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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 29, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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[inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everyone. on behalf of the library of congress, welcome to the 2011 national book festival. we hope you all are having a wonderful day and have been enjoying the great authors we have here. um, before we begin i want to inform you that the pavilion's presentations are being filmed for the library of congress' web site and for their archives and by c-span for airing on booktv. so, please, be mindful of this as you enjoy the presentation. in addition, please, do not sit
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on the camera risers that are located in the back of the pavilion. and, please, silence your cell phones, please. that's a disclaimer, and we'll move on. um, we have a wonderful writer who's going to speak to us. let me first say i'm kevin merida, that's what i should have said, national editor at "the washington post." and we're proud charter sponsors of this festival for the last 11 years, and it's great to be with you. james l. swanson, the first thing i noticed about his bio is that he's born on february 12th which happens, also, to be the birthday of abraham lincoln. and be so you could say in a way that he was destined to write the edgar award-winning and new york times bestseller "manhunt:
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the 12-day chase for lincoln's killer," the young readers' version -- [inaudible] "manhunt" was listed by entertainment weekly in 2006 as one of the ten best books of the year, and it was cite inside "newsweek" as one of the two best nonfiction crime books ever written. truman capotety's "in cold blood" was the other. his latest book, "bloody crimes," is another civil war era thinker. it weaves together -- thriller. it weaves together in riveting fashion the hunt to round up jefferson davis in the aftermath of lincoln's assassination and the majestic 20-day rolling train funeral that brought lincoln's body back to springfield. 1500-mile journey. james has a degree from the university of chicago where he was taught by the eminent historian, john hope franklin, and a law degree from ucla.
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he has worked at think tanks and in government here in washington. he has written for for "the wall street journal", los angeles times, smithsonian magazine and has been active with the ford theater here and the abraham lincoln bicentennial commission. but what i learned last night at a celebration for the authors at the library of congress in chatting with him made me like him even more. james swanson is a lover of writers, and in talking with him and andrea, they have hosted a lot of book parties, they, like many of us who like reading, have collected books even when we didn't have shelf space and stacked them up because they support writers. we were joking about going to book parties, and james always does them really well, he and andrea, and great food and wine. and for people who come and then
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don't buy the books. and we were just lamenting that because we support writers because that is part of the way we learn about each other. writing is part of discovery in this great nation and the world and how we learn about each other. he is a writer who deserves our support. he's a beautiful writer, and he will also be signing his books from 2-3 p.m., so without further delay, let me introduce to you james l. swanson. give him a round of applause. [applause] >> thank you, kevin, for that kind introduction. last night one thing kevin told me that he didn't mention to you, he gave me a dire warning about the dangers of collecting books. i have over 3,000 books at our
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house in washington. my wife, who's an economics professor, must have a thousand books just on her subjects. and kevin warned me of a book fanatic whose house literally exploded from the weight of the books. [laughter] on the support beams. and beneath this pile of books was found the dead body of the crazed collector of these books. [laughter] and so i'm getting a little worried because we do have a library room at home and in that room are 2,000 books alone, and i think i'm going to call an engineer over to look at that room, because i don't want the house to explode. this is the third time i've spoken at the festival, and some of you i've seen before at this festival, so if you've heard me speak before, you know that one thing i don't like to do is do a reading from the book. i go to a lot of book we events myself, and i get a little bored if someone just reads from the book because i think, well, i
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could do that myself. i want to hear about things that aren't in the book like who they are, how they got started, what they're interested in the, what they learned from doing the book, what surprised them about doing the book, have they been threatened by any members of the public for doing the book -- [laughter] i'll get to one of those. and be so i thought i'd talk a little about how i did this two books which really are a trilogy of stories and how i got into this. and how i do these books. and then i'll talk about what i think my favorite themes are in the bloody crimes book and what it means at this time of the 150th anniversary of the civili2 war.i7 i had not plan today write about abraham lincoln and the assassination. there are other books i wanted to do. when my agent said what do you want to do next, i said, well, when i was a boy, my grandmother was a great storyteller. she worked for the old chicago
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tabloid newspapers, the chicago sun, the times, the sun-times, the daily news. and when i was little, she would tell me sometimes horrific stories. and i remember when i was 8 or 9 years old, she said did you know that during the world with's fair of 1893 an insane doctor murdered 100 girls and dissolved their bodies in acid? [laughter] i was 8 or 9. [laughter] and so i told my agent, when i was a boy, my grandmother told me -- and he said, she told you that when you were a little boy? and i said, yes, i want to do that book. and he said, well, unfortunately, do you know who eric larson is? [laughter] and i said, yes. and he said, well, i happen to know he's halfway finished writing a book which is going to be called devil in the white city, so you can't do that. well, then i said, well, when i was a boy, my father told me a great story.
