years. and we think it gives an incredible portrait of holbrooke both in his own words and reflections on his career by people who knew him very well. >> we've been talking with susan weinberg, publisher of public affairs books, one of the perseus group's imprints. public affairs books.com is the web site. >> what are you reading this summer? booktv wants to know. ..
the author and historian reveals many british citizens fought on both sides of the civil war for a host of personal and political reasons. she talked about this lesson on influence in the war of secession with pulitzer prize-winning eric foner. >> host: very happy to be speaking with amanda foreman, the author of the new book, "a world on fire". gained a great deal of attention, a fascinating book. we're going to have a nice conversation about britain, the american civil war, and writing about a civil war history. hello. >> hello. >> maybe we can just begin by asking you -- somebody said there are about 50,000 books on the american civil war out there of one kind or another.
why did you -- when and why did you come to the conclusion that you have something new to say about it? you know, how did you get into the book and get interested in it and what did you write it? >> my first book was about an 18th-century dances. because of that often the very first question i get when i want to or is, sure, threat to arrest and the civil war. how did you end up here? the answer is that although i sound english i'm actually american. my father was blacklisted during the mccarthy timeframe. he moved so london where he remarried, had a second family, and i'm the youngest product of that. but a few years on the film industry died in england and my father moved back to l.a. it was from l.a. that excellent to school in england, and that's why i sound english. so, for the reason why that is
important, from my undergraduate i went to college in new york. having had a very privileged education i was really on the outside of many of the fundamental concerns that were exercising campuses across the united states in the mid-1980s. actually, almost close the college for about half a semester. on the one hand -- to do with what? >> it was a general protesting a number of things. mostly to do with the lack of diversity. christendom and then faculty and among the students. and these were concerns that had never crossed my mind before and all actually. and the more i thought about it the more i tried to see what was really going on. their work to protest. the first. whether or not that was really grounded in reality or
practicality or even the possibility. so i didn't have the answer. but the second protest was really a protest said in the past. and every argument always ended up back in history. it was essentially the slavery debate, civil war and reconstruction going back and forth on its head in 1989. so although all of my classmates went on to be gainfully employed and become doctors and lawyers and whatever else they did, never moved from that spot. i went to oxford to study that question. it had a fat -- profound effect on me. and did my masses on the abolition of the slave trade in the politics behind it. in attitudes of race and color. it was well was researching charles gray, i came across his mistress. she was fascinating. i became sidetracked.
a new book and movie, the duchess starring carol nightly. so i've always wanted to go back. >> you went back to your earlier incarnation as is every historian. >> that's right. i also knew that i wasn't going to pick up that old fascination. i found a new topic when i was that that's worth the devon shire said given the permission to look at all of the archives of all the dukes. she went to the fifth in the sixth, seventh, it, and ninth. but the eighth, when he was a young man, he had gone out to america and joined the civil war. the reason he had gone out was actually to escape his mistress. he couldn't afford her anymore. so rather than setting happy ran off to new york thinking she would not find him. two weeks discovering the likes
of american service, knock on his door. so he then ran to washington d.c. thinking that one more time, she would never follow him there. a week later she turned up. so one place he was absolutely certain she would not get to it, the war is on. they get in a canoe and paddled across the potomac, got down to richmond and she could not follow him. then he would do something even more powerful. southern charm. he became so enamored he test himself to robert e. lee. his unofficial bag carrier. he even made eggnog, as we know. and so when he returned to london in the spring of 1863 he was an unofficial spokesman. yet his brother who shared his
opinion, both members of the liberal party, liberal in terms of attitude, life, and politically from a pro north. so he had in a microcosm the macrocosm of america. >> one of the interesting things in your book, which i was really unaware of was the number of british people who fought in the american civil war on both sides, sometimes the same person, on two sides. generally not. why did britain's in list in the american civil war? >> well, it is one of those answers that run the gamut. first you have those who were genuinely led by ideology. we have instances of young men who joined the north because they wanted to help free the slaves. they wanted to fight for the north to maintain the union coming from england. but there were those who saw
slavery as the issue. even more interestingly and perhaps more counter to italy there were young men be joined the southern cause and endured great difficulty to get there. then in this case they often are the most eccentric or interesting faugh. >> i was living in london for a woman wants. i went on one of these walking tours of civil war london and particularly confederate london. i was surprised even though i have studied this a great deal. i was surprised at how many prominent british people sympathize with the confederacy, members of parliament. of course we talk about this in your book. church leaders, scholars, people invested in these confederate cotton bonds, some went to fight, as you said, but why was
there so much sympathy for the confederacy in britain given, as some of course, you say, the burden had already abolished slavery in the slave trade. anti slavery was basically now part of british culture and a significant way. why did so many prominent british people sympathize in one way or another with the confederacy? >> no easy single answer, but you can't be spent together. the very beginning of the work. i think that the north was knocking at an open door. in general most countries are not that thrilled with the sort of other countries waking up. then made a fundamental mistake. >> being the secretary of state. >> made a fundamental mistake by pursuing this idea that if he could at least raise the factor is not the actuality of a foreign war with a common enemy. no greater common enemy and britain. >> started out first with spain. first proposal was the u.s. was
a war with spain. started talking in a manner. of course. >> that's right. and all it did was a noted british. the previous statements about canada. actually true and not simply alleviating to the public. so he turned. considering aligning itself with the north into an armed neutral and really the first thing. the second thing is that, you know, ambiguity and nuance is the enemy of germanism. it is not really work. the north is fighting for empire or territory. the south was fighting for independence. >> this of this not as the slavery question in the beginning, but local self-determination, sort of like the greek war of independence against the ottoman empire or things like that. >> that's right.
