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tv   Book Discussion on Dead Presidents  CSPAN  May 29, 2016 9:15am-10:16am EDT

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bauer, who teaches year at nyu school of law. they agreed on the need to modernize voter registration, and they agreed to ought to be a national standard for how long you have to wait on line. we are one country. we ought to be able to have people vote with an equal and effective voice, no matter where they live. this is solely a matter of willing and investment. there some magical technology. so i will mention one technological thing to make you more nervous. after florida one of the things come in 2000, one of the things that happen with congress passed a law requiring states to move to electronic voting. and it was controversial because people were worried about security, but that's actually largely been addressed. there are ways to make machines actually better than the old machines, even the old beloved lever machines that we love to close the curtains on here in new york. that's the good news. but that is is they are 15 years
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old. there are computers that are 15 years old and they use zip drives and they are all on the verge of breaking. and 43 states, the voting machines, electronic computerized voter machines, our 10 years old or older. there will be a need for massive investment for voting technology around the country or you'll have these lines. but even that creates opportunities to integrate that with electronic registration and other sorts of things can make a so that everybody was eligible to vote can vote. it's going to be one more way in which the fight to put will continue, to which it's not only the formal rules but everything around it that's going to be contested but that ultimately hopefully can lead to continued progress. >> thank you all so much for coming. you can get the books in the back or at [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> here's a look at some upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the country.
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for more information, booktv will be coming to watch previous festival coverage click on the book fairs tab on our website, >> [inaudible conversations] >> hello? hi. good evening, everyone. thank you for joining us here at politics and prose for our monday evening event. before we get started just a few quick things. one, please take a moment now to silence your cell phones or pagers, if anyone uses those telco or anything that could
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possibly make a sound during our event. number two, after his talk, mr. brady carlson has agreed to take questions or if you could light up a hind this microphone and speaker into the microphone, because we do have c-span filming today. so just make sure that both the audience can hear you and they can be recorded for posterity. third, after the event if you could help us out by folding up the church and just kind of stacking them, lincoln against the sides, that would be great. i don't know how you heard about us, but politics and prose, we try to be more than a bookstore, also kennedy center. we hold about 500 events a year between this location on connecticut avenue and our three busboys and poets locations at tacoma, and we have little flyers at the front desk. they are also online if you want
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to check is the. our recording will be both on our slate podcast and on our youtube channel in a couple of weeks. so today i have the pleasure of introducing mr. brady carlson and his debut book, "dead presidents," which is a book about pretty much what it sounds like. mr. brady carlson recounts his quest to visit as many presidential great success possible. crisscrossing the country from massachusetts to california. just a joke is a reporter and host at new hampshire public radio, and is rated host of talent for sly humor and economy of words shines through in this book. it's a whole lot of fun to read, being part first person travelogue and part history book. and at times almost feels like you are flying over hundreds of miles and across hundreds of years to come face-to-face with a living does of presidents. what i mean to say is that this book is really good. you should all buy it and read it, but i will brady take it
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away. [applause] >> well, thank you all so much for coming. out of i can really add to the i may just want to sit back and. thank you, jason. that was great. it is wonderful to be with you at object all gigs in prose, wha dream come true i've got to see. thank you for the nice weather. this is fantastic. i really appreciate that. it's been almost exactly four years since i dreamed this up as a project, to getting to share it with all of you now after all this time is really exciting. and it's also to be frank a really. there's a bit of time to how much you know about the publishing of the spirit of time where your main script is essentially locked down the matter what happens in the world he can't be changed into a book comes out and hopefully get it published the second edition. and we have to president who are in their 90s right now, and in
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that period were essentially my manuscript was on the dark side of the moon, i lost a lot of sleep i'm not sure which they worried me the most, the announcement when jimmy carter said that he had brain cancer or when george h. w. bush decided to celebrate his 90th birthday by going skydiving. it was pretty harrying for me. i actually had somebody wants say something to the effect of you know, maybe your book could come out of that something could happen to one of them at the nets like the extra chapter for your paperback edition which is like that's incredibly morbid if you think about it. wow, and me, got to be honest, despite the evidence that i spent four years traveling to all the great sights of you as president, i am not a morbid guy. this was for me initially just a chance to go to see the presidents and get as close to them as you can, into a figure out a way to go back in time and meet them in person. i just always wanted to be the
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presidents. it's a topic that's been interesting to me since i was a kid. i would take these stacks of books home from the library and i would study up on the statistics about the pressures the way of baseball fan might look up the for the figure pictured. which is something that a federally interesting that the more time i spent at the site the more i realized that our disconnections not just about the lives of the presence about the afterlife. for example, there's a great quote from bill clinton once said that being president is a lot like running a cemetery. there are lots of people under u.n. none of them are listening. so about four years ago i decided to make this a project come and i said i will have a look at each of these 39 great sights. to are actually 38 great sights of u.s. presidents, book lover clinton was president onto nonconsecutive vacations so i had to visit his grave on to non-consecutive occasions.
