tv 2016 National Book Festival CSPAN September 25, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EDT
just so dominant. we had a presidential on the republican side and democrat side, 80 percent go to presidential and yet the american people put in all the incumbents again, roughly in congress so there's an amazing power of the perking winning elections and on top of the money part, people are lying themselves up to be chairman of the committee. that's a great idea but if you vote in lockstep with leadership in order to get that slot you can start looking both sides to this. they're not doing what's best for the country all the time >> afterwards airs on tv every saturday at 10 pm and sunday at 9 pm eastern. watch all previous afterwards programs on our website, booktv.org. >> today book tv is live from
the 16th annual national book festival in washington dc. 2001 by then first lady laura bush, the event is held at the convention center so we got a full lineup for you. here's just a few of the authors you will hear from. santos lamarr, john meacham, doug brinkley and several more life from the history and biography room and from the book tv steps on the convention center bob woodward, representative can birds also sit down to discuss their books and answer your questions. now for a complete schedule of the day's events you can visit our website at booktv.org. you can also follow us on twitter at book tv, on instagram at bookótv and on facebook, facebook.com/book tv. through the day will be we will be posting behind-the-scenes pictures of all platforms and you can also watch exclusive videos on facebook alive. now we talked to national
>>. [inaudible conversation] good afternoon everyone. my name is david mao and it's my pleasure to welcome all of you to the 16th, 2016 16 annual book festival and of course we are on the history and biography stage which is sponsored by wells fargo. we have a library of congress are thrilled to be presenting this national book festival
for the 16th time. this terrific event would not be possible without the friends that we have supporting us, generously supporting like wells fargo and we are very consistent but moreover we would not be here but for all of you who support the authors, are interested in them and come out in droves, thank you very much for being here today. thank you. [applause] this year's festival is inspired by journeys. and the ideathat the book is a voyage unto itself . picking at the places we might not be able to see in person but we can visit by reading about it. and it gives us the opportunity to better understand our world and in particular way we are here today celebrating history and biography so reading to us is an ideal form of travel and it's really the best way for
us to develop and encourage and grow our minds. in addition to the author presentations we have here on this stage today, we have other events i hope you will take the opportunity to visit . the lower level of the convention center where we have family activities. we have our sponsors, aarp, wells fargo, also the library of congress, i encourage you to visit us and learn more about your national library. learn more about the wonderful things we are doing at the library of congress to make our treasures available whether you visit us in person or online. so we have a great lineup. i don't want to take up too much time so i hope you will welcome our first presenter who will kick things off for us. mister carlos lozada who is the associate editor and nonfiction book critic for the washington post. i invite him to come up and
introduce our first reader, thank you very much. [applause] >> good afternoon, welcome to the 2016 national book festival. as david mentioned, my name is carlos lozada. i review nonfiction for the washington post which is the charter sponsor of the festival. thanks again to the library of congress which has supported the festival for 16 years as well as the chairman david rubenstein and many sponsors that make the event possible. i've never met sarah vowell personally until right now but maybe like a lot of you, i feel like i've known her forever. whether through her work on this american life, her delightful books into the side alleys of american history and in the role of that most excites my moody six-year-old daughter, as the
voice of violet from the incredible's. sarah can basically do anything and make it seem effortless and funny and profound all at once and if you've not read her obituaries of genre andare , you are missing out. but i'm here to talk about her books. she's written a history of hawaii, of presidential assassination sites and most recently a book on america's revolutionary bff, the marquis de lafayette in her 2015 book, "lafayette in the somewhat united states". there will be time for questions after her speech and c-span is covering the history and biography session so be on your best behavior. tara will be signing books so please get one. it is my huge pleasure to introduce sarah vowell. [applause] >> hello, book lovers.
people of c-span. recently i travel around the country so much and i only meet people who read books and i don't know if you've watched the news like the last year or so but i'd like to say that i'm cool with that. [laughter] thank you. that i like my little vision of america that i get from meeting all of you. so i'm feeling very contemplative today, if you're watching television or here in washington dc and for me, i arrived in this city precisely half my life ago, 23 years ago. i wait for you to do the math. i know that's not your strong
suit. or mine. you have other nice qualities. 23 years ago i arrived in this city on the train from montana. my parents drove me on to shelby montana where i caught the amtrak. i hitched across north dakota, that took a while. change trains at chicago, so louise sold in, but i wanted to live here someday and i ended up doing that. went across pennsylvania. i remember the conductor that we were crossing the susquehanna river and he said get a load of this scenic wonderland and i arrived here in dc for my smithsonian internship and i think it was the next day, yasir arafat shook my hand on the white
house lawn. it was a great time in america. the library of congress is sponsoring this event. when i was an intern at the smithsonian the first works that i worked on that had the isbn number, the catalog number were aids to things like art in philadelphia and the archives of american art. yeah, that was the main one. italian-american art history so i was saying earlier that for me as an author every time i get one of my books in the mail the first time, the first thing i do is look at that catalog number because we all know life is short in the library of congress. [applause] so take that, great britain. but anyway, being here thinking about when i was a young but leaving home to come here, i realized that is the story that i've been writing all these years
through several books. it's always the story of the myth of leaving home. and that is the story of our country. i think earlier this year in the city, t-bone burnett said this is the story of the united states. a kid walked away from home with an song and nothing else and gave a concert for the world.that is always the story i'm writing whether it's theodore roosevelt leaving new york the more his wife's mother and head out to north dakota and be a cow man , as one of his biographers said, he was the only president who ever read anna karenina while on a three-day searchfor cattle feed . or our friend abraham lincoln who when he left greenfield to come here as president and took the train to philadelphia to independence hall and he said that the
sentiments i entertain have been drawn from the sentiments which were given to the world from this hall and he said the goal of the presidency was to save the country invented there and he added ominously, i would rather be a fascinated prominent spot than to endurance. obviously that predates in. there was another misfit who left home from baltimore. and then i've written about new england, coming to hawaii like so many church people of the early 19th century who lost maps from expeditions like that and result to spread the gospel to all the places where cooks tailors had spread the crap. or to their forbearers the new england patriots such as
the massachusetts may cottage who unlike those hippies the claimants were trying to convince the english government they were not separating from the english and that they would remain as english as clotted cream and you can throw the letter to charles v in 1630 who said from whose which they said they wanted to remind the king that we shall be in our poor cottages in the wilderness whereas john winthrop, their leader, he was the opposite. we shall be the seat upon a hill. so it's this leaving home. my latest misfitleaving home is a french teenager , marquis de lafayette and this book tells the story of him leaving home and his pregnant
teenage wife to come to america to throw in with the george washington and the continental army so i will read from it and i just wanted to read this section of his voyage to america, his early time and then i'll read a little tangent about the heroic seller to the subject of the proceedings. >> so it's 1777. lafayette has absconded to america. he's on his own ship to come here. the king of france is trying to keep them at home. his wife's family is trying to keep him at home because as i mentioned she is pregnant and once he makes it onto the ship he has purchased across the atlantic he starts sending his wife his writing, his wife gets his letters to try to explain why he has abandoned her and
their forthcoming child. i believe i say in the book that while history may be full of great fathers, recorded father history is not kind to them. at sea, lafayette unveils the grandeur of his mission to his wife audrey and attempted to include her in it. he wrote, i hope that as a favor to me you will become a good american. she is a teenage french aristocrat from with what is one of the most illustrious families, she lives in a mansion in paris when she is living at the mansion in bursae so asking her to become an american is sort of baffling.he wasn't in a position to ask her any favors. nevertheless he proclaimed to his wife, the welfare of america is intimately bound up with the happiness of humanity. she is going to become the
deserving and assure refuge of virtue, of honesty, of tolerance, of the quality and of a tranquil liberty. and to establish such a forthright dreamland of decency, who wouldn't sign up to shoot the 2000 englishmen just as long as mister bean wasn't one of them? alas, from my end of history, from our end of history, there's a big file cabinet blocking the view of the sweet natured republic lafayette foretold and it is where they keep the folders full of indian treaties, the chinese exclusion act and faa monitor electronic messages to national security which is apparently all of them, including the one in which i asked my mom or advice on how to get a red sharpie stain out of couch upholstery. lafayette confided in his wife i am coming as a friend
to offer my services to this intriguing republic. i bringto it only my frankness and my goodwill. no ambition, no self-interest , working for my glory i work for theirs. disregarding the inherent contradictions of his lack of ambition and self-interest, he revealed that attaining glory was one of his two stated goals. he was an only child. the phrase coming as a friend glows on the page. as it turned out to be the truth. it's appropriate caused lafayette for the casual cruelty with which he abandoned his family, roll the eyes at his routine or envied his outlandish optimism but none of that negates the fact that he turned out to be the best friend america ever had and i am not only referring to his
derring-do on battlefields up and down the eastern seaboard, am also referring to any number of his grown-up things such as assisting thomas jefferson, the united states ministered to france in the 1980s and opening up french markets to american goods. lafayette lobbying secured nantucket, the contract to supply the whale oil that lifted the street terra. because of lafayette, the city of lights glows by new england's will blogger and to say thanks for getting them the gig, all nantucket rallied to send him a giant wheel of cheese. [laughter] that's gratitude. so american, let's send the cheese to france.
