tv 2015 National Book Festival CSPAN September 6, 2015 12:00am-9:01am EDT
my name is tim, and then i work for wells fargo and we have been sponsoring the book festival for the last five years. i'm going to make a couple of reef remarks and let you guys get onto the good stuff here. i wanted to tell you why we are involved with the book festival. yes we are a very large financial institution but we'd like to think of ourselves as a community bank and we are really involved with the communities that we serve both nationally and locally. the volunteer lots of our team members volunteer. we donate on cam and the boards and so when we look at the book festival is such a great opportunity in such a community event on both the local level here in the d.c. area and certainly represented the national community as well. the second reason was we are really involved in education. we have a program and i will give you an example a program called reading first which involves our team members
partnering with schools, preschool, second and third grade level and give kids books and read to them aloud in the schools. what we find is that when kids on their first book. just in reading really takes a quantum leap. it's a great program. we have donated more than a million books and have team members volunteering almost 2 million hours of volunteer time with people and programs like that. enough about that. i just want to tell you some things we are we are doing today that are fun and good to get into the event. is a stagecoach outside. we have a long history going back to the stagecoach which predates the transcontinental railroad which ms. roberts is going to talk about in our book and we have a stagecoach out here. we have a stagecoach downstairs in hall p and we also have a lot
of other fun activities. we have a reading program are reading first program going on where we are going to give kids books so we will be reading aloud in english spanish and american sign language and those kids that participate in that event will also have the opportunity to get a wells argo plush pony as well and we are also going to be doing are together experience which is a virtual reality experience. it may not be your thing but it's worthwhile to go by and check it out because it's a pretty fun experience. with that i'm going to turn it over to john haskell from the library of congress to introduce cokie. thank you and have a great day. [applause] >> good morning i work at the congressional research service which are probably a lot of you know but i'm having one of the research divisions. i was not given the toughest assignment at the festival to introduce cokie roberts.
it's mostly telling you things you are to know so i will say a few of those things. she is currently the senior news analyst or for one of the senior news analyst npr. among her many distinctions she has three emmy awards. cokie also received a living legend award from the library of congress. she's the author of several books, most recently "capital dames" the civil war and the women of washington, 1848-1868 and by the way she will be signing that after the event. she will have to rush down to the lower level look sale shop so you will have to make way for her to get down there. i'm going to ask one personal thing. from those of us who've who spend most of their lives in the heartland of the country in the pre-internet era minibus relied on cokie weather was npr or ctv has a unique source and i mean unique of reasons and balanced analysis on the politics and issues of the day that she continues to provide that service. speaking for me in any of the
people we are grateful that she did that service for us and continues to do that service. please help me welcome and cokie roberts. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] thank you and thank you all for being here on this labor day weekend. i think this book festival is one of the greatest things that happened year in and year out. hundreds of thousands of people showing up. [applause] to celebrate books and to buy them. what a concept and children and families. usually my grandchildren are with me but i'm going to catch a plane and see them in a minute. it is a wonderful event and the fact is that i write history books, often many of the characters in my history books are political wives and there
was a political wife who started his book festival. it was laura bush who went to the fabulous library of congress jim billington and said i did to book this festival and can we do win in washington shows you what a fabulous legacy political wife wives throughout our history have left here in washington. that makes us even more delightful for me to be able to participate in it. also by the way i should say the volunteers at this festival are the heroes. [applause] i guess i am large that she rose because there is no way that this could go on without these wonderful hundreds of volunteers so thank you all very much for what you do. i have written other history books about women and history and i never was going to write
about the civil war. first of all all of my ancestors fought on the losing side. [laughter] and so i didn't have any interested in it and secondly it's an awful war. it's a horrible, horrible time in our history. we lost more than 600,000 americans and it's a failure of the political system that these politicians could not get to emancipation without war. as if somebody covers politics and cares about politics that to me was so dispiriting that i really did not want to write about it. but my publisher had other ideas and was pretty clear that i was writing a book about the civil war. so, i started to think about that but i actually had absolutely no idea what that book was going to be. i knew it would be about women and plenty of the others.
people always say to me why do you write about women? [laughter] it was fairly obvious to me. aside from the fact that i'm in a skirt i do think the other half of humankind should have books written about them. [applause] and i would actually argue that history is not accurate without knowing what the rest of the world was up to. i knew that i would make great discoveries. i knew that i would find wonderful women's letters that would just delight me. i have to say you know the men's letters particularly in the -- not the threat or history are so studied and edited and ready for publication that they read as though they were written by
those marble statues. whereas the women's letters are just letters. they are funny and they are frank and they are truthful. there is a concept. and they will tell you the whole story. you will read about maybe we should go to war with france but i need my new hat that i left at home and so-and-so is having babies and all too often losing them and here's what the economic situation is. you get the full picture of society and life through women's letters. andy find them because most of them have never been published and you find them utterly delightful things. my favorite still remains one from my second history book about the early republic and it was written by john quincy adams wife. it was written when he was
secretary of state in she was running for president. she called it her vocation to get him elected president. hsu wrote a wonderful gossipy letters home from washington to john adams. abigail had died. she had died in lot -- john was lonely. this particular letter was 1820 and it was the year of the missouri compromise. because of the hammering out of the compromise the congress state in much longer than usual. finally they go home and in july in a meeting of the trustees of the asylum that dolley madison had established after the british invasion, she gets there and one of the other trustees says who's going to be in the new building and louisa says what do we need new building for the woman says and i'm quoting
the sessions have been very long. the fathers of the nation have left 40 cases to be provided for by the public in our institution was the most likely to be called upon to maintain this illicit progeny. congress left 40 pregnant women behind and there were only 187 members of congress. some of them might of them might a bin recidivist, i don't know. so she was up in arms and she said i recommended a petition next session for that great and moral body to establish a founding institution and certainly move the two additional dollars a day would give an increase in pay may be appropriate for the institution. it doesn't get any better than that. [laughter] when i found that letter i was in ecstasy.
and then it did turn out that one of the great letter writers that i found for this book was her daughter-in-law abigail brooks adams married to charles francis adams. she came to washington before you went on to be the u.n. ambassador to the court of st. james to the war and she wrote these wonderful spicy letters home calling began and the heavy old toad and saying the senate behaved like children and silly ones at that. i could get behind that one. [applause] but my personal favorite again was i would advise any young woman who wishes to have an easy quiet life not to marry and adams. [laughter] so i knew the letters whatever i found would be wonderful.
so i started thinking about my own growing up here in washington after world war ii and at that point the mall was covered with what were called temporary buildings. i actually remember as a little arrow asking my mother what temporary meant because the building didn't seem to be going anywhere. they were basically have been replaced by the ugly buildings that they were a physical manifestation of how the war had increased the role of government. it actually started in world war ii and how it made washington a very different place than it had been at the beginning of the century. i also of course knew the stories of rosie the riveter and the government girls coming to washington during the war and i
knew the role of women during the war had promoted women's rights after the war. the republicans had put the era in their platform in 1940 but it took the war to get the democrats to do in 1944 and in the movement towards equal rights again coming out of the experiences of the war. so i started wondering maybe that's it. maybe the civil war had a similar impact on women's lives in the role of washington in society. so i started researching that and it turns out he is in fact that was exactly the case and so that's the book. it was just fascinating to learn about it because it is as much a history of washington as it is a history of the womb -- women and
as someone who has lived here all of my life it was of great interest to me. and some of these women are women that you know of like clara barton and dorothy dix but you probably don't know all about them and some of the things that they did were absolutely remarkable. clara barton had come here to work in the government to she worked at the patent office and made as much as men for a period of time but then during the war government girls did show up in the same way that they did during world war ii mainly with women coming to make a living with their husbands were the men in their lives gone but it coincided with congress passing the bill to allow the printing of greenbacks to finance the war. and then as now the money comes
off the printing presses and create huge sheets. it's a lot of fun to watch if you've never seen it go but now it's cut up into individual bills by machine. then it took women sitting there with scissors cutting out bill by bill by bill and the treasurer of the united states general scanner said you know women are just better with scissors than men are. [laughter] he also -- which was something that many of us experienced in our own lives. and then rosie the riveter the equivalent in my view are the women who worked in the arsenals which they did around the country but here in washington it was mainly very young and very poor women who worked in the arsenal and there was this horrendous arsenal explosion
that killed a couple dozen of these girls. the day after the newspaper, the story was just awful to read, pulling the tarp off of the charred bodies and they were really basically unrecognizable and the reporter said they were trapped in their hoop skirts and you could see these 19th century midcentury women working at a very dangerous job in this broiling hot arsenal and being proper in their hoop skirts. thousands of people showed up for the funeral led by the president and the secretary of war and formed a procession going to the congressional cemetery. there is a monument to them recognizing their tremendous contribution to the war effort. and as they say there were women like clara barton and dorothea
dix and women journalists who came to town. some of them came before the war. an abolitionist and to suffer just and the first woman allowed to write from the senate press gallery but she was soon kicked out of the senate press gallery for writing vicious truths. [laughter] she wrote that daniel webster was a drunk and the men didn't like that and again it reminded me a lot of my own experiences. [laughter] but they were activists and there were orators and all these fascinating women who thrive during the war in washington and the reporters came in large numbers. dorothea dix -- dorothea dix was
laughing before congress and she was so influential that she was actually given a little alcove in the senate library by the senate from which to do her lobbying and while she was here she establish saint elizabeth's and then she went off to other places. when she failed at the bill that was vetoed by the president, she then came back for the war and brought herself to the surgeon general and said -- there were no female nurses. she created that and open the profession to women. it really had not been women's work with the exception of catholic nuns and she was a formidable figure. the whole medical profession was close to women. they were a couple of female
doctors in the country at the time. one of them was a surgeon mary walker who again came to washington and presented herself to work for the union army. she was not hired paid she worked as a volunteer and then in the course of her work during the war, she was eventually hired. she had such horrific experiences that she is still the only woman to have won the medal of honor. it was mary walker during the civil war. by the time thursday at dix died by the way she created more than 100 mental hospitals around the world including in japan meeting she had to travel by yourself there. clara barton, you probably know about clara barton and this is what drives me completely about history books. clara barton founded the american red cross.
really? was it hard? did anything go before that? what was involved there? of course a great deal was involved. she is i say came as a the government worker and had heroic work during the war as a nurse and went to europe after the war and discover the red cross and came back and lobbied for two decades to get the geneva conventions ratified by the senate and when they finally did ratify them it was with the american amendments which he wrote which said the red cross could go to natural disasters as well as to war zones. so anytime you see the red cross after a flood or hurricane or an earthquake anywhere in the world that's because clara barton when she went back to geneva as an
american representative of the american amendments adopted by the international red cross so there was a lot involved in founding the american red cross. i was more adjusted in the political women and i got to know a lot of them very well and i liked a lot of them a lot. one who i really very much enjoyed getting to know was farina davis, jefferson davis's wife. him, not so much that she was here as the wife, senator and a cabinet officer and all the women of washington after dolley madison died which was not until 1849 really were vying to be the chief bell. it they describe themselves as bells. one of them wrote a book about herself called the bell of the
50s and so they all knew each other. they basically all liked each other even though they lied and one of the women who they all liked enormously was adele cutts who was dolley madison's great-niece. and then she married stephen douglas the senator who defeated abraham lincoln and the famous lincoln-douglass debates and marina davis was furious that she was -- that this was happening. she wrote these letters and she said the dirty speculator and tricksters with his first wife's money buys an elegant well bred woman because she is poor and her father is proud. and she says it's a good thing there's a new water system coming to washington. so douglas may wash a little more often. [laughter] his acquaintance will build larger rooms with more perfect
ventilation. so it's great. when she did go off to richmond to be the first lady of the confederacy she stayed in close touch with their friends. lizzie lee wrote wonderful wonderful letters. her brother montgomery quit -- montgomery blair was in the camp cabinet and are father was a big adviser to lincoln and her husband samuel philip lee who was sick cousin of property lead was in the union navy and because he was in the navy she wrote to him almost every day and we have her letters. the wartime letters are published and the rest are at princeton. and they are just utterly
delightful letters. she and farina stayed in touch through the war. she was also one of the few people who prevented mary lincoln, not easy to do and mary lincoln had a tough time. it was basically a southern town they didn't like abraham lincoln and the women here thought she was kind of a rough westerner which was not fair but that was the assessment. she then made life harder for herself by being a difficult person and a one point she was accused of leaking the president's state of the union message and there was a congressional investigation of the first ladies private communications. [laughter] she had personal servers too. [laughter]
and she was accused of leaking this to the new york herald either for exchange for favorable publicity or money or depending on the rumor of the moment. but she was not a well-liked person and after the president was shot the only person she really had become friendly with as elizabeth keckley her dressmaker who was an artist. she was written about as a great personage and mary lincoln is in the white house for a couple of months crazy out of her mind after the president is shot and miss keckley is there with her. she takes her back to chicago and all that and we wrote a tell-all book. nothing changes.
[laughter] it ended her relationship with mrs. lincoln and it actually ended her business because others were worried she might write similar books. she was then able to do what she was very just and which was basic social work. when in slate people started showing up in washington trying to free themselves before emancipation and after emancipation she was a former slave herself when she saw the terrible circumstance. so she started what was called contraband relief association which became friedmans association and she was involved in getting people to help these desperately poor people because she did have the context and was able to raise money. the people who had been behind the scenes oregon doing other things were now coming forward as the war ended and so virginia clay who had been the wife of an
alabama senator and a delightful flirt and a pre-work period, she wrote a book about herself the bell of the 50s became a great sober just and was suddenly on platforms with horace greeley and william lloyd garrison people that had fought her husband during the period leading up to the war but she had, because of her experience during the war felt that she could come forward and be someone herself and use her own voice to promote a cause which had not occurred to her before the war. farina davis after jefferson davis died a long drawnout typical situation where he had been in jail accused of being one of the linking conspirators and she worked to get them out of jail. that's another thing these women showed up in the white house all the time. they would just go marching into the white house and tell off the president whoever he was.
i am so jealous, i can't tell you. [laughter] .. make his wife go away. now mainly she wanted the money, she wanted to make a living but she wanted the freedom. there is a big scandal of the first lady of the confederacy was moving to new york. she had always been a little too all of the complexity and for a perfect southern belle. so she wrote wrote to her daughter and said, i am free and 62 i'm going to move wherever i want to.
so while she was in you worksheet befriended julia grants. it was page one in every newspaper in the country. which was another great thing now, you can get these newspapers online, the online, the library of congress has a bunch of them. there they were, and what they knew they were doing was bringing about reconciliation. that's what a lot of these women were involved in. in their own face voices after the war was over. you see the tremendous impact it has had in their lives and their role of women in america going forward. in fact, clara barton said at a memorial day established by the women, she said that one of her addresses at a celebration in
the 1880s, she said because of the war woman was at least 50 years in advance of the normal position which continued peace would have assured her. so that is these women. that's a capital gains, their remarkable people and i love getting to know them and i know and i know you will too. thank you very much for being here. [applause]. their microphones at the front of each aisle of folks are appreciated if you could go to the microns because there taping this. i'm. >> i'm fascinated by dorothy's career be as at that time it was
to get the job this is one of the reasons so will services created because a congressman need something in return. so they always had a little with about it but it they still did those jobs and there were a lot of women lobbyist after the war. thank you. >> good morning. or the 20? >> i have a hard time with this and part of the reason is women didn't have the same kind of power as benjamin franklin or abraham lincoln but i can make a good case for clara barton. she is not somebody you would want to hang which frankly.
she was very worthy. an earthquake hits nepal and the red cross is there and it is because of her aunt that is true this many years later. i could make that case. [applause] >> not to change the subject too much but an inner city library used to fund raise and came across a book i paid $0.50 for, in two generations, three major religions. >> america, america. >> is there have the ending? >> 49 years this week. steve and i have hosted and i have cooked at our house for the
last 47 years and it is written for marriages. >> i have enjoyed all three of your books on women's history and i was wondering if you going to continue the journey up. >> yes. i don't know how necessarily. people say what is your next project and this book almost kills me. it is like saying mrs. roberts, you just had triplets. when is the next baby coming? i am not exactly, things rattling around, but the immediate one was here last year, the children's book of family matters, wonderfully, wonderfully illustrated book illustrated by diane good, a beautiful book, doing the sequel to that, ladies of liberty for
children, that one i can handle. >> it is good to see you. many years i have admired you. my question is did clara barn has any connection with free slaves? >> i don't have -- she was an abolitionist, she was an abolitionist but i don't have letters from her along those lines and it didn't seem to be a major issue with her. to her, i am saying. there were quite a few -- there was a woman named josephine -- >> i'm talking about clara barton. >> she was an abolitionist. it was a cause she was concerned about, but wasn't her major how
occupation. yes. yes. >> thank you for speaking. i wondered how you got access to all these letters. was that difficult? >> we have the manuscript division of the library of congress and that is a good place to go. when i did family matters it was much harder for a couple reasons. we were dealing in the 18th-century, not the nineteenth and also a lot of people felt that i was the mere journalist and what was i doing rooting around in history? i am supposed to deal with today. people were not as forthcoming as they became after that book came out. once i published, started getting more help from
historical societies, university libraries and historic homes. the library of congress was always helpful so that is, those are the main places you go. what has happened with modern technology is a helpful soul will scan a lot of the letrs and se them to use a you don't have toravel and go through that way. even once i get them. once i get them, i stand nineteenth century handwritten letters that are written this way and this way because everybody was saving paper and i can't read them very well. i had to hire somebody right to read from so they were quite deciphering, but that is the
street in itself. and the second husband's -- it is kind of a cheery, funny, flirtatious book. she wrote a diary about the same period which is far starker and it had not been published. i get that from duke university library. >> not meant for people who are 5 foot 2. coming closer, is there a way to handle gloria and world war ii? they are all over the world. we are losing the history of the war at home.
>> there have been some good world war ii women's letters, books written, we were in this war too and there is a book about the wind air service pilots from their own families. more than half of it, i kind of like dead people. long dead people. even they can be a problem. i was talking to some group about founding mothers and someone was all outraged. that i have portrayed her ancestors in an unsavory light. give it a rest. several hundred years now, and she was actually a delightful
woman but was of bit of a tramp. >> good morning, thank you so much for speaking. i was interested in your comment that you never had any intention, having that affiliation, and going through this process, how has it changed for you? you have associated or preconceptions you had of being a southerner? >> i am a southerner but i must say since i wrote this book all of a sudden my southern confederate army ancestry coming out of the woodwork. one of their uniforms showed up. i can deal with those people. the fact is i love growing up in
the south, a tremendous sense of being at home. would never in a million years tried to pretend they do not exist. i grew up as the child of civil rights supporter from the deep south in the 1960s. and it was a very -- a cross was burned on our lawn. the very tumultuous time. would never in a million years say if it does not as violent and wrong headed and immoral as it was. the war itself as i said at the beginning aside from the fact that it was a horrendous loss of life and the people who lost the most were in the south.
the area was ravaged for decades to come, but the fact is it was such a failure of the ability of politicians to do what they are supposed to do which is to bring the country together and it is the true object lesson of where we don't want to be in politics, people not able to come together and do the right thing for the good of the country and that is something worth learning over and over and over. [applause] >> there is a hook over here, very subtle hook, it says wrapped up! i am very grateful to all of you for coming. i will immediately go downstairs to sign this book.
american revolution, 1783-1789" we are down in though lobby with the professor from brooklyn college and the author of the rebellious life of mrs. rosa parks. prior to december 1st 1955, was the rosa parks rebellious? >> absolutely. that spirit started as a kid. she grows up enough home with her grandfather there is some grand -- the young sexual will sit with him another time a white bull lea pushes her and she pushes back. she believes that she should not have to be pushed her first act -- activist was
her husband and she will join in him to organize around 1932 says she will be active to join the naacp for the next tenures to lead the montgomery naacp to becoming a more activist chapter for those that have victims of sexual violence she is a seasoned rabil if you will. >> with the bus saddam was the plant? >> no. it was not but it was the of process of day culmination of many acts of rebellion the montgomery black community is thinking about filing a suit under a
different legal climate talking wrote the needs of segregation it isn't the first person arrested on the bus. you can see a trickle of people refusing to give up their seats getting arrested a woman refuses to give up her fight to employees rate per daughter. there is a series of cases to offer a new opportunity march 1955 at least it seems this will be the case the judge throws out the segregation in charges and second at the community foley does not stand behind her.
when i say it doesn't plan to it also is not a spontaneous. rosa parks makes a stand before 1955. but many bus drivers would make the black people pay in the front and then get off to read board in the back she refused she was thrown off by this bus driver who had her arrested in the others for not being willing to do that. but she is coming home from work at 6:00 at night she goes to the drugstore to board the bus and sits in the middle section that is
the doorman land where black people it is not the white section in she makes clear she is not sitting in the white section. that the black people could sit there but it is at the whim of the driver to be asked to give up their seats. the bus driver notices thus and he tell the people because for this one man to do saddam he asked them to get up the ass and get more forcefully and reluctantly they get up to be put shazar
as she could be pushed with those dimensions to think of a grandfather and she refuses so she slides over to the window and the best ever says i will have you arrested. and to think was happening in that moment when somebody makes us see and. people are getting off the bus but the police officers get on the bus and rethink about rosa parks to be quiet she is searching the shy and reserved and when the police
officers get on the bus asking why she did not move she said why do you push us around? to challenge in her by a hand in her voice. >> sova teaching of history we lurch she said of the bus in the white section. this is where you write with the turn of the century to be happy so does the incessant celebration that she was quiet and not angry. >> gone the of one hand it to be incredibly celebrated and honored but we here monday with a whole lifetime
of activism in montgomery but she has to leave my every to spend the second half of her life in detroit fighting jim-crow racism in the north. she will be active against the war than vietnam, a south african apartheid, with a whole other rosa parks and will continue to the end of her life that there is injustice to be resolved to keep friday but the way she is taught is the problem is in the past. >> how do you do your research on this book?