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the more time i spent at the site, the presidents never really quite a leap us. they die, they are buried or they are entombed and they have funerals but they have to keep working. i.t. the spirit of their lives or afterlives a name. it's a post-post-presidency. and it's a very, very busy time, even though they are not around to be part of it because of what we do in their honor and in their names. we are in one of the most obvious examples of that, washington, d.c. we just had president state earlier this month, so there are a lot of obvious things. our money has presidents all over it but there are a lot of less obvious examples, a lot of connections that maybe don't come up in our wallets or in a mailing addresses. our highway system especially than the white the ice our system of interstate and defense highways. and there's that the statute in
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alexandria, virginia, as the ceremonial start to the federal highway system. the man who wrote the song this land is your land is woodrow wilson guthrie. my favorite blues singer, his birth name is chester arthur burnett. there's a baseball pitcher grover cleveland alexander. the one person will comes to mind as a famous person whose name for a president of george washington carver, was not named for george washington. just a unique fact. to argue serious connection and then there are ones that are just going inexplicable. i bring you news from the world of commerce. there's also the presidential as a disinterested you could open up zachary taylor said and pulled out candy which is cool. there's the teddy bear named of course were president teddy was a. this one of the senate with a comment. this i saw in cleveland, ohio, in the 19th century, garfield t., laxative and a diuretic. the slogan, flush your bowels with garfield t. but there are some things that
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connect u.s. even today. far beyond what happens when hundred or 150 years ago the we saw an exhibit of ls when president obama decided to change the name of the highest mountain in alaska from mount mckinley to the knowledge in my home state of niger would example about a decade ago when that the presidential range of mountains, there's mount washington, mount adams, now appears. some lawmakers want to add a mount reagan. there was a big debate about that. nevada had the same thing. an effort to put mount reagan in nevada as a. these issues to come up from time to time. that presidents can set trends just in the same way life presidents can. there's the old story about how when john f. kennedy sort to stop wearing hats, so did the men of america. that may not actually be true but this is a true. after president kiir died and was buried at arlington national cemetery, the demand for people
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who want to be buried at arlington national cemetery wind up so much that had to tighten the eligibility to so we people were trying to get in that they worried they were going to run out of space to you of evidence of that president used to make points. you here in the aftermath of presidents death and funeral, if that president were still here today, wouldn't things be different? what if we could have a president like that in the white house begin today? and not just their names, their bodies are sometimes used to crippled. two years before the civil war a president's body was exhumed from the north and stayed en route to a seven state are because of the sexual tension. another presidents body was paraded around after the civil war essentially to convince northerners to treat the southern states harshly as they try to rejoin. a third was exhumed for than a century after his death all basically because of the conspiracy theory. here's a short list of some of the other connections you might not have thought of. dead presidents show up in spa
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space. the are asteroids named for a list by. by. they show up and support for a recount in iowa the wealthier has the distinct pleasure of hosting an national hoover ball championships. dead presidents show up into. is to say what you upstate new york called the millard feel anymore. that calvin -- own cheese shop started by the coolidge family. that president show up in music. there's a song. lou reed had a song called the day john to die. and begin an effective milledgeville morecambe duesberg in the same cemetery as the superfreak himself, rick james the dead presidents are connected to the star wars universe and those of you who have ever visited washington national cathedral know this because the final resting place of woodrow wilson. high up on the top of washington national cathedral there is a cargo of our technically a
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grotesque of darth vader the gentlemen who fought the war to end all wars, and the dark lord at the heart of the star wars all in one place which is just about as american as it gets. here's what is important to note about these things are not because they are fun or they are important to know about. you are paying for the world of dead presidents. everything the president these days is entitled to a state funeral conducted by the u.s. military, every president essence of the presidential library run by the national archives and records a magician. on each presidents birthday the military holds a brief sermon at his grave, all of which we pay for through our tax dollars. this whole crazy world starts right in this part of the country. let me just start before i tell you these stories, be kind. if you know some of these stories as washingtonians, just tell all your friends at the "dead presidents" looked to her after party this night. al-qaeda was akin to d.c. and
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told us all about the washington monument. this story really does begin, where all things begin with you as president, with george washington just as he sent so many presidents and customs and traditions as the president was a, what used to do and not to do, so, too, did he become the first dead president and create all sorts of precedence about how we are treating our former leaders after they pass on. and in george washington's case it was maybe a love that is unusual because you're someone that we couldn't even wait until he was going to start memorializing them. we wanted to turn the into a led before he was dead. not long after the market revolution was over there was talk in the governmental circles about building a giant statue of george washington on horseback in the center of the new capital city, to be so large-scale example to the nation. it was supposed to look if you haven't washington circle, the statutory fortunes are stuck with was be like that but transformer size.
