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tv   BOOK TV  CSPAN  March 26, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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the ship was an enemy ship or carrying contraband they were subject to confiscation. they took off as they said. >> any other questions? >> charlie, aside from the obvious, fort mchenry, the british take washington fairly easy. the british are stopped at baltimore. aside from fort mchenry, what made the big difference in baltimore? >> samuel smith. he's was a general of the militia and had the confidence of the sitting governor. his uncle recognized baltimore
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is the pride of maryland and if they lose that they lose a lot. smith, as a result, acquires within taking over the job the entire town to fall out; women, men, children, black, white, young, old, they have to dig entrenchments, rifle and cannon positions up and down the side of the hill that guards the eastern side of the town. they had several of of towners coming in, one named george douglas, and he said you would not believe how smith has converted the town. he really gets himself a gold star in my mind. he also recognizes the vulnerability of fort mchenry is the fairy branch which is the other side of the harbor.
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he builds two forts one called battery babcock and the other fort covington and the british tried on the night of september 13th to get around fort mchenry by throwing boats that would land behind the fort and take it by storm from the rear. smith anticipated that and as a result one militia captain said the british fired off a blue rocket light that gave away their position allowing babcock and covington to engage the long boats and drive them off with heavy causalities. he said we saw no more blue rocket lights that evening so it worked out well. >> one more question. >> at gettysberg, if there was better leadership could the troops have won? or were they too inexperienced
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from the beginning. >> i looked up what the english thought. and they were surprised the traveling was able to go on without getting harassed. there was an inexperienced general security office and he is betting the entire outcome on whether or not washington, d.c. survives on the roll of a dice of a single engagement. ross said when are they going to attack us. and the battle is virtually fought on the district of columbia border. when they lose there is nothing between them and washington, d.c. itself. but you are right. could the americans have won? these are four veteran british regimens. i don't believe the maryland and virginia militia that were there could have stood up even if they were better handled.
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but they could have engaged the british in a war of attrition and campaign of attrition beginning in maryland ambushing them like in concord in 1775 so the british would be too far away from their base of operation. ross pointed out a number of times he didn't feel comfortable going all the way up to washington, d.c. he kept saying we don't have a lot of artillery. we are enemy territory and this could be dangerous. coburn said not to worry. i thought them last year and they will not stand. there was thought to making the fortification of the capital. there were just the two wings with an awning made of wood. it was suggested to wander and
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madison maybe we will turn this into a fort and defend capitol hill and they came to the conclusion all is lost. they retrekked and tried to come again another day and that would be in baltimore. great question. but i don't believe the americans would have done much better. >> what happened to the shandoa after? >> the british authorities turned it over to the american authorities in liverpool and they tried to sail it back to the united states but had problems with the engine during a storm. they put it up for sale and she was bought as a yacht. so she operated out of san bar for a number of years until 1875
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or 1876 i believe and then was damaged in a typhoon and sank and rest on the bottom of the indian ocean. >> you alluded to this earlier. there was a lawsuit brought against the british by the united states, correct? >> yes. the united states sued great britain at the end of the war in a large affair that came to be known as the alabama claims. the united states sued great britain for its support of con federate commerce raiders during the war maintaining they violated neutralty by building, and managing ships they sold to the confederacy. the british didn't agree with that.
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they didn't actually arm the ships in british territory. the confederates were very smart about this. they managed to acquire the ships under the radar and sail them outside of british territory and arm them from supply ships. but still the british were interest in bettering the relationship two the united states and putting it behind them. they allowed it to go to an international tribunal in geneva and found in favor of the united states to the tune of $15.5 million. but that was only for what the alabama did and also what the shanandoa took after melbourne. the british couldn't admit to
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complicity before the trip to melbourne because when the left for britain it was a registered and sold in commission outside of british territory so they were not liable for that. but since they did resupply and repair her in melbourne they admitted liability for the ships sunk after that. >> i want to remind everybody these gentlemen will be selling these wonderful books immediately following. let's give them a round of applause. thanks for coming. i hope you enjoyed it. [applause]
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>> watch authors on the civil war coming up next from the virginia festival of the book held recently in charlottesville. >> good afternoon, my name is rick britain and i am a local author and historian. the name of this is the civil war before, during and after. i want to welcome you on behalf of the virginia foundation for the humanities; producer of this great virginia festival of the book. here is something that is really important. please take a moment and silence your cell phones.
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in other words, if is an electronic device invented since the civil war please turn it off now. unless it is a pacemaker. don't turn off your pacemaker. we are encouraging you to tweet and if you do tweet at #vabook2016. the festival is free of charge. not free of cost. please remember to go online and give back or pick up a giving envelope from the information base where the head quarters is and support this festival so we may sutain it for several years. i want to thank the city for sponsoring the festival of the book and providing this great venue. this event, in case you are wondering, is being record for
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broadcast on tv 10 and available online at their website. if you are wondering what the second camera is that is c-span. if you have a question during the q&a part of the discussion please raise your hand and wait for the microphone to come around so that everybody can hear you. another thing that is really important and i am color blind so i called it a yellow sheet but please fill out the bright green program evaluations. they provide useful information that help keep the festival free and open to the public. you can fill out a paper evaluation before you leave or complete it online at and don't forget, immediately afterward we will have a book signing. without further ado, what we will do is go in chronological order. two doors down to the left is
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the author of "the peace that almost was; the forgotten story of the 1861 washington peace conference and the final attempt to avert civil war" he is a live long virginia resident and publishes articles on history, faith and political life. please join me in welcoming mark tooley. [applause] >> i will go ahead. thank you. it is great honor to be here among such distinguished company. especially dr. robertson who wrote a generous blurb for my book calling it the definitive history of the washington peace conference of course there is only one other book on the topic so there is not a lot of
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competition. >> that was the forgettable book. >> it was a good book but it was 60 years ago. the washington peace conference has been forgotten largely. it was overshadowed by following events but it is very important and one i have been at least somewhat aware of almost my whole life growing up in the washington area walking down pennsylvania avenue near the white house by the old willet hotel which is there but not the same building but there is a plaque outside saying this is the front the washington peace con frons of february, 1861 where they deliberated trying to identify an alternative to the union and the civil war. my awareness of the peace c conference revived with debates over the confederate flag and
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discussions on what was the civil war about slavey or something like that else. at the peace conference the only thing they came up was related to slavery. they didn't talk about the tariff issues. let me in 20 minutes tell you what the washington peace conference was about. it began february 4th, 1861 on a cold washington winter day with two inches of snow outside. about 131 delegates would come to the conference at the hotel. it had been the brain child of an old statesman who had been retired for a decade and a half. a virginia and former president john tyler. like several participants of the
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washington peace conference he was literally a son of one of the founders. his father had been governor of virginia and his father was a good friend of patrick henry. tyler, i didn't put in the book because i could not pinpoint it, i am certain as a child he met george washington and as a young man knew james madison and thomas jefferson. he had in his mind a vested interest in trying to preserve the republic. so early winter 1861 he came forward in a richmond newspaper or editoral with the state of crisis and six states already succeeded and he proposed a final effort and peace conference to prevent further disaster.
