tv 2016 National Book Festival CSPAN September 24, 2016 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT
book tv did a three hour interview with mary roach. you can find that, as, as one of our in-depth programs pre-go to our website booktv.org, type in mary roach, in-depth and you can watch three hours of mary roach book tv has several more hours left in our coverage of the national book festival this year. coming up next we're going back up to the history and biography room and you'll hear from joe b work, washington post reporter and author of a book on the rise of isis. this this is book tv on c-span2. >> . . >> hello everybody, my name is
marty, i, i am the executive editor of the washington post. the washington post is a charter sponsor the national book festival since the beginning and we are happy to do it again this year. the library library of congress has been the festival toast since the festival began 16 years ago. we want to thank the chairman of the festival and the many national book festival sponsors who made the event possible this year. you can make a donation to the festival by checking the information in your program, there is to be time for question afterward and this is being filmed as well. you should know that. >> it to her speaker, the washington post has gratified to have some of the finest national security reporters in the country and a standout among them is it joe b warrant. when you read black flakes, the rise of isis you'll see why. >> . . .
>> and the most revealing portrait yet offal zarqawi, founding father of the organization that became the islamic state. as our country aims to destroy isis and as isis seeks to metastasize beyond iraq and syria, there could not be a more urgent and timely treatment of this subject. as isis and terrorism take center stage in a presidential race, this book offers a refuge
in actual facts. imagine that. [laughter] and in an absorbing history of our times and in a sober assessment of failures across the political and governmental landscape. for good reason, "black flags" this year was awarded the pulitzer prize in general nonfiction. the judges described it as a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today's most dangerous extremist threat. all of us at the "post" were enormously proud when the pulitzer recognized the excellence of the work, and it was not, by the way, the first time they had done so. the prize for "black flags" is his second pulitzer.
in the two decades since that work, joby has been a cherished colleague at the "post." he is as soft spoken and gracious as he is diligent, determined and dedicated. so not just the superb reporter, but also a wonderful human being. it's a real pleasure and honor to introduce joby warrick. [applause] >> well, marty, thanks a lot for that. it is a pleasure to be with you, and it is an honor to be introduced by my boss. i've been at the "post," as marty said, for 20 years. i can tell you the " post" has never been in better hands than it is right now, and the fact that we here in washington -- [applause] and i know, you know, you must
get mad at us at least once a day. i mean, that's part of our job too. but the fact that we have a quality newspaper of the caliber of "the washington post," that it continues to be so ambitious and so energetic and just so committed to its mission is a reflection of the people at the top. so i feel privileged to work for marty, and i think you should all be kind of grateful to be in a town and in a country that has editors like marty barron, so thank you again for those words, marty. [applause] you know, book festivals -- and i've done my paperback tour now, so i'm used to this -- but typically, authors will tell charming anecdotes and funny stories. i wrote a book about isis -- [laughter] so the material doesn't lend itself to funny, witty stories. but the topic is important, and i think you all know that, and perhaps it's why you're here. when i do travel the country, people are confused about this organization. they're afraid, and of course they're afraid. i think our political leaders
are very confused right now just based on the rhetoric on the campaign trail. really my purpose in doing this book was to bring clarity, and that's my special gift as a journalist. i try to help take complicated stories and make people understand what they're really about. it's what i'm going to try to do very briefly today. i'm going to show some pictures. we're going to start with a video, photo montage boiling down the history of isis to three minutes. this is kind of a summary. after this is over, we're going to talk about some characters behind isis, but this is my video introduction. it's isis, so it's dark, it's not the goth channel, but it's nothing you haven't seen before, i think. this is a little preview of our discussion today. i hope you can all read the subtitles. [gunfire] >> allahu allahu akbar! [speaking in native tongue]
>> so my book, "black flags," as i tried to explain, is a story of origin toes. it's a character sketch digging into histories of the men behind isis. and i'm going to talk about five personalities very briefly starting with zarqawi, the man who's probably the most important and most innovative terrorist personality of the last two decades, second only to osama bin laden, and continuing on to other individuals who may not be as familiar to us but are important in understanding what we're up against. we start with zarqawi, the godfather, he pioneered almost all the tactics we see isis using today including the beheadings of young men in orange jump suits. he was an original and dispensable force. isis literally could not exist without him, and in a strange way, zarqawi could not have existed without us. so let's understand him as a way
to get into our topic. every terrorist starts out life as a kid, a cute little kid. here he is in 1968 with his mom in jordan. he wasn't a cute kid. he was a bad seed from the very beginning. not just tom sawyer mischief, but cutting kids with razors, using drugs, he drank, he was a violet, vicious youth -- violent, vicious youth absolutely headed for trouble. he was a high school dropout, he had tattoos, anything but a religious guy, extensive criminal record. then he gets a bit of a religious conviction, and even more importantly like many other young men in his region, he decides in the 1990s to go fight jihad, and that means going to afghanistan. and this is really the cradle of the modern jihadist movement. this is where we get al-qaeda and so many of the groups we're familiar with today. he goes to afghanistan, he fails even there because he arrived too late to fight the soviets.
but he joins the arab army, he gets involved in the civil war there, and then this giant young man -- violent young man discovers he's a ferocious fighter. and be his religious fervor is being pumped up because he's learning at the likes of osama bin laden and his lieutenants. then the war ends for him, and he's back home. if you think about the experience of a lot of our returning veterans, it's pretty much that way for zarqawi and his friends. they don't have anything to do, they want to keep this fervor going, so they start to look for ways to build their own little jihadist cell. what are they going to do in peaceful jordan? they start attacking bars and liquor stores, get the idea of attacking pornographic theaters. they send a guy into a porno house in amman with a bomb, the kid goes in, gets engrossed in the movie -- [laughter] if forgets all about the bomb
which blows up at his feet. nobody else gets hurt, but he loses both his legs. these are the kinds of knuckleheads we're dealing with in the 1990s. they're locked up, a lot of his followers, and these guys, you know, who went off to war to afghanistan are trying to be contained and corralled in prison. but in jail they end up being corralled together because the jordanians are afraid they'll start to infect other people, so so they're off by themself, about 50 of hem in one cell. and this becomes kind of a jihadi university where they share ideology, they talk about tactics. it turns out to be not a good thing, and out of this environment, zarqawi emerges as a charismatic and capable leader. here's where he gets a couple of incredible breaks. he's supposed to be sentenced to prison for 15 years. he'd spent all those years in jail, we never would have heard of him. but in 1999, the king do have of jordan dice, and there's a
tradition of am am necessary -- amnesty for political prisoners. so parliament comes up with a list of people to be pardoned. you know, the tribes come up with their own lists, and then, you know, about 2,000 people end up getting freed. and among them is czar zarqawi d his entire band of followers, and out they go in 1999, ten years ahead of schedule. so he goes off to the place he loves the most which is afghanistan and tries to unite with osama bin laden, his hero. turns out bin laden wants nothing to do with him because even for the mastermind of 9/11, this young kid, this hothead who doesn't know much about islam, he's not very smart, he's very violent, very crude, he's too bad even for al-qaeda. so they reject him, they kick him out, they send him off to the other end of afghanistan to start his own little thing. so off he goes, and once again if he had stayed out there, we never would have heard of zarqawi ever again. but then the second miracle happens for zarqawi. in february 2003 the united states is getting ready to
invade iraq, and we're trying to make our case to the u.n. and other people around the world about why we want to do this. we offer two reasons. one is weapons of mass destruction. the other was the possibility that al-qaeda could collaborate with this terrible iraqi dictator, saddam i hussein. if there's some kind of collusion between the two, they could be even more dangerous. so this is the pitch we make to the u.n. when colin powell's making his speech, he's talking about this, and who does he cite as the prime example of this problem? our friend, zarqawi, at the top of list. he seems to be the right guy. he's in iraq at the time, he's living in the border area between iraq and iran, he's had contact with al-qaeda in the past, so he seems like this kind of perfect poster child for this problem that the u.s. is describing. so this is the case that's made. turns out, entirely untrue. there was no truth to his connections to al-qaeda. he wasn't in al-qaeda, he wasn't, certainly, working with saddam hussein's government, but that one poster made him a
celebrity overnight. suddenly he's receiving money, support, recruits from around the world. he becomes an overnight celebrity. he has this vision he's going to fight a superpower, it's going to be the united states in the iraq. so he moves to baghdad in 2003 to wait for the americans to arrive. so when he gets there, he starts to build alliances. here's this crazy guy that wants to start a terrorist movement. suddenly, he's got all kinds of allies because the iraqi army has been disbanded, those colonels, generals and majors don't have jobs anymore, you've got the baathist party, suddenly all those people are looking for leadership as zarqawi moves into that and becomes the nucleus for this new insurgency we begin to see unfolding in 2003. he's got a good head for strategy, and he starts going a after important targets, the u.n. headquarters, he goes after ngos, the red cross, a all kinds of groups that would help the united states, that would give us the cover legitimacy,
drives them home. and be then more portingly, he goes after the sunni/shia divide in this country. they've been living together reasonably well for decades,but zarqawi decide cans deliberately to start a civil war. he blows up a mosque, kills their leaders and you've got, essentially, shooting back and forth between two groups who had gotten along together. he isolated us in iraq, then he sets off a civil war around us, and by in 2004 and 2005, we're in bad shape in terms of our occupation and plans for iraq. so the next thing that happens, this is kind of background noise for zarqawi, because he's got bigger ammunitions. -- ambitions. he wants to become an international star. he feels he has a destiny. so he develops this notion that no matter what kind of bombing or shooting you might be able to do, there's nothing more gripping, more viscerally horrible than watching a single execution.