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and george washington was very, very nervous when he heard this kind of doctor he was in the city and the soldiers were a declaration that for the first time, and they reacted so strongly that they went up to statue of the king of england on horseback and a tour again. they thought that the cell democratic experience go south, i don't want people like that tearing down my statue. so we pushed as hard as he could to try to save lets build the country, let's not build statues of me, thank you very much. there was one exception which was when the three commissioners who were in charge of designing what was then known as the federal city decided to name it washington. and he let them do that now because he thought i should always get one thing named after me, but because he had hired them to lead construction and he didn't want to micromanage so he let that one go. if you look through his papers he always refers to this down as the federal city.
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he doesn't have to refer to it as washington which is kind of neat. so in light of george washington fended off all this attempt to memorialize him before he was dead. then you died on december 14, 1799 and that's when everything started to change. what changeling first of all for obvious reasons, he had a bad throat infection in december and his doctors did him no favors by trying to say something like five of his eight points of blood while some of his kind get him to throw up. that did not help them. nor did what happened next. washington was very clear in his will about what he wanted after he died. for example, one of the things he's this of course he did not want to be buried fo four of the three did because he was concerned about being buried alive. he also did not want funeral parades. he did not want wider resources. he did not want long speeches. he wanted simple, private funeral services, essentially he wanted to be left alone. here's what he said in his will. i'm going to quote from it is
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not expressed desire my corpse may be entered in a private matter what operate or funeral. do think he got a simple, private, quiet funeral? no. we don't roll that we in this country. so we got long funeral parade. he wanted to speakers. he got four at a steal service in mount vernon. there were wider resources and there were rumors that the country was short on black cloth for months afterwards because there's so much mourning going on. for those who couldn't get the actual film about foreign they held mock funerals across the of the cities in the country. my favorite is a struggle what they did in boston with a or had mock funeral at historic commemorative coins to remember the mock funeral that says something like the world is in tears but he is in glory. this may sound a little over the top in our usual standards but remember this is at a time when the transit of america is still very done and maybe not that
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united. for a lot of people think of solving the country together and keeping you from splitting further apart was the force of personality that with george washington. they were scared now that george washington was dead they might start to lose that force of personality that was binding them together. they came up with a cool solution. if george washington was a mortal man, you lose him. but if he was more than a man, you can't possibly lose him because he will always be with you. so if you visit the u.s. capitol and took up inside the rotunda on the inside of the dome you see one of the great examples of that. the offices of washington it's a portrait of george washington being welcomed into heaven as a demagogue by a group of angels. this is not simply to over the top memorializing. they were trying to hang onto the sky as long as they could this is about the time you start to hear stories like the biography from parson dreams were george washington could not to apply that he chopped down the cherry tree. these legends and tales about
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perfect george washington was as a person became sort of a civic duty because they just wanted to keep him as long as they could. the only problem was that they always come they were not always so good at honoring him. the best example of that can be found today at the smithsonian museum of american history. there's a sculpture by horatio green know it was by all accounts a very good school. he drink any liquor he knew his stuff. congress didn't i think $20,000 to make a massive sculpture in george washington's auto. it sounded like a good concert. he was trying to tie george washington to the greek and roman leaders of old. so someone who was granted huge amounts of power, uses that are responsive and then voluntarily answered back with any attempt to keep it beyond his mandate. what the action and upgrade was george washington in a toga and
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is holding a sort out is supposed to symbolize how he was handing the sort of power back to the people. what it looks like is i kind of just left a frat party trying to stab himself, and it was literally laughed out of the capitol rotunda. they put outside on the capitol grounds of which point people would snicker about how looks like george washington is leaving a bathhouse and reaching for his will. they had to keep moving from place to place and it was put into the smithsonian and they have it now. it is worth seeing. at the same time all of this is going on this talk about we should have george washington's actual remains that the u.s. capitol. people can come to the capital. they can look about the redundancy this great painted but they can also look down and see the sarcophagus that holds george washington's remains. there's only one problem with that. they didn't check with the family. when they came to pick the body