finally, after his two month voyage on his ship the victory when she called floating on this dreary plane, they came ashore in charleston around midnight on june 13, 1777, waking up the household of major benjamin huber of the south carolina militia and that's the next page and lafayette wrote later, i retired to rest that night rejoicing that i last attained the haven of my dreams. the next morning was beautiful, everything around me was new to me. the room, the bed drapes , the delicate curtains, the black servants came to me quietly to ask my commands. the strange new beauty of the landscape outside my window. the luxuriant vegetation, all combined to produce that magical effect. in other words, it was like a
swap for slaves. lafayette so loved. so he and his men, they start out in carriages and end up in horses and by the end of it they are basically walking to philadelphia when he's going to what became independence hall to announce here i am and you know, he expected a warm welcome. the moment lafayette thought was peculiarly unfavorable. the americans were displeased with the pretensions and disgusted with the conduct of many frenchmen. consequently he wrote, the congress finally adopted the plan of not listening so when
lafayette and his friends called the house moniker independence hall, congressman james lovell of massachusetts steer them away snarling it seems that the french are too fancy to enter our service without being invited. but most of them including lafayette had been invited by american agents in france and the throngs of some frenchmen who went sloshing ashore for months expecting to be welcomed so also, i should mention that this moment europe is uncharacteristically at peace so all these europeanofficers especially frenchmen come over in droves wanting a job . and washington who is always in need of men wasn't excited about these particular men because he says they have no attachment nor ties to the country and bemoaned their ignorance of our language and pointed out that american
officers should be disgusted of foreigners were put over their heads so that's exactly what happened right before lafayette arrived, this other frenchmen whose name was dubay and he was a veteran of the revolutionary war and he showed up as lafayette did, saying herei am , i'm a big wig and i'm paraphrasing, a big wig at the sixth court and i am the greatest renowned authority on artillery in france and what he was was on my wine merchants son who has purchased a few cannons but he shows up and says i deserve to be your artillery cheek and so it turns out that replacing the continental army's beloved chief officer henry knox was not an easy and arbitrary as a witch casting a second there because henry knox was
the revolution. born in boston in 1759 to irish immigrants, to support his other siblings after his father's death, he had a bookbinder andeventually opened his own bookstore , the lenders bookstore and after the coercive acts of 1774, this was really hard on pretty much all the colonists but officially the book merchants and he couldn't get any of the books he was selling from england and you know, the colonists were plotting stuff from new england anyway so those acts, they were supposed to serve as a warning to all the other colonists and brought massachusetts into submission but what happened was it
further radicalized an already radical massachusetts and rallied other colonies to come to material and political aide so caring up, meanwhile he had wooed the royal governor's daughter wexler, great name and he had joined a local militia, the boston grenadier and shots fired in lexington and concorde in 1775 so despite his failing in the hands of his brother, throws in with the militias. then when washington is appointed to commander-in-chief of the continental army and shows up and he's telling the soldiers that we should have no more sectional rivalries between countries and privately he's writing to his cronies back in virginia, these people are stupid,especially the massachusetts men . it's still a work in progress. and at that time, boston was
under siege. the british had occupied the peninsula of boston and their navy control the harbor and they were just resupplying the cities with provisions and ships down from canada. these are the maps i'm drawing in my mind. i just assumed them. so the patriots with their patriots had been surrounded but to break this stalemate they needed weapons and then they got the good news that ethan allen and benedict arnold and their people had kept to court ticonderoga where there were all these men artillery cannons and mortar . 300 miles away. and henry knox, the bookseller is like, i think at this point he goes up to washington and it says how about i go get all them?
300 miles away. and washington is like yes, sure. go ahead. bookstore owner. and he did it, he and his brother set off for new york. in november i think it was and by january they had returned with 43 cannons, 14 mortars and to howard's ears dragged across trojan rivers and over the smoke snowy brookshire mountains on sleds so this is the derivation of that old yankee proper if you can sell a book, you can move 60 tons of weaponry 300 miles in winter. and then you know, washington has all this artillery moved up the hill, the british wake up and see all these cannons pointing out at them and they appropriately hightail it to canada and that's how henry
knox becamechief artillery officer of the continental army . he got these cannons, he actually got the artillery and then he trained and recruited all the other artillery officers so everybody liked him . and thought he was doing a terrific job so when the french guys showed up and says i'm your new artillery chief, there was a big flip out among the men and officers in the continental army so that's sort of the environment that lafayette walks into. luckily, the french guy has the decency to turn his horse crossing the delaware river and he drowns. the horse lives. so everything was fine and then it's a win-win, you
know. so that's what lafayette walked into. the thing is that the colonists especially, their leadership to congress in washington and his highest ranking officers are in this weird position with the friends nobleman, lafayette included. all they want to do because basically it's a swap but any self-respecting terrorist wants, and want to become a state-sponsored terrorist and they're just waiting for the king of france to give them money and guns and support and hisarmy and navy and that's how they won the war, eventually . so they take lafayette on because then franklin since this letter, i'm paraphrasing, this kid is a big deal. be nice to him. i'm just taking down the french government . but they make lafayette a
major general. he's basically a glorified intern. until he proves himself. so finally he gets his commission in a few days and he meets george washington and, you know, washington was six foot four, tall and he's historically makes a big impression on lafayette. lafayette was starstruck when he meets washington, he wrote, it was impossible to mistake for a moment the majestic figure, nor was he less distinguished by his noble affability of his maiden which is an incomplete memory but it does get on my nerves how easily it is for tall people to make a good first impression. unfortunately because of scheduling mishaps we can't be at kareem abdul-jabbar's
presentation next door. i'm going to go out on a limb and say everybody loves kareem abdul-jabbar. i do love kareem abdul-jabbar. so anyway, he joins up and washington, he really grows on washington because he so gung ho. washington, all the war all his men are deserving in droves and here's this man who's like,put me in coach . and when washington says okay, you can join my military family which was basically washington is saying you can be one of my minions like the way alexander hamilton was described at as a member of washington's military family but remember, lafayette was an orphan and when washington
saidfamily , he meant minion but what lafayette heard was father. then hijinks ensue. so i guess i will take some questions if you have them. there are these microphones set up here . let's get cracking. >> i was wondering when i readthe book , about the trail of lafayette. >> you didn't hear that,the question was about him . [laughter] have i seen hamilton and what do i think of their portrayal of route lafayette?