so he grabs a random american off the street, nick berg from philadelphia, takes him into his cell, sits him down with an orange jump suit, and he personally -- and that's zarqawi reading the script there, he personally beheads this young man. this becomes his calling card. the violence zarqawi unleashes tears up the country, and it's too much even for al-qaeda. and so that's not the only difference. zarqawi begins to launch a new media campaign using social media platforms just becoming available. so you've got the great bearded osama bin ladin, you know, reading his sermons from behind a podium, very boring, and then you've got this jihadist action figure, killing americans with his own hands. young jihadists around the world eat in this up. and then he's brash enough to make up his own rules. he's not even a high school graduate. he's not very smart, but he does understand theology, and that's liberate aring to him because he
doesn't -- liberating to him, because he doesn't bother to worry about whether he's committing acts that aren't islamic like suicide attacks. then he begins to think about a really big idea which is the idea of restoring the ancient caliphate, the islamic theocratic empire of centuries past. he regards himself as divinely inspired to usher in this new age of pure islam, driving out western governments along with brutally destroying everyone else who stands in his way from corrupt governments to apostates like the shiites. and this struggle would end in a mighty battle, in an armageddon in which armies of islam would finally defeat the armies of christianity. this was going to be star e zarqawi's role in history. i am the spark, he used to say. zarqawi but now public enemy number one. we poured vast resources into efforts to stop him. it took us nearly three years to track him down, but eventually
our intel, our ground forces, special operations teams found a forum for defeating him in his network. we found a safehouse in 2006, we drop a couple of bombs on it, and that's the end of zarqawi himself. we start dismantling the leadership, killing number twos and number threes, and just as we figure this out, other things happen. the iraqi sunni tribes revolt against zarqawi's followers, and you have the anbar awakening. the u.s. troop surge happens. and by 2009 all that's left was just a few hundred followers who were being driven deep underground in hiding. al-qaeda in iraq was essentially beaten. but not everybody thought so. here's our second isis personality. we know him as al-baghdadi, he's the leader of isis today. in zarqawi's time, nobody would have pictured him as a leader. he was a scholar, kind of shy, kind of boring. his family and friends remember him as a kid who never spoke to anyone, carried books around on his bicycle, wasn't very impressive. he has a doctorate degree in
islamic law. he's on track to becoming a college professor when the u.s. invasion takes place in 2003. baghdadi joins zarqawi because he feels obliged as a good muslim to fight the infidels, so he ends up going to jail for a while. once again, he has the prison experience, exposed to these tough guys around him. then he gets -- he starts to rise up through the ranks mostly because other leaders around him by 2010 are getting killed. and so in 2010 the leaders of this battered organization, mostly former iraqi army officers by this time, decide they need a different kind of figurehead. and so they pick this guy, baghdadi. he's an islamic scholar, he happens to be a from a tribe that can trace its heritage back to muhammad. it started to call itself the state, the islamic state of iraq. the state part's kind of a joke, because even to these guys, they know there's no real state. one of them reacts with
derision, where's the state you're talking about? we're live anything a desert. living in a desert. but history then intervenes again in isis' favor. just as bagging daddy's coming to power -- baghdadi's coming to power, u.s. troops are leaving iraq. and as soon as they're gone, the shiite government feels emboldened to start settling old scores with sunni tribes, kicking out army officers, and so much of the sunni population begins to rebel against the baghdadi government, finding more interests in common with zarqawi's people, with isis, than with their own government. be and then, a year later, civil war breaks out in syria, as we all well know. and this is a pivotal moment, because it's an opportunity for these guys to start something new, to start their own militia group inside syria. they have a perfect incubator now with a lawless state awash in violence and weapons, and they have a new cause: fighting an oppressive dictator, assad, a man who's stirring up passions
all over the islamic world by slaughtering civilians. they rename themselves yet again, and now they're islamic state of iraq and al-sham, or isis. and they're extraordinarily successful almost immediately because they're ballot-hardened -- battle-hardened, and they start to attract foreign recruits by the thousands. by 2014 they're ready to break out, and they do so in dramatic fashion, capturing the eastern half of syria, then invading iraq to declare the establishment of this islamic caliphate. by the summer of 2014, they're a powerhouse, 30,000 strong, able to conquer major iraqi cities, overrun entire divisions of u.s.-trained iraqi troops. this is the isis we're so familiar with today. and they're also very rich, because after capturing mosul, they suddenly have become the wealthiest and best armed terrorist group of all times. they own oil wells, banks, universities, resources that al-qaeda would have only dreamed of having. but really beyond the wealth it's zarqawi's old organization.
zarqawi embraced violence for its own sake. these guys do the same thing on a grander scale. be they also have this boldness to reinterpret islam in any way they want to. as baghdadi's a religious scholar, so he goes out of his way to create theological arguments to justify whatever atrocity they do. there's always a verse in the quran or a tradition in the text that can be made to justify, make themselves appear to be pious muslims instead of just barbarians. and just as zarqawi understood the horror could be amplified using the internet, isis did same and got better at it. they're extremely skilled at harnessing the power of social media for indoctrination, for training, all done at a distance before the recruit sets foot on syrian soil. but now instead of the shaky handheld videos that zarqawi used to use, they have editors, graphic artists working on products aimed at young men who
grew up on video games like "call of duty." this formula works, and the idea of isis becoming a powerful attraction. 35 be ,000 foreigners -- 35,000 foreigners travel to join the army, far surpassing those who joins zarqawi's iraqi army. in a year there are nine mini states of isis around the world and cells in dozens of places including about 5,000 isis recruits from europe alone. which brings us quickly to our next personality that defines isis today. you may not recognize his name or image. this is abdul hamid abaaoud who led the terrorist attack in paris last november that killed 130 people. his background is actually very close to this typical prototype of northern europeans who join isis. the son of immigrants from north africa, a troubled youth well known to police. he live inside a slum made up of middle class muslim immigrants. he's a kid that truly didn't fit
in in his society -- he's not really a religious muslim, not really a modern citizen of his family's adopted country. he ends up being radicalize inside prison, and when he joins isis, he suddenly has a sense of belonging and a cause, something that allows him to feel as though his life counts for something. he travels to syria and initially is a bit distressed by the bloodshed. a few months later he's posting videos of himself dragging corpses behind cars. he becomes the key coordinator for the isis attack in paris, as we all well remember. it was his biggest and final assignment. the two things we have to remember about him when we think about the story is, one, he's emblematic of a population that is particularly vulnerable to isis' message. nearly always second generation, children of immigrants who feel conflicted about their identities, not well integrated in their societies, struggling personally, don't seem to have a sense of purpose or future. they're looking for meaning and
for adventure, and isis offersal those things for them. the second key thing, a primary reason isis carries out attacks abroad is it wants young men to feel even more alienated. the more countries feel threatened by isis, the greater the tendency to crack down on young muslims, to profile them, harass them, make them feel even more alienated. how do we know this? isis talks about it in its own literature. isis' english-language magazine puts out an article that talks about the gray zone in europe, a zone where millions of muslims inhabit. they feel conflicted about their identity, and isis wants to force them to choose sides. the article says this: muslims in the west will quickly find themselves between two choices, either they apostsize and adopt the infidel religion or immigrate to the islamic state and escape prosecution. it welcomes our help in driving muslims to their corner.
