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with fest in downtown chicago. live here yesterday with authors including gary crestnd italy stevenson the third. here is our schedule. dillon ferguson, illinois and the war of 1812. joined by carey johnson, president of the chicago history museum. after that, killed collins. ..
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america. i'd like to give a special thank your sponsors today to help make the the let's test a success. today's program will be broadcast live on c-span2's booktv. if there's time at the end for q&a with the author, if you could pleased use the microphone look at the center of the room, the home viewing audience can your questions, that would be
great. if you like to watch coverage of today's program, it will be we aired tonight at midnight central time on c-span2's booktv. if you're interested, books can be purchased in our rent and you can have your book signed by the author if you would so like. at this time please drop all other electronic devices and cell phones. thank you very much. it is a great pleasure to introduce a moderator for this conversation, the president of the chicago history museum, terry johnson. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you very much. it's my pleasure and my honor to introduce two days author, gillum ferguson is a lawyer by trade, but the kind of lawyer who became a historian but he's an independent scholar. he has written his first book, but his first book has been taking illinois history by storm.
it is "illinois in the war of 1812". it's a book of the of the illinois state historical society. it's about a theater of the war of 1812 that has long been neglected by historians, and i'm proud to ask gillum ferguson to lead off with his own opening thoughts. >> well, my interest in the war really turned around its importance in the development of illinois in 1812. of a territory which include not only the state of illinois but wisconsin, and about 12,000 people in it. they were scattered, you know, narrow fringe along the southern end of what is now the state of. six years later in 1880 and was able to knock wisconsin on the door again to be asked to be admitted in the union. after that they never look back to the population of illinois tripled every 10 years for the next several decades.
but in intervene was the work 1812 surprising no one had given a detailed look at what happened in illinois during that were. well,. >> well, a few fundamental about illinois history. when it comes as a surprise to people is we think of america being settled east to west, but illinois was more or less settled from south to north. and maybe you could explain it. it was settled last by new englanders than it was by people from places like virginia and kentucky. >> the initial settlement in illinois came along the ohio river, and especially of the tennessee and cumberland rivers from tennessee and from the carolinas. the early settlers of illinois, most of them, the period we're talking about, settled within 20 miles of either the ohio or the lower mississippi river. they were used to farming in heavily wooded areas.
and to them for me was a formula should be cut down trees and pull out hundreds of stumps before you did. the idea of going out into the vast grasslands and dropping about was something it was very difficult for them to get to my to read to the other problem of course they can find in southern illinois was they had no ability really get tired of to link it if you have done this after you cut down a forest, you know that the stumps after youtube land, at that point it was impossible to get clear title to incorporate these people were not just the they were basically squatters because the public lands had not been put on sold or were not put on sale until 1814. so other than a few people who held under agent grants, most of these before taking a risk and settling in a wilderness at that point. and ran the risk that therefore might at some point be bought out from under them by some better money speculative from the east. would enable the public lands to
be surveyed i reducing the indian threat was of course the war of 1812. >> so when we are talking about illinois territory and most of the people who were there, the settlers, were in the southern part of the state. the native americans, the indian tribes were scattered around illinois. this is part of what had been the larger northwest territories, and maybe we should set the context as well, the northwest territories, how they fit into american history. >> well, the northwest territory was the land northwest of the ohio river. it had been claimed by virginia by right of conquest during the revolution and, of course, george rogers clark was the key figure there. at the end of the revolution, the date that eludes me, sometimes 1780s, virginia seceded a territory, it might've in 1786 or 787 to the united states. and ceded all the land northwest of the ohio river to the united
states. that include those which now ohio, indiana, illinois, wisconsin, what am i forgetting? michigan and part of minnesota for all of which were claimed by virginia at that point. it's why, for instance, kentucky claims the ohio river and its own property that the borders on the north bank because what was ceded by virginia was the land northwest of the river. so congress organized this in 1787 as initially as a territory of the northwest territory, and there were rules made for the development of society in that vast area. some of them followed, some of them not. but it was initially federal territory. and they provided for the eventual, eventual creation of space in a territory. and illinois was ultimately one of them. >> so in 1812, when the war
began, let's see, ohio was a state. in the and was a territory. illinois, as you described it was not only a territory but went straight up through wisconsin and part of what we call the upper peninsula of michigan, and even a little tiny corner of minnesota. so illinois was big territory. now, why don't you -- tell us, who was here, what languages were they speaking in illinois. by here, i mean illinois in 1812 when the war began. >> the oldest inhabitants of the territory were the caste indians with the renezeder wants proud -- at one time will all the land between the ohio river and wisconsin river but they had been reduced, starting in the
1670 by series of savage attacks by other indian tribes. largely those who from the northwest and the iroquois from the norse passionate northeast driven so demoralized. their population began falling. they incur diseases from incoming lightning, that they had no resistance to. and by the time 1812 they were reduced to really a remnant of the tribe perhaps as many as 200 people there that may be a generous estimate. the next most senior residents of the territory where the french. the french had come initially with la salle and formed a series of committees many along the southern part of the mississippi between st. louis and what is now carol. there's also french settlement in what is now peoria. called peoria at the time. they had been there longer, other than the end interest. the next senior residents were
indian tribes of the north and then the white settlers would come in, white and black settlers were coming from the south, can primary from tennessee and kentucky. is a risky note that if you were to draw a line across the present state of illinois, say running to the present springfield and decatur, south of that line, other than the indians on the wabash river there were virtually no indians who are in permanent residence. the indian tribes who are north of that line had come in from the north, had forced their way into kaskaskia, forced their way in by violence and taking land away from the illinois in the event had been a more than one or two generations, had so the really longer than the 1760s at the earliest. bill that passed through the state on many occasions before. coming in from the south, the settlers from tennessee and
kentucky primary. also some from the northeast, but very few of those, would come in through southern indiana or kentucky. and as they move north they met the indians were forcing their way in from the north and a software direction, and where they would, result from the collision of the cultures was the war of 1812. >> now, to put it again in a bigger framework, this time a global framework, the war of 1812 of course is the chapter in the 20 years struggle between the british and the french. now, the war of 1812 actually was declared by the united states laid in bed 20 year struggle. and maybe you know i to give us
a moment or to remind us how that came about. >> would exist on paper doesn't often fully exist in reality. the united states became independent in 1783, nominate by the way of the treaty of paris but it wasn't fully recognized by european powers as a full equal. as time went on, it became clear and clear that the united states was not regarded as a full sovereignty to the war until the late 1790s, 796 i think was, red coated rigid soldiers flying the british flag on american territory. it was clearly american territory in northern ohio and michigan, wisconsin and the thing for sure time in indiana until eventually removed by j street it was clearly an illegal occupation by the mistakes military, could drink about. despite the fact that this is violation of the terms of the treaty. after that, the british
continued to interview with the indian trade, tried to monopolize very thoughtful portrait of the northwest for territory with a great deal of success. the loyalty of the indians to the great father, the king, king george who we thought we were rid of. on the sea, the situation was even worse. as gary noted, britain and france were in lock in a death struggle for nearly 20 years with very few interruptions. they fought in every part of the world and they did everything they could to undermine their up and. one of them being to interfere with their triggered united states was a military pygmy but it was already emerging as a significant commercial power and american ships were flying the seven seas or however many seats that are, caring goods around the world. both britain and france particularly britain though, felt able to seize u.s. flagships on high seas, or even as close to port in u.s.
territorial waters. sees cargoes, the ships if they thought about for an emmy for. british particularly plucked the u.s. theaters off of u.s. ships and on commercial jets, commercial ships, but also u.s. warships and impressed them into a slave like existence in the royal navy fighting the king's enemies. to all of this was a challenge to the united states. the united states under the past administrations of jefferson and madison, for 10 years, respond with milder, with diplomatic protest and even the self-defeating measure of an embargo on our own trade, which really did not bring the europeans to their knees until they destroyed much of our own shipping. but finally, we reached a point where over 900 u.s. flagships had been seized by britain and france. the massive ministration finally
declared war on britain, and really at that point serve notice on the entire world that there were some insults that this country would not swallow, and some light in which it could not be pushed without putting but i think that was a real entry of the united states onto the world stage as a nation which had to be respected by other nations, which would defend its rights. >> so you may remember some of that from your own reading of history, from your own schoolbooks. most of those events occurred on the east coast, not in the former northwest territory. so now the word comes that the united states is at war. what did i mean in the lives of those who were responsible for places like the illinois territory? >> the person responsible for the illinois territory at the time was governor edwards who was a political appointee. he was not, he was not a soldier, a minister. a been a judge the supreme court and kentucky, court of appeals and kentucky.
and he had a three-year appointment, his boss was secretary of war. and he was responsible for looking out for the protection of the united states, or the united state's interest in illinois territory. at that time there only to u.s. garrisons in illinois territory. 50 for soldiers at fort dearborn, not chicago just north of us on michigan avenue. and in 36 soldiers, 365 miles away on the ohio river. those 90 soldiers were given the task of guarding the two states of illinois and wisconsin, as war broke out. so a lot of the responsibility for self-defense fell on the settlers themselves. at every free white male between 18, and i believe it was 46, was bylaw a member of the state militia. typically this meant that they would muster for time to you, have a big party day, a lot of
drinking. you know, they would march around. but when war broke out this be a very, very significant sacrifice by the militiamen who would have to leave their farms. especially in the spring and fall which were the main campaigning seasons, to go and serve for pay, which might never come, for sometimes extended period of several weeks or even months. so they answered to governor edwards. edwards and the militia. the primary responsibilities were broke out, felt. >> if i remember correctly, governor edwards not only oversaw the militia to he often had to reach into his own pocket to help subsidize what was going on. because the supplies and so forth from the east were not always there. in fact, even news of what was happening was not always
forthcoming. >> it could take weeks for a literature reach illinois territory from washington. and again, edwards was responsible to the second of four. it was interesting that edwards who would write repeatedly to the secretary of war, not only to find out what was happening in this territory, but asking for instructions or proof of what he had done, almost never heard back from the secretary, who barely knew he existed. in fact, in 1812, his appointment expired and the madison administration simply forgot to appoint him, or any governor for illinois. it was such an unimportant position, but they simply forgot to edwards, to his credit, continue to act as governor knowing that war was breaking out and someone had to do it. when he called, he called militia and dessert he pledged his own assets as pay for the militia if the government should disallow what he had done later. you know, ninian edwards has kind of a bad reputation from
historians, sort of the prototype of the illinois political hack. and i have to say that that was the attitude with which i pushed him as a begin to research this book. but i will say that the two years from june 1811 to june 1813 when he was superseded in command over the two best years of his life, when whatever his shortcomings in other areas, he displayed a great devotion to duty and great both moral and physical courage and took his responsibilities very strictly. in fact, i think for the rest of his life have followed the pattern that he set in the two years he might well have a better historic reputation. but i consider my book something of a rehabilitation of edwards, at least part of his life. >> well, one of the best aspects of the book is the chapter where gillum ferguson focuses on the lives of two individuals who try
to shape events in this very lately settled very, very difficult to control area. and the two individuals are thomas forsythe and robert dixon. if you could share their stories with us as a way to help us understand what was happening on the ground, what was happening in the minds of a few individuals who are trying to shape what was happening on the ground. >> well, thomas forsyth and robert dixon were in a sense opposite numbers. x. and was a scotsman who have been, had come to what was in the northern united states as a young man come and engage in the first rybicki was married to a sue woman, and he was unlike a lot of the sort of mountain energy. it was a real marriage. they live together faithfully until death and they had four children. dickson was perhaps the dominant fur trader of the upper
mississippi river before the war. he was a tall redheaded fellow. i guess quite imposing. he was beloved by the indians. not only because of his personal charisma but because of his obvious genuine concern for them. his opposite number, at least as i see in my book, was thomas forsyth. forsyth was also a man of ambiguous nationality, which he used to allow his traveling in indian territory during difficult times. he had been born in detroit when it still subject to king george, and many of the american traitors regard him as an englishman, and so for that matter did the indians. but forsyth had no love for the english at all. he eventually was appointed to the american indian agent at peoria. so i think that as your it as having an indian agent, but peoria at the time was deep in indian country. and forsyth operator to a certain extent as the eyes and ears of the united states in
indian country, in his correspondence which survives in a number of places in the chicago history museum and the wisconsin historical society, and notable collection in missouri history museum. he is one of our best sources for was going on in indian country at the time. both of those men had the responsibility for at least neutralizing indians, and at best bringing them into the service of their packet size. dickson was perhaps the most successful initially because he raised in illinois territory and in again, including what is that wisconsin and northern illinois, and the upper mississippi, he raised basically indian army's which he led, according to the instructions, head east to fight the british, ontario and northern ohio. ironically, this to some extent to spirit the illinois
character, some of the ravages of an indian war because dickson again pursuant to his orders led most of the fighting indian warriors of the illinois territory and the upper mississippi valley to the east, to theaters that were really far from the own interests. there's a story that block off, you know, the famous indian, the black hawk war, the prominent figure in this will come and also my book, told dickson that he wanted to raise indians to go down river and attack that those and has gas kick and dixons and was that he would not lead brave men to kill women and children, that he would leave them where there were soldiers to fight. and if they defeat the american soldiers at the mississippi thought would fall into their laps. blackhawk city consider this and answer break. effect yet other indians did found dickson to the east and west but probably was not the decision was in the best interest of the indians.
forsyth's response bill is primarily one of primary can keep the indians neutral. forsyth spoke both gentle and patois as well as french which was sort of the common language of the frontier among the indians. and had very strong personal ties with some of the indians among the pocket watches, especially chief goma was the scene sheet of the illinois river valley. his response ability unsuccessful at first was to keep the indians at least neutral if he could not get into fights with the united states. by 1813 so after the collapse of the british physician in ontario, in the death of tecumseh, the pottawattamie did make peace. after that, forsyth was able to keep them in line even after some rather violent provocations, rather unfortunate provocations from american soldiers. but he was never able to succeed and bring them to war against
the british, again his friend as well as his primary contact among the indians was much too slippery a politician to lead people into another war and goma was one his favorite beach. so you have robert dickson who is trying to organize affairs on behalf of of the british. you have forsyth who is trying to neutralize on half of the americans, the indians in illinois. the third individual you might say who has a bigger picture in mind who has a vision in mind, is tecumseh, and his brother crockett. stich tecumseh really looms large in my book, but his primary by casting a shadow to the actual physical contact of tecumseh, what now is the state of illinois is a limited he made a number of, you might say with
great or even missionary trip to. but their spirit really dominates the indian portions of my book. and it was quite influential in the world. indian society in 1812 come in this area was in crisis. because a large game animals on which they were largely dependent for protein had become, had become rare and headed to extension the buffalo almost gone. the elk trade beginning a rapid deterioration, bears and the like also dying out due were on their way to extinction at that point. for the first time we read stories of starving indians the part of this was a result of their ability to kill them with modern weapons the up gained from the way. as well as the demand for for. also as result the fact that we were about 10 years of a very
severe drought at the beginning of the 19th century. in making 10 especially, according, i understand this as well beyond my own personal conference. i understand from treatment analysis it was one of the worst droughts to strike the midwest. so the indians began to realize that something had to happen. tecumseh was a shawnee indian, though not shawnee chief, not one who had much influence on the shawnee, who with his brother known to us as prophet, there were a number of different names he used over the years and why sellers at the time called him the prophet, sort of a handy term to use because as i said, he changed his name periodically. really developed a program of spiritual, commercial, political and military revival for the tribes of the midwest as a way of not only reducing the
encroachments of the white, and if possible, reversing them. but also in terms of restoring the morale of the indian tribes. among the teachings of the prophet world country and -- were of course their restriction of occult. -- alcohol. destroying their social structure but interestingly enough, the prophet forbade the use of firearms. i could only be done under his teaching with the bows, arrows, traditional weapons of the indians, though they could use the white man's weapons to fight in warfare against the americans. they could not, i think it shows how somewhat the same way we limit deer harvest now. they show some sensitivity to the fact that they're hunting with these weapons which, in fact, forcing them into an economic collapse. so tecumseh and the prophet
offered a way forward to indians, and while they had little success in ohio where they come from, as they get further west outside the area where chiefs might of been corrupted by gifts from americans, or where tribes were intimidated by the shadow of american authority, especially in the illinois among the pottawattamie, the kickapoo and the winnebago, they had many, many adherents. at the famous battle of tippecanoe in 1811 in indiana, perhaps a majority of the indian warriors were indians from illinois, belong to those three tribes. >> so let's talk about some of the big early events in the war of 1812, and the northwest territory area. mackinaw, fort mackinac fell july of 1812 to the british. major fort controlling the whole upper great lakes area. detroit fell to the british.
or with small farming. and then which numbered between varied between fifty and sixty men at different times. about 45 at time we were talking about. it was seen as indefensible. it was powerful to be supplied. william, the commander in detroit major general was a commander who had authority over forth deer born who was commanded by captain nathan. in early august, he received an order from the general ordering him to evaluate the fort deer born to lead the command to fort wayne or detroit. he has been criticized a lot for
that. , but i think probably unfairly, actually, eventually the actual order emerged and the old legend it was left up to his discretion seems not to be true. the order is commanded him to do this. he was a captain in the united states army captain given an order by the major general, he's not going say no unless there were circumstances he couldn't be aware it. he prepared other the course of the week to lead the command and the civilian community out on the march to fort wayne. over the next of the course of the next week he tried to purchase a passage by descript distribute -- descrinting the u.s. property in the factory which was a government trading house here in chicago it was owned by the government as well as the nonmilitary supplies at the post of the surrounding indians. as he did it, it attractedded a
larger crowd came from further and further way from places star away as milwaukee and southwestern michigan and the like. one criticism he didn't leave the next day before the large crowd of indians congregated. he would have been on the road for weeks and vulnerable. he hoped to purchase safe passage. the indians had not great love for the americans americans in general. they become to know the chicago community. as the crowd got larger indians who had no contact with chicago flock to the area. the situation became nor dangerous. final on august 15, he lead his command about exact numbers little uncertain, between 0eur9 and 100 people escorted by william wells from forth wayne
and the indians lead them out of the gate. it stood at the south end which is now the michigan avenue bridges over the chick river. headed south along with now michigan avenue to up, again, the location is disputed about a mile and a half the traditional location is 18th and prairie avenue. and where they were set upon the by the indians they thought were ease courting safely to fort wayne. there was a brief battle followed by a blood bath. he made the mistake of charging with the troops against the indians who scattered and cut the troops off from the wagons where the women, children, and noncombats were stationed. at the wagons there was a blood bath. twelve children were killed in one wagon. two women died and all of the civilian males of chicago except
one the famous john kin city were killed in the short time as well as the soldiers who stood guard on the wagons. the troon -- troops on the regular about half the number were killed agreed to surrender under a promise that the lives would be spared, the promise was kept only in part. some of them were actually murdered after the battle, and they were then lead off into captivity. the fort was burned the next day, 1812, and the cannons were thrown into the river. >> it was another important defeat for the united states along the great lakes. this site, of course, being important port age between the great lakes basin and the mississippi river basin. so to just jump ahead, the tide
did turn in the war in the sense that the battle of lake erie took place, which restored naval control to the americans, and then another important battle was the battle of items in october 13. and maybe the battle you could give us thumbnail description of that battle and what it meant for those who were in illinois. >> it is a battle that is deserves to be remembered than it was. the cull make of william hair's campaign in northern ohio. he's a cautious general and basically spent a year getting ready to capture detroit which had been surrounded in august of 1812. finally after the battle of lake
erie restored american control to lake erie and gave america navel supreme city on the lower great lakes not so much on the upper. he is able to make the move against detroit. the establish evacwaited detroit without a fight and retreated into on ontario. harrison and the army set off after them. the british were lead by a general named proctor, not a god one. fighting with one and abide with them was the famous chief who was the one of the great men in american history. at the battle, harrison caught up with the british and indians. as it turned out the british ran like rabbits for the most part. the warriors stayed and fought and he died fighting killed to onability of future vice president of the united states richard johnson. this destroyed british power in
upon or it owe. it -- ontario it cooperated communications between the east and the west. at this point, the effect in illinois was substantial. the pot -- pot wot me had enough. they fought alongside the british. they had been unempressed what they had seen. they returned to illinois, and some of the hostile chiefs made peace. so in at least northern central illinois, measure of peace did return when the pottow at&time when they put down the weapons and signed on to a peace treaty and gained hostages.