i obviously love hamilton. there's just so much hamilton in hamilton. obviously the only one who loves the lafayette in hamilton is lafayette whose just solipsistic to the core and the fact that he comes off so charming and chivalrous and is such a good dancer with such wonderful hair. lafayette was already going bald at 19. the last time i saw it, there was an empty seat in front of me and for some reason i kept picturing lafayette in it. he would just have been swooning the whole time. it's interesting though, one thing about that show especially because of the casting, this wasn't your question but i have been thinking about it lately because people have some
qualms aboutthe founding fathers, especially the ones who owned other people . and there are some people lately who wants to disregard all their accomplishments and i can understand that but one way you get past that is make washington black which i'm definitely doing sometimes. it's such a good idea. we should have done that, that should have been our original casting, washington should have been black quite i guess the massive recording that goes on, i wonder how you think that will affect our look at today's events as a historian, how do you think that will change. >> everybody's life today archived? >> just like the division, social media, everything is out there and it's very
intimate thoughts posted for everyone to see, how do you think that would affect your job as a historian? >> i mean, i guess the nsa is putting out a lot of stuff. my bread and butter allows me to do letters, letters on paper that you have to put on white gloves to look at. i think these things are being saved, then that's good. the one thing that i think will be of use to future historians is that for better or worse, people nowadays are pretty forthcoming about everything, you know? sometimes it's hard to figure out what washington was thinking. his wife burned up almost all their letters on his death and their little cagey and tactful and they leaveout private things because those are private .
i guess one advantage of this world we live in is how people are documenting every omelette and aspect of their day. i'm guessing, i'm not on social media but there's jokes about it. i guess that would be helpful, especially if you are some sort of social historian where your job was to figure out what people ate. look at all these food blogs and twitter and everything and you could see like, oh. that's a lot of goat cheese, i don't know. but i think because communication is so constant, there's maybe less of that grandeur, you know? george washington was painfully aware that everything he was doing, that he was inventing the presidency so he wrote these letters with such fear.
he was writing to the person but he's also writing to us, to prosperity so i don't really do that when i'm just emailing my friend sherman. i think with the letters, because they were more formal, they're less useful. they maybe were not always at our best in our electronic communications, i'm not. >> hi sarah, i'm with the american friends of lafayette area thank you for bringing ourhero to the forefront, thank you very much . >> that's why i did it. i would have done it for free. >> we bought your book. lafayette is sometimes criticized for doing things for theglory of it , not for the y, the purest reason but
back in the 18th century was that such a bad thing, doing it for the glory? >> no, i don't think so. i think if we're going to condemn our historical figures who accomplished their accomplishments because what they wanted was glory, that wipes out everyone, mainly mother teresa but she got a lot of flak too. if you are doing good things, i don't really care what your motives are that much. there is something about lafayette, he's such a boy. he's 19 and it is kind of bad form to abandon your pregnant teenage wife. >> there's that. >> so i can't overlook those things but his glory, the quest for glory was part of what fueled his accomplishments and one of the reasons he was so valuable to washington and the american cause what that
he was so gung ho, he was so brave, he didn't care about his own personal safety. when he was wounded at the battle of brandywine he was supposed to berecuperating but he gets up , wraps his bum leg in a blanket and rides back to the front. it kind of reminds you of what lincoln said about france, for washington, he neededhim, he thought . all of that glory morning had a very practical outcome. it wasn't just that he wanted the glory and he certainly loved it. when he came back as an old man in between 24, it was a lovefest for over a year of people talking about how much they loved him and were so happy he was back. he wanted glory but you know, immigrants, they get things done. he got things done.
his glory was based on achievement, it was based on spill blood and sweat and you know, the old college try. it wasn't like getting glory for i don't know, what do people get glory for now? it has to do with twitter, i think . not that that isn't an accomplishment. but you know what i mean thank you very much. hi. >> hey there. >> you do a lot of historical full and it seems like you tend to enjoy the life of the road. >> the life of the what? the road. not going out on the road. >> i was wondering if you had a favorite. >> if i have a favorite of anyone i've written about. i mean, rogue. that's what i was saying at
the beginning, i write about the misfits. i have this thought for a lot of them, even the unlikable ones, maybe especially the unlikable ones. i subscribed to the digital washington post and i'm sure if all of you do you woke up to an email from them as you do every morning that said, the headline was is she likable? i'm not sure who they were talking about. but in my opinion, likable can be kind of overrated and one of my favorite people to write about was roger williams who was a puritan the illusion, likable already, right? and he comes to boston to the massachusetts colony and they offer him the job of being the minister in boston which as puritan jobs go, that's the one you want and he turned them down because
basically he found them not puritanical enough and they kicked him out of massachusetts basically because they just wanted him to calm down about religion. the puritans wanted him to calm down about religion. and he's just this annoying person who is constantly haranguing them until they booed him out and another misfit leaving home, he goes to rhode island and found rhode island and for a while that was non-hippie dippy, it basically establishes freedom of religion in rhode island . not because he thinks everyone and their beliefs are valid but because he feels like everyone except for his wife is control is going to hell for what they believe and maybe that should be punishment enough so rhode island becomes this bastian
of quakers. so like, roger williams, he thought quakers had a right to live there. one time he spent three days debating them because he said i think they wanted to kill themselves. but meanwhile, back home in massachusetts, quakers are being on boston commons so he's a very weird, unlikable, annoying person but i found him sometimes hard to like but easy to love. so people can do great things and maybe you don't want to have lunch with them. thank you. yes. [applause] >> i love reading the books for the history and i love the joints you take to places
like bruce springsteen's boyhood home and the correspondence and all you delve into and i was wondering if you were writing people like lafayette and winthrop, do you know what themes their theme song would be? you get that in your mind? >> what did their theme song would be? >> if you could give them a theme song. not together. >> i don't know about that but generally the book has a theme song. for me, like this one for some reason i always wanted to put on heat seekers version of ocean and on. >> it adheres to that passage i read, what lafayette things america is going to be like. there's something in the way he think that song, that's the country they were trying to build and that's the one i like to live in. when i was writing about puritans, i had three songs i would always put on because they were leaving home and they had these ideals and one of them was all, the mormon
tabernacle choir's version of sounds for the promise land. there was chuck berry, promised land and springsteen's promised land because what they were doing, it was all about promise and the future and had had this kind of biblical overtones. yes. >> hello, i loved the dirt, especially george washington. the dirt of history, george washington, the hero. he's overall a marginal general. so what influenced did lafayette have on him? >> what influence did lafayette have on washington? > for one thing, lafayette just messed up washington for
most of the war. washington was about to get fired. but lafayette was always on his side and whenever these conspiracies arose to get rid of washington, washington was the one saying these people are idiots, you're one for the ages so there's that. i think it was like keeping washington going and washington keeping going was kind of the key to that war. his endurance, this putting up with it and sticking it out so i think there was that influence. also lafayette was a fervent abolitionist so he could have influenced washington's decision to have some of his own slaves freed upon his death. there's talk about that but i would say mostly it was moral support so i don't know if you have a friend like that but when you are down,
they're the ones who bought you up, i think that's who lafayette was for washington. i only have time for one question. as someone else is coming in here next. youtube, which one do you think has the better question. he says you have a better question. that makes me want to hear his question. you can ask me your question after. i just have tophysically remove myself from this podium . yes. >> you talked about how lafayette coming toamerica , telesis about the reason why almost every city in america names something after lafayette. what impact did he have on america ? >> in fact, great question to end on. i made the right choice. thank you.