for us in the west, the solutions that seem easiest are often the ones that get us in a deeper hole. real quickly, the fourth isis personality, it was never really a member of isis, yet we all associate omar mateen with the islamic state. this is the young man who walked into the pulse nightclub in orlando last june and killed 49 people in the worst mass shooting in u.s. history. mateen told police he did it for isis. in fact, his statements suggest a very limited grasp of isis' belief and ideology, and yet isis gets credit for the attack anyway, and it becomes a talking point in our political discourse. here's what's interesting again to me about mateen's story, it's another young man who fits the profile of a typical northern european isis recruit; the son of muslim immigrants, second generation. a young man in his 20s unable to find personal success in his life and feeling excluded and persecuted by the dominant culture. so he embraceses an extremist
ideology as a way to feel empowered and important. even more striking, he fits the the profile of a typical perpetrator of an american mass shooting event. there's an interesting piece in today's washington post that makes this point. islamic extremists share many of the same traits as regular mass killers, if we can call them that. almost all are young men who struggle to fit in, they also have a boastfulness and a craving for attention. it's the same profile, frequent, as dylann roof, the young man who killed nine people in a church in south carolina. isis just offers certain young men a different kind of excuse for carrying out their revenge fantasies. this is pretty dark stuff, and it's depressing, so i do like to always include the fact there are reasons to be hopeful about our fight right now. if you follow the news, you know the caliphate is reeling from a series of takes. -- attacks.
they're losing crowned. about half of what was once isis territory in iraq is now liberated. liberating iraq means fewer resources more isis, fewer towns and villages, fewer oil wells they can essex ploit for cash -- exploit for cash. they're faltering in the public relations war because people see brutality and the hypocrisy and even young arab muslims, they're core audience, are starting to turn away. this is a look at british muslims, it turns out. just in a year's time, support -- or opposition, rather, for isis dropped from about 65% -- to 65% from 85%. somewhat disturbing, this small group of people who embrace the ideology of isis has remained pretty static. other good news, we have more and more muslim, other muslim countries, muslim arabs taking on a greater share of the fight.
and this makes the going slower, but it's usually important because arab boots on the ground are vastly preferable to an occupation and invasion by outside forces for all kinds of obvious reasons. it's also encouraging we're seeing more muslims take a stand against extremist ideology. one of the world's greatest religions is being attacked from within, and only to other muslims have the standing to be able to defeat the virulence that has affected so many young people. we see the king of jordan, abdullah, organizing an effort to denounce extremist interpretation. egypt's president goes to the top theological seminary in cairo to call for an islamic reformation saying we have to take back our religion. it's a hopeful start, but we need to see a lot more than this. finally, despite the good news from the front lines, i can't be optimistic about defeating this ideology in the near term, and here's why. i'll introduce my fifth and final personality. i won't use his real name, but
we'll call him ahmad. he's 7 years old. he was one of thousands of young children who had lived under isis in towns and villages. he's a bright, beautiful young boy who happened to live in the syrian city of raqqa when isis took over. within months, he was in a training camp getting indoctrinated, learning how to use a gun. he was taught his parents were not good muslims and he should report bad behavior at home. he was taught that the greatest possible calling for a young man his age was to be a suicide bomber. ahmad talked to us about witnessing executions, about going to a local park and finding the bodies of men with severed heads stacked up next to them. every now and then during the interview he would shut down and ask for timeout to, and at one point he wanted to i draw a picture of syria, his home. this is what he drew. he was telling us the story about something he had personally witnessed, a man with one eye on the right side was a prisoner who was brought into the town square.
the man on the left has a knife, and he beheads him, and then below you see the one-eyed man's head lying on the floor. we worry in this country about isis recruits, about people being radicalized on the internet or traveling to iraq or syria to fight, but we're facing an entirely different problem with a generation of young people who grew up under this terror. i bring this p, because when the caliphate does collapse -- and i think we're beginning to see the end of it -- we can't declare victory and go home because the seeds of countless tragedies are still out there now. who's going to provide psychological counseling for this young ahmad? who's going to rebuild his city and school? who who's going to offer hope for a job and a family someday in the future? it's overwhelming, but it's what is important not just for moral reasons, but because of our own security. if we don't find a way to address this problem, you can be assured that we'll be hearing from ahmad or boys and girls like him in the future. you can be confident that the kind of extremism, brutality that we've witnessed in the last
two years will come back to us again and again. thank you for your time. i'm happy to take a few questions. [applause] hi. we'll start over here. >> hi. thank you for your talk. while depressing, really interesting. >> thank you. >> about, like, several months ago john kerry declared isis as having committed acts of genocide, and i'm wondering your take because i think it's interesting that a terrorist group has been designated that. i don't believe another group has. so what the challenges the united states has and other groups -- other countries have in tackling a group that is a terrorist group having also committed human rights atrocities. >> yeah. that's a really good question. and it was an unusual move, you're right. it's not something we typically do with terrorist groups. we never declared al-qaeda to
be guilty of genocide, but in the cay -- in the case of isis, it's true. it's not going to deter isis, that we declare them to be perpetrators of genocide, but just as an act of a community of nations including our muslim allies and friends in the region to call this what it is and try to hold them accountable in some sort of global way, i think it's a powerful message, and it just, it's something we need to do as opposed to something that will help in some, you know, practical way. but i think it's a really important and interesting step. thank you. >> i noticed in the maps you showed that it seems as though isis hasn't made it to morocco. why is that? >> to where? >> morocco. >> morocco, yeah. you know, some countries like morocco, like jordan too, i think, they have a problem. they know they have local cells, and they deal with them. sometimes serious problems. but so far there hasn't been any
ability of these groups to organize in a serious way that we're aware of. and i think it's partly reflective of the security culture in those countries. they're really, really good at their internal security, they're good add knowing what people are doing, but also an unknown factor. every few months we see some, you know, some disruption of a plot in jordan or morocco, so they're definitely there, they just don't seem to have the grip they do in some of these other countries. good question. >> i was wondering if you could talk a bit more about the financials of isis. so they have access to a lot of natural resources and capital, but how are they actually able to turn that into cash and, like, who do they purchase from? >> yeah. >> how does all that work? >> that's a good question. interesting about isis, they're much more self-sufficient in terms of their funding than most other terrorist groups we've looked at. in the very beginning, they may have benefited from groups of wealthy arabs in the gulf. more recently, they're using what's available locally.
they find oil, sell it on the black market, and they manage to do this black market trade. they shake down local populations. they've been doing that since zarqawi's time, you know, taxing local civilians, collecting fines for almost any offense you can imagine, it can be a fine that gets collected by isis. but more recently, because of their successes in taking over territory, they also have big assets like bank vaults. in mosul, it's said they were able to accommodate something like $500 million in hard currency, euros, dollars. and since it's a cash economy anyway and they've got more cash than they could possibly spend. and to give a perspective, you know, obviously, they need to pay their soldiers and do various things, but to carry out terrorist attacks abroad doesn't really cost that much as isis does it. the estimate for the cost, start to finish for the paris attack, somewhere around $10,000. so they've got well more than enough to carry out attacks like
that for years to come, unfortunately. thank you. >> joby, i have sort of a personal question, but before that when you went through the slides, you pointed out a lot of the individuals were just angry and, you know, they just wanted explosives, they just wanted to be in the press. be -- okay. now, people said the fellow who dropped, let the bombs in new york were not related to any of these, but he was that kind of person. >> yeah. >> and so maybe this could prop a gate a lot d prop gait a lot, encouraging. now the personal question is, are you concerned that some crazy guy is going to come to "the washington post" office and either you look at your book as a history of isis so they want to show it around, or they think, wow, this is a great way of getting into the press by destroying the person who wrote the book. >> no. that's a good question. it's not something that we
blithely dismiss. you know, i've lived in the suburbs with a family, so you do think about things like that. marty's a pretty big guy, so it's nice to work in a secure office. we feel like nobody's going to easily come in and do harm to us. my, the one thing, and maybe this is sort of vain or just overly optimistic, but i always assume that, a, they like publicity in some bizarre way and, secondly, there's many more important and attractive targets than a journalist from "the washington post." so i am very, very careful when i travel to the region, and otherwise i try to keep my eyes open and then do sort of a casual review of the line of people waiting to get their books signed and make sure nobody's carrying anything that looks like a weapon. [laughter] yeah, it's not an idle thought. thank you for the question. >> but again, looking at your book, it's a history of the program, so people in isis can show it around to people -- >> yeah. >> -- because you've dock
uted -- documented their heroes. >> that is true. and the book, because of the pulitzer, it's coming out in a lot of languages, including arabic, so that's something i think about. thank you. >> i want to ask a question as a journalist who really appreciates the craft and believe your book is an outstanding piece of nonfiction narrative. and it's a craft question. how did you -- it sounds like you started with some intelligence agents presumably off the record -- >> yes. >> -- in jordan. that's my guess. you don't have to describe your sources, but how did you, a, get access to them and then, b, get them to open up? and then widing your net to people -- widen your net to people who had been inside the isis organization? it's an astounding piece of reporting. >> we, i appreciate that -- well, i appreciate that, and i thank you for the reference to lawrence wright's book. in the same sentence with him, i'm flattered. i appreciate that. it is a difficult challenge. part of what, i think, helped me
is the fact that i've been doing this at "the washington post" for a long time. over time you build up relationships with intelligence people. it's not a hard -- that's not an easy thing to develop. and not just here in this country with our agencies, but the ones overseas because i travel to the region quite a bit. i ended up getting remarkably strong responses when i approached people in these governments about telling the zarqawi story, telling the background of isis because this is important subject for them. they feel like it needs to be understood. and some of these particular individuals are some that use their arab names but not their real names for obvious reasons. but once they got into it, they were just thrilled to talk to me. i had, you know, hours and hours and hours of conversation with guys who had never spoken to another reporter, but they were just blown away by getting a chance to share their knowledge and to tell stories that were so meaningful and important to them. and because i guess one of my gifts as a journalist, if i have some, is just that i'm
approachable, and i don't have an agenda, and i just want to know. and i think i come across that way. and if you just really want to know the facts, you know, people can be surprisingly cooperative in that regard. so i think i've just gotten lucky there. >> well, thank you very much. one quick follow-up. did the king of jordan cooperate with you in one way or another? >> i have to say this is my second book, and the first one was -- also had a jordanian theme. and one of -- the reeders of the book and -- readers of the book and someone who admired it was the king of jordan. he actually read the book and commented on it. so i felt more emboldened to ask him and his government, you know, i'm going to tell a story, it's very personal to jordan. extremely helpful. you know, it is always having better than having doors slammed in your face. >> yeah. it helps that the king of jordan cooperates. >> he pulled some strings. >> thank you so much. it's really a masterpiece that will last for ages. >> thank you.
