we are live now from the 2013 gaithersburg's book festival. here's our lineup for today. in a minute john turner will present his biography on brigham young. melvin goodman talks about his book national insecurity:the cost of american militarism. .. the story of the bankers in charge of the top three world bank's during the recent financial crisis. our live coverage concludes with
a panel on independent bookselling. that is our lineup for today live from the gaithersburg book festival on the grounds of gaithersburg city hall. here is john turner. >> good morning. welcome to the gaithersburg fourth annual book festival. my name is johnny susman and i make gaithersburg resident. gaithersburg is the vibrant diversity that celebrates and supports the arts and humanities. we are pleased to bring you this event, free of charge thanks to the generous support of our sponsor so please visit them today and say thanks. a couple of quick announcements of consideration for everyone here. please silence all of your devices. in order to keep improving his event we need your feedback. surveys are available on our web site paired your thoughts are important to us so please take a couple of minutes to fill one out. by submitting a survey you'll be entered into a drawing for a net
e-reader. john turner will be signing books immediately after this presentation. copies of his books are are on sale at politics and prose tends and if you have questions after he is finished please use the microphone. john turner author of "brigham young" pioneer prophet's assistant professor of religious studies at george mason university in fairfax virginia. he is author of bill bright a crusade for christ winner of christianity today's 2009 award for the best book in history and biography. he describes his writing is revolving around the place of religion in american history, subject rarely free of controversy and often full of color. in his first book he used the crusade as a lens through which to analyze evangelical efforts to restore american politics and education to the christian roots. his essays and reviews about religion in america have
appeared in "the new york times," "wall street journal," "washington post" and "the los angeles times." this portrait of reagan young emphasizes young's early religious experiences and the transformative effect of joseph smith murder and an approach to leadership. young's outsized family and his 30-year battle with u.s. government to control the utah territory. the book is appeared on many best of lists probably because while it is well researched almost scholarly biography it is so well-written and so enjoyable to read, it makes it very readable biography. maybe john will tell us how he was able to pull this off. please help me welcome john turner to the gaithersburg took festival. [applause] >> thank you. today i'm going to -- [inaudible]
i will be loud. i will do my part. today i'm going to introduce you to a man who believed in a plurality of gods, a plurality of wives and a unity of power. that was a very explosive combination in mid-19th century america. reagan young, a man who presided over the colonization of a thousand mile stretch of the american west whose spiritual fire builds up and saved a church, whose actions prompted the president to send one fifth of the u.s. army to utah and who married 55 women along the way. were it fiction his would be perfectly preposterous. i want you to first meet brigham young shortly after one of his greatest uccesses.
in november of 1847 young bus about 46 years of age. he was at the time a strong barrel-chested man about my height, with a full head of the sandy red hair. the previous summer young had led 150 mormon pioneers to the salt lake valley. he then returned to a weigh station on the missouri river. the next year he would leave thousands of his followers to their new zion in what became utah. in the meantime, young decided to reconstitute what the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints calls the first presidency. joseph smith, the founding profit and first president of the church had been murdered
three years earlier. after joseph smith's death, the mormon people had chosen a group called the quorum of the 12 apostles to collectively leave the church and smith's absence. brigham young was president of the 12. now, several years later, he wanted to streamline leadership and after his successful pioneer trek, he asked the other apostles to affirm him as the church's president. almost all of them opposed to young's idea. it would augment his authority at their expense. one apostle, a man named orson pratt explained that he thought of the apostles, the leaders of the church, as functioning more like the house of representatives. young accordingly should at like
a speaker of the house, not like a president. that was orson pratt's idea. this was brigham young's response. on congress. if only mitt romney had named made that his campaign slogan last year instead of believe in america we probably would have had our first mormon president. everybody could get behind that. brigham young used to say that he only swore when he was in the pulpit. that actually was not true. he swore at other times as well. i will try not to quote to generously from him today. back to the story. young insisted that he would make decisions for his church without any interference from
other church leaders. it's a lot falls on a man to be kaine, izzy not kidding? i just will be perfectly untrammeled. he denigrated the apostles who opposed him and he insisted that he stood in authority over them all. i am the mouthpiece he said to them, you are the belly. get in the harness or get out of the way. those were the only two options. the other apostles considered young's proposal for two weeks. they had a series of meetings about the church's leadership. then at a final meeting on the subject, young argued his point with intense spiritual fervor. he sang and he shouted in the power of the holy spirit.
glory hallelujah he interjected into his speech. the other apostles could not resist the sheer force of brigham young's will and they got in line and affirmed him as the president, prophet and revelator of their church. after the last contentious meeting, the group retired to a nearby cabin, saying the pioneer song and then drank a delightful strawberry wine. the pioneer song is probably now the most famous of mormon hymns. calm, come ye saints. it is with affirmation that all is well. that was brigham young approaching the height of his power. 1847. if you had met him back in 1830,
when he was nearly 30 years old living outside of rochester new york you would never have predicted that hwould have ednt to anything of note. he was a drifter in nearly every sense of the term, on the economic and religious margins of american society. he grew up poor without the benefit of any formal education. his mother died when he was 14 and his father kicked him out of the home after he remarried. as a young man, brigham young moved from town to town nearly every year in search of some prosperity and stability. he never got ahead. young also grew up riderless in terms of religion. he spent some time as a young adult kind of dabbling with methodism and then in 1830 he came across the "book of mormon"
after missionaries gave a copy to one of his brothers. young read it but he didn't know at first what to make of the gold bible as it was called. young was a deliberate man who didn't want to be pushed into anything and so he spent about two years thinking about this new book, this new church, this new religion. then in 1832, he saw a group of mormon missionaries speaking in unknown spiritual tongues. for young, this was a clear display of god's power, a sign that the church of the new testament was being restored. along with most of his relatives, young was baptized and immediately he became a missionary for his new faith. brigham young was a fiercely independent man. he didn't want the other
apostles to interfere with him once he became the church's leader. but he departed from that fierce independence when it came to the mormon prophet joseph smith. being smith's disciple meant following the prophet into all sorts of -- just as smith taught his followers to gather together, to live in a community with each other but when the latter day saints flooded into a new area, they always generated opposition from nonmormons. in 1830, young had to flee from ohio where he had moved to follow smith to missouri. two years later he had to flee from missouri to illinois. during these years, as the church experienced what was almost crisis after crisis, most
mormons, at least questioned joseph smith's leadership and many rejected him. brigham young never dead and smith rewarded that loyalty by drawing young into his inner circle. by 1839, young had become president of his church's quorum of the 12 apostles, a group mostly tasked with overseeing missionary service and the growth of the church in various places around the united states. after the church's expulsion from missouri, brigham young let the other apostles on a missionary trip to england. and i want to spend just a few minutes on his experiences there, because they illustrate the spirituality and his early approach to leadership. as of late may 1840, young had
been in england for about six weeks. there have been scores, even hundreds of converts both in the countryside and in the english city of manchester. one night while visiting with a local family, young and a good friend of his son some and afterwards spoke with each other in tongues. this is a quote from brigham young's on diary. songs, and afterwards spake with each other in tongues. since his conversion brigham young had frequently spoken in tongues but he was disappointed at this moment because the converts to the church in manchester had not yet received that spiritual gift. and the previous sunday had been pentecost or what the english called whitsun time.
pentecost is the annual christian commemoration of the holy spirit coming down like chunks of fire on top of the heads of the disciples in jerusalem, enabling people in the crowd to hear the disciples in their own languages. it happens to be tomorrow so i thought it would give good idea to bring this up today. the mormons and manchester right after which sometime were wondering if they could also experience this spiritual power. they wanted something good. young noted in his diary and so a few days later young organized a meeting of church members in manchester. we told them he wrote, to ask for the blessings of the lord and get the gifts and then, after a time of prayer and expectation he wrote, almost got
the gift of tongues. did you hear that? brother green almost got the gift of tongues. i find that very curious. what does that mean? how could one almost speak in spiritual tongues? the gift was so to speak on the tip of his tongue or he was spiritually tongue-tied, i don't know. and then as if to illustrate the practice, brigham young stood up and spoke in tongues himself and then by fits and starts over the weekend the church members in manchester experienced this gift for themselves. early saturday morning a woman named elizabeth crooks began speaking and singing in tongues as she slept. by sunday, brigham young wrote there was plenty to rise up in
the name of the lord and speak with other tongues and prophesy in the name of jesus. most people if they have any image of brigham young probably don't think of him as a pentecostal revivalist but during his first 10 years as a latter-day saints, he healed the sick, spoke in tongues and encouraged others to practice such gifts. it was a time of spiritual fire. young by the way not only spoke in tongues, he also sang in unknown tongues. early latter day saints sometimes refer to this as singing songs of zion. in 1836, young sang in tongues at the dedication of a mormon temple in eastern ohio, first temple dedicated by joseph smith and his church. i find that fascinating, the idea that people saying in spiritual tongues. i would publicly pay the cost of
the "book of mormon" musical ticket in order to get to hear brigham young saying in tongues. that would be quite something. so here is brigham young as in 1840, a man full of spiritual fire and ecstasy who spoke in tongues, delivered sermons that even skeptical english audiences had a hard time ignoring. he was a man with hardly any education, with terrible handwriting, who nevertheless kept a diary and drafted long letters to fellow missionaries across england. but he was also at that time a very collegial leader, who massaged the egos of his fellow apostles and turned their respect. he worked with men whose literary talents far exceeded
his own and he got along well with apostles whose evangelistic successes outpaced his. there is no sense that he was threatened by the potential rivals. in short, brigham young at the age of 40 was a man easy to admire and enjoy. and so, how do we get from that young, when some brigham young to the man who browbeat his fellow apostles into affirming his leadership seven years later? the next several years are the crux of the story, really the full prong of brigham young's life. young returned from england to the city of nauvoo in illinois which became the church's new place of gathering. here joseph smith began teaching young the new doctrines and
rituals that would make mormonism much more than another idiosyncratic protestant church. smith, toward the end of his life, taught that god who sits enthroned in heaven is a man like unto yourselves. god was an exalted human being and righteous men. 's to be. as he was, so are we now. young explained pithily a few years later. as he is now, so we shall become. in particular, young cherished the belief that man and god continually and eternally progress in knowledge, light and intelligence. he also absorbed from joseph smith what latter-day saints latter day saints came to call the plan of salvation, that all
people exist as spirits in the pre-mortal presence of the heavenly father and then come to earth in bodily form. after experiencing both the joys of creation and the trials of earthly existence, nearly all enjoy some level of heavenly glory. and however only those righteous men and women who passed through the church's sacred ordinances would reign in celestial glory as kings and queens, as priests and priestesses unto god. they formed kingdoms on earth that would persist for an eternity. for some, including brigham young those kingdoms would be large indeed. smith revealed to young his belief that righteous men had the privilege and duty of taking
additional wives. young had one wife at that the time, mary and code angel. when joseph smith first taught beyond the doctrine of plural marriage he hesitated. he knew that it would change, possibly destroy his marriage and i'm sure he knew that it also imperiled the church but once brigham young committed to something he pursued it wholeheartedly. so it was with his conversion to mormonism and so it was with polygamy. once he was in, he was all in. he married, was sealed to four additional wives over the next few years and then another 35 or so before leaving illinois for the west. youngs wives who ranged in age from 15 to 65.