when lafayette came back in 1824 and 25, that 13 month victory lap around the country where he went all the states, that is the origin for how these states and not states but cities and counties and warships and horses and babies and streets and parks .named after lafayette. i think in washington dc, it's worth remembering the most meaningful of any of these, no offense to lafayette, ronald hubbard is lafayette park across from the white house because this is kind of our capital. this is where we the people go to yell at our presidents. and when i was kidding about lafayette being an only child but one of the most only child things he says was, i will forget the context because lafayette said i did not hesitate to be disagreeable to preserve my independence. so i think lafayette swears
also embodies that spirit and even though we beat ourselves up in this country for how much green there is,how we can't get along , i think that is annoying and time-consuming but it's also the story and the fact that we have this place across the street from our head of government's house where people as george hw bush said, beat those drums while i was trying to have dinner. i think this is something that we as a people and you and your city should be enormously proud of and i think the fact that it is named after lafayette i think that was probably to him, his greatest honor. good night. [applause]
>> and this is book tv on c-span2's live coverage of the 16th annual national book festival in washington dc. you've been listening to sarah vowell talk about her newest book, lafayette and the somewhat united states. coming up in 15 minutes or so is the story of candace bullard talking about her latest book fear of the empire, it's about winston churchill. we alllive at the washington convention center in washington and joining us here on our book tv set in the lobby is the author of this book , "disrupt aging: a bold new path to living your
best life at every age", jo-ann jenkins who also serves as ceo of aarp. ms. jenkins 60th and 40, right? >> that's not true. if you knew 50 and it looks good that's part of what disrupt aging is all about. the way we are aging is changing and that 50 is not the new 30 and 60 is not the new 40, 50 is the new 50 and it's okay. we ought to be comfortable with what a yard. that middle age is really extending well beyond 60 and 65 with this increased longevity. people are living some 20 or 30 years longer than they probably ever anticipated. >> what does that mean public policy wise? >> i think it has huge implications for public policy and for cities, not only in the us but around the world. when social security was originally put in place some 80 years ago, life expectancy
, work expectancy was around 62, and got to work until your 62 and you are likely to die when you are 6768 so today, the fastest age in this country is people over the age of 85 and the second is over the age of 100 so we are living really 20, 30 years longer than ourparents or grandparents lived . so as we think about public policies, about not only social security and medicare but mobility and this whole wealth of brainpower that is just sitting there, in their 60s and 70s and 80s, how can we as a society engage 50+ generation in helping us to solve some of our hills in this country? >> why is it we are living longer? >> i think a lot has to do with our advances we've made in medicine and technology. we are also hopefully eating
healthier and exercising. we know people who have better eating habits and are both physically and mentally active, that they tend to live longer and if you feel good about what you are doing, our latest research says you're going to live another six or seven years longer if you have meaning and purpose in your life so i think all those things add up to this increased longevity we are all experiencing. >> from your book, over half of all households nearing retirement have no retirement savings. social security provides most of retirement income for about half the household 65 and older. >> that has huge implications and in my hometown, and state in alabama, over 50 percent of those whorely on social security , their social security payments are less than 13,000 the year. i don't know anybody who can
live on $13,000 a year. it's an opportunity for us to rethink these policies, to look at what increased longevity is going to mean for our social support system and the way we are building our communities. i think about the large mentions that the building industries have built over the last 10, 15 years and so many of us want to downsize or relocate because the house we grow up in is too big for us and it needs to be retrofitted so part of what we talk about in "distrupt aging" is how we build a housing communitythat lives with us through our life stages so we don't necessarily have to move , that we can anticipate that and we know that what's good for the old is usually good for the young. what we were doing research about how do we build safe sidewalks, our biggest partner was mothers with strollers. that access to what was good for the elderly are good for people with disabilities as
also the same effect on young mothers who are trying to use those strollers so i like to call it an ageless society, that we are creating long-term solutions that help all of us as we age. >> is there a policy that aarp would like to see done with social security? >> we have been very engaged with our take a stand campaign, take a stand is about getting the presidential candidates to focus on telling us how they are going to make sure social security is not only bare but adequate so we been following both candidates around trying to make sure they tell us what their plans are. we're going to be at the debate monday to see if we can get a social security question asked at the presidential debates but i think it's important for our social support system in this country for us to not let these problems linger. i think we all know that we
have to make adjustments to social security in order for it to be there not only for our kids but our kids kids. >> jordan jenkins, how does aarp set up there's an insurance aspect to it, for profit, how is it?>> aarp is a c for nonprofit. we also have the aarp foundation which is our charitable arm that focuses on serving the needs of low income for little people across the country and we have a problem called afi services which is our for-profit company that provides products and services , insurance being one of them. i like to remind people that our founder was the first female principal in the state of california and she went to visit a friend who she heard was ill and found her living in a chicken coop in someone's backyard. that again, aarp's
association with insurance, she went to 42 insurance companies trying to get them to provide insurance plans or retired teachers so 58 years ago, this woman started in the american association of retired teachers and aarp so here i am 88, following in her footsteps. the first woman to be in that job since our founder. >> from your book, it is socially unacceptable to ignore, ridicule or series stereotype someone based on their gender, race or sexual orientation so why is it still acceptable to discriminate based on their age? >> i think that is so profound because we still allow communities, comedians, we make jokes about our own age whether it's around the birthday or over the hill and so my thought is, why do we still allow this? why do we judge people by how old they are rather than what they bring to the table so
"distrupt aging" is really trying to get us to focus on the positive aspects of aging and that 50 today is very different than it was 20 years ago. i know that me coming into this role as ceo, one of the reasons why i wrote the book was because i was living a very different 57, 58 then what people say you should be retired, you should be home vacationing, doing whatever and it's about letting people decide how they want to age. whether they want to stay active, retire, aarp dropped the american association of retired persons 12 or 13 years ago because a lot of our members are not retired. they want to stay engaged, stay active whether it's full-time or part-time or whether it's volunteering and i think that's what "distrupt aging" is all about. letting people decide how
they want to live their lives and for me, trying to figure out how we can engage the 50+ community in volunteering, in providing support services in our schools, and our healthcare area, caregiving. there's such a great need to do that. >> how has the workforce changed as we age a society and stay healthy? >> i will tell you that some companies today have five generations working in the workforce at one time. that's very different and very unique and what we're finding is in our marketing research is that people who are in their 50s and older, the boomers have more things in life with millennial's then they do with any other generation. that 85 percent of millennial's when asked who is your best friend, 85 percent site one of their parents and we know they are influencing each other's purchasing power.
