tv Book Discussion on Excellent Daughters CSPAN January 30, 2016 8:00am-9:01am EST
along with my husband brad graham who could not be here and tremendous staff. we welcome you all to this event. helping to inaugurate all of our hundreds of author who is will be visiting the store in this year. a couple of housekeeping things before we get started. those of you who have been been to event here is know that our format is ours guest will speak about her book for a while. we're doing a modified version of that for a while and ask her questions and then followed by all of you getting a chance to ask her questions. at the end happy to sign books. a beautiful book if you don't have a copy, please make sure to pick one up at the front. this also gis me an opportunity to say for those of you who aren't aware of our event program which is extensive we're one of the few book stores in the country or bucking a trend of book stores in the country but not charging by author events. we do invite people to come in. we believe it is part of our
mission as a member of our communities to strengthen our community and provide a place for discourse so i thank you all in advance for making your book purchases here at politic and pros. or at your other favorite independent bock stores allows us to have the staff that we need to provide them for the community. so thank you for that. if you have a cell phone or other noise making device on your person and could possibly silence it, that would also be great. and at the end of the event if you wouldn't mind folding up your chair and putting them to the side we would be grateful for that. if you have a question and can make it to the microphone c-span is recording, and for both of the reasons it's helpful of to the question audible to those watch withing on television or youtube channel which will have this event up online in a week or two. and i think that's it for the house keep ppg i'm so delighted to have katherine here tonight.
she's discussing her new and very first book "excellent daughters secret lives of young women transforming arab world." some of you know this but she came to her subject as a journalist based in syria, lebanon later iraq, she traveled whole region for more than a decade. and i would say her reptorial approach appears to have been simple and straightforward, full emergence. she spent lots of time working her way behind scenes where she could observe, learn from arab women and all sorts of places, and most often women living lives very different from her own. now, i think it's probably fair to say that we have notions about what it means to be a woman in the the iowa rob world committed against women in different countries, malala being just one of the most celebrated examples. we also have reading lack of
rights recorded to women in many parts of the arab world and we i do include myself here have often arrived at conclusion us about arab women based on fragment of information in western assumption and projections. and so what i really would like to say is so wonderful at least to me about this book and what make it is both so fascinating and important is that katherine has effectively lappingsed into the stereotypes. she does not settle for bold proclamation but probes for a deeper understanding that allows more acting rat, sensitive and complete portrait of women across the region. some of you have undoubtedly already read her reporting and writing from pieces in "the new york times," new yorker and new york observer. she's been a fellow at the u new america foundation, she certainly has made the most of all of these experiences, as a result what is given us a fresh, thoughtful, and superbly done book about a topping i hope you
will all read. i'm sure you will gain a lot if you do. welcome me in welcoming katherine. [applause] switch places. you go here, i'm going to come here. >> can you guys hear me? that's better. here we go so katherine first of all congratulations. i was saying to her earlier that writing any book frankly if you just finish it and have it done is an amazing accomplishment i've live with someone who did two and pleaded with him to never do it again. but in any case such an accomplishment to do a book that requires intensive reporting in such a defendant part of the world. and then to complete writings of it ising really tremendous and you deserve a lot of congratulations. but i did want to ask you, u how did you get into the subject in the first place?