in 1872, he was sealed to his 55th and final wife. the introduction of plural marriage was one factor that led to joseph smith's demise. polygamy not surprisingly kindled a great amount of dissent within the church and a group of mormon dissidents began publishing a newspaper critical of smith's behavior. smith ordered the destruction of the dissenters printing press for which he was arrested. an anti-mormon mob then stormed his jail cell and fatally shot him. smith murder was the turning point in brigham young's life. if young was anything in this world it was a devoted follower of joseph smith. he was deeply traumatized by smith death and from that point forward, young resolved to do everything in his power to
protect himself and the church from the offense and forces that had led to smith's death. he concluded that dissent within the church opposed posed a mortal threat to his leader and he concluded that mormons could no longer tolerate living under the political authority of nonmormons. so after that point, young becomes a very different man, more fearful, corser, very concerned about preserving his own safety. so within a few years you see a man who is concerned that he establishes the sole power within the church. joseph smith once described himself as a rough stone rolling down a hill. brigham young was more like a jagged older, crashing into his
opponents and bruising a few friends along the way. still, latter day saints to this day revere him for good reason. he stabilized and perhaps saved his church after joseph smith death. he preserved the rituals introduced by smith that still distinguish his church. he established a sanctuary for tens of thousands of despised and ursa kidded religious refugees. by the time of his death there were a are around 100,000 mormons living in the utah territory. like his church, he emerged from the obscure backwaters of the american frontier. young was in an a noneducated craftsman who became a millionaire businessman, the governor of the u.s. territory
and the second prophet of the largest new religion to take root in american soil. i am going to stop there. there is much more in the book. i would love it if you felt like asking some questions. if you have a question, please use the microphone in the back so that everyone including anyone watching on c-span can hear you. >> hi. i was wondering who exactly or what religious refugees that he welcomed? >> sure. by that i mean the mormon people. after joseph smith's death anti-mormon mobs forced the mormons to abandon their community and ella. really the pain of death. mormon settlements were burned and it came to almost open warfare between mormons and nonmormons and brigham young
agree to leave. >> i was in a mormon house watching on tv the waco con -- conflagration and because i respected my landlady i didn't say how is this any different than david koresh and the branch davidian, how is this any different from what joseph smith did 100 years ago successfully. so my question is, could this happen again or would it be to totally impossible because of all the social structure and the fact there are no territories in the west? >> i don't think you could replicate the 19th century mormon experience. brigham young by the way had a sense of humor so that was one difference. i would say also brigham young didn't lead his people into
disaster. david koresh ultimately wasn't concerned about the welfare of his people whereas brigham young didn't want to provoke a war that would wipe his people out. so i don't think it could happen again. >> knew the secret rituals of the mormon temple ceremony are almost identical to the secret rituals of the -- did you find in a background for how that happened or why that happened? >> smith self-consciously and he talked about this, used freemasonry as one of his sources for the endowment ceremony that he developed in the early 1840s. i think he was someone who was comfortable taking what he considered truth or good doctrine from any source, and so he wasn't ashamed to have found
some of that in freemasonry. there were some important differences though. for instance freemasonry was a male order. so he adapted the ceremony and changed it in important ways as well. >> how accessible did you find all the material that you researched? >> i had a great time because i was able to gain access to the entirety of the brigham young papers held by the church in salt lake city so just to reams of letters, diaries and minutes of church meetings and transcripts of sermons. i was able in the general sense to get about 98% of the collections i wanted which was wonderful so i experienced a high level of availability. >> good morning. you indicated brigham young was perhaps uneasy about the polygamy decision to adopt my and of co n
u.s. government. do you think brigham young had he been alive when the issue came to a head would he have agreed to back off of his doctrine or would he have fought it tooth and nail? >> did fight it tooth and nail during his lifetime. the u.s. government was already putting pressure on brigham young as a church. i think if bush had come to shove he would have also been willing to abandon it in order to preserve the church. he didn't think he needed to until he died in 1877. so he did, he did very much support it. i think ultimately he liked the church later did would have sought to preserve the doctrine of celestial and eternal marriage and divorce from polygamy. thank you for your questions and for being here.
i would love to talk to any of you individually afterwards. [applause] >> john turner will be signing and he will be at the signing tents over in that direction. our next author will be here in a few minutes. thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> booktv is live from the gaithersburg that vessel in maryland. now mel goodman presents his book "national security." >> welcome to the fourth annual gaithersburg book festival. i am the director of administration for the city. gaithersburg is a vibrant diverse city that celebrates the arts and humanities. we are pleased to present this event free of charge thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. please visit them and say thanks. a couple of quick announcements.
for the consideration of everyone here please silence all devices. in order to keep improving this event we need your feedback. surveys are available on line at our web site. your thoughts are important to us so please do take a couple of minutes to fill one out. i submitting a survey you will be entered into a drawing for a cool new nook e-reader. mr. goodman will be signing books immediately after this presentation. copies of this book are on sale in the politics and prose tent. also after mr. goodman speaks if you have a question please use the microphone at the back of the tent. that concludes the pro forma remarks. now being an an in urban planning and architecture geek myself mel goodman's "national insecurity" is not a book i would normally read but i'm an avid history buff and and interested in the moment his expense of the 20th century
that have tremendous influence and impact on our lives today. president eisenhower was best known for leading our chips to victory in world war ii but interestingly my research preparing for this introduction indicated that his farewell speech to the nation on january 17, 1961 was likely a close second. in his speech eisenhower said, in the councils of government we must guard against acquisition of unwarranted influence whether sought or on sought by the military-industrial complex. the potential for the disastrous rise of displays power exists and will persist. mel goodman worked for the federal government for 42 years in the army come the state department, the defense department and 25 years with the cia most recently as the division chief in the office of soviet affairs. he has authored, co-authored and edited seven books and he is currently a senior fellow at the
center for international policy and an adjunct professor of government at johns hopkins. it's clear that he is constantly writing and he has published just about everything except maybe "people" magazine. ladies and gentlemen i'm very pleased to introduce the author of the "national insecurity," mel goodman. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you for the intro and thank you for the invitation. to talk about the book here. i am glad you started with eisenhower. i am going to start with eisenhower, greatly underestimated president. are you having trouble in the back? it greatly underestimated president. john talked about one morning. i briefly want to talk about for more -- warnings that eisenhower gave and i think you will
appreciate in terms of national security policy and defense policy. you have to appreciate these warnings. first the military and industrial complex warning made at the farewell address along with george washington's farewell address the two most famous farewell address as we have ever heard. in his own hand, if you have ever looked at a rough draft of the speech and remember eisenhower was a wonderful writer. that's another area where he is misunderstood. general marshall whenever he had a problem and needed a memo written to go to the president he would always ask eisenhower to write that memo. but in his own hand he wrote congressional military-industrial congressional complex and when his brother asked him when he delivered this speech why he dropped congressional he said you know milton to take on the military industry was more than enough. i could not take on the congress too even though he knew that was where the problem was in terms of unnecessary spending on
defense and it's a problem today as well. the second warning came from a speech he gave in the first year of his presidency and that was the cross of iron's speech. he wrote the cross of irons speech himself and like the first draft of the farewell address. malcolm moose was instrumental in putting together that speech but in the cross of iron speech in 1953 he warned about unnecessary spending on defense that if we spent too much on defense we would not able to do in the domestic grain of the things we needed to do in terms of infrastructure and schools, education and certainly a situation where we are today. in one of the more eloquent phrases that the speech he tried to remind the american people that when we are spending money on defense where also spending on the sweat of our labors in the genius of our science and engineers and that is a trade-off we should keep in mind
from time to time. the third warning i think really pertains to our current situation because the warning was in the context of the danger of permanent war and remember we have been in permanent war since the authorization of the wake of 9/11 attacks, and authorization that i think really needs to be re-examined. eisenhower's specific warning though that is so important and also captures where we are today is that when you are in permanent war over long period of time you have great compromises to personal liberty and civil liberty. when you think of just the first 10 minutes of the constitution, the fourth amendment on illegal searches and seizures, we have been there in terms of the work of the national security agency in doing warrantless eavesdropping of american cities. the eighth amendment that talks about cruel and unusual punishment, we have been there
as well with torture conducted by the cia even before the justice department and torturing beyond what the justice department memo said was legal to pursue even though those memos themselves are quite questionable. and then if you look at the sixth amendment about due process, the targeting of an american citizen by a drone in yemen, some people would argue that awlaki was a dangerous propagandists encouraging terror. that is a case that can be argued but the fact of the matter is one week later his 16-year-old son also american citizen was looking for his father and the suv he was in was targeted by a drone and his teenager was killed. due process is something we should keep in mind. and then finally if you look at the fifth amendment, the sixth
amendment in terms of fair and trials, i would bring up the case of bradley manning who is known for leaking the documents that became the wikileaks documents. he himself has testified that he was guilty of charges that could put him in jail for 20 years, but he has waited nearly three years it for a trial that the court-martial is supposed to begin next month at ft. meade. this is a real case i think of a compromise of the constitutional fight. so i think this warning about personal liberty is an extremely important warning and it certainly raises questions with regard to the drone and targeted assassinations were the drone is targeting people we can't even identify by name. they are targeted because of patterns. they ride around in certain suvs
or go or go to certain houses are there certain was -- seen with certain people but in these cases people have been targeted without knowledge of who exactly they were. these warnings that i mentioned so far were in writing. the fourth when he gave was a spoken warning and he was sitting around in the white house in the last few weeks of his administration and he was sitting with his closest advisers. he started ruminating about his eight years in the white house and what he had done in and that he hadn't done and then he said and i'm paraphrasing but i'm close to exactly what he said, god help the united states when the person who sits in his chair after me does not know how to talk to the military, does not know how to listen to the military and does not understand the games that the military place. and what the book does is when the four presidents in terms of the last 20 years argue a case that these were presidents who
did not understand the military during the cases of bill clinton and barack obama or in the case of bush father and bush junior were not willing to take on the military or deal with the military and gave too much power to the military. the book essentially turns on the event that took place or the series of events that took place two decades ago. that was in the short period in 1989 and 1991 when you have the collapse of the berlin wall, the collapse of the soviet east european military alliance the warsaw pact and then in 91 the collapse of the soviet union itself. these were then so we didn't expect to see in our lifetime except that there was a scenario involving violence. we did not expect to see the peaceful fall of the wall of the warsaw pact in the soviet union. but in going through these events the united states was given the greatest strategic opportunity that it ever had.