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up, civil city to look at the will? the will begin said i would like to be left out not burning and basically left alone. -- left out the mount vernon. so they had to plug the hole they carved into the capitol rotunda so when you look down, had duplicate the. if you go and start your tour of the u.s. capitol today you will start in room called the crypt. that was supposed to hold george washington. now just hold loss of two groups. while all of that was going on there was another group of prominent citizens including chief justice john marshall and former president james madison about we need to build a monument. not just a monument but a great monument, a huge monument, the best monument. and is designed the original plan for the washington monument would've been the tallest structure in the world. the problem here was that they couldn't get the supplies of marble nor the money to pay for said marble together in any kind of organized fashion. so they would go over here and there and then you have to stop embrace her money, then they
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would build a lemoore, stop, raise more money. for years and years and years the washington monument was a big stop in and out of the capital city were you sought not the greatness of george washington reflected in ideas and symbols but you saw literal cows, pigs and sheep grazing at the foot of this unfinished marble thing. it was a great article in the "new york times" at the time in the middle of the 1960% something like the portrait of george washington in the white house can see the stump as this it's been a of this city and you could almost see a tear in his eye forming, which is just a beautiful thing. in july 1850 they held a fundraiser to try to kickstart things yet again, and the guests of honor at the fundraiser was the sitting president zachary taylor. it was a very hot day so president taylor decided to off by drinking iced milk. health officials have warned people not to consume those things because there were
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diseases wrong about the secret less than one week later he was dead. so in other words, we tried to honor one that president and ended up creating another. now if you've ever been to washington monument you know that spot where the color changes in the marble. that's where the stump air into india's army corps of engineers era became. after while the realized there was only one organization that could finally finish this thing off. they headed to the u.s. army corps of engineers. they got a ton of up to take until 1885 which is more than a century after the idea for a monument in the support of washington, d.c. was first proposed. 86 years after george washington died, and could then 20 presidents after george washington. that's how long it took. and even today it's still lines of ink and repair. whenever the earthquake about five feet ago, extensive renovation after that. this is a city that holds a lot of tour groups, many of which consists of eighth grade boys will look at something that looks like the washington
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monument the way that it is just unseemly to our eyes until take horrible pictures and say terrible things and snicker to each other over them, which is just awful. so that's the star of george washington, the national myth. i haven't gotten to the body get. i mentioned he wanted to stay at mount vernon. ins will be as critical as the least move my remains out of the old family tomb and put them in a new one. because the old to situate right by the potomac river which was prone to flooding. he was worried that his bones were going to end up washing downstream. it took about 30 years to build that tomb because mount vernon was unprofitable. it was a huge plantation. there were all these people making essentially pilgrimages to mount vernon uninvited. by the time they did finally built this new tomb, washington's remains, that is this proposal, the coffin was deteriorating. so the guys who took charge of moving george washington's
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remains from the old gasket to the new sarcophagus, they wrote up an account for this in the magazines of the day and everything that they wrote about that was in passive voice. so no one picked him up and move him. he was moved somehow. and in the process of moving him, somehow a hand was laid upon his head and a pair was taken from his head. whose and? it couldn't have been us. we didn't do it. someone did a. someone took his hat. i don't who did these things. nonetheless, and managed to make a successful transfer, with one caveat, that the new tomb was too small to fit the sarcophagus. they apparently have not measured so that the put in front of the new tomb and build around a. summer along the line someone took off part of the eagle design on top of the sarcophagus as a souvenir. but just like with the washington monument, just like with the u.s. capitol and just
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like with everything involved with memorializing george washington, they got it all figured out over time to the eye of out of the system. mount vernon and said something like 80 million visitors over time, including presidents and queens and kings and all sorts of dignitaries. and things were running shipshape over there. you can take a house tour. you can see what it was like to live in george washington's done. you can sample some of the whiskey that was distilled using his actual recipe. they are even at the point now with no those national treasure movies you can go take a nicholas cage to her of george washington's house, which is just fasting. you could also take part in a brief ceremony they have twice a day at mount vernon. if you do that, and i advise you to because it's really cool, listen closely for the tomb because of pressure you can your the sound of george washington rolling over in his grave at all the things we have done to him over the years.