in 181, the situation was returned. by the end of l 1813, it looked as if the war was over in illinois. >> let's jump ahead to the formal end of the war of 1812 where the treaty of gent is signed, but bringing peace to illinois territory even in the context of the signature on a piece of paper in europe, it is not easy and in fact a whole process organized by commissioners took place with one tribed at the time. and i found that a fascinating chapter, and loved to hear more about that. >> well, the treaty of gent which ended the war between united states and britain. the british had taken a initial position that the united states was established an indian buffer state all the land northern of
the ohio river. it was in fact of the british. that's what they promised the indians they would fight for. but as crunch came in bell begin, they ultimately gave up on that and settled for safety. gave the indians the right to existed for them in 1811, and abandoned the hope for a indian state in the old northwest. the british made peace and it was formalized by exchange radification in february. the indians hadn't been representedded at the peace treaty. they were, in fact, many of theme severely hostile to the terms of the agreement. in fact, interestingly enough, many of the british officers were outraged by the temples they had made personal promises they thought it was a matter of
personal honor face to face with the indians they would fight until they established a state for the indiansed at least a buffer state. and had go into counsel and tell them, no, the deal was off, that they fought in vein for two and a half years and suffered. but it turned out the third time going to be abandoned by their allied great britain. the indian tribes were not necessarily under the circumstance willing to race to the council table. so the americans had to send out adversaries to the tribes to the individually. they were difficult to reach. they were hostile. they had to send out tray traitors to bring them to the peace treaty at north of st. louis where william clark, lewis
and clark the founder of st. louis wanted to make peace with the tribes. some of them until come until 1816 some such as winnebago never came in and made peace. the process did end and the instruction nor the american commissioners were not seek any more land. they would worry about it later. to make peace with the indian tribes. of course once the am city was -- amnesty was granded peace was restored the ability to push further also opened up. >> and before you knew it, illinois was a state. [laughter] 1818, that's right. by 1830, 18 40, the last indians were gone. what became of the promise that certain of the guarantees that the british said they were fighting for would prevail even post treaty in the area?
well the british may have thought and certain the indians thought the british would be the guarantees for the rights after wards under the treaty. the united states had a different attitude toward that and thought that could not be admissible. this was u.s. territory the united states fought for the sovereignty of the borders. it curtailed any contact to the extend they could between indians and the british. >> well, one name that you've heard a number of times is that of chief gomo, and i think of all the names that are in the book, he's the individual i would like to meet the most because he's absolutely a fascinating person. he was a chief but remember, native american chiefs weren't ceo. they couldn't give orders. they had to sort of import tune and lead. he was someone who is counted as
a friend, by both different points the americans and the british. he was considered generally reliable. one of the goals, and i think you've handledded it admirally has been whatever possible to get authentic indian voices in the book and you're actually able to quote a speech from gomo not word for word but an account of the speech. do you agree that he's one of the most fascinating characters of the period? >> definitely. gomo was an important politician. for him the shortest distance between two points were never a straight lines. there a lot of twists and turns in the route he took. he is also, among the characters in the book, the one who seemed to have the best understanding that eventually the killings is going to end and we're go to have to find a way to live together. so maybe on that note, it is a
good place to end. i would just conclude by saying that those of you who heard this sweep through a series of very compliant -- complicated developments will have the same impression i had. there's so much we don't know about the period in american history. the bicren tential of the war of 1812 is a great reason to explore the history. this is a chapter where we are not so much undoing what we thought we know. we are encountering things we never knew. and this book mar lousily -- marvelously imiendz on the ground developments with the 30-feet approach why you have an understanding of the big developments. so we thank you very much for your authorship and the participation today. >> thank you.
[applause] >> thank you, mr. ferguson. mr. johnson. i want to thank you all for attending the discussion. the literature of reading and write, be sure to be a member of the journal society. the members tonight include a weekly journal which features authors who allow book reviews and original works of fiction. members, [inaudible] >> we'll be back in a few minutes with more from chicago. pull accident occur prize win -- pulitzer prize winner traveled the globe visiting places like kenya and kansas to look at the president's family tree. including the trip to kenya in the author with in january 2010. join us sunday and later at 8:30
the same night. the phone calls, e-mails and tweets for david on c-span2 book tv. >> my history of financial institution is a history of learning about these things. so for example, in 1811, new york, the state of new york created a new security law which did two things. first, i mean, corporate law. it allowed anybody to set up a corporation with minimal restrictions. you used to have to go to the legislature and get special permission, and secondly, they created limited liability for investors. what that meant, if you invested in a company, and the company was later accused of wrong doing, the complaint, the lawsuit that never go after your assets because you invested in the company. before that, people were afraid to invest in companies they
didn't really know. it made everything like a family business. you had to have people you trusted. the law changed everything. it was copied over all the world. a friend of david moss who studied these carefully, what i think it did, it created a sense of pleasure in investing. it made -- people used to invest in lotteries. they loved to gamble. it is another human trait. the excitement of finding out if your number came up. by creating limited liability, it became fun the same way a lottery is fun. people have to enjoy life. they have to see something that makes you get out of bed in the morning and gives you excitement. we design things that you give that feeling. that security law has been the source of a lot of innovations. because now investors it looks like they're playing a game. it looks a little sell fish. it drives our economy.
karl marx looked at it and said it was gambling. he thought we should shut it down. worse than that. after years of experimenting with that, people think well, maybe we have to let people indig in the feelings. -- indulge in the feelings. okay. let me move -- i have another i'll go for another ten or fifteen minutes. i wanted to talk about the future, and about some of the ideas that i talked about. i'm going to start from tomorrow, and then move a little bit more and more into the wild future. what happens tomorrow is president obama has said he will sign the jobs act. it was misleaded maybe for political reasons. it's not about jobs. it's called jump start our business start-ups.
that spells jobs. what it is, it's controversial. i like it, though. notably, as an experiment it may or may not work well. let me tell you what is the most interesting part of the jobs act. the jobs act was created in response to requests from internet website providers who wanted to create a crowd funding website for entrepreneurs. so you if you're trying to start a business, you can put it up on the website and say, i'm looking for money and then thousands of investors or millions all over the world can send money an you can start a business. it is a wild idea, isn't it? it's endorsed by a lot of internet people. i think it's just about as wild as wikipedia sounded at the beginning. if i came to you, say before
wikipedia started and said, i'm going open an online inside will peed ya and i'm going to let anybody add to it. my reaction would be that's a dumb idea. it's not going to a good book. we learned something about how people can work together through wikipedia. i think this is a good experiment. what congress has done is they're worried that it's going to be a lot of cheats out there unfortunately. shn doing to steal money from someone else. one thing they've done in the legislation, you have to document your income to the website. for people with north carolinas up -- incomes up to $40,000 you can't invest more than your 2% of your north carolina. income. that's about about $800. the maximum amount is $10,000 that you can put in. it's designed to protect
people. but, you know, even people can in$800. if you get enough of them you have real capital. you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> what are you reading this summer? book tv wants to know. >> i'm wrapping citizens of london which actually came out a couple of years ago. it's a marve lotion history basically of london during the war and three very prominent people. edward mor row, who was reporting back to the united states with rather strongly held views we should get into the war on england's side. a man who was sent there by president roosevelt to deal with the program, which was the foreign aid program for england and the ambassador a fellow who had replaced joseph kennedy, president kennedy's father.
kennedy was partial to the germans and suspected the reason roosevelt brought him home. it's a great book about the three of them and their interaction with churchill and theired a have casey of the united states breaking out and getting into the war on england's behalf. also the author had previously written a wonderful book which i highly recommend called troublesome young men. and it's about the members of parliament who rallied win ton churchill who opposed throughout the 30-s and organized the rise to the prime minister job when the chamber fell. these two books, particularly interested in reading them back to back are the great book at the early stages of world war two. i highly recommend them. for more on this and other
reading list visit booktv.org. here's a look at some books that are being published this week. nationally syndicated radio and foreigner fox news host glenn beck argues that several issues are not getting the attention they need by politicians and media "cowards, what politicians, radicals, and the media we 0 fuse to say." in twilight of the elite christopher hays washington, d.c., editor of the nation analyzed why the public developed a distrust of authority. rebecca recounts the collect eve recovery of evolution and paves the way for darwin. the secret history of evolution. the struggle inside the white house to redefine american power. former los angeles times reporter and foreign correspondent jamesman explains how the president's measures.
jacob managing editor of the front page magazine argue that the democratic party represents the rich and powerful in the. how the left wing money ma machine threatens future. in this book, megan mccain comedian michael ian black discussion their similarities and differences and how politics become divided. look for the tightses in bookstores in the coming week and watch for the authors in the new future on book tv and booktv.org. >> many of you might not have been born in 1973 and '73 when watergate took place. richard nixon won one of the biggest land sides in the mystery of united states. most of the americans voted for him in that election. yet, when it came out suggesting
that laws were violated, the american people including the overwhelming majority would supported richard nixon said, congress, you have to investigate. we have to have a special prosecutor. the laws have to be enforced no matter what. and in the end, when the house and the committee acted on a bipartisan basis to vote for the impeachment of richard nix southern. the country overwhelmingly supported that verdict. what did that tell us? more important than any political party and more important than any president in the united states. and more important than any any single person or ideology, was the bedrock principle of the rule of law and the preservation of our constitution. and americans united on that scene regardless of having voted just about a year and a half before that. we're not talking about ancient
history in that vote. people put bind them their own partisan views and said what is good for the country and the rule of law and one standard of law was critical. so i said, agree, you know, that's an important principle. i believed in it too. and then, we got the bush years. the accountability principles pretty much worked, i won't say they were perfect, hardly, government doesn't operate in a perfect world and it itself is rarely perfect. then we got to the bush years and things changed. and so, and i and my coauthor wrote a book about impeachment. i was a niche area of expertise. about ten of us had the experience of dealing with the terms of the ?iewption and the impeachment proceeding that
worked the nixon impeachment proceeding. but we saw and wrote a book and we saw however that there was no accountability through the impeachment process. and so then we said, let's look at what else can be done. we knew the framers understand it it's clear in the debates about what the president leaves office can be prosecuted. there was nothing in the framers debate that said you've been president, free. you get a forever free from jail card. nonsense, the framers understood that presidents could do very bad things. i mean, they were human. they created checks and balances because the president could to do bad things. they understood congress could do bad things. they were not aid listist about people. they were practical and pragmatic. we said, okay, let's do this
book about what kind of accountability can exist. and to our surprise, as we began to look at what the criminal statutes were, what we saw was not just the possibility of accountability. but that's bush team was sensitive to the possibility of prosecution. and had tried to erect barriers in a variety of ways including slices and dicing and rewriting criminal laws 0 protect themselves from accountability. and to protect themselves specifically from criminal liability. >> you watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] and
morning. if i can have everybody's attention please. thank you. am i not being loud enough? i apologize. i have a teacher voice. good morning! there you are. my name is john, i'm here to welcome you to the 28th annual chicago printer's row lit fest sponsored by bank of america. we would like to give a special thank you to the sponsors who helped to make the festival a successful. today's program will be broadcast live on book tv on c-span2 if there is time for q and a. if you would use the microphone located in the center of the room. it would be great. if you would like to watch coverage it will be aired this evening starting at midnight central time on c-span2. i know, you are all staying up. [laughter] books, including gail collins
wonderful work can be purchased in the arts room. you'll have a opportunity to have them signed following the program. at this point in time, take a minute to turn off the cell phone and electronic devices. thank you very much. it gives me great pleasure to welcome the moderator for the conversation "chicago tribune" columnist and winners of the 2012 pulitzer prize mary schmich. [applause] come on up, mary. she'll be introduced gail collins. >> so can you hear me? when i told people that i was going to be interviews gail collins, almost every person i said, she's so much fun!
[laughter] so gail collins is known as the fun columnist at the "new york times." the one that you'd like to have a beer with the. the one who seems, someone said to me, normal. [laughter] gail isn't normal. the truth is, he comes across as normal. anyone as preductive as she is is not normal in the way you and i are. she has just written a new book in addition to writing a cool limb twice a week if the new york tiefms. she was the first female editor of "new york times" editorial e pages. there are a million other things i could tell you, the bottom line is not normal. gail, come on up here. this is the fan base. [applause] >> thank you. can you hear me? i've been worried about the
microphones. are they working? they're not working. microphones not working. a person who knows about microphones? anyone? we may be -- this may never -- how that's work. i wonder if i took one of your miervegs. it's here. we have it. whoever it did that, thank you. you saved our day. can i thank all you guys for having me here today. it is so seldom i get to come to chicago. i love chicago so much, and, you know, it's like when you're covering elections, i'm always in florida or iowa or something you never get to come to chicago. it's a real treat to be here. thank you. >> before we get to the hard stuff, i want to ask you a question. are you as fun as everyone thinks. >> my husband lived under this burden for a long time. he said people are coming up to him and saying wow, it must be a laugh a minute at your house. [laughter] and he says, no, she's not
always that entertaining. no, no. >> let's talk about more serious. gail's new book which is a entertaining but serious read texas texas goes. we talked about the premise of the book. it all sorted of started. >> you probably remember the rick pear's succession moment he called for vai lantly ambushed the federal government in front of a large crowd. he said something like no, we have a fine union. there's no talk of leaving. if washington continues to do the terrible things its doing who knows what will happen. i did not regard it as a real commitment. if you're married and your spouse says there's nothing
wrong with this marriage. there's no reason to dissolve it. if you continue to behave in the unsatisfactory manner it wasn't good. i thought about that and i thought about wow, if you look back over the last thirty years, texas has pretty much dominated the national yeand -- agenda. if you look at the savings and loan crisis in the '80s it started when ronald region -- charters of the texas. he did that because he felt that the texas ones were profitable. no, he no noticed the texas ones were all cooking the books that's why they were doing so well. and i kind of looked at that, there was a piece of that story in which the guy from the worse of all burdened savings and loan which is called vermin savings and loan went on trial.
his defense against the charge that he hired a a prostitute to entertained the bank regulators was that the bank regulator had not been able to rise to the occasion. therefore, it was not a bribe in any way shape or form. i looked and thought, gosh, you have to like a state like that. and then i looked at the deregulation of the banks and of all the financial markets and there's 10 there will people involved in that obviously. a large finger in the pie with senator phil graham of texas who was head of the banking committee. i had the privilege, possible i the only journalist in the world who had the privilege being on the campaign tour in '95 which lasted as about as long as this program is going to last. and then, no child left behind, our federal program for public schools schools are organized around the way texas schools were organized during the george
bush period. energy, the environment, all the land wars and sense -- since vietnam all the stuff comes somehow or another from texas. i think we underestimated what a huge influence this state is on the rest of the country. >> one of the points that you made that was most intriguing to me and most pert nentd to people in chicago was the whole charter school movement really got its birth, got nurtured in texas. talk to us a little bit about that. >> yeah, the fascinating thing about the -- what happened in texas was a stage thing you might find familiar. back in the '80s texas schools were a dismal and movement under ross per row was organized and the basis of the movement was get more money for the schools. let's make them smaller, increase teacher pay, let's
bring texas boo the 20th century. and because per row was crazy and rich they managed to get it done. it was a huge reform. the second reform followed for reorganization of the way the schools were funderred to reflect the wealth of the communities. and which they had to gate new tax, more money poured into the schools. at that point, the business community said wait minute. all the money going in, we want accountability. there was a combination of more money and accountability which basically met more tests. in texas, i talked to the people who were involved in that reform period, and their vision was, there will be testing, and in the community will goat see the tests and the parents will see the tests and the teachers and know which kids need help. if the parents are unhappy with the neighborhood schools they can do something about it. there was never any thought that there would be large closed down the school consequences. it didn't come out what they thought was a texas experience.
but the people from the texas business counsels who were working on the programs many of them went to washington with george w. bush. one of them became the lead negotiator on the no child left behind bill. became the lobbiest for peerson the large testing corporation. about the charter school part of the whole deal. i talk to the people who negotiated the bill on the charter schools. nobody ever thought there was going to be a private sector involvement in the charleser -- charter school movement. everybody inhavingsed nonprofits would come in and take over a few schools and it would be a good way to innovate. nobody said internet schooling run bay private corporation who sets an anchor at some on secure
school district in tennessee and announces it's a real public school. the amount of 0 private money -- that's going to the public school system is one the biggest consequences of no child left behind. it was something that the people at least in congress who put it together had no thought about. it was not in their picture at all. >> it all comes out of texas? >> yes, it all came out of texas. when you started the book how much time had you spent in texas? >> before i started the book, i spent very little in time texas. i spent quite a bit, it is a fastly written book. i spent most of last summer in texas which was a bad career choice. [laughter] let me plan my life so i will in houston for the month of july. [laughter] it was completely crazy. but that's what i did. it's a totally outer view. i'm not explaining texas to texans. i could never do that. i'm talking to the rest of us
about what it mean -- what texas means to the rest of the country, and what the great cry from texas of states rights means to the rest of the country. >> talk about the negotiation of empty bases. us a all of the things that come out of texas you attribute too the philosophy of empty spaces that guides life in texas. >> yeah, i've always liked since i started looking at congress long ago to divide the country between the empty spaces because it makes everything seem more reasonable. crowded spaces people appreciate government. because they can see that government does stuff to help them every day. it protects them from burglars, it keeps dogs from pooping on the sidewalk, and stuff suers from exploding and runs the schools. everywhere you go, and most people in crowded places when they complain about government they complain there's not enough
i don't know where they stopping dogs from peeing on the sidewalk. it expands and expands. people from empty places who perceive themselves z being in empty places don't see any point really to government outside of a war now and then. because if a burglar breaks in their house, they're going have to shot the particular. they have no police coming. there's no sense that somebody is going to mess up the land because there's nobody they can see in the outside world. if you are a in a empty place, the vision makes perfect sense. the problem for the empty places 0 people if you're empty you don't have any people you don't have much political power outside the united states senate where you can have two senators for four people if you're wisconsin. i swear. [laughter] you can be an empty place person if you live in tampa, florida. the great thing about texas, there's 26 million people there and 80% of them live in
metropolitan regions, they think they are in empty places. it feels like an empty place. if you ever go houston, it has 2 million people. because it has no zoning you walk along and there's an empty part. there's no organized development. if you drive from one city to another, if you commute to work, it could be 70 miles. they think nothing of driving 300 miles to football game. there's a sense of emptiness. and that combined with the their own conservative preed elections, combined with the size of the place, combined with the wealth of the place, combined with the natch intensity of texans everything about has made them really the center, i think, of political power in the country right now. >> to me, the most intriguing thing in gail's book is in the final chapters, when she talks about it's already a majority,
minority state and will be a majority hispanic strait which is the direction that the country is going. it talk to us about the shift in texas what that means and what it might mean for the rest of us. >> you know, texas could get this one thing right, they would have absolved at least what i perceive as the sins. texas is not crazy on immigration the way say arizona is crazy on immigration. texans are comfortable with the idea of a large hispanic culture. they're not -- you may have seen the debate want first republican debate in which romney turned on rick perry and said you in texas you allow illegal children to go to texas schools and qualify as state residences when they want to go to college. that's amnesty. and everybody started piling on rick pear i are. he looked so puzzled.