>> i had to do a lot of digging. em part of those caught in a dispute to get the papers to sell in a europe for one decade and tell making an incredible delegation recently paid it to the library of congress. so they are remarkable. the library of congress you can see them too redelivers you can hear her voice. i very much recommend them. >> you're spending more time of the library of congress. the rebellious slave of
mrs. rosa parks. this is the 15th year we have been live at this festival. we're at the convention center here in washington and. live from the history and biography room we will take you up there now. next we will hear from the most recent book called "the quartet" orchestrating the second american revolution, 1783-1789" and to the end conversation to be a finance year of the national book festival after that russell will talk about the internment camps from tom
[inaudible conversations] >> good morning i director of development at the library of congress. to introduce the gentleman who is more responsible to make this book festival possible the co-founder of the carlyle group and co-chairman of the national book festival, said david rubenstein. [applause] >> we're honored am
privileged to have one of the leading authors and scholars of the revolutionary war period in our country, joseph ellis. he grew up in washington went to william and mary. then got his ph.d. at yale to spend most of his academic career teaching at mount holyoke where he was dean of faculty now professor. at the university of massachusetts at amherst. and among them are the biography about john adams to win the national book award and of book of the revolutionary brothers the founding brothers revolutionary generation and what that poll is surprised
in 2001 he has written and most recently "the quartet" oddity york times best-seller list of second revolution that began 1787 not 1776. but first thanks for coming. why did you decide to focus your academic career of the revolutionary war period? what was interesting to you? >> i do seem obsess. [laughter] they asked back in the '50s why did you rob banks? he said because that is rare they keep the money. [laughter] the late 18th century is ready keep the idea is sets though wellspring the big bang the plays were values
and institutions as three continue to live as americans were created and in some sense they are like our classics as to what they were the founders are to us. >> when did you come to this realization in college? that you said i will spend buying entire career focused on the founding fathers? >> i never said that. [laughter] my wife says why are you doing this? when i was writing about jefferses she said you don't really like him. i said i have read where i went to william and mary. [laughter] >> plc has said descendant? [laughter] i am not claiming to be a
descendant but the way historians work you don't know what you will do when you start out. i started out to think of libya's southern historian and things just devolved and the guy that converted me once i got into the papers especially the of correspondence, there was a universe that i found so fascinating you wanted to keep living in it. >> what is so relevant about the founding fathers living in 2015? >> some things are irrelevant that i wish were not like members of the supreme court led by justice scalia and thomas who
believe the interpretation of the constitution must depend of the original intent of the framers. and i think that is a crazy adn and of the framers would actually agree with. it is ironic the only thing they share that their intention should not be used that way. but they are the fixed objects to do the political call isometric exercises. >> we have deified the founders washington and jefferson and adams and hamilton. >> hamilton is really big right now. [laughter]
but what do wonders in a series of human conduct people are faster or better athletes so why is it in government or state we don't have any more of those. where are these people? are they hiding or are they so unique it is a once-in-a-lifetime? >> when i am on book tour i asked a question of the audience. the population in pennsylvania curve leave twice the size of the population of the white population of virginia 7076 but if we go to the streets and look carefully, will rediscover jaffa said monroe may send patrick henry and john marshall? the answer is no.
one answer is they are there in may to inform. but you will not find them. there is of crisis theory of leadership that it only comes into existence in the times of great crisis. the problem with that we can think of a lot of great crisis that does not produce a great leader. it is impossible to argue the late 18th century had something special in the water, it was a crisis that managed to generate the most impressive group of political leaders the united states has ever had. they are all -- they are all flawed founders. if you look back for perfection to read all of
the standards of racial justice he will be disappointed. but with apologies to the greatest generation of their awhirl brokaw but this is the greatest generation in history. i can hide behind the observation that henry adams said if you look to the list of american presidents from the beginning to now but darwin got a backwards. [laughter] [applause] >> who was though one indispensable belding father? >> i have a lot invested to make the case that they function so well because they are a collective.
there is the built in checks and balances in the personalities and idiosyncrasies and ideologies if we just had hamilton you're headed to deck toward a dash dictatorship with washington towards anarchy. but there was one who was the founder of the mall they all would have agreed about this if you ask franklin, hamilton madison adams, they would all agree that washington was the greatest because of his judgment. he was not as smart. hamilton was the smartest he would have had the highest rates. [laughter] jefferson was the best red medicine and was most politically and agile and adams was the most awful about government so each had
a particular strength but they all said washington was indispensable. he was. the most indispensable thing he ever did which is what marks them is so different from all revolutionaries leaders, he walked away from power twice. he was indispensable because he made himself disposable. think about revolutionary leaders in history julius caesar, cromwell, and napoleon, stolid and, -- stolid and castro still hasn't. [laughter] the only one is the south african leader and walked away. washington and walked away and most important act of power he ever committed was to surrender power after the revolutionary war in
surprised everybody to turn in his sword thing go back to melbourne and then after to the terms he could have served a third term but he chose to go back that is why you are referring to. >> yes. >> the premise of your book. >> this is great. [laughter] understand we have a revolutionary war we finally win we signed the agreement agreement, everybody goes back to their respective states the they were operating under the confederation was in those separate countries? when did that come about? directed is they did so for most that somehow we declare independence and win a war which is a great deal.
then and ratification is the following year per korea and abraham lincoln in gives credence to a set of assumptions that are not accurate. the first clause of the first sentence of the most famous speech says fourscore seven years ago our fathers brought forth job this continent a new nation. know they didn't. dave brought forth a confederation of sovereign states provision of the united to win the war and then go separate ways which is precisely what they did. the resolution for independence july 2nd the dates adams thought should be the national anniversary that these american colonies are and have every right to be independent states. think about the arguments we
have been throwing against parliament for tenures. sovereignty rest with their respective colonial legislatures. the last things the americans want to do is create a federal government separates from the states that looks like good domestic version. they don't want to do that. the assumption that most people have that there is a natural evolution, that doesn't work. a dissent true you have to figure out how to explain how you get if most people don't wantt. >> i know if there is a
surprise but there is no internet. [laughter] they cannot communicate. i say american history is headed in a direction after the war the reputation of the continent, the e.u. rather than united states come a confederation model her going and somebody changes the direction in which american history is headed. there is a reason he has to falter to win the civil war because. >> gant to have a pretty good argument that the civil war is the second american revolution.
in in in the end the war about slavery with the confederate flag but we are not a nation in 76. patrick henry at the virginia ratified convention says suppose we should do this with the delegates. >> we have been taxed without our consent. he thinks he is a virginian but not american and. he said one to get out of philadelphia i want to go back to my country. his country is virginia. somehow we have to explain how history is headed in one direction for and heads in a national direction.
>> so during the revolutionary war to be governed by the articles of confederation to govern them through the war the war and the ready goes back to their states they wash their hands of the unity and the articles of confederation do not allow the congress to tax. >> you can bet they do not have to pay. it is voluntary for crop --. with $40 million debt with two modern miracles:is einstein's theory of relativity the other is compound interest. it will be 77 million by the time you get to 7087.
we are a banana republic and cannot pay our debts. no way we can do that. congress cannot tax with no standing army to recognize this people say this is a working and two of those were james madison and alexander hamilton. how did they come together to create something different? what about annapolis? they decided interstate commerce that the york charges a tariff to new jersey and rhode island. virginia wants to pay money to explain and for internal navigation than to get maryland and pennsylvania to contribute.
so they have this convention with a limited purpose to have some kind of an agreement. for interstate commerce. everybody is gone away by the time they get their. hamilton and madison have met each other before. hamilton from new york and medicine from virginia. this is the hamilton version of leadership. it is really great and dangerous. they just failed even to get a quorum so he writes to be sent back all of us here agree. [laughter] we need to call a convention
for the second tuesday it made to address the larger question of rights and responsibilities within the of large states to provide energy for federal government. is if he was just declare the heavyweight champion of the world and led makes more plausible in my section of massachusetts the uprising of farmers to call shays' rebellion it is really people who don't want to pay their mortgage he always
treats that as a colony though whole water supply is out with us but it is then manipulated because people think of a mysterious crisis medicine thinks this is a conspiracy but if so it is blown and the proportion it creates an atmosphere with the need for reform becomes plausible again. >> so they send this to congress under the articles of confederation why did they do that? they slit their own throat smith because that convention is not intended to replace the articles but
to reform the articles. they need to do something of a foreign policy. adams is over there as the ambassador nobody believes i can represent anybody beecher as you have no one to represent. we clear he need to do something to reform the articles. that is close to the coup d'etat those who want to have the convention and get together in the spring and they say we will only settle not for a revision in by the total replacement which is a violation washington says
the robot, unless you promise me for retirement diarist being my reputation and legacy we need to go for broke. they promised. madison organizes the plans that sets the agenda for the philadelphia convention. >> it gets to philadelphia people show up with 55 delegates. >> total secrecy no press coverage whatsoever with
anybody with what has occurred. much less the twitter people [laughter] and the reason a second convention cannot work the 55 white males get together to decide the future and you cannot stop to them. >> but this started in may through september? >> bear their roughly it was up plan to change the confinement? >> f virginia plan calls for the creation of a three-pronged temperament. the articles is not the agreement but a league of nations. he says we take the mod each state has independently adopted of an executive branch, bicameral legislature, some
states have single house legislatures and independent judiciary. that is the model for a national government. madison wants for there to be an article that allows the executive branch to veto all state legislation, and he also wants both houses of the congress to be based on representation, political, population rather than be state based. he loses both arguments. his notion of executive veto is dead on our arrival. the great compromise of the convention is so-called connecticut compromise for states in the senate by population in the house. hamilton, madison, and washington all regard that as a
huge defeat. what they get is a compromise. one reason i find myself so insistently arguing a judicial velocity based on original intent impossible is nobody got what they wanted. that is to say that the intentions of both sides, those opposing the constitution and those supporting it had to be compromised and the result is a hybrid system that is part confederation, part nation. we don't become a nation in 1787. we have a foundation for a national government. as one historian nicely put it, the federal government they created is like the roof without walls. we still aren't a nation. i don't think we become a nation until the civil war. nationalism starts to reroutes
head after the war of 1812. they create a federal structure which is partially based on states and partially federal and where that line is drawn, we can all disagree in peace about that. >> they reach an agreement after three months. they then have to send the agreement to someone to approve it, to the confederation congress to approve it, they ascended to the state conventions. what do they decide about the approval process? >> guest: in the document itself it specifies how they can be approved. it cannot just be approved by the confederation congress or the state legislatures. it must be approved by the elected ratifying collections selected in each state. that is their way of saying it has to go back to the people. it has to be ratified, a group
solely there to vote on this. and late to this game, intractable in a place where massachusetts sens which is and quakers and crazy people, they are all down there in 1787 and won't even cooperate. nobody at the constitutional convention. they boycott the convention and ratification process. >> host: ratification means nine states. >> guest: is another illegality. according to the articles, for the articles to be modified it requires the unanimous vote. they say and they say this in the document, this will be approved if nine states ratify. to give them authority to do that? nobody. they know if it is unanimous it
will never pass. it goes right out, the against everything and they make it nine the and the whole strategy for ratification, not enough americans know about this, there is a sequence of states that have their meeting this and they will vote, 1,638 delegates in 13 states will meet and argue about this, if we can get to nine there are certain states it is going to be tough, rhode island, new york, virginia is going to be tough because you have patrick henry on the other side but if we can get to nine it is over and they will have to come in. the other states have to come in so they're trying to get to nine and virginia looks like it will be the ninth state. >> at the end of the constitutional convention three
delegates, two from virginia and one from massachusetts refuse to sign because there's no bill of rights. is that a big issue in the ratification? >> guest: it is the biggest critique, the document should have had some kind of bill of rights. every state convention concludes some version of this. madison -- madison, hamilton, jay wright the federalist papers which are the most important -- >> total of 85 of them? >> 85, madison wrote 29, hamilton wrote 51, jay wrote the others, j. got hit in the head by a rock in the beginning, defending hospital that was being attacked by at mob in new york because they claimed they were doing work on cadavers which people felt was the bad thing. he got hit in the head, couldn't cooperate but j. if you wear an
investor in american statesman, go long on john j.. his reputation is going to go up not just because i have written about him favorably, but his papers are being published and all of a sudden we see a luminous presence, serenity, incredible correspondence with his wife and he is a formidable figure, when washington becomes president, he goes to jack, john jay, he says what do you want to do? any office you want is yours. everyone thinks he will go to hamilton first, no. he will go to jefferson first, he is that prominent a figure. >> didn't take any position. >> he wants to the head of the supreme court. big mistake.
>> host: ratification of occurs. >> guest: most people in the ratification conventions would have preferred to say we don't like the articles and want them to be changed but we don't really like the full changes of the constitution. that option is not available to them. it should be. madison controls this. you can make recommended amendments but they cannot be mandatory. you either vote this up or down, yes to the constitution or no. that is the only choice you got. if you voted down we are back to the articles. you can recommend amendments and if you do, this is where the bill of rights is going to get made, we will take the monday consideration. but you cannot make a mandatory.
>> host: the constitution is ratified, the ninth stage was new hampshire and virginia came next. but when they were ratified there was no requirement of a bill of rights. why did madison feel in the first congress he should draft a bill of rights? >> guest: great question. this is like the setup question. the bill of rights, we like to think of it as the american magna carta partly because it comes at the end, is us separate legal documents about defined rights and a lot of people jefferson included think the bill of rights is more important than the document called the constitution. a lot of americans think that wait too. that is not the way madison thought about it. he thought we got to add a bill of rights to take some of the recommended amendments that have been proposed by six states, there are 128 amendments. a lot of them are repetitious.
jefferson is blissfully present in paris at this time, american ambassador there. that is probably lucky because if jefferson were here based on everything he says later, he would have probably opposed the constitution. >> he thought a constitution should last 20 years in redoing every 20 years. >> guest: madison spend all those years trying to get it through in the first thing jefferson says is all constitutions should go out of existence every 20 years. >> host: if you could have dinner with any one founding father who would it be and what question would you want to ask that one founding father? >> guest: my favorite founding father is adams. not just because i have been a massachusetts man but because he is the most garrulous and
outspoken. he will tell me the truth. he will tell me what he is really thinking and what he feels towards the other. the question i would ask him now is john, now that you are sitting up in heaven, what do you really think of from. .. we have now time for questions be you talk about the process of this whole thing was kind of unauthorized. he said only nine of the 13 had to ratify, what did they think happened to the remaining four states. did they say do your own thing? you said they never actually joined. eventually a. >> eventually all this dates had
it happen. they could do do it correctly with the pressure to join. if virginia hadn't ratified, even if nine states had, that would've caused a major problem. i don't know if the unit could have functioned without virginia. it is virginia. it is the largest staple the new land, economy, population. they assumed that if you get to nine. the pressure will build. new york was 321 opposed to ratification. george clinton was opposed, there's no way to win a debate, the only way to win was kicking and screaming because they had no choice. by the way, hamilton was part of the new york debate says, if you don't come in, i'm going to get new york city to succeed and join connecticut. [laughter]
>> one of the problems was also that there's three delegates to the constitution, to work put in supporters and against the constitution. so hamilton had no influence, because every state had one vote he be outputted every time. >> as you mentioned the genius of the constitution is to change and deal with different issues at different times. do you think the founders would be shocked by the fact that today, we find it hard to pass amendments of the constitution and have to go through the supreme court for every issue. more often,. >> that's a loaded question. i think there is some consensus that the current legislation is dysfunctional. i think it is also pretty much a bureaucracy, i don't think the
founders can be blamed for this. one way you could blame them, this this is where you are blaming madison although, we don't have a parliamentary system. that is to stay, you can have a president elected and you can have another party controlled both houses of congress, as it does now and that makes for divided government. there's a believe in checks and balances that seems to be somewhat a stumbling block. i would argue, the major reasons for dysfunction are not themselves and for the function of the structure of the constitution, it's what by and large, we have done to it up here in the 20th and 20% true. the filibuster is unconstitutional, especially the form in which it is taken, and the rule by the speaker of the house may not report a build if
the parties. >> you may go into a little more detail but what would the founders think about the current state of the united states senate. with the popular election of senators but the role that says one senator creates his or her hand and now creates 60 votes to pass any item of substance. >> their differences of opinion back then about the role of the senate. i think if madison would think the way in which the filibuster has evolved in which you just
described is a violation of what he intended and he should be put before the supreme court and rendered it possible the judgment, in keeping keeping with his intent in this case, that form, a silent filibuster is unconstitutional. >> thank you very much i have read a lot of your books. in page 185 you five you mentioned veterans in your new book to tea parties. basically with that in mind, when i think of the u.s. constitution, i also think think of the age of enlightenment. , do you think basically that we need a new style, a new change in government right now, i don't think we would be able to get it. you mentioned maybe today, your.
>> your question is what. >> today's lobbyists and the executive orders do we need to do something today relative to the constitution and the way it is structured? >> oh. i'll pick something out of your question to answer. the larger answer is we are only 320 million from success in that regard. the tea parties real origins are not with the tea party of the revolution.
remember the original tea party is protesting the fact that it doesn't have any right because parliament is taxing without their consent because they don't have representatives in parliament. the anti-federalist say, were being taxed without our consent even though we have representatives. the reasoning is they don't trust the big government. they don't trust any large federal government far from their own borders and their own neighborhoods. that is the real political origin of the tea party mentality which is a constant strain in america and it takes on different names at different times. now the 21st century it is calling itself the tea party. the government is not us. you get into all kinds of conflict now, i don't want the federal government to take away my medicare,.
the if you're looking for the origins, last. >> last question were out of time. >> at the beginning of the talk you said the topics discussing today came from a great political party, what will it take the country to see that class of leaders ever again question work. >> impossible to answer that question. i would say there's only one crisis that have the potential to generate that kind of leadership. , global warming. that will grow to come as lines miami's underwater and droughts
are killing millions of people in africa and the weather is the first item on the news every night. we will have the energy to think about, in that sense global warming could become a god senate could wake us up. i want to thank you for the extraordinary talk today. >> thank you all very much [applause].
will be speaking in about 10 minutes. after that from our said that the washington convention center you can talk to tom brokaw per paul watson of call-in opportunities coming up for you. one of the things we like to do here at the festival is easier to outside line held at the national mall but to show you what looks like here at the convention center is the second year it is held inside purpose of a cross cover the advantages of the convention center is the fact it is air conditioned on a hot day and there are bathrooms. you glue so little bit of the festival feeling if you are not outside but we make it work. so just to give a sense the
third floor picture that is our set we're right here in the lobby of the convention center. there are thousands of people walking around. if it is spread out a history and biography room room, fiction authors and young adult and 275 authors are here for the 50 tiddle national book festival booktv has been life as well you'll have usual put numbers that we will also to texting if you're on your phone we will take your text as well so be prepared for that. social media is another way to talk with some of the
authors of the will begin with facebook. we have put of some videos in one of them is a 58 year retrospective some of the authors who have covered your rod facebook you can see that. also we added instagram if you want to see the pictures behind-the-scenes pictures you can follow us on instagram as well. and also we said no schedule updates. >> to send out publishing news. at booktv.
if you happened to be in the washington area, down to pick up your 50th anniversary edition books that -- book bag these are very popular i think we give away 50,000 on one side is says national book festival with a'' by thomas jefferson that is the theme of this year's book festival i cannot live without books. here is what looks like where it says booktv. as we get ready for the next author speaking in the history and biography room that is on the third floor the room is starting to fill a.
focuses on catalog related issues, obviously were here for different issues today. it is my pleasure to introduce jan russell, author of train to crystal city, fdr secret exchange program in america during world war ii. mrs. russell is also the author of ladybird, biography of mrs. johnson. the mrs. johnson. the editor of live to tell the tale. three stories of modern adventures from legendary explorers club, i should point out she is signing books from 18:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the lower level where books will also be for sale. she was born in beaumont texas and grew up in small towns in east texas, her her father was a minister of music in a southern baptist church. she pursued of current social work.
at the young age of 16, she had had a part-time job in a weekly newspaper, she attended the university of texas where she graduated in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. she had a brief reporting stent on the morning news. in 1973 she was the political reporter at san antonio light, she joined the hearst bureau with a focus on texas politics. she was a fellow in harvard college in 1984 studying american literature. when she returned to texas in 1985, she joined texas monthly magazine as a magazine is a senior editor. in 1999, her highly praised by a biography of lady bird johnson was published. this trailblazing history highlights little to recognize
her understood national, international and social psychological issues surrounding texas. it appeared in january 2015. mrs. russell is also a member of the texas institute of letters and philosophical society of texas. she is vice president of gemini length a literary organization. somehow she is is also found time to serve as the vice president of a foundation which works with contemporary artists. she is a certified first-degree black belts in the media which combines martial arts, modern dance arts and yoga set to music. she lives in san antonio with her husband and she is the mother of two children. she also has two stepdaughters. and a step son-in-law.
without further do, please join me in welcoming mrs. russell to the stage. [applause]. >> it is such an honor for me to be here and the first time at the national book festival. i would like to thank the library of congress and each one of you who calm. don't. don't worry that i'm a black belt. you're safe, as you may have heard i have a long history in journalism but i want to start by explaining what interests me most as a writer. i've always been interested in the literature of witness, witnessing the women's movement and as you have just heard a sort of political scandals and taxes of which there no end. and a lot of wheeler dealer scandals and conspiracy theory. i like the intellectual and emotional intimacy interviewing
people face-to-face. upholding, i like the silence between talking interviews as it gives me a chance to reflect and to wait. the second thing that has always and for my work is the subject, articulated in the biblical book of job that confronts the universal question, why did good people suffer. in fact why do all of us suffer? how can the suffering be endured and more than that, the path that transforms the resilience. in 2010, when i started the train of crystal city, by the way crystal city is not a metro stop in my book. it is a small town in texas. i began interviewing child
survivors of the camp who are now in their 80s and 90s. to take something from the distant past and most of it largely unknown and to explore with living characters, survivors seem to me and a possible prospect to pass up. i like to run through some photos of my characters, i ask you to serve as witness as we explore the characters in my book. so i began. i began my book 40 years ago when i was a young student at the university of texas. the guy in the left, allen was the dean of architecture and it was my job as a member of the daily texan, he was part of my
beat. when i first met alan i had never before seen an asian person so i asked him where he was from. he said california. but he then said he understood and explained that he was japanese-american. so i asked him a question people in texas always ask and that is how did you get to texas? he he said my family was in camp he or. and i being a good baptist girl at the time, not so good now, i said well church camp? [applause]. and he said not exactly. over the course of our long relationship he explained to me that he and his family were in the crystal city camp. so i always knew even from 18 years
old about the camp, i knew it existed, but it was something that was in the back of my mind. after i learned that alan had died, i decided to take this on. i was very sorry that i had not gotten more information about the camp so i dug down and i dug deep. almost all of you know about the executive order 9066, in 66, in which 120,000 japanese, two thirds of them american were put in relocation camps. this is a very beautiful photograph of this very famous photographer of one of the characters in my book being rounded up on the streets of san francisco. this is the cuda family, the little girl holding the doll is standing next to her mother. you can see the army people putting them on the bus.