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he wanted it to be the middle states, the upper south, border states, and lower north. but the virginia legislature and the governor took up the idea and widen the proposal to all willing states to come to washington and given the state of communication at the time it all unfolded within a couple weeks and they were all there for the most part that first week of february. the newspapers that at the time that covered the event began describing it the old gentlemen's convention in the sense it was a relatively older crowd. they were the senior statesman of the day who had been running the country since the foundation generation. they were the generation between the founders and the new rise and this was their last blast to
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hold the country together which they had been successful at over the last several decades. the cast of characters who were on the sidelines include tyler himself, his much younger wife, j julia, who comes with the him to washington and writes fascinating letters to her mother in new york describing what is going on at the peace conference. the delegates include not the formal cabinet members, former representatives, judges, distinguished members of the day, and one old cabinet member, a whig from ohio, william sherman father-in-law and stepfather is there with the delegates.
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one of the most outspoken delegates at the peace conference is james setting who would go on to be one of the war secretary in the confederate government. a former senator from new jersey named comdor stockton. and there is a wonderful story relating to him and john and julia tyler. during tyler's presidency, he was a widower, he was out on an excursion. it fired off several times and returned to washington.
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it fired off one final time and explodes and among the fatalities is a new york congressman whose daughter was julia and according to legend she faints back into the arms of the widower president who carries her off the ship and marries her and she becomes the youngest and most fashionable first lady. very generous of him. roger sherman baldwin is another person who is the son of the founder from connecticut and he is famous in the case of escaped slaved and served along john quincy adams in that case. there is a very distinguished senator from virginia william reaves who is in the audience and wrote his own biography of the senator.
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and henry clay's son was there. a great com ppromiser himself. president bucannikin -- bucannikin -- buchanan is there of course. his first lady, heriot lane, who is more successful than her uncle at least in terms of keeping the social aspect of together at this time. general scott who located from new york city to washington, d.c. to guarantee the security of the nation's capitol and hopeful nomination of lincoln. senator stewart from new york soon to be secretary of state is
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in town communicating with lincoln. vice president breckenridge is a character in my book. the outgoing vice president, defeated president in 1860 soon to be attorney general, sits over the vote ratifying lincoln's decision. the congressman from massachusetts who encourages his state to ignore the advice of the senator and participate in the peace conference. the scandalous person from baltimore was on the sidelines and most of you know the stories about scandals and i could tell you more but two years before this guy shot dead his wife's mother across the street from the white house in broad
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daylight and was acquitted and it is believed to be the first to be acquitted on insanity. and a washington pastor, soon to be lincoln's pastor, he is the minister of the presbyterian church. his church is where the washington peace conference convenes. it was purchased by the hotel the year previously to be a conference and computer space. he comes back to open up the conference every day with prayer. decide the deliberation peace conference -- besides -- there
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is lots of social activation going on in washington. many have left but the peace conference delegates, those with him, and others replaced them. there is a huge party steven douglas and his wife conveneed inviting all of the peace delegates. there were 400 guest there it was said so it must have been a huge house. and henry adams, the son of charles adams, attended the party and invites one of his brothers and refers to steven douglas as a drunk and beast and ms. douglas as attractive but air headed. sar cassockally referring to john tyler as an old fossil and mocking the crowd twirling around him attaching their hope to him as deluded and soon to be disappointed. his father had a party for the
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peace conference delegates and hopefully his review of that party was more favorable. john tyler is imploring james buchanan to not flame the situation. the confederate government convenes the same day and the include confederate flag is put over the alabama state capitol by the grand daughter of john taylor. lincoln would soon be leaving springfield several days into the peace conference gives his famous farewell speech and he makes his journey to the midwest and northeast saying a vague non committal but being kept in formed about the peace conference.
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the electoral college vote is about to take place. it is usually a non event but given the way the country is falling apart all kind of rumors about how the vote might be d disru disrupted politically or violently even. the delegates are invited to attend. there is a plan for the inauguration and lincoln's arrival and finally a drama i described is the celebration of washington's birthday. you would not think that would be controversial but everything becomes controversial at this time. they celebrate washington's birthday and washington got special robust attention and it was a stick in the face of the south and to rally northern patriotic opinion. so there is to be a huge, by their standards, military parade in the streets of washington on
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the birthday which john tyler finds out to his horror the night before and sends a note to buchanan saying this would be a major issue with the south and parade is canceled after the troops assembled on pennsylvania avenue. congressman pickles is disgusted and rushed to the white house to protest, people assembled in the street, and they say the parade is back on. the marines were too far away but the washington, d.c. militia proceeded that day so there were two parades celebrati celebrati washington's birthday. to summarize the arguments made
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during the three and a half weeks of the peace conference there is one school of debate put forward by, say, the old whig from ohio who said what the south does is not our business. i would not own slaves but we should not concern ourselves with what is not our business. a delegate from new jersey, comdoor stocking, he was one of the two catholic delegates at the conference, he complained this was a repeat of the puritan revolution in the 1600s and an example of religious zeal and the country in the end would reject it. there is a democrat from new york who argues lincoln's election had nothing to do with slavery but other issue like the
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tariff. mr. baldwin from connecticut is perhaps the most anti-slavery voice and insist on the triumph of freedom over slavery. james sutton is the most fiery of the southerners. he is from virginia but spends time in louisiana so he is almost the only voice of the deep south and insisted slave owners had a right to expand slavery in the west. and their package allowing for slavery in the western territory and lincoln stipulated that was unacceptable to them. they debated for several weeks.e
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>> and then on april 14th, eks.e president lincoln was assassina assassinated. from the beginning of 1865, leaders in the north and south knew the war was soon to end probably in the spring with the union victorious. general lee and others considered the war and loss and wanted to talk about peace terms but others thought it was possible. in february and march they tried
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to negotiate peace. in early february, three confederate officials met with lincoln and the secretary of state. the southern commissioners might have been willing to concede to slavery but couldn't agree to the other condition of the south rejoining the lincoln. lee proposed a military peace grant but the secretary of state wouldn't meet with lee for any purpose other than accepting his unconditional surrender. in 1865, the confederacy was intact in texas, carolinas, richmond petersberg, swaths of arkansas, alabama and tennessee
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and georgia. both sides new knew the fighting that spring would be divisive. it fell on the 15th in a combined navy operation. months before the attempt to capture on christmas day ford failed. but the union was determined and go back and close the last port where the block aid runners could land. they captured willington the last sea port where the block
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raid runners landed food and weapons. confederate vice president alexander stevens called fort fischer's lost one of the greatest disasters to be fallen the cause since the beginning of the war. half star rebel soldiers in richmond and petersberg have to tighten their belts even father. on february 1st general sherman began the carolina campaign to savannah. they didn't think any army could operate in south carolina in early february when the rains flooded the rivers and swamps sherman was convinced his 60,000 army could and it did. sherman's men went through the rivers and made roads.