that's not a texas law. all rick had done was follow the money the business community wanted the program. he didn't know it was bipartisan. he didn't know he was doing anything interested when he supported it. there was a sense of texas is more sane when it comes to hispanic integration than many parts at least border part of the country. but when it's not done is integrate two things. not integrated the hispanic residences into the political and business power structure in the way you would expect by now. and two, it's not doing the job of educating young hispanic children that it needs to do if they are going to become critical skills workers for the next generation. right now texas imports college graduates. it imports as many as it creates on the own. when you are paying to help make the universities in illinois top
tier universities you are paying to help staff businesses in texas. a lot of your graduates are going to wind up down there. unless texas and tees up and steps up to the education plate. in the future 10% of the education is going to be texas bread. that's when we go south. >> did you worry about in writing the book you were playing to certain stereo types about texans. >> sort of. you know, texans, i knew from the beginning everybody hates anybody from the outside coming into the place and making fun of it. or crirt sizing it or -- criticizing or generalizing about it. we would hate it. i would hate it in new york. people do do it about new york city every day. still, your sensitive to that. but texas' image texas' sense of self is very, very intense.
i'm always freaked out where i go there how much people identify themselves as texans. i will be willing to bet you think of yourself as chicagoans not illinois begans. i group in ohio i was happy there. but nobody ran around saying don't mess with ohio. i never met a going ohio, ohio, ohio, the way perry goes texas, texas, texas. they work on that themselves to some degree, too, you know, and i hope that i was pretty clear in the book there's no actual obvious person in texas every texan is different as is everyone else. they do think as themselves as texans first. let's move from texas to ohio. you grew up in cincinnati. in a catholic family, you went to catholic schools, basically your whole life.
describe yourself gail gleason, that's who you were when you were growing up. who was that girl? you were born in a time where there weren't a lot of women in public life. where women with opinions at some point learned to keep them in the house. who were you then were you an opinionated little girl in were you fun. >> i was always so fun. [laughter] you should ask my siblings whether i was fun or not. i'm the oldest. but, you know, the interesting thing when i look back on, i can't imagine writing my memoirs. the times i recall now was growing up right after when the baby boom was beginning in a suburb that was composed entirely of people couples between the age of 25 and 35 all of whom who had two to six kids. and every morning the husband would go off to work at the beginning.
it they only had one car. there was a stranded island as far as you can see of women and children, and, you know, they had a rolling grocery store, the go had a bus he put shelves on because nobody could get to the stores every day. he would come and bring you baked beans or whatever you needed that day. it was an intense environment. i don't think we'll ever see again. it was a time when everybody's economy was doing better. everybody getting wealthier. everybody had great expectations for the future, although, compared to now, the expectations were so minimal, you know. some day there would be a second bedroom in the house was a great expectations. even though the people were middle class people. >> did you have a sense as being limited as a girl. your life as a woman as a writer which you apparently started doing when you were little would be little bitted? did you not recognize that? >> no. my mother was alwaysmented to be a writer. she was am birns for --
ambitious for all the kids. because i came first and i was around for so long without anybody else. she was stuck in the suburb she spent a lot of time -- conservative who is liberal who has been mugged. my definition of liberal is a conservative who had twin daughters, you know. i do know not many men of the jen ration when they looked at their daughter who said they won't do anything except become a mom. the exec tastes were great back then. >> how did growing up catholic affect you who are now. >> i can tell you the nones were great on grammar. i can -- i don't know if you went to catholic schools. i did gram sentences are two paragraphs long going on forever. i noticed in general, i got to say, when i was at the daily news, i was a come limb nist with there bob whom some of you
know is african-american and juan gonzalez and jimmy there. they were excited to managed to come up with a i do verse team of come lom nist they advertised us as rainbow coalition. they kept saying never before has there been so much diversity. we talked one day we all had gone to catholic schools. there's something there, i got tell you. >> do you feel that being a female cool column nist makes you different at all? >> years ago somebody from voig or one of the women's magazine called me and said you and maureen doubt are the times that use humor in cool lum. do you think it deals with being women. they wanted me to say ha we i did flect our aggressiveness. i thought about my own career. when i started using humor was
in i was connecticut covering the state legislature. do you know how hard it is to get anybody to read about the connecticut state legislature? it was -- there was a scandal i that were clean. it was hard. to trish who was my partner we would sit there every night and say, well, maybe we could do a quiz or, you know, we could do a po yem. they'd read a pow yem. finally i found the humor worked the best. it's easier to explain things that people don't want to read about like charter revision. by being funny. >> do you worry that humor undermines your serious points? people going read paul and he's earnist i'm going to take it seriously if gail is making a joke i'm entertained. >> paul has a nobel prize. [laughter] i think he gets to be pretty earnest at that point in time.
it's okay. [laughter] i don't know the other thing i used to think when i got into the column writing business i was more angry about stuff or seemed more angry. at some point along the way, i forget what was happening in new york. i thought it was bad, i thought i don't want to write anymore columns that make people want to go bang their heads against the wall or move to finland, i mean, i want to write stuff that will leave people feeling more cheerful about the role as a citizens. and that's kind of been my little mission over the years, i would say. >> you're jrnlg designated liberal. do you accept that term. what does it mean to you. >> yeah. you you'd have to be kind of really, really an open-minded person to suggest that i'm not sort of liberal in the things they write about. yeah, and to me, i believe in government, i believe government
should be efficient, and accomplish things. i believe government does good. i believe in community. i believe -- [applause] see crowded people places are here. i believe in crowded places and everybody working together to try to get things done. >> one of the things people love about what you do is your conversations with david brooks. >> he is so sweet. university of chicago. >> as a reader of the columns, it does make me hopeful for the future that people who disagree politically could actually speak to each other civilly. tell us about how it got started and why you do it. tell us the truth about david brooks. what's he really like? >> david brookings is such a pumpkin. i love him. i hired him, actually. i was proud of that i was editor. bill had retired, and it was not actually a big secret we were looking far republican
columnist. and the trick with the times and "times," the readership of the "times" people who read the opinion page tend to be more liberal than not. and i wanted to find a conservative columnist people would read even if they degreed with them. there was so many out there i could put in the paper. people looked at it and throw it down and walk away. david was -- he's very good at he grew up in the lower east side of new york. his parents were hippies. he went to chicago, as i told you. he knows -- he is the conservative but knows how to talk to the liberals. he's great that way. and we both think it's the most fun thing we do in the week. we have a great editor. it's pretty ease to do it the back and forth. and people like to -- they like it because they like the fact that we have fun with it and we're not trying to kill each other. >> tell us one thing about him
that would surprise us. >> david, wow. he's pretty open about stuff. he is a new yorker, he went to some school. the entire background was completely strange and bizarre for a guy who turned out to be a strong member of the washington establish. he believes many moderation and bipartisan. and his heart is broken every day by somebody doing something. [laughter] my kind of guy. >> you don't file late. >> i don't general file late. i general file on time. >> you've written a book about women in politics. tell us what you think about the landscape out there for women right now. when are we going to see a female president? >> well, i mean, frankly, depends on what hillary wants to do. i mean you could see a female president in four years. >> do you think he's? she's in the mix. >> i think she is really,
really, really tired. she worked like a mania, you can see it in her face. and she has every secretary of states get tired. she puts in the extra mile and a half. and i would suspect she's going go back and, you know, spend year or two doing, you know, virtuous things. and then she'll think about it. i would suspect in a year or two, she's going to feel better than she feels right flow. and . >> would she make a good president? >> i think she really would. i really -- i must -- i have to say during the last time around, the things she said she disagreed with president obama she was generally right, you know. and that's ..
including if there is a little tiny baby around here. in that sense, he was a hero. if it turns out that the thing gets knocked out by the courts or by congress in the future, then he will have made a bad guess. many people in congress on around -- democrats, saying that we have looked at the statistics in the number of voters who are not covered by insurance who will be helped by this bill. it is like 3% or something like that. the people who are helped by this bill are not voters in general. people who go to vote. that could be a very depressing take on the whole possibility. there is a sense among the democrats in congress but they are not getting any political list from the spell. if you can make it happen, it will be the greatest triumph since lyndon johnson on his
legislation. >> on that note, we have a few moments for questions. >> can you talk a little bit about and richards? >> i can do that. among the liberal population, which there is a liberal population in texas, and they survive today doing better than other endangered species in texas. molly ivins and and richards are the two names that always. they are the heart of what everybody remembers is the liberals in texas. she did great things, reforms and other things that were amazing. by the time she had gone to be governor, if have already changed.
the politics of the state had already flipped. it was amazing to me, not that she didn't get elected the second time, but that she got elected at all and managed to get stuff done while she was there. since 1994, there has not been a single democrat elected to a statewide office in texas, which means they have gone over 99. they elect a bunch of people in texas. she was a woman fighting against the tide. go ahead. >> can you talk a little bit about some of your proposed solutions to the problem that he presented it texas controlled the entire country? in the way that it is sweeping the country as you put it. the thing that i tried to poke through at in this book with the question of states rights, which is the bottom of both the tea party philosophy, the republican
philosophy and the rest. if you look at all the stuff, i was trying to find out how many of the things that happened in texas sloshed over and affect the rest of us, beyond the sense that we are all in this together and want to act as a nation. texas has declared war on family planning. i think they are down to $10 million or $12 million for funding for the entire state, 26 million people right now. it is just nothing. 60% of all the children born in texas now are born in medicaid funded deliveries. the people are so poor. the children are going to go on to have to be educated. unless we pay for that part of that funding, and i am very proud as an american that we pay
to help support women who are about to deliver babies, but it seems to me that since we are chipping in, we deserve it least some say in states being affected by their family planning services and sex education in their high schools, which in texas is very strange. those kinds of things, i think if we start to talk about that, if everyone is aware of how much one state does, how it influences another -- that we could attack the question of states rights right word is, it has been way overblown. that would be my first argument. think about the states right. and what part is made up for the benefit of the part of the state. thank you.
>> you mentioned that health care, the people who will be helped by it most are not voters. that calls into question -- are we responsible? are we our brothers keepers? how would you address the issue those who don't want to have that role. i know one author just wrote a book about community, government -- community in government. is there anything that you can contribute how that can be sold, or is it -- are we capable of fulfilling it that way? >> here is my sales pitch for health care. for the health care bill for the requirement that everybody in this country has health insurance and that we help those who can't afford it themselves. this is not like asparagus. if somebody gets sick and they
don't have health care, we do not leave them on the side of the road to die. if there is a state that has that policy, i would like to know about it and i would like them to stand up and defend it. we pay in other ways for health care for people who don't have health insurance. it is not like anything else in the world that is part of our total community responsibility. in return, it is the responsibility of every person to do what they can to provide health insurance for themselves. the easiest thing to do would be to have one of the european systems where everybody is covered and the state has a plan. we will never go there in my lifetime. we would have to think about it that way. i am really tired of people arguing that people don't need to have health insurance because it is their right to decide, just like it is there right to shop for asparagus. i'm tired of arguments and how it's up to every state to decide how to do these things.
as long as we agree that nobody said content guys decide. we have to take care that. [applause] [applause] [applause] robmac. >> because of air pollution of these plastic batteries, there was a segment on the news a few weeks ago about the chicken farms in texas, polluting the land in the water in the air. and i am absolutely baffled about how texans can hate government on one hand, but because of the lack of regulations of killing themselves on the other hand. do you have any comments? >> well, in regards to questions
about the environment in texas, i have never been to alaska until recently. i thought how could those alaskans not want to protect all of our glorious wilderness. i was adamant. when you go to alaska, there is so much glorious wilderness the tend to think, well, this little bit here, we saw the time. in texas, there is a sense that there is all this space. therefore you can't really screwed up all that much. and nobody should bother me on my land and we don't want to regulate business. this is how they got to be dashed if you look at all the environmental indicators, they are always either the worst for the second-worst or the third worst. it is an empty state vision that is all i can say about it. thank you. >> you have written frequently
about the danger of increasing privatization at what was formerly referred to as civic good. the pressure on public education to become private is so great. that is only one thing that you can describe. these are selling off highways. ron emanuel has a plan to somehow revitalize the city what private health. i wondered what you think about and what we can do. whether that is a good model, whether something we should just concede to because it is inevitable. or should we fight it or something? i don't know. >> it is inevitable that some things will get privatized just the way things are going. i find that generally when people talk about the glories of privatization, the things that they point to most are physical facilities like a road or something. they got the road built.
all i can say is the one that most worries me right now is the schools. it just doesn't make any sense to me. there is something that can be done about some of the stuff fairly easily. number one on the schools, there are a number of states right now that are thinking about or have passed legislation that makes it impossible for a private organization to make money by running a public school. it limits the charters to genuine nonprofits as opposed to something that just lends its name to something that the private sector wants to deal. to me, that is the most critical. the second is that many of the states are joining together under initiative that the obama administration has started, to try to establish national standards for education. if you can have that and two at three sets of tests, you can choose among the cost of testing
it is going to plummet. the profits for the testing companies are going to plummet as well. if you can do things like that, bigger ways to get the state to voluntarily work together on some of these issues, to the credit of the obama administration and arnie duncan, they are moving farther than i ever would have thought they would've by now. texas is not taking part in the national sandstorm. those are two things i would suggest. there are some things that can be done by a private company better and more efficiently, but they do not include schools. >> we have time for one more quick question. >> maybe this is just a comment. it is something that project content disturbs me about conservatives. that is the fact that the income distribution has really gone out of whack in the last 40 years. the middle-class incomes have
leveled off, and the upper incomes have really skyrocketed. i was just curious. >> can i say one thing about that? there are many arguments for that. the decline of union membership is very close to the decline of middle-class standards in this country. both the unions and the public in general have to think about this issue. as the unions are dying away, it is really not good just to have public employee unions and not private employee unions. it's a very bad balance. if the unions by weight in the private sector, the number of middle-class workers die away in the private sector. that would be my thought of the day. [applause]
[applause] [applause] >> we are now out of time right on the money. i am so excited. we got through this without a single mention of mitt romney's dog. [laughter] >> thank you, gail. [applause] [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [applause] [applause] [applause] >> thank you guys so much for coming. please inquire about the membership society. >> and a couple of minutes, you will hear from lindsey hilsum, author of "sandstorm."
>> what are you reading this summer? book tv wants to know. >> there are two wonderful books out now about where al qaeda and the taliban are. seth jones from the iran corporation is working on one. david manus is working on another biography. there are lots of great books that come out every year. by serious journalists and historians. walter isaacson's book on steve jobs is the perfect example of that. it was an international best-selling phenomenon, and with good reason, because of all the things we can learn from it. >> what are you currently reading? >> i read eckler quickly. i read a wonderful book written by a british fly fisherman in world war ii.
it was called blood knots. also, harry truman, tom wallace, the first election after the war. i am reading about terry anderson and the book about george bush and how he decided to go to war. my wife just finished catherine the great, it was given to me, and she picked it off. i have to go back and get involved in that. i read a lot of magazines, a lot of essays. i actually opened up a correspondence with donald hall, something that he wrote in the new yorker about growing old. it really spoke to me in a way. we had a little exchange, and that was quite gratifying. i am in all great writers. i don't pretend to be a great writer. i am intergenic and i'm pretty good sometimes, the great writers would mean ways that nothing else in life does. >> for more information and
other summer reading lists, visit booktv.org. >> let's focus on the man right now. the men are who we love, we stand by. talk to me about the ones who are standing up with their women and accepting this change, be it because of a job situation where this is what they chose, walking in the door. talk to me about those who were intimidated and turned off by it. >> there is a whole variety. all those men are in the book. back to the michigan husbands who were so supportive of their wives. most of them had doubts that were breadwinners and worked all the time. these men, and we know this is true of men, they want more time with their children. they are more than ethically competent than we give them credit for. these guys were very intent upon spending more time with their
children than their dads have been able to spend with them. i love my dad, he's a great guy, but he wasn't able to be around when i was growing up ,-com,-com ma and i want to be around. this situation enabled them to spend more time with their children, and they were very happy about that. i think that is one of the really positive outcomes in this situation. one of the reasons that these guys were very supportive. we also know the recession illuminated changes in the economy. three quarters of the people who lost jobs in the recession were men. a lot of these were factory jobs and construction jobs. some of which will come back and some which will not. a lot of guys were laid off. one of the things that we don't give women enough credit for, a lot of women kept households afloat during the recession.
wives and girlfriends. this is not true during the depression when women were pretty much not in the workforce and not supposed to be in the workforce. one of the things that kept our perception from being a depression is the fact that we did have working and earning women who could keep the household afloat. they were nurses or teachers, or they were willing to take lower paying jobs. they were able to keep households afloat. we know that when men lose their jobs, they become more likely to leave a marriage. men, in general, are reluctant to leave marriages. it will hang in there longer than women well. studies show that women, when they can't be the provider, the psychological and emotional impact is so great that they leave the marriage. obviously, it can be enormously hard on them when they lose their jobs, the identity is a
provider, when it's taken away from them. but the study that was done by a physiologist lester said that these guys said i am really lucky to have her, and i got up early and made her coffee because she was going off to work. i think that does suggest that there has been a new mindset. during the depression, when women kept households afloat and taking in boarders or whatever -- they were stigmatized in the household. husbands were devastated by loss of their own jobs. women were regarded as taken a job from a man. even though it is difficult, there is more gratitude and appreciation and acceptance by men who have lost their jobs in the recession, of what their wives and girlfriends are bringing to keep the household afloat. even though it is hard enough on
them that it does make them more likely to leave a marriage than they ultimately would be. >> you touched on an important topic. some men, when they lose a job, it will affect them. they were not in that traditional role. in reading the book, some women have experienced retaliation. i know a lot of men who have lost their jobs and their wives are taking over the home financially and otherwise because they can't. talk to me about the retaliatory measures. >> there was one couple that the man said that the woman was unattractive. >> and they won't do housework either matt wright. >> they see it as a non-masculine roles. >> right. i also interviewed one woman who really had employed her
boyfriend, which was problematic for them. it's not always problematic. there are wives that employ their husbands, and that's fine. but she had been doing a sort of guardianship business. and he was helping her. she was feeling that he was retaliating and not helping around the home. so she started a spot and she was working very hard to make the spot work. one night she stayed out late, she's having a spot party for her a wedding. there were more people than she had expected. she stayed up all night, she came home in the wee hours of the morning, and he was mad at her. even though she was the breadwinner. she said what have i done to make you so angry? he would not tell her. obviously, the fact that she was -- i think it was the fact that she was gone. >> he said you didn't call.