this is a photo of them after reverend kudo was a rested, they are going to the camp that they will go to before they go to crystal city. i always had this a photo over my desk when i worked because it seemed to me kind of up madonna childhood about the effect of war on civilians and in this case, innocent civilians. i love the look of humanity on mrs. cuda's face as she gathered her children around. most of you know about these war relocation camps, crystal city was a very special camp. it was the only camp during world war ii that housed germans and german-americans, japanese
and japanese americans and a few italians and i telling americans. what happened is in 1939, roosevelt we were still in the grip of isolationism but he realized the war was coming. so he authorized a division called the special war problems division to begin figuring out how from the ground up japanese and germans in that sense, fathers that could be traded for people behind enemy lines in war zones. so in 1939, j edgar hoover was given the task of coming up with leaders in the german community and in the japanese community who were after pearl harbor immediately rounded up, the camp in crystal city became the
center of the president prisoner exchange program because people of all over the world, and literally all of the world came to crystal city and the government said to them, we will reunite you with your families but if we need to repatriate you, then you have to sign this document saying that you would agree to go. that was the price for reuniting their family. my book focuses on two families, one german-american and one japanese-american and i'm going to show you the face of sumi. she is a japanese-american, now she is 90 years old, here she is with a ribbon in her hand,
standing in a right dress, with her father tom who is a photographer in los angeles, he was the most successful japanese photographer in california, that's the reason he was immediately arrested because of the government was very was very concerned about anyone taking photographs of military things. he was taken, all of the men were arrested and were about enemy aliens. none of them ever had charges filed against them so they never knew why they're arrested. the terms of their internment was indefinite which made them eager to find a way to give out of interment even if it meant going into war with japan.
there were no lawyers allowed to them and so it began pursuing his family. the second one that i focus on is ingrid, this this is a photo of her parents who are german immigrants, living illegally in the united states and when they were married in a little town of west virginia. this is a photo, ingrid is the one sitting on the chair with her mother, this is a photo after they were arrested and taken from them, it was a matter of two months they had lost their house because they didn't have any money to pay for their house. this is their last moment in their house before they go to crystal city. ingrid had lovely long red, golden hair.
her mother decided for some reason to give her a perm the night before. so she always called this the unfortunate permanent shot. the camp opened in 1942, over the course of the lifetime from 1942 until 1948, three years after the war was over, 6000 men, women, and over, 6000 men, women, and children came on the train to crystal city from places in latin america and places from the weston east coast. i want to tell you about the camp itself. it was earl harrison, he's the guy on the left he was the head of the ins to find a location for this camp. it needed to be
someplace outside where the media wasn't around, it needed to be not too close to military installations. it needed to have train access and access from latin america. he was an unlikely candidate for this, he was a philadelphia lawyer, a very smart guy who actually, he and his wife had actually kept jews in their house who were trying to get out of germany. so he was a very good hearted man, one of the nuances of the book is how hard he worked to make the camp in crystal city, and manageable for the children of the camp. the other guy you can hardly see him in the photo, joseph is an
irish-american from buffalo who had gone through a bad divorce and was looking for a place to run away. when people like that existed they often go to texas. so he did in fact go to texas. the camp was 240 acres, it had bungalows, according to the geneva convention you're not supposed to have multiple nationalities in your camp but we did have it in crystal city and the german side a camp was one, the japanese was the other. this photo, came from warner ulrich who was five years old when they came to the camp. he has taken a very special interest in trying to get all the bungalows lined up with the name so people were in it. i show you these photos because in
my research for this book i often thought is this really true? do we really do this, and widen anybody ever talk about this so i'm showing you the photos to prove that it did exist. this is another view of the camp from the aerial, you can see it's not very, there is nothing around it. crystal city is one of the poorest cities and taxes, it's located 35 miles from the mexican border but you could see the lights from the camper mexico which, add night people from mexico could see the lights of the camp here. everybody in the camp lived behind barb wire, the camp was with both texas rangers and board patrol rangers boarded the
camp. the penalty for escape was a death. everybody knew it and smartly, and the entire history of the camp no one ever attempted to flee. the kids in the camp, who this may sound crazy but some of their best memories are at the camp because they were with their family, they did not know why they were there, at the camp had three schools. a school called the american school where you got an american education. this was taught by school teachers from texas, many of those school teachers had husbands fighting in europe and in japan so their kindness to these children is something to be marveled at. there is also a japanese, this is sumi at the bottom, she was in the american school, they had sports and things like that. sumit was a strong leader and in
texas that we usually call that a cheerleader but that was the way it was. there she was, she was in girl scouts. there she is. it's the german the hair place for the germans. everybody worked in the camp and raced food, there was ice that came every morning so she had to bring the ice to the camp and things like that. everybody worked. when you are in, if you're a citizen of japan and you are in a camp you are allowed to display this, your own home country's flag. here are some japanese people doing that.
in the camp this caused a great deal of conflict between the german side of camp and the japanese side of camp. the japanese women ran the mattress factory, those of you familiar with war relocation camps know this happened in more relocation camps as well. everything was made there, so everybody was very busy. which was good. there is a story behind this photo, the japanese liked their own kind of food so they went to o'rourke to find the camp and said we need a place to make tofu. they were a long way firm tofu and crystal city so they turned a victory head over to it in the japanese people figured out how to make tofu. so we had to surely what was the first tofu
factory in texas at a crystal city camp. when that happened the german said well if they get tofu, we want beer. so there's the beer garden and issued an order that you could only make beer once awoke. this rule was often broken in the camps. in order to irrigate the vegetable gardens of farms, they built an enormous pool. this was an incredible source for the children in the camp because it became their swimming pool. in summer, it's 125 degrees in crystal city so they were all in their scorpions and rattlesnakes and these people came from the east coast and west coast, it was hell. so the swimming pool became their place of total comfort. it
also became a place of a lot of traveler g, i don't want to give up too much of you have not read the book. there were several very sad drownings in the pool, so there you have it. this is a photo i love, it's a photo of japanese and japanese-american immigrants. you can't tell which one was which. giving a christmas tree, i love this because it's that face of humanity of people struggling to overcome their boredom, their
1942, the second, the second in 1943 sumi and her parents were scheduled to be exchange them. two more in 1944, one in february, one in december. the final exchange in january 8 when ingrid and her family were traded into war. this is sumi, once she was traded into japan. her father by this time has grown a beard and looks more japanese to us. this is sumi, but the great part of my book is as soon as the americans occupied japan, sumi and all of these kids from crystal city were in songhai.
they went to the army and said can you give us a job, we are americans. they work to be their families even though in japan, these people were considered spies. they were stoned, et cetera. they eventually all made their way back, the situation, here sumi with her children, her husband was with the member of the 4/42 which was an all japanese brigade in world war ii, she lost her husband then and has raise the six beautiful children, every single one of them went to college. she is very proud of them and she told me they're going to ask how did you do it, how did you live through it and she said tell them i'm one tough cookie.
these are ingrid's two younger younger sisters, the same thing happened when they got traded. ingrid and her brother got jobs with the military and they made their way back and rebuild their lives here. i've often asked myself if pres. obama had traded me tonight to syria, if i be fighting to get back to the united states. these children these children fought very hard for their american citizenship and their resilience is so inspiring to me. i'm not going to talk about that right now, we are running out of time this is ingrid and her first husband who thought he was a german-american and was enlisted when war broke out and fought in germany against the germans. isn't she beautiful. this is ingrid with her family and this is my last photograph
with ingrid should, she die before the book was finished. it's a source of sadness for me. before we get to questions and i talk too long, i want you to know a little bit why this book mean so much to me. it taught taught me so much about how one suffers. none of the 50 kids i interviewed everest why this happened to them. their question was how do we transform what has happened. the japanese, there may be some people who know they have this incredible word which means to persevere on endurable situations in a way you practice this is you practice whether it's calligraphy or meditation, or tea ceremony. you do something every day to
give your soul and enough strength to get through the next day. in so many ways this book was mine and i'm very grateful for this practice. i was inspired by the children who obeyed the first commandment, they did honor their mother and father even though they took them into war. at the the same time they never lost faith in the country that had in fact betrayed them. i was inspired by the american officials in crystal city who had a very difficult job to do and did the very best they could to make a very bad situation work. i will take some questions. thank thank you very much, i hope this has been a little, i hope you'll read the book. and. and thanks. can i take questions? [applause]. >> my life is now divided from
before your book and after your book because when anybody ever says can you believe xyz happens, i said you don't know what happened in crystal city. i was absolutely astonished when you didn't mention, and i think the audience would appreciate hearing how our government collaborated witsouth american government to kidnap people, bring bring them here and arrested them once they're here for being here illegally. the second thing is a question, i don't understand how crystal city was allowed to continue in existence until 1948. i just kept scratching my head saying the war was over, why were they released? >> these are two great questions. the book is very complicated, my take on it is quite new. my father fought in world war ii, i'm very glad we won world war ii. but the situation there, all the
were off the books, roosevelt had initiated the good neighbor policy in latin america. once the war broke out, conversant fbi agents to 12 different latin american countries. we were looking for people to exchange on the way exchange works, you try to give, the prisoner exchange is a useful diplomatic tool in war. but when you do it, you try to get a low value exchange e for a high-value american, so you are doing that. roosevelt was trying to get low value people and there were about 4000 germans from these countries, incredibly 80 women women of them jews who
fled. they were taken, put on a blacklist that the fbi had and the army came up to where they were, they deposited them at the port of new orleans, the moment they sat on american soil they were arrested for being an illegal alien. they were then taken to crystal city. many of those were traded. that was the nature of it. the other thing is, roosevelt was quite worried about the panama canal, he wanted his military forces in these latin american country, what happened to these people is a many those people were very wealthy in peru, their homes and their houses, their businesses were confiscated by their home governments.
that's another reason they tried to do it. the second question was, i forgot, one second. what was the second question question mark. >> how did it continue to's existence in the 1940s. >> no to obama, it's easier to open camps than to close it. this is happening right here now. so truman, inherited fdr's camp he attempted to deport, if if you got these people here, he attempted to deport the remaining people in crystal city. by the time the war was over the people who are still left they didn't really want to go back. they knew, all the news was censored in the camp so they didn't know that germany lost or that japan lost until they got there and just lived it. so they began to hire lawyers to keep from being deported and it
dragged on until finally they deported as many as they could and then they left the rest go including reverend who was the first person that i showed. so it's a mess, once you have a camp or whatever you want to call it, then how do you close it. >> you had japanese american and german-american citizens who then traded back to their country their ancestors leaving american pows. why were citizens being allowed to take on the country voluntarily. >> most of the ones, the way it worked in the case that you just as the father and mother were legal residents. >> and matt.
museum a list of 300 jews, and german jews that were part of the last exchange. by the time they left there were only 100 left because two of those living holocaust survivors are in this book so in that case it is the total catch-22 of war in that you have an american, german and american from cleveland, ohio traded for irene, a german jew from germany when it was supposed to be the other way around and when these two women found out they will like wow and so yes, it is very very hard to believe, mind-boggling. is that it?
yes, sir, please. >> i never heard of this so i am interested in reading your book. but i had a cousin by marriage intern with his parents, he was japanese-american. his mother was mexican. his father pledged loyalty to the united states, was sent over to fight with the americans, they had to remain in the camp because the sun had japanese blood and was kept in the camp. >> i was so shocked. i was so shocked to know that if i had adopted, if you had adopted, if i had adopted a japanese child my child would have been taken from me. it was about the blood which is
that terrible scar for us. with the german to return to was more like the occupation. en engineer was a very high value trade because the hoover's theory was if you can build a bridge you can blow it up. so that made him automatically on a list of people who had to be taken. you are next, we are almost out of time but thank you. for this audience it would be worth you telling a little bit about the adjournment american efforts to have recognition about this. >> from san antonio, there are
others here. president reagan did the right thing when he delivered an apology to all the japanese that were in turned including the japanese people that were interned in crystal city and they were compensated for this terrible act of injustice. the german american community for a variety of reasons there is no one who ever apologized about 300,000 german and german americans that were in turn. you probably had different camps, what you learned about in pathetically bad history books in school. and they made the argument,
there was probably something wrong with you because it wasn't the blood issue, it was a race issue. it was an ethnic issue. what is the difference between race and ethnicity? i am not sure but that is what they said. the second reason is the german people, the kids i interview now, they feel they terrible, terrible shame at having been arrested. many of the people, my research was getting the fbi files of these fathers declassified so kids learn, their fathers not charged with any crime. there were letters to the journey general -- attorney general, he said we didn't rescue the as you have done anything wrong. we are arrested you because you
are a citizen of a country that your country, your adopted country is at war with. it is just like that ended is on that basis that all aliens are arrested in time of war. so there is a new effort now among some of the german american children to attempt, they don't want any money, they would like an apology for what happened to their parents. the likelihood of that happening is very long that they are still trying to do that. >> my question goes to profits. who profited from the construction of the camp? was their money involved? where it their competitive bids? >> the camp before it was a camp owned by the federal government as a place for migrant workers to come and so it was already in
the government's control. i don't think there was colloid of money, if you went through lots of records on how much it cost to the swimming pool and things like that but it was just local people. i don't think there was a a tremendous amount of financial profit. there was a lot of political profit but not financial that i know of. thank you very much. i would like to close with one thing about the witness situation. i ream harrisonburg was a holocaust survivor saved in the last exchange. when i interviewed her she is that serious worker for peace in the world and we got to talking about witnessing each other's
pain no matter and she has this situation where if she and some other jewish holocaust survivors meet with palestinians and tell each other their stories and she says to me at the interview enemies are people whose stories you haven't yet heard and whose faces you haven't yet seen. that seems to me to be the heart of the literature of witness. my gratitude goes to my characters who had the courage after so many years to tell their stories, show their faces and attempt to make meaning of their suffering. may it be so for all of us. thank you so much. [applause] [inaudible
c-span2. the fifteenth annual national book festival held in washington d.c. the fifteenth year in a row booktv has been lively did began in 2001, two days before 9/11 and was held at the national mall for many years. we are at the convention center. this is the second year in a row that it has been held inside. in a couple hours the winner of the national book award will be the next speaker, you will hear from the history and biography routes but if you want the full schedule you can go to booktv.org. we are bringing three call in guests to you and the first one is two time pulitzer prize winner david mccullough who joins us, the wright brothers is his most recent book, his most recent bestseller. who funded the right brothers?
>> they did. their only funding they had was what they took from there rather modest earnings and they not only defended their efforts but they virtual made everything that they were in need of to created the first flyers they built and the first flying machine as they called it. with the exception of the motor for the flying machine which was made of aluminum, their idea, a small startup company as we would call it today in the boat, alcoa, aluminum co. it was the first aluminum engine ever built. when it was first used it split
and rather than saying that is not going to work, they said build another one. so the second one did and split. it produced more horsepower than they expected. wonderful example not only of their innovative capacity to solve problems, when something didn't work they didn't give up. they never gave up about anything. their perseverance against the odds is a life lesson that i think we can all benefit from. >> host: we want to give you a chance to talk to david mccullough, truman, johnstown floods, has written about paris and the right brothers is his most recent book, 202-748-8200, 748-8201 for those in the mountain and pacific time zones. we also are taking texts.
if you want to text an ideal or questions to david mccullough, 202, 465-6842 is the number, you can also contact us via social media. we will put those addresses up as we talk. you say they were self funded. did they die welt the? >> guest: yes they did but not superrich like some of the robber barons of the day. orville more so than wilbur. wilbur died very early, tragically in 1912. he never really lived to see great income money. they were never in it for the many. they were in it to -- they have been raised that the good life is a life of high purpose and they selected this as their objective and they were not bothered by the fact they had no
money, not bothered by the fact that they had no college education, were not bothered by the fact that people thought they were crackpots, they were made fun of and ignored even by the press, even after it they had proven that they could fly an airplane. >> host: after december 1st, 1903? >> guest: it took five more years until 1908 that the world was willing to admit that human beings could fly. it didn't happen in this country. it happened in france because the federal government in washington nor the press or anybody else wanted to accept the fact that these men had done something miraculous. one of the most difficult and presumably impossible technological problems ever in history and by doing so changed
history, change the world in a way no one else ever had. much more than the intention of the telephone or light bulb or other things that were happening. >> host: how do you pick your topic? truman, the right brothers, the johnstown flood? >> guest: i really don't know. something happens and it clicks and i think that is it. with this one it happened because i had just finished the book on americans who went to paris to perfect their abilities as architects, doctors, painters, sculptors, writers because the training of the kind they needed was available in our country, there were no schools, medical schools way beyond those in europe. medical school in paris was the greatest in the world. i took that up until 1900.
but i got so intrigued with this and little known fact of american life that i've is thinking of carrying it into the 20th century, the second volume and in doing so i found out about the wright brothers in france, that they are meant to be in dayton, ohio. once i started reading about them as human beings, not just as miracle workers, this is a book i want to do. skip to paris in the twenty-first century and just the right brothers. i thank my lucky stars that i did because it is selling everywhere. so infinitely fascinating. so many surprises. about how different they were from what most people imagine. >> host: fred in new york, you
are the first caller for david mccullough. ask your question. >> caller: hello. >> host: we are listening, please go ahead. >> caller: just finished your book on the right brothers and i didn't realize a piece of their plane went up with neil armstrong in 1969. >> guest: i couldn't hear. >> guest: i think he said something about a just finished your book and that there was a piece of the plane taken to the moon with neil armstrong? >> guest: yes. he carried a piece of the canvas, the covering of the wings with him to the moon. he didn't leave it there. they took it as a symbol of their heritage if you will.
and gratitude for what the right brothers had done. they saw it as an extension of what the redoing was an extension of what the right brothers started and what is so very interesting is that neil armstrong also came from the sedum -- the same section of ohio that the right brothers did this southwestern ohio. the first human beings ever to fly in a motor powered aircraft, the first human beings to set foot on the moon came from the same neighborhood as it were in ohio. >> host: crisp in tampa says what was the competition initially and were they aware of it? >> guest: the competition was comparatively modest until then and they were aware of it. most of it was in france and they were also aware that they were way ahead of the
competition. soaring birds, they figured out a solution to the problem and they called it wind warping. when they went to france to demonstrate what they had achieved, the great french aviators all said we are but children compared to them. they are so far ahead of us it is almost heartbreaking but they also felt immense respect for what they had achieved. >> host: next call from steven in quincy, ill.. >> i am honored to ask david mccullough a question. why did president adams, who had been a great attorney and fair and reasonable man, ever signed
the sedition act comment and why was that act enforced during his presidency so vigorously against the supporters of thomas jefferson, many of whom were in prison for criticizing john adams and his administration? >> guest: signing the sedition act was a grievous mistake by president adams but he never got involved, he realized though he never said so but is apparent from his actions that this was a mistake and he had nothing to do with it. it was wrong, it was against the american faith as it were, but if you look at how relatively few people were in fact in prison, it was a mild mistake rather than a mistake of great
consequence. i don't know a president who didn't make a mistake in office. it is a shame when they do, but then again history is about human beings. >> here is another text from the indianapolis area. which president had the most consequential career after the presidential term ended? >> guest: john quincy adams. he went back and served in congress and that was his star performance. he was for all the right things and fought for them until his dying day and he died with his boots on on the floor of the house of representatives. john quincy adams is a vastly underrated american. we don't give much attention to one term presidents and he was
the very great man. i think intellectually, high q level, may have been the most brilliant human being to occupy the office. >> host: 202 if you want to text in a question 465-6842 is that number. next call comes from tom in florida. >> caller: good morning. my question is my father in law was the manager of the right aircraft factory in 1916. did david mccullough learn anything about him, milton wind. >> guest: i wish i could say yes but no, i don't. my book really ends in 1910 when oral and wilbur wright decide they have achieved what they set out to do but there for they can
take a flight to get their on the same plane. until then they never knew that because if one were killed they wanted the other to be alive to carry on with their mission. and it was a mission they gave total devotion excluding almost everything else to achieve it. they never married, never went on vacations, they were totally committed to their work. much the way their father was committed to his work, his mission, for them their objective to fly, control themselves in the air was a mission, wasn't just for the misunderstandings about the wright brothers, not just that they invented the airplane, which would be a phenomenal accomplishment.
they learned to fly it. the first test pilots ever and they were testing something no one else ever tested because the world never had such a machine available. >> host: what is the next book? >> guest: i don't know. got some good ideas? >> host: my idea is to take this call from kathy in illinois. you are on with david mccullough. >> caller: i thoroughly enjoyed the right brothers. a further appreciation, the -- what took will perhaps help down, did they make a difference screen ailerons and the wing warping? or was that never resolved? >> guest: the aileron was in existence, not long after the wing warping.
they knew about at, it was superior. the enron came into use shortly afterward. and is used the enron. they thought what was done was what was necessary at the time. had they lived longer, might have changed over to an aileron. and the business problems down to the point -- i don't think there's any question about it, yes. he was washed out, they were worried about it, very pale, very on edge and contracted typhoid. it is like a greek tragedy
because their father warned them all their lives since they were little boys beware of bad water. we take clean water, pure water for granted but it wasn't by any means. one of the perils of that earlier day. >> host: this text from matthew asks i recall david mccullough saying president's big kennedy was aspired to public service and following his dreams, in this part of his life, how he change career paths. >> guest: i would be delighted to. it has been not very long time since a president of the united states has called upon us all to do something for our country. too often telling us what they are going to do for us. when president kennedy in made that summons, gave that
magnificent summonsed in his inaugural address i took it entirely too hard and had a good job in new york working for time and life and gave it up to come to washington to do something in some way to serve my country and i wound up working at the u.s. information agency which was a wonderful organization which also at that point with my very good luck was being run by edward r. murrow. for the next few years as long as kennedy lived, i had a huge privilege, graduate school glory, working under edward r. murrow. and working on a particular air project to discover materials for the library of congress and
suddenly found myself to write a book. and research and writing and this is what i want to do the rest of my working life. >> host: up next richard in north carolina, you are on booktv with david mccullough. >> i appreciate the many books you have written especially of the right brothers. i am a proud daytonan and my grandmother in new the right brothers and called them the crazy bicycle boyce. i was going to ask you, wright-patterson air force base, a reasonable place for them to learn to fly when they could have done its in dayton. >> guest: your grandmother was among a large crowd that thought they were wackos, crackpots.