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in fact a confederate soldier once told captors if your army goes to war it will pave the roads. sherman said the army could turn into amphibians if tade to. sherman wanted the state to feel what he called the hard hand of war. his men destroyed railroads, looted homes, and burned public buildings in the town. often the entire town went up in smoke. the army lived off the land with the bummers, as they were called, scouring the county.
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we watched the prophecy unfold. the army in northern virginia was the last one to survive and it was in poor shape. since june of 1864 the army had bun under siege. on paper, 57,000 troops occupied the 30 miles plus trenches and forts around the cities.
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congress invited lee richmond to discuss the army's many problems the congressmen said they -- and it began with them being opposed to it. and i said unless every man did his whole duty they should repent and now they did.
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in bentonville on march 19th they struck sherman's right ring and they outdrove the men but sherman's right ring man arrived and they backed up. he was proud of his army's 400 plus march through the carolinas. over 50 days in the winter time the men marched and knocked the carolinas out of the war and punished south carolina.
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he toured the field and moved by the manageled body he met on march 28th on the river queen with grant and admiral porter who came up. it was lincoln's last meeting with his military leaders. fwrant grand described the plan with two infantry cores and captured the area. lincoln spoke of the post-war plans and intended in his most words the most liberal and honorable terms for the south. the union campaign south of
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petersburg began march 29th. rather than further extend the line to the west to stop the flanking movement, lee sent a task force under george general picket to defeat him. on the first day of the campa n campaign, it rained buckets and the roads turned into water works. grant sent out an order saying he was calling off the offenses and was going to wait until the roads dried out. they received his order and the general got on his horse and road to grants' head quarters and talked him out of doing that saying his army would push forward the offensive he said if they had to corduroy every mile of road on along the way. grant took heart and they pushed a head with the offensive.
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on april 1st, the fifth infantry core destroyed the village. five forts made petersburg unattenable. the union attacked the next morning and swept through the position like a hurricane said a confederate officer. we prepared to evacuate petersburg and were told we should leave richmond right then. the city's tobacco houses were torched and fires were spread and gutted the business district. the union troops entered richmond the next morning and put out the fires and raised the
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stars and stripes over the confederate capitol and the northerns accecelebrates and th southerns despaired. lee's army left as the town's people wept. grant's relentless pursuit forced the rebels to march all night and day. they begged for food and shot chicken, pigs and cattle eating the meat raw. lee's arm was cut in half at the creak and sheridan's troopers blocked lee's escape route to lyn lynchberg. on april 9th, palm sunday, an assault ended and tens of thousands infantry men emerged
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from the woods and that afternoon lee surrendered to grant. it took place at the home of wilmer mcclain who moved away after the first battle. he wanted to get away from the war and moved and the war ended in his parlor. in the spirit of lincoln's desire for leanacy, grant allowed confederates who owned horses to them but plant crops. officers could maintain their side arms and rebels were paroled. in richmond, people were heartbroken when they heard of lee's surrender. someone wrote i wish we were all dead. it is as if the worth crumbled
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beneath our feet. in washington there were celebrations and bonfires in the street all night. linking gave his last speech on april 11th. the crowd expected a recounting of lee's surrender but instead lincoln gave a policy address where he wished to bind up the nation's wond and not punish the south. three days later on april 14th, lincoln was shot inside ford's theater inside wasngton and lincoln died the next morning. the first assassinated u.s. president. andrew johnson was sworn in as the 17th president while war secretary edwin stanton
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organized a massive manhunt for lincoln's killers. on april 26th, johnson met with sherman outside of durham and signed a surrender agreement modeled upon lee's. april 26th was when detectives caught up with john wilkes booth who was shot to death on a farm. president andrew johnson offered a $100,000 reward for jefferson davis capture after it was alleged he was complicit in lincoln's murder. until his capture in george in early may, james believed the c confederacy might have prevailed. he spoke about continuing the war from texas. he was captured at his camp site in georgia by a union calervy
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and taken to prison where he was for two years before this first court appearance. at that court session, he was released on bond and never formally tried, linked, or charged with lincoln's assassination. it was a decemberinated region after the war. unlike the booming north towns and cities had been alluded and burned. many southerners were forced to survibe on yankee handouts. northern leaders brought total war to the door steps of ordinary southerners in order to destroy the south's resources and zap public support has been an effective strategy. during the world wars of the
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20th century the strategy would be prosecuted in a new terrible way. the civil war marked the beginning of the new american age. in the south general taylor, a louisiana planner, who lost everything, said abolition caused a great of change in the south as the 1789 revolution has in france. in the north, too, in the industrial north changes are many. a harvard professor wrote it doesn't seem to me as if i were living in the country in which where -- i was born. [applause] >> thank you. >> last but certainly not least this distinguished gentlemen sitting to my left is the author of "after the civil war; the
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heroes, civilians who changed america" and the editor of the rebel war clark diary. american alumni from virginia tech and the author or editor of more than 20 civil war books including stone wall jackson, the man and the legend. bud robertson, everybody. [applause] >> thank you. let me start by thanking the festival of the book for inviting me. even though i am from virginia tech i am warmy received here. i am going to go quick because i have a full subject and want to leave time for kwshg kwshg and arc. the man who fashioned the civil
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war had the job of fashioning the peace afterwards. we were going after a war that was hard to define. this was not an original idea of mine to produce this book. the national geographic society came up to me and asked. at first, i turned them down because i didn't see where to go. i am a virginia boy and when lee quit, i quit. but the more i thought about it, the more intriguing it got. it -- they asked me to do individuals. the first task was how do you turn a mob into an organized crowd? i put them under nine categories and went to work. i produced a three-five page essay that stressed personality
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whenever possibility and i don't think i missed a one because of that. i was just talking about why these people died and woe don't know. the physicians in that day didn't know a whole lot. walt whitman could have a cause of death by six or seven causes because he was torn apart by diseases. the first chapter, in the shadow of lincoln follows an american upheaval that was a 12 year fight that lasted three times longer than the civil war and it was fought over control of the government and union. you have to look at the situation after lincoln's death. the only defeat the south had was lincoln and he is dead. the model falls to andrew johnson, a democrat in a republican government, a man unliked by everybody, no exception. that left you to fall back on the secretary of state.