>> and she said i was so tired that i was so tired, i went and fell asleep in the manager chair. there was more than one incident of retaliation, with a vehicle, taking the vehicle. >> i'm going to take your vehicle, but i'm not going to take care of it. the women that i talked to in those retaliatory situations got out of it. they realize that they were ultimately better off outside of that. i would argue that if a guy is going to react this way, not necessarily he is someone that you want to be partnered with for your life. even the best of circumstances. as one woman put it, it was so much easier to dump him because i didn't attend on him financially. i guess i go back to the idea that let us not assume that all marriages were happy one women
were economically dependent. we know that they weren't. this creates a new source of tension. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. david maranis wrote a new book called "barack obama: the story." join us on sunday, june 17 at 6:00 p.m. eastern. later that night, your phone calls, e-mails and tweet's on c-span 2 and book tv. >> these two pieces of the titanic's whole tell us -- at the time, we know how to search out on the bottom.
the individual components, the edges of the steel will tell a story beyond her abilities. we are not naval architects or engineers. what we did was we documented these edges of these two huge pieces carefully so that we could bring back evidence to the experts and look at it and tell the story. the story starts to unfold. not necessarily 2.5 miles down, but months later. in laboratories. draftsmen are drawing the pictures out of these pieces and where they actually fit into the whole of titanic. they start to tell a timeline and things about that night. things that don't exactly line up with what we have come to know about the story of titanic. most of us have seen james cameron's wonderful film.
we are all drawn to the horrible moment when the two main characters are holding on to the back of this huge ship as the stern readers out of the water and breaks in half. then the titanic sinks. that was pretty much what i thought the story was. but the steel that we found, says that simply didn't happen. the steel says that the ship broke apart at a very, very gentle angle. nothing like 45 degrees, and more like 11 degrees. what is the difference? what is the difference that might? well, 1500 people stayed on board titanic. they did not get into the lifeboat spread the lifeboats pulled away very calmly with 500. people made decisions that night as the ship slowly sink into the
water. they decided to stay on board or do they get into lifeboat? when you are on a ship that is only bending at 11 degrees, it seems like you have a long time to go before that ship is going to break apart or sink. as a matter of fact, the idea of the ship breaking apart was never in their mind. but that is exactly what happened. while the ship was flooding, she started to break apart. if we look at it, most people have understood the story of titanic to be that titanic set sail on hair made in portage, and then on a clear calm night, she sank and broke apart. we documented is that she struck an iceberg, and then broke apart. an incredibly different experience of the people that night. also, the steel and the way that the people broke apart -- the ship broke apart, it means that
the timeline is different. instead of half an hour, it is about five minutes. in one five-minute period, people went from listening to the band come having a drink in the warmth of the bar, and in five minutes being in the cold north atlantic. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. our coverage continues now with lindsey hilsum. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon.ations] thank you for coming. my name is john dudley, and i am here to welcome you to the 28th annual chicago road that fast. we would like to give a special thank you is to the sponsors who have helped make this a success. today we are being broadcast live on c-span 2's booktv. there is time at the end for a q&a session with the author. if you could use the microphone, that will allow the people at hear your questions. if you'd like to watch coverage of today's program, it will be re-aired tonight on c-span 2 starting at midnight central time. books such as lindsey hilsum's
and "sandstorm: libya in the time of revolution", she will be signing it after this presentation in the arts are located here. at this point in time, if you could turn off all electronic devices and cell phones. thank you. it gives me great pleasure to introduce our moderator for this conversation, from the "chicago tribune", marda dunsky. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> thank you, john. let me just clarify that i am no longer working for the "chicago tribune." but it is in my history and thank you for mentioning it. good afternoon and welcome. my name is marda dunsky. qadhafi presided over libya from 1969 until 2011. the longest period approval of any postcolonial arab leader. during his 43 years, qadhafi
bestowed upon himself the title of guide, and the brother leader. he steered a ship of state that deprived citizens of basic civil and human rights, while at the same time, he asserted that his people were in control of their own country and destiny. beyond the borders of libya, gaddafi sponsored acts of terrorism. the most notorious was the bombing of pan am flight 103 in december 1988, which claimed the lives of 270 people, including 189 americans. gaddafi succeeded in rehabilitating himself with the west at the turn of the 21st century by making reparations to the families and hoping his mass of weapons of mass deception
programs in 2003. during his rule, he raised the let standards of living and life expectancy of his people, using oil revenues that allowed him to avoid the perils of foreign debt. nonetheless, with the arab spring revolutions already underway in neighboring tunisia and egypt, in mid- february 2011, libya exploded in its own revolutionary fervor. eight months later, in october 2011, assisted by a nato air bombing campaign, and weapons provided, they took control of libya, and executed gaddafi, opening up a new chapter in libyan history. during those eight months of revolution, lindsey hilsum, an editor for channel four news,
made four trips to libya, leading her to write the book that we are here to talk about today. "sandstorm: libya in the time of revolution." ms. lindsey hilsum is familiar to her audience for her appearances on the pbs news hour, cnn, and nbc. she has covered the major conflicts of the past two decades, including the wars in iraq, kosovo, and afghanistan, as well as the israeli-palestinian conflict and genocide the genocide in rwanda. in 2001, she reported from egypt as well as libya. her journalism has won several prizes, including an emmy and recognition from amnesty international. please join me in welcoming journalists and author, lindsey hilsum. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> okay. now we can chat.
lindsay, let's start with you talking about your reporting trips to the region last year. tell us about how you were able to navigate the country, how sources cooperated with the organ, and about the general mood of the people that you observed and interacted with them. i would just like to add, in addition to providing a compelling narrative on the history of libya, which he has done is we've and profiles of libyans, both who had been in the country all along, and some who have returned to libya , to help us better understand how the revolution had an impact on ordinary people. >> thank you very much for
coming. chicago is an amazing place, and it does feel like a very long way from tripoli. lester, the arab spring, i guess that was the year i went into journalism for. it was the most extraordinary time. it was a time when history was happening all around us. we still don't know how that history is going to end up. this is a story which is only just starting. but i have been covering and i think that covering the middle east for about 20 years. none of us knew when or how the lid of this would come off. it started with the suicide of a
vegetable seller in tunisia. then libya started, egypt started and so forth. egypt was over in 18 days. but you know, libya, was the only true revolution. the leader of tunisia, it was as if he hijacked the state for a while and then now he is not in power. and then in egypt, the real powers haven't changed that much. in libya, everything was thrown up in the air. gaddafi was like the spider at the center of the web. the revolution cut the web away, and then there was nothing. it is year zero in libya. let me go back to how i got here. i have been in egypt and then we went over the border to libya.
i say we because i am a television reporter and was with a producer and with cameras present. we saw on the walls of the border, a big sign in english that said welcome to free libya. there was a young man there who was perfect. he looked just like rambo. he had long brown hair, he had a bandanna, a vendor of bullets around them. he seemed to be our guide. we drove up, which is in eastern months on 10 city. one of the things that they did
in eastern country, was that they destroyed the statues of a green book. the greenback was gaddafi's mat philosophy. they destroyed them with pick axes and hammers. that was an incredible symbol. what this gentleman did is filmed his friends doing that. he then locked himself inside the internet café, there was one for 11 hours, and the line went up and down. eventually the line was cut. by then, he had done what he needed to do. he put up the pictures on his facebook page, and he also put up his name and phone number. he said if anyone is interested in revolution in libya, call me at this number. now, that was very brave. that was very brave. his father had spent a lot of time in prison for opposing
gaddafi. when he told his father what he had done, he said if you ride the camel, you can keep your head down. so they rode a camel. gaddafi's forces gave up. very quickly. our experience initially, something incredibly positive. libya was enclosed, it wasn't north korea, but it wasn't far off. journalist that women tended to go in an interview gaddafi. ultimately, they were not allowed to speak to foreigners. these people were desperate to talk to us. they love having us there. they wanted to give us free accommodation, and it took us a long time to convince the driver we should pay for his services. one of the inspirations for "sandstorm", is that people were telling us stories for the first
time. four decades of not being able to trust anyone outside the immediate family. four decades of one relatives were locked up, murdered, people forced into exile. nobody had been able to tell these tories. as the revolution were on -- civil disobedience, fighting and so on, that is why wanted to write the book. i wasn't satisfied with ordinary reporting. i wanted to go back and tell stories, and that is what i have tried to do. >> okay. talk to us a little bit about what you were able to learn from the people who were ruled by him about gaddafi himself. he had a habit of presenting himself to the outside world in a rather flamboyant way.
i am sure many of you are familiar with looks of him on television or photos of him in the newspapers. it is not only how he expressed himself, but there was also a custom element. beyond that, you write about, and maybe you can share with us, his ideas about statecraft and how he ran the country or didn't run the country. domestically, and also, you know, how he saw his role as an arab leader in africa and the larger arab world. >> it is very interesting to look at the two victory of the gaddafi. one of the things that i have in the book is an archive of photographs, which were found in the ruins of some of the government buildings after he fell. you see these pictures of him when he seized power in 1969. he was 27 years old, he was handsome, he was wearing a crisp army uniform. and he was somebody that gave
bolivians lot of hope. they had been ruled by a king until then. he was known as the reluctant monarch, because he just didn't want to be king. it didn't suit him. the country was -- that people perceive their country to be weak and fallen behind. upsets this handsome young officer. you look at the photograph, he loves cats. as time goes on, more and more flamboyant, sometimes he is wearing a kind of army uniform with medals over here. you would've had to fight in at least six world wars to get that many medals. sometimes he would wear these long robes and african robes. pictures of africa embroidered or printed on them. he had this extraordinary sense of himself.
that's what he believed in. he believed in himself. and if he thought -- or he grew to believe that he was invisible. he said when people ask you libyans before, people would say lebanon, liberia, but now they say gaddafi. i have made you famous. this guy, who was something of a joke on the world stage, they were humiliated by his presence in many ways. they felt that he didn't represent them in any way. also, just like you and me, they watch shows -- reality shows, game shows, other shows. one of my favorite lines in their shows was gaddafi, you are
the wind this week. goodbye. [laughter] he didn't believe in the state. he pretended that the state was run by the people. there was a word invented an array back. he had his own channels as well, the revolutionary committees. his family. as well. gaddafi's brother-in-law was doing something completely different with the leadership there. so nobody ever quite new where they were. that was part of his best part of the plan was that nobody should ever know where they are at. they didn't even know what it
was. that was because they normally calculate the calendar from the death of the profit. he decided that he was going to calculated from the birth of the profit. he got up one day and said the libyan calendar will be different. and he changed the names of july and august. for quite a while, libyans did not know what day it was. that is a whimsical way of ruling, which i think anger people. then there was the brutality, quite the extraordinary brutality as well. let me tell you about the brutality. that is such a key thing. when i got to the city, i saw on the courthouse wall -- the center of the revolution -- all these pictures of men. i asked who they were. i was told that they were the martyrs. asked what was that it was a prison massacre.
and i -- i feel guilty because i didn't know about it before. this is the signature atrocity of the gaddafi machine. i don't think many of us knew about it. one of the things i am proud of in the book is that i have two eyewitnesses to this massacre. it is the first time that this story has been told freely. in the '90s, there were a lot of opponents of gaddafi, and they tended to be imprisoned in tripoli. people were dying of tb and starvation. some of the prisoners, most of who were sick, brighton for better conditions. they thought they had a deal to negotiate.
what happened was that they were herded into a courtyard, and soldiers were positioned on the roof, in 1270 men were gunned down in cold blood. 1270 men. it took three or four hours, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on june 28, 1996. i went to the prison, to have a look. then i met this gentleman there and he told me the story. nineteen years -- he spent 19 years in prison. he told me how he looked out of his cell window and saw the laws of the courtyard turning red with blood. when i heard about this, this is obviously something very important. if i didn't understand this, i couldn't understand about libya. i asked if i could meet some of the victims families. and he said yes. i stepped into this room and i
was expecting to meet a couple of people. the room may be a quarter size of this term, there were about 15 or 20 women on the side. the same number of men on the other side. each of them were holding up photographs of the husbands or brothers or some person that they have lost. they were completely silenced. the atmosphere was extraordinary. an old man came forward to tell his story. a small guy, traditional libyan headgear. he said it was my brother-in-law. and we used to go up to tripoli every couple of months to take in food and toiletries. the guards would say you can't see him, but leave the stuff here. we did that for 14 years before they told us he was dead.
>> i cannot believe that. fourteen years. i have been in lots of countries that people disappear and people are tortured and terrible things happen. i have never been in a country where the regime actually keeps the families living in hope for 14 years when their relatives are long dead. that really haunted me and it actually haunts me still. this atrocity and the way the atrocity has been dealt with, was at the center of people's hatred of gaddafi. they have tried rising against him before, and they have failed. it was certainly tunisia and egypt which would trigger the things. it was this episode that had been in the people's hearts since 1996. it could never forgive him for that. >> the elements of gaddafi's
brutality and repression. they are trademarks of many, if not all, dictators. at the same time, it is not widely known or written about in the west, at least, that as i mentioned in my introduction, there were some objective, measurable, improvements in certain standards of living during the 42 years that gaddafi was in power. for example, the literacy rate went from 10% to 9% over this period. the life expectancy of libyans increased from 57 years to 77 years. he provided a system of education and housing assistance.
my question is, as you are traveling the country, and perhaps libyans felt free to speak about gaddafi in ways they haven't felt free before, did you encounter any acknowledgment or appreciation of these factors, what was the brutality and oppression of his rule so overshadowing of things that these other factors really weren't on people's minds? >> certainly come he did have some support. i met one woman who worked for him. she always called him the guy. he was a charismatic leader. she adored him. she thought that he was great -- shouldn't leave all these stories. i said what about this, and she said oh, that was his brother-in-law. she said it wasn't him. of course, some people benefited from his rule. a lot of libyans, you know, support him -- they did support
them at the beginning. and he did all those things you talked about. but then things changed. one of the things he did was he kicked off the oil boom in the 1970s. he was the first person to say to the western oil companies, were not getting enough as it is. we can't get more pro-^ profits, then you guys can leave. he didn't blink. they blinked. that was a forerunner of the oil crisis in the 1970s. they found oil in 1958, they were only just beginning to work with it. most of all, they were nomads. it was a very poor place. with gaddafi, they had this huge injection of cash. he did increase the age at which children would leave school and so on. one of the people embodied what
i think a lot of libyans thought, i met this gentleman in tripoli. he is the guy who makes the copper happens. he bangs them out. he told me how in 1969, he loved gaddafi. he said we would be like egypt. and he went running out and showing his support. he felt that this was libya's chance to enter the modern world. that is exactly what happened. and i asked what made him change his mind. he said in the 70s he would go home from work and people would say don't go down that street because they have hung someone. and someone was singing. then one day, he was walking and
men grabbed him, and he ended up fighting one of the most gruesome wars, the war in czechoslovakia. if it is something that libya does not need, it is desert. there is plenty, believe me. so this money, which was originally spent on health care and education was being spent on wars and terrorism. livingston like that. i think that many of the people who are originally supported him.. they were disappointed.
also, his sons, they were completely this optional. when money started to come back and read it there was a period of sanctions, you know, a all the companies were run by his sons. one of the sons, he cemented himself as a very good soccer player. he paid an italian team so that he could play. normally, those teams play millions to get to play. but this guy plays because he wants to play. he was the only soccer player you could research them by name. anybody else had to be referred to by number. nobody was allowed to be more famous than gaddafi and his family. when he was angry with a particular soccer team in a country, he had their clubhouse
bulldoze and their fan club leaders put in prison. those kinds of things, indian, overshadowed any good that gaddafi had done in the early years. >> during your reporting trips last year, you had first-hand observation of the execution and the effects of the nato involvement in the country. in which the united states, britain, and france were at the forefront. can you tell us, and you write about this in the book, a little bit about the political considerations that went into the nato decision to get involved. i believe you wrote that it was preceded by a vote by the arab league, requesting, and also coordination with the u.n., and also something that is probably on a lot of people's minds. if you could perhaps give us your view. why did nato find it opportune to become involved in libya, but
have not, to date, done the same in syria? >> gaddafi didn't have many friends left by the end. he had some friends in africa because he had quite a few african states that he sponsored. the arab leaders really hated him. that is because he had a really annoying habit of trying to assassinate him. it just doesn't go down well, you know? [laughter] they were more than happy to get rid of him. he was seen as an embarrassment for the whole region. for western countries, there were a couple of issues. some think it is all because of oil, and it is to some extent, but there were other issues. others try to befriend gaddafi.
there was a guy in benghazi at the time, the country fell to the rebels very quickly, and the rest do not. the rebels tried to go up the road to take tripoli and the others from gaddafi's hands. i will have to tell you that they are probably the most useless guerrilla army i have ever come cries across. they were rubbish. they were mostly teachers and doctors and things like that. they had never picked up weapons before. they didn't know how to fire them. i came across one boy who said, a bit is missing from my weapon. i said which bit is that? i said so what are you going to do and he said i will wait until the bit comes. i said hello to you? he said i am 17.
then i heard myself say, does your mother know you are here? [laughter] he said yes, and she's very proud of me. i said she won't be very proud of you if you go into battle with a bit missing from your weapon. they were not great. they were getting pushed back down towards and hanlon said he would fight house by house. after people said that he was prepared to die as a martyr, people knew that he meant it. he was going to go through with it. i think if the intervention hadn't come, it would've been a huge refugee exodus to egypt.
i think he would probably have a war going on to this day. then, of course, libya is so simple. it is a small population about six my people. it is all desert in the south end of this coast roads, all the main cities along the coast roads. the main fighting was along the coast roads as well. militarily, it was quite simple. he didn't have any friends. now you look at syria, and none of those conditions apply. another thing it is a homogenous society as well. now, syria is shaping up under the sectarian struggle.
they have support from christians. 70% rule by minority. what is happening is that the government, bashar al-assad, has the support of iran. and the opposition, has the support of saudi arabia and other gulf countries. it is shaping up into a regional battle, and there is a great danger that this war will spread. also, the russians. russians allow that security council with libya. they have no great love for gaddafi, but, it went through to protect civilians, not to change the regime. they felt that that was -- that was a step too far. and they are not going to be fooled again and let that happen again. they are not going to let the western countries go in and start changing regimes. that is not the way the world should be run.
and so you have the situation in syria, which is just hideous. children are being murdered, civilians are being killed everyday. there are massacres all the time. sectarian strife is increasing. the danger is, there are going to be killings on both sides. and yet, western intervention, it made things even worse. everybody seems to be stuck. it just shows the limits and the responsibilities to protect and the limits and theories that we will see a long and brutal war in syria. >> i would like to ask one more question, and then we will take questions from the audience.
this goes back to your thoughts on what lies ahead in the immediate future for libya. next month, if things go according to plan, there will be an election in libya is something called a public national conference, and that conference will appoint a prime minster, cabinet, and a constitutional -- i'm sorry, a constituent authority. they will be tasked with writing or drafting a constitution, which will then be put to a referendum. if it passes, within short order, there will be a general election, so all of these officials can become elected by popular vote instead of appointed. that is the plan. that is the theory. >> it sounds good, doesn't it? >> going back to what you said about this being year zero for libya, what is your sense, of course, we are not asking for
prophecy, but what is your sense of some of the challenges and difficulties that lie ahead. for the libyan state and libyan people. >> well, you don't go from a monarchy to a dictatorship to a democracy overnight. the libyans have no tradition of democracy. they have never had a proper election, neither under the king or under gaddafi. all of this is new. you have a very weak central government. this is a revolution of youth. they are all young people out there. the government is really made up of old men. some of them are academics and business people. some are lawyers and things like that. many of them have been in exile. the prime minister was a
professor of engineering at michigan state university. the boys who picked up guns, they don't want to lay their guns down, and that is partly because the central sources stably, and they say why should we. they have never had this their whole lives. that is what they learn how to do. you have the sense of chaos. there were also people who were gaddafi loyalists. different militia groups in different times. they sometimes fight each other. all of these things are the negative side. on the other hand, there is very good voter registration. 2.5 million people are registered to vote. some of the towns have had their local elections already. people are mad for voting.