they would say they're nice young men but a little off their bounds. it is eight miles out of dayton. part of the wright-patterson air force base, because it is part of the air force base it has been preserved the way it was and what went on is far more important than people realize. the plain they flew in kittyhawk in 1903 was not a practical airplane yet. it took three more years to develop practical airplane so vaughn real airplane come as we would say, that people could learn to fly, was born at the prairie. >> host: new jersey text, do you think the right brothers
hindered progress of the navy--american aviation? >> guest: no. no more so than alexander graham bell ended the use of telephones for the development of the telephone or alexander graham bell's patents stalled the use of the telephone. no. all you have to do is look at what happened to aviation. with an almost no time the right brothers, the planes they had developed was not recognized as a reality until 1908. the plane used in world war ii, world war i was vastly different than what they had flown an inch the more advanced plane had developed in those seven years,
eight years since the wright brothers's plane was recognized to be at reality. as the acceleration of progress was beyond anyone's imagining where charles lindbergh flying the atlantic in the 1920s, orville wright lived to see jet propulsion, jet engines, rockets, he lived to see the horrible devastation caused by airplanes used as weapons in world war i and world war ii. wilbur wright did not see world war i. he died in 1912. he didn't hold back the advance of aviation whatsoever. >> host: karen calling from dallas, pa.. >> caller: thanks for taking my call. i wanted frank micciche -- david mccullough to know how often i have read his books and enjoyed the. my question is why did it take americans so long to get behind the right brothers and their
ideas? the french seemed to get on board quickly. and i wondered why. thank you. >> guest: the most dramatic example of how blind warehouse, is if you were flying complain almost every day when weather permitted just we miles outside of dayton and reporters and editors from the day newspapers to see themselves what was happening. some years later, how can that be? it was happening under your nose, i guess we were just plain stupid. the first person, the first eyewitness to publish an
accurate account of their flight, this immensely important breakthrough changing history was the beekeeper in northeastern ohio who drove to see for himself what was happening down in dayton, saw what was happening and wrote an article about it for is beekeeper's journal and that was the first complete accurate account that the airplane had arrived ever published. by at beekeeper who was very interested in whatever was going on that was create of whether it was in any field. he was not blinded by what he had come to feel was what everybody knew. like the king has no clothes. somebody had to say it.
is real, it is here. tom hanks is going to be making a movie, a miniseries for hbo based on this book, and i can't wait to see who gets cast as a mess. i have some ideas. i was hoping paul giamatti because he does that kind of a part. >> host: will you have any input? >> guest: very much so as i did with the adams series. and i think the world of tom hanks and dino what beautiful work he does and all the people who work with him, some of the best people i've ever worked with in my life. >> this is a text from the philadelphia area. i-man aspiring writer, background in history and education. i admire excellent story telling and brilliant research.
the question, how did you find your voice? in huntsville, alabama. >> guest: i assume you mean my voice as a writer. my writing. there's only one way to learn how to write and that is to sit down and write and write and the right and learn to edit yourself. that is the hardest part of it all. you have to separate the writer you from the editor you. let that editor show that much of the road this difficult prose how to make it work. and put it on a shelf for a couple weeks or more. you will see things about it that you didn't see when you were writing it. another very helpful way to learn to write his to have
someone read it aloud, tried to write for the year as well as the i. since you will hear things about it that you don't necessarily see. repetition of certain words or certain kinds of sentences, or the fact that you become very boring. you will hear that. my wife has read to me everything i have written for the last 50 years and still does and that means she reads it may be three, four times because i one draft after another. and always always i hear things, she hears things. >> host: you enjoy the book tour? >> guest: it is very gratifying. no writer could survive without
readers. i am dependent upon readers, not caring to meet your customers, i love to hear what they think and what they like about what i have done or what they feel might have been better or what they would like me to write about the next time. >> host: next call from tom in dublin, indiana. you are on with david mccullough on booktv. >> caller: i love your books. i live in indiana and the vision in my little town, wilder was born a few miles from here. surprised to learn all the support the father and sister gave the brother. i was a little saddened at the end that orville and his sister
had a falling out. i was wondering if that was never resolved or not. >> host: who was the bishop? >> guest: their father was a bishop in the church. the sister was catherine, the youngest of the family children. yes, i was very surprised to learn how important the father was, how important the sister was, and one of the joys of my work on this project was to bring both of them front and center because they were part of the joint effort and you can't leave people like that out. the system was far more important than people realized. i personally feel if she hadn't been there, hadn't been part of
it, the story would not have come out, she was always there when they needed her, to keep their spirits up when they often needed that and she was very bright and funny and can be very sharp if she thought somebody wasn't the hitting and somebody should be a. the father was inspiration of their lives, never lost faith in them. didn't really understand the technology they were working with. very few people did. it wasn't just that they were bicycle mechanics. they were brilliant business, and aeronautical engineers solving problems, intellectual problems that nobody at polytechnic institute and massachusetts institute of technology or the smithsonian had gotten anywhere near as far as they did and yet they had
never been to college, never finished high school but that never held them back. wilder was a genius. i don't think there is any question about it and that is important to understand. >> host: andrew in virginia, are you surprised teddy roosevelt did not embrace the right brother is directly? >> he did and he didn't. he had the nerve, the courage to go down in the submarine, first president to go down in a submarine which was not a safe thing to have done then. it was leaked from the white house to the press, across the
river, to go up with orville wright when he was doing demonstration flights, and orville wright was very upset by that and told people he didn't think the president of the united states should take such a risk but insisting on it, he would do it. in a few days later, young thomas, a lieutenant in the army went up with orville and orville crashed. had theodore roosevelt chosen to go over and go up as he apparently wanted to do he might well have been the one that was killed. >> host: a text suggestion for your next book. how about your bio? >> guest: that might be awful steamy. i might. i have a lot of stories to tell
about people i met along the way and people i have been so grateful to for the help they have given, the windows they have thrown open and the friendships i have made. and things i have learned about how to go back. >> host: robert in indiana, you are on with david mccullough. this is booktv on c-span2. >> caller: i am a big fan, so much about history. >> host: rich in michigan. i you with us? please go ahead. >> caller: my wife and i had the opportunity to see you speak in dearborn, michigan. i would like to harken back to
your earlier book, you refer to paris as one of the centers of medical research, why france? why paris? that type of research, very expensive, why was it being carried out there? what changes were taking place in france? >> guest: the french were ahead of us in medicine, technology, science, the french also had the best medical training in the world and so that was not available here. the harvard medical school for example was pitifully small, inadequate, and part of the problem was the cadavers were illegal in much of our country so there for anyone who wanted to understand anatomy and
dissection or anything of the kind was limited in the opportunity to do so because all the cadavers were sold on the black market as it were, they were very expensive so even the dr.s themselves didn't have access to cadavers to show the workings of the human body are put together. in france there was no such rulings. they could spend days doing nothing but bisecting bodies. one of the beneficiaries of that experience was oliver wendell holmes sr. who went on to become one of the living figures of harvard medical school who specializes, who taught anatomy and dissection. but that is only one example. we are far more indebted to the
french in many fields than we realize. medicine is one of the clearest of all. >> host: how much time do you spend in paris? >> guest: a great deal but not as much as people would imagine. when i was getting my information and material, the letters these young medical students wrote home or the reminiscences they published years later. many of them were the sons of dr.s, faber in the forefront, experimentation and in the united states did not want to be left behind so they don't just write home about how they're doing fine and working hard and staying out of trouble but what they were learning every day, those letters are absolutely
phenomenal and still available at harvard medical school library in boston. >> host: last question or comment for you. who was the last president to write his own speeches, what are your thoughts on modern presidents and their gaggle of writers and handlers? >> guest: my guess is fear roosevelt. i think the presidency, the power of the president to communicate with the country is somewhat diminished by it that. skews me. that is not to say some presidents since have written some of the most powerful parts of their speeches they have made
or pronouncements they have issued. john kennedy was the very good writer. the strongest phrases are when they are speaking from the heart and not somebody's a script. some presidents had wonderful writers for their scripts. ronald reagan, but also wrote for george h. w. bush when he became president and of course kennedy's ghost writers and franklin roosevelt, great speeches. words are much more important than many people realize. i remember when hillary clinton was running of the last time and
she accused her competition just using words, using words is a huge part of leadership. the great presidents have all had that power of communication, lincoln, theodore roosevelt, jack kennedy, words matter, words in dur and they carry on in the following generations. we still quote. martin luther king without the power of his words. that is why it is so important we learn to use the english language. one of the startling marvelous aspects of the right brothers was the quality of the letters they wrote, not just that they were correct grammatically, they were powerful, they were effective, they were clear, they could be very funny, they could be very touching.
they were incapable as the collection at the library of congress proves, they were incapable of writing a short letter or a boring one. if you want to get inside their lives which is what i wanted to do, as human beings, that is we're it is. what they put down on paper in the english-language. i would have wanted to have written my book about the wright brothers even if they had not succeeded in their mission to fly so much is there to learn of their attitude toward life and the value of having purpose in life, the value of remaining modest. modesty is so out of fashion today that it is disheartening for particularly among our political aspirants. you were brought up to the modest. you didn't brag. you didn't act like you were
bigger than your boobs. you didn't fit. you didn't tell lies. you had good manners. the right brothers were bicycle mechanics, never went to college, never had any wealth, were gentlemen if every there were gentlemen, the rich gentlemen. when they got to europe and became famous and were associated with royalty and the wealthiest people in the world they never felt the least inferior because they had been raised to behave as gentlemen or, why should they feel inferior in any way? certainly they were as well read as anybody of their time, maybe better. >> host: anytime you are in washington and want to talk to our audience we would love to have you come over and take calls. >> guest: you want to be careful about saying that. thank you very much. >> host: up next we will talk to tom brokaw, his most recent book
[inaudible conversations] >> lucky life interrupted is tom brokaw's most recent book. let's start with a text for the viewer. how are you feeling? >> actually feeling pretty well. my cancer is in remission. i have some residual structural issues, bone marrow cancer, tried to have that repaired. my back is not all i like. >> host: you write about when you discovered at the mayo clinic, 48 hours before you told america. what was that like?
>> guest: not easy. and across south america, in various parts of the world, fishing in montana, suddenly had an incurable but treatable cancer that i don't know much about. i was that at mayo clinic board meeting, didn't want to tell my fellow board members so i was left to deal with it and the only distraction i had, working on a documentary on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of john kennedy. and work on my ipad finding out more about this. got back to montana in the middle of the night, sat on the edge of the bed, we had an unbelievably great life and nothing had ever gone wrong. i have got cancer. it was stunning to those of us and we went from there. >> host: 202 is the area code, talking with tom brokaw, we want to get you involved, 748-8200.
east and central time zones 202-748-8201. in the mountain and pacific time zones, taking text messages as well for our guest. 202-465-64842. text in. don't call that number, text into that number. your most recent book, lucky life interrupted. why i am still a lucky guy, i have the best medical care, we caught it early, and fairly or not i have access to whatever resources i need. >> guest: that was all true but it is a more difficult experience than i anticipated. even with that structural helped that i had, good health care plan that i have, one of the things i write about in the book is doctors really have to learn
how to talk to patients about what to expect. no one said to me there is going to be excruciating pain because bone damage will come with it. there will be moments we tell you something is going to happen and it won't so you have to be prepared for that. the thing that i learned on my own was what was very helpful in my case was to have my emergency room doctor, a brilliant young physician who had been through a lot of different things as i consider very, kept notes on all the conferences, did independent research, the teams at the mayo clinic said we will take jennifer on our team every day. she is helpful to me because she could interpret things. not only that but when i was talking to a doctor the doctor would say what is your scale? 3, she would stand behind and say -- >> is it difficult to get around in montana given the remoteness
of your place and i still fishing? >> guest: i am very now and i jump into the cold river to get my heart started and fly fishing. i don't ride a horse because of spinal damage. i have to get back to that. i can't climb the way i used to going up and down the mountains. on the other hand american health care is pretty amazing. in montana they have a clinic that is an affiliated partner of the mayo clinic. if i need something i can get down there and get care. i had to temper my physical life. i hope to get most of that back at some point. >> host: what did you learn about the american medical situation with this? if you're in a position like i am with financial resources and can pick up the phone and get help it is the best. if you are down in the middle ranks or lower end of that it is confusing. you will still get good care,
my plan doesn't cover it, i go to the hospital and their shipping this stuff around and it becomes a bureaucratic nightmare for you. that's real issue i think. think. communication is a big part as well. tom brokaw is our guest text (202)465-6842 this is mary and huntsville alabama. please comment. >> hello tom, we were together at the university of south dakota. i want you to know that at 18 months, i was in the mayo clinic at 18 months with a tumor in my cheek and i still here at three years from 80. i was born september 25, my folks were both over 40 but i have also been through cancer couple of times. i think of you often, i listen
to you when you are on, you are quite wonderful. i just wanted to say hello, that's all. >> mary where in south dakota are you from original leak. >> watertown south dakota. >> home of the watertown arrow. >> yes. >> were you able to catch all that. >> she said she was talking about her own medical care at the mayo clinic, she was there for 18 months. and she went to university of south dakota when you are there as well. when people see you, do they want to talk about the greatest generation, their own health stories or the news industry today? >> a combination of the three of them. i still get people coming up to me every week even though it's been out for 15 years.
where their father was, what their mother was doing, things they didn't understand that they now understand. i am now at a collection point where a lot of people talk to me about that. they want to know what type of regimen i am on for melanoma. then they will say to me, how, how come the news is not like when you are on it. and i have an unusual answer for them. i say, if you work harder at it and you don't be a couch potato, you have access to more news than you have ever had before. i have a friend who is at the financial times in london, i can raid his editorial and columns, but i have to work harder at it. we didn't have c-span in the beginning by the way. so you just can't take whatever comes off the screen, you have to be a proactive consumer. >> next call is lucille from iceland, new jersey. >> hi peter, hi mr. mr. brokaw, this is a question for mr. brokaw, before i do my
question i want to say i saw the exchange and it all brought tears in my eyes. it was just wonderful. my question is, i'm am a retired nurse, work for 35 years. my mother-in-law is very ill right now and we are working on getting her some long-term help. my question is in the book you kept talking about having a liaison or an abundance meant to navigate all of these positions. i am doing that for my mother-in-law, the normal american patient does not have access to a person like that. how, or where can that person can the people get to that person?
>> i think i understand the question is how do you get access to the best care to find out what's going on. there are now now many sites for example something called multiple my not smiling oma research facility, who has created this clearinghouse where you can go on and find out what is the latest information, best technique, good doctors, you have to be careful about randomly googling everything, you will read stuff that is not necessarily true. you have to be able to use filter through it. the best way is to find other people who have gone through these experience. whatever kind of cancer it is. talk to them. right up your network of friends, who worked for you, what was what was your success rate, if you do that, you can do your own detective work. the problem is, most people going to a doctor's office and treated like a temple and they don't speak the language. they take whatever is said to them. you have to be as aggressive as finding a position or determine
your pot pattern of healthcare that you do with find a flat screen television or new parish shoes, or an automobile. >> we have no idea how much healthcare costs. >> know, people don't ask questions of our cost, one of the things i'm trying to get the medical community. at the medical school i said you have to be aware of what these things cost because it depends on what you're going to order. so you have to know completely what troubles the patient. >> in. >> in fact part of that address that you put in the book, my guess is talking about the payment system in its current form is unsustainable on a national level, it it is too chaotic, too expensive, too uneven and too inefficient. >> i've done three documentaries on health care in america. one of the things i learned
quickly was if you have an uninsured person come to the er, what happened when they have the staten island ferry ran aground, they didn't have any coverage it was a very expensive process. so the hospital did was shift a lot of their cost to the rooms where people have very good healthcare. we were able to track how they are able to do that. it is routine practice in american hospital. they call it cost shifting. if they have a lot of coverage they get billed for a dr. visit for 250 that 250 goes down to the person he doesn't have the coverage. it's a nightmare for the hospital, for the system, they need for the system, they need to have much more transparency. >> where you part of the greatest generation. what is one of the best world war ii memoirs that you recommend.
>> there so many of them, i would talk about my friend rick who is one of our great military historians, the reason i say that is his book are the most combination of history memoir, he got so many letters and he has personal stories as well. as you read the book, you are getting the big picture, and also getting the ground up of what people were going through. other concerns of whether they would return. i think rick has a sense about him unlike others that i know. >> rick atkinson by the way and tom brokaw have broke appeared on our in-depth program. our three-hour monthly program. tom brokaw, rick said you can
watch them both on my netbook tv.org. that program is live again tomorrow and lynn cheney is our guest, her most recent book is on james madison. by the way the way rick act is now writing about the pacific. he's going to write about the revolutionary war. >> i know he has been inviting me to retrace the steps of george washington. he was just looking at the ticonderoga battles and going back through, he does all his own research, he takes my breath away. are you participating at all, not yet but i'm going to. we are very close, he lets me know when he's going to be. something you. >> something you talk about in your book this is from linda and marietta california, how has getting cancer reformed your philosophy of life and death. >> it might be that i'm in the mortality zone as you as i call it. i've 73 when i was diagnosed.
my wife was in such good form, now i'm very conscious of the fact that i am vulnerable and that i did have, what is what is a terminal cancer but it could be treatable. i am on the roulette wheel like everybody else. when i'm spending more time doing is sorting out what counts for me. beginning with my family, family, my granddaughters, and my new grandson. spending more time with them and looking at life through them. we have a granddaughter who just darted at columbia this week and i've been texting her every day because i'm so excited for her. so they all call me todd because they've see me on television and she said i haven't started class yet and you're asking me these questions. some very involved. >> you have a call from tim in milwaukee wisconsin, tim you're on the air with tom brokaw. >> thank you mr. broca i respected your work as a
journalist for so many years, i miss the old nightly newscast with you, my question on journalism as a whole, you had mentioned earlier that perhaps there so many ways to get information and news, if you click on and get the guardian in london times. my concern is it seems like you have to work hard and now like i get pbs and occasional nightly news, what is your overall state of investigative journalism these days. >> i want to wish you well to in your fate with cancer. >> thank you very much tom brokaw question mark. >> we talk about this a moment ago, and i said was you have to be more aggressive as a consumer of where you get your information, how reliable it is overtime. investigative journalism there's
more being done that you realize. the livingston award is for 35 and over, almost every year we give it to very hard-core investigative journalist. a lot are doing it in digital arenas and online, it's been breathtakingly good work. there's also something that is a nonprofit group of first-rate journalists, they are dedicated to investigative journalism, they have already won at least two pulitzer prizes. the work going on out there you just have to go find it. >> are you in favor of the affordable care act and how it is changing. >> i think it's a mixed success depending on where you live and what you are doing, kentucky has pretty good success, when they deal with states, they are are giving them a lot of inventions of letting them determine what they want to do, people have to
be prepared, the cost of insurance is going to go up in pretty sharply. >> my initial reservation was that they took too big a bite all at once. i would would have started with just of the uninsured and then rolled and the other things that needed to be done based on what you need to learn from that. it won't be reversed but it has to be modified. >> mary is calling in from dayton ohio. >> hello, can you hear me question mark. hello mr. brokaw happy to be able to talk to today. i can't believe i'm getting it on this, i watched book review every saturday and sunday, i'm in a nursing home. anyway, i i want to tell you about my husband went to mayo
clinic as he was having trouble and when he came home he sat in his leather chair and told me that he had cancer. i sat on the chair, we held one another and cry. we had a beautiful story of life for us. i was 62 when when he died, he was 67. we miss him greatly, he was a wonderful man. so that's what i wanted to say about that. i will certainly be reading your book, i appreciate your life like i did my husband which is an example for other people i think they tell me that. so that's what i have to say, say, i'm actually in a nursing home. >> how old are you now mary? >> i am now 78 years old.
thank you ma'am good luck to you. >> mr. brokaw, repeat the essence of what she wants me to answer. >> i think she was sharing a story that her husband came down from mayo told her that she had cancer and they cried and had been for life today. >> meredith and i had the same experience. it was about 1:00 o'clock in the morning and i said this is going to change our lives. i didn't have any idea about how dramatically it would change our lives, she is a rock. she is very cool and whatever she does, at this moment she is going to the mountains with three of their friends, spending three days in setting up camp. i couldn't have gone through this without her in so many ways, middle of the night getting my meds, doing that kind of thing and then being well
organized. she never panicked, a doctors in our family, she should of been one of them. >> this is a text message, are you using any alternative healthcare methods? >> know i am not, i have a have a sister-in-law, meredith sister who is integrative medicine. healthcare methods? >> know i am not, i have a have a sister-in-law, meredith sister who is integrative medicine. thus far i have not found the need to do it. i am doing more therapy now, i did do some acupuncture one year ago, i was in montana and you have to do it over a longer period of time to relieve the pain in my back. i'm finding finding a good physical therapy is taking care of most of my needs at the moment. >> are you paying right now q mark. >> a little bit. in my lower back. i had for compression factors in mice by. i i wish i had not seen it it was pretty ugly.
what happens is it's a bone marrow cancer. and these fractures, they were detected early enough so they went in and repaired them they do something with all 3 ppoplastic which is a cement, i lost 2 inches in height which is hard to accept on that have to be very careful about not torquing my back. i do my stretching and yoga every day, water therapy is very good for me, i do see incrementally that i'm getting better. >> how long, and you write about this, how long did you have this back pain before it was diagnosed correcing cy question mark. >> i had have a complete blood test nine months bes ore the diagnosis, completely clean three months after that is when the back pain began to set in, i thought it was a result of a bike trip that i was doing in argentina.
i got back, did my typical stuff, got on a plane, went plane, went to south africa, mandela was dying, went to zimbabwe on a sstuari. i came home from that, in the back pain would go away. orthopedist orthopedist looked at it and said it's your lifestyle, tom, and your 73 and out there banging around. they didn't take a picture all the way down my sipne, the lower back pain would go away. my primary physician at the mayo clinic, he is not a he said something was going on here and on its own one morning he took my blood test and did what theyd something was going on here and on its own one morning he took my blood test and did what they said it they kept eliminating things and came to the conclusion that it was multiple myk, nomesu his thought, was that only enter could've done that, he's that smart. so that morning i thought i was fine, that afternoon i was told i had a pretty nasty disease.
it turns out i had a hole in my pelvis which i did not realize. my daughter pointed out later that i was 60% involved with myla noma. >> next call. >> hello how are you today. my question is, on military movies didn't have to have a stamp from congress they don't dishonor them does it have to go to the library congress? someone who m les a military movie from a book. >> is at your question? >> i actelogize we had a litinge trouble hearing.
he was asking about military movies, do they they have to be appr laed by the g laernment during. >> during world war ii there is lot of oversight, but not now. steven spielberg and i have talked about this, i was living on an army base in world war ii. i was like four years old, as all, nobody ever got killed on the american side, in 1948 there is in a is a film called battleground about the bating cf the bulge. it was a great cast, it was very touching a very realistic film. one squad was in the bating ce f the bulge, people died, died, there is uncertainty whether they would survive or not.
i said to sipelberg later, that was a revelation for me because i had never seen that kind of reality. he said to me i think it's maybe the best poor film ever made because of the authenticity of the time they made it. so if you want to see more real fiases like that go seem poor films. saving private rhyme it ryan is a great military film. they said you guys are walking across open fields like there's nobo bu around. you would have been behind formation, you would've would've been chattering the way you were, n a t with the landing itself they didn't think anybody could ever re-create that, but they did. >> a text message for someone who has had a lucky lme be, what would be your one piece of advice to people who are not so lucky question mark. >> tomorrow is another day. don't use your fate to others,
take control of your own life. the sun does come up again this there were times in my career my life when i didn't know whether it would work or not. i came out of high school, dropped out of college eventually and i was just a wreck for about three years. when my wife, put me up in the right direction and got me going again. >> another text, celebrity does not come with a free pass, you are just lucw with good genes, did you write down all your questions before seeing the dr.? >> no i did not, because i was was unprepared for what the diagnosis was. i'll give it a quick sequence. he looked at all the numbers, then he turned to me and said, and and this is his exact words, you have a minute malignancy,
skull multe bale m awa noma, we know people who have died from this, fr3 skull multe bale m awa noma, we know people who have died from this, frank reynolds, died from it. n a t you're at a good pk,ce because were making great progress. that was his opening line, we alad awondered what you'd say sy under those circumstances, i remount very cool and wanted to a journalistic mode and smou how long do i have? he said five years but i think you'll beat that and i want to look at more things. that's kind where we are, how do, how do i treat it was the next questioofh primarily with drugs but there is something called stem cell and were going to look at you and make sure were going to get it right. i could see beemind him my primary care physician had a great concern in his eye. that's because he knew how much my lmee was about to change and i didn't. i knew i had cancer, i would
need to be treated, i knew it would just drop my life, i knew it was a possimarklity i would e from it, but i'm an optimist i thought i would beat this, but i diwith 't know how hard. >> another text. with your view of history and your journalistic eye, what is your greatest concekne and hope for our nation. >> i try not to be the old bogey and say it was bmouter in my day but i've talked to a lot of younger and older people as well we all agree, it is more chaotic than any other time i can remember. part of that is the result of solatal media and the immediate impact it has. my big concern is the ctek,rization of america, were bre ling ourselves up into a lot of different parts. no one willing to find common ground. the genius of this country has always been that however dihanicult the time, there was
always common ground. i was a white house corre has watergate, i go to the hil m and talk to big republicans, and they were in touch with each other about, if this didn't go well, how, how do we hold the country tfromouher. that was a bid f lesson, you dot don't see that anymore, now is a republican seen talgresng to a demo bu at they go back to the caucus and gets questioned by others about what they were doing. for all the strength of our many parts we are grady then that we need to find ways to work together and it on ravel, there's lata's simplistic solutions being thrown around right now. we need to examine those, i would hope as we get closer to the primaries in the cauromses, the voters, and i'm confident they will be taken as sharper pencil to these candidatehe v >> you mention president nixon,.