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now, i said before washington set precedents with his death. so what are the customs that is, thanks to george washington in the world of dead presidents? first we go big when it comes to presidents whether they want that or not. we make large expensive monument that take for ever and we argue about them for a long, long time. we opened a lot of profits. we have moved a lot of presidents of bodies. we've moved a lot of presidents of bodies. there's the freedom of all kinds of bad behavior but we can to get all right in the end. though i will say that if you look at the timeline of dead presidents, george washington dyson 7099 and there is not another dead president until 1826. and i have a theory that john adams, thomas jefferson, the be the successors to george washington were convinced having seen what happened to their predecessor that they wanted to avoid becoming dead presidents for as long as possible. so i will just say thank you all
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so much for coming. it is such a treat to be with you in washington and i will be happy to take any questions you have about any of the dead presidents, or all of them if you prefer, but thank you all again so much for coming applause 90 -- [applause] >> welcome let's start at the other end. do you have a story to tell us about the amazing, beautiful series, kind of semi circles of columns that marks the demise of warren g. harding? >> my first warren g. harding question. this is fantastic it does everybody remember that warren g. harding wa was, in fact, the president of the united states? could. is one of those guys who just sort of on the list, so like at the end of the gilligan's island saw, like there's ginger and mary can.
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he is the mary and of the president. anyway, warren harding has i think one of the most beautiful things. it is a circular set of columns the absolute gorgeous. it's in a small town in ohio and it's funny because warren harding died in 1923, and it took, i didn't get to buy a whole lot about this in the book but it took a long time to raise the money to put those columns of because after harding died we started learning more about what been going on in his white house, the drinking, gambling, the fathering of children with with someone who was not his wife, the carousing at all hours and the teapot dome scandal which was at that point the worst possible thing that any president had been involved in. and so the more these revelations became a in the wake of harding's death, the less people want to give to make a giant memorial in his own and his hometown of mary in ohio. so calvin coolidge, his
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successor, is when i'm vice president do some fundraising event that sort of tapers off and the next president herbert hoover quietly cancel some of this is going to do a bit of a harding the more association. so takes a long, long time. they do finally get it built, and then there was an article in "life" magazine in the 1940s, which he had been barely dawn at the memorial was almost still brand-new, and i remember the caption underneath the picture. they've done a photo survey of all the great sites and it says at the bottom of harding memorial, not many people go there now. like it'd been sitting there for decades and it had somehow been forgotten. it was brand-new and already ignored and i'm happy to report that when i was then married in ohio is in his grave that they found a new use for that beautiful monument to that of all of the kids go to high school in marion, ohio, take their prom pictures but it's the most scenic spot they could
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find. i just am i to take a few pictures and they see the limo pull up with these 17 year olds in the finest outfits and to stop and oppose any wave and a hug and then they go off to prom and i am left it there, just me and warren g. harding. yes. >> great talk, great stories. so over all, percentagewise, tommy presidents have very quiet little gravestones or great sites, and how many are kind of grand and memorial style? and how many want -- does that match their desires? >> that's a great question. i don't know if i know the percentages but there are quite a few that have pretty relatively small tombs. a few that might surprise you with the theater was on the island that's a pretty small, quiet spot and lyndon johnson you would expect to have just an enormous texas sized to has another stone in the family plot. i guess for johnson what he
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wanted to establish a gigantic presidential library, which he did get. there's an interview i read once with the architect of the johnson library in austin, texas, on the university campus, and they said describe why it's so big, why it is 10 stories high, this towering thing. he said the president johnson won't have a mainly library. by god, that's what he got. like his tomb is the exact opposite. he just wanted to be buried in his family spot next to the river which is beautiful and quiet. events and flows. some of the earliest presidents, washington, adams, jefferson's have very nice and somewhat ornate final resting places, but they are private and i used to be the model that presidents would pass away at home or as private citizens that did nothing longer belong to the country.
