressed finds utterance but it took two more generations to bring utterance not just to that collective soul but also to the millions of souls within, one by one by one. bad idea first came to me in the dusty lanes of a small town where i've written about a young man who through his ambition escaped his birth. it came in meeting and hearing in his voice not just ambition, not just hope that also a civil i'm kind of freedom, a freedom from the definitions of the past of his tribe, of rank, freedom to make himself knew and i wondered how he judged judge the freedom he had found in relation to the freedom that gandhi and
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nehru had won in 1947. for the world and for many wellborne indians, those men were paramount heroes. they had given in their voice, they had ushered an improbable country fast, fractured argumentative into beings. further away from the leading cities that independents seem to matter less in places such as ombre. the british had been a faint presence. the indians once they took over improved little. the landlord, the humiliations it all lived on. what was coming to india now was a sense of awakening much as it had in 1947. but this time it felt less theoretical. this time it felt like another kind of independence, and independence of the soul, not just of the nation. quote at these kinds of things are happening and continue to happen in the future, india will become a real independent country he said. when i put the idea to him one
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day. auld, today we are independent, no problem. we do not have anybody's kingdom over us, but still we are not that much free. we are not living a completely free life today. we need financial freedom which we did not have now. so when young people, had come of the new generation will come ahead and they will start to live in the way we are talking about. india will will become independent and we will become a superpower. we will not depend on anybody else. we will live the life of our own dreams and quote. to live the life of one's own dreams, this then was the second independence, the coming of a midnight. that first midnight had expelled an empire, and resolve the political question of whether indians could govern themselves, had shown the world and the person of gandhi especially indian way of melting oppression. and yet so much of the indians
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and what challenge the life that he sought was not of british providence and what not just leave when the colonizer sailed away. the family relations of guilt, the never questioned ritual, the entered taxonomy of the cast and subsubcast. the rural cruelty, the poverty. the specs would require their own gandhi, a diffuse army of activists and entrepreneurs and philosophers and farmers toiling across the land, cutting these other, stretching the indian idea of the possible, making it more than lyrical to speak of a life of one's dreams. that first midnight had anchored indians in place. they had lived for so long with smaller allegiances to the tribes, the cast, the faith. gandhi returned from south africa and nehru returned from britain, saw a wholeness in india that many indians did not see for themselves and through the force of their actions they made that wholeness a reality.
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the second midnight was by contrast about the dissolution of places, about returning to another kind of fragmentation. it was a revolution of quiet refusal to no one's place. geographic place, place and time, a place in the tribe. it celebrated the lightness of being without roots, the possibility of reinvention, the dignity of anonymity. at ruddock kind of independence that 1947 had not brought. that is not depending on others for the discovery of what you might become. thank you very much. [applause] and i'm happy to take any questions. while she is coming up i would mention if you are interested in the book anyone to learn more you can visit my web site and
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you will find a lot of information there. >> before i read your book i certainly thought that the idea of arranged marriage was a really bad idea, that he didn't have anything to do with freedom or individual choice but actually upon reading, i'd got. >> that is the arranged marriage expression right there. >> from having been married almost 30 years myself, the idea that a marriage serves as much to help fulfill social obligations and perform social functions -- i will make -- i will wait a minute here. a husband and wife really aren't to themselves until later on in their marriage anyhow. i can understand how this was a common thing. and i'm wondering if you think it will disappear completely, or if people will find value in it when they look at the choices? >> a good question.
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in case you didn't know the question because of the choo-choo train, it was about whether i think arranged marriage will endure over time or whether it is one of these things that will be a quick casualty of modernization. i think in many ways it is a great question because it is the great chess case of how india will modernize and as we know from a bunch of different countries there is a range of choices. there are some countries do choose to modernize in a way where the modernizing is the most important thing, and anything can be sacrificed for the goal of the high gdp growth and the willingness to kill people or collectivize people or have shock therapy from an economy that displaces a lot of people. although it is a high growth rate india's not china, and one of the things and i will explain what this has to do with arranged marriage in a moment. i think the emerging modernization globalization or
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whatever you call it is a broad idea in which the new, the modern and the foreign is certainly examined, considered. imported where useful. but the general indian bias as a whole can be generalized, tends to be we have a pretty good system that is worked has worked for several thousand years. maybe we should take a look at some of this stuff but certainly not be to use the relevant term, railroaded by it just because it is nailed and glamorous and available and being shown on friends and modern families. and arranged marriage, you have been some groups in india people who have already abandoned this and think it is silly and have moved on. that is actually a small number of people. there are a lot more people in india who are part of this modernization story in many other ways. they work for multinationals, they live without their parents.
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they you know, might even sleep around, drink, smoke, do drugs, all of it before they're married. and at the end of all that still come to mom and dad and say i had my fun. can you help me find somebody? you would be surprised how common that is. i know a number of people in india who used cocaine and have had arranged marriages. although this is not an art opportunity to endorse cocaine use, there something healthy about the attitude which is the idea that it is not an all or nothing package. i actually would bet that arranged marriages survive longer for a larger number of people than we would expect. with the caveat that a certain segment will abandon it. i think we have time for one or two other questions. anyone?
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good, while thank you very much. really appreciate your attention. [applause] thank you all for coming. i just wanted to remind everyone that anand will be signing books over to my left, you are left in autographing area and we invite you to please fill out a survey over here. if you can hand your serbian of the information booth you'll be eligible to win a b. reader and the color. i also ask you to sign-up for our newsletter. thank you for coming to the festival. our next panel will be up shortly. we will be back with more from the 2011 gaithersburg book
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festival and a couple of minutes. >> well working for the ls us in washington julia became fast friends with a number of women who are training to be spies and she was green with envy. one of them was a young woman named jane foster. now jane like chile was from a wealthy, conservative, west coast family. she was adventurous california girl, but there the similarity ended. jane was widely traveled. she had briefly been married to a dutch diplomat and stationed in java and she spoke several languages including fluent malay. jane with everything that julia felt she was not, wildly sophisticated and alluring, witty and outrageous, bold and daring enough to be true of mata hari material. while jane


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