>> well, the book you can all hear me? right? well, as i describe, a little bit in the first chapter of the bock, you know, i hadn't really intended to report on arab world or particularly a region that i was, you know, even especially compelled by. but then, you know, right after i got out of college, i got a job. first, you know, sort of real job, as a assistant at the "new york times." and i was an assistant to one of the columnists or then columnist phil kel or became executive editor, and september 11th was my second day of work. and suddenly sort sort of everyg that i don't know -- i think it was partly my age i think. but it was like, you know, to be in new york to have just moved to new york to really not know
have many people and started this new job, where suddenly all of the writers and most were focusing on reporting on this region. you know, i just, you know, i became really fascinated, and i, you know, i had always sort of studied literature in college. i had, you know, sort of almost a little embarrassing to tell you but i had gotten very -- i took an italian class on donte with a very charismatic professor and i mentioned italian and french literature and i wanted to be a scholar i think it is what i would have told you if you had interviewed me as a senior in college, and, you know, i had i enjoyed
writing, but i didn't really -- suddenly i felt like, you know, maybe this had been a waste with of time. i knew nothing about the world. and you know, i wish i had studied almost history or, you know, political science or nothing made sense anymore. and i startedded writing a lot of arabic literature and translation and started reading a lot. and started to -- i just wanted to go. and i think as you mention also one of my classmates a girl who had sort of been in my room-in group had died on september 11th, and then i just, you know, became sort of -- i became, you know, i became, you know, wases it 19 -- something you probably know
this. as a hijackers were saudis was it -- 15, sorry. i have it in my book correctly. [laughter] but you know, i think that i became particularly interested in saudi arabia and in the gulf countries and in version of islam was, it was taught in school fair and how it was understood. and so anyway, i think that i sort of couldn't look away. from the arab world and traveled there as soon as i got the chance a couple of years later. >> couple of thingses that your parents thought you were going to be a scholar and you packed bags and moved to -- [inaudible] >> they still hadn't gotten over it. but you know, i mean they have. but no, it was a cute surprise i
think to everybody you know everybody who knew me in college that i would do this. surprise to me actually. and i think i -- it was only o in sort of very small steps like i couldn't, you know, maybe for any -- inin in your 20s hard to imagine that you'll be doing something for two years let alone a decade it feels like such a -- but so yeah nirnlly i went it shall initial lip went to syria because that new at the "times" had renewed my interest and basically offered me to pay for a plane ticket in exchange and lessons were thrown in for six months of, you know, a string, and when you're 25 seems
like a great deal. what? and no medical insurance, no what, no guarantee they'll publish any any of your work bui did it i can commit to six months. and then you know, i ended up staying a lot longer so -- >> you did have to learn arabic so that was a huge obstacle. >> i think that i wanted to be careful. i studied arabic for a long time as anyone probably -- i know some of you in the audience have studied it. it's a, you know, it's a really difficult -- really difficult language. and you know, and i there are different you know dialects. and i, you know, i am not able to do sort of a good interview in arabic still. i can chitchat and i can understand, you know, fair amount. but i want to be really careful about i'm not a fluent err
become speaker, but i think my studying of it has certainly helped a lot. and to the degree, i think that yeah. having studied foreign language intensely in college i feel sort of, you know, cautious about making claims about it because it's so much more difficult than french or italian. i was thinking of myself who was god at languages and all of that was thrown away. >> very much. >> so i sort of read like a first grade or with my finger under the words. but anyway. >> so you headed off to syria, obviously, fortunately different when you land there than it is today. were you nervous? was this an act of naivete or
bravery? >> i don't know really that it was either. syria was kind of a back water. it was very -- very sleepy. very, i mean, as a, you know, as a young, you know, freelancer it has the amazing advantage of, you know, being a place where it was really difficult to get a press visa so always a sort of sweet spot, you know, where something would happen, and you know "new york times" would sort of like want you to do a few stories before they could get the real journalist to come in from cairo. so i think, you know, for a while, but it was sort of it wasn't -- also not a place that anybody who could afford to live elsewhere would actually want to -- live. you know? but it was a place where, you know, you could rent an apartment for a pretty nice apartment for 400 dollars a
month, and you know, if it was a slow month, you know, it was -- it was i'm speaking a lot about practicalities of working as a young journalist. but you know, as more and more, you know, newspapers are, you know, closing -- newspaper magazines are closing their foreign euros, i think that a lot more of our reporting is coming from -- coming from people who were you know, young people that were doing what i did a dc decade ago. >> you were interested in a specific aspect of life in these countries. that was the life and lives of women. and what was that, how did that evolution take? >> i think -- i think, i mean, it was partly i think that it was, you know -- i was in my mid-20s and, you know, young women were young, become nice friends and people i talked to the most. but also because, you know,