they are really keen on it and are desperate for it. they manage to get oil and gas production up to where it was prewar levels. all of that is quite prosperous. one of the people i met said that our real problem is that we each have a live gaddafi in our heads. >> i thought that was such a great way of putting it. it is not there in the political culture. that is one issue. there are people who want a islamic state and people who want a secular state. that is a major issue. the secular -- people are not
used to compromising. it's the same thing about women. women participated in the revolution, they were not there fighting, but they were running hospitals and there were women spies. i have a story in here about a young woman who had her headscarf. no one checked her and checked where the weapons were. she ended up in the tension. she had a pretty bad time. you will have to buy the book to find out about it. [laughter] now, some of the men are saying thank you very much, ladies. would you like to go home now? now, some women are saying, no. one of the women i talk about say to her, you women don't have the experience to take part in politics. and she said, you guys don't
have the leadership either. some of these tensions are rooted in libyan society. last week, some militia got annoyed because they said that their leader had upset them. suddenly, there is a bunch of guys with grenades on the runway. well, it doesn't look good. all of these -- it is all very fraught. they have the opportunity to get it right. as human beings, they usually screwed up, don't they? [laughter] >> okay. we have five minutes, and i am sure that lindsay would be happy to entertain your questions. yes, sir. >> it is interesting that saudia
arabia and kuwait have avoided the conflict situation. i'm interested in a couple of words from either of you. is that just a matter of having a critical mass, or is it a fundamental difference? >> it is a fundamental difference. basically, saudi arabia has a shia and sunni population. they have had demonstrations, because they are very suppressed. those demonstrations have been put down. the reason they are putting put down is to make sure they don't spread. they have a sunni population and not one quarter has been given. the same weekend that nato intervened in libya, the saudis wanted to make sure that those people did not overthrow their
government. the gulf states are extremely hard off, and there's no way it's going to happen. that is what they say. are there any more questions? >> yes? >> in libya, there were a number of high-profile journalists that were killed. can you speak of the danger of covering these types of events? >> yes, it is increasingly dangerous. three of my colleagues, they were killed in libya. chris and tim were in ms. rodda. it was under siege and they came in by sea and it was shelled by gaddafi. they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
it is getting more dangerous to do my job. these days, governments know what's going on. they know that we are trying to uncover human rights abuses. we get targeted. paris was my friend and she was killed about two months ago. we think she was targeted by government forces. her report, her last report, it was from homes. she wrote about how the government was sharing a civilian area in what the children were going through. she wrote about the widows baseman, where the widows -- it was one of the most beautiful and moving pieces she had ever wrote. and she paid with her life for. >> are there any other
questions? okay, well you'd like to thank you for coming today, and also think lindsey hilsum and for sharing with us. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> we appreciate you guys coming out today. be sure to become a member of the row. >> for more information and to watch all of the events from this weekend's coverage of the the printers row levesque, visit booktv.org. we will be back with more in just a few minutes. visit booktv.org to watch any of the programs you see online. type the author and book title on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can also share anything you
see on booktv.org, easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. book tv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend with top nonfiction books and authors. booktv.org. >> what are you reading this summer? book tv wants to know. >> know, the first thing i do is look for anything michael conley has coming out. and i will buy it in hard copy right away because i can't wait. i am reading dolce right now. sue grafton is one of my favorites. she comes out every year with another letter book. i think she's up to the letter be now.
i stay away from policy when i'm on vacation, and i discover something that takes me away from where i am and allows me to relax. for more information and other vocalists, go to booktv.org. >> i'm going to tell you a personal story today.hing it is something that i normally don't do. l this story i'm going to tell you this enlarged by what motivatedc me to write this second book, what it is like to go to war. ta one of the things i talked about in that second book is that our culture has basically got some kind of agreement, i call it the code of silence, about what really goes on in combat. what really goes on when ourkids
nation asks our troops to go ou. and kill some other troops. abot i think that we tend to sort of famies, i o think about it very much. yea my family is the samers as all e families. i was 50 years old when i found. father had fought in the battle of the bulge. well, doug, wasn't a big deal? [laughter] i would get all kinds of stories about when they got drunk at ou. normandy and that sort of stuff. wiat it is, our culture is very good.ndon't b you don'tra winograd. any combat veteran will show you that 95% of the time from it is things you want to whine or complain about.g about. and a little portion is things you want to brag about. edison we'd would be very much in this culture.bit. what i did in this book is break
that down a little bit. i grew up in a seaside town called on turn in oregon. we called the war the service back then. our culture started to make alle change. the service is a at name anymore, we call it thend military. interesting change out that we should think about. mars i got a scholarship deal, and blasted out. i joined the marines because that i was sort of a thing to do. guys in my high school for pgram baltimore joining the marines. i joined a plc program, which is sort of like a marine rotc, but they don't pay you. you get run through boot camp for thse summer. as
the people that survived that go sounollege as reservists. you don't get paid, but you gett to be a marine. i thought, that sounds like a real good deal. we didn't have to wear uniforms or marks around to thee. colleg. then i got a rhodes scholarship. and i thought it would be able to go.here i wrote a letter to the rainst pour and they said that's fine. take it. theuys i was there about six weeks, and i started to feel really guiltys the guys i served with and trained with and kids from my own high school had been over there. a we lost five boys from my high school in vietnam, and there i am drinking beer and having a fe wonderful time with english girls and started to feelel like this person who is hiding.ourth i went to the war. we were stationed in the jungle in the mountains we help with the dmz blazed by the border.
finally, after i got shot a couple of times, the marine corps at studies either too stupid, to undress, and we have to pull him out of here. that is what i got the air medals for. i wrote this book, what it is "h like to work, for several litaons. the audience was young people who are cons tidering making the military ao career. don i wanted to reach them.y because i don't want any to joih romantics joining the united states military and armed forces. i want people to join up with at clear head and clear eyes aboutb what they're going to be joinin into. i alsoth voted for veterans, because of a struggle with a lot of things. i thought well, if i can b struggle with these things and give a little bit of clarity, somebody reading it might be helped by it. i also wanted to write it for as the general public and particularly our. policymakers.t
i think it is very important that we understand that we areov involved very deeply in our we a wars, where we tend to think weh aree not. opened the book with a quote from bismarck. one of my favorite quotes.i prer as mark said, any fool can learn from their own mistakes.ople'ske i prefer to learn from otherghtf people i c mistakes.own that and i thought, well, if i can n some of the mistakes i learned the hard way, maybe someone else would do it. here is where i want into thep t story. had we are going up a steep hill, and by this time it had broken up into chaos. as soon as the first shots are fired, the plan goes poof. and individual 18 and 19-year-old marines they got the objective and know how to get there.
that is how it really works. two hand grenades came up and sort explode and i got knocked unconscious. when i came to, you know, i'ml still functioning. ramblire grenades came flying out from a hole above of us. thh we were scribbling a pillack gucause we wanted to get under.i the lieutenant, i told the twoe guysin that were with me, so nen time you threw that grenade, i'm going to be around the site and go to hell and i will be in a position to shoot the guys when they have to stand up to throw their grenades at us. and i worked my way around the side of the hill. oth one i could see that one of the soldiers were dead. the other one was, you know, just like us. he was a kid. late teenager years.renade
he rose up to throw the grenade. our eyes locked. this is a very unusual thing in combat.geyes he generally don't ever really t lock eyes with people you are about to kill. and he was no further weight for third orbout the fourth row here. i was waiting for. i remember whispering to myself, wishing i could speak vietnamese. if you don't, i won't pull the trigger. he snarled at me and through into it. and i pulled the trigger. at that moment, i didn't feel a thing. i remember i anticipated the recall and -- drill sergeants kick you in the rear end for bucking your shot. hit the dirt slightly in front of the guy, and then hit the guy. the battle is still going on. ys
years later, probably about 10 years later, i was in with groups that they had.one had all these groups are they had about getting in touch with yous feelings. of me.ody had heard of ptsd in america. i was the typical guy, trying to get through these feelings that life has brought me. finally, the leader turns on me and says, well, i understand you were in the vietnam war. and i said yes. and she said well, how do you feel about that. answer. and i didn't say much. and she asked me to apologize to this kid that i shot. and i started to think about
that kid. that kid had a mother and a sister, and i started to cry and ball. so hard, thatng my ribs ached. i couldn't stop for about two days. it was literally two or stthreee days i couldn't stop crying. i had to suck it up and when people would talk to me, had to go outside and walk around. i managed to shove it down again. i don't want to do this, have five kids to raise. at that time i only had a couple.ever everything was fine and coolyt again. a wonder90, when driving down the interstate five, at about two in the morning, you are all by yourself, there is a bubblech of dashboard in front of you,dog country music on the radio, no one can touch you and you ares actually doing something and get somewhere.on these two eyes appeared on thet windscreen right in front of me. and i knew, i know i'm not crazy, but it was like carl,
you're going to have to deal with this. you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> the b-52, everyone thinks back to vietnam, they think linebacker operations. they think of the history of the b-52. the cold war. there is a different kind of power associated with the b-52 as opposed to other long-range bombers. >> these are two friends, union and confederate who knew each other prior to the civil war, who fought against each other at the battle of pea ridge. here they are at age 100, sitting on the porch and talking about the old days. >> the gate to the west as mark 903. they reflect and reference the moment of the bomb, which was at 9:02. look for the history and
literary culture of our next up in jefferson city, missouri. the weekend of july 7 and 8th. on c-span 3. >> we have a lot of discussions about the vetting. i wasn't happy with the product. in the movie, obviously you have a process that is 10 weeks long that is that some of the timelines are rearranged. it is the true story of what happened. on the question of the vetting, we got to the end of the process. senator mccain hadn't determined who he wanted to pick. we had the realization that we can't win with any of the candidates is displayed in the movie. it was an extraordinarily difficult set of election circumstances. we were going to be outspent by
$200 billion. president bush's approval rating was in the '30s. rock obama was speaking to crowds of hundreds of thousands in europe. there was a fervor for his candidacy on the part of the press. trying to figure out, trying to figure out how to win. i am the person who said we should take a look at sarah palin. from a content state of alaska. that moment freezes us and slows down in my brain. you spend a couple of days at the jersey shore. i remember everything and every aspect of the moment. i can smell the smell of the long beach island. the salt air, you know, the cars in front of the house. and i pick up the phone and i called rick davis and i said, we should take a look at sarah
palin. the vetting that was done, i said to rick, but it is very important. rick was in charge at the vetting process. he said that she should be fully and completely vetted. and can we do with 10 lawyers or 20 lawyers and a couple of days what we have done with three lawyers over a couple of weeks for all of the other candidates? there were four parts to that bat. the first part, and you could do a documentary on this alone. hold on, mike, i do want to make the part about that -- what we are talking about. i think there is a lot of context on this. the first part was the tax information, medical interventions and all that. the next part was depicted in the movie. mark and i have a discussion. this is how the campaigns when run, this is how your life is for them to change.
the third part was the questionnaire, the fitness for the office. that was conducted in the fourth part, with the interview with john mccain himself. what john mccain and sarah palin said to each other, it is unknown to me. it is known to them. the questionnaire that amy called husted, and the result of it, we didn't have the inside. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. ..
>> that would allow viewers at home to your questions as well as the author and the moderator. if you'd like to watch coverage of the program again, you will be able to tune in tonight at midnight central time, late owls, of course. and also if you're interested in purchasing a copy of "watergate," you can do so right here. he will be signing copies of the book in the argubright you. at this time if you turn off all cell phones and electronic devices, that would be helpful. thank you very much. it gives me great pleasure to welcome our moderator come in chicago's very own scott turow. [applause]
>> i am sure that tom is as happy as i am do know that we are tonight's alternative to ambien. [laughter] "watergate," thomas mallon's new novel is in some sense about exactly what you would think with first for a process of word association. it is about the break-in, the democratic national committee that occurred in 1972, is that correct? and ultimately send -- sent scores of people to prison. many, many of them lawyers, and, and ultimately led to the resignation, the only one in our
history, of the president of the united states. it was a pivotal event in the lives of many of us. certainly for me. because it dramatically changed the perception of americans about the legal profession. i have to fact check myself but my memory is 33 lawyers were convicted in the course of the watergate. it led to the installation of the american legal curriculum of legal ethics classes, far more important for me it should people the twin sides of the legal profession. both the way lawyers can sort of act themselves into engaging in horribly corrupt behavior, and the other side, the really heroic behavior of watergate special prosecutor's, office in particular.
and many other figures who, senator ervin waiting around his little pocket copy of the constitution. and so it drove tremendous interest among americans toward the law, all of which made the life i have as a writer possible. so, to meet its -- and like most young americans, sort of lefty of the era, i felt pretty vindicated to find out all these guys were crooks. what's amazing about this is, i was given "watergate" originally as a gift by what i assume to be a mutual friend of tom mallon's and i, mine, scott simon, the npr weekend edition host, native chicago income and said here's a terrific book. you ought to read it.
and he was completely correct. it's an amazing novel. and i hope in the course of our discussion i'll be able to make clear why, but unit, just as a bit of a teaser, you know, it answers what has been in its own way, a question for four years, namely why in the world did anybody of any good sense want to do this. it proposes a novelistic answer to the question. the more it offers a very, to me, amusing account of how the 18 minute gap, which was a famous deletion from one of the tapes that president nixon it secretly been recording in the oval office, how it occurred. isn't just delightful.
and the neatest part of it is you don't have to be a watergate buff. it has incredible internal velocity as a novel from the very first page. and it's, on top of being a significant novelistic achievement, and it's also just a damn good read. so, so my first question for tom, do you prefer tom or thomas? thomas mallon is a renowned historical novelist. he's written about a number of incidents in american history. but my first question is, given that, what we draw you to what is probably been the most investigated, reported on, and i
sorely covered incident in american presidential history? >> well, i think probably two things. i live in washington, and -- >> excuse me. >> i live right across the street from the watergate, so look out on a day after day after day. i see a right to my study window, so it always crosses my mind. but more than anything else, it has to have been nixon. in that there was nobody hulu and larger over my whole growing up and young adulthood than richard nixon. he was a famous man. by the time i was born. by the time, i was in diapers during the 52 campaign. my first passionate experience, i love politics as a kid. i went to fourth grade every day wearing a nixon lodge experience
counts button. [laughter] my father would passionately, pro-nixon and i. i remember crying on election night 1960. having spent weeks telling my fellow fourth graders that nixon, that kennedy didn't have enough experience to be president. it was a very counterintuitive decision for a nine year old to be taking i guess. [laughter] but against -- and nixon, he was the president. when he finally becomes president when i'm in college. he presides over the end of the vietnam war, some ending, long any, tumultuous the, kent state, cambodia, all of those things. plus the opening of china, the arms negotiations with the soviet union. i shook his hand was. he came to my town with this is nixon in 68 campaign in an open corporate i don't know how that was a loud. six months after bobby kennedy, martin luther king, but it was. he stood up on the trunk of the
lincoln and he gave some speech, torture of world series metaphor, i remember. and mrs. nixon was sitting on the top of the backseat, and i shook her hand, too, and i always remember for years during this site, she had these spiky heels on. they were digging into the red leather upholstered of the backseat of the lincoln. and some of this image of spiky heels and red leather much passionate must have suggested much to me about mrs. nixon, who's actually a very major figure in the book, and i think i many accounts was a much warmer personality, much more lively and sympathetic than she allowed herself to be in public. so i think mostly nixon, and then partly these other novels of mine, i frankly written about
american historical events from the point of view of bystanders, people have gotten caught up in the. i wrote a novel aout 20 years ago called henry and clare which was about the couple in the balcony with a link is on the night of the assassination. and so people were on the fringes, and then some of that with this book there are certain real-life characters who are not big household names of watergate like fred leroux who was the bagman, the go between, between the committee in the white house and the burglars. people like him, as well as some of the bigger protagonist. one of them might editor urge me to do was to not just settle for these conveniently peripheral figures but to try to get inside the heads of, to use the john major, the big enchilada. and to try to inhabit nixon himself to some extent it's a
nixon is one of about seven people who carry the narrative of the book. we see everything from their point of view. >> let me ask a few questions, and i'm going to quote a distinguished historical novelist. historical fiction has the leisure to present a more finely sliced and subtly textured time and even good social history. to do the job of socialist we must eventually resort to statistics or comparison. a novelist speech behavior and even the brand names at the breakfast table, can give a more probable picture of, to paraphrase, the way we live in. i think what i regard as the greatest achievement of this novel is not simply its picture of a time, you know, that i remember well, although a number
of people sitting here certainly don't, the great achievement of this novel is what i would refer to as moral inversion. when people go to prison, when their conduct leads to the resignation of the president of the united states, they are cast in the public eye as bad guys, as villains. and while by no means dismissing the magnitude of what happened in connection with watergate, the idea the president of the united states upstroke injustice, this novel enters the points of view of these folks with the basic mission that every good novel has, with rendering their lives believab believable, and brings a certain
kind of loss that a novelist always has to have for her or his characters, to the floor. so i wanted to ask you about that, about your willingness to part company with a common understanding and a few other people you wrote about. >> yeah. i certainly didn't want to portray nixon as a two-dimensional cardboard villain, you know, twirling his mustache while the heroine is tied to the railroad tracks. i mean, that didn't interest me as a novelist. and i don't think he was the. i think he was a man of enormous complexity, enormous talents, enormous loss. i told someone that long ago that are used to wonder how on earth does robert caro spend year after year, decade after decade with lyndon johnson? i sort of did it now. having spent the last three or four years with richard nixon, i
mean, i don't think i've gotten anywhere close to the bottom of things. i think he was just enormously complex. i mean, we had these two really broke characters follow each other in the white house. occupy the white house for 10 years. a man of enormous distinction in many ways, but hugely flawed as well. but i do think that simple bill in the, as bad as simple talented. you know, a key state key appreciation of virtue. oscar wilde once said anybody who read the death of little nell without laughing had to have it heart of stone. unmitigated virtue is as rare in life, finally as foolish to contemplate as unmitigated
villainy. i really want to try to get inside nixon's head and at the summit of the others but and if you think that this is one of the things that historical fiction can do. i think that was me he was quoting. and summer else, i don't know, i once heard that nouns always trump adjectives. and the phrase the stroke of vision is a boardroom which is which. historical fiction is fiction. when people come up to me and said i learned so much history from your books, i sometimes say, be careful. you don't know what i changed. but a good biographer, and there've been many good biographies of richard nixon, but a good biographer always has to check his or her slain when trying to imagine what the subjects thought processes were. and so the writer has to fall back on well, it is not implausible to believe that nixon might have thought of this. if not you're just off to the
races. you just have nixon thinking, you know? and it provides one avenue, and it's not a presentation of facts, although all historical fictions inspires to feel real. but i think it's one way that you can think about these people, and perhaps enlarge them little. >> so let's take off on that point, quoting the same distinguished american historical novelist your the historical novelist must grapple with moral considerations, not just aesthetic ones. don't you fear the dead, one edit your asked me about the dark motives and conduct i described in my character, henry graf von, talking about "henry and clara" but at the end of the paragraph you conclude, one cannot libel the dead, but one can refrain from distortions as hurtful as they are, preposterous.