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he went to high school in chicago during world war ii, and the teachers would point to a desk and say at that desk sat herbert -- [inaudible] one of eight nazi saboteurs landed by nazi u-boat on the shores of new jersey in 1942 to do sabotage, and then he was executed. but he lived in this chicago and assimilated very much. and i'd always thought about that story. and then my first day working at the department of justice during the reagan administration my office was on the i my floor, te attorney general's floor with all the great paintings and sculptures. and there was an interesting thing on the wall opposite my office, a brown plaque, that said in this room were tried the eight nazi saboteurs so i called my dad and said, you're not going to believe it, the nazis were across from me, and that's where they were put on trial. so i told my agent about that story, and he said, well, the good news is there is no author out there -- this was shortly
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after september 11th when there was great resurgence of interest in terrorism and bombings and attacks on america. he said, the good news is there's not an author out there who's in the middle of writing a book writing about the nazi saboteurs. there are three authors simultaneously writing books on the same subject. so you have to give that up. then i said, well, i remember when i was a little boy -- [laughter] my grandfather who was on the chicago police force from the 1930s, the al capone era, to the late 1960s, the civil rights protest and the anti-vietnam war protests told me many wild stories. one day i remember he came home, and i heard him do a whisper to the family: don't let jamie read the newspaper tonight. so, of course, the 6 or 7-year-old curious boy that i was, i had to read the sun-times. and so i read the headline, madman slaughters nine student
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nurses with knife. some i don't of you might rememe name of richard speck, the notorious murderer. and i researched him, and he was such a horrible man and was such a sad and unredeeming story, it caused my agent to say, do you want to spend the next two years of your life with richard speck? [laughter] and i said, no. and i said, well -- he said, what else have you got? and i said, well, abraham lincoln was the first president ever murdered. and there was an amazing 12-day chase for his killer. and then there's a story about -- and he said, wait a minute, go back to that thing about the manhunt. and he said, i bet people would read that book. so that's how i came to the summit. and -- subject. and i planned to do just the manhunt book. that was going to be my take on the end of the civil war. but then when i finished the book, it occurred to me that manhunt or the chase for john wilkes booth was only one of three great stories that marked
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the spring of april, 1865. the second was abraham lincoln's last journey that he undertook in death. the funeral in washington, of course, but then that great 1600-mile railroad journey that took his body through all the great cities of the north where it was unloaded from the train, put on public display as he lay unburied for 20 days between the time he was shot, and he got hoe to springfield. undertakers and embalmers were put on the train because he was decomposing along the way. one million people viewed his corpse including 100,000 children viewed him. seven million watched the train go by. so that was the second journey. and then the third journey was very little known. and that was of jefferson davis, the president of the confederate states, who like lincoln near the end of the war left his white house and went on his six week journey to try to save the
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confederacy. he wasn't trying to save himself. if he did that, he could have easily escaped to mexico or to europe or to cuba. but he didn't want to save his own skin, he wanted to save his country and his cause. and i'm convinced that these three journeys of booth, of lincoln and davis are as important as any of the great american journeys whether it's the journey of lewis and clark, the building of the transcontinental railroad, even the journey to the moon. because these three journeys at the end of the civil war really set in motion myths that live today, and it's like how we remember the war, what issues we still face that came out of the civil war. and so i decided to do "bloody crimes" as the sequel or follow-up to "manhunt" and tell all three of the stories. i thought of doing the books separately. i thought about doing one book
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on the lincoln funeral train, the embalming at the white house, the autopsy there. but i decided to combine them for two reasons. some of which i'll get to in a moment. the uncanny and even bizarre similarities between the life stories of abraham lincoln and jefferson davis made me want to tell their stories together. and secondly, i was already in somewhat of a gloomy mood after i finished "manhunt." because whats is it but an american tragedy of death and sadnd and possibilities of what might have been. i wasn't sure i could handle two more books about american assassinations and death and tragedy. so i decided to combine the stories into one. it really didn't help me because i've agreed for the fall of 2013 with my publisher to publish a book on the assassination of president kennedy for the 50th
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anniversary. so i'm still going to be on that theme. i did "bloody crimes" the way i did "manhunt." i try to tell my stories the way a novelist would but with everything being true. i try to tell the story in realtime as it happened because people living then didn't know what was going to happen the next day. they didn't know in the first week what was going to happen the second week. so i try to keep the reader in suspense even though you do know the outcome; abraham lincoln dies, jefferson davis doesn't win the civil war. but i try to get the reader to imagine what it would be like to be involved in the those things. the other technique i use is i try to always have in my hands orangal things -- original things. i like to hold the original civil war newspaper, the original photograph, not the microfilm. i like to look at the artifacts or go to the people. i've visited ford's theater over