how we doing? three minutes? >> two quick questions, and i'm sorry, we'll probably have to take them afterward with, later. >> this will be quick. point of terminology, please. you speak of isis. i've heard some officials, including the president, speak of isil. >> yeah. >> and then decision i've heard others use the term daish. could you explain those three, please? >> yeah. if i could get away with using daish, i would use that. and the reason is it really all boils down to an attempt to trans-literate arabic. so what isis calls itself is now just the islamic state, but it's the islamic state of iraq and al-sham, sounds like an s for the second s in the abereave shakes. sham is this big region, essentially ignoring countries that were created like syria, jordan and israel, that didn't exist 110 years ago. it just lumps it together in this ancient place called sham.
and so when you hear isis, people are saying sham. if you're hearing isil, people are saying levant. so not trying to be clever or cute or trying to be politically correct, it's just a struggle to figure out a way to transliterate the words, but thank you for that. >> thank you. >> let's do one more. >> hello, sir. my question is what role, if any, do you feel that our media here and in europe play in creating an atmosphere that makes it easier for groups like isis to recruit -- >> yeah. >> -- in places like, you know, orlando where, you know, that man was -- >> yeah. >> -- very familiar with isis and in western europe and northern europe. >> that's a good question, and we wrestle with it at "the washington post" on up to marty's level. we do take very seriously that that our words sometimes can agitate and excite be as well as inform. so we do try to be restrained. i mean, there's all kinds of -- like, we're having discussion about an article we're trying to put together now that involves videos.
how much do you show? you need to show enough to be able to help people understand a situation, not enough to be gratuitously, you know, obscene really with the level of violence. but what i do feel now, we have an important role to play, and it's this: isis is being, they're losing ground in the propaganda war because people are understanding now what they're really about. you might see these slick videos that you get on the internet, but the people coming out of raqqa, people who are fleeing those countries have been abused and just see these people as barbarians who are anything but islamic. the more we can tell those stories and set people straight about what eye to sis is really about -- isis is really about, destroy their own mythology, i think that's a great contribution to their defeat, and i don't mind saying that. everybody, do you want to get this last one or two, or should we just call it -- >> [inaudible] >> okay. we've got to pull the hook. i would encourage you guys to come and find me, and i'm happy to talk to you.
thank you so much for your time. it's an honor to speak to you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> and you're watching booktv's live coverage of the 16th annual national book festival here in washington, d.c., begun in 2001 by then-first lady laura bush along with the library of congress. that was joby warrick talking about his latest book, "black flags: the rise of isis." annette gordon-reed and peter to enough are coming up in about 15 minutes. their book is about thomas jefferson, most blessed of the patriarchs, is what it is called. now here on our booktv set in the entrance to the washington national convention center, amy
ellis nutt is our guest, and here is the cover of her book, "becoming nicole. from" who is nicole? >> guest: nicole was born an identical twin boy in 1997, born and given the name wyatt. this is a child from the age of two, two and a half identified as a girl. and when i say identified as a girl, didn't say to her parents i think i'm a girl, said when do i get to be a girl? you know? when do i get to look like a girl? believed she was a girl. and, you know, two middle class, ordinary parents living in the state of maine needed to figure out what that was about. >> host: how did they figure it out? >> guest: you know what? >> host: or did they? >> guest: they did. and the here to row of the -- the hero of the book is really the mother kelly. these twins were adopted at
birth. kelly knew there were two things that were most important to her as a mother; make sure that her children were safe and happy. and she knew she could control the safe part. she had to understand the happy part because she also knew that this child was unhappy when she didn't get to play with the toys that she wanted or a father who was, you know, conservative, republican, veteran, you know, was really unsure about who this child was and resisted it. but kelly was determined. and so she did very early what a lot of us do, and she googled the words boys who like girls' toys. and that became the beginning of her odyssey to understanding. she had never heard the word transgender, and so it began -- she began to become a student of it and to understand it to try and bring her husband into it. it took her longer to do that. it took him longer. but he's probably the one who
undergoes the most transformation in the book. he's now someone who goes out and gives talks to people about transgender kids, transgender children and being transgender and especially is helping to try to work with fathers to understand their children. >> host: what about the other twin boy? >> guest: jonas is a remarkable, remarkable kid. they are both now entering their sophomore year of college at two different branches of the university of maine. what was wonderful about jonas is that jonas really probably knew before anyone, you know? kids would come up to him and sometimes say to him, you know, what is it like to have a transgender sister? and, you know, he didn't know. he just knew he had a twin that was really a girl, not a boyment boyment -- boy. and when jonas -- they were both very young, said to his father be, dad, face it, you have a son and a daughter. and it was kind of a wake-up
call for wayne to realize, you know, out of the mouths of babes, here is my child telling me that his brother is really his sister. so jonas had to go on a journey too to helping other people understand, to be protective of his sister when she was discriminated against in the fifth grade and bullied and then told by staff at their middle school that she would have to use the teachers' restroom and not the girls' room. she'd already changed her name, dressing as a girl for all intents and purposes was nicole. and it was tough on jonas. he had to be sort of big brother, and at the same time he said to me very profoundly, you know, i'm a kid, and i have a sixth grade vocabulary, so it's hard to talk to people to try and make 'em understand. -- make them understand. so he struggled with it too. but they're very close. they're both very different in a
lot of ways. and they're each one another's best friends and protectors. >> host: what was the first step in "becoming nicole"? was it clothes? was it name? >> guest: you know, i think it really was -- i mean, the first evidence to the parents certainly were clothes. nicole, born wyatt, loved to, you know, she would pull her shirt over her head to make it look like it was long hair. she wanted to wear her mother's jewelry. she wanted to pretend, you know, that things were dresses. these were obviously the first signs, you know? and a lot of kids go through these phases, but this was consistent, and this was constant. and then there were things saying, you know, she actually would say, daddy, when does my penis full off? -- fall off?