decisions they make in life so in the workforce, we know the economy is changing very differently and that people used to have one or two different places they worked. now they will have 10 or 15 places they work and two or three different careers and this whole idea of permanent employment and work i think in the next five, 10 years is going to go away and people are going to be doing more self-employed project paste which bodes very well for millennial's as well as people who are 50 and older who may not want to work as full-time. but really stay engaged and do project management and do project-based employment to be able to do that so it's going to have huge implications for the workforce of the future and how we engage five generations in the workplace at the same time. i'd like to think it's the next phase of diverse city and gender changes are going
on in the workplace, women's issues as well as gay and lesbian issues and now there's age issues in the workplace and how do we make sure we're getting the best out of all our employees regardless of how old they are. >> what's your connection here to the national book festival? >> i'm excited because in 2001 when laura bush became the first lady, she was the first librarian to be in the white house so we went to her. i happen to be the chief operating officer at the library of congress at the time to talk about what project might we do with her as the national library in this town and it was to establish the national book festival so here we are 16 years later . our goal in 2001 was to have 5000. last year they had over 100,000 people and what we're seeing here on these three
floors, i fully expect they will exceed that target again this year but i think it's an exciting time or book lovers, for people who enjoy reading, whether in paperback or online and i'm pleased to come full-circle from helping to start it to being an author this afternoon. >> jo-ann jenkins, he worked at the department of transportation, library of congress, chief operating officer. how do you get to washington from alabama? >> i actually come from a small town in mobile alabama. political science major. hadto do an internship, came to washington , interned in washington. went home, graduated and came back to work for the reagan campaign and i've been here in this town since 1980 and i'm very fortunate to be working with a number of people in this town, both in
the executivebranch and legislative branch . >> jo-ann jenkins is the ceo of aarp and she is the author of "disrupt aging: a bold new path to living your best life at every age". and 50 is the new 50 as she says. thanks for being on book tv. >> thank you, my pleasure. >> book tv is live at the book festival at the convention center. if you are in the area, come on down and see us read where passing out our annual tv bags. pick this up but our day is just beginning. we've got hours of live coverage coming up. you will have a chance to talk with authors bob woodward, john lewis, kim burns through the day today and you will hear from many other authors including john meacham, his most recent book biography on president george hw bush. coming up next, and by the way the full schedule at
rules and regulations you've heard that three times already. in any case, i've forgotten a lot. my name is jonathan hartley . i'm here, ostensibly from washington post though i left a long time ago. about 18 years ago my wife and i were living on capitol hill with my stepdaughter who was working at the time at national geographic and one day she said i'm bringing a friend home from the office for dinner, i should sure. i'm afraid that's a technical problem but someone else is going to have to cope with it. if i shout, does that help? okay. my stepdaughter was working at national geographic and one day asked if she could bring a friend home for dinner. the next day at dinner time, there's a lovely young woman that shows up and my wife and i wereimmediately enchanted with her .
she is still lovely and young and enchanting but now she's one of the most respected, most accomplished and successful writers of serious nonfictionin the united states. candace, it's very good to see you again . >> very good to see you, thank you. [applause] could i just say just very briefly what an incredible honor it is to sit here with jonathan yardley who as you all know is a huge figure in the world of journalism and in the world of books and if you buy some crazy chance don't know his work, i urge you to go out and find it. he's brilliant so it's very humbling to me. i should be interviewing him because he's a much more interesting figure than i am. anyway, just wanted to ... >> flattery will get you everywhere. we will get over to winston
churchill and "hero of the empire" soon enough. i have a few questions about how you got to this point in your life. you are at national geographic for five years? >> six years. >> national geographic as a reputation for being a tight publication. you were editor and you are a writer. what influenced did your years there have on your own evolution as a writer? >> i only say my real education happened at national geographic. it was so much about storytelling, about the fact that the world is full of fascinating people, fascinating events and stories but most of all i learned about research and i learned that you need to dig deeply. you need to take the time to understand it and you need to find the people who really know the subject that you're going to look into. at "national geographic", you
could be working on think about meerkats one day and something about the river another day so it fluctuated. but the one consistent thing throughout is that there's always somebody that knows the subject and knows it really well and has spent most of his or her life studying it and you need to find that person and make them your friend. >> how did it come to you that you should try to write about the river of doubt, you were young. you are not a trained historian. the subject involve travel to a dangerous place, dealing with languages other than your own. tell us about thechallenges that confronted you when you started out . >> i first heard the story, i was having lunch with a friend of mine, james chase who wrote the book 1912. and not really an extraordinary man. this is the election where
roosevelt decided to regain the presidency and lost. he said, have you heardabout this trip . and i had read about theodore roosevelt but because it's after his active political career, it was lost over and i started researching it and went back to national geographic, they have a great library there and went to the library of congress and i was stunned because there's murder, drowning. they left the murder in the rain forest, roosevelt nearly took his own life. it was set in the amazon , and earth, something i would love to write about so i was just hooked right away. but it is daunting to take on theodore roosevelt, take on the amazon . >> take on a book. >> to take on a book, exactly.
but i was really excited about it. because i knew that to a writer, this is a gift. there's so much to work with and thanks to my years at national geographic, i knew how to do research. that wasthe only thing i was confident about . >> so you went to the amazon, right? >> i did, i went to this river which is still incredibly remote. i did research in rio and then went to this little town in northwestern brazil. i rented a plane, hired a pilot and i flew four hours over unbroken rain forest, horizon to horizon. >> this raises the question. where did you get the money to do that? >> well, i had an advance. >> from doubleday. >> yes, from doubleday. i had gotten an agent and james chase set my proposal
to his agent, very generous man. unfortunately he passed away right before the book came out which was difficult for me but anyway, so doubleday gave me this great advance, kind of in three parts. one part when you sell it, one part when you turn in the manuscript and one when it comes out . i had that moneyand i used it . >> i would've thought you wouldhave flown the plane yourself . >> no, that was not a possibility. >> in river of doubt and your other two books you're incredibly generous and acknowledging. you deal with a great many people and traveled to a great many places . your beautifully curious and afraid of nothing. >> that's not true. actually, i have a lot of fears but my fears are shattered by my interest. >> you go down a mine in south africa? >> i went to where the mine was. there's the whole where it was.
>> so far you've written about teddy roosevelt, james garfield and winston churchill. how are there common elements through your stories? >> we were talking about this earlier. i love to read biographies but as a writer i like to tell a tighter story, more sort of personal story where i can spend five years, really focusing and digging indeed and i'm looking for a story that i hope is eliminating about the person and about the time in which they live and specifically what interests me, i think as we look at history we are drawn to the big public moments of triumph or infamy but what interests me are the more private moments of struggle, when someone is sick like james garfield or
terrified like theodore roosevelt or desperate like winston churchill and searching for a foothold and uncertain. i think it's in those moments and it's true for all of us, this is something that we all share, that we share with these great historical figures is that that's when your true nature is revealed. >> quite specifically, what about winston churchill and his role in the boer will more? >> i heard this 35 years ago, my husband was a journalist with the new york times and he began his career in south africa covering the african national conference in the early 80s and when i met him 25 years ago, he mentioned to me, he said did you know that winston churchill was a prisoner of war in south africa? and that he escaped? i thought you are kidding me.