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william stewart had been wounded in the lincoln assassination attempt. almost by elimination or arrogance it was secretary of war, edward stanton, who grabbed the name of leadership and no one opposed him and with house leader and senate leader created the radical republican block. what they wanted was not reconc reconciliation. they want the south to pay for its sins. there was a disregard all of the promises they made to the blacks. so the slaves were free but shove today the side. the 13th amendment frees them but we are still trying to implement the 14th and 15th amendment and the radical republic didn't care about them. they get into a fight, it ends
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up with andrew johnson being impeached, the hateerate is so strong the south was a democratic stronghold until well in the administration of franklin roosevelt. you didn't vote for a republican in the south after radical reconstruction takes over. so i talk about stanton and stevens and summoner and stewart and chase who lusted for the white house and never got it. i have a chapter to the only american who was legally lynched. i know we was railroded to galga gallows in one of the greatest tragedies. i take a dozen southerns and follow their career.
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it was open season on many people and some left the country they were so fed up with the own south. robt lee becomes the greatest reconciler on the post-war south. no man worked harder to bring north and south back together again than lee but he had only five years. lee suffered a major heart attack -- a major heart attack. what did they do for him? nothing. the field of cardiology didn't help. lee was hill and his health declined until arterial disease takes him. after picket's charge at
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gettysburg he blamed lee and in blaming lee picket laid the door wide open for his own exile you might say from the south. there is a wonderful story they tell. in 1860, a group of conservatives met in a gentlemen's club, started sipping sauce and got loaded and got into the argument of who lost the battle of gettysburg and argued what it was. and they were going at it and one spied picket in the corner and they hall hollered at him and asked who do you think is responsible and he replied the
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union army had a lot to do with it. i think that is one of the most profound statements he made. i love francis nickels as well. his first battle was on march 1862 and he gets his leg leg shot off. he gets amended and comes back and he gets his left arm shot off in this one. in 1877 with reconstruction, the democratic party came back into the service. they decided to run nickels for governor on a wonderful platform. we are running all that is left of general nickels. we won by a landslide. he served a long time on the state's supreme court. there is a chapter on the first modern war and the men who created these innovations and
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took the world into a military age. sherman, of course, contributed to this. he had a concept of take the war to the people to break their will and not merely defeat their army.
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as a young man and at 18, one of the first skirmishes of the war he lost his leg, and he came home and with a peg leg and just didn't fit well, and hammer fashioned his own artificial limb. and fast forward came prosthetics. the largest art film -- artificial him flow. starting from a kid in stanton who didn't like the way the peg leg look and felt you're interested in medicine, an angel comes out of the war, named jonathan letterman, and he took military medicine got into the job of medical director of the army and revolutionized the field. i can go through everything he did. he instituted ambulances. he instituted personal medical records. you go to see a physician, he
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comes in and has your file in his arm. that didn't exist until letterman. he initiated quick removal of the wounds from the field, series of first aid station is. the batelfield first aid, then the field hospital, then the general hospital. he prioritized injuries 'you took the men in the order of the seriousness of the wound, and to give you submissions in 194 5 general hillary yes, ago ien hour's chief medical officer in the european theater. letterman literally saved thousands of lives and lives one today. you've have an accident and call 9-1-1 you're calling jonathan letterman, he set up the emergency treatment centers. so that chapter is a great one. i worked myself through graduate school in the funeral business,
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and i had to have thomas holmes in there, you know him. he invented embalming fluid. he was the first man to conceive of injection for preservation. he was a cuckoo. he loved cadavers. had him in his house in the corner, sitting in a chair. he was kicked out of columbia medical school because he put a cadaver on this professor's desk. he created embalming fluid and the entire funeral been today his offspring. the made a fortune in the process. i do pay attention to -- whitman remained the america's greatest
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poet for the common people. that mew brady couldn't see. he filmed the first battle of mannas sacker was lost in the woods and he couldn't found out where he was. it's alexander gardner, who took most of the photographs of battlefields. gardner made a fortune but died 0 homeless on the streets of new york and was buried in an unmarked grave for 20 years. winslow homer got his lead there. alfred wild through this first battle paintings, and then there is my favorite, thomas mast. nsa was the first editorial page cartoonist, the father of editorial page cartoonist is. his pen was so vicious and was called nasty.
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there's another side of nast which you recognize on the door once a year. hing not remembered as much as the father of editorial page cartoons as he is the man who gave us santa claus. he drew the first santa claus, and that's hours. it was given to us by this german immigrant. of course, i have a section devoted to the west. 4,000 square mile-of-land lay open for the taking after the civil war. and it was one of the leadings items on the international headlines. you start with dodge, who worked for the traps continental railroad and opened up the area for settlement.