certainly in the post-world war ii era to do things differently, to really scrutinize defense, to see if we have any spending and what we were spending on defense to see if we needed military bases around the world that no other country has emulated. to really examine our strategic posture to see what the role of diplomacy with the negotiation and maybe been compromised in a new world arena. and i showed in the chapters on each of these four presidents that not only did they not see this opportunity, they did not understand or comprehend this opportunity but they basically conducted business as usual. so when i look at george herbert walker bush and discuss bush essentially as a unilateralist, he saw the demise of the soviet union as an opportunity to make sure that the unit in international security.
he was not prepared to negotiate with the new russia and it took the congress to put arms control on the agenda with the very important none luke are built the threat bill that reduced weapons throughout the former soviet union. not only was bush a unilateralist but he surrounded himself with unilateral that were far more dangerous than bush and of course i'm talking about dick cheney who was the secretary of defense, scooter libby and paul wolfowitz who were senior aides to cheney and this is the threesome that wrote the doctrine of unilateralism that was eventually leaked to "the los angeles times" and then tamp down but these were the same individuals who brought us the 2003 war against iraq, a totally unnecessary war in which deceit was used to march the country into war. bush was followed by bill clinton. bill clinton admitted from the
very outset and repeats it in his memoir that he didn't come to washington to deal with foreign affairs. he wanted to be a domestic president and i think most presidents we have elected thought that they could do that at the international arena takes control of an administration and bill clinton was no exception. he's took three steps that i think are particularly harmful to the united states interests. the first one was the expansion of nato, the north atlantic treaty organization which was given credit for helping to win the cold war. that is something we can talk about and something you can debate but the fact of the matter is nato was an extremely successful political military alliance and with the demise of the soviet union it brought into question the future role of nato but what bill clinton did without any debate or serious discussion was to expand nato, to enlarge nato, to bring in the former members of the warsaw
pact, the east european states and george w. bush took this further by bringing in former soviet republics as part of this former soviet union itself. so instead of trying to adopt negotiating posture with a new russia that it clearly capitulated and thus ended the cold war, we expanded the cold war alliance and doing so we really repudiated something that our secretary of state james baker has said to the soviet foreign minister before the soviet collapse when we were trying to get 300,000 soviet troops out of germany as part of the reunification of germany in 1990 and what baker told shevrin not to, did an earlier book on shevrin not scott and i have seen the doctrines, he was told by the secretary of state that if you leave germany with your forces we will not leak fraud
over germany to go into europe. for the expansion of nato that is exactly what he did. in order to understand some of the concerns that russia has with u.s. foreign policy i think you have to understand this repudiation of commitment they had not in writing but something that was said by secretary of state. the second step the bill clinton took also that i think was very harmful to national security decision-making and that was bowing to the right-wing pressure with newt gingrich and the contract of america you all remember and jesse helms who wanted to abolish the arms control and disarm the agency because they were opposed to arms control with the soviet union. clinton never should have bowed to this pressure. this was a professional group of people who were schooled on strategic systems nuclear systems and understood the soviet union and were
responsible for the negotiation of arms control agreements under richard nixon and ronald reagan, the imf treaty. he also abolished the information service, the united states information agency which was a group of his foreign service officers who went abroad to explain the united states to foreign officers. when they are so much question in the international community and a great deal of misunderstanding about the united states and those values and roles overseas. the third step that clinton took the showed his inability to deal with the military, the very warning that eisenhower gave in 1961 was bowing to military pressure and walking way from very important international treaties. these were treaties that he supported, that he was initially
willing to go to bat for it but when he confronted drescher from the military he backed away. so when you look to the conference of test ban treaty he pursued this in an extremely ineffective way and it was defeated on the hill. the first time it'd been defeated going back to a world 11 and the treaty of versailles. the ban on cluster bombs which he favored. he vowed to pentagon pressure and walked away from it. the ban on landmines, again military pressure clinton folded and finally the international covenant that talked about fanning the role of using teenagers in combat which clinton also favored and he walked away from that as well. all of these are treaties that are still in play that are being ratified by governments but the united states is essentially lined up with nations we call rogue states who have an sign these treaties. when you look at the
comprehensive test ban treaty and also the international criminal court which is an extremely important treaty you can see the harm that was done to american foreign policy as we pursue the rule that relied essentially on military power. george w. bush i don't have to really talk about. i think bush is responsible for the worst decision any president throughout our history her history and not just in our lifetime has made in national security and that was the decision to go into iraq based on a list of specious intelligence, intelligence made in which the cia and the white house cooperated to produce a phony intelligence estimate in 2002, a phony white paper that was given to the congress on the eve of their vote for the authorization to use force against iraq and all of the
problems we have created for ourselves in the international arena by turning the cia loose to conduct secret prisons and torture and abuse and extraordinary renditions. tremendous harm has been done to american national security with a war that was unwinnable on the face of it but was totally unnecessary in terms of american national security. obama for a lot of this and speaking for myself has been a huge disappointment in this area because we knew in terms of his campaign that he believed that militarism was indeed a problem. one of the great mysteries is how the pentagon essentially in obama's first term captured this president who showed a lot of indications at least to me that he wasn't timid aided by the military the same way that bill clinton was. bill clinton's admin is --
intimidation was easily understood. he avoided the draft in vietnam. he had come out during the campaign for ending the ban on homosexuality and serving in the military and frankly when he caved into the military and adopted the cynical "don't ask don't tell" which was finally overturned i obama you can see how the military thought it would capture clinton and this was a president that they had owned. obama's problems started from the very outset because when he appointed his first-term cabinet and his first-term national security team he clearly gave too much influence to the military. he appointed a retired marine as adviser and this was a deployment that didn't work out well and jones was forced to resign within 18 to 20 months of his appointment. he appointed to many general officers to be ambassadors including ambassadors to important nations such as saudi
arabia. he appointed a series of general officers to be the intelligence arm the head of the national intelligence council and i think the appointment of david trias not only a four-star general but a four-star general who was a legend on the hill but a four-star general who had very strong policy positions that rubbed up against the intelligence analysis on those positions, this was a terrible appointment that time took care of in its own way. the only encouraging thing about obama and this is something i touched on in the book but i didn't have time to really address because i was running up against the publication deadline, i think obama is aware that he has given too much to the military over the course of his first term. so i look at the decision to fully withdraw from iraq with a direct decision. the decision to withdraw the
surge forces from afghanistan which i think was the correct decision. the fact that he and his own words are the words of one of his advisers led from behind in libya which is the right thing i think the united states to do and let the europeans take the lead in the campaign against gadhafi and even the way he is struggling with his decision with regard to syria and you can debate this decision whether it's the right decision or not but i give him a certain amount of credit for understanding now that the use of the military should always be the last resort and this certainly wasn't the case in iraq and it hasn't been the case in afghanistan as we else up to 100,000 troops, the same number that the soviet union had by the way in the 1980s before they realize this was indeed an unwinnable war. it's easy to diagnose the problem. what do we do about it? let me be brief because i guessed i'm running up against my own deadline.
the need for two military station is obvious. they need to cut the defense budget i think is quite clear. the budget has undergone a series of cuts because of the national defense authorization act which called for $500 billion in cuts over a 10 year period and sequestration which no one thought would ever play a real role in the defense budget has forced the pentagon to re-examine a lot of their priorities including the pivot towards asia which i thought was very questionable when obama and announced it, the idea that now we want to use military force in the middle east and cutback in europe and we would move this military force to asia and us practice a policy of containment against china. instead of using diplomacy and pursuing china's a stakeholder in national defense we are putting more military power into asia then frankly i believe that we need. so did militarization, reducing
the defense budget and relying more on diplomacy, using the incredible strength that the united states has in the international arena in part because of this huge military presence but also the importance of the united states politically and economically. there are risks we can take in diplomacy. there is a lot of low-hanging fruit out there, recognition of cuba would be a very easy gesture for obama to make and frankly when chavez died several months ago it was a perfect opportunity sure to shock south america by recognizing diplomacy with greater in -- issue played a greater role with korea and iran. we have recognition of countries where we don't have problems but when you think of the countries that are high on the list of issues involving friction and tension we don't even have an
embassy embassy in the capitals of capital so these two countries to regularize relations and have a very institutionalized way of holding bilateral discussions with places such as iran and north korea. finally something we can all do something about just by calling our own congressman is to correct the decline and oversight of government. we have really lost the civilian institutions to check the power of the military, to check the weapons building of the military , the office of management and budget and clinton is to blame for this, which is taken out a lot of oversight roles with regard to the weapons acquisition, the congress abolished the office of technology assessment which the clinton administration which was another check on the worst kinds of weapons acquisition that we have seen. we have seen a weakening of the role of the inspector general
and various agencies particularly the intelligence community and the cia sophie looked the failures of the cia over the past 20 years there hasn't been enough emphasis in the last few years particularly since they started the first upon the administration to scrutinize these problems. so i think there is a lot we should be interested in. i think the book is trying to introduce topics that would form a discussion arena for the problem of the overuse of the military, the overuse of the spending tool with regard to the military and the overuse of the military's end and instrument in foreign policy. ..