liberate italy. now an international hero. it did not take that much for seven propaganda to press that point. look at the north. no word about slavery. it is true. it really was unclear to us. in so, you know, one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. in britain the most magic words "for fighting for freedom, they have this power over the british. they just blinded themselves to what was the truth. >> well, i wondered whether the british leaders feared -- i mean you alluded to this a minute ago. seeing the american nation breakup might actually encourage what we would call separatist movements within great britain. obviously the average question was a perennial issue. the demand for home rule in ireland. the scots, the wells, britain and self.
not always totally happy being part of the united kingdom. this countervailing feel that they might somehow inspire efforts for greater independence within the group's? >> well, one of the rallying cries, if britain saw style that would actually encourage irish-american support. >> layers upon layers. and nothing ever that simple. the clever politically astute folks, the prime minister, for example, didn't want to divide america. maybe perennially fighting within itself.
they felt bad they had a tradition distempers in the back whenever there was someone busy. therefore they could not be trusted. two americans are three americans to my you could never be sure one of them might not cause trouble. >> anti british sentiment was a pretty prominent feature of politics. pulling the lion's tail whenever it was. running for office, denouncing great britain was a pretty good way to get votes him especially when the irish came over. and i'm interested, seward plays an interesting role. the american secretary of state. to you see him as someone who is this kind of a bluster and really a little out of his element making all these threats and crazy schemes? is there met it in his madness?
is he trying to be so bellicose in his language of the british a nervous and said we better not doing anything. he may go to war with us. looking back at the holes for your work, do you see him as really a successful diplomat was secretary of state in terms of dealing with britain or was he really kind of out of control, a loose cannon? >> well, i think he was a brilliant man. he knew he was a brilliant man. he loved his own brilliance. the generally believed he was the smartest man in a room. >> she taught at the beginning that he should be president. very and half that lincoln that the nomination. >> that's right. although he rather brilliantly prevented or, he was also the man who was the most responsible for that war almost breaking out. so he was a great corrector.
>> people play interesting roles. maybe someone counter intuitive. prince albert on his deathbed basically takes steps to avoid what seems to be a growing possibility of military confrontation. prince albert as a key can a player in terms of peace. >> no. and one of the interesting outcrops. created such fiction. >> maybe you should say for our viewers, not all of them know. briefly what happened with that vessel. >> yes, well, it's one of those incidents. the affair involves the transfer. it had two passengers on board who are particularly controversial. there were two. and all americans had wanted the
two ambassadors to be captured. so there are going to europe. a captain called captain charles worked who himself had a tepid carrier. nevertheless he guarantees to -- found the chance, took off the mss. >> the equivalent of a radio fighter jet intercepting a passenger plane, bringing it down and taking them back to ron. you just can't do that kind of thing. and so naturally britain protested. and so the mere hint that america was not telling to do that and there were suggestions. congress voted. they sent over thousands of troops. in fact, 13,000 troops less than a week away from landing in canada to invade win support persuaded the cabinet.