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100 times. i visited jefferson davis' grave in richmond, his office in the confederate white house. i went to the tomb at oak hill cemetery in georgetown where abraham lincoln's little son willie was buried after he died in the white house. is and there i discovered that during the civil war to visit lincoln, willie lincoln's tomb, abraham lincoln had to walk right past the grave of jefferson davis' infant son. when i write about the theatrical costumes stained by lincoln's blood, i'm actually holding in my hands a piece of that blood-stained fabric. or when i write about lincoln's lock of hair clipped by secretary of war stanton and given as a gift to the wife of the secretary of the navy, i'm looking at that lock of hair as i'm writing about it. so those are some of the techniques i use. so even though i was born on lincoln's birthday, "bloody crimes" is really my swan song
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for now to the lincoln theme. my dad said to me, thank goodness we had you on lincoln's birthday. you've done manhunt, the kids book, bloody crimes the kids' book on bloody crimes, my wife and i have just finished a book on picket's charge at gettysburg. my father said just imagine if i didn't have you on lincoln's birthday. what if you'd been born on grover cleveland's birth day? [laughter] or even worse, what if you'd been born on hitler's birthday? what would you have become? what would you have written about? but that did not happen. i want to talk a little bit about lincoln and davis and who they were and their commonalities. i want to begin by saying i was much more of a lincoln person when i began the book, and i learned a lot about jefferson davis during the book. and i want to say this about him. jefferson davis is truly one of the lost men of american
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history. we know the name, probably. and i found that no one knows anything about him. no one reads biographies of him. no one reads his two-volume memoirs. in fact, i was at the decatur, georgia, book festival a few weeks ago, and 300 people had gathered in a church to hear my talk on the book. and i said, i'm just curious because i'm in the heart of the south. how many people in this room have read the memoirs of jefferson davis? and one man in 300 people raised his hand. and i said how many people in this room have read a biography of jefferson davis. and five or six people out of 300 had read a book. and that's in a region of the country that's very interested in history, very knowledgeable about the civil war. so that was really my great surprise. here are some of the things that link them.
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both men born in kentucky in the log cabins. less than 100 miles apart and less than one year apart. in their youth both men were undisciplined, fun seekers. when jefferson davis was at west point, he was almost expelled on more than one occasion from the academy for drinking at a tavern, a forbidden place of debauchery. he almost fought a duel as did abraham lincoln almost once fight a duel. both were excellent wrestlers. as a boy, jefferson davis had learned from slaves how to wrestle, and abraham lincoln became an expert wrestler in new say element where he -- salem where he fought many matches. and lincoln, always rail thin, had prodigious strength from his years of physical labor.
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that's where theyty individualed. jefferson davis was privileged, he had an older brother who educated him, sent him to academies and then to west post. forget this about abraham lincoln. from the time he was a young boy, abraham lincoln was worked as hard by his father as many american slaves were actually worked on plantations. when lincoln was 9 years old, he was handed a full-sized adult rail-splitting axe. he would work from dusk until dawn splitting rails, chopping trees, doing manual tasks. lincoln's hatred of slavery began when he was a boy when he really considered himself his own father's slave. and he vowed that somehow he was going to rise from those humble origins, and he would not spend the rest of his life working in that way. lincoln and davis had very similar mental processes.
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they were both men of reason and restraint and thoughtfulness. they weren't hotheads. lincoln never acted rationally when he was president. jefferson davis began the secession crisis by being anti-secession. he thought it was a bad idea if the south would secede. he was not with the radical fire eaters who gave no heed to the possible consequences of the war. so davis was not at all a crazed radical abolitionist. they shared experience in the military, lincoln as a humble elected captain of volunteers in the blackhawk war in illinois and wisconsin, jefferson davis as an officer in the regular army. and they suffered in their youth an almost identical tragedy that steered them and changed them and made them different men. lincoln and davis in full adulthood were brooding, melancholy men often, and they
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had a very fatalistic view of things. and i think this is how it began. in the case of jefferson davis, her name was sarah knox taylor or knox. she was the daughter of general zachary taylor. jeff met her when she was 17 or 18 years old. they fell in love. the taylors didn't want them to marry because they department want her to live the tough life of an army officer's wife on the western frontier. they corresponded. then two years later after they'd not seen each other for two yearses and only had written letters, davis resigned from the army so he could marry her. he took her home to mississippi and then to his sister's plantation, and there both fell ill from a particularly virulent form of malaria that had been brought to the south by slaves from africa more than two centuries before. strange, almost a kind of vengeance who had enslaved them.