reporting there -- so in the arab world reporting on, you know, crises various kinds are sort of what naturally doll nate the headlines, and reporting on -- terrorism and political upheaval at various times it is certainly very, very important. but then i think that can have a sort of distorting effect on our overall view of the region, and you know, i came more and more to see a real disconnect between the way the region was perceived. and the way it was -- and the reality of the lives of ordinary people, and i was, you know, i started to look for ways to sort of tell more of those stories. and you know, i think that when
you're looking at these bigger stories, you know, these -- that sort of dominate the headlines, you know, it can be very hard to sort of see social changes but, obviously, a much slower process. and i think that life can look very static when you -- when it's set static against, you know, these bigger events. but i saw a lot of change happening and people talked to me about a lot of change, and so i wanted to try to report on change as it was being felt. and that mountain sort of my -- you know that my earlier background was in literature help because i did feel like there was something that sort of fiction teaches us about, you know, the importance of these
small gesture hads that can then, and i started to wonder whether there was a case to be made for reporting on these small gestures, and how, you know, these tiny decisions, you know, in an individual life that didn't aggravate many lives. or daughters making a different decision than ones their mothers made can actually add up to sthung interesting. >> yeah, we tend to be one of the points of your book that i found really interesting is what we would view as incremental and judgmentally is much more profound in places where, you know, where they have a different way of measuring. >> i think it is. yeah, i think it's very much, and i was most recent trip to the renal was to saudi arabia. two months ago, i was reporting,
you know, a new yorker piece on the first saudi women to become to practice as lawyers. and they've only been allowed it to practice as lawyers for two years, and in a country of 27 million there are now 67 women who are qualified as lawyers. all very young. oldest lawyer i interviewed was 30, and you know, it's pretty difficult to -- to see like, you know, what effect they might be having. but then you start to hear, you know, kind of basically found that the mere intis answer of women lawyers even though lawyers themselves are in many cases like still struggling to find jobs because they're very few thrawmples law firms set up so that women can work. you know, according to the standards. set by the labor ministry, but
mere existence of women is causing women to realize that they have a right under saudi law. this has come as a, you know, as a revelation to many of them, and it seems, you know, honestly like i had never reported on the law before. and it was very difficult. because you come up against laws that are so specific in, you know, a woman's testimony in court is worth half that have a man and precision it takes to equal one man i found very like -- s just an outis rage really, ano the idea of, you know, that these lawyers were accepting that system and saying well we have to work within that, you know, was something i really
struggled with. but then you come to see that they're starting from a place that's -- several steps dehind even that. that that many judges, in fact, do not accept any woman's word in court even though law says you can bring in two women. many judge who is still resist that, and they have the right to resist it and saudis, and you know, you meet women that don't -- didn't realize until they happened to have the right, for example, to, you know, to ask to see their children you know who they had lost in a divorce or that some women can get custody of their children in court. and for these things -- are really important to them, yeah, and i just wanted to try to argue for like not missing
those things in our sort of -- i share this like, you know, well this whole system. like how can you work with this? but, you know, perhaps, but the lawyers i spoke to would say that it's more practical to insist, you know, to get all of our rights within this system. and i couldn't get any of them to actually say and then we'll see. but i felt that there was, you know, in some of the conversations there was an implied, you know, and then -- the next step. so anyway. >> you were based in syria, and then you also lived in lebanon and baghdad most recently. >> yes. >> so that's a pretty good mix i guess. and is there one thing in particular that you looking back on your time there surprised you most about the region, women, what you expected it, what you came upon?
>> i think it's that -- i mean i think that this it this you know idea appears in several parts of the book because i saw it again and again that all of these, you know, for some reason came as a surprise. something that seems like it's -- it's a move in the orr direction can serve progressive goals. you know, and i know i met a number of women in syria who are in war at syria, there were basically islamic schools for girls became very, very popular, and they were very, very conservative and encouraging women to cover, completely, and they were encourage women to memorize the qur'an and to know it and women would say themselves they were not, you know -- progressives in a way that we would understand but they would say, you know, when i really
know the qur'an and i know it better than my father, or my husband, i actually -- i become i begin a sort of status in my family, and you know, once you have that then maybe you know -- or my family you know because i've become so devolved, you know, precise and pungtilous my family will trust me to go to university . and they wouldn't have otherwise. or recently i think thering be these surprising ways in which something that might not seem like it is sort of a, you know, embracing of, you know, of a greater, greater freedom or greater role in the world might
actually give, allow women to achieve, you know, being more practical way for women to achieve their goals. rntion >> you did encounter women who were suresly seriously depressed i'm surprised they were willing to share that with you. >> you're probably speaking about saudi chapter. yeah, i think that yes, this is is -- sorry i did reporting that first appeared in the new yorker, and then i sort of have an expanded version of this section in the book as a section in the book . about women who were taking jobs as a shopkeepers, working tben this is like a conservative argument that ended meeting progressive ends argument is made like it was shameful for a