now, one of the delights of this novel is that it's full of dish, and it's got its theory about why it happened. and you know, i have all kinds of things i want to ask about, but the first one is, is there any historical basis to believe that that was not a faithful wife? >> no. only those high heels on the red leather upholstery. [laughter] but this, i mean what scott is referring to, there are a handful of fictional characters in the book. you can recognize them in a long list of characters that is at the front of the book, and only about three of them have their names in quotation marks. and they are the only three
characters who are completely made up out of the whole book. is a man named tom gerry hand in there who is a retired trust estate lawyer, twinkling sort of irishmen. and i imagine that this is nixon, during the 1960s, when the knicks were living in new york after he lost the race for governor of california in 1952, they went to new york for what he called the wilderness years. borrowing a term from churchill. this was in many respects the happiest time of mrs. lex and -- mrs. nixon's life. she always wanted to be a lawyer's life, and she lived on fifth avenue. they had an apartment and issuing to museums and bookstores. she thought she was out of it for good. her girls were going off to school. this was a very good time for her. and i imagine her falling into this very gentle tender and
brief communist, matter of months, affair with this fellow, tom, she meets in new york. which she gets a. she gives up the affair when nixon begins to run for president in 1967 the he starts manning his campaign but this is nixon i have in the book is tremendously loyal to richard nixon, as i believe she was. i do think that the nixon's together were a much warmer couple than people think they were. their daughters were on these are really admiring and loving towards both parents, yet to single people, rosemary words, would essentially make their homes with the nixon family. something had to be going on there was a little warmer than we think. but things happen. i'm sure he was not an ideal husband, and i.t. this circumstance to mrs. nixon. it's very funny this is because, i mean, some workers said they
thought this would be emotional heart of the book, their favorite part of the book. there was another reviewer who liked the book overall but was made very queasy by that. and said, you know, what about the fact that there are living dogs and so forth? and my thought was, if this is the worst that julie and tricia ever go through, this is nothing compared to what they have had. and i myself had objected one time to an attribution by filmmakers of corruption to do we who is a medicare guide written by in another novel. but i did not see this on the same scale of inequity as i thought this was a tender, very human kind of lapse. in a peculiar way, it helped me to imagine what i think was a real mrs. nixon, by inventing
experience that there was not evidence for. i do not believe this happened. but somehow it allowed me into her mind and thought processes in a way that let me portray her, i think, more unethically than it would have otherwise. so i think this is part of what novelist do. they try to get out the truth by a lie, you know? to some extent that was what i was doing with that and tom. >> it's enormously compelling, and part of it of course is, it sort of shatters the glass, that always laid over mrs. nixon. it's a brilliant strategy, as a, as a novelistic technique. you this is just privilege of having the microphone but i have
to ask you about one more point in the novel. there's a point at which richard nixon gives a speech, and he says that, he quotes someone as having said, i can member which, but the hardest job of the president of the united states is not waging war, but waging peace. and he gets off the podium and comes up to elliot richardson, who is another passing figure in this novel, the way he was portrayed. very, very complex. but he says, richardson says, did you like the lawrence quote? and he said perfect. perfect, right on point. and nixon says, i made it up. my question is, were you freelancing on that one, to? >> half. he did not say that to richardson, but there's evidence that he did make up the quote but i think it's in the diaries where holderman said, nixon said
what did you think of the lawrence quote? and he said very good, sir. made it up. lawrence, the longtime "newsweek" writer, he just died recently. this was the white house correspondents' dinner which to is a big event in washington every year in april of 73. and the nixon's attend the dinner, but they have to arrive late because at the beginning of the dinner, woodward -- woodward and bernstein are getting an award for the original watergate coverage. they are being honored at these to post metro reporters have been sticking with this story. so nixon and ron sigler from his press secretary, they timed his arrival so that he doesn't have to be there when woodward and bernstein get there. but the same, an example of how complicated nixon is in a public and the story is.
at that same dinner, the press present him with this sort of sterling silver glove in recognition of the foreign policy achievements you that in 1972, going to china, going to russia. the paris peace accord, whatever. can't imagine the press doing that even with a president they like. these days. so you can see sort of a split in. and the split continues right up to the in. his last big trip is in june of 1974. he goes to five different countries in the middle east. he suddenly looks to be the honest broker. egyptians thrown out the rushes but it looks as if he might be able to make a deal, and he's practically dying of phlebitis while you're standing in the car and waiting. and clearly his thinking, this is the greatest hail mary pass of all time. if he can somehow broker a deal in the middle, they'll never
thrown out of office over watergate but it will be a hat trick plus. but the clock runs out on him. >> well, as you can tell from a commentor, this is just a wonderful embroidery of fact and fiction. i really didn't care what reviewers have to say about this book, although they've been enormously auditory. i could tell from just my googling. but i know from the other people i have spoken to who have red watergate, that everybody in the end is greatly taken with a character whom i suspect most people here who haven't read the novel would not give know a great deal about the and that is how this roosevelt longworth. teddy roosevelt daughter, who was a friend of almost everybody
who mattered in washington, d.c. and who is as an elderly woman, takes great advantage of both her stature and her age to say whatever she damn well pleases to people. and so i talked about richardson before, who is, you know, was from my perspective, tremendous hero, resigned as attorney general of the united states rather than fire archibald cox when he decided to pursue the president takes. and instead it turns out, and i suspect this is historically bad, that richardson had a pretty serious drinking problem, had a number of the duis. i can imagine he would have ever been anything today with that kind of criminal record, having engaged in behavior we now view as much, much, much more serious. but this is, is a long source or
longworth? >> longworth. >> mrs. longworth says to them at a cocktail party that you know, well, you look more like dick tracy than clark kent. had ever thought of hitting contact lenses? perhaps it would help you see the road to better. so here is -- >> well, she would say anything. she famously had a pillow in her dupont circle measure that said if you can't say anything nice about somebody, come sit by me. [laughter] she turns 90 in 1974. she was very friendly with the nixon. she had mark nixon. she was very fond of pat. and she was in the nixon white house quite a lot. she was often a guest. and, but she stayed in washington decade after decade after decade, you know, with this long, long historical memory.
she's really around for everything. and she has no real filter. i think, at one point nixon goes to her 90th birthday party in february 1974. this is only months before he resigned. he and mrs. nixon go to work dupont circle house, and reporters ask him when he leaves, you know, what you think mrs. longworth's secret to a long life is? and he as well, she doesn't get obsessed with the petty things that upsets the rest of us. and somebody brings this go back to her and says is that troopers and she says oh, humane watergate? can't get enough. [laughter] and she writes in her notebook at that point and says i think the clock is ticking? taking. [laughter] but she was also very sympathetic to nixon. she was a republican, and something of a right wing republican for all -- she'd been
on the scene forever. longworth was, nicholas longworth, she married the speaker of the house of the house of the represents but she had an affair with a cinder, and had a daughter that everybody knew in washington was really his daughter and not longworth. and she wanted to call the daughter deborah. but even she relented at that and thought that was a bit too much. so she was my kind of one woman which in a book which was a function on originally thought i might give to martha mitchell if anybody remembers the watergate days remembers mrs. mitchell was a very flamboyant character, southerner, again very unfiltered, would say pretty much anything. but finally a sadder figure than mrs. longworth. i may, this is mitchell had a tremendous drinking problem, and mitchell's, they leave washington for new york fairly
early on in the scandal so she just wasn't on the scene. and she just wasn't sharp enough. one of the things about alice that was very unusual from the days when washington was a very hard drinking town, days that probably persisted hours into the '70s, she -- >> much different now. >> she did not like drinkers. she liked the conversation to be sharp, and she was very impatient with people who have had too much. that she was, sometimes you just know this when you're writing a character. ..
>> richardson was tremendously ambitious, and no one recognizes about more than richard nixon. you can listen to the tapes on youtube. he talks to richardson just after he has made him an attorney general. he needs mr. clean to save his administration. six months later, they are going to come to terrible grief with each other. nixon on the phone said elliott, this could take you all the way. and he is thinking of the way that his case had taken him far in politics.
then he tries to push them a little bit, and he says, well, i'm not really sure you need a special prosecutor. i'm thinking you could do this yourself. and richardson said, well, mr. president, i'm not sure about that. and nixon, who meets him at them at this point does not want to overplay his hand. he says, you do whatever you want, i will back you to the hilt. you appoint whoever you like summit you can dig up charles evans hughes if you want. [laughter] to go back to historical fiction, there will never be a resource like the tapes available to another novelist. richard nixon -- i often work late at night, and he he is the last voice i would here before going to bed. it is a combination of shrewdness.
there's also stuff on there, bigotry, long rants, stuff that could put you to sleep. then there are moments where he comes alive. and you think, what a waste of talent, it finally was. this was in very, very visionary taste. he was a very visionary man. i don't think that that visionary has ever been a -- as stark as other presidents. we have about 13 minutes left. >> i could easily occupy that. if you guys don't have questions, i will. but i would much prefer to surrender my role as the question after and let the rest of you engage colloquy with thomas mallon. >> [inaudible question]
>> i love everywhere that you write. tom, with that internal velocity that scott referred to, i was wondering, what advice would you give to some of the high school students i'm going to teach in a reading improvement program this summer here in chicago, one of the famous mayor daley, mayor ronnie summit improvement programs. what would you give for vice to busy 13 and 14-year-olds their texting and busy with music. >> whether or not they want to be right, i would come to read indiscriminately, to read everything. one thing i do like about the web, it takes you from one place to another. that is how i read when i was
young. i remember getting my adult library card when i was 12 years old. just a little earlier than they would have been in the fall of 1963. the big, racy books were mary mccarthy spoke the group and anything by john o'hara. suddenly, i was free to read these. i was also reading -- i was also reading in that period, allan jury's novel, advise and consent. which came out in 1969. i was mad for politics at a young age, and i read this book. i did not know much about prose. it is not the best written novel, but it was very gripping in its own way. one of the things that young writers, if they are excited about reading, is to go and do likewise. i started in the summer of i
think 1965 to write a novel. it was called impeachment. it was my attempt to write a political novel. i clearly have been warming up for the spoke for about 45 years. i can't even remember what the name of the fictional president was. the only person who ever read it was my father, who is very encouraging. my father, who stuck with richard nixon, to the very last moment. i told this story recently for the only time i ever saw him crack for one moment, i was home during the summer from college and graduate school and we were watching the news together. he turned to me and said, libya's a weirdo, isn't it, that was it. he was very unhappy. [laughter] [laughter]
>> i was wondering if you saw the most recent robert redford movie. [inaudible question] the other thing is, i wonder if you have any feelings about, now we are going to have congressional hearings about whether the white house release information that was supposed to be secret and the like to try to build up the presidents, i guess, overall popularity, relative to some of the decisions he made, like obama? >> yet. >> they decided to go in the hearings. i was wondering if you had heard about that. >> to start that, i'm not as up on all of that as i should be. whatever the subject the
hearings are on come i don't think they could have the same impact in the summer of 1973, when all of the networks cover them, when basically the whole country was watching the same thing. at the time it seemed so futuristic. tapes and hidden microphonmicrophon es. now it seems very antique. one thing that has changed is the country doesn't focus on one thing and the way to be used here. you have the 500 channel television world plus the internet. there is a rock 'n roll restaurant on the ground floor where the conspirators met to plan the kidnapping of lincoln. i am not seeing that movie -- i
haven't seen it yet, but the kinds of things that interest me are the smaller stories and the people who are on the fringes of things. sort of the human factor in history. i wrote a nonfiction book really was a long new yorker profile that turned into a short book. it was about a quaker woman who have helped out the oswald in 1963. unbeknownst to her, he was keeping her rifle in her crotch. she got a job at the texas school book depository. she wound up becoming the main witness before the warren commission, because she knew more about lee and marina oswald than anyone else. i wrote about what this had gone to her own lifetime and how she had sort of prison above this, clearly hille wrote way. the things i would talk to her about -- one thing she told me
on the night that was before kennedy was killed -- it was a point in time in which oswald had already wrapped up the rifle and set it aside for what was going it was going to do tomorrow, he took extra time to play with her little boy. he was about two years old. because she was separated from her husband, he thought that the boy lacked a father, and that the boy's actual father was insufficiently attentive to him when he came to the house. so here you have this man, who has already taken concrete steps to not only kill the president of the united states the next day, but to deprive another little boy, a three-year-old boy of his own father. yet the night before, he is
playing with his child out of some dimension of human kindness. that is the kind of thing -- at the extreme end of things -- that really interests me about human nature. it is one of the reasons that historical fiction, although it was nonfiction that i wrote about this, historical fiction generally provide the opportunities to hypothesizing away that straightforward biography and history can do. >> yes, ma'am? >> nixon was on the health and american activities committee. and he was definitely going after anyone who had ever been a communist. i wondered if he felt that he believed all these people that ended up getting blacklisted
were actually a potential threat to our peacetime. another there were a few people out there and all that, but 99% of the people they were an -- they were quite harmless, lots of folk singers come except that they think of unions. do you think he was serious about the red threat? did you think it was something he was playing for politics? >> he certainly did not -- he was not disappointed at the political dividends that had paid him. one case is absolutely sinful to nixon. i definitely think he believed it. i think that the most historical
study has vindicated him. the tide of opinion has vindicated him. it has gone better in his favor. whether he felt communists in government, which is how the problem was phrased, whether he felt they were a threat, i would leave it to real scholars as opposed to novelists, real scholars and biographers to say. one of the things that people have to be struck by is time and again, he talks about the case to people he is frequently talking about. he frequently talks about it on the tapes. how it conditions his view of the world. that much of that era remains central to him. >> we have one minute.
anybody? yes, sir. >> just stand up and speak loud. >> are you working on anything new right now? >> i am. i am writing a novel about washington during the second reagan administration. there is a prologue that takes place in 1976, when reagan comes very close to getting the nomination. almost beating gerald ford out. but finally loses to him. that gives this speech that electrifies the convention. edmund morris and his pirate booty so that we nominated the wrong man. the book opens with richard nixon in his home office in sacramento, watching it on what he would call the tube.
here he is watching a convention in which his name will never once be spoken. it is not really a sequel, but it is sort of -- i am only as far as the prologue -- so it sort of feels like a sequel to me. >> thank you all for being here again. this is a terrific, terrific novel. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> we will conclude our printers row literary fest in a few moments with a panel on crime. >> many of you might not have
been born in 1973 and four when watergate took place. but richard nixon won -- and one of the biggest landslides in history of the united states, which meant that most americans who voted in the election voted for him. yet, when facts came out, suggesting the laws were violated, the american people, including the overwhelming majority who had supported richard nixon, said the congress, you have to investigate and you have to have a special prosecutor. the laws have to be enforced no matter what. in the end, when that house committee said on a bipartisan basis for the impeachment of richard nixon, the country overwhelmingly supported it. it was that more important than any political party were president of the united states, and more important than any simple person and more important than any ideology, was the
bedrock principle of upholding the bedrock foundation of the constitution. americans united. we are not talking about ancient history. people put behind them their own partisan views and said, what is good for the country, and the rule of law, and one standard of law, it was critical. i said, gee, that's a very important principle, and i believed in it, too. then we got to the bush years. the economy content accountability principles pretty much work. it doesn't work in a perfect world end in itself it is not perfect. but then we got to the bush
years. until my co-author and i wrote this book, we looked at impeachment proceedings -- but we saw andy and we wrote about. and we saw, however, there was no accountability in the impeachment process. there are clearly debates about the constitution about once a president leaves office, can be prosecuted. there is nothing in the framers debate and said as a president, you get a forever free from jail card. presidents could do very bad
things. they were human. they created checks and balances. they also understood that congress could do bad things. they were not idealistic about people. they were practical and very pragmatic. he said, okay, let's do this book about what kind of accountability can exist. to our surprise, as we begin to look at what the criminal statutes were, what we saw was not just the possibility of accountability. but that the bush team was excruciatingly sensitive to the possibility of prosecution, and try to it invests barriers in a variety of ways, including slicing and dicing criminal laws, to protect themselves from
accountability. and to protect themselves specifically from criminal liability. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. pulitzer prize-winning author david maranis wrote a book on president barack obama, called barack obama, the story. book tv has exclusive pictures and video, including our trip to kenya with the author. join us on sunday, june 17 and later that night, your phone calls, e-mails and tweaks for david maranis. on c-span 2's booktv. >> it is in the northeastern part of afghanistan. it could not be more remote. this valley is a cul-de-sac that goes nowhere.
it is up near the himalayas, so you getting up there is hard, flying helicopters is hard. the only way and was by foot or helicopter. trying to get there initially to plan a mission wasn't very top. what they were up there doing is going after a high-value party by the name of [inaudible name]. this guy was a commander in hager commander. a terrorist group that had some association with al qaeda, some sort of truce with the taliban. these guys are nasty characters. there are a lot of fighters from chechnya and guys that aren't really there to fight against -- these guys are mercenaries, and what they did in the area was recruit and oppress people into fighting. and he was rumored to have service to air missiles and was stockpiling guns. he was also credited with a
series of ambushes in the cornball valley that had caught the attention of some of the officials. they decided they had to take care of this number because it was becoming a problem and he was able to export a lot of violence from the safe haven. the idea was to go get him and take care of this safe haven. not only were they fighting the geography, they were fighting in some of the hardest places in afghanistan. we have all seen the news. nitrates are highly regulated. who controls the battle space is highly regulated. it takes a long time to get a mission plan. one of the things we were running into planning this mission, was how to get there, what the helicopters could do, and what, when, and where they would be allowed to go. essentially, what they came back with was the idea that they
would fly to the valley, land in the valley, unload their soldiers, and then fly off. the team initially wanted to fly to the top of the valley, the top of the village, and then that broke down, they were essentially going to repel out of the helicopters, and then the helicopters would fly off. because of restrictions and what the pilots were comfortable doing company ended up having to settle for this mission, which was to land in the valley and unload. which, anyone who knows any kind of basics about fighting uphill, it is never a good idea. you never want to do it. what the commanders had to pretty much reconcile his where they were going to place the risk. was it risky to put them at the top of the village or put them at the bottom have them get up the hill. that is sort of where team was left on the morning of the
mission. this is where the book starts. they get up and they know they have to do this mission. it is spring, the weather has already delayed the mission once or twice. and they all have this sinking feeling. they didn't know it was a good idea. that is one of the things that propelled this book. it is very rare that you get soldiers that have universal bad feelings in the candor to stand up and say, not only do we have this bad feeling, but we don't really want to do this mission. that sort of starts the book and it also starts him on this path that also gives them in an ambush. >> and that is very critical. what kevin mentioned. you usually don't get soldiers that feel so strongly about this plan. the captain basically knew, just like other members, he knew that
there was a plan to not fight a pill. you don't fight a pill. you have to have the element of surprise. tactically, they knew it was unfair. he took his concerns to his commanders. and his commanders, it was really important to do this mission commander, how do you say he was a really bad guy. he helped found this operation. what they later found out was that one of them had even showed up [inaudible] he financed the sole campaign. again, going back to the valley, it was flawed, the plan was flawed tactically. even though they knew it was love, they knew there was incredible danger at winning in
landing in the bottom of the valley and having to climb to the top of the mountain to get to this compound, with trained natives that have been fighting for like 10 years since the 1980s. they should win -- i'm going to have kevin describe what happened when they landed. >> okay, so they take up from the base on the border there is some concern about the weather. they wanted to get in and out before the cloud cover came in. they had to work quickly as well before they got stuck. if you can imagine winning in a helicopter, and the plan was to do so, but there was so much
rubble and eyes, the helicopter stumbled and couldn't even land. there were guys jumping 10 feet out of the back of these helicopters and landing on these rubble fields. some of them landed in a river that was running through the middle of the landing zone. they get past that with no major injuries, which that, alone, is a feat. it's like the size of a best ball court, they are jumping into big boulders. the mountains surrounding this valley are a lot higher than they ever imagined. they were only looking at satellite images. i can only equate it to midtown manhattan and the space surrounded by all sides by sheer cliffs. they consolidate their guys and start walking towards the village. i don't know what you see in your head, depending on where you are in the country,
sometimes it is a little mud hut. these are literally cut into the wall, these houses, and they were all the way up and around. they were surrounded almost 360 degrees with the stone houses. as they are walking up, it took them a while to find a path. they get to the base of the hill, and the path pretty much cuts back and forth in a zigzag of the hill, switching back. i see a lot of you shaking your head. there is only one way out. you know that you are in a cul-de-sac of a valley now, and they know that you are there because they heard the helicopters. if they hear helicopters in this valley, it's not them and their buddies. it is there bad guys, right?