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and so the final resting place of would reflect the. it changes in two big ways. what is going to victoria beckham just because that became death became not just a fact of life but anesthetic so the idea of a really big tomb became much more prevalent a special with the assessment presidents. grants to is the biggest in tactical size just ended to mention that it's the largest the william mckinley's kidney feels bigger it looks like a planetarium at the top of this hill. it's the kind of thing you are seeking agenda, you recall this hill and go there. james garfield in cleveland, ohio, who died right at the height of the victorian era in 1981, he has, i'm not making this up, he has a death council. it is a gigantic castle, and on the outside of it to our release of the turbine stages of his life from his time as an educator to his service in the civil war to a source in the government, to laying on his
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deathbed in agony because of incompetent doctors. they made a point of putting that out there, show james a. garfield in agony for half of his short presidents. and on the inside, and this is the worst thing i think i saw, although worse is relative. i think it's kind of awesome but i don't know how may people would want this. there's a mural of the assassination inside our feels to me. so there's this picture of garfield sort of walking through the train station in d.c. at a suggested is walking with him, he knows what's about to go down. is frantically waving his arms and garfield doesn't see. the train again isn't there, look out, no. garfield doesn't see. you look on this thing, james a. garfield, what did he ever did anybody to deserve all of this indignity that has been thrust upon him? i visited there the week after i spent some time in the los angeles area visiting the graves of the presidents nixon and
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reagan come in and sitting on a plane to come back to new hampshire and in getting these e-mails from all over the place, did you what happened to garfield's to? what now? it turned out someone got drunk, broke in and stole some of the commemorative stones that were on display in the case, and it was just like, you know, we have reached peak garfield indignity. it was just the worst possible thing to someone, if he had known what was coming he would've turned the nomination down i'm convinced of that. any other questions. spinach is refreshing, just refresh me, is jefferson's actual burial place in monticello speak with jefferson's burial place is in monticello. the interesting piece about that is that monticello, the property is run by a nonprofit foundation to except for the family
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programs which is still controlled by the descent of the jefferson, jefferson's descendents. the reason that matters is because there's a group of people they are a group are where descendents of thomas jefferson by way of sally hemings. they are not officially recognized by the family even though they are officially recognized by monticello. you have a disagreement at this property about who is part of the jefferson family. because the official jefferson family still does not recognize the hemings this thing is, they are not eligible to be buried in the family plot. every so often you hear of an effort to bring that group into the fold, so to speak your so just one more example of how these issues come back up, even something that happened hundreds and hundreds of years ago still matters today. great question ago. [inaudible] >> there are colleges in the jefferson cemetery? i didn't look closely enough to
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be sure. i will look for the tell tale signs of cheese when i go back. >> you mentioned zachary taylor and the cherries and the new. are there any other strange causes of death for presidents speak with any other strange causes of death for presidents? well, legend has it, other than garfield, whose doctors did more damage to him than the bullets ever did, the legends have it that william henry harrison died because he stood out in the cold during his inaugural address without a hat and coat and spoke for two hours. i have read his entire inaugural address and it didn't come but it certainly did put me to sleep lassleep. it is a long and beautiful that number of words, it goes by very slowly. there's a lot of talk about the pros and con's of using the veto power and a number of
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references, when he is done charting course back through the short at that point tale of american issue, even goes back to roman history. apparently daniel webster to which my home state of venture managed to cut about half of the pro-council that he wanted me to in his address out but it still wasn't enough. there's been some research in recent years this i has people should probably more like a the water system, that there were three presidents, taylor, paul anderson who died and about a 10 year period and could very easily all be attributed to the terrible conditions of the water and sewer system in washington, d.c. at the time. but even knowing that there still people who talk of william henry harrison to the kids like is why you put a coat on when you go outside in the winter. you want to end up like that guy? avoided realize one time i was out in dallas, the 50th anniversary of the kennedy
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assassination. assassination. so before the have either formal ceremony they were showing clips of his inaugural address. and i figured how cold could possibly get in texas? apparently can get really cold in texas. so i was wearing not nearly enough in terms of coats, hats and gloves. i was freezing in a city as to inaugural address, and i turned into william henry harrison. what's going to happen to me in 30 days? not a good feeling. spent branch of agenda, what about the rumors of warren harding being poisoned? and a second question, when was the first president can simply a tradition of presidential libraries now, did that start with the johnson over hoover, or when did that start? >> the rumors of warren harding being poisoned, we actually have a tradition of assumed that depression who dies during office was done in by some nefarious means that goes back to william henry harrison. someone tried to murder because