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davis and knox were very sick, delirious, almost died. davis recovered enough to crawl from his bed when he heard knox singing in her delirium her favorite song. and as he went to her bed and held her in his arms, she died. and she was 21 years old, and they had been married for 12 weeks. he then went into what he called, i quote, my great seclusion, closed quote, where for seven years he was secluded on his plantation with his slaves, his overseer and his brother who had the plantation next door. eventually, he returned to the world again when he met verina howell, a girl from a mississippi family. she wasn't so thrilled to first meet him. she wrote to her mother the next day: i've met mr. davis. mother, i think he might be as old as you are. [laughter] and his manner offends me
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deeply. he seems certain of his opinions and will not think that anyone can be right about something. and yet there is something about him. in the case of abraham lincoln, her name was anne rutledge. and i apologize to any of the mary run lincoln fans -- mary lincoln fans who might be in the office. but mary lincoln and her apologists have for the past 170 years tried to deny what i think the truth is about abraham lincoln and anne rutledge. the villagers saw it in new salem; the long walks together, the conversations at the little store that lincoln helped operate, handing her letters for her family at the post office where he worked. the villagers recognized the familiar signs of courtship. anne had been engaged to a man, a ne'er-do-well. he vanished claiming he'd come back to claim her, but he never did. and so many scholars believe that there was something between
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them and something might have ultimately happened permanently between them. it was not to be. anne took sick and died suddenly, and abraham lincoln was bereft. his friends actually confiscated his razors because they feared that abraham lincoln would commit suicide over the death of anne rutledge. we have no pictures of her. photography was in its ip fancy then, and who would have thought to do a portrait or sketch of some poor, illiterate girl on the western frontier. the only piece of physical evidence that still links them, at the library of congress there's a copy of kirkham's gram around, and on the title page there is this inscription: anne rutledge is now learning grammar. that inscription is in abraham lincoln's writing. he was teaching anne how to read. the only description of her that survives comes from a brother of hers that says she was fair and had blue eyes.
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and that tragedy changed them. and later in life they experienced identical twin tragedies again that i'll mention in a moment. another thing they had in common, they were criticized, demon sized, bedeviled by their own people when they were in power. they were constantly tortured by their generals, by their cabinet members who were their rivals, vicious newspaper criticisms. um, politicians today say, oh, it's so tough. politics should be more civil. how can this be, the vicious things we say? we have it easy today compared to the era of lincoln and davis. politicians today are absurdly thin-skinned compared to the criticisms leveled against politicians going back to george washington and thomas jefferson. i think it's perhaps today because not enough of our leaders read and know our history to realize that american
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politics was much more rude and vicious and critical in past centuries than it is today. another interesting thing, both laid their heads on their pillows just as they had been born, less than 100 miles apart, their white houses now 100 miles apart. each went to bed in his white house dreaming and plotting to defeat each other'sation and to win. during the civil war they suffered another set of tragedies. in february 1862 lincoln's favorite son, 12-year-old willie, died in the white house. lincoln was crushed. no one in washington knew about anne rutledge. well, mary lincoln did, but she didn't want to hear about it. lincoln never discussed anne, he never wrote about her. but the death of his son sent him back 30 years to that same feeling of loss and devastation. it really made lincoln, who was
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very empathetic anyway, empathize with all the dead of the civil war. and, in fact, if you read his letter to sandy mccullough which i quote in "bloody crimes" which is, by far in my opinion, the singlemost beautiful letter abraham lincoln ever wrote in his life. it's written to a young girl whose father was killed in battle, and lincoln knew the man. you must read that letter. that letter -- lincoln was writing to himself in that letter. and to the american people. in the case of jefferson davis, one of his little boys fell to his death from the balcony of the confederate white house. davis received word at his office, he rushed home only to hold his son in his arms for a few minutes. the boy's skull was crushed, bones were broken, and as he held his boy in his arms, the boy died which sent davis back 30 years to the death of his beloved knox. so they're both brooding men. davis was much more famous than
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abraham lincoln. secretary of war, senator, congressman, war hero wounded in battle. abraham lincoln but an unsuccessful one-term congressman from illinois. if you would want to ask americans in the late 1850s who do you predict will be a future president of the united states, abraham lincoln or jefferson davis, the majority of americans would have said jefferson davis. and a number would have said abraham who? because until the late spring and summer and fall of 1858 during those lincoln/douglas debates for the illinois senate seat, abraham lincoln was not a famous national figure. he was rise anything the popularity because of his anti-slavery views, but he was not the national figure that davis was. one wonders what would have happened if democrat party did not split in 1860, and abraham lincoln ran only against jefferson davis. one wonders at the possible outcome of that election.