how did i not know this? so it stayed with me all these years and after i turned in the manuscript for my second book, i went to lunch and he said do you have any ideas for your next book? i said you know, i would love to write about winston churchill and the boer war and he said yes.it went from there. >> i wondered reading your wonderful book, to that story of the nearly disastrous war. i wondered if the vietnamwar was somewhere in the back of your head when you are writing this ? >> to be honest, nothing was in the back of my head. >> it was in the back ofmy mind when i was reading this . >> i can see it but to be honest, as you know i have three kids. i live in kansas city.
i live this very normal day-to-day life with laundry and dinner plans and stuff but i have an office outside my home and when i go into my office and i close the door , it's like a time machine. i literally feel like i'm going back in time and i just immerse myself and the documents that i've gathered and the pictures and maps and things like that and i'm really only thinking about this moment in history. >> speaking of time, you seem to be drawn to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. >> i do, i think that's fair. i didn't set out that way. ididn't say this is what i want to write about and i never do but i find it very evocative . i do feel like really, that time period, you can see it. you can smell it, you can take it. but especially what interests me in it is that there's so much primary source material. it's just this wealth of letters and diaries and
newspaper articles and especially for the kind of writing that i do, narrative nonfiction, you have to have that and you have to have not alot or not even a huge amount but you have to be drowning in it . there are certainly times when i'm working on a book and the research takes me most of the time that i'm working on a book and i feel like good god, iwill never get through all of this . >> i have done projects much less ambitious than yours but there's a wealth of research material and there's the problem of choosing what to use. >> that's right but i'd be interested to see if you agree most of it i don't. you have to wiggle it down and you have to be tough about it but i feel like all of it kind of informs me and i hope the reader and the book because you have to truly understand it before you can begin writing about it so whether or not it makes itinto the book , it does in
the sense that i understand the event much better because of it . >> one thing about the late 19th and early 20th centuries is that churchill writes in his memoir my early years is that it's really a lost world. it's this. when the world began to change and incredibly dramatic ways, even more than now because you literally went from a car to an airplane in that period. >> the world was changing so quickly and every conceivable way butalso our knowledge of the world . this is still the age of exploration and so that too is fascinating and churchill was right in the middle of that. he's right on the cost of this incredible change and it's fascinating to see it through his eyes. >> a couple of things that
are connected, you write as churchill in a prisoner ofwar camp faced terrible challenges . that's his most romantic times but the notion of war as romance has a strong undercurrent in your book. william manchester in his introduction to the memoir my early years says the experiences in india and south africa led him to seek quote, the glorification of war. you agree with that judgment? >> i do. at that time the british empire was huge. it ruled 450 million people and they were spread all over the world and they were spread very thin. they were constantly putting down revolts but to them, these little colonial wars they would fight, it was all about gallantry and being dashing. they hated losing their redcoats.
they thought the khakis made them look like bus drivers and they were still, even for the boer war, they were fighting in these perfect refinement. it absolutely was. it was the beginning of modern warfare and i think not that many americans especially know much about the boer war but it was some of the first real fighting, first concentration camps . the modernization of weapons and all those things the british army going and was completely different fromthe british army coming out and prepared them for world war i . >> you write splendidly about the boer, a subject with which we know very little. is the boer presence in south africa very strong? >> they were a prelude to the afrikaners and fortunately things are changing a lot. the boer's were interesting
people. they were very independent, very religious and were unabashedly racist . you may have heard of of the great track and age 35, they went hundreds of miles into the interior and that was set off primarily by the fact that years earlier the british empire had abolished slavery so even though the british empire promised people and native africans and the indian population living there that if they won the war, things would change and be better for them, as we all know that took much longer than anyone would have hoped and so of course, there's still an afrikaner presence but obviously nelson mandelawould be a huge breaking point for that and things have changed quite a bit . >> tell us a little bit about churchill.
it did change his experience in south africa did change him but i kept thinking about reading a book on a perfectly apt title would have been naked ambition. >> absolutely. he was just a bundle of burning ambition . that was the one description of him that's absolutely true through his life . >> it's really his feelings about his father? >> some ofit . >> naked ambition and it was well-to-do that they were risking and it was prominent, naked ambition is not all that common in that particular class. >> it's look down upon and i've always felt that was the american in him. his mother, this beautiful socialite jenny jerome was american and in fact he told his mother this is a pushing age and we must push with the best. she was very connected, had all these powerful men who
adored her so he was always having her help me out, have this person give me an assignment because he thought that's the best way for me to win fame and propel myself to political power. he called it the glittering gateway to distinction. >> you quoted a famous remark by his firstlove , pamela ... >> bound and. >> she said all the things that are wrong with him and onceyou get to know him , what was wrong and right as you came to know him? >> right? >> guest: not only ambitious but incredibly arrogant. i found it again and again, and different newspaper articles, winston churchill, cannot stand
the kid. he drives me crazy. >> host: in prison in south africa. he went to south africa with what? cases of champagne? >> guest: and his valet and a 10-year-old. he is willing to risk his life but doesn't want to be uncivilized while he is at it but what was interesting about him at this point in his life, if you look at pictures of him you almost don't recognize him. >> he's young and he has red hair and he's sort of energetic, and he's the one throwing himself into war. but inside, inside he was already the winston churchill we
know, and it's fascinating to read the letters that he wrote at that time. there was one he wrote in particular. he ran for parliament before the boor war, but he lost. during the election he's loving all these opportunities to be on a stage, and he writes to her, he say, you know, i don't know what's going to happen with the election. i don't know what the outcome will be. but with every speech i give, i feel my growing powers. >> something you don't go into in the book, what happened between him and pamela? >> so this is a great story, actually, because he was in love with her. she was this beautiful young woman. he had met her, actually, in india when he was there fighting in british india, and she was sort of the toast of london when she went back. and so she had many admirerrers. but -- admirerrers. he was in love with her, but her
father wouldn't let her marry him because he didn't think that churchill would amount toin anything. [laughter]il >> finally, before we turn this over to questions, could you say a few words about popular history? a reviewer for "the wall street journal" last week describes you as, quote, a smooth-writing, popular historian. i guess that was a compliment. [laughter] but the phrase popular history has always seemed to me to be slightly pejorative and condescending, even though much of the best history now being written these days is being done by non-academics; max hastings, david mccullough, yourself. i'm sure you're pleased to be put in such company, but to you ever feel defensive about beingr popular? [laughter] in that company. >> guest: i feel incredibly fortunate to do what i do. every day i go to work, my job
is read, to deal -- delve into fascinating stories, i know a lot of historians, read a lot of academic history, not what i do. i hope that is a collaborative thing. i say i thought i hated history. was never interested in history and read something, i was hooked and a lot of times they say it made me want to know more. and it is a conduit for people who don't like history. and fascinating stories they absolutely love. >> host: popular historian stepped in, left by the decline of history in the academic club.