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you have to mention george armstrong custer, idiot he was. he was always glory-seeking and fool hardy, especially after the war when his major general rank moved back to lieutenant general, and he wanted his stars back and got them by killing indians and in 1876 he was to attack an indian village. and he would be in the center column and two support columns and he got in position, got impatient, failed to wait for his support and attacked straight ahead. with 247 men. he expected to find a couple hundred indians and found 2,000 sioux and cheyenne waiting for him. and what ensued was a slaughter. i know many of you have scene dramatic paintings of custer's last stand. that's not true. it was a rung fight for your life and national geographic archaeologists have check the
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hair and they found bodies in an area over four and a half miles. 247 men were killed. 247 horses were killed. one horse survived, quote, quote, custer's last stand. but the news of his death by indians reached the east coast, and on july 4, 1876, the centennial of our birth, and the american media polite by twisted the facts a little bit. you would be surprised. they can do that on occasion. the twisted the facts and suddenly it's a second' consider crucifixion. custer gave his life and was a martyr. he was foolhardy. sherman and grant say if he had lived they would have
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court-martials him but custers' last stand got americans to believe we got eliminate in the native americans so that is the most shameful hour and exterminated a race and killed the buffalo to starve them to death and those whom we didn't starve were shot, until the west was open for settlement, and you have to point a strong finger of gift too phillip sher arery dan. the man who said the only good indian is a dead indian and sheridan practiced that. i do devote a chapter to wild bill hickock and they were anything but gun slingers. they were mostly criminals who had themselves shot the sheriff or something. they had become sheriff over time and they are the judge, jury, and the executioner catch
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a honor horse thief and hang him in the afternoon. they create civilization out of a wild frontier, and they were not very good shots. i grew up a great fan of " "gunsmoke" and loved to see matt dillon, and secondly, they never had a faceoff. somebody is going to get hurt if you have faceoff. they relied on ambush and shot you from behind. he didn't -- hid behind a barrel or fence and shot you when you were walking down the street. wild bill hockcock was killed while playing poker. so these guys were the necessary and immediate area between civilization and anarchy from which they came. i then have a chapter on the generals who tried to do things
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and just didn't work out. men like hooker, mead, thomas, all famous names but just didn't seem to go anywhere. mead died in 1870 of pneumonia. and then there were the politicians and the old saying, every general is a good politician, which is absolutely absurd. george b. mcclellan failed in command of the army, to a presidential nominee in 1864. he failed at that as well. but that was some like burnside and lawrence chamberlain who made successful career and then there were those like dan sickles and juddson kilpatrick and benjamin franklin butler who were embarrassing in politics, riding their military career,
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and then five of these men who were officers become president of the united states. five of them. and two of them are assassinated. you and i know a whole lot about kennedy and lincoln but i suspect we know very little about garfield and mckinley. indeed, william mckinley, was probably the most popular president of his day, of any leader we have had in the white house. everybody loved big bill mckinley. he was napable, a -- amiable, a loving father, his wife suffered from epilepsy and he had her sitting next to him and if she had a seize sure he would lean over and put a napkin over her fate and then when the seizure
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was over he would pull the hand kerchief back and go on his way. there was no reason to -- i'm bag historian with a light touch. he was just -- there was no reason to kill him, and the man who shot him was an anarchist who believed to many poor people, and rich people were exploiting them and if he killed the leader of the rich people, it would be a blow, and the reaction to mckinley's assassination was tremendous. someone tried to kill the assassin twice before he went on trial, and once he want convicted and condemned to die they decided to use a brand new experiment, and i suspect the authorities hoped it wouldn't work but was but to death by the novel form of electrocution and then his body was nut in a
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coffin and the warden put acid in this coffin so he would disappear. a crazy, crazy things going on there in political leadership. we don't get the great presidents. mckinley is the only one in that 65 to 1900 who showed demonstration of great ability. garfield only served four months, and the last chapter is the rising of a marvel. weyear just a struggling nation in 186. the industrial revolution had just taken root and it would be a powerful factor in the union victory in the civil war. but in this post war period, we will go from a beginner until about 1900 we are the most powerful industrial nation on earth. and so you have to look at men andrew carnegie.
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john d. rock feller and all, carnegie she'll, jay gould in records, j. p. morgan in banking other. these fellows building empires. and harper and canned meat and produced fertilizer and buttons. he used to boast, i get money out of everything but the squeal out of the pig. but they all turned america into an industrial empire. so this may sound inconsequential but you must remember the america you live in, the america we know, was born in 1865, not 1787. you live in a land that was carved and fashioned by what took place on the battlefield, and is a told the panel yesterday, that war affects you so much you can't escape it.
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you cannot escape what the civil war does. it opened up, for a quake example, presides clothing, every piece of clothing you have on was made before you got into it. that was unheard of. montgomery megs, was man who invented small, medium, large, and extra large. when public grief at post offices became so overwhelming because women were getting that letter that a loved one was not consecutive coming home, the local post office got the reputation as the wailing wall, and they in 1864 they came up withsomething new. home delivery of mail. so that mail box sitting by your door, that mill box on the -- mail box is not just a mail box. it's a memorial to a civil war soldier who didn't come home. the civil war is your war, our war, war we literally and simply
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cannot forget. thank you. [applause] >> we's love to take questions. >> in the middle of the second civil war, the cold war, but we're in a -- we have some civil issues. to what do you attribute the interest in the civil war 150 years afterwards? >> a number of things. we are not england. we have no state family or no state church. we have no aristocracy so to speak.
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the only thing you and i have in common basically is our history. and here in virginia, we have history like nobody else, and i realize we -- i talk too much about history perhaps, but as i tell people, we have more of it than you do, so i need to talk about it. we were celebrating thanksgiving while the pilgrims were still trying to get up the courage to get on the boat and come over to new england. so our history goes back so far and it's the history that binds us together. more york it's our war. it's not us against. the it's us against us, and if you look at what we got out of the war you should take common pride and courage and patriotism and whatever happens, whether it be federal soldiers, perishing at fredericksburg or confederate soldiers dying at gettysburg. they were dying for us to create a nation which the politicians couldn't do. the civil war comes because politics failed, and the soldier had to take command.
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it is a classic example of what happens when this nation loses the only thing it has to hold it together, namely, spirit of compromise. when we can't agree, verbally and politically, democracy is in crisis and i think we're in crisis now. [applause] >> we'd like to take some more questions. i have a bunch. mark, tell us why tyler was called his accidenty. >> yes. i didn't have time to get into that. he was the first president to take office by virtue of the death of his predecessor, william henry harrison, who died very early in his term and had been the eldest man elected to the presidency. interestingly, john tyler supposedly got the news of harrison's death and took the oath of office in the browns
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hotel on pennsylvania avenue, which became his favorite hotel where he also stayed during the washington peace conference. and he and harrison were from the same county in virginia. >> they were neighbors. question from the audience? joe, aside from the obvious things, the lack of finding supplies at amelia when robert e. lee and the army in northern virginia are marching through, and aside from getting surrounded on three sides at appomattox, is sailor's creek the biggest disaster, the main recent for the surrender? >> i think so. yes. that was the major defeat on that long retreat. we call them retreats. the army is cut in half. in fact, lee saw them coming