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i'll turn to their final journeys now and the great difference between them and the great thing they had in common. the great difference, of course, was on who is man, what is the nature of man. abraham lincoln once said if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. jefferson davis believed that slavery was right. he had grown up with it, he was raised into it, and he fought a war in part to defend it. that forever separates the vision of america of lincoln and davis. equal rights for all under the law or unequal rights for some under the law. they do have a very frightening thing in common, and i say this not negatively or as a criticism, i just say it as a fact. the two greatest killers in american history are named jefferson davis and abraham lincoln.
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each man was willing to send his country to fight to the death to vindicate their cause. at least 620,000 men died in the civil war. in a new report coming out soon says it might be up to 750,000. 340,000 union, 200-something-thousand confederate. i'm absolutely convinced that lincoln and davis would have sent a million men each to their deaths. in lincoln's case, to vindicate the principles of free elections and liberty and union. in the case of davis, states' rights, limited government and the right to secede and the right to own slaves. and that's why, ultimately, that's the fundamental thing they have in common. abraham lincoln has come down in myth as kindly father abraham who always sought compromise. politicians today say we should be like lincoln, we should compromise, weather negotiate. we should negotiate. once lincoln decided that a
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principle was correct, rather than compromise, abraham lincoln would order your death. he would send those armies forward. he felt terrible about it, as did davis. they felt tremendous guilt and responsibility for sending the best men of their nation to fight and die, but that's how committed to their principles they were. their final journeys, i'll just touch on that briefly. the funeral journey of lincoln was, i believe, the most intense, emotional public event in american history. to this day. if you want to get a sense of that emotion, remember if you will if you were living then the reaction of the nation to the murder of president kennedy. the murder of dr. king or robert kennedy. remember your reaction to 9/11. then amplify those emotions to get some sense of what it was like to be living in america when that train was taking lincoln home. in the case of jefferson davis,
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his journey was of a different kind. he was on the six-week escape. his entourage several thousand, several hundred, then his wife and small children and 20 or 30 guards. captured, imprisoned, released after two years as lincoln would have wanted. but then jefferson davis went on to live a strange after life, almost a quarter certainly after the civil war. century after the civil war. he became l in time the living symbol of a lost cause. he encouraged scholarship, the formation of southern historical societies, letters. he wrote his memoirs. davis really was galvanized by the death of robert e. lee in the 1870. lee had wanted to write his memoirs, but he died too soon, and davis said it occurs to me before i am pulled into the grave to write a history of the struggle of our people. and he did just that. davis was at the peak of his reputation in 1886.
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over 20 years after the civil war, like lincoln, he was a greater hero in the south after the war. lincoln was a greater hero after he died. davis went on a triumphant speaking tour. he went to alabama and elsewhere to dedicate statues, and davis gave the most important speech of his life in alabama in 1886. i call it the seed corn speech. he looked over this vast audience of tens of thousands of people, old women dress inside black touched him and collapsed at his feet and passed out. old soldiers, amputees laid hands on him, and they began trembling uncontrollably, and they could not speak. and then he said, i remember those days. i remember those boys. their rifles and the packs on their backs weighed more than those boys. he's referring to the 14 and 15-year-olds who were in the confederate army in the last year and months of the war. many of the parents of these dead young men were in the
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audience. and then davis said these magical words: but they are not dead, they were the seed corn of the south and planting a crop that never grew to maturity. the audience rose up in a furor, and "the new york times" and other reporters said we've never heard human beings scream and cheer that loudly. who knows where this will end. well, it ended three years later in 1889 when davis died in new orleans, and then later marina decided his body should go home shot to mississippi, his home, but to richmond where he could reign forever as a symbol of the lost cause. 100,000 people attended the lincoln funeral event in washington. 300,000 people attended the davis event and then later the erection of his monument. on the day he died and then was taken to richmond, his partisans believe that jefferson davis' name -- just like abraham
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lincoln's -- would go down forever in history as a great american hero. of course, we know that did not turn out to be. the 20th century came to belong to abraham lincoln and his cause of liberty and equal rights. no better illustration of this were two important dates. we all remember february, 2009, the 200th birthday of abraham lincoln. a white house dinner or, pre-dinner held by george bush. stamps, coins, books, symposiums, movies. how many of you marked june 3rd, 2008? the 200th birthday of jefferson davis. there were no coins, no stamps, no major symposiums, no avalanche of books. certainly no dinner at the white house celebrating celebrating ty of jefferson davis. and i'll close by saying the civil war is very controversial. we know that. we know the governor of virginia got in hot water a year ago for
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proposing that there be a confederate history month. we know that some people oppose celebrating the 150 anniversary of the civil war. to them i would say this: all of it is american history. and i think it's very important at this 150th anniversary year if you're going to study abraham lincoln, you must study jefferson davis. if you're going to study the white man of the civil war, you had better study the black man and study the slaves, the free men and the men of color, 200,000 of them who joined the union army. if you're going to study the women of the north, study the women of the south. and the only way to understand this rich tapestry and to understand its meaning then and how it still affects us today is to know all of the civil war and know all of its history. and that's what in some small way i've tried to do in these books. so thank you very much, and i think there's a little time for a few questions.