as the academic historian digs more deeply into specialized areas and patents, the field is left open. >> guest: that is what i want to do. >> host: microphones in the middle of each aisle. >> part of the time i teach history. i appreciate your books, history to me is very exciting. you take colorful figures that you have written about, dealing with churchill and the boer war, the primary sources, a lot of
what churchill wrote, and put himself in the best light. how do you deal with that? >> guest: most of the time he wasn't alone, the way he was captured for those who don't know he went to the boer war to cover the journalists, he was on soon after he arrived on an armored train that was attacked by the boars so his good friend invited him along, and he was there and many other men, i have their accounts of it as well. the same when he was in the pow camp. when he was on the run heated in a coal mine shaft, the men wrote
about it and the only thing i found that he got wrong and he was very insistent about this, organize the attack on this train named louis bowtie, became the first prime minister of south africa, he was a young, charismatic, exciting general, they became friends later in life and churchill always insisted those who captured him, later churchill's son started researching the biography of his father and he said i have done the research and don't think it could have been -- personally captured you. churchill said it was, end of discussion. but it wasn't. he was there and organized it but thought everything and
talked about it but that is the main thing. >> this is a general historical question, in terms of deciding what to use in your research and what you don't use when you do your research. how do historical writers avoid revising history to their own liking? how do you avoid revising history to your own personal opinions? >> guest: i do a lot of research and don't come at it with an opinion, i wrote a book about james garfield, i came to admire him, i was wanting to write about alexander graham bell, i found out he invented something
called -- and into his first term. and and he was a decent, modest human being, and that he is an extraordinary man. i took them as i found him and that is what i tried to do with all these books. >> i know what he is complaining about. in his first multivolume incomplete history of the roosevelt administration and jack kennedy, a very distinct
ideological point of view, may have been bending history to suit his ideology. >> guest: absolutely. of course it does. >> my question is about destiny of the republic. i came away can we missed out on a potentially great president. i want your thoughts on if garfield had not been assassinated what type of president do you think he would have been and would he have been different from other 19th century presidents? >> i agree. i believe he would have been one of our great presidents and i think he is an inspiration to the country because he came from such poverty and seemed to bring the country together in a way that was in sharp contrast to what happened after lincoln's assassination divided the country even more and it is
because so many admired him and placed so much hope into him. he was a progressive thinker for that time. you can imagine he didn't want to be president. was forced, shoved into this situation. because of that he was uniquely powerful because he wasn't beholden to anyone. had not made promises or sacrifices because it is not something he hungered for. used to call it presidential fever and he saw it around him. i think that would have made him a uniquely powerful president and quite a loss to the country. >> we were talking before, i came to the end of destiny of the republic preventing a sense loss for this man never had an
opportunity to be the president. >> you made a brief reference to the british policy of concentration camps before the war which is one of the more shameful episodes in the british empire's history and its impact on women and children and other noncombatants. did churchill ever acknowledged that? did that affect him in any way? >> guest: what affected him was his own imprisonment. it affected him deeply. he never forgot it. even though it was on the other end of the spectrum from the concentration camps, for those who don't know, the british had gotten into the war thinking it would last a couple months, starting in october and out by christmas and lasted three years so by the end they were desperate to get out and did some pretty horrible things,
resorted to a different policy, setting up concentration camps for women and children supporting these men who were fighting in the field, that i wouldn't have any support and it was disastrous, native africans forced into concentration camps and even more died in the boars. churchill's imprisonment of the boars were either to show the british that they were civilized. the british dismissed them as being backwards. they allowed incredible leniency but churchill couldn't stand the idea of being captured. he said he hated that period in his life more than he had ever hated any other period in his whole life and he was desperate to get out. he remembered that so later on
in public life, becoming health secretary it was one of his missions to show compassion to his prisoners, he made sure they had access to books and the outdoors and could exercise because he said whether or not they are guilty of a horrendous crime, they are still human beings. >> i would like to say your first two books are wonderful, some of the best i ever read. my question is early on in the book there is a passing reference to teddy roosevelt and the other journalists met him in cuba, i couldn't believe how close this two seemed. could you contrast teddy
roosevelt and winston churchill? >> guest: throughout the process i kept thinking how much they remind me of each other, how many similarities, young, ambitious men, very arrogant, drive everybody around them crazy, incredibly well read, very talented writers, had so much in common and that is why they didn't like each other, too similar, and definitely wasn't a love affair. >> since churchill went to south africa as a journalist, had certain preconceived notions about the british empire and after experiencing the boer war, how did his view change about the british empire? did he realize, you see evidence that he realized -- and if he did, some of the most amazing
things like the battle of london, when hitler was trying to take over england and was so stalwart that i don't ever want to be dominated again. did you see evidence of him changing his thinking towards what the british empire was and how he wanted it to fit into the world? >> guest: winston churchill was far from a perfect man. one thing about him is he was an unabashed imperialist, very proud of the british empire and its standing in the world and part of his mission to keep it intact. i don't think the boer war changed that. i think on the opposite side, no one thought harder than he did during the war, no one was
quicker to reach out the hand of friendship afterward that he was magnanimous, and during the boer war it got him in trouble with his countrymen and it was true later in his life. that was a constant, at that time and for many years, and imperialist. >> it was an extraordinary book, how much i enjoyed reading it. as i was reading it i totally marveled at the conversations the characters had, as if you had a tape recorder in your room. i was wondering what you drew
upon similar to what they were saying to each other. >> guest: my father said the same thing after he read this book, the dialogue you had is like a novel or something. very important to me that everybody knows that this is all absolutely actual, i get that dialogue from letters, accounts they wrote themselves. i was talking to churchill and he said this or that and that is where it comes from. there is a trend in narrative nonfiction that we just get, in general these were my sources, but in my book you can look it up, i use notes, you can say how does she know he said that? turned to the notes and you can look it up yourself.
that is something that is really important to me, going back to primary source material, takes a long time before i will commit to a subject even if i think it is a fantastic story that there have been stories that broke my heart because i wanted to tell them, and source material to work with to have that dialogue, have those details to bring a story alive and so unless i do i won't commit to it and i had a wealth of information to work with for this book. >> you may have touched on this earlier concerning the river of doubt. as i was reading it i was amazed, why theodore roosevelt was doing this? why do you believe -- what was his motivation for doing it?
i don't want to give my own opinion. >> host: theodore roosevelt lost the election of 1912 and goes to south america and goes down this incredibly dangerous rapid choked rivers that no one knows -- the river of doubt, because no one knew where it would take them and what was around each bend and the reason he did it was he was theodore roosevelt and winston churchill would have done it too. he had won throughout his life and he loses this contact and is a pariah for the first time in his life, put woodrow wilson, a democrat in the white house, splits the republican vote, and
he is devastated. to go on a speaking tour, incredible sentiment in many books, so he is going to take another collecting trip, he gets there and he lets this friend of his -- hired on arctic explorer to plan this trip to the amazon so they are not even prepared for a collecting trip. and map and unmapped river and theodore roosevelt is going to say no to that you and this outrageously dangerous trip. >> talk a little bit about how you reconstructed the events after president garfield was
shot, particularly the medical treatment he received? of the doctors had left him alone he might've lived. >> guest: right, he would have, for those who don't know garfield was shot in a train station where the national gallery now sits and to my outrage there is no plaque, no notice at all an american president was shot here but the bullet that hit him in the right side of his back didn't hit vital organs or his spinal cord. 's injuries were far less severe than reagan's when reagan was shot. he had 12 doctors, especially this beautifully named doctor doctor willard whose first name was doctor, repeatedly inserted fingers and instruments in his back probing for this bullet, joseph lister of listerine
discovered antiseptic 16 years or earlier and spoke to american doctors, it is sickening to watch this through the lens of 135 years happening to this extraordinary man. i went -- to the kind of research at the library of congress even though garfield was president for almost 18 years, a lot of people surrounding it. the autopsy report there, more than that i held in my gloved hand a section of garfield's spine with a red plastic pen going through where the bullet had gone through and it is stunning and also strangely they have the assassin's drawer
because they have remains -- they have the remains of john wilkes booth, in the same drawer, a femur, anchor bone, a jar with a chunk of his brain, he was insane, mentally ill, after he was executed they exhumed his body and wanted to study it. and physical signs of insanity, he cut up his brain and sent it to experts around the country and sent it back, and they still have it. >> started this program, the best status -- a 5-year project.