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of slavery. someone murdered aquitaine because of slave. that's what he was exhumed in the 1990s. departing back out in 1991 just to check on what had killed him. the story of warren harding, this is one of the best selling books that came after he died that suggested that his wife had found out about all of this extramarital dalliance is and had poisoned him. and that was a best selling book and almost certainly just rumors trying to get book sales. wish i had thought of that. but the public ate it up as if it were real, and also some of the harding papers were burned by his widow. which did not help the case of the people who say this is all hogwash. so those have persisted certainly over the years. supposedly there were people after franklin roosevelt died who said, there are so many
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great different stories about what had actually happened to franklin roosevelt. some have said the soviets had killed in the of the people said it was an inside job. some people said after franklin roosevelt faked his death and was living out in upstate new york very happily. he just didn't want to be president anymore after 12 and a half years. so these stories give apparently seem to crop up. as to the presidential libraries, the first public presidential library came from franklin roosevelt. he proposed the idea for taxpayer-funded presidential library while he was still president, which again, going back to this model for the president is a private citizen with great power for a short period of time and the returns to being a private citizen, that idea was can we legislate it was a little controversial in the 1940s when he proposes a. it was partly i think the roosevelt a public works project it was and if i did to make some jobs. is als also a way for him to del with, he was kind of a quarter and he wanted a place where he
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could store all the stuff -- hoarder. part of that is presidents tend to have the goes. they want to be remembered fondly in a way that would like to be remembered, so all of that went into the presidential library. lawmakers then did approve a presidential library not only for fdr but for every president since competitive included herbert hoover who still alive at the time. so he has a taxpayer-funded public library. this is a big change because more or less up until that point, presidents sort of left it to us to make all of the decisions, and would shape their legacies more than they would. some of them would write memoirs make speeches and sort of put their hand ou up there and try o characterize their own works, but now they have a partly taxpayer-funded presidential library to put their own part of the message out there and give their perspective, and they love
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it. not all historians love. some critics say we are underwriting presidents telling us how we should remember them and they are not thrilled about that. but we do see at least -- we do see a time many presidential libraries, you see a lot more balance. for example, the roosevelt library just went under a larger renovation, and you see all kinds of exhibits about the japanese internment in some of his extramarital affairs and things like that come into decision about how he handled the war and so forth. so easy these things change over time, but i can say the best part of the presidential libraries is not a fan of this treasure trove of documents, although they do have and that's one thing the store instead of all have access to, but because they collect everything. they threw nothing out and so they have the weirdest stuff. the roosevelt library has a giant franklin was the head in
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the shape of a sphinx. the lyndon johnson library in texas house a joke telling robot of lbj. there was a did well recommend that is the richard nixon library that was sent to him after he had the stroke the children. they thought maybe this stuff raccoon will pull him out of his stroke, but there is just amazing stuff. ..
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in the same way my grandparents told me what it was like to live through pearl harbor and how people experience the 9/11 attacks. kennedy was one of the hardest presidents to write it up, because he is so well documented and there are tens of thousands of books about john f. kennedy. what else is there that could be said. what i have to do is look at them from a completely different angle. i went to the 50th anniversary
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commemorations of the assassination in dallas. dallas is not a place that is done a lot of commemorating up the assassination of john f. kennedy because why would you? this year they got all eyes around on us, maybe for the last time with the people who experience the assassination first-hand still around to commemorate it. what i found was the reason that it continues to resonate with that is for a lot of reasons. but among them was essentially good branding. i don't want to say that crosley, but the kennedys did a phenomenal job of creating the idea that these are people that matter to us in a very short period of time. when i first proposed the idea of creating a funeral for john f. kennedy modeled after abraham lincoln, that was not the obvious choice. they would've gone back to the last president who died in office, franklin roosevelt or warren harding which was a large funeral, but not with the
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abraham lincoln gravitas that he ended up getting. you could've made a case in a pretty convincing one at that point. does this guy merit that? it turned out that the public thought he did not issue is fascinating and a lot of that is because the kennedy family and including jacqueline kennedy did a really good job at sort of framing his presidency and his legacy in a way that hit home personally for people. it wasn't that he was a political figure or anything like that, but he was one of the great people of history and he would be a towering figure who could not be quite equal and they made a case that most presidential gravesites don't make, which is that his ideals live on the eternal flame. most of the gravesites put backwards. his does not. that just struck me at how much went into that was fascinating.