>> kaput thank you for speaking here today so that we can hear you. my question is as a citizen, you were describing things we could do in terms of talking to congress about reinstating some of these oversight measures. but as you were describing the role of the president as the commander in chief and making these executive decisions without -- with only tertiary
support of anyone, you know, congress rubberstamp think, is there any way as a citizen voter we can do to check these incredible powers the president has to make a decision to let say go and hammer china. >> good question. i spent some time on the hill on the key issues that come to my attention, and when i talk to the staffers on the hill the one thing they say to me all the time as they rarely get calls from constituents on the national security issues or affairs issues. the problem in this country is too many people believe now we have a professional military we have a group of people responsible for defending the united states and defending american sovereignty and that we can adopt a lesser role of citizens with regard to the use of force, regard to the use of military power. so my argument with b.c. six and
in maryland i think we are lucky. in terms of chris van hollen we have a representative very keen to these issues. his parents -- i was at the state department in the 70's and knew his mother, his father was in the ambassador -- he's very sensitive to these issues. but his office gets called into the same is true for senator cardin and mikulski. senator cardin is on these issues and mikulski is conservative to put yourself and social and economic issues and that's good, but i think she needs her feet to be held to the fire on these foreign policy issues. calls are important, letters to the editor are important, just a more active concern about what is happening in the international arena because frankly i think this country is sound asleep on these national security issues and we are paying a price for that. >> thank you for such a comprehensive overview of the subject. would you comment on the
military aid that we give to countries around the world clean as having an influence on policy. >> i am a critic of military aid. if you look up the top six recipients of military aid, it is hard to see what we get backed for that kind of assistance. israel, egypt, turkey, pakistan, afghanistan and iraq. israel i would argue does not need military aid. they have a very successful economy and have to make the same choices we do about guns versus butter and frankly if they had to make those traces they wouldn't rely on guns as opposed to butter. afghanistan, we are kidding ourselves in afghanistan. we are giving millions of dollars to karzai through the cia. its military aid that is
eventually going to end up in the hands of the taliban anyway. iraq i would argue the same thing, what has the military aid gotten us? pakistan, they are not our ally. pakistan is a bigger problem for afghanistan than afghanistan is. the only country adding he could justify some military aid would be turkey, but i would argue in the case of all military sales, there should be an international tax on this money. that money should go to the united nations. the united nations should use that money to build a peacekeeping force, which president roosevelt wanted and is in the original charter of the united nations, articles 43 and 44, but it's never been fully funded and never been fully conceptualize. so that is one way to the address that problem. >> i salles and youtube one of ronald reagan's i think it was shultz speaking with one of the russians.
and he seemed to be very frustrated by the fact that you can reach an agreement with your enemy and not be able to sell it to your constituencies. in other words, there's a perception that even talking to your enemy is weak. is there any author or school that is good at promoting the idea that your worst enemy is the one you should be talking to and that is strength? >> there is a very pejorative meeting to the word compromise. when we hear the word compromise, we think of the munich agreement in the 1930's that was part of the run-up to world war ii, but negotiation and compromise and diplomacy are essentially what the founding fathers warned us we need to emphasize, not military power. john quincy adams talked about this country not going abroad to
destroy monsters. there are cases in national survival, world war ii, pearl harbor you have to use military force but look at the questionable use of military force in this country, vietnam, iraq, afghanistan, iraq and afghanistan alone are going to cost trillions of dollars so by abolishing the agency we did away with a really important diplomatic component, and when you look at the appointments to the state department, i would argue that not since schultz in the 1980's and a baker in the 1990's have we had effective secretaries of state. they had not done a job that they were appointed to do in terms of leading the way for organizing and conceptualizing and implementing foreign policy, which could be done with diplomacy by the professional foreign service officer. this has been largely observed in the breach and it has to be
corrected. john kerry by the way is a good appointment but look at the white house and the tutelage that they are putting him through a lot of not allowing him to name his own assistant secretaries of state and he is a one-man secretary without a senior staff structure. that is no way to conduct foreign policy for a major power. we only have two minutes. is there one last question? >> i know after 9/11, michael haydon said that people were given like a blank check and they were doubling down as far as security measures and all. and then there was the series in "the washington post" about the hidden government, about all of these -- it seems that nobody in congress knows the cost of a security. do you feel like all that has happened since 9/11 from your personal knowledge is making us any -- a lot laissez-faire or
are we just spending a lot of money that we as taxpayers don't know about and it is a lot of duplication? >> we are throwing a tremendous amounts of money without accountability, without responsibility, without oversight at a problem that is more of a police problem and intelligence problem than it is a military problem involving the use of tens of thousands of troops. you know, when we saw the television coverage of the tragic events of boston with the boston marathon and you could see equipment roll up in my house all these carriers marked cape cod swat team can you realize or do you ever think about the money we've thrown at communities all over this country to build up the police force, to build up security forces and swat teams without giving it any thought is wyoming
the same kind of problem area that say new york city or washington would be? we have wasted millions of dollars trying to address the problems of 9/11 and in many ways we have shot ourselves in the foot over this policy and now we are engaging in tactics creating more tourists than we are ever capturing and i would put the drone into that category. i'm afraid we are out of time. thank you very much. [applause] thank you for coming. the author will be signing copies of his books at the signing tent and you can get copies of it right here in the politics and prose bookshop right here behind us. then the next speaker will be here in just a couple minutes. also, please if you could remember to fill out the form
i'm on the book festival committee. gaithersburg is a vibrant flavor city that celebrates the honors of humanities. we are pleased to bring this event free of charge thanks to the generous support our sponsors, so please visit all the sponsors today and say thank you. a couple of quick announcements. for the benefit consideration of everybody here, please silence all devices. and in order to keep improving this event, we need your feedback. surveys are available online and on our website. your thoughts are important to us, so please take a couple minutes to fill one out. i am introducing today scott w. berg, the author of "38 nooses: lincoln, little crow, and the beginning of the the frontier's end." it's the story of the summer of 1862 with the dakota wars and
minnesota. a war that was very significant in the country but was virtually invisible because of the civil war going on and occupying our presidents and were generals time. it also was involved with the largest scale execution in u.s. history. our author, scott berg, is a native minnesota and. the location of the defense in this book. he teaches creative writing at george mason university, is a contributor to "the washington post," and is the author of a prayer book about washington, d.c. called "the story of pierre charles l'enfant the visionary who designed washington, d.c.." it is on sale in our book attend. space berg will be signing in the authors area down here after the presentation.
i have to talk about the book for me. i volunteered to be assigned a book to read, and when i saw that it was a very scholarly with lots of references book on history, on a not particularly a history buff and not a civil war buff, yet from page 1i was completely mesmerized pity that this is an incredible story that more people should know about. it is not a proud time in the united states history. and i learned so much. our author has taken -- i don't know how he has done his research because it's not like you can hear videotapes or see the film of some of the little crow the indian chief, the dakota chief who is very much a central character of this book of linco the indian wars which basically he didn't want to be
involved because the civil war was going on in the teaching his attention. so anyway, that he makes every one of the characters in this book vibrant, alive. you cared about them coming you care what happens to them and it's a very disturbing moment in our history. you draw your own moral conclusions and reading the book and it's not -- it's not a good time for america. but if any -- don't be scared of reading this piece of scholarly history because it reads like the most exciting novel and i loved reading it and i love introducing scott berg. >> thank you for those kind words and all of you for being here on this overcast day. at george mason where i teach wheelan e-book festival that's not concurrent for this one that's called fall for the book
and it's held in september. we are growing fast. this book festival is growing fast. there is a book festival on the mall as you know every fall. it's a wonderful area for this. what ienjoy it is that since we are such an author-rich area and they do such a good job carving out their own niche so it's wonderful to be here to see the letter authors that are here and to see the mix of authors and this great set up that you have here you can drop into a tent and then dropping to another and listened. thank you come all of the organizers and to jo ellen. what i want to do is this is a story that when i grew 11 minnesota, as jo ellen mentioned, we've got to the area of years ago and i've been teaching at george mason almost all that time. and when i grew up in minnesota, this thing called the dakota war was part of our history, but in my high school and my elementary school and junior high we didn't
cover it. if we did we covered it for a day and i don't remember it being covered come in yet as soon as i started doing a lot of wring history books and for the "washington post" about history and for other ve news about history, in the back of my head i had this memory of this key thing called the dakota war it has to do with all of the scandinavian to sort of settle their and the minnesota vikings and the twins and a certain kind of progressive politics. but this event, the dakota war occurs in 1862, it occurs when the state is only -- is a frontier, northwestern frontier state, very much the frontier. chicago was considered the edge of the world for many people in the east and this is well beyond that. frontier story and the state is only 4-years-old at the time and there is all of the little political sword of american nations that go into making the
state. but the story of the dakota war is the true origin but it's not just a local story. one of these efforts in this book is really to understand that this was a national story and i will be sort of getting the flavor and a second. i want to be efficient with my time because i know there is a lot else to see so what i want to do is give you a flavor of the book by reading a very short excerpt and then talk about a couple things that jo ellen mentioned, i want to talk about the basic events and sort of frame it for you and then i do want to talk about a few of the central characters, the sort of kaleidoscope of people involved in this and ultimately the way they are remarkably connected so what i want to do first before i even talk about these events is read from just the introduction, this will take about ten minutes and then it doesn't start with a dakota war engines that almost 100 years earlier than the civil
war to a farm in kentucky which was not a state yet then in 1786 that a connection to a very famous american family. on a tfternoon in 1786 when his family would be shattered in the course of his newborn country fervor altered, lincoln was 15-years-old. lincoln lived on the frontier in the far western portion of virginia in a region called kentucky most likely meaning the land of tomorrow or place of meadows. they were pioneers and like all pioneers in the ohio river valley in the late 18th century they were lucky just to be alive. four years earlier the lincoln family had crossed through the cumberland gap following a trail blazed by daniel boon and they
were assisting their father as he enclosed a cornfield working to carve out an ever larger pocket of civilization on a parcel of land beside long run a branch of a branch of the new ha yo river east of the settlement of louisville. as they helped position the fence in shot sounded. their father tumbled to the unknown and out of the woods emerged two or three indians. mordecai picked up his father's rifle and barked at josiah to move as fast as he could to the station 15 minutes distant to sound the alarm. they ran and reached the cabin his father had built just as he heard his other brother cry out. he turned to see thomas grasped by the here and trousers being carried towards the tree line. he required only analysts look and perhaps not even that to know the indians didn't intend to kill him the intended to take
him. he leveled his gun and an end in late afternoon sun and a half moon pendant dangling against the chest of his brothers after. the teenagers ana was remarkable, that one luck was with him. the indian went down. his companions vanished. thomas was not hurt. many years leader thomas's son, abraham comer risen higher in the world than any member of the lincoln plan could never have dared imagine what call this story the legend more strongly than all others in printed upon my mind and memory. abraham lincoln namesake of his murdered grandfather would never say much about his own early years in kentucky and embarrassed into a lifetime of silence by his family's shiftless less than the poverty come in yet this story of his grandfather killed by indians was told often enough in enough detail but indians longtime partner collecting books worth
of reminiscences of the late president was able to record no fewer than six versions from four different colors all second and third hand accounts tracing back to thomas or mordecai. like so many pieces of frontier color, the tale of death and the attempted abduction was the story of the westward expansion. tightly intertwined with breathless assumptions about the savagery of indians and the march of civilization. from abraham lincoln was nothing less than a back log of the posturing that helped push him towards the highest office in the land. being left and orphan at the age of six years in poverty in the new country, he wrote in 1848 during his single term as the united states representative from he became a whole the uneducated man, which i suppose is the reason why i know so little of my family history. had mordecai not shot selective
replica thomas would have been carried off into the void, and thomas and mordecai's killings the indians emerged from their. they pop out of the trees and tucked within undifferentiated violence of nature to whose embrace the return. they are without face, forum, a history or agenda. no part of the story told of the future president by his father and his uncle appears to have addressed why these particular indians would have killed his grandfather and made off with thomas. but in reality the encounter wasn't sudden or one-sided or on account will kentucky was still contested territory. the frontier fringe with a border. even by the free-for-all standards of the frontier settlement, kentucky didn't really belong to anyone.