had to be set free. >> moderated a letter by lord tomlinson which is going to be sent over demanding in fairly bellicose letter. he kind of tone down before it was sent. >> that's right. the foreign secretary was a man called and russell who himself was a great man, but riddled with social anxiety. end what he wrote, so bellicose it did not allow the united states to save face. prince of and read the letter and realized that once again he put his foot in his mouth. so as he was dying from cholera he change the wording and the rest of the cabinet agreed it was in which more -- >> he gave him the option. without our authorization. so with the government of the united states, it was just a loan.
it was an interesting incidents of which there are many in the book. let's talk for a minute about slavery of the war. at one. , slavery was the insurmountable stumbling block to britain actually taking the side of the confederacy. of course burden did not take the side of the confederacy. it was neutral. some felt that britain was tilting toward the confederacy. as you know, one of the things you find interesting, seveners to my very hostile to britain. after britain abolished slavery in the 1830's, the whole texas battle and 1840's, john c. calhoun. conspiring to try to get taxes when it was an independent. trying to get the spanish to abolish slavery in cuba. quite annoyed at what they felt
was britain's meddling with slavery in the new world. it was not at all clear that seveners would see britain as a likely ally. on the other hand britain depended on southern common for textiles. the get to that in a minute. he seemed to think it was a big mistake not said emphasize slavery. the beginning. the beginning of the war this was all or about union, not fighting to abolish slavery. i get the impression that you feel that really made it impossible for the union to really get the kind of support in britain at the beginning that it might have. >> i do believe that, and it would not have taken that much for them to provide a letter. could have shown him before. domestically in america we could talk to what the war in terms of
union. as you and i know this is a war about slavery. >> which eventually they do say, but it takes awhile. >> two years, and that's a very long time. >> on the other time -- on the other hand lincolns lead antislavery consols. one of the leading illinois was sense. a very saw her die saw that sending an abolitionist as a council, not ambassador, but actually help to appeal to british public opinion. so there is this sort of strange crosscurrent going on for some people would talk to us live free and some people wouldn't. but one of the very interesting things in your book is to trace that, tracing out of how british sympathizers of the confederacy kept saying, oh, you know, of the confederacy when is this going to abolish slavery. no one was willing to defend
slavery. even the pro confederates. if the confederacy becomes independent britain will pressure them to abolish slavery. >> and that was the prevalent opinion. the leading supporter of the south who really masterminded the commercial and propaganda campaigns was fired by the confederate secretary of state because of his antislavery sentiment. >> which he publicly -- yeah, publicly said this. we know the confederacy will abolish slavery. now, were not abolishing slavery at all. you mentioned briefly toward the end of the book a plan or a proposal that was carried to london from jefferson davis in early 1865, right toward the end of the war in exchange for british recognition. the confederacy would promise to abolish slavery. was that a specific plan?
>> very specific. a fascinating mission. the man who carried it who himself had been the largest slaveholder in the confederate congress. the fact that he had agreed to undertake this mission when a long way to persuading confederates, members of congress that they had to go along with the plan. obviously a last-ditch plan, but when the british could federates receive the plan and heard about it, he was appalled. in fact, he almost refused to get it amended. >> would not go see it. >> out for so long. he could not believe it. everything he could to sabotage the message until the very last. the prime minister. you could see it coming a mile away. the proposal.
no. not about slavery. just to shut them up. >> the u.s. did sign a treaty with britain to suppress the african slave trade. the clinton administration agreed. this was sort of taken as a straw in the wind. emancipation was coming. the previous of ministration, even though the slave trade was illegal in britain in the united states, that had rarely been enforced by previous american administrations. lincoln, as you said, first of all, executed as with trade with gordon the first time that had happened. then he signed a treaty with the british. i mean, it was to my guess -- do you see that as an effort to get british support for the union cause? >> i do partly.
ciliate seward had done it because he believed in it. >> she did. the steward, of course, was anti slavery. >> that tragedy is that the effort was really given. but it is actually one of my favorite moments in the book because of the elaborate schemes and suffers that had to be gone through. >> right. right. that is very interesting. one of the things about the treaty which struck me as of interesting is that it allowed british warships to board american vessels off the coast of africa if they suspected there are carrying slaves. go back 50 years and that was one of the causes of 1812, british ships stopping american ships. now you can do that it if it is a question of suppressing the slave trade.