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in -- the survivors coming up the hill tornado him and he said, my god, has the army been dissolved? and it looked like it would be the end fairly soon after that, and it was just but three days later. so, yeah, that was the key battle and that was phil sheridan with his cavalry trying to cut off the army. what happened was that longstreet, his core, had gotten too far ahead of the rest of the army and created a gap, and it was george custer's cavalry unit that filled that gap, and then other cavalry units came in and then the sixth army corps came up behind them, and they captured a lot of confederates that day. >> yep. bud, we talked about this
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earlier at breakfast you. included one of my fav mist people, christopher spencer. tell us more about mr. spencer. >> he was just a gunmaker. he got this idea that surely had to be a better way to invent a shoulder arm, and the laborious process of loading the bullets and cap and everything into the musket so he designed the seven-shot repeater, repeating gun in which the bullets were stored in the gun and all you had to do iscock and fire. the confederate called it a week gun, claiming the damn yankeeys would fire on sunday and keep firing for a week. and i think you see that most effective use of the spencer was july 1, 1863, when john buford's cavalry held back an entire two divisions of confederates, and they were using spencers. now, if you're not familiar with
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a spencer, it's son would be the old win chester carbine would come after it and the development of armament always infat waited lincoln. he was always looking for new things and new ways, and spencer put on two demonstrations for lincoln, and lincoln gave the stamp of the first production of the spencer when the old fogeys in the war department says it's too new, untested and won't work. and lincoln was much more far-sight tom then. richard good at ling takes the case. he wanted to invent something so awesome. and he invented the gatling gun and, and one of the most potent airplanes is the warthog and hit has that gun it can find 2,000 rounds a minute and will level everything in it so he invent
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vented an awesome weapon but was not perfected at the time of the war. >> someone spoke of robert e. lee as being a peacemaker after the war. i heard a story that after the conclusion of the war, lee was in a church service in richmond -- >> st. paul's. >> -- and a black man walked in at the communion ceremony, and the congregation was aghast. lee stood up, walked up and knelt down next to him. is that -- >> that's true. they the black folk took communan last and the white folk took communion first but when
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the black man asked to come forward and see communan, this well dressed black man came down the aisle and knelt and the whole congregation just froze, but lee stepped out of his pew and went up and knelt beside him and that was one of many acts lee would do. what the gave to washington college is unbelievable. the father of elective courses in american higher education, the father of the honor system. followed by most colleges and universities, and in 1868, honor his greeley, editor of the new york tribune, nominated lee for president. he and -- endorsed robert e. lee to be president of the united states, 1868. the irony is lee would have won he couldn't serve. his citizenship had been taken away and the petition for amnesty was lost and it came to light in the summer of 1965, and
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it was gerald ford who finally signed the amnesty and lee citizenship posthumously. like to think of it as a purple heart rather than a peace of paper. >> almost became the father of noncitizens running for president of the united states. [laughter] >> i agree our country is in cries and i would like to know what you think the average citizen can do to make a difference. about that. >> the average citizen? >> yes, sir. >> you mean invade -- voting? >> i'm not sure. >> a simple thing. i tell audiences, particularly this year, you don't realize how powerful your vote is you. don't realize how powerful your vote is. you're looked into apathy. in a presidential election, 40%
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of the people vote. let me put it another way. in a presidential election three out of fife americans don't care. they don't bother to vote. three out of five. now, if you just got one of those three, maybe two, you can change the country. you voted those folks in, you can vote them out. it's simple as that. you just got to vote. and we don't exercise it. and we'll never -- things are not going to improve as long as you sit watching fox news and saying, this is awful, this is awful. you have to get and you do something about it and to vote is the only thing you have. this most powerful instrument in this country. 40%, 40% -- [applause] >> one more. >> i was educated in the virginia school system and my assessment of reconstruction is about what you were talking
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about, although lately there was a book, redemption, by nicholas lemmon, and i heard some other historians talking, re-assessing reconstruction as maybe there were some positive aspects. there want enfranchisement and educating the freed men and women that there were some positive aims. do you think -- do those re-assessments hold in the water wife -- with you? >> you can always differences but historians will always argue and the southern historians have the worst because we're coming from behind in a war -- the winners who write the first history and then you play catchup with the losers. but again, you have to remember, winners of war easily forget. losers of the war never do.
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and that explains much of the ongoing and perhaps resentment of the south. i've long fit that bitterness came from reconstruction, the confederacy was a miracle not on the battlefield bet one you look behind the lines and jones points out in his diaries, forget the moonlight magnolia version of the confederate simple. is was born in chaos and died out of control and in confusion. jones himself, the author, died tuberculosis contracted in the field and the hunger and shoddiness of richmond, whichin' 1960 had 38,000 people and 1863 had 300,000 and no more food for the 300,000 then than there was for the 38,000 in 1860. people were starving. the government of the confederacy gets a lot of study because it's the shining example of incompetence. from top to bottom.
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nobody trusts anybody else. and jefferson davis, greatness, if there be greatness -- i think there is to a degree -- lies in the fact he was a great dreamer. like john kennedy. great visions of the future but lost to reality. just lost to reality. and so it's john b. jones' diary gets more and more bitter because he sees the government falling apart and he is helpless to do anything about it. recommend that diary to you. it's the biggest diary in american history, the largest for civil war history, and the guy was in his 50s and never missed a thing. a journalist by trade. saw everything. he heard everything. he wrote everything down. he had to be a supervisors in the war department help dent have enough time to do work, he was working so much on his diary. and speaking of books, finally, the university book store sent the wrong book over here.
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the untold civil war is the one i did four years ago for nan -- for the national geographic. i'm sorry. i hope you'll get it. thick you'll find some of those figures fascinating. i certainly did. >> folks issue want to cut it short here because these gentlemen have works to sell. let's give them a hand, everybody. [applause]
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now a panel on astronomy. >> good afternoon, everyone. good afternoon. good afternoon, everyone. could i have your attention? good afternoon. i like to welcome you all to this session of the virginia festival of the book on behalf of the virginia foundation for the humanities. our session is called "mysteries of the cosmos" and we have an exciting session with two wonderful science writers who have published recent books and as most of you probably know some really exciting news in
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astronomy and physics. >> the microphone is not working. >> that's not my department. can you hear that? >> can you hear me now? >> have to be on mic, job. >> i'm about as close as i can get without swallowing. thank you hear me now? all right. i wasn't bother to start from the top. you know which session we're in. we have two exciting science writers for you. before we get started there are couple of housekeeping points. i am i john bender a novelist and a recovering science journalist, and i will be your host for the session today. before we get started, i'd like to thank the city of charlottesville for sponsoring the festival of the book and also providing the venue for today's session. this event, as you can see from some of the cameras is being recorded for broadcast on charlottesville tv.
