tv The Polygamist King CSPAN December 3, 2016 11:00pm-11:16pm EST
>> guest: and what data. >> host: the dow of the great michigan business name for middle and michigan . . . i'm a writer for national review. i've been on the staffer ate half years but i lived in washington d.c. and worked there. i got recruited to come to hillsdale five years ago and i've remained on the staff of national review but it's very much a part time. i was born and raised in and around the city and went to the university of michigan and upon graduation went to washington and unexpectedly had a chance to
come home five years ago. >> what was that experience like. >> that was great. i liked living in washington d.c. i was not looking to leave. my wife and i just thought we would spend the rest of our days there. we sometimes talked about maybe we would retire to michigan, but then i was fortunate enough to get a phone call this and get a job here and we kept talking about moving home and that's what it felt like. >> are you glad you did it? >> i don't miss washington. i liked living there, 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 liked the small town. this was new for me and my wife. it was a bit of a cultural shock, the small rule part of it but this college is a great place to work. the students are excellent.
they are smart and hard-working which is true of a lot of selective colleges but the good people. they make me feel young and i enjoy being around them. >> after four years of studying journalism, what do you hope your students leave with? >> hopefully we leave with a major in a different subject. journalism is a minor at hillsdale college. we don't think it should be a major. we think students should major one of the traditional academic disciplines. the best major is not to major in journalism but history or biology and that those professors fill your head with real knowledge you can bring to work. they leave with that. a traditional liberal arts education, 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 here we have the campus newspaper, the campus campus radio station and students actually running these things and learning how to be a print journalist or broadcast journalist doing internship. 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? >> the book is called the polygamist king in the subtitle is a true story of murder, lust and exotic faith in america. it tells a story of a remarkable man who, in short, try to form a theocracy on an island called beaver island in the 19th
century. while things didn't go so well for him, but it's a fascinating story about a colorful man who tries to do this amazing thing. >> how did you discover the story? >> growing up in michigan, i learned a little bit about michigan history. when i was a kid i was always envious of other states. i always thought all the interesting things happen elsewhere and that nothing happened in michigan that was something i was concerned about. there were no battles in michigan or sports but nothing significant. at some point along the way, i learned if you make an effort to study michigan history and read up on it, the explorers who came here in the original people, the things that did happen, you, you eventually stumble on this footnote in michigan history,
this guy james strang who attempted this remarkable project on beaver island. >> what was his relationship? >> so he was a mormon. he was born in upstate new york around the erie canal time. he grew up in aps. he didn't believe in god at all, but he eventually came to a church point. he either changed his mind or he started faking it, but eventually he moved out west with his wife into wisconsin with some of her relatives and they were mormon. eventually he decided to become a mormon himself and he traveled to illinois town on the mississippi river where he met joseph smith who is the founder of mormonism or translated it into english. he's essentially the of the book of mormon. the only creator of a major religion since mohammed and islam, joseph smith was.
so he met him, became a mormon under joseph's method when joseph smith was murdered, when he died, strang said died, strang said i am the successor to joseph smith. i will now lead the flock. he claimed to have a letter of appointment from joseph smith. it's a forgery. people knew it almost immediately, but he forged a left letter claiming it was from smith. his great rival was mr. young and we know he won out in this match and took the mormons to utah and the rest is history. these guys were locked in a power struggle. it quickly became up here and that mr. young was the favored. most decided they to follow him, but strang became a dissident mormon leader. he set i'm against polygamy. i went to take my people and were going form our own colony and they eventually will wound
up on beaver island. >> was he monogamous? >> he was originally. one of the reasons why a lot of mormons were attracted to him at the time was because he rejected polygamy. they had practiced it but in secret. it became official later on. james strang rejected it. a lot of people liked that. they were drawn to him for that reason. eventually he did get to beaver island, hundreds, possibly more than 1000 people followed him there and as he became a king, he was a political leader a political leader but he had a coronation ceremony and called himself a king. he was the king of beaver island and power went to his head. he decided, he rethought the whole polygamy thing. he had a wife, a woman he moved west with that then he decided to take a second second wife and