>> an amazing thing. that was why america refuse to join the alliance. put together to stop the slave trade in the first place. put together the alliance, and it meant that it was now being continued almost solely by the united states. >> one of the things in our conversation, this book is a gigantic kaleidoscope of characters and people at every level of society from the queen and prince albert, down sarah soldiers and people in both societies. one of the interesting groups. an amazing piece of research and recommend you for somehow keeping track of all of them and putting them together in a coherent story. the narrative is fascinating. one of their groups that pops up in here little known, i suppose, to most readers will be the british correspondents are
journalists who were reporting the board. the first question is today we have the internet. everything is instantaneous. within ten minutes everyone knows. how long did it take news from the civil war in america to get to great britain? >> in general about two weeks. >> so it was not instantaneous. >> no. in an emergency london could get a message to its ambassador in washington in about ten and a half days. >> a very fast ship. >> a very fast ship to canada and then by telegraph. >> right. there was no deadline to cable yet. there was a cable up to nova scotia are somewhere. you could get a share. reports on battles are things like that took a couple weeks. >> it did. the writing of the book was rather tricky for that reason begins every reaction is two weeks later. and so how much you going to jump around.
>> can you tell us a little bit about one or two of these reporters, william howard russell and french visit delhi. interesting characters. >> yes. in love with journalists. all quite legal. >> well, with all due respect since you live in america, the british press has been -- its gone back a long way. so william howard russell, he had become famous for reporting on the crimean war. it brought florence nine main. the very stage. and so sent by the london times report on the civil war. arrive in 18 states c-span2. a very, very famous journalist. and everything intact. telling the truth.
and being neutral. and so this is exactly what he did. he reported on the war without either side. in his report on the battle of bull run and the defeat of the army was so unvarnished that it infuriated northern leaders who were not used to that kind of reporting. the tragedy is that from then on there were no pro nor then reporters from euro reporting on the wall. only pro southern. two in particular. one reporter for the london times and the other for the love that in a safe. so enamored by the south. his reports became increasingly bias when the south actually
fell times readers were surprised. there were shocked. >> i think you said some of the british press virtually apologized for their coverage especially after lincoln's assassination, you know, i think we really were unfair. we completely misunderstood him or things like that. but. >> that's right. they did, which is amazing. i have never seen that kind of apology. and it just goes to show that reporting becomes immorality. a good guy and a bad guy. once they started to seize the moral high ground. nothing anyone could say. even john stuart fighting to take away the freedom of others. it fell on deaf ---years. the north could not get a look
in. everything was given a slant. and it is fascinating when you compare that to modern reporting today. >> i wonder how much modern reporting today is slanted. some of it still seems to be obviously. what about the index. there was this british newspaper published in britain with porous southern backing or maybe even financing which spread the confederate message in london. >> absolutely fascinating. then he started it was a southern journalist from mobile, alabama. the yen man had a career in the diplomatic corps. he's bent -- spoke several languages. he was able to understand the european mentality. his message should be studied. he was a genius. he arrived in london ended
several things. with regard to the index, he started this magazine to be its general newsmagazine but with a saddle sore flocks. we have his instructions to his journalists and editors on how to proceed. they are masterpieces. above all always avoid any kind of bombardment. not there to inculcate. you are hardly even there to educate. they're to be amusing. you're a general interest magazine. where you can you must spend things turned a seven. you. >> propaganda high level. >> very clearly, and it was meant to be the massive spectator or the atlantic. so if you were well educated and belong to to the class's you would read the index and not realize that you were always being pulled to the other side.
>> i want to go back and ask you about cotton. there is a narrative when confined in previous literature which talks about the heroism of cotton workers, you know, the so-called content and by 1862. cotton supply is no longer available from the south. mills closed down and many people were thrown out of work. nonetheless according to previous literature, anyway, you know, the working class remained loyal to the union. is that a story you found to be correct? was the trees more complicated? a lot of this book is in london. what is going on in manchester and the cotton manufacturing districts? >> sure. since then, since the original stories came out there was a whole wave. counter -- >> revisionism.