woman to have to buy lingerie from a man and we need to put women to work which is, you know, in the public's face in malls which is very shocking, still from many saudis, very controversial in order to protect women from this horrible violation of having to ask for correct bra size from a male salesclerk, and this ended up, you know, so there was a campaign for this. and king of did you dula who was actually probably most progressive saudi has had on women issues at least. and certainly look like kind of like dr. martin lt. or compared to his succeed cor frankly. but he put, you know, the law would change women were put to work in along way store, makeup
shops, and certain other kind of shops, a couple of others. but you know, shops that cater to, you know, sort of a predominantly female clientele, and this is first time that jobs have been available to an educated saudi women for a generation. possible to go saudi arabia, and you meet, you know, surgeons, and university professors and these are really very elite women and they represent a very -- small percentage of the population. but now you're having women who basically hadn't had any life at outside of the home after finishing hules or through after marrying in middle school and then same reason children had -- you know were at home. and women i was interviewing were really the first to go to work, they tended to be women
who were outtoss. i mean, i don't to say outcast that sounds like it doses women understand justice but they were divorced. women and for some reason had some really difficult family situation which comments mountain they didn't have a family saying that prevented them from doing this. they had to find some way of improving their current situation so these were women with difficult circumstances, and they were -- i met woman who had never met another divorced woman before they went to work in a shop and suddenly having conversations and realized wait a minute i'm learning that i can -- ask, you know, my children's father to be allowed to see them and i haven't seans them in seven years, and these things were -- i thought i don't think the to
go all march, but a class conscienceness among these women, and there's a lot of camaraderie and they loved it and sorts of having, you know, friends to kind of share their lunches with during breaks. it was -- i mean, it was very sad but it was amazing to see how, you know, how much this sort of very small change in the law that was -- and women that it put to work were, you know -- it wasn't a huge proportion, but it was, but you know, it was meaningful, and i think that saudis are deciding general two years later their used to seeing women in the public, public space. so -- >> some sort. i just want to ask one more question but i do think we should open it up to all of you
if you have a question and make your way to a microphone, that would be great. but let me just ask you before we attack an audience question. do you have -- see what's going on snow throughout region? and, obviously, tensions escalating in all sorts of ways which would have repercussions for everyone and women. are you optimistic about the future? >> it's really difficult. i sort of -- i always shy away but natural questions to ask and i would be asking them. but i finding them tricky because there are -- but, you know, i do think -- but i think if you're looking specifically at women and you know, you're looking at this, you know, social change, i think that -- i think that, you know, women
are going to university and kind of greater numbers than men all over the region. and especially in the gulf countries with proportions of women are even greater compared to men and women will tell you this is partly because it's a acceptable way to delay marriage or to put outside the home in a way that that -- their families will support. but i think that is -- is very important. i also think social media is also, you know, i think it can be overstated. but it has been, you know, in countries where the press is very, very heavily state l controlled and very hard to be, and also you don't have any freedom of association really, it can be very hard to meet like minded people or people who share your struggles, and i
think social media helps that and in the arab sprng it is already, i think its impact can be overstated but i think it's very important. i mean, i -- overall i'm optimistic i would say. >> you described women living in their homes an really their only connection to outside world is through the internet and social media. >> yeah, and that remains true. but i think it's -- i think it is starting to shift, you know, in most conservative. >> we can be somewhat hopeful. i'm sure some of you extremely wonderful smart people have questions. here we go, first question. and also katherine if you want to chime in on anything else feel free to. >> well, i assume but i could be wrong that saudi arabia's sort of belief enlighten of the
country view lived in terms of women. could you give us an idea of the comparisons among these countries which were more liberal, et cetera? >> it's some -- i mean i find it very -- obviously i hope i'm not focusing too much on saudi arabia it was where i was most recently i think, and in some ways because it's so interpretations of islamist is so extreme, it's, you know, sometimes ends up being the focus. but no, even saudi arabia is a or very diverse country. you know, but you know, i -- are you asking sort of -- >> i would assume for instance, but i could be wrong that lebanon would be a little more free for women possibly iraq
because of all of this things we've done there. >> so it all depends on which, you know, which group of women you're talking about which community and which part of the country. so it's hard to generallyize even about lebanon but you go to beirut and you see women you know wearing things that i'd be embarrassed to wear in public or o, you know -- but there are also a lot of communities there where lives are much more similar to lives of the saudi women we've been discussing than, you know, than they are to ours. i you know, in general you know the country syria, and iraq, you