the men attempting to make off with thomas lincoln or most likely shawnees occupied the land on the ohio river near where cincinnati would rise when the 18th century they called it our country, the shawnee is were the sons of the young the tecumseh, frontline combatants in the war renowned among white and other indian tribes for their fearlessness, of that ability, result in physical hollis. for many years - all these had been on the move shifting westward from river to river desk they chose retrenchment and survival for a final desperate stand that might mark the end of their independence. during the quarter century before and during the american revolution they fought to keep the british and then the americans east of the ohio river against odds that grew by the decade that by the lethal combination of epidemic disease carried by their opponents. the shawnees viewed themselves
as a people fighting less for land or on your ban for freedom, a prize for which they fought in rootless ways burning cabins with settlers inside defiling dead bodies and preferring attack by ambush whenever possible hitting hard and backing off in a cycle designed to create maximum fear and disruption while minimizing losses. additional knees were not bloodthirsty pitted on the contrary they could demonstrate years of the exchange to trade relationships and personal friendships to prove their amicable effort guarded approach. but those times were passed. in the 1780's a series of murders and the provisions by the white militia devastated several villages and enraged many of the shawnees responded to the loss of a young son or daughter by an old code, one that involves taking a white child in kind and raising it as they're known. this, in all likelihood, was
thomas lincoln's intended fate. before 1860, and in his election of the presidency come abraham lincoln's life intersected defense on the indian frontier so seldom just twice in fact that this intersection's served as a benchmark. the first was the death of his grandfather. the second occurred in 1832 when lincoln 32 volunteered as a soldier and the black hawk war backend was elected captain of his unit, the first taste of popularity at the polls. the success gave me more pleasure than i have ever had since. the blackhawk war took the lives of 77 whites and least 600 indians many of them women and children who drowned and were killed in a chaotic retreat across the mississippi river. lincoln himself saw no battle but cannot on the corpses of the
soldiers and settlers. he never wrote or spoke about these encounters. taking it instead to the satirical jokes about military life, and the tails of his wrestling polis against a more physically gifted opponents in his company's. lincoln's passing encounter with the reality of the frontier war was cemented once and for all by charles sanford whose biography included a tale of the future presidential launching his men to a fight in order to protect an old and hungry indian who had wandered into their camp. based on a fragmented description collected 34 years after the action, this has become the most famous story of succeeding him with indians trotted out to emphasize his brave the and compassion. during the 1840's and 1850's, the pathways bearing white settlers continue to wind their way west word treaty by treaty, displaced tribe by displaced
tribes. by the second year of the civil war one prominent arm of the movement had arrived in the northwest to get not far away from where the mississippi river began in av rall beautiful brand new state called minnesota, the name derived from the dakota word referring to the clarity of like water. in august of 1862 come as the confederate forces moved by all by myself towards washington, d.c., and lincoln struggled to connect the actions of union armies to the more exigencies of emancipation, he would once more be forced to consider the collision of whites and indians on the frontier. the dakota war first came to the president's desk as one far as the manifestation of the imagined confederate conspiracy and the decision to spare the lives of to under 65 condemned indians while sending 38 others to their deaths onngl sc largest mass execution and the country's history.
a conventional narrative of the united states indian conflict paints the civil war as a time of suspension during which the manpower and the industrial wealth of the union had to finish subjugating the south before the federal government could return its attention to the tribes of the west. but violence between whites and a number of indian nations was very much a part of the historical fabric of the civil war era. by the time of the confederate surrender of lincoln's assassination of 1865, indian wars in the southwest had seen long walk of the navajo and the murder of the friendly cheyenne as well as the opening of extended campaigns of other tribes. before any of these events, however, the dakota uprising and christmas executions of 1862 sparked a sequence of confrontations call of the indian war of the northwest
would culminate in such indelible moments as the battle of little bighorn, the flight of chief joseph, the killing of crazy horse and the tragedy of wounded knee. just as whites discovered after battling the shawnees of ohio and kentucky and of illinois and wisconsin, there was no final clarity to be extracted out of the potent brew of the year, danger, hopelessness, anchor and injustice that boiled over in minnesota in 1862. there is only bravery and cowardice, kindness and hatred, forgiveness and a vengeance. the story full of larger-than-life characters that begins with a pre-dawn meeting on the prairie along the minnesota river where an aging village chieftain is asked to make the most difficult choice. so that is my training device for a story that eventually
comes back to visit abraham lincoln. i want to give you a few facts of the dakota war because it is unfamiliar to many people. it was unfamiliar to me growing up in minnesota and tolino in my research here and there but after i had moved here it sort of fill then. but here are the facts: a series of treaties had pushed the dakota indians about 8 million acres worth of land on to the 10-mile strip of land south of the minnesota river about 40 miles long. and in a century long series of grievance baliles gove reza often does with a very sort of small but tragic incident that happens on a farm in central minnesota when the dakota soldiers are held hunting very unsuccessfully getting into dispute with the farm family and with each other and nobody is sure what happened but in the end five settlers are dead and
the dakota indians have stolen their team of horses and they are dashing back to the reservation along the minnesota river. once there, the story explodes into a war and the book narrates how this happens. a small group of warriors decided that now is the time to push back against. in the six week battle it in stews in august and september and october of 1862. the causes are many and complex. and the book sort of goes through that. these were intense battles that were fought in the streets of the small towns of minnesota and they were fought in the fields and river valleys. the involve the retreat of the 2,000 dakota indians out onto the plains and the dakota, the involve the mastering and the
reassignment of the thousands and thousands of soldiers, white soldiers that were slated for the union army. as a story coming out a military story, and lousy piece of the larger fabric of the indian war of the northwest that come to include wounded knee and come to include little big horn, the story would have been taught in textbooks aside from those had it not occurred in the civil war not because this is the second period of the run and it is a period of very close to the time of antietam which is so close by year. this war does matter but it's the story of an entire northwestern settlement of the country and it is also the first spark that leads to the war that so many events were unfamiliar
with, crazy horse and sitting bull, their lives and battles and direct outcomes of these events as the bochner rates. crazy horse must be after michael jackson and after michael jordan and after benjamin franklin when the most recognized names in american history and this is part of that sort of fabric. the dakota war ends with several thousand dakota indians. in that altered form it applies to the in guantanamo bay. that series milomityssion which begins in a fairly familiar format they need to
hurry and get off the planes and by the end of the trials they are happening in a day. eight dakota indians shackle that the hinkle are to be tried all what one said the standards of evidence and the standard of prosecution and the assumption of innocence or guilt strike us today and struck many of the observers as ludicrous and a miscarriage of justice. and in the income of 303 dakota indians are sentenced to die on the same day, december 19th. a scaffold, they begin destruction on the scaffold that can hang 40 men all at once, and the idea here is that they are going to hang authority and then bring up the next 40 and then bring up the next 40, seven and half rounds.
with the militia commanders and the enlisted newly sort of promoted union generals don't understand is that the military commission rules have been altered several times even in the first year of the civil war to indicate that all of these sentences need executive review. that is when he becomes once again engaged. if you grow up in minnesota there is a story because at the end of this, lincoln estates to madrid 65 of the sentences he wasn't coming to them and he doesn't pardon them. he just holds them off for further judgment to enter a 65 of the sentences are state and 39 impleader changed 38 are not held. there is a story in minnesota that lincoln received and is the story that you will find in some of the books and textbooks even in a ver, lincoln but lincoln received the records of
these trials, and out of his compassion, he's all the way to reduce the number of executions to the smallest possible number. there is no doubt that lincoln was an extremely compassionate man in addition to all of the other ways that he was an extraordinary president. one of the things this book outlines and becomes very clear when you sit down and read the records that are intended for over the national archives when you sit down and read the records and read the back-and-forth messages it becomes very clear that his attention was engaged to stand for most as a lawyer that whether what feelings he had in his heart for the group of dakota indians that he had never seen any of been there. but if you've read a lot about lamken coming you know the first religion he ever got was bill small.
he was a circuit lawyer in the l.a. and it is where much of his view of the world was formed and he was very much a man that viewed is about all the way that a priest would you ever see and that is what he saw on the trial records and that is a fascinating process that involves the department of interior lawyers and leaned in giving them instructions that involves a careful review of the records. and in this with a wink and a sort of extremely in remarkable moments. some of you may be familiar with the lincoln department. lincoln was killed there overnight for hours holding information in real time. this was the beginning of the real-time. the internet didn't start the real time era, the telegraph did. lincoln is sitting there sending a message a single often he would dictate messages. there is the scene in the book
where once these decisions are made, the two entered 65 sentences will be stated, and if 39 later changed to 30 and will remain in place. lincoln himself personally writes the names, the phonetics spellings of the dakota names, the number on the trial records and the crimes of which they have been accused come he gives that to the secretary that is also an extremely important character in this book would increase its another copy and that is given the telegraph operators to send a west to save these 38. and that moment is extraordinary. lincoln does. 38 hangings take place and he gets into the diaspora of course of the dakota nation. but that's really only the skeleton of the story and the facts from some of the fact are not in dispute, others of the facts are in dispute and there's
other ways to tell a story like this. it's been told. you talked about scholarly history. and grabbed the book read that we to you because i'm not a scholarly historian. i do scholarship i don't want to pretend i don't. my always bleeding in the national archives and the state historical societies and county historical society's, the scholarship happens but my background is in storytelling. my degree in creative writing this is what we call nonfiction narrative and it does attempt to sort of bring together the human stories first of all and very early when i was looking at the story i found that the mix of characters to things happen, the mix of characters vote in the east and out on the frontier was extraordinary. what became clear as i sort of did my research on the
biographies of all these people are the stories interconnected and really startling interesting many cases an amazing ways. so it is to have my cake and eat it, too to try to watch these sizeable seismic activities with many people and places and watch that happen concurrently affects my understanding of the event. i want to tell you briefly about the four major character whose stories you will see intertwined in "38 nooses." the first is the village chief that we were talking about in a little crow. a little crow is an amazing character because he doesn't fit any of the cultural stereotypes or historical stereotypes' of any native americans or any
other race for that matter. there is a pre-introduction introduction that needs to explain we are not talking about to feed lakota. a hollywood and just all kinds of other people have sort of confused that when we talk about the indian war in the u.s., we are talking about the horse riding buffalo hunting planes and having vast territory roaming native americans who existed. these are the what code the -- the lakota. they live just to the east in wisconsin and minnesota, wisconsin first and then most of
minnesota. but the year and having minnesota a and we don't think buffalo hunting or the plains and having. we think river well in, living in log houses. when you think of the lakota indian you think of a canoe for the dakota indians and so this is a little crow. a little crow is a leader among them and he very much as his foot in the two worlds and his entire life even as a young man he hunted with white fur traders and the trade them. they would hunt buffalo for the summer and sell whiskey and play cards and they would visit the indian villages. little crow had wives over the course of his life and about six different dakota and lakota
villages. he lived in a teepee but maxtor was the brick house the government provided money for. he used it for meetings and he slapped every night in his tepee. he wore a white collared shirt which was the emblem in 1862 but he never cut his hair. he went to episcopal church services but never took baptism. he was the bearer of the medicine of the dakota which indicated that he was a spiritual leader. f healer and a man in touch with histories related to the afterlife. fascinating by the wide world, twice in his life he'd gotten on trains with white politicians and to washington, d.c. and he had argued, discussed, made deals with presidents and secretaries of state. there is no dakota in the end who has seen more of the world in this momentum and will grow.