so this was a child who wasn't saying i feel like i'm a girl, this was a child who knew she was a girl but couldn't understand, being a child, why people were treating her like a boy. >> host: when did surgery happen? >> guest: surgery happened last summer after she graduated high school. nicole was one of the first cases of an american child at the children's gender clinic in boston, the first one in this country, established in 2007 under dr. norman spack, her daughter, was one of the first to have puberty repressed so she had time to go through the psychological tests, had time to dress and act and be a girl in order to know for certain this was who she was. and then when puberty was going to start for her, they could see in her twin brother when it was starting, that was when they
started her on estrogen. and so she wasn't going to have the surgery until high school. she wanted to do it before college. this is a very, very important step. so many people go through puberty, and when they decide to make the transition, don't make it until they're adults, it's especially difficult for female transgender people because, you know, they've gone through male puberty. and surgically, a lot has to be done. she didn't have to face that problem. she went through female puberty at the right time. so she's been able to have the right development and at the right time as other young women. and she's a beautiful young woman. and she's happy and thrilled and has a boyfriend and is about as normal a kid as you could come across. and it's the beauty of this family is because they're ordinary in so many ways, they're extraordinary in how
they dealt with the situation. but they're ordinary in being, you know, an every man's family. they're your mother and father, they're your sister and your brother. it would be hard motto identify with this family -- not to identify with this family. and i think to the degree that that can normalize for people what it means to be transgender and what it means to have a transgender member in family, then i think it spreads the message and educates people just by their presence. >> host: amy ellis nutt, you're a science writer at "the washington post." how did you find this story? >> guest: this story actually found me, honestly. it was first published in the newspaper, in the boston globe, page 1, in december of 2011. marty barron to, the executive editor of the washington post, was then the executive editor of "the boston globe," very far-seeing editor who promoted in this story. i read it, i was fascinated by it. and i was captain r contacted --
contacted, i didn't know that they were being represented at the time by someone i had known 30 years earlier in boston. and she reached out to me because the family was getting a lot of publicity requests. they were uncomfortable with doing anything more than that. they wanted to protect their kids and have them group, you know, have them a normal teenage. teenage life. but they knew that down the line after they graduated high school, they would want this story to be told. she contacted me because she knew i'd written a book, and so the story came to me. but i remember saying to my agent, this is fascinating. and the fact that they were identical twins is an important aspect trying to explain the science and what we know about the brain and gender. i said, do you think anyone's going to want to read a book about a transgender kid? that was five years ago. and the world has changed dramatically since then. so, honestly, it's a serendipitous publication of this. >> host: what's the estimated population of transgender in the u.s.?
>> guest: honestly, the best estimates are grossly inadequate. the ones that you read most frequently are between 7-800,000. those figures are based on 10-year-old surveys of three states. it's impossible to know. it really is. and i'm waiting for the, you know, for the next sort of stage when we can get a better estimate of that. but, of course, we face the same problems in people not identifying as transgender or not wanting to identify even -- so honestly, i think we really don't know. but what i learned from doing this book is i'd always thought the phrase gender spectrum was very nice, politically correct, lovely phrase. but it really is true that this is not exceedingly rare that 1 in 200 kids are born with atypical -- 1 in 200 are born
with atypical genitalia. there are many, many different kinds of variations of chromosomal dna. people can be born xyy, xxy, insensitive to androgen, you know, to testosterone or not. so there is no average male or female. we really are a spectrum in many ways. and so i learned that as we are beginning to learn the science of this, your anatomy is set in utero at six weeks. scientists believe your gender identity process in the brain does not occur until six months in utero. so you think of all the things that can happen between six weeks and six months that affect the brain, and this is why identical twins can have the exactsame -- exact same dna, but they get different chemical messages from the mother even where they're positioned in the womb. and the degree of variation
because of things the mother takes in from the environment that affects the distribution of hormones, the variability in how our brains are set is nearly infinite. >> host: so what kind of testing did wyatt maines have to go through to become nicole maines? >> guest: yeah. >> host: before even surgery happened or anything like that. >> guest: you know, back then it was before really, honestly, genetic testing. so what she went through was mostly psychological tests. and also physiological tests, you know, to understand, you know, her anatomy. but it was mostly a series of psychological tests, and this is one thing why they, you know, delay puberty and suppress puberty so that the child cannily as the gender -- can live as the gender that they believe they are for as long as possible to be fully confident
that that's who they are. look, there are a lot of kids who, you know, test boundaries and, you know, boys that like to dress up as girls and girls that were tomboys, and these are temporary. these are things that are experimenting. not all children who do that are transgender. but a child who says at the age of 2 when do i get to be a girl and says it constantly and consistently, that's a transgender child. >> host: amy ellis nutt is the author of "becoming nicole: the transformation of an american family." she's also the co-author of "the teenage brain." ..
>> the accident happened so quickly that he did not know what happened. the story, on the one hand it was a narrative about what happened to these men and their families, but also an investigation. i basically make the case, i think it's a strong case that there is were the victims of a high-speed hit and run by a container ship that did not stop. it is a mystery and an investigation in a story about people. >> you also spent nine years as a fact checker at sports illustrated. a a little bit of your career, becoming the call is the book we have been talking with you about. the the transformation of an american family, here it is.
all-around great people. i'm i melissa, with national public radio, annette gordon-reed and peter onuf, authors of a new book and we are going to talk about thomas jefferson. welcome to all of you. again, thank you for being here on this beautiful night, you are in doors on a gorgeous washington night. i want to start with the title of the book, the "most blessed of the patriarchs", you talk about in the preface is of the book that thomas jefferson writes that he's planning on going back to monticello in virginia, he is writing a letter to angelica skyler church, for those of us cannot hear the name with out thinking angelica, eliza. he is ready to her in london and talking about her plans to go back to monticello. part of the writer letter reads
i have my house to bill, my field to form and to watch for the happiness of those who labor for my. i've. i've one daughter married to the man of science, and who indeed i have nothing more to wish. they live with me. if the if the other shall be as fortunate and due process of time i shall imagine myself as blessed as the "most blessed of the patriarchs". so what are you talk about a little bit about what it was in that seemingly innocuous paragraph in the letter, what was it about that language that intrigues you and made you think that was the root of this book. >> personally want to say that the title was so much controversy. we have to fight to have quotes because this is a jefferson quote about himself and we did not want people to think we are calling him the most blessed of the blast of the patriarchs because. >> because i am the most blessed of the blessed. >> stephen might be able to get away with that but i cannot get
away with get calling jefferson the most blessed of the blessed of patriarchs. but we thought it was intriguing because it is so different from the idea of being -- of liberty, republican, the person he saw himself as an avatar of the enlightenment calling himself something that calls to mind an agent patriarch evening, biblical of an ancient times and in another letter he refers to himself as living in monticello like it to louis and patriarch. so, he is of the new but at the same time he is seeing himself as this figure, patriarch so what we thought we would try to unpack as historians say because we have come to a point where there is a picture of jefferson and a lot of what people are doing and writing about is writing about what they wish he had done or they are mad that he
didn't do, and we wanted to try to figure out what did he think he was doing which is an important thing, we think to try to uncover. >> you are trying really to get inside inside his head. >> we want to draw attention to what seems to be a paradox because the past as is well known is a foreign country and our idea is that jefferson studies have been distorted by the need to make him speak to us now and we are not going to be able to draw anything from jefferson until we can put him in his place. that was our goal. >> how do you think he interpreted that patriarch that he is talking about? >> he wasn't embarrassed to use the term and i think that is something we need to explore. that was the point of this, how could he say this and what does it signify?
the point of departure for us is that the world he created for himself that monticello, it is foundational to his career in american history, his public life does not disconnect from his private life. if you want to understand jefferson you have to put those two things together. >> seeing himself as a patriarch is accepting his position in the world, this is a person who is born at the top of the hierarchy of virginia, he is white, he is male, male, he is the third son, he is tall he is intelligent and well-educated and he sees himself as having a special role, an interesting thing to think of somebody who is in the middle of nowhere who decides that he is going to be a mover and shaker the world. that he is going to make his mark and he is able to do that through the force of a personality that is very
self-assured, confident and you might say arrogant and away but certainly believing he had a special place. and patriarch to us is a negative thing but for most people, it is a problematic concept but it was not problematic to him because he is thinking, i am doing this the right way. that is the thing that is great. >> it's important to keep in mind that jefferson's career is dedicated to eradicating aristocracy. that is a challenge for us as a aristocracy, patriarchy, those are all dirty words for us, that's old regime. he regime. he saw himself inaugurating a new regime. he did not reject however this fundamental notion of the centrality of the family in the household to the future of the republic. that is is what he is celebrating, the role he is
playing in his household. >> does that notion of patriarch extend beyond the household, beyond monticello and his family , his enslaved workers to how he approached the presidency in politics? >> he didn't see himself as a patriarch. >> that was washington. >> i think he really thought he was the father of the country. jefferson was the real father of the country but he did not see himself as a patriarch of the people, of americans, the the people were supposed to be the rulers but i think his understanding of family and how people could relate to one another was central and it came from what he conceived family was supposed to be like in monticello. >> to remember the nuclear family where most americans live to in nuclear families, some of you probably still do but jefferson thought it was
natural. that is the key word for him, nature. the family comes together naturally and he imagines the republic is the most natural form of government. it is self-government. it. it is true to the nature of human beings. therefore the united states will be a model. >> let's talk about the structure the book a little bit because you approach it in an interesting way, you're moving chronologically but not so focused on his political life where he the you wrote chapters on music and in privacy and how vital privacy was to him. talk little bit about how that approach and why you approach it that way. >> we wanted to do something different, we wanted to try to show what we thought, the things that we thought were important to shaping jefferson's life. he was born in chadwell and then one thing happened and then another and another. the ideal was to have things
that were important to him that could be in the patriarchy. so we unpacked that and think about how he became a patriarch. the second section is traveler and it talks about the influence of france, what happened to him when he leaves monticello and goes out into the world. the last one is enthusiast because that's where we talk about music and visitors and things that are influences that shaped him but would not be typical biography side in that way. the idea is to get inside his head in a fashion and not just do a laundry list of details. >> and if we successfully integrate his private life into his public life then we can show how the performances that he orchestrates in his house then appealed to him man awaits way it's a microcosm of how he imagines the world to be.