>> i talk to them for the book actually. >> in 1973, 1974, what were your impression of the nixon white hous at >> with the bunkeet they close down every day if you are a repoceker, you would go early in the mokneing and went get out after nightfall because you are working all the time. one of the things ibe thressed e the most, i was colleagues with some people they were so cares l about what we would do because the consequences were so big i would wo, 1 really hard for the nighing cy news, then i would gt on and work for the today show in the morning, now now i would be asked to go on msnbc. there are be a lot of opinion out pres aces what i would have
to say. those day it was methodical about how careful we were and we would check with each other. i had a friend who is a great reporter from the wall street journa m we had a bud bu sigtem. if i found something i wasn't entirely confident about, i would go to him. in the white house itself they had a terrific staff at the lower level, the se bu mouary of stahan for eeeie in other people who had real concern about the fate of the country and they q eemouly share this with you. it was a great test of our syststic. in the end, justice prevailed, but right to the end, a lot of people in america thought it was a coeenipracy of some kind. when they heard the tape and heard the supreme coucek, they went the other way and said you got to go. >> here's the last call for tom brokaw. >> tha re you very much, thank you for sharing what i would
have to call on bridled ot coimm with us, i i know you have millions of people who are fulling for your full rec laery, my question table when it didn't go well for me. i admire people who do because they have an engaging mind. i really centered on writing more, reducing the kind of wide range of interests i have down to just a few that i am really interested in. that's the big thing. and saying no to requests and not yes as often.
>> final text from you. i read something that criticizes you for not. >> jim and i were close friends, we've had this discussion before, i think he has a legitimate thing about his part of the boomer generation. in fact i wrote about him in a book called boom about how he did answer the call. he went to vietnam and how he represents a part of our society that does not get enough attention. i think think is quite correct in that. he doesn't think that things get
enough attention. i'm a big admirer of his. i cannot predict where he will end up which is part of the appeal of it. if you look at his vietnam record and his writing ability and we need more citizens like that. >> why think you have covered the greatest generation, the greatest generation, the news media, and healthcare. >> we did. >> "a lucky life interrupted" as always we appreciate you taking calls. >> thank you i enjoy being here. >> our live coverage continues and we have several more hours of coverage, if you want the full schedule go to book tv.org or follow us on twitter or on facebook. >> ..
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> and for the 15th year in a row book tv is live at the national book festival. several hours of coverage. colin programs, several hours more ahead here at the convention center. go to booktv.org to get the full schedule. pleased to be joined on our step in the lobby of the convention center by evan thomas' most recent book is the author of many books, but most recent is called being in nixon, a man divided. itwas richard nixon always fascinating to the news media?
>> yes, he was. even as a green congressman the exposed alger hiss does a communist by and it made his career. and all of a sudden he was thrust into the spotlight on american history really and never left. he liked it there. extremely shy, awkward, shy, awkward, lonely figure the liked being at the scene -- middle of events. >> why would a shy, awkward, lonely figure begin politics. >> you have to be a little crazy to be in politics anyway. he needed something. he wanted something, and politics gave him what he wanted. >> hope and fear raised a constant battle. >> the sad. >> the sad part, and neglect next and accomplished a great deal and opening up
china and politically but at the end his obsession with his enemies got to him. he just could not leave alone his enemies and made powerful enemies and they got him. >> we are going to put the phone numbers up. we have a short time with our guest. 748-8201 if you live out in the mountain and pacific time zone. finally, you can send it. do not call this number but send a text message, 202 465 eight 202. we will talk about his books as a historical figure is he fascinating? is the important? will he be a blip? >> he will be important.
he accomplished aa great deal. the only president in history to be driven from office. that alone will keep him in the history books. he stands for people losing faith in government. unfortunately his legacy is that people believe less government and lesson our leaders after watergate. it's a terrible legacy to have. >> you have both come out with knew books in the past couple of months. why more books? what did you discover? >> i tried to humanize nixon in our popular imagination he is wicked and evil. i just could not believe he was that we could are evil. i was interested in trying to make them into a human being.
as the title of my book, what's it like to be richard nixon. i knew there was a more competent -- a more sympathetic story. >> what did you learn? >> he wanted to be a much better person than he was. joy, serenity, and a good kind of pride. he really could not be that person that he wanted to be. he worked at it. and the tragedy is that he could not be the person that he wanted to be. >> why not? >> haunted by these demons. not a well loved child. now, most politicians are driven. you could argue that most are crazy. the central rocket fuel that drives you. nixon had that and abundance.abundance. and drive to him and made him relentless and he never quite. admirably he was great.
he was obsessive in a way that hurt him. >> when you talk about these , what he wanted to be, did he have any confidence? share this with anyone? >> he always carried around a yellow legal pad. his best friend was is legal pad. he did not really have friends. they never talked. would not speak to him. >> was she fairly presented? >> we have an image of her from the photographs of haggard person. that is a little unfair. thatthat was true at the end in the last year of watergate. pretty beat up.
a mother and father were drinking too much, but there was a real marriage there which is one thing i had not i had not realized when i started this. the love letters between them real and powerful. many times nixon thought of quitting politics. that was the one who told him to hang in they're and not give up. at the end the marriage was in trouble. but then they rebuilt it and they had a real marriage. >> kevin thomas is our guest, longtime newsweek editor reporter. other books include robert kennedy, a book about dwight eisenhower, john paul jones, how many total? >> nine. >> and he has been on book tv for a lot of these books. let's begin withlet's begin with a call from david and hope sound florida. how are you?
>> actually, it's a little cloudy. i'll get through it. it rained a little bit. these are the things that you have to put up with. it is better to be here that up there. let me tell me tell you, although i will be up there next week. okay. it is an honor to speak to you, it really is. the last time we spoke was sometime in the 19 90s, and you90s, and you said you were going to do a book on new york's liberalism. but it never happened. >> you never did it. absent an old bronx man. i was interested 1st of all, and aside if i may. in june she speaks and wrote of the fact that her mother lived in the bronx for a
little while, worked at saint barnabas hospital in the bronx. it was never -- no one ever made us aware of that. >> a hidden chapter of misses nixon. she was like richard nixon or showers had to work for a living are really dirt poor when she grew up and never forgot that. that brought her close to the american people somewhat but was in some ways and in bettering experience for her one thingone thing that she shared was a hate of controversy and confrontation. that hurt nixon during watergate. and really killed him and watergate. can never faces on subordinates. >> marvin is in los angeles. >> i'm wondering in your research did you find
anything new about whether gerald ford and richard nixon had some sort of deal. number two, i wish c-span recredit laura bush for starting the national book festival. have you done that much? >> i know about laura bush. i think there was a weekend and not. the evidence is slender, but it is true how hage went to see vice president ford and laid out options, one of which was pardoning the president. you get theyou get the sense as you read about that that hage was communicated. you get to become president, but it was never denied, but
my own discretion was that there was a bit of a wink and a nod. >> next call is richard in boca raton. >> it is a pleasure listening to you speak. i read your 1st book, the six wise men, and i thought it was excellent. two excellent. two questions. is it possible we can have six wiseman today? and the 2nd question, do you think that hillary clinton in retrospect realized what she was doing with this e-mail scenario? i will hang up listened to your comments. >> could we have the wiseman today? >> it was informal. there was no national
security advisory are national security assessment it was much more informal command presence could call from prices like harvard now. it was a world that does not exist anymore. in some ways it is a better world because we don't have a bunch of guys from harvard and yell running things, but that ruled does not exist. i would hope that the presidents are able to find wiseman and women. they are out there. my beef is that the politics have been taken over by the consultant in the consultants are just about getting elected. i think they hold politicians back and make them do narrowminded things. too strong. presidents and presidential candidates could stand up to
them and follow their own conscience in mind. hillary clinton, it is hard to know where this is going. she likes to be in control. obviously made a mistake. these things are always clear in hindsight than they are at the time. it looks like. >> evan thomas is our guest. good afternoon. >> good afternoon, and thanks for this. i am curious. mr. nixon earned his moniker tricky. law degree from duke university. he knew the impact from the tapes.
my question to you is, in your research did you figure out any reason emotionally, emotionally, psychologically, or regionally why he did not burn the tapes? >> he should have and he knew it. when he heard that the tapes are going to be exposed publicly and he was sick, pneumonia and did get some advice one is he did not think you would ever have to turn over the tapes. obviously that was a mistake in a miscalculation. he thought that the tapes might vindicate him. he thought that he could rebut some of the charges against him. what he failed to anticipate
how salty he was. being roughened; profane. he just did not foresee this burningburning the tapes, you run the risk of being illegal trouble. >> city have a political philosophy? was the conservative, moderate? >> it was hard to grasp. he was a moderate republican that does not really exist today. his rhetoric was very conservative, but he often -- people of said he was liberal. he was an activist, more activist in 1970.
they were more willing to let government do things. nixon likes to get things done. >> to you have any information online nixon offered the vice presidency to robert finch before offering it? >> i know he did. california lieutenant governor, old friend, very good-looking guy, smart guy. i have been doubtful that it was a real offer, that it was meant to be real. you're my friend and i'm going to give you this offer and the expectation that your going to turn it down. >> how much access to you have? have they become one? >> national archive. the privately run foundation.
they have a good new head of the foundation. things are getting much better. >> are the daughters involved? >> sure. absolutely. >> they refused to talk to me. i understand that. i have been in the public spotlight for six decades. i was not shocked. i got within a week of seeing her and she finally said your just going to have to write your book. she wrote a very good book about her mother which i used extensively. i did get help from some family friends.
>> hi. yes. what a thrill it is. curious about richard nixon claiming to be a quaker. 25,000 names on that. and eisenhower was a jehovah's witness and the mennonite. warmongering. thank you. >> of course it is hard to reconcile. nixon's mother i'm sure was upset, but nixon on vietnam inherited a terrible war. 550,000 men in the country when he became president.
too long. too many young american men died, but he faced a very difficult problem getting us out of that were. you can mock and ridicule it, but nixon wasn't fear about trying to do that. he thought he would get help from china and russia. he felt stuck in that war and frustrated by it and would lash out. >> how does nixon make his comeback after he lost the california election for governor? >> famously he won't have big nixon to kick around anymore, and people thought he was finished. but he never gave up.
and he believed, if i don't get back in the public life i'm going to be mentally dead in two years and physically deaden for. he worked his way back in and helps other candidates, travels all over the country and made himself essentially again and laid low. >> peggy calling in from the hand in hawaii. >> hi. i am calling because i know that nixon did some wonderful things when he was president. i want to ask the author if he ever read them raise watergate book. the reason is because there were many that were not released at the time that they put in the archives and brought out. the watergate book written and 94, you can read the tapes and what nixon said. i can get a million dollars.
and i cannot believe that that does not come out. people do not talk about it. the tapes -- they must have done a deal with some of these tapes were not supposed to be shown which is why he had to step down because he knew there were other tapes out they're that would eventually come out. >> there are about 3,700 hours of tapes. about 3,000 the been released. privacy reasons and national security reasons probably will never be released. inin those 3,000 that have been released some of the ones mentioned slowly trickled out. resisted. don't release the tapes. he lost in the tapes are out many are incriminating. the one you mentioned about a million dollars, he talked that way.
the record is murky hello what he did caps off the language is incriminating. i've listened to the tapes. i've certainly talked to experts. so i'mso i'm pretty well-versed on the tapes. there are a lot of them. >> once again just running through the numbers, how many tapes, are they accessible to anyone? does it cost money to get copies? >> 3,700 hours of tapes, 3,000 that are publicly available to anybody. you can go to the connectors website and listen to them, the nixon library and listen to them. you can get them online just by going to nixon tapes .org or you can go to the library and communicate with the library, but they are available.
>> worth listening to. >> hard to understand. the understand. the quality is low, especially the ones that were done in nixon's highway and dod office. you have to be very patient about listening to them. others are better. there are shocking was that you can understand. if you enjoy this stuff, it's pretty interesting. >> just came out with the latest edition. they are doing a fantastic thing publishing transcripts. >> jim in tacoma, washington. being nixon, a man divided. >> this is pleasant. i have read a lot of your work. i was 18 when nixon became president. i despise the guy to this day. the beginning of your interview said that it was a
salient factor that he wants to be better.better. what real relevance is that to what he actually did? >> look, it is a fair peemack. i do not excuse him from that. there is a lot to not like. i do not despise them, but one can pretty easily. however, i want to humanize him and was curious. the chiefchief of staff said his boss was the strangest man i've ever met. i was curious about that. what was it like being nixon back he wanted to be a better person. don't we all want to be better? that's true. i was interested in the conflict the nixon felt. i thought it was worth writing about and we need to try to understand the fullness. >> i met nixon once in 1988.
i was at newsweek, editor of newsweek. he. he came by a lot of his rehabilitation tours he came and said their grandfather was a great man. my grandfather had been norman thomas, socialist king and flatter me. very shy but a politician, could remember names and did his homework silly to flatter you by guilt knowing something about you. >> by saying he was a great man, what does he say? >> he was just trying to flatter me. my grandfather was a complicated fellow in his own way. he was a moderate socialist
head of the socialist party in the united states and did run for president six times respect for norman thomas. mostly he was trying to flatter me. >> was that the end of the conversation? >> a great-grandfather. >> next call comes from dennis and lynwood, illinois >> first of all, i would like to thank you for the kennedy book and all the others. one of the things that bothers me, especially being in the vietnam era and serving, i remember reading the page. and the soldiers that were being treated, i remember reading other books about
how bad he treated them veterans administration and how bad he treated the soldiers i came back from that war. that is a bigger scandal in some of the others. >> i don't know enough to comment intelligently. particularly the pow. he worked like hell to get them home. very close to them, moved by them. like them. they actually liked it. the pow, glad that he was dropping bombs all around them. nixon felt as all presidents to the burden of sending young men into battle.
the 1st thing they did, lbj left a list. nixon was moved. he was not casual sending young men into battle. >> as a new congressman in 19401947 feet toward europe. what city did he visited y? >> a rebel and 46 and 47. they went to berlin. i think they went to vienna. they went to whatever city they couldn't eastern europe and saw the shock of the war and how bad europe was. the united states needed to spend a lot of money in the
plan that came out of that was enormously generous great act by the united states. >> that they have paid things men jfk assassination. please explain why. >> accessed -- obsessed with the notion that the president kennedy had order to kill president need him in vietnam. it does not exist. but when kennedy learned he was shocked.
>> next call, a few minutes left. >> hello. my question, when is mr. thomas going to write? i would really like to no more about them. a very good book by w a swanberg that won the national book award. i would recommend if you are curious. >> mike, king furred -- part of me, mike kingsport tennessee.
>> hello. i was convinced that the time of watergate that nixon had convinced himself that he needed to stay on as president. how far would he have gone? what he have set aside the constitution and set himself up as a dictator? >> obviously he had an expansive view of executive power. he thought he had a lot of power and used it and abused it. he should have been impeached. but a lot of the conspiracy theories exaggerate just how bad nixon was. i do not think that there was a massive conspiracy to assault the constitution is some people do. watergate was a series of screw ups. those guys screwed up. they walk into the office,
>> i also read again recently i appreciated. >> thank you so much. it is a great story. it is a great story. >> it was a destroyer. attacked by japanese battleships. went right for them, torpedoed one of them. the ship was sunk, the captain was killed more of the great moments of american heroism. evan thomas and his most recent book, being nixon, a man divided. >> thank you. really enjoyed it.
>> book tv live from the national book festival. held at the convention center in washington dc. collins on the set, showing you the sights and sounds of the festival and covering authors of the history and biography run. coming up next is evan oz knows, and we will go live upstairs to the history and biography room, national book award-winning book is entitled agent ambition chasing fortune, truth, and faith in the knew china. he will join us down here and take some of your calls. you arecalls. you are watching book tv live coverage of national book festival.
he writes about foreign affairs and politics, author of agent ambition chasing fortune, truth, and faith in the knew china. that won the national book award. in the book he traces the rise of the individual in china and the clash between aspiration in the authoritarianism. he had this to say, and the pages of the new yorker evan oz knows has portrayed, explained, and poked fun at the state china better than any other writer from the leicester east eliminating the gilded age, appetite, challenges, and dilemmas in a way that few have done.
also is a contributor to this american life on public radio and frontline. before moving to the new yorker he was a beijing bureau chief for the chicago tribune we contributed to a series that won the 2,008 pulitzer prize for investigative reporting. the award for young journalists and the award for profile writing. please welcome evan oz knows. >> thank you very much. thank you to all of you. you have heard this from other offers. it is a special pleasure to be here with people who choose to be inside to talk about books.
you are self selecting, and we we are an endangered species and i thank you for coming here. ii think that there are a lot of people in this room interested in the suspect of chat -- the subject of china for me if you want to know what it feels like to be a writer in china it is useful to remember and observation like john king fairbank, one of the great american china scholars. and he said, and i quote, quote, china is a journalist dream and statisticians nightmare because it has more human drama and fewer verifiable facts per square mile than anywhere else in the world. i once mentioned that to a colleague and they did not find that funny in the slightest. he said that in 1947 and in
some ways the observation is still accurate china has become a much more verifiable place simply because someone like me can go and live there for eight years and can simply by virtue of technology and transportation get halfway across china in a morning and begin your reporting or you can go online and begin to understand bit about what's going on. it is not a substitute but a place where we are beginning -- i should say we no longer have the luxury of imagining that it is unknowable. and yet in other ways china has become more puzzling as we began to try to ask larger questions about it, it's intentions in the world , but it's seeming contradictions.
so many things do not seem to make sense. on paper it says this been a reality is is this which is ultimately what our responsibility is as writers , try to make some sense of it on the page. i want to read a few lines i think it will frame now i have approached the place in writing. a new fashion, philosophy, way of life, they describe it as a favor. people contracted western business suit fever and john paul saw fever and private telephone fever. it was difficult to predict when or where a fever would ignite or what it would leave behind. in the village of shaw job population 1,564 they're was
a fever for the american cop show hunter better known in chinese as expert detective hunker. when the show appeared on chinese television in 1990 the villagers started to gather to watch detective rick hunter of the los angeles police department go undercover with his partner, detective deedee mccall, and the villagers came to inspect the detective and find at least two occasions to other his trademark phrase works for me, though in chinese and came across as a religious man because works for me was mistranslated as whatever god wants. [laughter] the fever passed from one person to the next and affected each in a different way. some months later when the police tried to search the home of a local farmer the man told him to come back when they had a warrant , aa word that he had learned from expert detective hunt to a.
why do i begin a discussion of china with the somewhat specific experience of a single village 25 years ago? for me it is about a waya way of seeing, a way of looking at the place, about a kind of focus on the intimate changes in people's lives, the perceptual changes, the things that do not always turn up in the headlines but are in there own way the forces that are propelling china through history at this moment. i have come to call this the age of ambition and am referring to two specific things. one is this grand national ambition to stake out a greater, more glorious place for china and the world command the other kind of ambition is the force of 1.4 billion individual aspirations of one kind or
another,another, each now distinct and potent in ways really that were never possible before in chinese history. if you begin to understand those two kinds of ambition you begin to understand some of the choices that china is making collectively and on an individual basis and the tensions that is creating in its relationship with the rest of the world. when we talk about where china is and where it is going, it is useful to remind ourselves about the path that it has traveled over the past quarter-century. two decades ago i got interested. i watch the class it was absolutely electrifying, this operatic story of revolution and civil war and this massive protean in many ways tragic force of chairman mao and then deng xiaoping led china out of
seclusion and back into the world, and then you had after all the events at tiananmen square, the democracy demonstrations and 89 which it happened just five years earlier. i was absolutely fascinated by the. they built this tent city at the signature of party power but becausethe because you saw if you remember very clearly that they were torn between what it meant to be of the east end of the west. they had shag haircuts and them boxes. in somein some cases they carried placards that have the words of patrick henry and then they also sang the great communist party him. when it came time for them to present their demands they did it in the
traditional style down on their knees in a formal petition that they handed out to these apparatchiks who were still buttoned up in the mao suits, but he had the sense of this place that was right at that moment on the cusp of extraordinary new demands. people are demanding so much more of the country, themselves. there was a student protester who said that spring to a reporter something that helps me understand what the moment meant. i don't know exactly what we want, but we want more of it. that movement ended in bloodshed and remarked that anniversary. i flew to beijing and 96. at the time china was a different place than it yesterday. at the time the economy was smaller. beijing, there are people in this room over they're.