a third and a fourth and fifth and eventually he had five wives and children with all of them and was a practicing polygamist by the time he was on beaver island. >> how well-known was the story at the time. >> at the time it was reasonably well known. he was in the newspapers quite a bit here the modern figure that we might compare him with is david crash, if you can think back to about two decades ago in waco texas pretty was kind of like that, a religious leader who wanted to have his own colony and at a certain level just left alone but also having provocations and so forth. he was a figure of interest and became increasing interest as he clashed with locals on beaver island because there was a fishing colony of people who did not belong to his sac but also people in the region. eventually it came to the attention of the federal government and their claims of
theft and piracy and so on. he's a forgotten figure now in a lot of ways but he was certainly a person of interest back in the 1850s. >> do you write the story? do write this book as an adventure tale or do you write it as a lesson? >> first of all, it's just a story. i would call it historical narrative nonfiction. i just try to tell a great story i'm always looking for great stories to tell, preferably stories that haven't been told before or at least in the way i thought they are to be told. i knew the contour of the case of a number of years ago and it always occurred to me that there's a great book to be done on this figure. the opportunity, the e-book opened up because i thought the story is not worth a full book, it's not not worth 60 or 80000
words. it's worth less than that, a page turner of a story that gives us the basic facts. you can do it in 90 minutes so it's like a really long magazine article. the e-book opens up the space in our reading habits from a long magazine article to a short book that can occupy that space. i thought this was a good story to tell. >> of people were interested in purchasing this as an e-book. >> $2. >> it's available only, it's 299 and it's only on kindle. you have to buy it from amazon. amazon is actually my publisher. they sell the book and they are my publisher the way doubleday or harpercollins has published other books of mine. you have to read it on the
kindle platform. >> did you have an editor? >> i did. >> amazon? >> yes. it's a branded product called a kindle single. there are a series of these and i had an editor and i got a copy editor and they made a very attractive car cover for the book that i had nothing to do with except not my head and say i liked that one but i did have an editor. >> did you get an advance on something like that. >> it wasn't even in advance. i got a small amount of money but it's almost an entirely royalty deal. >> how is this process different than writing a more traditional book? >> it's faster, for one thing, and i was done more quickly in
terms of finishing the manuscript and seeing the product become available to readers. when. when you don't have to print thousands of copies of a book, when you just need to upload it, basically, it basically, it can be almost instantaneous. the real work was the research and the writing. when i was done, it was almost push a button and if life. >> have you thought about the next book? >> i have, i'm trying to decide if i want to do another e-book for another full-length book. i've written a novel so i'm wondering about another novel, but, but i'm not at work at anything on the moment. >> john miller, director of 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.
>> a look at some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to indy bound, a group of independent bookstores affiliated with the american bookstore association. jd vance remembers growing up in and moving away from the appellation region. bernie sanders shares his experiences from the democratic primary and weighs in on current and political social issues. megyn kelly recalls her personal life and professional career in her memoir settle for more. bruce springsteen's memoir, born to run is next. a look at the nonfiction bestsellers according to indy bound continues with fox news host bill o'reilly and the recount of the defeat of japan during world war ii in killing the rising sun. daily show host trevor noah remembers his childhood and apartheid era south africa in the book born of crime.
mary oliver reflects on her life as an author and poet in upstream. in between the world to me, last year's national book award winner, they give their thoughts on the current state of black america. anna kendrick presents the collection of essays in scrappy little nobody. that's a look at some of the nonfiction bestsellers according to indy bound which represents several sellers across country. many of these will be appearing on the tv and you watch them them on our website, booktv.org. >> sunday i'm book tv in depth, we are hosting a discussion on the 1941 attack on pearl harbor on the eve of the 70 for the anniversary. on the program, countdown to, countdown to pearl harbor, 12 days to the attack, and craig nelson with his book pearl harbor, from infamy to greatness followed by an interview of
survivor and an american sailors first-hand account of pearl harbor. we are taking your calls, tweets and e-mails live from noon - 3 pm eastern. go to booktv.org for the complete schedule. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you all of you for coming here tonight. it really truly is a privilege for me to introduce medea to all of you. she is the reason i am on all of these committees, and the reason i am a part of the peace movement in fresno. in 2012, when she came to speak to us about her drone warfare book, i joined the movement. i joined the group out on the street