civil conversation, music in which everybody knows her part and they harmonize, there is a political meaning to all of this and i think it is profoundly on the basic to his political philosophy that the idea but jefferson is you can never know who he is. we think that's stupid. it's foolish is supposed to be impenetrable. well, jefferson himself made a big deal about his privacy, and you mention that, that privacy is foundational to how he understands his public life. take this simple idea, in a republic citizens are equal, they have to consent to the laws that the majority decides on then that consent has to be
truly voluntary. it has to come from the self determination of the. how do you protect individuals from insidious influences? how do you take for instance the, person out of the mob, how do you avoid the usual problems or pathologies of democracy because democracy was a dirty word. put people together and they are going to get drunk. if they had a government and they controlled the government what would you do? well you would possible lawn you would redistribute property. so how you lift people up is a big challenge and crucial to the project of lifting people up, there's a new conception of consent itself. jefferson's project we describe as a a cell fashion project to make himself somebody. he wants to exemplify how an enlightened republican citizen can become well-informed and can
become part of a new kind of public life based on that. >> he doesn't see himself as an avatar but as an example of all of this there's an arrogance to this, the idea that he's the national teacher, that he is an example to teacher and that's what it was supposed to be. you go to monticello and if you been there you go to the indian hall and the foyer there, there's all sorts of paintings, sculptures and everything in the idea is that these are things that he brought back from france to show to people. he's going to show people how to model a civilized behavior. so it's an interesting idea to say that i am an example of something that i want other people to see and this is how you model yourself. in a way to be educational 20 people. >> speaking of the consenting, obviously an entire category
people who are by no means. [inaudible] i'm curious, we have spent a lot of time looking into the family, the extended family of thomas jefferson through hemming. did did you come to a different understanding of how he viewed slavery? so much as in written any of set it that the fatal state as he described it, you do so spent times that when he goes to france his you saying francis slavery became fully domesticated in his mind. what does that mean? >> it means that before he went to france jefferson had a reputation as being anti- slavery. the first indication of this was a young man in his 20 and he copies interest, place book parts of a poem. and it talks about the evils of the slave trade and somebody
yanked from his native land and was brought up cross the ocean to labor for someone else. as a young legislator he wanted to introduce legislation for emancipation plants which were nowhere in virginia. and he wrote about this in he had a reputation as being antislavery. when he goes to france and he sees the society and you leave your country and you think there's bad things about your country to go someplace else and they say well at least we're not like that. we can be friends. that was his attitude. he thought he was in france during the prerevolutionary. and people were starving, there is on rest, riots and all kinds of things. and he said we had problems in america but this place has lots of problems and just on the road
to be to solve those problems because he was much in favor of the french revolution. he is excited by that. gave him a sense that well, we have time to sell a problem as as well. the other thing that happened is in france with james and sally hemmings who are his wife's half siblings. he begins to to treat them in a way, he pays some wages and he starts the practice that he continues when he comes back home and that is wherever he is in the city and mix in slave labor and free labor he pays everybody because it causes a conflict. he's he's living with these people who have an opportunity to be free because every person who petitioned for freedom and france is granted. and they could've done, but they didn't do and while he was there
he is living with these people who become the face of slavery for him and away. and he continues this when he comes home, he sees himself as a slave owner through his relationship with the people who are the closest around him. that's unrealistic because they are not the people down the mountain. they are not the bulk of this is his wife's family. they have a completely different relationship to him that the others do. and his brothers, lots of times he didn't know where they were. they hired their own and went out of the money. he would he would call them back when he needed them for something. that's a very different relationship than he had with over 700 people that he owned over the course of his lifetime. this is a tiny group of people who are pulled out. sees himself as a slave owner through those relationships. we think france really heighten that for him.
because they do come back, they don't stay. slavery becomes domesticated. he is thinking about the mess members of his household and how he treats people in his household. that is very different than the situation. >> a kind of reciprocity to come is not symmetrical, they're not equal, but like family members, and i use the word natural before, he has created what he thinks is a kind of family that extends and i think that's using the right words when we use the word face. it's how he sees or wants to see slavery area but the other crucial thing to keep in mind is that jefferson's urgency and doing something about slavery varies with the geopolitical situation. to put it narrowly and neatly in the american revolution and slave people could run the british lines to join the
counterrevolution later on in the revolution and what becomes haiti, the possibility of uprising. it would spread to the continent during the war of 1812. the british coming in and it's another opportunity for and slay people to take advantage of this. at moments like this jefferson says, my fellow republicans, we have to do something about this, i know slavery is an unjust institution, we need to act in his solution of course is emancipation. we have to to free these people. this is radical injustice. he never backs off from that and then we have to send them to another country. expatriation is his solution. >> liberia, wherever. >> he thinks may be in the trans pacific but he said late we might need that territory. so he thinks about -- but there
there is a black republic, that recognized that maybe, that's expensive. he goes through the possibilities but the important thing is that when the piece comes the urgency goes, when the piece comes then he seizes himself and this is crucial, he's a kind of steward, he has a responsibility just as the father and the family has a responsibility. he has a a responsibility to look after the happiness of those who labor to borrow another phrase from that letter that we started off within our title, and then we have a kind of domestication that were talking about and that is that we are trying to create a sense within this household of good treatments of he's in ameliorate or wants to improve and rationalize things there are
ways in which he can practice the enlightenment at home, make things better while we wait for his fellow virginians to see the lights, they use that to get and then come to the collective decision, we have to do something to end this unjust. >> he understands that he doesn't believe there is what is called the republican solution to the problem. so the white people of virginia were not going to vote to do away with slavery, the second happened during his lifetime that's likely to happen. >> but he knew that was not going to happen at the time and that it was going to and by the time he gets to the missouri crisis he realizes it's going to end the way it did and that is with the war. that is not something he would have concentrated. yes i think jefferson in haiti is fascinating because when he first hears about it he writes a letter to his daughter and he said the negroes have taken over
the island ten he was sort of like isn't this the age of revolution and then all of a sudden he hears that lots of white people are being killed and then the tone changes. it's one thing for white people to kill for their freedom in france essentially which he supported the friends revolution far longer than people think he should have but for the black republic at first it's okay but then when they start killing it's not okay. >> and that reinforces the idea of racial national difference. one of the key terms we play with is the idea of race which doesn't have a fixed meaning. it is equivalent to nation, people, race, in the modern sense and if enslaved africans and african-americans are a distinct people nation race,
then how could they possibly live with the people who had enslaved them? >> but there would be no peace, that that is the thing that really gives people a problem is because we congratulate herself and think that we are better, were in light now living together in peace and harmony, yeah, right? >> we get along. >> will i'm happy were kind of get along. [laughter] but i mean he doesn't have the confidence, how could blacks love a country that has treated them so poorly? how could you do that because this is him saying i know what i would do and he's transferring and basically saying. >> and that's the downside in the sentimental conception of what nation's, great big family
who love each other. >> but how long did it take for the laws to change on interracial mayor in america? were talking about basic stuff, what i want my daughters to marry black people? this is insane. so that idea of the on naturalness of the races mixing. >> except that it's interesting because we talk about this in the book that it is very, is the attitude of the conqueror, white men have access to the bodies of white women, black women, native, native american women, but not the other way around. really for jefferson and those in the state of virginia when he's talk about mixing, he's talking about the horror of up flight a black man having access to white women. to black, black men having access to white women. he didn't have any problem the other way around because he knows that in slavery slavery is a laboratory
for that kind of thing. >> in his own household, and his father-in-law, people in virginia just in general. it's clear this it's clear this is something that was a big part of life during that time. >> think about the implications of abolishing artificial hierarchies among white people that his aristocracy, monarchy, all people are white people, citizens are created equal. but you can do that but then you'd draw attention to visions that you consider natural, not artificial. to have a king they tell us all about this for, there is nothing legitimate about a very important word in regimes. there's nothing legitimate about it. he abolished all those and we agree on that and celebrate this it's in the first grade modern republic. yet what that draws your attention to is how a society
constituted? what what is the natural relations that emerge? we would like to think that means everybody was involved in the revolution, let the loyalist go back to britain. they're going to love each other and it is going to be fine. there is a distinction here, a distinction that runs down through society itself. two people living living in one place, it is unnatural. it is vitally important have the relationship to the land of your country. this is what patriotism means, this love of country and we have people here against their will who we own unjustly, this is impossible. >> they cannot love it. we won't love them and they cannot love us. and we cannot form families. how can you be equal citizens if you cannot be in the same family? yes, we are all equal in the same but you cannot be my daughter-in-law or my
son-in-law. >> you include part of a letter that thomas jefferson writes to tom john adams this historic miracle that both john adamson thomas jefferson die on the same day, on july 460 years after signing the declaration of independence. he says time which outlives all things while live this people also. clearly taking the long view, who knows what exactly he was thinking. >> remember he believes in the afterlife is going to see the. >> i'm curious in the writings in his letters, he talks of slavery on a grand scale as an institution, but does he ever refer to it within the context of his family? does he talk about the need the paradox of the of what we see now where any of the other enslaved people on the plantation and a direct way? does he wrestle with that ever? >> no, he's not wrestling with
it. talking about sally hemmings or anything like that, he sees himself as being a good master to these people into my family, and it is not, this is not something that is keeping him up at night. most of the time he's talking about slavery is that the request of somebody, somebody has written to him and asked about it, he is not being proactive. >> if you're from new england he would feel guilty not sleep at night but he is not. >> i was going to say there is a lot of projection in jefferson. when i least like a jefferson, when i dislike him is when his solution to a problem, why there is a problem in someone else's fault.