it smelled like coal and wet wool and sheep tobacco and i absolutely love the sense of this place that was just sort of beginning to unfold in front of you. you are able to travel in ways you could not before, but it was not a glamorous place.a glamorous place. when he wanted to go out for a nice night on the town you would go to the jingle a hotel which the architect described as aa perfect replica of a holiday and he had seen in palo alto, california. china is home to about 30 percent of the skyscrapers under construction worldwide. china today is defined i should say, the last generation the story of china has been one of growth and sudden new plan. we may be having a different conversation in a year, but for the moment the defining
fact has been the sudden sense that they have things that they did not have before. your average person eats six times as much meat as he or she did in 1976, but this is also aa ravenous era of a different kind in which people have awoken with the hunger for knew ideas and new inspiration and respect. the boom year has not met the onset of great fortune. people made about $200 a year. the average income is about 6,000 a year. with that has come an enormous gap between the rich and poor, the difference in income and life expectancy between the richest places and poorest places is the difference between new york city and ghana. if you think that that kind of gap is a political issue,
you can imagine how awkward it is in the people's republic which is still ruled by the communist party that is one of the byproducts of this time that has introduced a contradiction that is hard for china to reconcile. what do chinese leaders today, the people running the country, what is it that they want? what is there ambition, aspiration? well, this current generation of leaders, the leaders of the standing committee of the politburo came into power around was living in beijing in november of 2012 and got this invitation to go and see the unveiling of the new leadership. until that moment you don't know who will be running the country, and it is always in the same place at the great hall of the people in this vast building built by the hands of volunteers in the
1950s. i go to see the unveiling. seven men, the president and the premier and the other members of the standing committee. they come out on stage and the 1st thing you notice was conformity. they were virtually identical dark suits. they were virtually identical red ties with the exception of one who i can talk about. the hair was dyed to the identical shade of black which i mentioned not as a.of humor but it is a relevant issue to appear vital and that you have many years ahead of you in your professional life. to thoseto those who are watching at home the message was unmistakably clear. we have comewe have come together around a shared idea of what we represent and aspire.
there are no idiosyncrasies. we are one group. this was coming after a turbulent time in chinese politics. and that the new president steps forward to give his 1st visit, his 1st address to the nation has the general secretary of the communist party. what he says is actually quite striking. he will dedicate himself above all to what he called the great renewal of the nation and would then repeat this over and over again. the great renewal is the chinese dream. the chinese dream was on bus shelters and television advertisements. it sounds a little bit like the american dream.
the chinese listeners as a couple meetings that are quite clear. one is just extending this growth and transformation. china is building airports and railroads. china landed a spacecraft, talking about a mission to mars and talking about a mission to the deepest regions of the ocean. china today loans more money to the developing world and does the world bank which is about to continue to grow, but the idea of the chinese dream was also about something else, something deeper, something less physical, trying to pull people together in a country that is increasingly driven by centrifugal forces that are driving it in all kinds of knew directions, trying to pull people together around a common idea of what china could be, to pull people together to unite and
reinvigorate support of the goal of restoring china to the status that it once enjoyed. as was a civilization that was printing books 400 years before gutenberg, the country that as recently as the 18th century controlled one 3rd of the world's wealth. andand so if you are the leader of the chinese communist party, that's the goal that your trying to reclaim. and that more -- that full her sense of what china can and should be is putting it into greater confrontation, greater tension with the rest of the world, not only the united states but also with its neighbors around the east china sea.
this china imagine itself vaulting past the united states to become the most powerful country in the world? does it see itself as a rival to the united states and the ability to influence others in the ability to intervene in ways that we want to. it is especially tempting to feel that way now when we sense in our own politics a kind of paralysis command and ability to get things done, but it is important to remember that there are reasons to believe that chinese leaders have a sense of what is possible and what is not possible. the simple fact is that that china is not prepared to vault past the united states overnight. it is in so many ways a developing country today. being the preeminent power is expensive. you're expected to take a leading role.
and as much as chinese military is growing, the annual spending officially still only a fraction of our defense spending is. the unitedthe united states has about one dozen aircraft carriers in china has one. instead of imagining china is preparing to vault past us, it perceives itself as returning to a position of greatness in the multi polar so that gives us a sense of what his vision is. the question is whether his people feel the same way. to understand that we have to no a bit more about the
aspirations of china's 1.4 billion because it is a force that is in its own way the source of china's greatest strength and its greatest uncertainty. it is useful to.out the subject of individual aspirations to not merit much attention for most of chinese history. the individual as a force in politics or law was always understood to be embedded in much larger forces whether it was the family or village of military or the country command you saw this expressed in all kinds of ways in law and art. this was something that the great writer noticed. if you look back at a painting from the 11th century, and if you look at
it what you see is the only individual, the only person the only individual is a horseman driving a car through the mountains and the lower right-hand corner. and if you saw that the message was clear. this is where you fit in as an individual into this vast beautiful complex cosmos when you look at the equivalent western image, full framed portrait of an individual.individual. i think this is the 1st selfie, perhaps. in china the word itself, ambition had a negative connotation. one of the words you can say it in chinese means wild heart. to have a wild heart in china was to have a kind of
wolfish ambition, i desire to put yourself in front of others at the expense of others. there was a collection of advice for rulers, and he advised, keep power out of the hands of the ambitious just as you would keep sharp tools out of the hands of the foolish. had sense that we should be suspicious of individual aspiration extended all the way into the heyday of socialism. .. neighbor,
socialism no longer there are now as many christians in china as members of the communist party. it is not just religion. in this pursuit of faith, this pursuit of moral meaning it is about people saying i am going to choose for myself what i care about and what i want to pursue because the material factions are inadequate. i will leave you with an example what that feels like for someone in the thick of it. a few years ago when beijing hosted the olympics that was right beforehand an uptick of nationalism. the olympic torch had made its way around the world and as it travels around the world that encountered protests, people protesting chinese policy and inside china there was a
reaction. young chinese especially reacted and said this, they reacted very defensively and said, and this doesn't back my image of the place. it was an inquiry moment. some of that was directed at foreign correspondents. i got a note on my fax machine at work but said correct your misunderstandings on china or you and your loved ones will wish you were dead. it wasn't directed at me personally but journalists as a group. there was a video that popped up on the chinese web and was a angry and it was called china as stand-up and that video was manifesto of a certain kind, flags waving in the wind, blair said china must defend itself against the effort to encircle and contain the country and keep it down and it became enormously popular, second most popular video in china. i said to made this? i got in touch with the guy and
said can come see you? i had an image of who it was, somebody cleary had i figured he was in his parents' proverbial basement and he said you can come see me and it was clearly in my view someone who didn't have much of a sense of the west and i got there and realize quite quickly that my impression was wrong. his name was, and he was 26 years old and first thing he did when i got there was fried to a my taxi fare, dressed more or less the same way and was at that point getting his ph.d. in western political philosophy, he was studying something, dissertation on phenomenology, he said i you familiar with her slaps' work on phenomenology? of course. every american, we are all very familiar. he was very generous in letting me into his world for a while
and came to understand more about what was going on. in some ways the bottom line was he was enormously proud of the country and experience he had had. he had also grown up in an educational environment, he had not heard much about the details of the cultural revolution but had the sense that the vision we have china overseas was not the vision he had of china in side and we will seymour of that kind of clash in the years ahead between what the joy is that people feel on the ground and the china we are beginning to understand from outside. thank you very much for listening. i appreciate it. [applause] if anyone has questions i will be happy to answer questions. >> i have read your book, is marvelous and great to see you.
i want to ask about the activists in p.m. and square, some have been caught in the age of anxiety, the age of affluence but some probably haven't. and you talked about something of a rise of buddhism. does that make life any easier for the followers of the dalai la lama. and china's influence exerts on things like not allowing the dalai lama into south africa. that is astonishing given the history of south africa. and also do you see in terms of ameliorating the separation movement, the chinese clampdown? >> i will do my best to encourage them fast. looks like we have a couple minutes. question of the tiananmen square generation. it was for many of them a
defining experience of their lives, the young people, they have gone in all different directions, hard to generalize, some have become plutocrats, members of the new rich and others never recovered from the political disappointment of what was possible and impossible in that moment. i am afraid the situation in far western china and tibet is not improving. is getting worse, if people would agree with this in beijing, there is growing tension and there is at the moment no political framework for how to relieve this tension and the tension continues to grow and the growth is because of policy and i think there is a sense they will be one of the defining issues in the next few years, thank you for your question. >> i went to china for the first time last year and aside from the incredible development everywhere, one thing that
strikes you is a number of what you showed, a huge apartment buildings many of which are and tea, some have finished and some from the finish but standing empty and they seem to be building more. what is happening with all this? why does this keep going on? is there going to be some sort of collapse that will leave all sorts of people bankrupt or in a bad way? >> coast cities as you are describing them are real phenomenon. especially two four years ago when you had what you had in simplest terms was in a sense the engine of growth, combination of local government policy, availability of cheap money, these things combined after the financial crisis to incentivize people to build build build and often they build beyond what market forces could support and today one of the things we are wondering and have watched is china has gone through this roller coaster, equity markets and the question of the future of the economy,
what happens to these buildings? in some places those empty buildings are full because there are still hundreds of millions of people trying to go from the country selling is the timing issue. they were built at the wrong time that some of the may fill up and some will not. >> thank you for your fascinating work and your talk about china, interesting. you have taught me more than i note, i live in but era of the last half of my life, i miss the fun exciting part. i follow chinese news but the one thing is very often, political censorship, the gap of the rich and the port, i wonder if you have the input about the challenge to get to where you want to go, what you want to
know? >> great question. in the end there's only one decision to be made which is when and how does change happen? the reality is for all forces you describe in your question over the last decade people's lives are becoming larger, more diverse, more diverse demand tended isn't to the system to figure out how to accommodate them because they cannot be put into the box. it is the thing to be watching, who among the leadership will figure out first that if they want to remain in the position they have that they will and must figure out how to adapt. we are out of time. thank you for coming today. [inaudible conversations]
for 2014 for nonfiction for his book "age of ambition," chasing fortune, truth and faith in the new china. evan osnos is making his way down from the first floor of the convention center where that was held down to our set, he will be here to take your calls. 202 is the area code, 748-8200. in the east and central time zone if you want to talk to evan osnos about his experiences in china or talk about shine in general 202-748-8201. those in the mountain and pacific and the third option today is text your question to evan osnos. don't call on this phone line, use it as a text, we won't cancer as a phone call but we will look at the texts, 202-465-6842 is the number for you to call. we will be back in the history
and biography written in an hour or so after a call to evan osnos and buzz aldrin. we will talk about jay winik's book "1944," then you can see outside the convention center, but walking the camera inside to give you a sense of what it looks like in the convention center, crowds or nationals book festival, second year in and of wrote it has been held in door at the washington convention center. we are down here in the lobby. it feels like there are good sized crowds. sometimes on the mall you see how crowded, spread out over a couple different floors, library of congress wanted this for 15 years, started by laura bush, a first lady modeled after the
[inaudible conversations] >> booktv live at the national book festival for the sixteenth year in a row at the convention center in washington d.c.. joining us on such in the lobby of the convention center is evan osnos, his book "age of ambition," chasing fortune, truth and faith in the new china, winner of the national book award for non-fiction in 2014. evan osnos, i want to start with a personal story. my sister just got back from china. she was there this past summer, she is a political, she is a dance teacher. she said what she saw with the building and what is going on was unsustainable. >> we are seeing she is right. these days we are going for peru this week, last week, the week for, an extraordinary period in china where so much of the economic formula, the recipe the
work for 30 years is running out of gas. this doesn't mean china is like a barrel going over the falls. there are a lot of ways the story could double what is happening is indisputable, the thing that worked so well, exports, building those buildings, airports, railways, that period has run its course, has as many railways and airports as it needs for the moment in the venture will be there will be demographic pressure for more buildings that at the moment joy has to figure out how you get more money in the hands of ordinary people, how you get companies doing things that are not just manufacturing, how you build the chinese boom, how you get creative industries going. that is the challenge and what we are seeing, all this turbulence in the economy is a reflection that is going through a hard metamorphosis. >> since our viewers have been listening to you for the last 45 minutes talking about your book we are going to go right to
calls and we are going to begin with frank in cleveland, ohio. you have been listening to evan osnos. had with your question or comment. can we put frank on hold? reminder to all our viewers, turndown the volume on your tv. we are going to move on to denny in columbus, ohio. you will hear everything through the phone, go ahead and talk, we are listening. >> caller: okay. evan osnos, your book is fascinating. i just started a book on pain and this seems to me to be one of the major movers in that century past. the we have taken chinese from a populist nation to considerable wealth and naturally they are
growing. my main concern, and question for you is, how do we of college, because there is all kind of noise about how we have to worry about china because they're becoming a major power, how do we get along peacefully? it seems like the biggest news to -- >> host: thank you very much. >> guest: agreed question and it is on a lot of our minds these days. some of this almost feels like there is the self-fulfilling prophecy. if we imagine china will be our raw avalanche enemy in the world that will become one and i think there is the real risk in some ways that and we talk about this relationship that we assume the
competition between two great powers is impossible and you hear about in the united states and in china people talking about a pattern of history, the great historian who notice whenever a rising power challenged an incumbent power there was a risk but fact the we know that history means in some sense we have a responsibility to be aware of it and part of the process of avoiding a conflict miticide wants is by understanding, doing our best to understand china's true intentions, what do they imagine? what do they expect and how does that impair our interests if at all? this is two big complicated country trying to stake out a relationship with each other but there's nothing inevitable about confidence is on all of us as citizens to make sure when we are talking to our political leaders in this campaign so we are asking serious questions and making sure they know what they're talking about when it comes to china.
>> host: pings? >> guest: one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. he was a lifelong communist party member who was purged multiple times and was rehabilitated towards the end of his life but a critical moment in the 1970s he opened china up to the rest of the world. one of the things he was, one of the things he did that sometimes people don't recognize is he knew his own limitations. he was an economist. he surrounded himself, people who understood that economics of the period. the complicated part of the legacy is the end of his life, tiananmen square in 1989 he had to decide what to do, and that will always be a part of his legacy. >> host: paul, you are on with evan osnos. >> caller: i would like to know your take on the overall facades
that china has and also as a journalist, at censorship, are you -- sense of being followed among journalists that i'd there and getting stories out of china versus getting stories in? are they in an overall good sense or are they still in the censorship kind of secrecy? >> guest: a lot of us who write about china struggle about what can we do, there are several things to think about. a simple matter, if you are a foreign writer writing and of foreign publication chinese government cannot interfere with what we put out. i send it to my editors and we work on it. if you are a chinese journalist you face enormous risk because there are things you cannot write about, in working this of the senior leadership for things that i can do and give you do it
you run the risk of ending up in jail. a financial journalist was detained for writing about market turbulence, we would all agree a feature of the modern economy. the truth is western journalists, it is essential that the work we do we do without fear of favor with the we are doing it in washington, beijing, st. louis or anywhere and if we pull punches and say i am not going to write about certain things because it might alienate the authorities that we are not doing our job and by and large i have no a lot of chinese-american journalist over the years that do pretty good work. >> host: rick is calling from fairfax, va.. >> guest: hello. >> caller: how are you doing? just wanted to ask about an election reform issue in taiwan. they have a two party system like we do and i know that the cc be criticizes are two party
system and equate that with democracy so i am wondering if there was like an elimination round, instant runoff style system in taiwan where you would have five to seven candidates if that would set a good example for the mainland government to notice? >> guest: interesting question. i will leave it to the taiwan experts. there has been as you referenced in your question a sense people wonder whether taiwan's experiment with democracy which has been in place for so many years provides the blueprint for the mainland. lot of people on the mainland wonder about the first expression of what a chinese democracy might look like. i don't know enough about the details of taiwan to give you a good answer. >> host: is your book for sale in china? >> guest: it is for selling chinese in taiwan and hong kong but on the mainland i did not
make it available because on the mainland, in order to satisfy the sensors and for the moment i don't think it is the right idea. if chinese readers are reading that they are reading the full addition, one that they can get in taiwan and hong kong. >> host: what would be tough? >> guest: is a fascinating process. if you are a western writer writing about china you submit your book if you want to publish it in chinese and give the chinese publishers and they say there are things for instance, i have a sentence in the book where i say china has never been more prosperous, more urbane, more connected and yet it is the only country in the world that has a winner of the nobel peace prize in prison. the first half of the sentence is fine. the second half of the sentence is not okay. it is a hard choice because we want our books to be available to chinese readers, no question but i also feel particularly writing about shine i want to
make sure they are reading the words i would give to readers in any country and for me it feels like there are ways at the moment to make sure there's a chinese edition in taiwan in hong kong. i don't feel comfortable making cuts that would change sensitive issues about politics and history. >> host: god is calling in from ben salem, pa. evan osnos is our guest, the book is called "age of ambition". >> caller: i really enjoy your presentation. my question, does the chinese media, the government vilify the united states or the americans, we have in our brief history, recent history, it seems the russians were is the enemy if you will of a previous time and now many of our issues seem very
tied into the chinese economy or what have you but sometimes it seems although it may not be the intention necessarily of the press in the u.s. in china we have to have a country to demonize and other people, we lose the connection, the people that after the wall came down in germany's that we were able to meet russians and have exchange of ideas and i wondered if you could speak to that. >> guest: a great question. in some ways the chinese government through the media because in china much of the media, most of the media is controlled by the state budget has a conflict it way of describing the united states. in some ways it admirers things about america. the university system for instance. the chinese president's daughter enrolled at harvard and was educated there, a sign that there are elements of our culture the chinese leaders admire but also often times in the press in the chinese press
there is the sense they're trying to convey what works in the united states may not work for us. certainly they believe the american democratic system is not appropriate for china and that comes through in some of the coverage but it goes in waves. there are moments the chinese press is tough on the united states and moments it is not. one of the things i am conscious of these days in the u.s. we are in the middle of political season and candidates talk about shine and they say china is taking our jobs. what happens is often when people are looking for solutions to complicated problems they oversimplify the situation. in the candidates language i hear the we vilify china in ways that the facts don't support. there are facts we can and should be critical about the shuttle's of the clear on the nature of economic interdependency. is not going anywhere soon. >> host: a text from new york
city. has evan osnos read the book features on booktv the 100 year marathon, the ongoing central role of china's commitment about the hegemony and the impact of u.s.-chinese relations. >> that will, lot of attention from people to pay attention to security issues, the relationship between u.s. and china. from my perspective we are trying to figure out whether or not china perceives our relationship as headed for confrontation. as with our security community, there are people in china who want to see that happen. there is a variety of views. as we learn more about what chinese hawks one.
and also, everybody in favor of confrontation by no means. >> host: john from california texts questions regarding china's military ambition, aggressive cyberespionage, aggressive buildings, military buildup, behavior in the south china sea, anything troubling to you. >> we are in a very complicated moment with the chinese military. they have been growing steadily over the last 24 years and certainly when it comes to cyber there is a sense that the status quo, the trajectory we are on where china is conducting state sponsored activity or by allowing independent activity a lot is state-sponsored, they cannot have the hacking of major government agencies go and addressed so we are beginning to see that the u.s. is forming a more forceful response, we have
rocky days ahead of us because china believes fundamentally it is involved in an asymmetric, not a conflict but engagement with the united states. we are much bigger, our military is more advanced so they by using the tools they have available and one of the ms. cyber. we have reached the point where something has to change so the obama administration is talking about sanctions on chinese companies and you will see movement toward the end of the administration. >> host: ray from connecticut. >> i really appreciate the talk and information about shine a. my question is started to enter south china sea. what is your take on what is going on? it seems it is a dangerous confrontation, in an economic
sense and military sense. and for china's neighbors in the south china sea. >> guest: many of us have the images that are unforgettable images that are built out of reefs in the south china sea. and made a claim to that region in historical territory, and it is widely disputed. for a long time chinese leaders, those who follow them say we are going to put aside these questions for another day. more urgent priorities, we have to develop our economy and build up our infrastructure. the leadership is making a different ways and saying we will pursue this more aggressively and as a result you are beginning to see greater attention to its neighbors in the united states. and much greater recognition of
the past year and this is that major change to the status quo. the united states ultimately is not going to allow china to change, the terrain and the political landscape of east asia. will happen slowly, and the united states, the united states hope it happens in bodies for negotiated solutions and what the u.s. is trying to avoid is any kind of movement by force or unilateral action. the u.s. when necessary will take steps to try to prevent this from becoming the confrontation that neither side can afford. >> host: larry from cleveland, china developing intellectual property in an authentic way? >> guest: this is one of the changes i have watched over the last decade, companies for instance that in the beginning,
as clones of american enterprise or by taking intellectual property than they have begun to develop their own material and chinese companies are beginning to sue for copyright infringement, this is a sign schatz economy is moving but there is more to be done. at the moment it is the place where companies find their intellectual property -- >> host: the national book award for non-fiction last year for this book, age of ambition, a chasing a fortune, truth and faith in come china. no longer a beijing correspondent. worry writing about? >> politics and foreign affairs. line and the united states of america. >> host: do you still travel to china? >> guest: i do. it is hard to stay up on china if you are not going frequently and this is part of doing it for the long term but it has been a
very essential part of the world and i will keep writing about it in the years ahead. >> host: susan, please go ahead. >> caller: it has been awhile since i have been in china and i was curious about the estates, i wonder if dad had been opened, i don't know the history behind that. >> caller: there is a fragrant ills that you go to. i have been there a number of times. i have never been to anything that would be described that way but fragrant hills is certainly open, and a popular place to go. >> next step is carmichael, calif.. >> caller: my question is who does the leadership of china answer to, meaning i am doubtful
that they represent the people of china. i am just wondering, is there outside influence on the leadership of china? is the leadership of china chosen from an outside influence meaning the people who control the money in the world? >> guest: i will tell you how leadership is constituted in china. for many of us in the united states it is hard to imagine how leader should in shiny is chosen because they don't have anything like remotely familiar democratic system. the leadership if you're going to be a chinese leader ian come through the communist party, move that the first set, go to different jobs and eventually but there's a lot of internal politics, a lot of horse trading between regions and families. very powerful families and clans in the system, powerful industries. if you come out of the military that is one interest group.