know, they -- actually this is something that's been sort of unfortunate thing, but i think that, you know, in syria, iraq it's a secular ideology not nationalist ide ideology and they were fore bidden wearing in schools, and were encouraged to get social work and government. and i do think there's been a backlash a little bit of backlash and mubarak pressed hard and his wife suzanne mubarak especially was -- known for promoting -- for women's rights, and there's definitely been a backlash against that. either they are -- there's a lot of talk in egypt a couple of year about suzanne's
law, and it was not a positive description and basically these laws better rights for women and divorces, and you know, in syria. mostly excessive family law and push back initially. so you know, it's always trick write to talk about the mood. but yeah -- >> i'm also curious about how you got to know these women initially the ones in syria had great problems and friends as the girl meeting french women. and so i'd like to know a little more. >> well, i think -- so i think having, i mean --
i'm pretty shy and never thought i could be a news reporter but having assignments is that you're sort of forced to, and then you sort of you develop you now have these people that you know, and that, you know, have told you about their lives. often for news story, and i'd end up going back to them again or again or they would have you know comments on what they thought i had gotten, been off-base about. you know, and in the story, and amazing thing about social media and the internet is that suddenly, you know, your subjects are read your work in real time translated into arabic by these dailies and so you're getting phone calls like wait a second -- i also said this, and you only quoted that one thing. and, i mean, i found that sort of, you know, the horrifying
because i would cringe before i called the person back. worrying okay, gosh did i really get something tcially wrong but usually it led to usually -- thank goodness usually it wasn't, you know, something that was a mistake but something thet there was a nuanced that been lost and those conversations you know after publishing this rough draft not a rough draflt but it appeared in the newspaper. but i found those conversations interesting and that explains in the book. i think that, i mean, yeah. i'm sorry i think that's probably -- don't want to ramble on. >> hi. >> i'd like to ask you about how you as a conspicuously young
american woman were able to move around in these countries and function as a journalist not only in your focus on women's personal life. but you filed a lot of stories too. in "new york times" on various topics, now "new york times," obviously, has a certain at of caché and you have press credentials, but i'm remembering from about 20 years ago, i had a woman, friend who was an engineer about 30. and she worked for an american company, and they had offices in vawrs places include alexandria, jipght, she went there, and she had problems moving in the street on her way to work 12 and 13-year-old boys would follow, and throw rocks at her and call her a whore.
>> well, i so -- >> that does exist i was lucky not to experience all that much of it. but i came to feel that unbalance. it's easier to report as a woman. i think you're less con conspicuous and less threatening and you're able to making maybe on the margins there can be harassment or it can be more tiflt, you know, especially with sort of very high level officials to get anybody to really want -- they want to hear, they want -- they don't take you seriously and don't want to meet you. but so there are, i mean, there are some struggles. but i think on balance, you get a broader picture of society because both men and women will talk to you, and you'll be invited into homes where, you
know, a conservative man would not allow another man even from his own culture and perhaps his own brother to meet his wife. but you can talk to everyone together. and i think that's a huge advantage. also, yeah, people, i mean, people invite you more immediately. i think on balance, i found it more help that these kind of stories that i wanted to do. mpts at least for the kind of stories that you wanted to do -- was it a problem for what we would call hard news or great events news or -- >> maybe. it's hard to say there are many great female journalists who have you've done wonderful reporting of that kind in that
region. so i don't so say that it's, you know, it's a bar. i mean, i found that kind of reporting a possibly a little harder, but -- but i thought, you know, i ended up feeling that, you know, sort of the great ire access to a kind of broader public population with ended up being more valuable and more interesting really to me. >> thank you, thank you very much. i think everybody here would look to ask you what your daily life wases like livings there. but i guess we'll read your book. >> thank you. >> do you have any -- other o questions? no i have another one or two incase somebody decides they have a question. i asked what was the biggest surprise and hardest moment for you? >> i mean, personally or in
terms of confronting something as a reporter that i felt -- >> personally. >> living -- gosh. i mean that's really -- that's really hard to say. i would say that in, i mean, okay. maybe the hardest personally was living in sure -- syria, precivil war syria subtle ways in which had the kind of paranoia about security services who were sort of everywhere and kind of always tapping your phone that kind of would get under your skin and how people's anxieties about -- i ended up finding something that was -- you know you end up sort of questioning, you know, before you went out to report something like okay, well who would be,
you know, who would that offend or would that be too dangerous for the person that i am speaking to and i found that really tricky to navigate and having not grown up there, i didn't have a sense of, you know, what was -- what was a red line and wasn't. so i think initially i think you come in as a foreigner and having an american passport give use a certain amount of protection, but then i even found it -- and religious police in saudi arabia have nasty encounters with them and how intimidating it is, and -- without a -- that i foal that even as a foreigner who can basically leave any time, made me sort of have so much rpght for people whorm who were doing these amazing things, you know.