thank you very much. [applause] >> and you're watching booktv on c-span2. this is live coverage to have 16th annual national bookiv festival in washington d.c. the next author you'll hear speak in the history andl biography room will be jon meacham talking about his biography of president george h.w. bush. that's in about an hour and 15 minutes or so. right now here on our set in the entrance of the convention center we are joined by author and associate editor of "the
washington post," bob woodward,a whose most recent book is this, "the last of the president's men." bob woodward, who's the last of the president's men? >> guest: alexander butterfield who was one of nixon's deputies, actually had the office adjacent to the oval office for a couple of years who was in on the deceits and secrets and decided to disclose the existence be of the secret -- existence of the secret taping system which provided the evidence that led to nixon's downfall and resignation. >> host: did he disclose it on purpose? >> guest: well, this is one of the stories in the book. butterfield's wife thinks he did, that he wantsed to tell -- wanted to tell. butterfield kind of denies that and then acknowledges he was quite upset about the lies and the extent to which he'd been drawn into this web of
corruption in the nixon white house. so people come out differently. what i'm able to chart with the documents and the extensive interviews with butterfield andt his story he's never told in detail is the various steps, if you will, stations of the cross in making that decision. >> host: well, bob woodward is our guest and, of course, you know him from the watergate era and "all the president's men" and 17 other books that he has written. his most recent just came out last year, in 2015. we're going to put the phone numbers up on the screen because this is your chance to talk with bob woodward. 202 is the area code. east and central time zones, 748-8200. you can dial in there. now, if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones, it's 202-748-8201. there's a third way of getting ahold of us. this is not for phone calls, this is simply for text messages.
and if you do send a text message, please include your first name and your city so we can identify you that way. but the text message number is 202-838-6251, and we'll get to your calls and text messages very quickly as we go through. bob woodward, it's been 40-plus years since watergate happened. how did you find -- what did you find with alexander butterfield? >> guest: i ran into him at a conference and said we ought to talk. we started talking. i went to his home in la jolla, california, because i realized the personal story, the struggle, the issue of moral choice had never really been laid out. when i visited butterfield, i asked, do you have any documents? and he said, oh, yeah, a few. twenty boxes. thousands of documents which i had never seen before which hadn
not been known to the world. and it's, again, a whole additional layer of nixon's isolation, corruption,f criminality. and so it's a very close-up portrait. it's as if the camera's right in butterfield's face, peering into his soul to a certain extent as he describes exactly what happened to him. >> host: how was he able to keep 20 boxes of watergate or nixon-relate material? >> guest: when he left the white house, kind of resigned, neededd to get out in 1973 before everything was unraveling on watergate story, he just pulled his car, and his wife and hed loaded the 20 boxes right there from the executive office
building next to the white f house. b again, kind of the lesson is you don't know what you can get away with unless you try. >> host: what did you find in those 20 boxes? >> guest: again, butterfield told me stories i wasn't sure were precisely accurate, and then there would be a document describing it. one of the ones that surprised me, shocked me, in fact, was a memo, top secret memo from early 1972 that kissinger had sent to nixon about kind of a routine update on the vietnam war. and nixon wrote in his handwriting to kissing general, said, you know -- kissinger, i said, you know, the bombing in southeast asia, vietnam, has gone on for ten years, we've achieved zilch.
it's been a failure. and, of course, he was touting that the bombing was very successful. and it turns out after he's made this declaration and the bombini studies since have shown he was right. it was achieving nothing except kind of energizing the north vietnamese. and so what did nixon do? this is the year of re-election, 1972. the polling showed starkly that bombing was popular, it showed he was tough, so instead of stopping the bombing, killing people, he intensified the bombing in that year, 1972, ordered the dropping of 1.1 million tons of bombs. >> host: how did alexander butterfield get to the white house? >> guest: it was an accident.er he knew be haldeman who was nixon's top aide, chief of
staff, from ucla.an butterfield was an air force colonel. he asked to interview haldeman, and haldeman realized here's minute out of air force -- here's somebody out of air force central casting, somebody would be perfect to bring in as his deputy. he did that with nixon's approval be, but nixon didn't meet butterfield until the first weeks of the presidency. and on their meeting, the scene is described. it shows how nixon literally could not talk, all he did was mumble. >> host: 202 is the area code. 748-8400 in the east and central time zones. 748-8201 for those of you in the mountain and pacific time zones. and our text number for text message, 202-838-6251. is mr. butterfield still alive? >> guest: he is.
he's 09 years old, live -- 90 years old.bu lives in california. he's on a couple of nonprofit boards and is, you know, he was just sitting there, and this, again, is one of the journalistic lessons in all of this. you've got to show up, you've got to ask people.so and who would have ever thought it would be another dimension te nixon, the nixon presidency. and there it was just sitting. >> host: do you think a lot of the documents, the attitudes in the nixon white house were unique compared to some other white houses? >> guest: i do. historical record shows that. there was a kind of anger. there was a sense that nixon had the presidency, oh, it's his. he's been elected. it's personal, not about the
people. it's about him, and so he, in many ways, used the presidency as an instrument of personal revenge. let's get the irs, the fbi, the cia on enemies who are perceived enemies. other presidents have been vengeful, there's no questionei about it. but it was way of life, and be it was a policy in the nixon white house. >> host: president nixon died in 1994. did you ever have a private conversation with him? >> guest: no. carl bernstein and i tried a number of times, and he, declined. understandably. he did die in '94, and he spent -- and so that was 20 years after he resigned whichh was in 1974. and nixon spent that 20 years giving interviews to david frost, writing books, his
memoirs. and to a very large extent, he spent that time declaring a war against history to kind of say, well, what i really meant, watergate was just a blip. it was not as serious as people made it out to be. and, of course, nixon resigned not because of the democrats or the media, he resigned because of the republican party which saw this evidence in the final tapes, all of the testimony exemplified by barry goldwater, the conservative from arizona who took the position too many crimes, too many lies. >> host: at what point, bob woodward, in 19 72-73 did you know your life was going to change and revolve around this? >> guest: it was incremental.
in october 1972 before nixon was reelected, carl bernstein and i had written lots of these stories. people didn't believe it.oc it was inconceivable. and carl, to his credit, realized that it was likely nixon was going to be impeached because there was so much here, there was so much corruption, so much sabotage and espionage directed at the democratic presidential candidates. >> host: let's begin with a call from ray in ottawa, illinois. ray, you're on with author bob woodward. go ahead. ray. >> caller: mr. woodward -- >> guest: hi. >> caller: -- i'm a big fan of your writing, and i really appreciate the work you've done covering washington. i want to make this as concise as i possibly can. would you ever consider writing a presidential history of mr. obama? and what is your opinion in your
coverage of washington as to why the republicans hate the man so deeply that they will never work with him and they tried to sabotage his presidency? >> host: all right. we got the point, ray, thank you. >> guest: okay. thank you. i've written two books on obama. obama's wars about the afghan war policy making and then the second one, the price of politics, about the budget negotiations with the republicans. about the budget negotiations, obama has a mixed record, achieved a good number of things, a lot of democrats agree with this. he did not develop personal relations with people in congress, could have done a lot more on money issues. i think