>> it's really quiet as they are walking out. all of a sudden, we see three guys -- they see three guys running on top of the valley, and one of them has gone. >> you can watch this and other programs at booktv.org. >> what are you reading this summer could book tv wants to know. he meant i am just finishing a book called bring up the bodies. it is the first of the trilogy that she is going to do on thomas cromwell. i know a lot about the tutors, it's an area i have always been interested in. she does a masterful job of telling the story and yet telling it in a brand-new way. this summer, i am probably going to read a new novel called the age of wonders. that has been getting a lot of attention. i haven't read bob caro's most
recent lbj book, but i certainly have it on my bedside table and will be reading it sometime this summer. >> for more information on this and other summer reading lists, visit booktv.org. >> our final panel of the day includes john conroy, author of transport. leigh bienen, author of "murder and its consequences" and rob warden, author of "true stories of false confessions." this isn't moderated by eric zorn. .. [inaudible conversations] ..
>> if you'd like to watch coverage of today's program, it will be reaired tonight at midnight on c-span2. [laughter] that's correct. books can be purchased in the center lobby here, and the authors will be signing copies in the arts room right next door to us. at this time if you could, please, turn off all electronic devices and cell phones, that'd be very helpful. thank you very much. i'm going to turn it over to our moderator. it gives me great pleasure to introduce eric zorn from "the chicago tribune." take it away, eric. [applause] >> thanks. if you'd like to live tweet this event, you can turn your cell
phones back on. i'm joined by two distinguished guests who are very qualified to be talking about what we're going to be talking about today which is the media's role in administering justice and abolishing the death penalty in illinois. to my left is leigh bienen, she has written a book of fiction called "the left-handed marriage," which was published in the late '90s and also "crimes of the century," published around that same time, and more recently, "murder and its consequences," published in 2009. that book is the book you'll be signing later. rob warden, to my right, he's the executive director of the center on wrongful convictions at northwestern university. the book he has is "true stories of false confessions" from 2009. rob i've interviewed before at this event for the previous book you wrote, the title of which escapes me. do you remember the title? [laughter] >> my problem is i haven't even read some of the books i wrote.
[laughter] >> that's the book that's available, and rob's organization does terrific work. um, we're going to be joined by john conroy, the journalist and playwright whose current play, "my kind of town" has gotten incredibly good reviews. he had a graduation ceremony that ended up conflicting with this, so he sends his regrets. but if you do get a chance to go see that play, it's terrific. i want to read the top of a column that i wrote on the day or right around the day that governor quinn signed legislation abolishing the death penalty. and it says to rob warden, who was there at the beginning. when governor quinn put his signature on a bill abolishing the death penalty in illinois, he wrote the final line in a store that began when warden, editor at the chicago daily news, co-founded chicago lawyer in 1978 shortly after the u.s. supreme court had allowed for the reinstatement of capital
punishment. that scrappy investigation began watching dubious prosecutions other local media weren't publishing, and warden published a story that laid out the weak contradictory evidence against one of the men who came to be known as the ford heights four. chicago lawyer then took up the cause of death row inmates darby tillis and perry cobb, later freed on grounds of innocence, and the case against rolando cruz and alex hernandez. roughly a decade later they, too, were freed when the state acknowledged another man had committed the crime just as the chicago lawyer had written. it was in many ways -- and the column went on to tip a hat to all the people or to many of the people, not all the people, who were active in the death penalty, but i thought that the story of illinois' abolition of the death penalty in many ways
began with the work that rob had started off doing at the chicago lawyer. i don't know if he'll take as much credit for that as i'm willing to give him, but i do think, and i wanted to open this question up to the panel, first, that the media played an important role in the abolition of the death penalty in illinois by highlighting some of the problems with it. and i just want to throw that out as a proposition. rob, what would have happened or how would things have opened up if you guys had not begun to look at some of those cases? >> well, frankly, i don't think it would have opened up. i don't think we would be where we were had it not been for work that a lot of people in the media did. the, you know, it wasn't that long ago when people simply weren't, their minds weren't open to the possibility that we were convicting innocent people, much less sentencing innocent people to death.
i had thought that i had come up with pretty powerful evidence to the contrary, but people really weren't beginning -- weren't taking it that seriously for many years. it took a number of years to break into the mainstream media, and, of course, abolition could not have occurred without wonderful work that was done by a number of people at "the chicago tribune" including eric and maurice posely and ken armstrong and steve mills. the tremendous investigative work that they did over the years along with the pulitzer prize-winning editorial writer cornelia grumman were exceedingly important in the illinois death penalty abolition movement and, in general, the criminal justice reform movement here in illinois. now, as far as the abolition movement itself was concerned and what made it successful,
there were probably 50 pieces that just came together perfectly, and if you had pulled out any one of those including great work that leigh did on the costs of the illinois death penalty, we simply wouldn't have gotten to a point that it would have been possible for the legislature first to vote to abolish the death penalty and then persuade the governor to sign that legislation. so i can't overemphasize the media's role, and i'm certainly delighted, proud to have been involved to the extent that i was. >> leigh, it's not supposed to be that way, is it, though, these cases of wrongful conviction are supposed to go through the courts without any public input, prejudice or input and decided on their merits alone, right? as a lawyer, i'm sure you're appalled by the -- >> we all know that the legal system has many flaws just like every other institutional system. and i want to actually, also, join with rob and you to give
credit to the media because it was the persistence of the media, it was the quality of the reporting including your own reporting, eric, and your own reporting, rob, and that of many people on the tribune and other newspapers, the chicago reader and a number of other papers which year after year after year they just, like, kept blasting away. and lots of times people didn't want to listen. so, you know, if you want to ask yourself how can the legal system tolerate this, how can it be that even when people know these injustices occur, you know, they don't really pay attention, or they don't do anything about it, and as rob said there are 50 or 100 circumstances which if they hadn't all come together at once, the death penalty wouldn't have been abolished in illinois. i arrived in illinois in 1995 coming here with my husband. i'd been working on capitol punishment in new jersey. prior to that time, when i arrived here my view was
illinois will never abolish the death penalty. never, never, never. and i felt that way right up to it only looked like a real possibility in 2010 and rob and i are down the hall from each other at northwestern university at the center on wrongful convictions, and i have to say that northwestern university also played a really important role. and for years, a decade, you know, they were supporting research on these cases both on the campus and at the center on wrongful conviction. so how can this be tolerated? people know these injustices go on, and yet nothing happens, or it happens so slowly? i don't have an answer to that. i don't have an answer to that. again, this is like one of the good news stories about the media. everybody trashes the media. the media's so awful, the media only cares about celebrities, the media prints falsehoods, the
media isn't to be trusted. this is a good news story about the media, but it's not like it happened like that. it happened with people working for years, years on these cases. >> well, it is true, and i wanted to ask rob a little bit about the history of trying to get mainstream -- those of us in the mainstream media interested in some of these cases. because it wasn't an easy sell. it probably still isn't. probably still isn't an easy sell. >> right. >> but it's hard, it is hard to get the attention of those of us in the mainstream papers because we tend to, you know, gee, the guy was convicted, gee, he was convicted twice, you know? twelve people thought he was guilty. >> right. >> so what was it, if you can sort of look back at a pivotal case, a pivotal -- where the media played a role, where all of a sudden people said, hey, wait a minute, maybe this system isn't working so well, maybe we need to think harder about that? >> well, cruz.
>> well, cruz and then ford heights four, i think, both of those were very important cases in illinois. and ultimately, of course, it was officially acknowledged that these people were innocent. four innocent men had been sentenced to death, two other innocent men had been sentenced to long prison terms for crimes that they clearly hadn't committed. but i think the case that probably really was the turning point came a few years later, actually, in the -- in 1999, and that was the case of anthony porter. >> yes, right. >> anthony had come within 48 hours of execution when the illinois supreme court granted a reprieve not for any reason that had anything to do with innocence, although we believed at the time that he was innocent. it was merely because he had scored in the low 70s on an iq test, and the simple question
was, was anthony porter intelligent enough to understand what was happening to him and why? it would be illegal to execute somebody who was mentally retarded under then-existing case law. >> or there was also an issue of whether he could be fully -- >> competent to be executed. >> or culpable for his crime if he's that -- >> well, but, you know, it was a case where as rob pointed out he came within, what, 48 hours or whatever it was of actually being executed and told this, this record emerged in his file that he had an iq of 70. and then the case, the question of was he competent to be executed, forget about the fact was he competent to be tried, was he competent to understand what his attorney was telling him, whatever, way back at his original trial. but one of the funny things about that case was i remember when i was teaching at north
western, i was teaching a course on murder and capital punishment, and i read the original supreme court case involving anthony porter in which the illinois supreme court was incredibly sure how guilty he was, and they quote the police transcript and so on. and i got a copy of the transcript. and as an old public defender, i said to myself, you know, this doesn't smell right. and i remember saying to someone who was working on his case, you know, this smells like a canned statement. there were particularly certain things about the -- >> was it the confession? >> you know, when he was arrested, it wasn't quite a confession, but it was he made statements which were incriminates. and particularly the way he used, quote, bad language, you know, it was a kind of thing you see in police reports all the time. and, you know, it felt canned to me. and i remember saying to someone who was working on his case, um, you know, this, this doesn't
sound right to me. and he said, you know, no one's ever suggested he was innocent. and at that time you have to realize the death penalty litigants, the people who were trying to get the death penalty overturned were trying everything; competency to be executed, what was wrong with lethal injection, something about the aspect of the habeas case. because the lawyers were getting crushed by the procedural formalities which were closing off review. which is another reason why what happened in illinois was so extraordinary. because the federal courts and the pro-death penalty people who were involved with, um, that side of the litigation were very successful in closing down federal habeas. federal habeas which 20 years earlier had been the way in which people who had been innocent or wrongly convicted were able to bring their cases
forward. that got shut down. and that was very important. so we were grasping at straws. competency to be executed. you know, there was, like, one case where there'd actually been held to be grounds for postponing an an execution. but, you know -- >> if you remember, bill clinton took time off his 1992 presidential campaign to go back to arkansas to sign off on the death of -- >> correct, correct. >> who had a very low iq. >> right. >> that didn't seem like a -- >> it was actually worse in ricky's case. he had, the facts were that he'd killed a bouncer at a bar and then went home, and a police officer who came to arrest him, you know, came into his house, he talked very politely to him for a couple minutes and then pulled out a gun and shot him. then he walked out onto his front lawn and pulled the trigger and gave himself a frontal lobotomy. on the night he was executed, he saved his dessert to eat after the execution.
[laughter] and yet bill clinton signed off on that execution in 1992. you know, i was so appalled at the time that, of course, i vowed i would never vote for the man but, of course, i did. [laughter] twice, twice after that. >> and the porter case for those of you who don't remember, i'm sure hardly anybody does, actually, it was a double murder in washington park. >> yes. >> correct. >> over by the swimming pools in washington park. and to make a very long story short, he was convicted based on somewhat sketchy eyewitness testimony that later david and his students at northwestern were able to do their own digging along with a private investigator, and they found a man up in milwaukee who confessed to the murder on videotape, and that man is now in prison, porter was freed. and the interesting thing about that case was that that was the case, i think, that ended up
moving the most important reader that we had at that point which was, or viewer which was george ryan, the governor. he was not necessarily as moved as maybe a lot of people were by the cruz case. and the cruz case, again, to refresh your memories, was in 1983. a 10-year-old girl was abducted from the her home, raped and murdered, her body was found near aurora. two hispanic men and a white man from aurora who were all, i guess they were, they were sort of petty criminals, all of them were arrested, tried, convicted. two of them sent to death row, actually buckley was never convicted, just two of them were convicted. >> no. >> to sum it up, it was a very emotional case, very terrible crime that was committed. and that case has just in the last couple of years reached a final resolution. the dna conclusively implicated this serial sex killer, brian
doogan, three people for sure we know he's murdered, three women he's murdered. and anyway, that case did not move george ryan enough. something about the anthony porter case and all that coverage of it moved him to declare the moratorium on the death penalty which became -- >> that was huge. >> yeah. it really was. and the, and i want, you know, to tell a really quick story about when i got into covering the carico case. i was interested in just, basically, the issue of the death penalty in general, and i had -- and it was right, the first non-volunteer, i think, to be executed in illinois, if i remember correctly? john gacy. they executed a guy named walker. >> charles walker. >> before that, he was a volunteer. he had dropped all his appeals and said kill me, go ahead. >> that means no legal objections. >> gacy was fighting his case
all the way along, and, of course, you know, the crimes that gacy committed -- walker had killed a couple of people at a down state park or something like that. it was not a headline-grabbing case the way, obviously, the gacy case was. if there's any case that illustrates why people support the death penalty, it's john wayne gacy, this predatory man who killed 33 young men and boys and buried their bodies in his house? you know, just a horrible case. >> yeah. >> and i got into -- and in writing about that i was saying, look, you know, okay, i'll concede i can't make a case why john gacy should deserve to live, that nothing about, you know, i think you have to be a finer person than i am to think that a person like that deserves to live. on the other hand, the question becomes does the state deserve to have the power to kill anybody? has it earned that right? and so i asked readers to consider some of these other sketchier cases that were in illinois. one of them was the cruz case which i began writing about to
illustrate how uncomfortable people ought to be with the idea that the state has the power to kill somebody based on the shabby sort of evidence that they had managed to gather against rolando cruz and alex her man diss who at the time i think were still on death row. cruz definitely was, i visited him, and hernandez may have been just serving life at that time. anyway, that's a little bit too much detail but, basically, the point was i had started to build this case that this was a very troubling case, very flimsy case, and at the paper, at the tribune my editor received a memo from two of my colleagues who were covering the dupage county justice system. two of my colleagues who were covering the justice system and their basic message to my editor was you should tell zorn to cut this out. he's going to embarrass us because this guy couldn't be innocent, you know?
he's been convicted, he's been convicted twice already. he's been convicted twice, 24 jurors have found him guilty. to imagine that he is, that this is -- i'm paraphrasing this memo, basically to imagine that cruz is innocent of this crime is to suggest a massive conspiracy on the part of law enforcement officials and of prosecutors and police in dupage county. all these, you know, good men that we know and work with every day, and we're sunlighting that -- suggesting that, and you should tell him to cut it out. and to her credit, she just sort of forwarded this along and said, you know, please, ignore these guys and keep writing what you want. that's the kind of pushback that you get, and i'm wondering, you know, i wanted to put this to both of you if that's the kind of thing you hear even still to this day when you call a reporter and say, hey, you know, you want to take a look at this case. the first response from, you know, those of us in the
mainstream media tends to be -- >> why? >> yeah. >> they're bored with it. you know, another thing that's emerged from people talking about these cases is how complicated they are, right? they're both complicated legally, they're complicated circumstantially, they're complicated in terms of the people who are involved, the institutions who are involved. so, you know, it's not like you're going to get a one-sentence answer, and that's it. that people can focus on it. so the complication also makes telling the story an additional challenge. and another reason why i think the media in this case is to be commended for doing the job they did, because they were able to zero in on how you told that story. because that's what it came down to. i'd like to, also, just say a few words about george ryan. i mean, george ryan was an amazing figure to walk on the stage at this particular time, at this particular place. >> he was governor of illinois at this time, right? >> exactly. governor of illinois. and he had voted for the
reinstatement of the death penalty, he was -- when he ran for governor, he said he was in favor of the death penalty. he presided over one execution. after he was governor. however, i have always believed that it was very, very important that, one, he was not a lawyer and, two, he was not lawyer who was a prosecutor or had come up through the state's attorney's office the way so many illinois politicians do. because had he been both a lawyer and connected with the state's attorney's office particularly with the cook county state's attorney's office, he would have felt such an institutional loyalty both to his profession as a prosecutor and also to the other lawyers there that he never would have stood up and had the courage to say, look, maybe there's something wrong here. secondly, i myself do believe that his catholic faith was important and that that was also a big factor. but also i want to say that his staff, the people around him
made a huge difference. they made a huge difference. there's just no other way to put it. these are people whose names are not known by anybody, but they're people who became interested in the issue, who worked with people at northwestern and with the tribune and things like the moratorium did not happen overnight. they just didn't. excuse me for my coughing here. >> go ahead. >> oh, george ryan was a conservative heartland republican. he was before all this i think he was best known to a lot of us as the guy who killed the equal rights amendment. so he was no friend to the left -- >> exactly. >> -- until this happened. and i have to say that rob knows george ryan ten times better than i do, and i'm wondering what your insight is as to his thought process. because that what, you know,
we -- him declaring a moratorium, without that -- i guess i'll put it this way. the moratorium was a buffer period, a watershed buffer period between the doubts that were raised about the death penalty and the abolition of it. i don't know that we would have been able to have the abolition of it -- >> we wouldn't have. >> -- directly. and you were actually close to the whole situation. >> well, when i got the note governor ryan and his wonderful wife, i'll never forget the first time i had arranged for my wife and me to have dinner with them. and my wife who is, of course, an ardent democratic liberal said, you mean i have to have dipper with this republican crook? [laughter] dinner with this republican crook? and i said, oh, please. [laughter] by the end of the evening, she had come to see exactly what i saw in george ryan. and this was a man who, he'd
grown up, he was a pharmacist, he was a friend of the small family, a former governor of illinois, was a small, the smalls had suffered a terrible crime in which the sky onof their family had been kidnapped and buried in a coffin where he suffocated to death. and a young man, george ryan also knew that family, had been on death row for that. when george entered the legislature in 1977, he had been in that class that voted to reinstate the illinois death penalty after the supreme court had temporarily barred the death penalty in a case known as fuhrman v. georgia. after that in the legislature he voted a number of times to expand the number, the conditions under which the death penalty could be imposed. so he was certainly an ardent supporter of the death penalty, but he'd never really focused on it. and he played this political game as, i think, people on both
sides of the aisle had played it for a long time. he'd been secretary of state, the secretary of state's office was always sort of a cash cow for the party that held it. it had the potential of, basically, extorting campaign contributions, which it did. and, of course, this was considered a plum to hold this office, and george ryan played that game. and then suddenly with this anthony porter case it was just like this was something that struck him like a lightning bolt that, oh, my god, we're talking about killing people. i mean, i could play this political game forever, but i can't countenance killing people. and it was something that just moved him incredibly. and i spoke to him, i visit him. he's now in federal prison in terre haute, indiana. i visit him with some frequency with the assistant director of the center, jennifer, who also became quite close to the governor. and he is a sincere man.
i would never defend many of the things that he did while he was in office, but certainly i will revere him forever. for what he did with, for the abolishing, moving us toward abolition of the illinois death penalty. and i would venture to say that right now the only governor that we remember from more than a century ago is john peeter altgelt who did the right thing in the hay market riot case, but pardoning the wrongfully-convicted men. it destroyed his career. but we remember him today. and be i would venture to say that a century from now the only illinois governor from this period who will be remembered -- >> positively. >> positively. [laughter] >> i bet you don't remember blagojevich. >> i don't think so, i doubt it. [laughter] the only one who will be remembered positively, i believe, will be george ryan. >> yeah. >> did you deal with him?
