tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 25, 2016 11:47am-12:01pm EST
decline of white working-class americans as outlined. the new york times recommends that in order to better understand donald trump in election 2016, read thomas frank's listen liberal where he argues the democratic elite has abandoned its traditional commitment to the working class. in the populist explosion, they contend that both major parties are turning elections into a circus of populace ideas. and historian nancy eisenberg provides a history of class in america and white trash. that's a look at the books the new york times has suggested to help understand the 2016 presidential election. many of these authors have or will be appearing on the tv. you can watch them on our website, but tv.org. >> john miller, what do you do here at hill stone college? >> i'm director of the journalism program which means i oversee a program that includes a campus newspaper and a radio
station, a bunch of scholar ships and i teach some classes. >> what down, is that the dow? >> that is the great michigan business name from midland michigan. >> and may have contributed here to hill staff. >> yes, the program is named after herbert h dowell so it's an individual gift, but he is of that family. >> what you do at national review? >> , writer for national review. i've been on the staff for 18 years. it was a full-time job for a long time. i lived in washington d.c. and worked out of the washington bureau. five years ago i got recruited to come to hillsdale and i have remained on the staff of national review, but it has become very much a part-time thing. >> you're from michigan originally. >> i am from detroit, born and raised in and around the city, and i went to university of michigan and upon graduation, went out to washington and unexpectedly had a chance to
come back home five years ago. >> what was that experience like. >> that was great. i liked living in washington d.c. emma i was not looking to leave. my wife and i just thought we would spend maybe the rest of our days there. we sometimes talked that maybe we would retire to michigan, but then i was fortunate enough to get a phone call and get a job here and we kept talking about were moving home, and that's what it felt like. >> are you glad you did that? >> oh yes. i don't miss washington. i liked living there, but, but i don't miss it. i prefer it in michigan. it does feel like home, and hillsdale is a great place to live and work. i like the small town and that was new me and my wife, it was a bit of culture shock, the small
rural aspect of it, but hillsdale college is just a great place to work. the students the students are excellent, they are smart and hard-working which is true of a lot of selective colleges, but they're really good people. i enjoy being around them and they make me feel young. >> so john muller, after four years of studying journalism with hillsdale, what you hope your students leave with? >> i hope they leave with a major in a different subject. journalism is a minor. we don't think it should be a major. we think students should major in one of the traditional academic disciplines. the best training you can have for being a journalist is not to major in journalists. it's to major in biology or economics or history. let one of those professors feel your fill your head with knowledge that you can bring to work. they leave with that. they leave with the traditional liberal arts education. that's the best thing hillsdale can do for them. it is a minor and we do a few
things in the classroom, but you learn journalism by doing journalism. at the center of our program, we have the kansas newspaper, the campus the campus radio station and students actually running these things and learning how to be a print journalist or broadcast journalist doing internships and by the time there for years are over, they are pretty good and they get jobs, if they want them, in the media. >> you are a writer and you've just written a new e-book that is available. who is james strang question that. >> is like string or strong, but the bowel is strong. james strang. the book is called the polygamist king and it's a true story of murder, lust and exotic taste in america. it tells a story of this remarkable man, james strang who, in short, tried to form a theocracy in lake michigan called beaver island, in the
19th century and well, things didn't go so well for him there. it's a fascinating story about a colorful man who tried to do this amazing thing. >> how did you discover the story? >> well, growing up in michigan, i learned a little bit about michigan history. when i was a kid, i was, i was always in envious of other states. i always thought all the great civil war battlefields were out east nothing happened in michigan that was something that i was concerned about. there were no battles in michigan, there weren't any forts to speak of, there's a couple, but nothing significant. at some point along the way i learned of the story, and i'm not sure where, but if you make an effort to study michigan history, read up on it and the explorers who came here, the people who lived here, the things that did happen, you did happen, you eventually stumble upon this footnote in michigan history of this guy named james strang who attempted this