>> half of them were a pro seven. of course we always know, nothing is ever the totality of the argument. all is the exception. the point is that a cut and workers to not go marching in the street. so clearly something happened. the majority felt something. why did they? first of all, it is a classic working-class understanding of owning the fruits of your labor. a fundamental difference. so i think there was a genuine class which moves them. people understand the arguments. they came back from america. nevertheless fundamentally different. and so the second reason this, the most expensive and organized campaign in british history to that point was organized by the earl of darby and others, supervised help.
harry martin. involved in helping children, wives, families who were out of work starting up educational programs, alternative work programs. and it really went a very long way to persuading the dire consequences of the unemployment >> as you well know, sitting in london in writing dispenses with the new york to be in, commenting on the american civil war. did you find his writings of particular interest? >> i did. it was quite interesting to see where he criticized the north. he felt there were lacking. he felt that this was merely the result of a state.
his poor. and sometimes he would be way off base. you know, not always in touch with the liberal or at least the same in london. >> and what about abraham lincoln? he plays a subordinate role. in much more prominent figure from the american administration. did lincoln in effect leave foreign policy to sort? yet plenty of other things to worry about. what is your assessment of lincoln and his sort of take on diplomatic affairs? did he really just say, look, this is his round, and i'm living it to him. >> i really think that is the case. there are a couple of times when he did interfere. the first time was when he was quoted by the senator from massachusetts to try to tone down one of his most bellicose
dispatches. that wasn't lincoln during an office on back. that was because some had told him to. there is a myth that lincoln said we must only have one more in its time. i personally never found a contemporary account of that. >> there are many quotations floating around which have probably never originated with lincoln. >> in is certainly a practical and i would have done it at the time. my opinion. so i don't think he said that. >> i have not seen it specifically quoted directly at the moment. at the time. but lincoln did seem -- he had a cabinet which he allowed a great deal of leeway. he's left the financial issues to the secretary of the treasury. he basically left foreign relations to seward. he kept military affairs under his direct control and the slavery issue under his direct
control. when subordinates started making policy about slavery lincoln would slap them down. general fremont issuing an order early in the war. lincoln wanted -- he said i'm making policy about slavery, not the generals in the field. it does seem like he was in charge of that. you know, i am interested to maybe go to law whole other area. your book -- you are not a professional academic in the sense that you don't teach at the university. this is not a criticism. you have a ph.d. degree from oxford. you're obviously a scholar. this book is what you might call popular history, and i don't say that as anything but praise. in other words, extremely well written. heavily fed noted and based on scholarship. it is history that tells stories
along the way. too often academics don't really like that and therefore did much of -- it is narrative based. >> sure. >> i wonder, as a writer, if you think about that when you're writing this book come of course you wrote your first panera review which is a slightly different thing because you have that life laid out for you. when it begins and when it ends. in terms of the narrative of this book, you know, do you think of yourself as writing something different from kind of academic history? is it -- is that really not a distinction that makes any sense to you? >> well, i know exactly. my decision not to teach was a very personal one. i am a research fellow at queen mary college at the university of london. i have five small seven and a half to make that decision. have as many children as i wanted to or was i going to be a
full-time academic teaching. and so i made that sacrifice. it's something i live with. now, in terms of academic writing, there are two kinds of writing, one for trade, one for mass market. how mass that is is another question. and then one for the universities. and i feel that they not only worked but feed off each other. i really wanted to do something specific. i trained as a biographer in oxford. for example, one of the biographers. that was a tradition of writing that i came out of. i wanted to write a history. i guess being on the outside -- >> history in the round. >> meaning that you're looking at it from all sorts of different perspectives at the
same time. >> that's right. not just bottom upper top down, and this of the above. also it crosses countries. you know, it is a kind of writing. all kinds. you have to have a rather specific moment when you can capture that 360-degree angle. and it's also very heavily psychological. i really believe, especially in these sorts, the psychology of these -- of the people concerned why is it that, you know, john russell doesn't think about this. is it because he is suddenly is it because he is actually at heart and saw himself as an angel of mercy and was hijacked by the humanitarian?
you could only know these things if you made a very solid study of that man's entire background starting from childhood. what sort of man is seat. >> so in a way it is novelistic, not in the sense of inventing things. but in terms of focusing so much on character and the development of characters. it's filled with all sorts of interesting characters of every kind. you do have a wonderful way of figuring out what makes these people take. not in the down side, what makes this different is that larger social forces to not come into play the way that they might in a more academically oriented book. so, you know, room for every kind of history. we need to my cab thinking. it is not -- plenty of books on the civil war which really are not scholarly and all. just fantasy, but the footnotes,
the research. you are familiar with the literature. the scholarly apparatus is there, but the mode of writing seems to be more character based then many other kinds of history of there. >> so, sure. the camera normally on high and moved it down to street level. i honestly did it. but there are many books out there. -- >> no one way to read history. >> mine was additive. i suppose coming from an entity -- >> well, there is a lot of that. sometimes one might feel in a sense so many perspectives and also one of the points you make is there is a lot of misunderstanding. not like everyone is rationally assess in the situation as it develops. a lot of people look confused and don't know what's going on and as you say are either of rain or misinterpret if or
prejudice in one way. a lot of confusion to route this. >> that's right. 197 characters. actually, 198. the eight is the reader begins with the reader has is on a. becker and nice. and they want the reader to make these judgments. the characters simultaneously making misjudgments. and a rather pleasing place to be when you know what cellosolve was thinking. the decision to act. >> right. >> yes. this is one of the very appealing things about the book. the civil war makes it easier in the sense that everyone who reads this book would know how it ended. so when they see people's thinking they're going to win, you know. that's what history is for.