it has in its own way and internal politics but your question would indicate how to what degree our people accountable to the public, they are not fully accountable to the public in the way that we would recognize here but one thing you have seen for the last few years is taken a longer afford to be unaware of what people care about and what they want so they have to follow the closely what people are talking about online, they have to keep a sense of one step ahead of where public opinion is. public opinion matters in china because the thing the communist party worry about most of all is the unrest. they're trying to prevent what could be discontent from becoming political instability. >> host: president nixon 1972, jimmy carter in 1978, which was the most significant? >> guest: no question nixon going to china was a pivotal moment in the 20th century and transform the trajectory of china in ways it is hard to
imagine. it is useful to remind ourselves of that. it was politically brave for nixon to imagine you could go to red china as it was known at the time and make yourself vulnerable in that way. we are facing a really interesting moment, we are trying to decide is china going to be a rival, an enemy or is it going to be a partner, a strained partner perhaps, never a perfect ally but there are so many issues of shared concern, things that are not solvable unless these countries figure out a way to do it. that is the point where we are. i am hoping the next generation of american leaders say there is a path way to do this, confrontation is not inevitable. >> host: omar is calling from tampa, go ahead. last call. >> caller: higher education, in
the past year or so there has been a crackdown on western values, text books from the top level. i wonder if you have any observations or insight especially given preference to the need for creativity. in china. >> guest: that has been on my mind a lot. over the past year there has been a clear effort to try to limit and reduce the effective western influence and universu should know longer use western textbooks that represent democratic values. you see a collision between short-term priorities and long-term priorities. long-term china knows where it needs to go, generating the kind of indigenous innovation, the wild ideas, destructive ideas that made silicon valley and the united states that economic power that it is but in the short term it has political priority, it is trying to maintain control over people's
lives and that is an essential contradiction. i think the textbook example which we pale lot of attention to this year is a sign of how much the leadership is struggling, how much to reduce their control over people's lives. over the long term there is no question that they simply cannot afford to keep a handle on the ideas people pursue an information they want to read. that is how you become a vibrant dynamic society. >> host: "age of ambition," here is the book, chasing fortune, truth and faith in the new china. and one, winner of the national book award. booktv live coverage of the fifteenth annual national book festival continues now. other call in opportunities, we will talk to the second man to walk on the moon. if you want to call in and talk with him, he comes, 202-748-8200. those in the east and central time zone 748-8201 witch
in washington d.c. we are pleased to be joined by buzz aldrin, a second man to walk on the moon, first man to do a airspace what i understand. >> i thought you were going to say something else. >> host: the author of a couple books on space, his most recent happens to be a children's book, "welcome to mars: making a home on the red planet". will you live to see man on mars? >> not by -- i was going to say not by earthlings but that would cause me trouble, and i think. i don't think so. i hope, of course, to have a president make a commitment to land on mars and that could be
done on the 50th anniversary of our landing on the mission. 2017. 2019. now that means the u.s. will lead the other nations to land. and i think we will begin to explain just how we can do that and why it is so important to begin to build permanent, the same president before leaving office may make a further commitment to permanence. >> host: --
>> guest: the first landing on. >> host: there is an experiment going on where they are putting people in isolation. >> guest: it is called high seas and it is in hawaii. there have been other tests of different lengths. i am quite concerned about our ability to monitor the ment-health of people who may be asked if they want to go to mars permanently. you may know of the dutch company that has of program, mars one, one way trips to mars. they don't have a real means of
affording it yet, but the response that they got was quite large, hundreds of thousands of people responded and knowing human nature, some of them maybe want their names in the news but they will change their mind when the rocket gets ready to leave. if we train people who say they want to go but then they begin to have a little concerned, i am working on trying citrus a movie about where -- i made a commitment to these people, i am going to go, so he goes and after a while begins to wonder. because we need to monitor these
people, with an improved electrocardiogram, mapping of the brain and i know a company that has been doing this and other technologies that can be checked changes that have occurred and they can use some directed magnetic stimulation, it is called magnetic resonance therapy. they have done double blind studies and they are in vogue process of getting more and more approval. they have done quite well with alzheimer's. i am glad to hear that. autism, tendinitis and ptst.
i am concerned of our veterans, 22 suicides at day. i have a charity of my own. but in going to marissa, we need to be able to reminder not mental health of people. i am talking to a writer that i use for a science fiction story because i know he can develop characters quite well and he responded to me that he would love to do that and work it out but he says if this works can you imagine? there won't be dropped outs from school, there won't be discontinued if we are able to change the discouragement, the output of people worldwide this could be a really much greater
world. it may not be stimulated by the space program but -- sort of makes it more realistic that we can welcome people to mars how. >> we will how well our callers, you are on lough buzz aldrin. >> caller: but hutch free! i want to thank you, mr. aldrin faja, but it missed got a little shorter with this opportunity. a couple questions. going to marissa i would hope when his humans to mars in pan-american is to marcus, with an effort similar to the space station, international sanitary wide effort and my question, when you end neil returned to
the command module and hooked back up with mike collins, what did the moon smell like? was their consensus? was their agreement on what the moon sellmelled like when you ha chance to gather around and thank you for this opportunity. >> guest: we all agreed, i am not sure who was the first one to say that the dust on the moon smelled like charcoal, burned charcoal from a fire or a fireplace. i don't know how to explain why that would be that way. there were other people who said the moon dust when you expose it
to oxygen, the chemists is that we going to sink 50 feet when we landed. we didn't want anything to burst into flames so we did have a sample of the first one that neil scooped, the contingency sample in case anything went wrong at least we had -- put it in a pocket so when we got in, before we read pressurize the cabin with 100% oxygen we took that and set its on the cover of the ascent engine just to satisfy the skeptics. the bad news people.
now, i had my relatives, my uncle was visiting and i told him the storybout rocks, moon dust when you expose it to oxygen, we didn't believe that at all. in his ride from florida to california, happened to be sitting next to a reporter so he thought he would just share his thought that his nephew had shared with him. there was a headline in the paper, the head of the article, the headline, aldrin fears lunar rocks. >> host: here is the text message that has come in for
you. did being on the moon and change your perspective about creation? >> guest: i don't think it changed my mind. it brought into focus a lot of other people, maybe, that had been sort of looking at natural selection, evolution, the garden of eden or coming down from the trees, we are here, regardless of where you and i came from. we are here now. my beliefs, whatever is they were when i was growing up, i think as the bible said, as children we thought about
childish things that we have moved on and i expect everyone to feel the freedom of being able to gain a changing perspective, either reinforcements or may be shifting in different directions. i have great admiration for albert einstein and some of his thoughts but i certainly don't want to suggest anybody change their way of thinking. >> host: frank is calling from cleveland. >> caller: how are you doing? i just wanted to know. i wanted to know is there any
way -- the united states the first to get on the moon but something we can improve, a spaceship or something, sit on mars or get to mars. >> guest: could you repeat that a little louder? >> host: we will go ahead and move on. you talked about a couple of those ideas, traveling to mars. we have a little bit of difficulty hearing frank. texas, buzz aldrin and i are listing, go ahead with your comments. >> caller: onetime years ago i interviewed you on the radio and you gave me a gift, you said i could have a lunar vehicle you put on the moon. all i had to do was come and get it. if you give us a little detail how that can perform in less
gravity that a regular dune buggy. >> host: he interviewed on radio and he said you gave him a gift which was the lunar vehicle that you drove around the moon on and all you had to do was go up and get it. how did that perform? >> guest: no. that was much later on. i don't think you can give that away. i didn't go up there to get a lot of things. >> host: would you go back? >> guest: we were offered by the president the option to do what we wanted to do and all of us on the crew felt we had had such a wonderful experience with the opportunity that had been
afforded us, and then to do that again would be at the expense of other people who were waiting in line and wanted to shares that. it just would have been selfish, too self-serving. people don't like that, nobody wants to take something that might rightly belong to somebody else. who has been waiting in line. >> host: louisiana, waiting in line to talk to you. we will go with brandy. >> caller: mr. aldrin. did you know personally the crew from apollo one? >> guest: i certainly did.
especially ed white. he was at west.-- was debt that one year behind me. we would ride to madison square garden and compete with other people for the brave old army team. we had a special training table where in the ms halt even though we in different regiments in different classes, and later on, after i was in the korean war and their air force academy i had much more of duty in germany and i arrived at this base in germany and there was ed and he said you have got to get in this
22 squadron. it has a wonderful commander and officer and i got to know the really well. i took his advice and got into this squadron and it was such a wonderful group of people and we have been having reunions ever since 1959. i can't say -- is not more than the doolittle raiders but for a squadron of pilots, not in combat but training and experiencing each other, to then feel that we wanted to share that again and again, i contrast that with 24 people who reached the moon, and don't seem to be
inclined to want to get together. we were of very competitive group of people, the 16 that are still living. i think it is a shame that we don't remain so competitive and don't think that somebody is going to get the benefit out of our coming together. it is a group that if they were to express their thoughts or opinions, it would be useful. except if they felt going to the moon was made me. let's go back to the moon. >> host: patrick in michigan, you are on the phone with buzz
aldrin. >> caller: you mentioned earlier in the show maybe you were implying it is possible earthlings' would not be the first to mars? i was wondering as someone who is interested in ufos do you believe it is possible extra terrestrials visit the planet earth and they could possibly be to mars first? >> guest: patrick, remember carl sagan, the astronomer, very famous, was on tv quite a bit, he and his wife made a movie called contact. he was, quite respected person. he made a very key observation. extraordinary events -- extraordinary claims require
extraordinary evidence. to claim that you have seen another alien, an alien is an extraordinary claim. there never is the extraordinary evidence. there is somebody saying this or that or interpreting the photograph in a particular way. it isn't convincing evidence to me. by saying somebody may have been to mars before, the moon of mars, the larger moon is 4,000 miles above the surface and goes around in seven hours. it is a very likely stopping point to be able to control
things on the surface. the photographs that have been taken by other satellites going around mars exhibit a very strange object on mars. is not a face. it is a vertical object and it casts a shadow. the canadians, i think it was maybe a 2006 did a study of sending a spacecraft or robot to this moon of mars. the russians have been trying to get their spacecraft three times and they all failed.
the photographs that we see by the sun casting a shadow and knowing exactly where the sun was at the time the picture was taken, they can measure and come up with a calculation that this object was 90 meters high. that is a football field. in this study that the canadians did, all the engineers contributing to the study, they felt this was sufficiently unusual so they called it the monolith, after the 2001 arthur clarke movie where the apes were doing things on the moon and there was a big object that they
couldn't understand. that was called the monolith. it is still there. i have seen the pictures of that. and i think it strangely was a natural occurrence. no evidence really one way or the other. but it disturbed people that heard me describe this on c-span quite a few years ago. remember? now that we are getting a little closer i have changed my story. because we need the support of these people that never seem to have extraordinary evidence. so i am going to suggest that
what is is an antenna for the aliens out there. and in visible ray that communicates to earth and other planets here, with some of their people. aliens. and they are invisible. and there is one right over it thereby you right now. this will create a lot of interest. they will think about the moon and going to mars. we need all sorts of people because the public needs to support what the nation wants to do. >> host: you can see this crowd out here watching you. are we spending our nasa dollars as well as we could be in your
view? >> guest: we don't have enough dollars from the government in the budget to be able to do what we would really like to do. sometimes to make matters worse, the politics may trade things back and forth. i will vote for you and you vote for my bill and there may be funds being sent to some place where the workers lose their jobs because we continue to work on things that are not new, keep doing the same things. without getting specific, that
situation has existed and it does now. in my opinion, are we spending the money on the right objects? i don't think so. i don't think we have g. nasa is directed by the authorizing committees, the appropriating committees are the ones that make the final decisions, where does the money specifically go. and the power that exists in the chairman of the appropriations committee is very high. these committees that are in congress decides what the
president and his representatives are very important in deciding what the budget is that will come and where that money will be spent. >> host: time for one quick call from chevy chase, md. you are on with buzz aldrin. >> caller: what is your opinion on the development of commercial space travel with the success of spacex? >> host: commercial space travel. >> guest: the airplane was used as a weapon in world war i. and the pilots that came back from world war i didn't really have a job that they knew how to fly so they would get into races and acrobatics and there were a
number of accidents and as i understand it my father told me the federal government came to these pilots and said you are getting a bad name for aviation. we would like to organize the delivery of the air mail to different places and the success those pilots demonstrated by carrying the mail from new york to chicago to cleveland was successfully demonstrated and people said we can carry the mail, we can carry passengers and that was the beginning of passenger travel in aircraft and it is up question of the government being able to pioneer
things that than can be probably done better by the competitiveness of the private sector. and they will do a better job. i think a lot of people, if they were given the choice, we have a big project. should we let the government do it? or should we have private companies compete with each other? >> host: 30 seconds, pop culture question, after not wives club show, don't know if you have seen it, is it accurate? >> guest: i don't know. i haven't seen it. >> host: that is from a viewer. >> guest: from a viewer? oh really? as i understand it, the wives of
the early astronauts did not have much legal advice, much agent representatives and they didn't receive any reimbursement for their stories. we didn't get much government money either, but this was sort of voluntary and i think it was motivated by mitzi if we can find out all these raise the thin that these guys did and see if we can still the beans. that is not fair, you are asking somebody to rat on a very unique
set of people. losing privacy is something that nobody wants to have happen. today, i can walk through here and somebody can take a picture, put it on social media without my permission. people will lose a lot of privacy by this new way of communicating with people. i haven't had anything other than observations from other people. i don't know what the script was like. my daughter did go with my first
wife who was interviewed but what this resulted in, and i don't really know. she just passed away last month. i just think that is an imposing story, seeking publicity to sell the story or the movie, taking advantage of people in their private lives, not to joy how wonderful everything was but what went wrong. >> host: ladies and gentlemen, buzz aldrin has been our guest on booktv. buzz aldrin has always been willing to talk to c-span and
take your calls, we always appreciate your time. "welcome to mars: making a home on the red planet" is his newest book. live coverage of the national book festival continues. we are going back shortly in the convention center to the history and biography room and up next you will hear from historian j. -- jay winik about his book "1944". you go to booktv.org and get the full schedule. both see the live coverage from the national book festival continues. >> it is my pleasure to welcome you here today. we are proud to be a charter sponsor of this event for five consecutive years. this is a great event and exciting to be a part of it. i just came from downstairs for wells fargo, so many things going on, in case you haven't
been down there. we have our employee volunteers reading books as well as telling stories and distributing signature tony's going on. we also have the arch of gold mining going on for children to experience along with lassoing ponies as well and of course if wouldn't be a festival for wells fargo unless we had the stagecoach here for folks to take photographs with her iconic stage coach. is you we introduce a new exhibit called the together experience where you can participate in a virtual mes as an interactive game and record stories and a video booth and i expanded reading first program, wells fargo historians that are in period i tire, reading large assortments of books in english and spanish. ..
these great nonprofit organizations. it is through our partnerships with local communities the variable to serve and get back and empowering these communities it is now my pleasure to introduce steve levinson, nonfiction editor of the "washington post" to introduce our next speaker. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you. i am steve livingston, nonfiction editor of the "washington post", which is a charter sponsor of the national book festival. our guest todayour guest today has spent a lot of time communing with giant personalities of the past, abraham lincoln,, abraham lincoln, ulysses s grant, robert e lee for his book april 1865 which was a number one bestseller. the polian and marie antoinette.
he walks the board to have the corridors of power. fdr and the year that changed history continuing his explanation of crucial historical moments. what i find fascinating is his it portrayals of great historical figures bring him into contact with the great figures making history today. his buckstoday. his books are prompted presidents to call the author in for a chat. president bill clinton and george w. bush have
discussed history with this best selling historian, and it is no wonder is the new york times says, he demonstrates the flair for story telling us suggests an almost cinematic you are there immediacy and embraces the old-fashioned idea the prominent personalities actually shaping the course of history.
a historian who entertains us and enlightens us. itit gives me great pleasure to introduce j winning. [applause] >> thank you very much for that introduction, steve. and i want toi want to give a -- the lights out they're are really bright. i just want to give a quick thanks to our librarian of congress were all he has done as well as my
friend laura bush. and more than anything else, i want to thank you, the readers, from this exists. you are the lifeblood of books, and as much as we love this festival, we hope that you love the festival and thank you for coming. [applause]
now, let me just take you right into my knew book, 1944. 1944. it was not inevitable that the war would end as it inevitable that the war would end as it did or indwell at all. along the western line the allies were pinned down against tenacious nazi divisions alarming gustav line. in the east to the soviet union was making threats that they would make a separate peace with the nazi even at this late date. in other words, in 1944 the war and humanity remained in doubt. what would commence would be the most epic year of the war and, indeed, of the 20th century if not modern history, and it is against this backdrop that fdr and winston churchill would meet in egypt to discuss what would happen next in terms of the war, strategy, tactics. as they themselves would meet with the soviet head of state, joseph stalin. consider this remarkable partnership.
here was churchill, legendary oratory, strength of we will, character who refuse to give up and given against the german third reich, churchill who one by one, as euro fell to the nazis, poland, czechoslovakia, holland and france was living under the nazi swastika.swastika. but had no point would he give up or given until the us entered the fray and fought the war along his side. and fdr who was crippled by polio, a legendary charmer whose oratory was the stuff of legend command here was fdr, the man who tamed for depression and uplifted a deeply ailing country when it was in the throes of depression and people worried that revolution could take place.
in the hands of these two great men would come the rest of the war. in fact, briefly as they were meeting in egypt at one point churchill burst into fdr's room and says, mr. pres., i have arranged a trip for us. we must go for us. we must go see the pyramids. indeed, they motored out at sunset, the best of friends and most important of allies as the sun was setting and the pink line fell, they were looking at the sphinx and churchill thought to himself, i wonder what she has to say and he looked over to roosevelt and said, i just lovei just love that man. what did roosevelt say? roosevelt said nothing, as inscrutable as the sphinx which would be telling and the faithful months to come as 1944 would commence. soon they would all meet in tehran as they would gather with the soviet dictator, joseph stalin, and a
conference would begin to decide what would happen next in the war. the conference was tumultuous with a lot of back-and-forth, discussions of tactics, strategy, of, strategy, of the pacific, the normandy invasion that stalin wanted to take place. and at one point something dramatic happens.happened. it was not battle plans are tanks were missiles. roosevelt started to sweat. beads ofbeads of sweat filtering down his face and he felt uncommon pain and could not speak. he was quickly rushed out of the room away from churchill and away for stalin and he met with doctors. the doctors diagnosed it as nothing more than ingestion, but clearly was much more than that. it was an omen of things to come. eventually heeventually he felt better and i finish the conference command as they did they came up with an important decision, that the day would take place after all which would mean the invasion through the western front against the germans that would take place in
early june. and then roosevelt also shows dwight eisenhower's as the commander of forces. so with that the conference was a success. far away from the bloodsoaked battlefields of europe, far away from them and dialing -- dying daily day after day and believe i hopes for the future, hopes of success, fdr returned home feeling that all would be well. he was deeply ailing. i coffee would not go away, doctors said it's nothing more than the after effects of influenza. whatever it was it would not quit. here is a man who obtain depression, held held adolf hitler at bay and was deeply sick.
he began to lose his ability to taste food as uniquely depicted. he will developed a hacking cough it would not stop. stop. his mouth hung open when he signed his correspondence and he could barely do more than a squirrel. when you asked how he felt, this normally stoic president would say rotten or i feel like hell. in other words, he was sick. again, his personal dr. in the white house wrote it off as nothing more than the influenza, but at a workup at the tustin naval hospital he said no, this was advanced heart disease, congestive heartdisease, congestive heart failure, and if dramatic action were not taken he would die within a year, and those words would prove to be prophetic. hereprophetic. here at the most critical part of the war roosevelt was dying. why do i say the most critical part? because what would take
place in would be the most important military event of the entirety of this world war ii which would be the impending invasion of d-day. also something that would take place that was rather profound, not on the military side, with theside, but the humanitarian side, the greatest humanitarian crisis humanity is her face before it was as if every citizen from boston were put on a train and executed one by one. this was all taking place at the same time. he went down south to recuperate at his good friends estate. hehe said i want to rest and rest 12 hours a day indeed he did.
hehe was supposed to stay for two weeks. he stayed for a full month. the war itself is going well the allies prevailed soon thereafter d-day itself a take place. slated for the beginning of june. the greatest armada and history,history, something never before witnessed. imagine the scene. 180,000 soldiers over 5,000 warships carrying these men, 1,000 aircraft that would blanket the skies. it was a military caravan literally without peril.
however from the early start it looked as though d-day itself would have to be avoided. dwight eisenhower, the knew commander-in-chief of the forces great stars it kicked up a great guest wins it will make visibility impossible so crucial to the command of the skies, and it seemed virtually inconceivable that they could carry out this invasion covering hundreds of miles so that even if stress is for office were hitler was. so eisenhower put his chin to his chest, based around, sound the couch and called on his officers. he decided to postpone the invasion. then he looked over how long
can we let this invasion hang out on a limb like this? eisenhower was in agony. he decided to reconvene his men, staff and about eight hours. the whether was still looking good and teeseven will meet again in another eight hours. he was told by his meteorologist in 36 hours -- for 36 hours while a break and whether. in other words, small window in which they could carry out the invasion. eisenhower walked back and forth much into chest pacing putting down. right down the middle. and he said let's go.
across the way was the head of the german forces. he said to his officers, we must stop the americans on the beaches and then he said faithfully, it will be the longest day, and it was. soon imagine what it look like to the germans, the german defenders of the atlantic wall looked out of the sea and all of a sudden cannot see any water. all he could see his ships coming. and then all of a sudden there was a series of explosion opening up the skies, as if the guys it opened up the primordial wrath. and there were literally without parallel. the invasion went well it was the kind of casualties that the americans are suffering.
the withering fire for the nazis was terrible. severed limbs, arms floating in the water, and it looks like this general put it, a catastrophe of irreversible proportions. with the see behind them in the beach in front of them retreat was not an option next one of the american spaniard said men, we might as well die on hard ground as we do on the beaches. it was clear that it was fate would soon be sealed, the war would soon be over. along the way along with this relentless pursuit of victory was something else taking place.
millions ofmillions of lives at risk. the juice would die at the death of auschwitz. picture if you will auschwitz. the crown jewel for the nazi empire. no food, no water, little light. it was hot. they were suffocating. many of the people literally died standing up. one of the trains coming to auschwitz they're were 4,000 children. when the train pulled into the station they were all dead. they suffocated along the way. when it typically arrived, especially these bearing the hungarian jews they would
look up and see his great plumes of fire reaching 30 feet into the sky. these were the crematoria burning the jews and had this terrible stench but nothing that ever small before. this was a flash literally being broiled. he understood more what was happening. of what use is aa god in the world in which the only duty as a punishment and the punishment is exactly what the germans would wreak upon the jews. little did they know -- can you all here me? little did they know that within an hour of preaching and to auschwitz station they would all be nothing but ashes and dust. and asand as they stumbled out of the trains ss doctors would be screaming at them,, barking dogs, doberman pinscher's it would be barking at them, and the ss
doctors and they would here ross komorowski morels. they were beaten every step along the way. the for you, right for you, love for you, right for you. if it was right you would become a slave labor and work to death. to the left, you are usually one of the elderly or a mother or a woman or a four -year-old little child can always the children, and they were taken to the gas chambers. they were told what would happen is they would be disinfected and do nothing more than take a shower, take off their clothes, clothes, some 2,000 of them, herded into these cold and for bidding rooms that had the showerheads, and they would be shivering, terrified, wedged in like bricks in the driveway.