remarkable project on beaver island. >> what was his relationship. >> so james strang was a mormon. he was born in upstate new york around the erie canal time. he grew up in a desperate he didn't believe in god at all, but eventually he came to a church, he either changed then changed his mind or he started faking it. eventually, he moved out west with his wife into wisconsin with some of her relatives and they were mormon. eventually he did cited to become a mormon himself, and he traveled to illinois. this is a a town on the mississippi river where he met joseph smith who was the founder of mormonism, the guy who wrote the book of mormon or translated into in english. he's essentially the author of the book of mormon. the only creator of a major religion since mohammed, and islam. so he met joseph smith, become a
mormon under him and when joseph smith was murdered, when he died, strang said i am the successor to joseph smith. i will now lead the flock, and he claimed to have a letter of appointment from joseph smith. it's a forgery. people would know it almost immediately but he forged a letter naming him his successor. he wanted to succeed smith. his great rival was bring him young and we know he won out in this match and took the mormons to utah and the rest is history, but these guys were locked in a power struggle. they quickly became apparent that the other was the favorite of mormons. most decided they would follow him but strang became a dissident leader. he said i'm against split polygamy. to take my people and were going
to form our own mormon colony and they eventually wound up on beaver island. >> was he a monogamous? >> he was originally. one of the reasons why a lot of mormons come at the time were attracted to him is because he rejected polygamy. young and joseph smith had practiced polygamy in secret. james rejected it. a lot of people liked that and they were drawn to him for that reason. eventually he did get to beaver island, hundreds, possibly more than a thousand people followed him there, and as he became a king, he was a political political leader, but he had a coronation ceremony and called himself a king, he was the king of beaver island, as power maybe went to his head, he rethought the whole polygamy thing. he had a wife, a woman he had moved out west with, but then he decided to take a second wife
and a third and a fourth and fifth, and eventually he had five wives and children with all of them and he was a practicing polygamist by the time he was on beaver island. >> this guy was in the newspapers quite a bit. the modern figure that we might compare him with was david crash. if you can think back to to date decades ago, he was kind of like that. he was a figure of interest and became of interest as he clashed with locals on beaver island because it was a fishing colony there are people who did not belong but also people in the region. eventually it came to more more attention of the federal government.
he was certainly a person of interest. >> did you write the story, derided as an adventure tale or a lesson? >> it's just a story. if it's in a genre, i'd call it historical narrative nonfiction. i just try to tell a great story. as a writer i'm always looking for stories to tell press release stories that haven't been told before or exactly in the way i think they ought to be told. this was that way. i knew the contours of the case. a number of years ago, it always occurred to me there was a great book to be done on this figure. the opportunity, the e-book opened up because i thought the story is not worth the full book. it's not worth 60 or 80000
words. it's worth something less than that i think. it's a page turner of a story that gives her the basic facts. the e-book is 17000 words. you can do it in 90 minutes. it's like a really long magazine article, as long as any magazine could hold. they open up this state. i wanted to try the form, i thought this was a good story to tell. >> if of people were interested in purchasing this as an e-book, $2. >> it's 299, it's available only on kindle. you have to buy from amazon. amazon is actually my publisher in addition, they don't sell the book, but they are my publisher the way doubleday or harpercollins have published other books of mine, amazon is
my publisher and you have to read it on the kindle platform. >> did you have an editor? >> i did. >> it's amazon. >> it's a branded product called a kendall single. there are singles of these e-books in the ten or 20000 word range and i had an editor and i got a copy editor and they made a very attractive cover for the book that i had nothing to do with except to nod my head and say i like that one, but i did have an editor. >> did you get a stay. >> i got a very small amount of money, it was almost an entirely royalty-free deal. >> i was this process different than writing a more traditional book? >> it was faster, for one thing. it was done much more quickly in terms of finishing the manuscript and seeing the product, available to readers. when you don't have to print
thousands of copies of a book, when you just need to upload it, basically, it can be almost instantaneous. the real work was the research and the actual writing. we went through a few rounds of editing. when it was done, it was almost push a button and it was live. >> have you thought about an expert? >> i have, i'm trying to decide whether or not i want to do another e-book or a full-length book. i've written a novel so i'm wondering about another novel, but i'm not at work at anything at the moment. >> john miller, director of the the journalism program at hillsdale national correspondent for the national review and author of the e-book available on kindle. the polygamist king. this is book tv on c-span2. >> cspan, where history history unfolds daily.