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[applause] someone needs to turn on your microphone. >> it's on now. >> oh, it is? >> yeah. >> i'd like to, first, say i read your kids' edition of "manhunt," and, um, it was featured in my school, and i think that's what really got me interested in history and really got me interested in the civil war and everything like that, so just thank you for doing that. >> oh, thanks. [applause] well -- that was my first children's book to do chasing lincoln's killer, and you might know i've done another one on the sequel to manhunt. i didn't know how to do chirp's books. i thought it would be easy, and then i quickly learned how hard it is. i did get advice from our boys.
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one said readers want blood, and then the other boy said, and knives! lots of knives! [laughter] and if you've read my book, you know there's blood and knives. but thank you for saying. that. >> my question is, in your book i really liked it because, um, it didn't seem like history, it seemed more like, more like a fiction book, more -- so my question to you is, how, what are some elements and some things that you did to make it seem more like drama than history? >> yeah. how did i make it more like drama. first, as i said, i try to keep it in the strict timeline of the order of the way it happened. then i try very much to describe where things happened, you know, what season was it, what room did it happen in, what was the wallpaper on the room, what time was it, who was there, what was it like when booth was in that pine forest? what was the temperature?
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what did the diaries and newspapers and memoirs and trial transcripts say what people said? use their exact words and don't paraphrase and don't make things up. so it's kind of like a time capsule where i try to surround you with everything that someone living then might have seen or experienced. so that's one way i try to do it. thank you. yes. >> what was the u.s. government's official position or stand on chasing for jefferson davis, and who was getting paid to chase him? and how did lincoln and andrew johnson differ in the their view of davis? >> well, what was the hunt for davis like, how did -- abraham lincoln did not want to hunt down jefferson davis. during his last cabinet meeting, lincoln said about the top confederate, let him do go. i don't care. lincoln told general sherman in so many words during their last conference, if they just go --
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lincoln did not order the arrest of any confederate generals. he didn't want to try them, he didn't want to execute them. lincoln preferred that they relieve him of the problem by escaping, but he didn't want to try them or execute them. unfortunately, when lincoln died, one of jefferson davis' lifelong endmies, andrew johnson, became president. johnson and davis despised each other for years, and so davis announced $100,000 reward of -- johnson introduced $100,000 roadway ward and named jefferson davis as one of the lincoln assan sins which was false -- assan sins. the reward was paid to men of a cavalry unit who happened to chase davis down. booth, detectives, civilians, army, everybody was hunting for booth. but davis had gotten so far into the deep south, only the union cavalry was after davis. and every penny of that reward was paid out to the men who had
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captured him. >> yes, thank you. thank you for your talk. many years ago i went to the jefferson davis house, and i went to see the outbuilding where he wrote his memoirs. and i had a question for myself] partiallyc├▒c] addressed it.c]cucu how did jefferson davis live to write his memoirs? what were the people, especially the people of the north -- you said the people of the south were coming to see him -- what did the people of the north think of him while he was traveling around the south and having these pictures -- >> well, to many people davis was a hated figure. but that hatred seemed to recede shortly after the wall when the false rumor spread he was captured in women's clothing, he was ridiculed. that took away some of the hatred. most people ignored him. because right after the war he didn't go on a speaking tour, he didn't run for office.
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he said i could be elected to any political office in the south, but i won't take that oath. and davis said if we were right then, how can i say we were wrong now? and so he wasn't thought of. he didn't speak out, he was not an agitator in the mistreatment of blacks after the war. he just remained silent. he could have made it better for the freed slaves. he chose not to. but he was not a leader of the klan or that sort of thing. he became a fascinating figure. even oscar wilde -- the north didn't think much about him, but the south revered him. >> how was, how did jefferson davis' memoirs stack up as reading matter? how -- >> jefferson davis' memoirs do not stack up great as reading matter. they're two volumes, extremely long. he was not as good a writer as abraham lincoln. and also, he didn't open his heart in these memoirs. he was a it is a turn, private man, and he wrote more about legal justifications for
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secession. there's a multi-hundred page section in the book about the history and right of secession. you don't find the real jefferson davis in those memoirs. you find them in his multi-volume collective works of his letters and speeches and that sot of thing. the -- sort of thing. the memoirs are a tough read. i'm told that was the last question, so thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> this event was part of the 2011 national book festival in washington d.c. for more information visit fest. >> booktv toured the langston hughes library while in knoxville, tennessee. watch that footage next.