this idea in scenario we sketched out of how you would have emancipation of virginia, the white majority finally realizes it has to act because it's a basic republican requirement. whose whose fault is it? he says this repeatedly, i have made it clear what my position is, this is the only solution you are going to have to wake up to this. now as you quoted from that later is not going to happen in my lifetime, but it's not his fault. that is where we have the problem. it's a jefferson, go to church, get down, apologize, feel bad. >> get down? [laughter] i have no idea what that means. >> pray for forgiveness i have to say one of my shifting gears here little bit before this gets too controversial, you talk about exploding some of the myths around thomas jefferson.
one of my favorites is the notion that he goes to france and he arrives in 1784 and as you describe it he promptly greeted by portis because he spoke very little french. he studied french, he knew all sorts of things but his language skills were not up to snuff. >> he knew how to read french speaking a language is very difficult. it's one thing to study something and then actually go to france and having people speak about a mile a minute, but but their normal way of speaking and to put it together, he read french well and he could understand people but he had difficulty speaking the language. his daughter and sally and james hemingway eventually learned how to speak it pretty well. he was older when he goes to france. he's in his 40s in language is not easily acquired at that time. , my favorite story of that
time. isn't going to a chess club in paris and then getting beaten easily, handedly by people. he doesn't go back and we think that's interesting because my husband to play chess competitive civilly says the only way to get better is to play with people who are better than your. and it's an interesting thing that he did not, he loved to play chess but he did not want to do it. he didn't love it enough to get beat repeatedly. he's a very thin-skinned person. >> is very anxious. >> you identify with that. [laughter] i'm a white guy at heart. [laughter] when he is in france, look at its most remarkable to us i think beyond the initial culture
shock and his need to create a little virginia at home. he needs the comfort zone. it is the danger he feels that works in french society to impressionable young people that he can barely resist the temp tatian some cell. so young people don't go to paris because you have women in the streets messing in politics. and that's why he celebrates the properly constituted republican family where women have their place, they played played a role but they are not doing politics, they are not influencing society. they are in their place he's upset with this, it has a lot to do with sexuality and ten tatian's that he sees there. in one letter he suggests that if you come to france at an impressionable age to things will happen to you, you will develop a taste for for horse
and you will never learn to speak your own language well because during this crucial. you will be speaking another language and having too much of a good time. what is really important is that you're going to have to go back in the republic. the key key art in the republic is persuasion of speaking my well. so if you cannot speak the language well and if sexually you are developing in an abnormal way than the very foundation of the publics being subverted. >> i do want to ask you one thing, as co-authors of the book and i'm enjoying listening to your slight disagreements here, where there times when you really could integrate? did you have to come to consensus? >> which one?
>> she's going to talk about religion now. i pray you do. >> all i suppose the biggest dispute between us was jefferson's christianity. peter calls himself a unitarian. >> and on my thing is always how can you tell and i grew up in a united methodist tradition and jefferson calling himself a christian i was not convinced about that. >> i was reduced to prayer at that point. >> and he convinced me that i was perhaps being too judgmental and that idea because it suggests that jefferson did not believe in the divinity of christ, he believed jesus was a great oil teacher and that you should live according to the precepts of jesus but not jesus
the christ. that is why why he writes the life and morals of jesus of nazareth, not jesus christ. so he raises out parts of the bible that are that he considers to either mysticism and magical thinking. but he convinced me that i had to narrow a view of all of this. so that was an area that he persuaded me about. we have other small disputes and sometimes you just, but it go. was at the movie of medical, frozen or whatever. i'm not going to sing that. but we basically agree it's not that different. >> what was wonderful about this collaboration for me and i think for both of us was that we brought complementary knowledge
and skills together and i think the fit has been wonderful. we enjoyed working together. the only downside for me is that i am now known as the biographer. [laughter] i don't do biographies. >> we have microphone set up for people who want to have questions. you can come forward. >> and so will go to the site for. >> i'm so excited to be first. and that i loved your book. it has been a huge inspiration to me. >> thank you. >> i am writing a book and i and interesting interested in a craft. what kinds of, what are the biggest obstacles you had in trying to put together the forces that you are using to create a narrative? >> will the biggest obstacle is
pulling it all together and trying to find the right way to craft the narrative. i mean to have lots of information but you know what to go and what to leave in and what to take out, that's the biggest thing. there was a lot there i think but we don't have a lot of direct evidence or any evidence from sally herself but you have to research around the situation. it's funny because i didn't perceive it as a problem, it was fun. a a minute think i'm a natural detective. i'd love to write but i also like to research if not more, but certainly as much. but i would say if i would to say what her problem would be a was learning how to take the material and turn it into a narrative and to know you have a
file or you have the old thing, kill your darlings. i never killed them, i exiled them. i exile is called outtake in you take stuff and put it away and say you may be able to go back to that later on. it really is a parenting down. thank you for your question. >> a net and peter, the big thing today in new york is hamilton. if you look at turnouts a book, i read your book there's a big emphasis on the fighting that went on between jefferson, hamilton, adams, and the madison joining with jefferson and others. and then the secretary of state and leaving. i don't know whether it was a
temporary perspective that jefferson had during the administration, washington is from virginia and i was very surprised to see after reading your books how jefferson turned out to be evil. am i crazy. >> did you just say evil? >> evil, because he was against the washingtons approach. >> , he times have you seen hamilton? >> i have the cd. >> know and also miranda spoken know, but the fact is looking at the book he takes a certain perspective. >> can i start on an answer? and annette will set me. first of all, the idea political opposition is absolutely
illegitimate. party, factions, no good. we've been talking about love at nausea. it's that people do recognize, values and commitments, and they don't. of course love always makes, failed love makes things worse as freud would tell you about love, hate, and the second thing is to get back to the real world there is no guarantee that the american union will survive. there is no guarantee that the united states should ever cut a figure in world affairs, it is from a world historical perspective the odds against it are tremendous. in other words there so much at stake and of course with the image of planting the seed and the tree starts to grow in one direction that could be forever, they know they're starting something. if they started wrong it will fail. so everything has a stake. i
personally and i do get in trouble on this, i'm a little hard little hard on jefferson when we read about politics, i don't know i think, i understand what they're both doing. they make a lot of sense to me. the fiscal military state, hamilton has it, jefferson has the notion of how to create a legitimate regime that will connect people and forge a new kind of attachment that will sustain the government. all of that makes sense. they made their contribution but you can see what the stakes are in why would they be at each other's throats. all because washington is washington to untran's listening to hamilton too much. >> let's go to another question. >> i have two if you will allow it. first of all, when i went to monticello, one thing that occurred to me was that what jefferson was doing relied a lot on his ledger, his ability to spend time of the things he wants to spend time on. so clearly he relied heavily on slave ownership to do so and yet
you are also saying that he saw his lifestyle as a model for people to live by. so in a sense he thought that model of the republic one of had to rely on the institution of slavery for people to continue to try to model that. so is he conscious of that and how it deal with that in terms of his idea of the ideal republic? >> okay let's leslie but one question to try to leave it at someone else. >> he felt that eventually it's back to this point of what would change later on, he did not think the model would be slaveowning. because eventually slavery would go away and what he wanted was to have family farms, that they would take over. but what he wanted people to model was this ideas about science, his idea about art. those kind of things.