little crow is olver at this time and is no longer in the leadership position. this young ann curry had a strong band of the lakota warrior needs of leased a spokesman and they go to little crow, and he very reluctantly agrees to lead them in this war understanding very well because of what he's seen on the tide of the numbers and the tide of armaments in the hands would never allow them a final victory. and so his last statement he says we will lead you and he will leave you and he will buy with you. so we follow little crow. another character, and he is one of the most fascinating, another who becomes very important in the book is a woman named sarah wheat field. she's the wife of one of the doctors at the indian agencies. a government position best. she's taking captive. she's a fascinating character. we know about her.
we know about a little crow. a lot of people didn't leave any records behind. we know about little crow because he had done all these things and he had been interviewed and had his own words published in newspapers and translated form. sarah was a doctor's wife out on the prairie not a lot historical record of one man living on the prairie at this time either. why do we know about her so much? because she wrote a cat to the narrative with all of this is done, out come the activity narrative's and they will return safe. at george mason have a couple colleagues in the department of study folklore in the 19th century american writing that maintained in a very persuasive argument that the indian captivity narrative is america's only truly indigenous form of narrative. and the argument holds up.
the remarkably common over centuries of the stories there is a wonderful book by the way you can do will or amazon or whatever, women's and in captivity narrative and it has a bunch including sara wakefield, which is also published in separate addition that they are similar because they are almost always either edited tobacco written or ghostwritten by a member of the clergy and they all follow the same formula and they are very religious documents. the captivity is a test visited upon them by god. their deliverance from the captivity is a gift and the lessons to be learned from their captivity are various kinds of religious lessons. sarah weak field rights when she's done and the reason that hers today is the single most studied captivity - and 99% of the captivity's whoever co-wrote
them. hers is called six weeks in the tepee and one reason it is widely studied is because it is unlike any of those other initiatives. she isn't writing it to talk about the grace of god or to talk about a trial, she's not writing to sort of put civilization and savagery back in the proper relationship or in the proper relationship. she is ready to defend herself against accusations that she was an indian lover who had come to love only side with her captives but who had actually kept herself safe by sleeping with one of her captors whether this is true or not, highly doubtful. but she was a branded wollman wed was over, and her memoir appeals to us in the 21st century because we live in a
memoir rich culture. we have plenty being read from here from the politics and grows there is an entire section, conceptual and more, celebrity memoir. those are all the things. she was a celebrity when this was done partly in the infamous celebrity. and she confesses to all kinds of thoughts that were shocking for people in 1860 and that she would have to kill her children, thoughts that perhaps the dakota were the wrong party, and she confesses to discuss with the actions of the soldiers coming after her. they moved very slowly. she confesses to all of these things to make the point about what she didn't do. i did all these things but the one thing you say that i do that i've done which is a fall in love with my captor and become his wife i did not do that. so you have a fascinating
psychological study that doesn't feel like it is covered over with this 19th century bertino it feels very rall that she is also an amazing observer and her narrative as well as serving these contradictive psychological purposes is a remarkable six weeks that 300 women and children in quoting her own, captive for six weeks with a 5-year-old and a one-year-old the remarkable story of that captivity. and all involved. the third major character and sentimental favorite of mine is the right reverend benjamin who is the first episcopal bishop of minnesota and like little crow and sarah wakefield he doesn't fit the mold and becomes a fascinating character.
the reason he doesn't fit the mold is to become a bishop of 1862 is quite the position that got you a wonderful house and a whole lot of influence. it got you meetings and trips and money if you were honest, and i think many were, that money was then redistributed but either way a lot of money came through if you were in the episcopal bishop and you have all kinds of influence. most bishops lived in - houses and church leaders of many kind live in nice houses and big cities. he becomes the bishop of minnesota two years before these events and he decides to live on the prairie and his proudest achievement is the amount of labels that he put in on his one man carriage behind his horse and he would go all over the diocese will be and thousands and thousands of miles.
minnesota of 1862 is much colder than in 2013 even though they just had snowe won a fifth or whatever still it was much colder in 1862. five months of basically deep freeze and enormous snow drifts and get in the middle of janaria in minnesota, if you lived in authority person farming village out on the prairie of minnesota, it wasn't that unusual with 5:00 in the morning that you walk on the door -- not on the door and there was the bishop of minnesota. it wasn't as usual at 9:00 in the evening you hear a knock on the door and there was the bishop. most of them were involved in the effort to try to keep the episcopal church unified involved in an effort to reform
the indian system to yet he was a zealous reformers and an activist. he was a traveller, and in the midst of all of the action of the dakota of war come he asks korea receives an audience with abraham lincoln. his first cousin. the generally and chief he had firsthand easy regular access to the president. that meeting with whipple come he was very tall, had white flowing hair, didn't look like a bishop either. the meeting with the lincoln and whipple when he sits in front of abraham lincoln and exports him to do something about the
corruption in the indian system. and finally lisalyn the other characters who want to revisit abraham lincoln. as i described closely before what interests me about lincoln and i will wrap this, what is interesting about lincoln he act as a point of connection. how he acts as a grand central sort of station for all the concerns of so many americans obviously especially those in the union. abraham lincoln asks -- unsury, benjamin, the reverend whipple asks for and receives an audience partly because his cousin as henry. but what is amazing about lincoln and the recent release movie helps us see some of this
is what is amazing about langdon is when you read the correspondence to him, you understand that everyone involved in the evenings like this, everyone involved in the civil war review with lincoln as a personal root of communication. what i mean by that? not just langdon in the 19th century if we lived in the 19th century some of you may know this. any of us could have gone to the white house for an audience with the president. we may not have been granted an audience depending on the day and on a scheduled hearing it but several times a week, you could line up on the ground floor of the white house, talk to one of his secretaries, say this is my concern may i speak with the president a and many times you would get in. it's not just the ability to visit the president th ability to write to the president and feel somehow the president abraham lincoln personally would do something
about your concerns. who writes to the president after, she feels that she has been wrong. she feels that she has been branded. she feels that in justice and she starts writing a series of letters to the president and what is remarkable is that she essentially rights to the president saying clear my name, please, sir. but it is remarkable is not that she does this in the expectation that will happen because lincoln didn't issue a proclamation clearing, lyndon didn't issue a proclamation clearing her name. but what is remarkable is that so many people wrote so many letters. they are all over the archives and in the lincoln peepers and everywhere else and many, many of course have not survived. sarah wakefield deals if they listen to her concerns her name can be cleared and whipple believes that if lincoln who listens. and the third connection to lyndon that goes beyond the
review of the trial records and the concern of the military situation, the last and final connection is little crow and lincoln because when lincoln falls in the black hawk war, lincoln is 23-years-old. and though she doesn't -- the she's not involved in any attacks on the indians, the group of other men under the command this drives them across the mississippi river, and they are then chased into west eastern iowa on to some of their older land. they are chased over there and they are hunted down the they are not hunted down by u.s. soldiers because they can't keep up with them. who does the u.s. army enlisted to chase down the indians with their ancestral indians, the dakota, a group of young warriors. the 40 dakota warriors in their teens are enlisted by the general atkinson in charge of the white forces in the battle.
after another, you're getting all these going into a web and hopefully it hangs together but largely that is a decision you make. anyway i probably have time for a few questions so thanks for listening appreciate it if anybody has any questions. [applause] >> i did make my time. >> if you have a question please speak to the microphone so everyone here, make sure it gets on c-span too. >> i should have assumed that. >> between knowing that, quite a understand -- >> what i meant by that was background. this is not a single end study that a ph.d. in history -- my background is in journalism.
i featuring english department, not the history department. my concern was to bring what some historians might call a little foolish, try to bring all of these characters into the same story while remaining a nonfiction story so there's scholarship here but it will not be delivered as a dissertation in history. it is a narrative that tries to bring a lot of different stories to get there. >> that was very informing. >> i appreciate that. >> you look back to those tides of change, move from the east, and all of the years of warfare that that would do, did you find that there was a time in which you said if it had gone this way instead of that way -- >> great question. >> we would not have had -- notice the years of war that led up to all the we have now that
seems to be so hard to change. >> there is this sense you have to fight and fight when you research this history, there is a sense of inability because of course a sense of instability is sort of a forgiveness of the various factors, right? very 1860's to to have the train coming by. a sense of inevitability which anybody can act any way they want because it is bound to happen and on the other hand, on the other hand it can be powerful at times, tragedy or bloodshed, speaking of scholars and historians, wrote a book, put the year o ago called the middle ground.
and other tribes in the great lakes region in very much the pre revolutionary era and calls it middle ground because it is this story of the window that opened because when for instance population numbers were not so uneven. when the designs on the left, when what you had, small group of sellers and fur traders and this happens in minnesota, pretty civil war as well, where you have any enormous amount of intermarriage first of all, where you have inclined financial interests with the fur trade and seven years before this story the fur trade was booming, john jacob astor, it is all booming and in many ways, not all the time, mutual beneficial to native american tribes, and a lot of money and
also a sense of cultural affirmation and interestingly almost always when right for traders and soldiers and really become, henry sibley, ends up beating the charge in 1862. as a very young man, lived in the. s, married a dakota woman, helped at the total white child, his story is not all that unusual, and much more sort of a lesson narrowed, the interactions between the iroquois and white settlers and hints at that possibility. richard white suggests, always handled better. it will be allowed to happen.
there is a way to peace and prosperity, but it wasn't that way forever. and it suggested a very different possible reality, the grand sweep of history had not gone differently and is a bittersweet reading but there's weakness that reading. one more question of anybody has it. >> when you went through the records of the 38 that were actually hand, was the evidence against the release wrong? >> had to do with the fact that military commissions have been used once before the mexican-american war, and there was not a lot of guidance, native american tribes were classified by the supreme court earlier as domestic dependent nations but no one knew, should they be tried as enemy combatants? should they be tried as enemy
combatants? should they be tried as citizens, should they be tried, they would never have called terrorists if they didn't have that word, how should they be tried? in the last half of the trials, standards that were implied a few had anybody say they saw dakota indians holding a gun and going off to battle that was capitol hill. lincoln didn't want to fight so the restricted his murder of unarmed civilians and cases of rape, hundreds of cases of rape reported. in the end not reported, hundreds of cases mentioned in the end, there were two cases reported and two of the men were harmed for rate, the other 38 or 37 were accused of killing unarmed civilians and that was lincoln's standard and the book goes through how that standard
develops from the time they're doing trials on the prairie, the time -- i am writing an article about this for military history quarterly. to the time that in fact they hang in a safe place. this chapter of the hangings was understandably talking about the toughest one to write because it is also amazing. thank you very much. [applause] >> signing over in the signing tend, you can buy copies of this book. the politics and prose tent and if you have a chance to -- about the evaluation form on the web site, thank you all for coming. the next speaker will be here and a couple of minutes.