while being stuck in that context. so -- >> we have another o question. >> hi. i just wanted to hear your opinion about like okay trying to hear your opinion about on this. this factor that limited women rights or women's lives in this country, do you think mostly religion or the culture had or politics in this country? because been to arab speaking cultures are similar but the not same especially religion wise. lebanon is more like not 100% islamic. >> the women, i mean, 2-1 and anyone that wants to touch on anything that might be critical will always say the culture it is definitely not the religion. in islam, you can't criticize it or you risk, you know, being
seen as questioning religion as that in the countries, means that it's very difficult to talk about reforming the religion itself, and not everywhere in the renal but in most places that i reported. and i even -- when it is not officially cap tap offense but something that is difficult for people. so culture is the official answer. i think that probably a little more complicated. i think that there are, you know, ways in which religion is interpreted that until they can be reinterpreted in some way are really going to -- put definite limits on women's progress. i hope that answered the question. >> thank you, because based on my knowledge i would know not
the conservative and wouldn't allow the woman to do much outside because of the culture or because of the safety. thank you. >> thank you. >> any parting thoughts, maybe a one, one suggestion or one thing that all presidential candidates should be thinking about in regards to this. >> oh, my goodness, presidential candidates. gosh. [laughter] this is definitely, -- i would i guess i would urge a little like, you know, i sometimed worry about there's too much focused on activist and exciting to talk to people who are saying these things, but it can be very difficult to find out where they stand in relation
to their society and also they're almost, you know -- i've met people whorm, you know, among the most widely quoted activists in their countries and this is true across the region who were essentially unknown at home. and i just would -- would urge closer attention to the conversations that are being had, you know, on the editorial pages, and in the, you know, social media on the social media platforms. you know, i think that there can be a -- it's very exciting to talk, you know, talk about revolution and all of this potential. but it can be very -- a little bit misleading. so -- >> are you ladies wanting to answer -- last two questions thank you great that you came up. go ahead two more questions and then fortunately we have to tend there. but you've got the floor. >> great, thank you. i'd be curious to hear your opinion on women's rights in
lite of the arab spring. it seems that media kind of framed things more in the political than the personal so that maven an overlook ptd point and i'm thinking specifically of the situation in egypt where women were all of a sudden mobilized to protest and really involved in all of the stuff but they seemed female journalist and female egyptians seem to suffer a great degree of victimization and as well. i'd be curious to hear your u views. >> it's very tricky. i mean i want to -- say i've met so many women who have sort of felt that as the moment where thet they felt their voices were heard but there's been this incredible you know backlash, that that's had, you know -- still being felt. i think. i think you know, the most i'd say most of the women that i --
you know, that i stay in touch with feel in general there's a sort of silence and barrier that's been broken and that is something they have a lot of hope in. so yeah. it's a really complicateed effects really complicated so -- >> last question. >> so read your really interesting recent piece in the new yorker about city women i haven't read chapter in the book so you may talk about this. so there's an interest in the fact that there's this concern about study women knowing their rights let alone difficulty is reforming the system. but i was wondering if women were lawyers and law students with you about the plight of nonarab women and nonsaudi women and women in the gulf were clearly exploited did they feel solidarity or hierarchy?
>> yeah, this is something actually this is something that i've -- struggled with reporting with, and it's often enabled by the labor of, you know, millions and millions of women from developing countries. and, i mean, i had on several occasions, you know, i would -- i remember talking to an activist who really impressed me and talked to me, brave, and then later conversation i can't remember how it came up, but she was talking about her struggle with her maid and maid wases so stupid. of course she had to be her sometimes because this is the only thing that these people understood. and i just -- i, you know, i don't mean to suggest that, you know, that all saudis hold these but saudi who are really concerned about.