but did you lori about it being very long? >> oh, sure. >> a long book. did the publisher said -- >> obviously very successful. to give publishers say you better cut this down. too long, too many people to many quotations. >> all of the above. absolutely. in many ways it was an anti commercial decision to keep the link that is. but i just felt that i couldn't, naturally could not say it any further. >> it doesn't seem to me, but i am used to reading longboats. >> yes. long in the kind of 19th century sense. even though i actually hate novelistic devices in history books. i really can't stand it actually. >> all the dialogue directly out of sources.
>> reported speech from lesson. i can't do it. it was because some the reuter letter. >> your first work as you mentioned was made into a movie. the duchess. >> yes. >> i get the impression from reading some articles about you and the press. maybe it's just the film and the book are of little bit different genre. how did you feel seeing your first biography up on the screen. >> well, and an emotional level. there are now real. and then you another writer.
clearly your affair. so useful in terrific. what pains me about beautiful and great merit. fundamentally sexist. a harsh thing to say, but a man wrote the script and directed the film and neither of them could imagine a war of our universe in which a woman was interesting for herself not because it was attractive because of how she made the men feel about himself. but the woman could genuinely be an agent of change. >> which is quite clear in your book that she was. >> she is simply a vessel for the men around her. i did find that absolutely infuriating. >> well, sold the rights.
you don't control it anymore. >> that's right. they to do anything they want. i hope i don't offend anyone out there. and not a fan of history. i think there are few good ones. they take such liberties. then when students come into class, they know about history. but this scene on the film. you have to disabuse them frequently of misconceptions that have gone from hollywood movies. >> awful. yes. again, that's why. i wanted to make it as entertaining as possible. it gives people that sensation that they can get from the film. >> probably more characters. >> it will be found, but a miniseries. >> a tv miniseries. six parts. that will allow the space of the
story to breed. >> bbc. >> to gather their developing it. and, of course, it takes many green lights. the train has certainly left the station. >> that sounds interesting. i am also not a big fan of history on tv. there are exceptions. >> exactly. and sometimes the best is the enemy of the dead. >> that is exactly the attitude to have to have. on the other hand it will bring awareness of a neglected piece of our history if it becomes a series. >> i hope so. there are questions that are relevant today. questions, for example, the efficacy of an embargo. you know, the south tried to force recognition by introducing a costa embargo. >> the north tritone blockade the south.
>> it did. neither of these things really worked on their own. and you can think of many times in the last 50 years. opec with the oil prices. used as a tool. >> the american embargo on cuba. >> right. >> it doesn't really work. the second question is when should a country into fair in the affairs of another country? we have those questions right now, and it is a question that was really on the minds of the british. and sometimes there is no right answer. >> no. of course, no answers for every situation. we are getting down toward the end of our conversation. let me go back to your previous life and ask you what role, if any, do you think racism played in british attitudes one way or the other? did people talk about it during the civil war?
was there attitude toward slavery in a sense overlaid with racist assumptions about black people? how were they portrayed in the british press? to raise come in as a factor? racial attitudes in the debates over the american civil war? >> they began to laugh have quite a significant impact in mid 1863. there was the death knell logical society. over the question of race and what it meant. one side actually lead. give it more of an american costs. the other side didn't. so waking up to the racial debate. before then behalf men like frederick douglass who in his biography noted that when he went to london and was a guest of the texas, afterwards, as you
know, in england, americans who would, you know, refuse to shake his hand. ascham. >> right. right. right. douglas and others found racism not nearly as pervasive in britain as they did indeed do -e united states. >> planned to become a doctor and practiced medicine in italy she left the north feeling persecuted in wrote about that once she reached england to and became friends. she said that she felt her colored mostly around her neck. not in england. >> right. on the other hand, i don't think you would probably say there is no racism in england. >> you could never. you would be silly.