>> we will be back with more from gaithersburg, md. in a few minutes. >> there is no word the process food industry hates more than the a word, addiction. i do try to use it sparingly because they could rather convincingly argue there are some differences between food cravings and narcotics cravings, certain technical threshold's. however, when they talked about their foods, their language can be so revealing they use words like cravedable, snackable, mauritius. >> online book selection this month, watch more video of author michael moss on booktv.org and for the next week or so share your thoughts and see what others are saying on twitter at hash tag be tv book clubs and on our facebook page
and join our moderated discussion on line at both social sites tuesday, may 28th at 9:00 eastern. >> here are the best-selling political nonfiction books according to politico bookshelf. this list reflects sales as of may 16th. topping the list is my greek drama, the more details her presidency of the organizing committee for the 2004 summer olympics in athens, greece. wayne routes, the ultimate obama survival guide followed by eric schmidt and jericho and's the new digital age. a land of their plans of a future world in which everyone is digitally connected. it recently appeared on booktv to discuss their bookend you can watch that program online at booktv.org. for the gillick surprise winner mark ms. eddie's book the way of the knife, he joined the booktv at the l.a. times festival of books to discuss this book and
you can watch that discussion online at booktv.org. kevin williams and is fifth on the list with his book arguing the united states government is disintegrating, the end is near and is going to be awesome. 6 is david stockman's the great deprivation, the corruption of capitalism in america. booktv recently attended a book party for his book and you can watch that book party on our web site booktv.org. robert keyser presents his thoughts on the way congress operates with his book act of congress followed by william bennett's book on analyzing higher education. is college really worth it? senior editor at texas monthly's book on texas is ninth, big, hot, cheap and right and richard hoss argues the united states must reduce its involvement in foreign interventions with foreign policy beginning at home. to see more on these books and a list of best sellers on political bookshelf go to
public.com/book shelf. >> where in the department of rare books and special collections, in the vault and university of south carolina, i am going to show you some books university, there is a companion collection at the south carolina state museum and that collection includes telescopes and scientific instruments. the earliest book is a book that we added to the collection just this year. and early sixteenth century textbook by johann forbloch, the major textbook on astronomy for 125 years. bk dating from 1603. it is an absolutely stunning at
less -- atlas in which the engraving include drawings over them showing astrological symbols that we all know. figures. the seventeenth century start at less. >> more from the irving rare book collection at the university of south carolina this weekend as booktv and american history tv look at the history and literary life of columbia, south carolina at 6:00 on c-span's booktv and tomorrow at 5:00 on c-span3's american history tv. >> booktv is live from gaithersburg, md. this book festival in its third year and it's held at gaithersburg city hall. we heard from john tudor, melvin
goodman and scott berg. next, lynn olson talks about the decision by the united states to intervene in world war ii. >> welcome to the fourth annual gaithersburg book festival. my name is george leventhal and i represent the county on the montgomery county council. gaithersburg is that diverse city. it two at city council members here, judge asherman is founder of this excellent book festival and gaithersburg does such a great job supporting the arts and humanities and the city is bringing you this event free of charge thanks to the support of its sponsors so please visit the sponsors and say thank you. a couple quick announcements. please silence all of your electronica devices. let me do that myself. in order to keep improving this event we would love your feedback. surveys are available here at the information booth and online
at the gaithersburg book festival website. your opinions matter so please take a couple minutes to fill one out by submitting a survey entered into a drawing for new key reader. lynn olson will be signing books immediately after this presentation and copies of her book "those angry days: roosevelt, lindbergh, and america's fight over world war ii, 1939-1941" are on sale in the politics and prose tent. lynn olson has been a reporter and writer since graduating from the university of arizona. she was 7 years with the associated press working as a national feature writer in new york, a foreign correspondent in a pea's moscow bureau and a political reporter in washington. she left the associated press to join the washington bureau of the baltimore sun where she covered national politics and eventually the white house. she later taught journalism for five years at american university in washington. lynn olson has written six books of history including the
national best-seller citizens of london which is also on sale of the politics and prose tent. her latest book which i just finished is just terrific. "those angry days: roosevelt, lindbergh, and america's fight over world war ii, 1939-1941" tells the story of the no-holds-barred debate that raged in the united states over what our nation should play in the second world war. in hindsight we remember world war ii as a time of extraordinary national unity. when our country came together to fight the last good war against the unquestionable evil of nazism and the imperialism of japan. but this book makes it clear that the decision to enter the work was ferociously controversial. president roosevelt we remember from history, a bold, decisive leader is not seen in this book. instead, roosevelt is portrayed as an extremely cautious politician, afraid to get ahead
of public opinion. the people wanted fdr to lead them while he seems to expect them to lead him. the result was stasis. roosevelt and winston churchill as one might expect are portrayed vividly in the book but the other dominant personality is the famous aviator, isolationist leader and really odd do, charles lindbergh, revered as an american hero for his solo flight across the atlantic in 1927, later reviled as are nazi sympathizer for his prominent role in the america first movement which oppose u.s. entry into the war, lindbergh we learn through this book maintained a deeply strange ideology, was covers to his own celebrity and dead a scandalous secret life. anotr cracter is wendell willkie, the dark horse presidential candidate whose charisma swept into the republican presidential nomination in 1940 even though
his liberalism and internationalism made in and out liar in the par after losing to roosevelt, he became one of roosevelt's greatest allies in the public debate about u.s. involvement in war. the christian science monitor review of "those angry days" called an absorbing chronicle, olson does not summitry visit our historical period as inhabited. racine's flicker as urgently as the newsreel while highlighting lynch branch fdr as its stars, "those angry days" addresses a cast of characters far beyond the book's title character. please join me in welcoming the author, lynn olson. [applause] >> thank you, thank you all for being here, thank you for that absolutely wonderful introduction. this is a really spectacular event and i am very pleased to have been asked to participate.
i would like to give a big shout out to the city of gaithersburg for putting this on. it is so incredibly hardening for and author to have an event like this. i don't feel i should pay to be to the montgomery county council for its incredible support of the arts and cultural community in the county. i know all this because my daughter in law and danny cloud looks at the partnership. she told me a number of times how much the council and you have done what you have done, maintain funding for the organization like hers. i would like to start by reading a quotation from winston churchill and you can always count on americans to do the right thing. after they tried everything else. it is a wonderfully funny line,
and exasperation, anger and bitterness. churchill clearly felt those emotions in the desperate days of 1940-1941, when we the last ones in europe standing against him but the british had been bombed night after night by the mustafa when german submarines operated in the atlantic seeking vast amounts of merchant shipping. and basically strangling british supply lines. this island nation back then was very close to defeat. and the words of field marshal allen broke, britain's top military leader during the war we were hanging on by our eyelids. the united states meanwhile, the only country that could save britain was sitting on the sidelines debating endlessly
about what to do. and they have been running primarily, and from the viewpoint of several americans, and here's what the u.s. was doing. what i found was an extraordinary story. and one i didn't realize i knew very much about and i don't think most people do. and you have read about the issues, and this focuses on matters of policy, questions of policy. most of them have not looked at the human story of the time, the
ferocious of the fight. the nail biting suspense over whether britain would be saved. the extreme polarization not unlike today that for a part friendships, and and for moments leading up to pearl harbor, it is not as obvious as it is now. people were very divided on what to do. and both sides were at a fever pitch. a young cbs correspondent at the time. they call the period bitter and heart broking. the historian arthur/injured junior who was a twentysomething graduate student was caught up in the struggle and later called
it a politically savage debate in my lifetime. in his autobiography is schlesinger wrote historians have dealt with policy issues justice has not been done, the searing personal impact of those angry days and you probably have guessed i took the title of the book from that's messenger quote. during the years i write about what was then called the great debate, raise throughout the nation from the white house and congress to beauty parlors, offices and classrooms, the biggest cities and the smallest towns, millions of people to college students to wall street lawyers and bankers were caught up in the struggle knowing that whatever outcome their lives were likely to be profoundly affected. at stake was not only the survival of britain put the stake and future of america.
what was the united states going to be? a fortress countries that refused to break out of its isolationist shell, still believing it must be free from foreign commitments. those who believe that must be ready to fight for the defense of our own nation, but for nothing and no one else. on the other hand those who supported intervention said we could no longer repay international responsibility. the times were far too dangerous. britain's survival was absolutely essentials for our own security and welfare. if the british were defeated and have a controlled all of europe, we would have little chance to survive as a free and democratic society. others in the interventionist camp emphasized what they saw as america's moral obligation to stop hitler, the embodiment as they view him of your evil. how could we stand on the
sidelines as hitler threatened to wipe out western civilization as we know it. at the center of this debate two men in my title, the most famous men in america, president franklin roosevelt and charles lindbergh, the young man who mesmerized the world in 1927 when he flew alone across the atlantic. fdr wanted america to come to the aid of britain, lindbergh became the unofficial leader and spokesman for the country's isolationists believed the united states must take hold of the war and focus on its own defense. if i could give you some background why he felt that way. i love that description, one strange do, one odd person, probably the strangest, most conflicted man i have ever written about and to this day i
don't understand him. after the murder and kidnapping of his son in the 1930s charles lindbergh took refuge in europe with his family, first in britain, then in france. george also mentioned lindbergh was never comfortable with his celebrity. somebody who wrote about my book on amazon, the best line about charles lindbergh i ever read which was no one was less suited to the charles lindbergh than charles lindbergh and that is absolutely true. he never liked publicity. he was a very solitary reserved man who didn't much being -- like being around people, he hated the press from the beginning and always trying to stay away from it. he and his wife were convince the kidnapping of his son, the murder of his son was directly connected with the publicity that surrounded them and him
from islam moment he made that flight. he decided to go to europe where he said people treated him better and he basically lost trust in american democracy. equated what happened to him with the state of american democracy and the state of american politics. for several years he and his family first lived in england and then in france. during that time he spent a considerable amount of time in germany and the germans saw him as somebody, as a possible way of getting across their story at least in terms of their military. he was invited by the head of the luftwaffe to come and 4 airports and aircraft factories what tour airports and aircraft factories and what they were hoping was what happened.