but yeah, something i struggled with, that something that i don't think i haven't really reported on it directly, and i should. i'd like to in the future because i think it's something that is -- very difficult to talk about. and actually something that came up with the saudi lawyers, because there are times when women are disproportionately accused and one of them is sorcery but when i'd ask lawyer he is it is not sod did saudi wn but the teeth yoap i can made and family will notice a object in her room from her country and decide that's been an object of witchcraft and then suddenly facing trial for sorcery. which is -- a new special unit of the secret police devoted to sorcery
investigations and these sorcery hotlines where you can anonymously report somebody you expect sorcery and have them investigated and these things it's taken very seriously and talking to lawyers who discuss this with a straight face. is -- you know -- you know was difficult. and yeah, the fact that they didn't think it was a concern because it was not saudi women who were, you know, who were suffering effects of it were, you know, was something i'd like to look at actually at some point. so thank you. >> back for her next book quickly. so thank you so much kat thank you all for coming out, about and really appreciate it. [applause] if you have not gotten a copy of the book we have some upfront katherine will be happy to sign up at the table. if you're kind enough to fold u up chairs and push them to the side we'll be forever grateful
to you. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> you're watching booktv on c-span 2. television for serious readers. here's a look at what's on prime time want to. we'll kick off evening at you have 30 eastern with revolutionary war historian th brains recount of george washington journey through 13 states and hopes of uniting the country during the early part of his presidency. then at 7:30 a look at the nation of washington d.c. as the nation's capitol. at 9 brookings institution takes look at how the presidential nominating process has changed since 1968 and eddy sits down
with national urban league president mark to discuss state of black america. and we finish up our prime time programming at 11 with craig lambert who describes the impact of shadow work, the unpaid job we do on behalf of businesses and organizations. that all happens tonight on c-span's booktv. >> all opinion friedman has been a correspondent for numerous organizations over o the past 30 years including wall street journal. ethic story of the billionaire took over italy how did you get access to see berlusconi? >> i saw back in the early 2014 to give me the time and we ended up spending 18 months together i i was going to do this on nixon and videotape 100 hours of interviews which we did making a documentary of it right now.
but berlusconi is an outrageous character so it was a fascinating experience. so you have italian donald trump in real estate so becomes a rupert murdoch tycoon and then elected to be prime minister. then he had 65 separate bribery corruption mafia scandals, put on trial all of the time and, of course, in all of the this it was an important first meeting vladimir putin, his had good friend, a middle man between jorntle george w. bush and gadhafi in the days disagreed with hillary clinton over libya back in 2011. but berlusconi has a lot of inside stories to tell, but i was able to supplement the biography with interviews with mr. putin himself. i wept to the kremlin.
i saw vladimir putin he loved to talk about berlusconi. americans have a hard time unctioning that italian prime minister because he has such a concentration of power with so troaflt and so many sex scadgesdz that it's hard to imagine an american equivalent. indicative of politics? >> he was most controversial politician in europe in the last 50 years. there are honest and good politicians it's not all like berlusconi. berlusconi is typical of no one. he's unique. this is a guy who could look at barack obama an go on national television and say obama, he's young. he's handsome, and he has a year round tan. when i said to beryl scone know
that's racist, he said no, it was a compliment. i would take two or three months to get a tan like that myself. he lives his own world a colorful, controversial figure. >> how did he stay in power in italy? >> he majoritied himself like coca-cola and marlboro he controlled 50% of the italian television market. he used his stars, he used his power and his marketing stills and he promised everything. he really was like a drumple in donald trump in the way he expressed himself in simple, vulgar terms yeast italians ate it up. there's no influence as brl scone knee in the last century except for muslini. >> i think comes to mind is
bunga bunga. : there's a chapter all about bunga bunga there was a bunga bunga party a night accused much keeping a harem that would be dancing, sex damageses but bunga bunga got him put on trial in 2011 for sex with an underaged prostitute. and when she was put in jail berlusconi prime minister telephoned the police said got to release her i think she's the granddaughter. that turned out not to be true. >> what did you learn in your 18 hours with berlusconi that you didn't know before you sat down? >> i guess i learned what it's like to be with a -- a billionaire who knows only power. who only knows how to win. who has no self-awareness.
doesn't live in the past or future he's just there. and i learned quite a lot about the way he and vladimir putin relate to each other. you know, the relationship between putin and berlusconi i have an article called the odd couple. because here we have both alpha males, putin former agent, beryl berlusconi billionaire mogul and fascinating to watch the two interacting and see how strong leaders only respect other strong leaders. >> alan friedman author of the new book berlusconi who took over italy. theangs so much. booktv is on facebook. like us to get publishing news. schedules updating, behind the scenes, pictures and videos. author information and to talk directly with authors during our live programs. facebook.com/booktv.