it existed. >> a different story in a way. at the same time as the american civil war, may be more of a coincidence. events are taking place in jamaica which are reinforcing a kind of racist few. right after the american civil war ended they had with the call the bay rebellion in jamaica where it is a sort of conflict between the former slaves and white planters there and many in britain see this as a sign that blacks are inherently violent and, you know, kind of savage. it actually leads to a greater repression in british policy for the west indies. racial ideas are flowing around. it's interesting that in your book they don't seem to play a major role in the way people are thinking about the american civil war. the british government is not saying these blacks are out of control. >> no. and, in fact, at least on the
government level some of the greatest amount of correspondence between washington and empathy in washington and london is over the plight of black british see men who have been impressed. other subjects who have been caught up in the war in some terrible way. >> britain, as you know, has played the role of abolition during the american revolution. quite a few thousand slaves ran away to british lines and left with the british and ended up in canada or sierra leone and the war of 1812. so britain proved receptive to a black presence in no way that was quite unusual compared to the northern or southern united states. there was a great deal of hostility toward free blacks throughout the united states, which is one of the reasons why the whole battle over reconstruction after the war become so hot tile. >> yes. >> no one knows quite what is going to be this status of these
former slaves. but me ask you -- perhaps it is unfair. someone just bad blessed in a hundred page book. on another book for taking time off, which would be fair. >> i am thinking. i would like to do a concise history of the global aspects of the civil war. maybe just 100,000 words. >> not just britain, but the global picture of the civil war. >> well, just to bring it into surface. much more, as it were, and traditionally academic book. >> this would be cutting edge because this nationale of what they call globalizing american history or internationalizing american history is being done, now what many people like trying to do. easier said than done to know a lot of historiography of many countries and you have to have language skills, which many american historians i have to say don't have.
pretty monolingual. but still i think the global american civil war would be of very interesting. >> thank you. >> you know, i was wondering, already long enough. you could do the same for france. you could do the same for russia. of course russia abolishes serve them in 1861. many other countries kept their eyes and the american civil war because it was such that pivotal event. >> absolutely. like other precious and the trade it -- a annotated the use of railways. i mean, really profound effects. >> yes. you could end up with -- you could end up with a ulysses s. grant tour of the world at the -- this is a little later, after he leaves the presidency. he embarked on a tour which takes into europe and in the middle east and asia eventually.
every where he is hailed as a hero. grant means something to people all over the world because of the american civil war. but you know, you have a great subject had a few. we're not worrying about the next book. we're talking about her current book, "a world on fire." so it has been a pleasure talking to you here. congratulations on the book. you know, good luck and thank you for writing it. >> thanks for having me. >> that was a c-span signature program in which hunters are interviewed by journalists, public policy makers, as letters, and others. every weekend on book tv at 10:00 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9:00 p.m. on sunday and 12:00 a.m. on monday.
you can also watch online. go attack booktv.org and click on afterwards. >> on the go. available via pot cast through the itunes index in al. is it part cast on the upper left-hand side of the page. select which you would like to listen to. >> what i you reading this summer? >> to of mine are american the ads to see and capitalism. i was taught years ago when i was a student that economics is not destiny, but its 85% of it. i focus a lot of my reading on what is actually going on inside our economy. this is by kevin phillips.
i am a democrat and he is a republican. i am in chapter eight and recommended to every with an amending. it's about soaring debt in the financial condition of the united states. in this book is a magnificent chart that shows the heart of our struggle as a country compared to a post-world war two when most of our jobs were in manufacturing. those have just plummeted. corporate profits in this sector supplemented. overall financial sector, six banks now control two-thirds of the banking system of this country. too much power in the hands of too few, and we see what happened. talking about capitalism. how americans, workers, and countries are being asked to compete in an unmuffled global playing field. he discusses how are free-market capitalism has to compete
against state capitalism in places like china, for example. we have not recognized this in our policies. i think both are just brilliant, brilliant works. not only have all these books coming out. well, if you go back and read, you will understand what really went wrong in terms of who had power in this country. too much power. all these other books are coming out about too big to fail. the big sure. money. all the devils are here. the behavior of this financial sector that kevin phillips addresses when he wrote his book. and so i am very interested in changing the playing field. putting more power back in the hands of communities and ordinary people, businesses that try to create the rules, not brea