2000, think. 2,000, think of that number 2,000. 2,000 is as many people as died at pickett's charge at gettysburg and they would be taking care of within one hour. wedged in all of a sudden the gas would filter out and there would be a great traveling, people rush over other people, children get crushed trying to get to doors to get to where there was air and they would be screaming and yelling and soon it would become a rattle and soon the rattle of become nothing more than a small illinois, and within 20 minutes they're would be nothing. they would be all dead. at this point the germans, wasting no time, but take out the teeth of the dead. they one of the gold fillings. they take. they take of the hair because they use it for mattresses. the fertilizer and ashes of the people would be used for fertilizer for the road.
as for the living, those who were not taken to the gas chambers would be so emaciated that the hair would fall out. faces will become fleshless and they look like living skeletons and children would be forced often to urinate into bends which would become the drinking water. this is what was happening on that front. the question is what would fdr do? now that the war was going well and d-day invasion was successful when fdr stop the barbarity taking place? what he put an end to the cruelty? what he finally put a stopa stop to the massacre of one innocent after another. that was unclear yet, but there was someone in auschwitz itself the results he would put it into it, escaping from auschwitz, and along with the comrades from slovakia he did something one before,done beford escape for three days they had in the cavity or
woodpile and then for days, thousands of soldiers look for them, thousands of ss and out across. they look for them everywhere. eventually they could not find them. the search was called off. they got out of the cavity turned around and ran to never look back. soon surviving nazi patrols, shoot out, and tyson might, they eventually after 15 days tired and exhausted and worn out would make their way to slovakia where they told the story of what was taking place in the dark force. and then that memo would make its way in condensed form it with all hands on
the commander-in-chief. this man was remarkable. the most amazing commander-in-chief that america had had in its history along with abraham lincoln. brilliant tactics, brilliant strategy, brilliant decision-making come out of his fertile imagination that came when lease which to live the british as well as the soviet union. out ofout of his fertile imagination they came the invasion of north africa 1942 which gave season to these young americans. it was out of his fertile imagination i came the arsenal of democracy that would ultimately consume the germans and out of his fertile imagination the can the fireside chats that uplifted the hearts of americans worried about the fate of democracy.
ms. a real paradox here. roosevelt, the world's greatest humanitarian confronting the greatest trinitarian in history to be sure from the beginning it was hard understand the scale and scope grabs in pieces like a real thriller mystery more information leaked out about what was taking place at this terrible death of and in auschwitz. at one point they're was an anti- nazi german
industrialist highly placed in the third reich who had an elegant party where women were there finest 1st among men were there best outfits command in hushed voices he heard for the 1st time talk of the final solution, the attempt to murder and kill every jew in the face of europe. he had met hitler once in a meeting, and a business meeting and so hated him that he risked his own life, boarded a train, went to switzerland, met with prominent jews to get the word to fdr because, as because, as he put it to his prominent contact, there will be giant cemeteries and he must put a stop to it. for 14 months nothing was done.
everything he could to prevent jews from escaping to your. as they were cramming the constants of europe, just desperate to come to our shores. and youshores. and you read the new york times of the day about the migrants have been trying to come here. well, it was not unlike that they knew that it was a death sentence for them. for 14 months nothing was done. ultimately, what would happen is henry morgan felt roosevelt's best friend, the two routinely had lunch every week one-on-one, and he was secretary of treasury. so disgusted by what was taking place that he imperiled his best friendship with roosevelt and decided to write a stern memo to the president, and in this he said he talked about the inaction of the government, his bureaucratic ineptitude, the obstacles put up day after day to prevent the jews from finding some kind of safe haven.
andand then he labeled this memo imagine this, the most hard-hitting memo ever written in the nation's history and to fdr, of all people, one of our greatest presidents and talked about the government acquiescence in the murder of the jews. fdr was so shaken up that he called a rare sunday meeting in the 2nd oval office. he said what do you want and they set up something called the war refugee board whose sole mission was to do nothing but help the jews. in too many cases, in fact millions of cases it was too little too late. having said that nonetheless there was more action. and then it became a great decision, debate. should they bomb auschwitz itself, put an end to the barbarism, make a symbol to the world that this is what the nazis stood for, and the west we will not stand for it. well, it turned out that we would not bomb auschwitz.
john mccoy, the.man that roosevelt had in the war department put up one roadblock after another and said that it was infeasible that this could be carried out, too great a distance but it turns out bombers were routinely flying over and by auschwitz as part of the oil war. and then if we bomb auschwitz it will create even greater predictive miss on the part of the germans. one has to ask what could be greater and more vindictive than the fact that little children were being herded into the gas chambers. so, there is one other thing that was said, it would be a diversion of resources from the war effort which is a serious charge and something to be taken seriously. when the polishwhen the polish home army rose up against the nazis in warsaw and were being butchered in this terrible battle
roosevelt actually sent help to them and dated knowing full well that it would have minimal impact, but he did it. i wanti want to make a symbol to the world that we stand for them, but he was not willing to do that. so auschwitz was not bombed. actually, not totally true. it was bombed that one bombed at one point, but it was bound by mistake. the ss ran into their shelters and did everything they could to shoot down the american planes, but the jews who were there, emaciated people cheered as the nobel prize word said we do not fear death, at least not that kind. and other so we just pray to god that those would come. so what would happen for the rest of the war in 1944 when roosevelt was dying.
hitler committed suicide ironically, weirdly almost even eat at the same time that day as what fdr appeared in the meanwhile meanwhile the soviet union would liberate auschwitz and the americans themselves would liberate this title or dresden when they got there, they were stunned by the images and i can think of what you saw with that little boy in "the new york times" the other day who washed up on the beach that. they were stunned by what they
saw. nothing humanity had greatness. human beings reduced ability sticks. human beings dead, corpses stacked but when i saw the americans they cheer like mad. what was the response to the americans? eisenhower himself said now we finally know what we're fighting for and ringing in their head now we finally know what we were fighting for. how to interpret lincoln 44? when the germans surrendered, huge crowds gathered across the world and danced long live the great americans, gone with the great american president, franklin roosevelt did people danced in london, paris, new york and anchor in washington and this was the greatest outburst of joy of mankind. roosevelt had won the war and
hear them was the triumphant route of 1944. but then the fact one other thing to place. roosevelt after all he had done in a way missed what i would call his emancipation proclamation moment. think about abraham lincoln for just a second here in abraham lincoln in the throes of this terrible war that consumed 620,000 lines did this despite opposition in the north, despite opposition in his own political party, despite opposition within cabinet with the emancipation proclamation would have made the war not just about union or keeping the union thing more pro, freedom, liberation together . roosevelt never quite did that.
there are millions of deaths the torment us. this was the other fruit of 1944. 1944 is a story of great triumph a story of heroic actions and magnificent biters and soldiers of america, fdr's magnificent readership, the most profound war that america ever fought and the story of readers -- leadership and decisions made. it's also a story of decisions not made, tragedy, there's millions of lives who somehow slipped through our fingers. in the end 1944 is the greatest of years we can imagine, but it is also one of the saddest. thank you very much. [applause]
>> i was wondering what you think would have changed. if you could paint a broad picture. henry wallop remained on on the ticket in the 1944 democratic convention and succeeded chairman.nd of and succeeded >> well, i have got to say, that is a funny thing because it is a question my guide asked me. what do you think would have happened? >> you asked about burns. well, wewell, we have david mccullough here at the festival, so we should ask
him. well, it is not the subject of my book, but i certainly think that we would be living in a different world. i feel strongly. steve from the "washington post" said that readers make a difference in history which is the reason why we fight so much over -- we have elections, why they are so hotly contested because one reader does run thing, one reader does another thing. there's only one george washington, one abraham lincoln,one fdr. and, one fdr. and i guess because it is only one harry truman. german laid out the architecture for the cold war, that forty-year struggle. if it were wallace or anyone else it's not clear that whatever happened. so it is your question revealing just how important individual leaders are. >> two quick questions. one of my professors at georgetown university was
john tarski. was he the polish diplomat you described just now as an escaping and bringing word to london and washington? or did he escape and bring the news of the death camps? >> okay. did all of you here the question about jan who actually taught at georgetown for many years and was a polish official and part of the underground and was not the one who escaped. the one who escaped is rudolph the 19 -year-old slovakian who was a register in the camp. and this is worthy of a hollywood movie. we're already talking about it now. i mean,, he had a phenomenal memory,, phenomenal health and was like a cat with nine lives.
he prevailed enough so that he could do something no one else had done,done, escape from this horrific camp in these watchtowers and machine guns, these 2,000 members of the gestapo and assess. what he did was infiltrated the satellite camp and was bowled over by what he saw. it was like nothing ever witnessed in humanity. people stumbling along with living skeletons, literally like the walking dead. he came back and had a meeting with roosevelt. a meeting wasa meeting was supposed to be half an hour and turned out to be a full hour. it is reported that very few things shook up roosevelt, but after this meeting roosevelt apparently was shaken up and said you go back and tell your people they have a friend in the white house. he came out and was impressed by that. we have a friend of the white house. the polish ambassador said yes.yes. when it comes to the jews said nothing the platitudes. roosevelt was a great charmer and very careful
never to over commit himself , and this is one of those instances. >> hi. thank you for your talk. you mentioned that fpr made some commitment. >> that he? >> that he dithered a little bit. there are some that have suggested they're might be anti- semitism. and then the 2nd question i had is the allies were closing in on the concentration camp i have heard there were efforts by the ss speed up the execution. >> well, as the allies were liberating a camps in winning the award of the speed up the effort? and the other was, was there any anti- semitism?
and i look at this carefully you know, when they were very young fdr and eleanor who came from a very high society of america moving from one black-tie affair to another were prisoners of the time and there may have been a hint of not wanting to be socially around jews, but by the time the war came i think it is safe to say that fdr did not have one anti- somatic on his body, and many of his top advisers were jews. i find this very enlightening and profound. i don't care whether your jewish, christian, catholic. what matters is that we have a spiritual side and that we care about god and humanity. that is mwhatters. and so i don't think in any sense. however, it is certain that within the state department
there were elements of anti-semitism, particularly among breckenridge, head of the visa department, so crucial to helping them get out and enough so that at one point the treasury secretary dramatically confronted breckenridge in a meeting and said, frankly, i must tell you that there are a number of people who think you are a little bit have to somatic. that was among the state department. and then eleanor was a passionate defender of the jews. she recalled after calm and later said that the inability of the administration to do more to help the jews was the greatest mistake that they had made. in terms of the german speeding up the execution, yes. when the day was one in the allies were closing in, the soviets were coming in, when the americans and the british are coming in from
the west and there was this pants orpincer movement that was going to put a chokehold finally on the nazis, they tried to cover up their crimes and dismantle the gas chambers. a membera member were great death marches as they were moving the jews into the satellite camps in germany itself from poland, and there were long columns of people. i wrote about robert e lee's escape from richmond is the end of the war. 30,000 men and long columns stretching out. imagine what itimagine what it was like for the jews with no food or water, and if they stumble they would get shot in the head, and they would be the workers that would help in hitler's fanciful world. >> i recently read brightman and litman fdr and the jews. one of the impressions i got , one of the issues was that fdr was on a lot of
the. he would appoint someone of pick the personality and let go and then just sort of balance between people in the cabinet. >> what he asked is, was fdr hands are not? did that have anything to do with all of this? and, i mean, fdr was a brilliant politician. at one point in the book essay that he had the charms of thomas jefferson, the persona of george washington , the wily instincts of an abraham lincoln, and the populist instincts of an andrew jackson. he was an incredible politician and an incredible leader. what is interesting is that however hands-on he may or may not have been -- and frankly almost every day at five or 6:00 o'clock he had something called the children's hour or the cocktail hour we would have his advisors are good friends command, and he
would makes the drinks. hehe loved to mix the drinks and they would never talk about politics. his days were not always tough. he sometimes a-uppercase-letter schedule, but it is safe to say that on all of the major decisions they came out from his staff, not from from his generals, not from his military advisers but as i put it earlier come out of his fertile imagination. indeed, the invasion of north africa that came in 1942 was done in spite of what eisenhower and marshall said. that invasion would go down as the blackest day in american history. how wrong can they have been? roosevelt was able to peer out into the distance, and in so many of the major decisions it was is doing. even lend lease, which was giving assistance to britain and the soviet union
whenever running out of money and running of weapons and this kept him alive until americans entered the war, he was aboard a ship, sunning himself for days, looked at a note from ernest hemingway that gave them tips on how to fly fish, but it was on that ship that he came up with the idea of then please all by himself. i think it's safe to say that whatever happened happened because roosevelt want it to happen. >> there were two other leaders in the world, stalin and churchill. churchill had an air force. stalin might not have, but he had some plans that could get over they're. stalin would have known. he would have had a motivation. did you get anything out of the history? >> no. heno. he asked if these efforts ever came up before stalin churchill.
in stalin's case stalin and brutally murdered millions of people. as he put it, what is one or 2 million people? no one we will remember the riffraff generations from now. on the other hand, churchill had a different response than fdr did when he heard about the final solution. he called ithe called it the greatest crime that humanity has ever seen or witnessed in its entire history, and then he told his foreign minister, let's bomb those camps. use my name and get everything you can. in the into did not happen because of bureaucratic crossed wires and because they could not do. i think we are near the end. you have all been great. thank you for coming. enjoy the rest of your day. [applause]
that was jay winnick talking about the year 1944, and he was up on the history and biography room. we will be back there in about an hour or so for daniel allen. daniel allen we will be talking about the declaration of independence, which is her book, and we will carry that to you live. in the meantime, here is the -- here in the convention center we have to collins coming out. ray suarez will be talking about latino americans, but right now we are pleased to be joined by erika lee. here is her book called the making of asian-american history just published this month. erika lee, how do you define asian-american? >> is a great question. it depends on who you ask. according to the us government and
asian-american could be somebody, one of 24 different ethnic groups. if you talk to any of the people at the festival today, they probably have a different definition of asian-american. probably speaking we consider asian-american someone who has descended from east asia, south asia, southeast asia. they can bethey can be people like myself who have been in this country for generations of people who are arriving today at the airport. >> what is the percentage? >> if we listen to the news pundits today we might think the largest immigrant group is from mexico would actually the largest immigrant group today's china. 6 percent of the population, 19 a half million in the country. >> would you say the largest immigrant group, you mean --
>> largest single immigrant group coming in, yes. >> about 6 percent of the us population. >> yes. >> would it be fair to consider asian-americans the silent majority? >> that is another great question. one of the things that we face only talk about asian-americans is, they slipped through the cracks. onlycracks. we think about race relations we are also thinking african-american, whites. we are talking about immigration we are also thinking of latinos, but asian-americans have had a long history in the country, deep roots, at the center of some of the most important transformations in american history. thethe stories have not yet fully being told, something that i hope to reveal and share with the larger american public. >> well, what is one of the themes?
there going to put the phone numbers up. one of the stories? >> immigration is absolutely central. asian seven coming to the americas getting back to the 16 hundreds, and they continue today. because it is such a central part of american history, this is absolutely an important theme for the making of asian-americans and also the making of america. >> are asians treated differently or more welcome than other mmigrant oups? >> are agents treated differently or more welcome than other immigrant groups?
>> this is one of the most fascinating stories. look at the long history of asian americans. this may come as a big surprise to viewers and listeners that haitian americans were the immigrant menace, the yellow peril in the late 1900s. we passed our first immigration laws to restrict chinese immigrations in japanese immigrations from south asia and the philippines because americans really felt so threatened by what they call the oriental account name. the americans have died as a quote, unquote minority. the once academically successful and economically successful in getting ahead by doing things the right way. >> how did that change? >> it is not the most
fascinating stories in our arc of history and it really has a lot to do with where do asian-americans fit name the changing relationships of race and immigration in international relations of really a key turning point as world war ii. we know of course as a country we incarcerated 120,000 japanese americans. it was the anti-asian sentiment that was really affect in our country at that time. but at the same time we're opening our doors a little bit to immigrants in china, india and the image of asian-americans was beginning to change from that yellow peril to the model minority. >> erika lee is our guest. here is the cover of the book, "the making of asian america." she is a professor of immigration history at the university of minnesota and director of their immigration research center, which is what?
>> the haitian immigration research center. we are 50 years old, the largest research center and also north america and from around the world and more engaging and communities to bette understand and decorations of yesterday and today. >> why did it end up at the university of minnesota? >> we have a group of faculty and students and staff in the 1960s beginning to wonder, this is an important history that needs to be captured and integrated two hires of learning. they were doing oral histories from the iron range of minnesota and most immigrants were saying how and where can we preserve our history? so with the pioneering work engaged in communities, the
archives were built and they been doing research and collect in preserving the history ever since then. >> let's begin with a call from norman in lansing, michigan. please go ahead. you're on booktv. >> i was wondering, there is not name more than being proud of your heritage and i am not knocking anybody who is common but in these days in the 21st century, don't you think that nadine of american is starting to decide for helping to divide the country or i don't know how to say it directly.
>> host: do you think that is the case, norman? >> caller: i think in some ways it is. i think that there are groups in this country using the nation against us. it is one of the groups. people like donald trump using it against south americans or mexican-americans and i think we should perhaps ensure b. all americans. >> host: erika lee, the the station of america appeared you agree with norman? >> guest: what it means to be an american has a long and
pretentious history. for most of our history it was not okay to be a hyphenated american. president roosevelt, in president teddy roosevelt said there is no german-american or irish-american. there's only american. i think for many of us who are descendents of emigrants, that has long been a goal to be simply recognized as americans, but unfortunately, many of the laws and social attitudes have not made that possible. so one of the things many of us do in writing the history of asian americans or latinos or african-americans is to try to uncover a hidden history and try to make it clear how essential those people were to the transformation to american history and the changing definition of what it does mean to be an american. >> host: margie is in leavenworth, kansas. uri with professor erika lee.
>> caller: well, thank you very much. it's an important topic and i lived in chicago for 40 years and i had to defend my own prejudice. and how will think they could be that cold, but they were. and then i worked with filipino nurses and became the minority in my own profession and at first i was very angry and they would talk and that would be like well, hey, i was here first. but then i watched about world war ii and what the philippines did for us. i learned that different areas and i've got to say i just love said and i want them to know that. >> guest: that's a really interesting story and really speaks to the heart of someone who's seen the transformation in both immigration and the asian
american population. >> host: erika lee, she brought a filipino nurses in history, but there's still a very large nursing population that's filipino. >> guest: and a large amount of teachers from the philippines. one thing of misperception as we often think people are simply just coming here and perhaps taking away jobs. but the case of filipino nurses is an excellent example of how the united states actually went to the philippines, trained filipino women to become nurses and health to recruit them and bring them over to fail labor shortages. we continue to do that in many other professions. i would hope that when we have some more balanced conversations about immigration that we can
better understand the global forces of how people come to move and how they come to get here. the united states business and professions office had an important role in bringing people here. >> host: craven in new jersey tax income is america still the number one destination to migrate? >> guest: that's a great question. asians have been migrating around the world for centuries. the united states does remain one of the largest. i'm not sure i could say it is still the largest, but canada, australia and other countries are also receiving large numbers of asian migration. more so, there are many as the economy has grown, certainly in china and india at the levels of migration has also stabilized. >> host: we are talking with erika erika lee. here's the cover of her book, trained for. she is at the university of
minnesota. and that is in cherry town, new york. you are on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: hi, ms. lee. two-part question. one is the current cycle of the private election a term such as anchor babies has been used. do you think that is a practice as one of the candidates pointed out used by asian-americans? and do you think that term is to rocker tori and decide an appropriate term? >> guest: what do you think? >> caller: i have no idea. i think it is a little derogatory because again i'm not sure how babies are born like that, how many emigrants who actually have their babies torn
here and then go back to their countries are they afraid to come back here, what percentage is that and is it a common practice or is it just a misnomer really. >> host: thank you, mr. chairman. professor lee. >> guest: it is a big misnomer. the fact that they come here specifically to have a child so that they would have presumably be willing to wait the 21 year study with kate to then sponsor the pairings, that is one of the ways it has been years. misusedl numbers that we are tracking in terms of what people are calling maternity birth tourism, from suspected numbers of women who
are coming here to give birth and then returning home. the numbers vary very widely but in terms of the number of immigrant is very small. it seems that it's become a sensationial issue right now. >> what is your personal thought when jeb bush said what he said? >> i thought it was an interesting way to deflect what his position was being perceived as antilatino and perhaps point to a different, different, perhaps, problem that he was trying that -- >> politically which way to asian american vote, split -- >> they are so extremely diverse, it is really like the latino population that
encompasses great ethnicities and specially class. just like americans in general, they are often split along the two parties. in the past elections they have geared toward the democratic side and they are interested in issues with immigration and civil rights, for sure. >> what is the author's perception of international adoption which brings thousands of korean and chinese children to america? >> right. this is one of the histories where we focus on in the book. it's a history that's very important in my home state of minnesota where there has been many thousands of korean adoptees who have come since the
1950's and '60s. it's definitely a result not only of u.s. engagement but also social service and organizations being involved. it's part of the making of one my of colleagues describes the global families of america. >> hi, marilyn. >> yes, my question is about the suck sis -- success of a chinese minority that i see in san francisco in passing on the language i. i was brought up in the east coast and i saw the languages of greek, italian, and so forth, second generations, and i don't know if this is generally true about around the area of san francisco i see several generations speaking chinese and i wonder what the reason to
that, how they can do that when others haven't been able to? >> i've been to san francisco, i grew up in the bay area, but i think in san francisco it's a mixture of both second and third, and fourth-generation families who have been been -- able to maintain the language but it is going away in addition to new immigrant speaking mandarin and it's a mixture of hold a new immigration in the bay area that may allow for that language to maintained, but also not just chinese americans, but americans are understanding that it maybe important to learn mandarin now or in the future. chinese language education across the count in general is
definitely growing. >> you said you were born in san francisco. were you born in the bay area? >> i was born in east coast and moved and then moved to the center of the country. my parents are immigrant. i absolutely have. it's one of the entry points for providing this book. when i was growing up in the san francisco, which now is one in four are asian americans, i never learned any asian american history and it wasn't until college when i start today learn this history that i began to wander where are the stories of my family, where are they in american history and that quest that answered some of the questions that inspired to write the book, and in doing so, i did research on my immigrant
grandparents who both sides came either through ángel island and they have a difficult time, the laws were stacked against them. the chinese and that meant that the vast majority of chinese immigrant were not allowed into the country, only certain classes of immigrant could come. some were able to come under those laws. i did have a grandfather who came around using a false identity to come into the country because it was the only way tha