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>> i'd like to welcome you to the langston hughes library located at the children's defense fund haley farm in clinton, tennessee. the library is a private reading room czech of about 6,000 items -- collection of about 6,000 items, and we are a noncirculating collection which means you can come and do research and scholarship here, but the books stay on the premises. we have a premier collection here. it's a special focus collection. the books in this collection are written by african-american authors. chirp's book -- children's books that are illustrated by african-american illustrators. books on black experiences. we really focus on the civil rights movement, especially the role of women in the civil
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rights movement, books on spirituality, african-american culture, history, legacy. books on women's issues, books on african culture, african history. so all of the books, all of the topics that relate to african-american culture and history, we have them here in the collection. the pictures that you see displayed here around the library are from the library's dedication in 1999. you see first lady hillary clinton was among the many, many renowned guests that were here. for the dedication ceremony. the library is designed by maya lynn whose shown in this photograph here.
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maya lynn who also designed the vietnam, the vietnam veterans' memorial in washington d.c. when you walk into the library, it's sort of like entering a magical place because it's so different from the ec tier your. the exterior of the library is a very rustic barn, and the barn was taken apart plank by plank. the interior designed by maya lynn, constructed, created. and then the planks of the barn, the cant ilever barn were put back around the outside, so we still have that rustic outer skin and then this beautiful, beautiful modern interior. part of our collection, we like to call it our crown jewel, is our children's collection. the many, many books that we collect here in the library, a
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lot of them are chosen for our children's defense fund freedom schools movement, our freedom schools curriculum. and i'll show you some of -- in fact, the ones that are displayed here on the table are part of the freedom schools curriculum. these are currently on the freedom schools curriculum this year. the books are very, very carefully selected to reflect african-american characters, the culture, history. um, not only the african-american experience, but we really want to offer a diverse selection of books for young people to read so that they not only get a sense of their culture, but of all the cultures that make up the american theme. >> every weekend booktv offers
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48 hours of programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. watch it here on c-span2. >> karen beckwith, political women and american democracy. how did you decide which essays to include in this work? >> my co-editors and i organized with a grant from the aaron berg foundation, the project on american democracy at the university of notre dame, that we would convene by our estimation the best scholars on women in politics in the u.s. not only in the u.s., but scholars who were working on u.s. women in politics. and so we brought together a range of people, um, whose research we knew well and, um, convened for a two-day conference at notre dame, um, after which -- at that conference we discussed all the manuscripts that constitute the chapters of this book and had some commentary about it and
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discussion and then put it together as an edited collection which cambridge university press publish inside 2008. >> describe the role of women described in this book. >> well, there are several emphases in the book, so let me tell you first what we're not doing in this book. we're not looking at public policy per se, we are not looking at women in the executive because even in 2008 there was so few women in the executive and not yet a major female candidate for the nomination for president of a major political party in the united states. very few women at the executive level which meant the research wasn't there to really support a good discussion. and finally, we department address women in the -- we didn't address women in the judiciary. so what did we address? the behavior of women as voters, as candidates for office both state and national office, behavior of women within political parties, the behavior of women once elected to national office. we also have a huge look at the gendered nature of u.s. political institutions as well
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as u.s. politics for women and politics in the context of comparative politics, that is what does the situation for women in politics in the u.s. look like compared to the rest of the world? the picture there's not so please sam, actually. we have one of the least advantageous electoral systems at the national level for women which is a single-member plurality system with some modifications. at the state level we also only have two major political parties which are informal in their internal construction, have no clear formal instructions for becoming a candidate, offer very little, um, clear structural mean by which women can work the party, so to speak, to increase women's candidacies. so there are lot of disadvantages that women have in the united states in terms of achieving elected office. >> so in relation to the political parties, as a woman voter what are the findings
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related to, you know, encouraging participation, directly related to women? >> there's some interesting things about women in politics in the united states that make women, in fact, the politically relevant demographic category. there are more women than men in the voting electorate. secondly, women have slightly higher registration rates than do men, and women turn out at slightly higher percentages than do men. and the larger number, absolute number of women combined with women's heightened turnout, um, makes for a big electoral impact. women also are disproportionately democratic. this is true across all age groups, and it's also true across all racial groups. so racial and ethnic groups women still have a slight preference for the democratic party compared to men. so when we come into an election, things like turnout and the range of issues that might attract women are very important. women are more likely than men to vote for the democratic presidential candidate. that's been the case since 1992.