i don't think he saw plantation like as that aspect of his life. it was the exalted not just the institution he thought was going to leave. >> in one way of thinking about it is that his educational system cap by the university is the very narrow apex of a great pyramid that begins with primary education. he doesn't think everybody will reach the top. so it's not modeling in that sense. might say what is characterize the middle-class society is its aspirational quality, blu can be. learn, bmi tends, and every man can participate in enlightenment. and i think and i think that is the idea. so that anybody would be
educated and in light by visiting monticello and pearls of wisdom from the great man. >> one more question before we have to break. >> i like to go back to the issue of writing a joint historical study like this. perhaps he could tell us about how you got the idea of working together on this book and then how you coordinated different sections or different aspects of the book. >> will peter said he was going to retire. >> i did? >> and he did retire and i got the idea that he should, i do want him to write off into the sunset yet. i asked him to write a book with me. [inaudible] [laughter] >> be a nearly deathlike i am in trying to keep me going. >> so that is how we got the idea of doing it. we have been talking with each other since 1995.
i thought we should do something together so our editor wanted to have one voice but it would not be good to write a chapter me to write a chapter in to have someone responsible for different sections of it so we tried to write sections and send them to each other each week. for a period of time where being very efficient, we went out on the road and talked about it quite a bit even before we began to write. we wanted to try to craft as much as we could. there some sections that -- but everything got moved around. there are some quirks that i could recognize that were mine and some i her him, but a lot of time i don't know who wrote what. >> and they're still talking. [laughter]
>> thank you so much for being here. >> [applause]. >> . . macbook tv is continuing coverage at the 16th annual national book festival continues. we have about 15 minutes until the last author talk and that will be pulitzer prize winner stacy shift. she begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern and her book is the witches. it it is about salem in 1692. that begins in about 15 minutes. in the meantime we want to hear from you. what are you reading? what would you would you like to see a book tv? here the phone numbers 202,
47882004 you can also text us at 2-028-386-2514. for text only. please include your first name and your city so we can identify that way. what are you reading, what book is kutcher tension? what would you like to see a book tv? lots lots of options for you to talk about it will begin taking calls in a minute. i want to this book out, it's just been released now. if you watch c-span regularly you knew we did a series on the first ladies. we looked at every first lady, 45 different women and this book is coming out, the paperback version. first ladies, you you can find it at your favorite booksellers
and you can find it online as well. if if you're interested in presidential history. you can pick this up. but are from buzz. >> what are are you reading now. >> i found a book that you done on the program called the trail a little gibraltar, sister about world war i and the final battle. the world war i is a little understood but most american folks but for historians this is an excellent book because it reveals a gross mistake by the american forces at a place. what is very important to me in this, i had researched the death of a soldier here who died here and i never could understand why he died. why his unit was wasted as it was.
the book, betrayal gives the answers to the story. for those of you who like world war i, or like to know more about it it's_read. >> and that was a book we covered that was the book we covered i believe down in stanton, virginia. you can find that online, you can tape and betrayal at little gibraltar on our website at booktv.org. you can walk it watch it online. >> good evening. her and thank thank you for c-span and book tv. right now i just completed nixon, man divided by evan thomas. it just continues, he fascinates me and i cannot cannot get enough reading about nixon, the person. i really appreciate that book. i've also started looking at robert caro's book, morse specifically lyndon johnson in terms of when president kennedy is assassinated on november 22
how johnson really takes charge and chose his leadership. in recent times i found these some of the most fascinating men in american history. >> did you see her segment earlier with bob woodward about the last of the presidents men? >> unfortunately no, but, but i'm hoping to watch the replay later. of course i am a voracious viewer of c-span, book tv, and of course c-span three. it is excellent to have the resource there at our fingertips at the computer. >> so everything we have covered here today at the national book festival will re-air beginning beginning at midnight eastern time. that is 11:00 a.m. at arlington heights in illinois. we sat down with bob woodward and talked about his most recent book, alexander butterfield we talked about watergate as well. so in case that is a topic that is of interest to any mention evan thomas booked, mr. thomas
was here last year to talk about his book at the national book festival. you can watch that online at our website, at book tv.org. thought.org. thought the commercials here this time. mary is in pennsylvania, what are you reading? >> actually i have just started the boys in the boat so i'm not very far along in it. but i love c-span, and i love the show but i have a question and that is, why do you not ever have any fiction writing? >> do you think we should have fiction on? >> will i would like it because i love fiction and nonfiction. i'm just wondering what your reason is for not having it. >> what you think your reasoning is? >> not a criticism. >> when you think our reasoning is the? >> i don't know. >> okay, we are part of c-span.
c-span covers public affairs, nonfiction issues, washington, public policy and things like that. so book tv as part of c-span, we try to cover the same thing. as you well know if you do watch book tv, there is lots and lots of nonfiction books and authors, and topics to talk about, i think we would have to start a new network if we wanted to cover fiction. it is not really what we do. we are nonfiction type of place. so thank you for calling in and thank you for watching. our britain new york city, what you want to tell us? >> caller: i just finished reading a book, the making making of donald trump. everyone should read it before they vote. i'm also reading "white rage" by carol anderson. and let there be --, they are all very interesting and important books. i hope these authors will be on
book tv to talk about them. >> what you do in new york city? >> i am retired. i was a college administrator. >> thank you. david david k johnson's book, mr. johnston was on q and our q&a program just recently. it just aired. so again you can go to c-span.org which is the website or you can go to booktv.org and type in his name and you will be able to watch them talk about his book on our q&a program online. "white rage" is a book we covered here on book tv. so let's go back to the website go to booktv.org and you can watch at their online as well. eugene in nottingham, maryland, what, what is on your reading list? >> caller: i am reading, on his own terms, a life of rockefeller. >> what made you put that book up?
>> caller: on the biographies. i'm from new york and rockefeller was born in 1968 had a tremendous impact on new york. reading his book i had no idea he was dyslexic as well. i'm glad i'm reading this book because just the early part of his life and how he grew up in some of his approaches to his rockefeller legacy into other people, and it reminds me of myself and when i read biographies and i have read a ton, there's always something i get out of it. reading this book right now i've yet to even get to the part where he is governor of new york. just the early part of his life, the shape of his personality and overcoming of dyslexia is interesting. >> host: have you read other books by this author? spee2 i can't say for sure, his name is familiar, resume different books like recently one of jefferson's books, i read a biography on
think it was it jefferson or lincoln. i have a book here by sydney blumenthal, the life of abraham lincoln which is my next three. sometimes the authors i remember less than the person they are writing about. so what else has he done? >> guest: he has done presidential histories in effect right now he is writing one that should be out in the year two on gerald ford. here's the was the director of the gerald ford presidential library in grand rapids. he has been director of the dole institute in kansas, the reagan library in simi valley. he has been all around. he is better on see spend quite a bit. i hate to do this but if you go to book tv.org and type it richard norton smith and find all sorts of videos. what you do and marilyn? >> host: eugene is gone. let's hear from jennifer.
>> caller: hello. i just just love c-span a book tv. i just love it. i want to tell you the book i have been back. >> host: you have been watching all day? >> caller: pretty much. >> host: okay well send your address to book a tv at c-span.org and we will send you one of these nice book tv bags, how does that sound? so just send that email and put jennifer in there so i know it is from you. >> caller: okay. so we were down to the bay area one month ago and we visited angel island and there is an immigration center that used to be the ellis island of the west coast and we picked up a book there called angel island the gateway to america. it is a by erica lee and judy young. i'm fascinated.
what happened there was so different from ellis island. the experience of the different ethnic groups that came through angel island was so different, depending on what group it was and what their home countries were and how they were perceived. it is quite fascinating. >> host: well thank you for calling and, we appreciate your time. let's hear from bill and pennsylvania. >> caller: before i go into the book that i want to suggest can i make a comment about your previous caller who is reading about rockefeller? i grew up in that. when rockefeller, the republican governor of new york was making deals with the democratic mayor of albany. rebuilding the south mall and building a good portion of the downtown and i hope there is a chapter in the book about the political intrigue between those
two politicians. he was mayor of albany for some 40 years, he was elected mayor before the war started, he went off to war, fought in germany as i recall and when they came back he held the job form. and then he was mayor for 30 years. >> host: what was his last name? >> guest: mayor corning. >> host: was that of the corning's, corning where? >> caller: they may have had something to do with it but he was strictly a politician. he was a businessman. . . .