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it will be on tv 10 on their web site in the next few days and may be on c-span, although i don't know what date. we thank them for recording and later broadcasting it. the fact that it's being recorded for broadcast means that when we come to the q & a portion of the session, i'd like everybody to get a mic before you ask your questions there will be people at the back. see the gentleman in the back. he will give you a microphone before you ask your question. that way you can be audible. please silence your cell phones so we can hear from our guests and focus on them. second is, although this festival is free to all of us, it isn't free to produce and if you're enjoying what you're hearing, i encourage you contribute to the festival
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automobile -- online or through the vessel available through the hotel and there are evaluation forms that help the organizes of the festival tweak so it that it's even better next year to help them meet your needed. and finally, at the end of this program, there are books, as you can see on the front table, available for sale and our authors will be on hand to sign them for you. if you're willing -- if you'd like to buy one and also to answer your questions individually. so having said all that let me introduce our authors. to my left is marcia bartusiak and has written a book called "black hole: how an idea abandon bid newtoniansed hate by einstein and imam bed -- exam goaled on bit hawking became to
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be loved." and left is tom levinson, a professor and director and has written a book called "the hunt for vulcan, and hough albert eye stein differ relativity and the universal." in addition, as most of you probably know there has ban lot of drama, a lot of excitement in the world of astronomy and physics in the last month or two that dovetails nicely with the two books and the awe authors we'll hear from today. so that will come up in questions. to begin i'd like to be able t get a little bit of a sound of the authors' voice into our ears as we again the session, so i kansas both of our panelists to pick a short excerpt, maybe five minutes, and read it to us so we
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have a little bit of a sound of the writer's voice as we proceed with the rest of the session. so let's start with marcia. >> or go the other way. he comes first and i come afterward. >> why don't you start go ahead. >> okay. >> my book is on the history of the idea of the black hole, how it took 50 years to get accept within thief's seconds community so i'll talk about -- thief's seconds community so i'll talk about the opening of my book which sets the scene. the very notion of a black hole is so alluring. it combines the thrill of the unknown with the sense of lurking danger and abandon. to imagine a journey to a public hole's outer bundle is lie approaching niagra falls, contemplating the vertical
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plunge, secure in the knowledge we're positioned behind a sturdy fence. even in the real world we know we're safe as the closest black holes to earth are thankfully hundreds of light years distant. so we expertens the dark celestial adventure vicariously. for any astrophysicist they're most likely to be asked about. a black hole is weird. it is written lake unions and gargoyle black holes seem more at home in the realms of science fiction than the real universe, and it was in same stark and alien weirdness now celebrated that kept physicists from accepting black holes nor decade
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on end. according to a famous saying, all truth passes through three statements, first it is ridiculed. second, violently opposed, and third, itself is accepted as being self-evident. the concept of the black hole fully experienced each and every phase. it's the black hole that forced both astronomers and physicists to take albert einstein's most notable achievement, general relativity, seriously. for a time the theory had entered a valley of despair. einstein was honored as the person of the 20th century by "time magazine," yet such an honor would have been a huge surprise to the scientific community in the mid-20th mid-20th century. in that era, few universities in the world even taught general relativity, believing it had no practical applications for physicists. the best and the brightest flocked to other realms of physics. every the fluoroy of excitement
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in 1919 when a solar eclipse apartment provide the proof for stein's general theory of relativity, the noted physicist' new outlook on gravity came to be largely ignored. isaac newton's take on gravity worked just fine in our everyday world of low velocities and normal stars. so why be concerned with the minuscule adjustments that general relativity offered? what was the use? einstein's predictions refer to such minute departures from the newtonian theory, noted one critic do. >> not see what all the fuss is about. after a while einstein's revised vision of gravity appeared to have no particular relevance at all. by the time that einstein died in 1955, general relativity was in the doldrums. only a handful of physicists were specializing in the field, as nobel laureate max confess
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inside a conference the year of einstein's death, general relativity appealed to me like a work of art, to be enjoyed and admired from a distance. but in reality, what einstein had done was device a theory that was decades ahead of its time. expertat -- experimental murder had to catch up to his thought. not until astronomers reveals surprising new phenomenon in the universe brought about by advanced technologies did scientists take second and more serious look at einstein's view of gravity. observers identified the first qasar, a remote young galaxy four years later much closer to home observe ervs stumbled upon
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the first pulsar, a rapidly spinning beacon, emitting radio beeps. meanwhile, space-born sensors spotted powerful x-rays x-rays m good ma -- gamma rays in the sky. pin pointing collapsed stellar objects, neutron stars and black holes whose crushing gravity and dizzying spins turned them into extraordinary dynamos win. the detection of these new objecteds, the once sedate university took on a racy edge and changed into an einsteinian cosmos, filled with sources of titanic energies that can be understood only in the light of relativity. where once the field of general relativity was cozy back water it now flourish, noth theory and in practice. the black hole is no longer an oddity but a vital component of
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the universe. nearly every developed galaxy appears to have a super massive black hole of its center. it may be that the very existence of a galaxy depends on that. telescopes are currently closing in on the gargantuan hole that resideses in the heart of our own galaxy, the milky way. at the same time, cutting edge observatories, newly designed, are detecting the space-time rumbles, gravity waves, emitted when black holes collide somewhere in our inter. >> lack tick neighborhood. as john arch bald wheel, dean of american relativity, once note, we will first understand how simple the university is when we recognize how strange it is. thank you,. [applause]
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>> now a little of her voice in ore ears. tom? >> thank you, john. thank you, marcia. that's lovely. my book is about in some sense the prehistory of general relativity. i have to say, my view is somewhat different from mars marsha's. i don't see that backwater period because i see the extraordinary rush to achieve it and the resulting accomplishments that were incredibly powerful in their own right. and much of my story turns on the attempt to understand something really strange about the planet mercury. the inner most planet in our solar system, which was found in the mid-19th century to have a wobble in its orb got -- orbit that couldn't be couldn't be
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accounted for. this led the hero of my tale to predict neptune, and when he asked an observe vacational astronomer to look for neptune it was found win an hour or two of turning the telescope to the sky. a remarkable triumph of newtonian ideas of gravity. applying the same reasoning to mercury, it was predict thread should be a planet inside to the orbit of mercury which was quickly dubbed vulcan, and for 20 years after this prediction, people tried to discover and it often times thought they did. but there was always some trouble trying to nail it down. so in the eclipse of 1978 that crosses from siberia over the bering straits through canada and then into and all the way through the width of the united states, from idaho and montana down to texas, the thus government set up on station,s
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and among thes they wish to see is whether they could detect a little planet orderly hidden by the glare of the sun to see it during an eclipse, and the passage i'm going read to you is -- comes right from when that eclipse is hearing and there's a slight ellipsis which will be obvious when i fumble for a page. 3:13:34 p.m. totality. soon the shout came, james watson fixed the sun in center of this field of view. from there, he slowly swept due east. at the limit of his predefined search pattern he moved his telescope one degree down and reversed direction, covering eight degrees of sky each way. on his first pass, he recognized a familiar star. delta, in the constellation of cancer. back on the sun, he repeated the
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move heading waste, another -- heading west. another star slid into this eyepiece. there so early in his run, watson saw something new. he wrote that between the known star and the sun and the little south, i saw a ruddy star whose magnitude i estimated to be four and a half. definitely brighter than -- and did not exhibit any elongation such as might be expected if it were a comet in that position. that star was not on his chart. a new object. no tail. not, then, comet. the stranger was running out of things to be. watson had come to wyoming with a set of difficults to mark the location ofs he might find. he sat down unknown object a, noted the time, and returned to his eye piece. he dropped down one degree and swept out west a second time. another strange star appeared
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but with at least two minutes gone since second contact -- that's when totality starts -- watson had a choice. to look for known stars to serve as landmarks or mark the observation on his rough and ready record. seconds ticked by. he scribbled the location of his second unknown, dubbing it b. a few yard away, simon looked at the whispy detail that extends as many as ten solar diameters across the sky. he saw bright raise shining through the faint background and possessed to jot notes. he then jumped to his second instrument, the one tasked to search for a vulcan. the sky was to bright it would be easy to not observe a faint object. the first survey found two familiar pairs of stars. clearly marked on the chart. further sweeps turned up more
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spots of light but nothing that wasn't already on the map. as totality approached the end he gambled. with the goal of picking up some object by chance. one appeared at the last possible moment. as the final moments of totality flowed past, he held his telescope on it to fix its position. 3:16:00 p.m. totality ends. when the moon's disk slides pass the face of the sun the world jumps. it feels unfair. as if one has been granted a moment's glimpse of a different reality, that rectangle of forest through the open doors of a wardrobe or sudden vision of the plain on policeman -- been platform of 9-3/4 and then the corona switches off and any stars that appeared rapidly
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fade. as sunlight returned, watson ran out of time. he had managed to find any landmark stars for b now. in a bid to get a hint of rep complication he ran over to new newkom to get a look. he doesn't -- it's too bright. but watson is convinced, and the news goes out, that he has seep something. the question is what has he soon in whatson is sure but there's a little bit of a problem. i finish the second of the book with a story of something that happened at the same eclipse with a person they made while they were there. that is something of a warning about what is going to come in the latter third of the book.