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when you think about it now, you think all of this was just a natural thing. it was all done on purpose, but it's also natural. that was the true genius of everything that went into the funeral and has gone into the memorial right and was all done to liberally, but it all feels so natural. not everybody can say that. yes. [inaudible] >> there's a rivalry over the washington monument here? >> no. [inaudible] -- a student had the idea of taking out two of the spotlights
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which would have been fun -- come out through the window, and pelvis back into the monument and hung him. well, it beats st. john. >> if you're going to go bake, you are not going to go over to the james buchanan memorial, are you? isn't it funny how these things all have these connotations that build up over time. the washington monument was built for one big huge purpose went to the part of the high school rivalry. that's fantastic.
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>> last question. i want to add about kennedy's funeral. there's a big irish festival coming up this may. there will be 100 years next year and the easter rising this year. he stayed in touch with a number of people over in ireland after he took the trip there for months before he died. a number of them announced almost immediately that they would be coming to washington. when the french president thought that he had to do something good for jackie, and that kind of sealed the deal that it would be a great event. >> yeah, and again, i don't want to make that sound crass, but i want to call it tv friendly, but they may do something that people who are watching on tv could feel personal investment to which is fascinating. fascinating part for me is even
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the things that went wrong when it right. for example the famous playing of taps for one of the fifth or sixth note crack of the bugler didn't quite land the note and there were all these commenters who said it was like mirroring the nations greece because when somebody gives a speech and they start to lose their composure, that's what it sounded like it or the writer the source is out of control. they said this horse is clearly someone that because he feels how horrible everybody feels. i will end on a happier note, which is weird given what this book is about. there's actually quite a few of these stories about animals. blackjack is a great example of that in the kennedy funeral. we'll come back to warren g harding at the end were stirred with their questions. when he died, who is best known perhaps at the time for having the first celebrity presidential dog latte boy. when warren harding died, tell
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me this is the saddest thing you can think of in regards to a presidential death. there were all these newspaper articles about one member that couldn't understand why the president's why the president's car was in driving him back up to pet him and give him doubt trades. he could not understand where president harding was and why he wasn't coming back to the white house. someone who heard about this horrible situation with the dog wrote a song trying to explain to the president's dog when it happened. it is called laddie boy he's gone. it talks about his president in heaven now you just have two understand. presidential briefing monuments in memorializing goes even into the world of pat, which is just again so beautiful and so american connect these things in every possible way and bless us for it. us for appeared on that, plus
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all all of you for coming out. thank you again. this is so great. [applause] [inaudible] if anyone would like to book signed, if you can start here and go that way. the night thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> this is a tv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's a quick look at our primetime lineup for this evening.
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>> i was very frustrated and angry in a group of us that work for the national women's political caucus and on the equal rights amendment share the frustration, why aren't there more women in office?
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we hear all the time about women that would go to the party establishment. it was then ready to move up to congress, will you help me? i've got a district in a track record in support and the guys are doing and i can say you can't win. we are going to give you any money. of course when they couldn't give any money, the women were stuck. they were caught in this vicious circle. they couldn't raise any money because nobody believed they could win. this group of friends of mine very simply said if we told the people we know about women running, we could raise a lot of money for them. but starting network and figure out how to do that. we begin in my basement with 25 people sending out letters. it was a far cry from our 30th anniversary celebration. >> that the point you decided to name at emily's list. that's a nice little story. it meant something to you. i thought emily was probably the
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name of your mom or something. >> you named it after yourself. no, i am allen. this is emily. we did that because we wanted to raise early money and we thought if we gave women credibility are raising early money, then they could go on and raise the additional money they needed to win. we were like little political venture capitalists. in today's terms would kick starter for women. emily stands for early money is like yeast. we make the dough rise and we been doing that ever since. >> now joining us on booktv is chris jackson paid what he do for a living? >> on the publisher, editor in chief of "one world" books. a new imprint of random house had it existed over 20 years ago and i am


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