>> yes, i did. not as much as rob and jennifer and some of the other people but, yes, i did. and, again, i think the fact that he was a pharmacist, and he would say in his speeches, you know, i'm a pharmacist, and getting 50% -- getting it wrong 50% of the time is something we would never tolerate in pharmacy. because at that point the number of wrongful convictions was more than the number of people who had been executed since the reenactment of the death penalty. so he said, you know, getting it right less than half the time is not something we would consider tolerable. but, you know -- >> can i just interject in that? i always thought that was a bogus thing -- >> to say? >> well, it's not mathematically correct. we had about 180 people on death row. >> yeah. >> and we'd exonerated -- i'm not saying we should be proud of the record. >> right. >> we only found 18 or so cases of innocents out of those 180, so i don't think anybody, you
know, certainly you would never contend that half the people on death row were innocent. >> well, but -- no. >> right. >> you see, this is the really difficult thing when you're arguing against the death penalty. one, there are clearly people sentenced to death that have done horrible thing, who are guilty as sin, right? and immediately you say that you're against the death penalty. the counter is, well, what about x? what about so and so who tortured that child and is sitting on death row? doesn't that person deserve to die? john wayne gacy is the typical example. and you're -- you then have to be put in the position of saying, you know, the institution of the state should not be killing because they can't do it in a way which comports with justice. and that's a much more abstract, difficult case to make, right? so, actually, while i think your point is a good one about, okay,
more than 50% wrong if you look at all the people who were actually on death row, probably more than half of them are not innocent, right? that's a valid point to make. on the other hand, that phrase, that idea, i think, captured people's imagination in a way which something else couldn't. once you start talking about institutions, should the state kill, people go to sleep, right? they don't want to hear it. they don't want to hear it. >> well, let me -- i want to ask you to explain your, the case that you built on the cost issue. because one of the things that you'll also hear people say is, well, i'm not going to pay. >> right. >> okay, maybe it's not a great idea to kill somebody, but i'm not going to pay all this money to keep this guy eating three meals a day and watching cable tv all of his life. that's a powerful argument -- not powerful, it's a very common argument against the death penalty. >> very mono. >> and you did some research that showed what? >> first of all, it is not
cheaper to kill somebody than to not sentence them to death. so, and again, that's an argument which is complicated, difficult to prove. not that difficult, actually, because then the response to it is, oh, well, it's all these due process protections that we have for these wicked defendants, and we should just get rid of those. so, but then the next step you have to say to that is so you mean we should just execute people on the jailhouse steps as soon as they're arrested? we call that lynching. and that has been done at various times in our country and, hopefully, we respect in favor of that either. -- we aren't in favor of that either. so it's absolutely the case that it is not cheaper to execute somebody than not prosecute them to death. now, i think the case that was made overwhelmingly in illinois was that the amount of money that was spent on the death penalty after reenactment was money that was wasted, it was money that was squandered, it
was money that was spent in a corrupt and cynical way by the people who had access to that money. that it was not money that was spent to prosecute, quote, bad guys. it was money that if you wanted to prosecute criminals and put away the bad guys, it was spent unjustly. it was spent unjustly. and that case could be made pretty persuasively, i think. >> rob, the case of innocence, i mean, innocence seems to be, seems to have been the argument that really moved the public off the dime. because public support for the death penalty in illinois just eroded. >> yeah. >> and i do think that the media played a very important role in highlighting. you can make all these arguments about cost or about there's always the morality argument of the death penalty. >> right. >> but those arguments didn't, never moved the needle the way -- >> yep. well, you know, by the time we
ultimately abolished capital punishment in illinois, 305 member and women -- five of the latter -- had been sentenced to death under this post-fuhrman law. of those -- >> in illinois. >> in illinois. in illinois. twenty of those had been exonerated and and released on the basis of substantial claims of innocence. now, we use the term exonerated to apply to someone who is restored to the status of legal innocence based on evidence that was not presented at his or her trial. so 20 out of 305, that's an error rate in excess of 6% in this fundamental judgment, the threshold judgment in every capital case of innocence or guilt. but after that decision has been made whether the person is innocent or guilty, then the jury is supposed to weigh evidence in aggravation and mitigation and under the case law we are supposed to reserve the death penalty for in the
language of the u.s. supreme court the worst of the worst. now, were we really doing that? i think, you know, absolutely not. if, and i think that a strong case can be made for the figures that leigh cited before, an error rate in excess of 50% when we were talking about at the time george ryan imposed the moratorium. we had exonerated 13 of those 20, and we had executed 12. now, in the capital litigation system only those cases that either end in execution or exoneration are fully litigated. so the cases that had come to the end of the line, the end of the line at the end of the line as it were, more than 50% we had been wrong. and if we can't even get the judgment of guilt and innocence right, how can we possibly get the decision on who deserves to live and who deserves to die right? >> right. and i would guess, i would
guess, and i've talked to, you know, other attorneys who are doing the same work that you all are interested in and asked them just sort of for a ballpark what they think the actual innocence rate is on death row, and it's more like 6-10%. but when you have that rate of error, you might say, well, okay, no system is perfect. and that's, to me, that's when the question comes in of, okay, what are we getting for this? and to my mind one of the things that really moved me early on in my research on this was, okay, if you could prove that by killing an innocent, by executing the occasional innocent person you made the rest of us safer, then you might say this becomes, actually, a moral question. it's like do we -- but, in fact, when you actually look at the studies of the death penalty, you say, well, there is no deterrent effect of the death penalty. you're not safer in a state with the death penalty than you are in a state without the death penalty. the death penalty has a terrible track record of deterring crime, deterring murder.
capital murder is not the kind of thing where someone says, well, maybe i won't get caught, okay, i'll kill them. that's like shoplifting or speeding, people take those cost benefits into -- that's one. so what you have that, when you're getting nothing, you've got this system, and it's costing a bunch of money, and you're getting nothing in return for it, it's just a government boondoggle, basically. it's a big fat government program that doesn't work. and that argument, i found that argument worked with, you know, some small segment of the population. and it actually worked on more conservative people. >> yes. >> who aren't quite concerned about innocent people who tend to be -- well, when they start looking at it it's like, wait, they're wasting my money. it's a tea party argument. [laughter] >> you know, one of the interesting things about the death penalty is to watch the change in public opinion and watch the change in the debate over time. so that in the '60s and '70s
the racial arguments were much stronger, the civil liberties arguments were much stronger. and then it was as if there was in the '90s there was like a fatigue about that. and when the united states supreme court rejected in -- a very strong social science argument about the influence of race, particularly race of the victim upon whether or not the death penalty had been imposed, it was like everybody said, okay, you know what? we're going to give up on that. of course, they didn't give up altogether, but it was like we've got to move on. and then the cost issue started just like coming up from behind as in a horse race. and as eric says, one of the things that was very appealing about it is it could appeal to a spectrum of people. it could appeal to conservatives. it could appeal to sort of practical government types, you know? who didn't want to hear about,
well, there are all these great people on death row who didn't commit the crime, right? so it shifted the debate in a way where it became more pal palatable to certain kinds of people. people got embarrassed. what was their legal system doing? why were people doing this? but a more deep and profound question to which i think we have no answer is the question that rob alluded to with regard to clinton going back to sign the execution. and, also, what we see over and over with all of our politicians. they are so terrified that somebody might say they're soft on crime. they are so terrified that they will not be seen as wanting to put bad guys in jail forever and throw away the key, that they won't stand up even when they know that certain criminal justice practices are wrong or unjust and so on. and this is where we are now. and i don't pretend to understand this or have an
answer to it, but it is a very big aspect of what we're dealing with. >> well, rob, would you say that with george ryan that he was, george ryan doing this was sort of a nixon goes to china kind of thing? where it had to be a conservative republican governor who did this to give it the momentum that ended up with governor quinn signing the abolition bill? >> uh-huh, i think that's probably a pretty good point. and, you know, george ryan, of course, wasn't alone among conservatives in opposing the death penalty. and i always thought that the wonderful conservative columnest, george will, put it pretty well. why would you support the death penalty? it is, after all, just another government program. [laughter] >> and one of those -- one of the early, strong voices against the death penalty was, or not early, but in modern times was
charles krauthammer, the fox news curmudgeon who is conservative on every other summit, i think. we have time for a couple of questions if anyone wants to come up to the microphones back there and -- >> please. >> yeah. i have a couple points. first of all, when you talk about the soft on crime aspect, i think what a lot of people miss is that when you put the wrong person in jail, the right person is still out there. >> absolutely. >> and i think that's a point that never gets made often enough. but i have another point. stepping back a little from the conviction is the idea to prosecute. >> uh-huh. >> and a lot of times you find the prosecutors were hiding evidence. i've been involved in a case that has just that aspect going. not only were they hiding evidence, but their superiors were covering up the fact that we were hiding evidence, doing it intentionally. and the problem i see is that
nothing ever happens to the prosecutors. they often don't even get named when the case gets reversed. and the people who get out who were wrongly convicted convictet time in jail, yeah, they're exonerated, but their life is over, okay? they're not going back to work. they're not going back to their previous profession. the prosecutor, of course, is probably promoted by this time, okay? [laughter] and i think that's something that needs to be addressed and needs to be worked on, because without that this is just going to continue. >> right. >> so, and whether it's life in prison, o, i mean, obviously, given the choice between life in prison or the death penalty, you're going to take life in prison. but still, if you're innocent and somebody knows you're innocent and yet they're still prosecuting you for the crime, something should happen to them. and i think that's where the system really fails. >> i think the tribune series on
that was very important where they talked about how so many prosecutors who did prosecute people knowing that the evidence was, exonerating evidence was there and nothing ever happened to them. and then the system is such that you will see some of the prosecutors who were involved with some of the worst wrongful convictions being appointed as judges. [laughter] >> uh-huh. >> and now they're going to be judges in criminal cases, and they're going to continue on the public payroll. not only does nothing happen to them, but they're rewarded. >> absolutely. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i'm a pacifist, so i don't believe in the state because it kills! in regard to gacy and speck, gacy admitted to killing one person. russ you wing interviewed gacy and found he was practically never in the crawlspace.
gacy asked the question, where is jack hadley, and it was never answered. i believe gacy was framed the same way speck was framed. "the chicago tribune" put it on the front page, the photograph of speck and the police drawing from a supposed eyewitness. the only they -- the only thing they had in common was blond hair. so it's possible that the person who did the murders in the gacy case did 'em also in the speck case. this thing about the person convicting the wrong person that's the real killer gets away. i have one question. why is it so hard for people to believe that there never are wrong convictions when it is generally acknowledged that the
nazarene was wrongly convicted? >> thank you. >> that's a good question, thanks. >> thank you. rob, do you want to say anything? >> no. >> well, thank you for your work on this monumentally-important subject. first, i'd like to ask if you could speak to the recent defunding of commission of inquiry that is supposed to be investigating the cases of torture victims who are still incarcerated? the illinois legislature just voted to defund that. and secondly, i wonder if you could speak to the phenomena that we live in a country that has the highest rate of incarceration in the entire world, or we have five times the number of black men that are incarcerated? we have this monumental system of mass incarceration which has by and large legitimated based on some of the points you're making, well, these people are criminals, etc., etc. thank you. >> rob, did you want to take the question about the panel, i'm
sorry, the commission? >> well, i am, i'm a member of that commission. it has not yet been disbanded. and like everyone else, i'm very disappointed because we have approximately 100 pending complaints. these are torture cases, people who claim to be tortured under john birch. by the time of defunding which'll put us out of business at the end of this month, we had completed review of only nine of about 110 applications that we'd received, and of those we had found that five, we believed, had credible claims that they were, in fact, tortured. it's not an innocence commission. we're not saying -- you can torture a guilty person, obviously. we're not making a judgment about guilt or innocence, only a judgment about whether or not this claim of torture is credible and referring it back to the supreme court for further -- to the illinois court system for further action. as i said, we've referred five cases and rejected four.
the other 100 will have no recourse at this point with this commission out of business. this was, essentially, the court of last resort, and it has now been abolished. we're going to try another tact, we're going to try to bring a blanket conviction for postconviction relief on behalf of all people who we believe meet the criteria to see if maybe we can persuade the courts to accept that. these cases are procedurally defaulted, however, and we're simply arguing that we now have new evidence, pattern and practice evidence of torture that we didn't have before and that these people ought to be entitled to hearings to present the evidence in their cases. so we're going to try that. and if not, these people are going to just remain in prison for the rest of their lives without any chance to raise their issues. and i certainly agree that, you know, we are incarcerating far,
far, far too many people in this country, and it's absolutely unnecessary. we're incarcerating people for far, far too long, longer than almost any country in the world. i happened to be in the scandinavia recently when the person who had served the longest prison sentence in recent years was released. this was in denmark. he had served 30 year for killing two police officers during an armed robbery. if you can imagine. and people were, basically, stunned that, oh, my god, 30 years in prison? and this is amazing, and here this man is walking out. here, of course, you would never see the light of day. and at some point murderers, after all, are the least likely to recidivate. we've seen that over and over and over again. just because somebody committed a murder at one point doesn't make it likely that they're ever going to do it again. in fact, they're far less likely to do that again than almost any
other criminal in any other class. and we really need to take a look at what we're doing and particularly the war on drugs this just outrageous level of incarceration particularly of african-americans. and it's been, you know, i think appropriately called the new jim crow. by michelle alexander who has written a wonderful book on this subject. >> give you a couple seconds, then we've got to wrap up. >> just a couple seconds. well, i agree with rob's remarks and, also, i just want to remind people if you remember the people who went and massacred all those children in, i think it was norway, got seven years or something. >> seven? >> yeah, it was something astonishing. also i would like to say that, rob, i have great confidence that your commission and the lawyers who have been working on the death penalty over these past many decades can, you'll come up with a way so that you can keep pursuing these cases,
and you'll find a legal way to get it in front of somebody who will pay attention to it. i have great faith in you for that. >> leigh bienen, she's an author, her book "murder and its consequences" is out there for sale, and this is rob warden, he's the executive director of wrongful convictions and his book, "true stories of false confessions," is available also for purchase and signing out in the lobby. i'm eric zorn of the chicago tribune, and thanks for coming to the panel. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> they'll be in the arts room, and they'll be happy to get your questions in the arts room. thank you very much. thank you guys, all, so much. please take the the time to consider becoming members of printers row which is a membership society featuring author profiles, book reviews
and original works of fiction. author visits such as this one here. thank you guys very much for coming out. again, the authors will be in the arts room signing books. everyone have a great afternoon. thank you, guys. [inaudible conversations] >> that concludes booktv's coverage of the printers row lit fest in chicago. visit booktv.org to watch all of the events you've seen here on c-span2. >> you know, if we look at the 18th century, journalism started off in this country in 1704 as a very puny and unimpressive kind of enterprise. the very first newspapers were very small, had circulations in the dozens and then maybe in the low hundreds, and they were really intimidated by the other institutions in that society,
especially church and state. and compared to them these newspapers were not at all important and, you know, very much under their thumbs. but what you see over the course of the next couple of decades is a process by which those newspapers become increasingly political if what they focus -- in what they focus on, and they get to be bolder and bolder for reasons i go into in the book. so that by the 1760s and certainly by 1770 they are in full throat expressing themselves on all kinds of the political issues of the day; on independence from britain or reconciliation with the mother country. on what -- if we break, what kind of a government should we have, all these huge questions. and the press becomes quite polemical during this period. it's often, the products that people are reading are often
produced anonymously by people who don't want to be known as political partisans. and that's the, that's the nature of the press that the founders were familiar with. that press was very local, it was small scale, and it was very polemical. most of those newspapers had very little what we would think of as original reporting, you know, of nonfiction material that the staff had generated. that was not really in the cards. so, you know, as we see, you know, a return to a more polemical style today in journalism, um, it's not something that, you know, is unanticipated or doesn't fit into this constitutional scheme. >> who invented reporters? >> ah. [laughter] >> i mean, because we tend to think of reporters and journalists as sin no anymores, but that was not --
>> not at all. not at all. no, no, it really wasn't until about the 1830s, again here in new york city. another really inventive journalist named benjamin day created the first so-called penny press newspaper. sold it for a penny a copy, so he was going way down market trying to reach the broadest possible audience. and to do that, he needed to fill it up with surprising, amazing things every day. fires, news from the police stations, dockings of ships, anything like that that he could find. and he wore himself out trying to fill the paper, and so he hired the first full-time reporter, a man named george wisner who is a regrettably obscure figure in american journalism history, but i'm going to try to do something about that. >> um, when did journalism become a business?
that is, the period you're describing in the colonial period, it doesn't sound like it was -- how did it support itself then? >> well, most of those newspapers were created by people who were really in another trade. that is, they were printers. and in order to keep their print shop busy and in order to bring their customers into the shop to pick up their papers so that they could sell them some stationery on the side or sell them a book while they were in there, they came -- they hit upon the idea of a newspaper as the perfect device. it expires every week and later every day once the pace picked up. and so most of those first enterprises were a sideline of someone who really would, we would think of as a job printer. that is, someone who was open to printing all kinds of stuff from anybody who had business. and then it's really in around that revolutionary period, certainly the early federal
period where you see that sideline disappears, and the newspaper itself becomes the real focus be. the first daily paper in the country is founded in 1783, and once the cities get to be a certain density and there's enough commerce, enough population, then in that early part of the 19th century they get going, and they really take off in the 1830s. >> are so that's, that's when it's fair to say for the first time that journalism is a business. >> oh, yes. it's clear by then, yeah. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> what are you reading this summer? booktv wants to know. >> this summer i want to read the book "do not ask what good we do" which is by robert draper. it's about, um, it's sort of an inside look on house speaker john boehner and the way he manages the tea party in his
conference. there's some articles i've read that show just how crazy it can get in there with a lot of these freshmen who are put in by the tea party who arguably with are controlling the way that the house is running even though they're freshmen, and john boehner's in charge. there's one line i have right here, apparently in a meeting with his conference, um, boehner told people, get your ass in line. [laughter] and i think this past congress has been so polarizing and so ineffective that a book like this would be great for some summer reading to just kick back and figure out some of the dramas that were actually going on behind the scenes as we watched nothing happen. another book i'd like to read on a totally different note is called "love is a mix tape." it's a story about -- it's written by someone who works for rolling stone, but it's a personal story about,somebody,
about how he fell in love with someone who also fell in love with him, and they were a very unlikely pair. and from what i understand, she dies, and he's devastated. but then he -- they used to make each other mix tapes which is something i did for years and years and years to all my exes now. [laughter] but he basically writes a book that is, essentially, a mix tape to her in her honor because he loved her, and she's gone, and he's devastated. so this book, it sounds like, was his mix tape, his final mix tape for her with love songs. and it's -- i can't wait to read that one. so that's what i'm hoping to read this summer. >> for more information on this and other summer reading lists, visit booktv.org. >> the b-52, you know, everyone thinks back to vietnam, they think linebacker operations. they think of the history of the b-52; cold war. so there's a different kind of
power associated with the b-52 as opposed to other long-range bombers. >> these are two friends, union and confederate, who knew each other prior to the civil war, who fought against each other at the battle of pea ridge in 1862, and here they are at age 100 sitting on the porch talking about the old days. >> we have one to the east is marked 9:01, the gate to the west is marked 9:03, and they really reflect or reference the moment of the bomb which was at 9:02. >> watch for the travels of c-span's local content vehicles every month on booktv and american history tv. and look for the history and literary culture of our next stop in jefferson city, missouri, the weekend of july 7th and 8th on c-span2 and 3. >> up next, congressman eric cantor introduces arthur brooks at an event here