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july 29, 1878. evening. thomas edison knew his experiment had failed medley. it was not sensitive enough to pick up unpractice red radiation from the solar corona. the result couldn't dent his good mood. this western trip was his first vacation in 16 years. and he was prepared tone joy -- to enjoy himself no matter what. for their part his hosts were eager to entertain their famous visitor but no one let him suffer dilutions bliss status hitch was a tenderfoot. he and some come pan union -- companion took a rail trip and he packed his winchester rival on the chance the might bag some local fawna. they were greet by the rail station. clark wasn't impressed by the skills of his visitors. quote, they're combined knowledge of game killing was
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equal to mine of pair laxes and spectrums. out went the hunters anyway. straggling back that evening, having bagged between them a grand total of exactly one spare row hawk. edison returned to the station first and he asked whether there might be anything else world shooting nearby. clock told hem that the surrounding plain enjoyed an abundance of jackrabbit what the locals call narrow gauge mules. clark pointed west and noticing a rabbit says, there's one now. and edison picked out a silhouette but wanted to make sure of his kill. he, quote, advance cautiously to within 150 feet, and shot. the animal didn't move. he closed to 100 feet. he fired again. the beast wouldn't jump. he aimed, pulled the trigger once, and then again.
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his target stood its ground. edison glanced over his shoulder saw the entire station staff had gathered for the show. the penny dropped. he had been set up, played for a dude. his target looked like a desert hare all right, all ears and legs and was exactly where one might expect to spy such an exotic creature and yet thomas edison, genius, just murdered a stuffed jackrabbit. it had seemed so real. [applause] >> thank you, tom and marcia. i'd like to ask questions and then throw the floor open to all of you because i'm sure howal have questions. the question i -- there are a number of parallelisms between the two books and i want to ask each of them some of the same questions. one is, for any book, really
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onychite has a sweep of history, which both of these books do, books often begin with a germ or a seed that then flowers into something larger, and i wanted to ask the two of these writers what drew them to these stories, the germ for the book that later expanded into something much bigger and much more historical sweep. marcia? ii had a. >> i had a very simple way of getting into the book. i was advising on a thesis in our graduate program, one of the students was talking -- devoting her thesis to the current endeavor to try to image the black hole in the center of our milky way, and this was around 200, 2011, and as i was advicing her hit hit me as we were
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discuss thing role of general relativity, that the 100th 100th anniversary was just around the corner and i thought i should do something on this, put trying to think of a way into a celebration of general relativity, there have been many books on general relativity -- but the black hole played a very important role in its importance in proving the general relativity has an importance within cosmology and astro physics and astronomy, and i realize not many people had really talked about the history of this idea. and the fact that is took so long and i thought that would be great way to celebrate the 100en in anniversary, focus on the story how it took 50 years from the time general relativity was put into place and presented in
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1915, the first modern idea of the black hole came weeks later bay -- by a german astronomer and the proof did not occur until the 1970s. so it took all that time to show the importance of general relativity. and i thought that was a great way to celebrate the anniversary that we celebrate last year. >> interesting. so, it's really a book about the history of an idea, not about the kind of gee whiz suspects of black holes. >> there are many, many books on the current is in civic black holes and it's changing as -- physics in black holes and it's changing, so i thought by doing the historic approach it would be a book that had legs and would stick around for a while and tell great considers, oppenheimer, fritz wicky. karl schwartz, einstein himself. and leading up into the modern era where we have the discovery
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of gravity waves which was the absolute first direct proof that black holes exist. finally got it last year. the 100th anniversary of general relativity. so that was the icing on the cake. i got squeak that into the paperback which is coming out. >> tom, can you telephone us about the kind of a genesis of your book, the germ of it. >> most of my projects are derived -- take a long time to gestate. i'm work on something, find out a stray thing and it bugs me but anytime the mid of something else and in the case i was -- back in the '90 sunday worked on a-hour nova film biography of einstein, and then marcia made references to the books and we have each written. i broke a book called einstein in berlin," and i worked hard to understand general relativity.
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that was his greatest scientific accomplishment during this berlin years. and what struck me is a was doing this, i was going into very close examination of this month-long period in november -- october and november of 1915 when he is really finally figuring out the finished form of the theory he has been work only for eight years and delivers this work in four lectures to the prussian academy, and run cross the account of the third lecture and he write -- i found the orbit of mercury came out of the theory -- the calculated or bit as my theory produced it, matched the observation, and i was so excited, he wrote, that he felt palpatations and his
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heart leapt in this chest, and he told another friend he was beside himself with joy. i didn't have time to goo into that then but it struck me because ion -- einstein didn't stop -- nothing -- at least he tried to make it appear that nothing surprised him. right? and it was extraordinary to me that what seemed like a very -- work on a new peace of mathematics and test it against precip observations and you know you're on the right track. this ordinaries grind through of a new idea in science and einstein react stowed disproportion natalie to that, said there's interesting. must be something behind it. i broadcast the einstein film in 1995, published ionstein stein in berlin in 2003. here it is 2015, and as i say i'm other slow learner but found this extraordinary back story
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that no one has -- provides a way to think about what takes to change your mind to accept a new idea in science, and i found out there was that richness, had to write. >> interesting. and it's a nice segue into next subject and that is in both book is found a fascinating threat which is the tension between theory and observation. i would say in both books. that comes through really through episode after episode. sometimes theirry and observation are nicely in sync, times they're in tension, and the tension drives science forward. i'd like to talk about that. first to you, tom, some very smart people kept seeing vulcan, a planet inside the ore get of mercury where we now know flows sump planet. how did that happen?


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