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um, that gap has been between two percentage points to five percentage points depending upon the polls that you look at. but nonetheless, there's a democratic advantage in the electorate, um, for the democratic party in general because of women. the absolute numbers, the turnout and the preference for the democratic party. now, the issues that seem to mobilize women and attract their vote have to do with social welfare issues, have to do with foreign policy issues and also to a certain extent so-called morality issues. but on these women vary from men in different directions. so, for example, on issues like same-sex marriage, women are much less oppose today that than are men, for example. not by a huge margin, but nonetheless, there's a difference there. women are more concerned with foreign policy security issues, and that can, um, have an impact on women's vote. and finally, women are more concerned about social welfare issues, things like health care,
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employment, the state of the economy, education. >> with a woman candidate for president coming into the campaign, do you see those preferences changing in 2012? or do you, based on your research do you think that they'll largely remain the same? >> well, first of all, i see no female candidate coming to the presidential candidacy in 2012. um, there are only two on the list that i know of, sarah palin who has not yet declared, and michele bachmann who is doing very poorly right now in early returns or early poll results in the republican party debates and in the polling numbers for her. i don't see either of them being the ultimate candidate for the republican party. and on the democratic side all things being equal, um, the current president, barack obama, will be the party's candidate. so that will foreclose any opportunity for a woman in that party to come forward. so i see no preference for women as presidential candidates in 2012. um, let me do say, however, that, um, some polling data --
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and the most recent i've seen has only been from 2008 coming in very early in the 2008 presidential primaries, um, about 87% of americans are willing to say that they would vote for a qualified woman, um, regardless of sex, that they would be as willing to vote for a woman as to vote for a man. americans are more likely, more willing to vote for someone who's african-american, um, or someone who's jewish for president than they are for a woman, and i think that number is slightly low or than had been the previous results because in 2008 there was a clear potential female candidate, and that was hillary clinton on the democratic side who ultimately failed to win the nomination. >> so what are some recommendations for women in that, um, that position, an electable position or running for office? does that matter come up in your book? is that something that you touch on? >> well, we don't turn to the presidential specifically, but we do look at women's
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candidacies for lower-level office. um, so a couple of recommendations. and these respect recommendations for women. so let me just make clear we only need about 4,000 women nationwide to contest and win elections to have equitable representation in the senate and the house and in the statehouses. there aren't that many elective offices at the legislative level at least that requires that we need a million qualified women. i think we can find, say, 4,000, 4500 qualified women to run. so that's not the issue. the problem is not with women, the problem is with political parties and the unavailability of access to candidacies both through the the incumbency effect. if we have, um, as we do, 83% of congress, um, consisting of men and most of those men are incumbents, it's going to be very, very difficult for new openings for new candidates whether or not those candidates are women. and so part of it has to do with political parties' willingness
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to persuade members of congress, seated members of congress to step down, willing to support women challenging incumbents within their own parties, willingness to recruit women for office. right now the so-called big money people on the republican side are trying to recruit governor christie from new jersey to enter the presidential nomination race on the republican side which he so far, at least, still has refused to do. but there are women that might be recruited. there are some very good female governors on the republican side who might be recruited. so at this point my argument is it's not the problem of women, it's the problem of parties and specifically, i might add, the republican party. women are represented in the democratic party by a 2 to 1 to 3 to 1 margin everywhere over republicans. >> thank you. >> you welcome. [laughter] -- you're welcome. >> is there a nonfiction author or book you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at
3:57 pm or tweet us at booktv it's c-span at booktv. >> next, knoxville's 1982 world's fair. >> the world's fair came in 1982, and it had the same expo -- theme expo '82, energy turns the world. they had exhibits that were from 22 states that participated in the fair. there were state exhibits like kentucky, alabama, that sort of thing. and then there were exhibits from businesses and corporations like bell south, time pickles, a lot of corporations, coca-cola was here. over 200 businesses participated. the sphere that we're standing in front of was one of the major buildings that was built for the fair, and it is the same structure, and it's supposed to look like the golden sun going
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through the air because the theme was energy and all energy comes from the sun. and also a building that you can probably see in the background here was called the amphitheater, and it was where they held entertainment venues. and we had such famous people as johnny and june cash, glenn campbell, bob hope. over 200 famous entertainers were here. jerry lee lewis, porter wagner, some of the most famous entertainers of the day were here during the fair. knoxville chose to make an mix to be in a world's fair, a world's fair doesn't just take place. you have to apply, and you actually have to apply through the federal government and also through paris. there's an international exposition board that the city had to apply through. you had to have the traffic pattern that will sustain the
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influx of cars and buses. you have to have the community behind you. there was for this world's fair there was a five-layer tiering of money, took millions and millions of dollars. it came from loans, from banks. the city also put out bonds, and they actually -- [inaudible] and then a grant from the federal government and loans from the federal government. talk about the world's fair started in 1976. there was a time of high energy costs, there was an oil embargo. people's cars were just stopped alongside the street because there wasn't enough gas to fill them up, and the prices went high. a lot of people department have jobsment it reminded me very much of nowadays. so one of the major things the world's fair did for knoxville was it brought jobs, and it kept the city from going into a


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