he was very impressed and came to the conclusion they were countries in decline and the only one that was really emerging and rising was germany and basically germany was going to be unbeatable in any future war and the u.s. should stay as far away from it as possible and he made that very clear when he was in germany and when he came back. one of the things that surprised me when i was doing research for the book was how brutal this debate was for everyone. fdr himself said it was going to be a dirty fight. that is a direct quote and he did what to make it that way. was convinced the isolationists, particularly lindberg pose a major threat to the country and to himself. he and his supporters embarked on a campaign to damage their credibility, their influence and their reputation. calling them among other things subversives and even not cease. this wasn't put on. fbi did believe lindbergh was a
nazi which was not true. he was pro german in many ways but was not a nazi. fdr all-out -- this is one of the most wonderful stories in the book. a lot of covert british intelligence organizations to operate in the united states, they operated out of the building directly across the street in st. patrick's cathedral in rockefeller center. more than a thousand of them, agents. this operation have the bland innocuous title british security coordination and its main job was to get america into the door no matter how. it carried out its own campaign, relying on anti-war groups, digging up any jerked they could find on isolation, smoking congress outside, wiretapping phones of diplomats in washington, propaganda in u.s. newspapers and even forging
documents. these were british intelligence operatives operating in this country. we were a neutral country at that point, much of this with extremely illegal. i hasten to add that lindbergh and other prominent isolationists were not blameless in this but they were not nearly as good at it as the intervention, they portrayed fdr as a dictator along the same lines as hitler and mussolini and claimed he was responsible for destroying free speech in america and rushing into war without the people's consent. during these years, washington, somewhat like today, was a real snake pit filled with entry and in fighting. just to give you one example, there are a number of high-ranking officers in the army, navy and air corps who are doing their best to sabotage the policies of fdr who was after all their commander-in-chief.
many of them were isolationists. that surprised me. call me naive, but i can and to think of the military as being of a terrific. many of them were not in this period. many of them are convinced america should stay out of the war, stay clear of the war at least until we build up our own defenses, we are in really bad shape. several of them the top-secret isolation members of congress and to when deberg and other key leaders in the anti-war movement. among them was an army colonel named truman smith. general george marshall's chief adviser on germany, at that time, head of the army, chief of staff of the army and at the same time trumans smith was one of lindbergh's closest friends and was actively working with lindbergh in the isolationist
cause. the biggest of all turned out to be general arnold who was head of the air force. arnold just before pearl harbor was implicated in the leak of one of the administration's most closely guarded military secrets, a contingency plan for all-out war against germany. that bitter polarization that existed in washington was echoed throughout the country. in those angry days, i write a lot about charles lindbergh's wife who was caught in the middle of this nasty fight. she was the daughter of white tomorrow, a former jpmorgan partner who then became a u.s. ambassador and senator. she had grown up as part of the east coast establishment which tended to british and interventionist. because she supported her husband in his isolationism although he and would never convince her this was the right
thing to do, she found herself a strange from virtually all for old friends and acquaintances, all the people she had grown up with who looked on lindbergh in her words as the anti christ. all of this took an enormous emotional toll on her. what was particularly painful for her was the split within her own family and this i did not know before i started looking in to getting into research for this book. she was supporting her husband, charles lindbergh and his isolationism, her mother was one of the leading activists for interventionism and her sister constance who was her best friend worked with her husband, aubrey morgan, constance malraux morgan was married to one of the top british propagandists in the u.s. and so charles lindbergh was doing everything he could to prevent the u.s. from getting into the war, his brother-in-law
was doing everything he could to get into the war, and their wives were on either side of that equation. fdr was caught in the middle too between interventionists who wanted him to do more than he had been doing for england and isolationists who wanted him to focus on the u.s.. the first term, roosevelt, not surprisingly, had been focused on recovery. focusing on domestic issues. he stayed away from foreign policy and as a result he had not really educated the public that we might get involved somehow in stopping hitler. george is right, the fbi you see in this book is not the same fbi most people are used to reading about. when we think about that, we think of bold leadership which he did show in the first years
of his presidency with the new deal, the emergence of the new deal, those critical years we could have gone either way, the country could have gone down the tubes. he did help rescue the country then. the second period of his very bold leadership was after we got into the war, after we got into world war ii that during those critical years, 39-41, he was very forceful in what he said about action. called for action to help britain and end german aggression but sometimes procrastinated in making such action reality. why was he like that? it was a very difficult time for him personally and politically. only about two years before, he had suffered the greatest politica i his presidency. he tried to pass the supreme court in 1937 and that was a disaster.
he was humiliated by congress which defeated that bill and he was humiliated by voters in his unsuccessful effort to purge his democratic congressional opponents. he tried to do that in the 1938 congressional election and the voters said no. virtually everybody campaigned against won reelection. this was the lowest point of his presidency and it coincided unfortunately with the period in which hitler and mussolini were stepping up their march toward war. pretty much hamstrung from the punishment he suffered at the hands of congress and temporarily lost his confidence that once had been absolute that the american people would always stand behind him. from then on until pearl harbor he tended to exaggerate the power of congressional isolationists and was quite reluctant to challenge them. the important thing to remember is he did not mind being pushed by others to do more and they
did and the main deck of my book is to talk about how ordinary americans play an important role in building the public opinion for the idea we would have to get into this war. throughout this period fdr was urged on by several private citizens groups, they mounted massive campaigns to educate america in favor of interventionism. the work of these organizations of -- according to one prominent interventionist allowed roosevelt to move gingerly in the direction of saving his sleeping country. interventionist groups played a critical role in the administration's decision to send 50 destroyers to britain. he also helped assuage roosevelt to make important changes in his cabinet and veba the chief force in convincing a sceptical fdr and congress to approve the first time first peacetime draft in the summer of 1940.
you can imagine the first peacetime draft in 1940 and it was in the middle of a presidential campaign. but in fact congress and roosevelt didn't belong with that. a coalition of political amateurs hijacked the largely isolationist republican party and at one of the most in american history -- a former businessman who announced his candidacy seven weeks before. it is wendell willkie, he was a strong interventionists unlike most of the people in the republican party and he supported much of fdr's foreign policy even though politically it cost him dearly. he backed the destroyer deal and supported the peacetime draft much to the acre and dismay of gop leaders. and after he lost in november of
1940, when pull willkie went on the radio to announce to the american people we have elected franklin roosevelt president. he is your president, he is my president, we will support him and he did exactly that. a few months later, again to the fury of the republican old guard, wendell willkie endorsed legislation creating glen and les. roosevelt would describe wendell willkie as a godsend to his country when we needed him most. the president also acknowledged that his support for the draft, which were crucial in the allies winning the war might well have made the difference between victory and defeat and the passage of those bills in congress. before i close of the like to talk about something else, the isolationist side, america first. how many of you have heard of america first? at least half of you.
it was the most influential and vocal isolationist organization in the country. the story of america first and how it was created is for me one of the most interesting things i learned in all my research for this book. those of you who know of america first i would wager when you think of it you think of it as a conservative midwestern organization, the embodiment of midwestern isolationism. actually it was born on the campus of yale university. the brainchild of a group of top campus leaders, most of whom were moderate or liberal. the founders of america first included gerald ford, future presidents of the united states, potter stewart, a future supreme court justice, sargent shriver, future head of the peace corps and key members, future president of yale, u.s.
ambassador to great britain. that is ironic since america first was founded one of its key points was not to give aid to britain. america first organizing to let britain go down. three examples of america first supporters at this time included harvard senior named john f. kennedy, a cornell university student named kurt vonnegut and a precocious student named gore vidal who founded a chapter of america first. their opposition isn't all that surprising if you think about it. they didn't know they were going to be the greatest generation in a few years. they didn't think of this as a good war back then. they knew that if we got into the war they were going to be among the first to fight ends millions of them revolted against the very thought of american participation in another bloody european conflict. remember it was only 20 years
since world war i had ended. that was supposed to be the war to make the world save for democracy, that was what woodrow wilson told the american people. actually made the world save for adolf hitler. the european allies didn't cooperate. stood aside while hit a came to power. no way do we want to get involved in another one of these things. so the opposition of the college students in 1939-1941 to me was very much like the 1960s and vietnam. there is not that much difference. shortly after america first was organized it did move to chicago and from then on most of its leaders would be those midwestern conservative businessmen we think about now and their social and political views were more conservative than its young founders. by the time of pearl harbor most of those who helped found
america first had drifted away from the organization. when the united states finally entered the war, they along with of the vast majority of other college anti-war activists enlisted in the fight. all the young founders i mentioned, every single one of them actually did go into the military and a number of them as we know, john f. kennedy, saw combat as did sargent shriver and several others. the creation of america first, the way it was done underlines one of the most interesting aspects of its time in our country, how so many ordinary americans got involved in this debate and had an affect on its outcome. as i said before, millions of people became involved in the fight. for all its bitterness and anger was their real exercise in democracy. in talking about this i am
reminded about what president obama said number of weeks ago in israel and made a speech to israeli students. he said the political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take risks and a little later in the speech he said ordinary people can are accomplish extraordinary things and in the period i write about ordinary people did accomplish extraordinary things. they had an impact on the president, foreign policy and public opinion. by the time of pearl harbor thanks in large part to this push that people made, public attitudes -- in 1949 and even in the early part of 1940s this country was heavily isolationist. by the time of pearl harbor the american people were well aware they would have to have the fight to answer this war. most came to the conclusion it was necessary.
according to polls in 1941, substantial majority of the u.s. population now are regarded defeating nazi is and as the biggest job facing the country and a similar majority preferred u.s. entry into the war to a german victory over britain blue psychological and emotional separation for war was one major reason for the immediate unity of the country, once war was declared against japan, germany and italy. after all the bitter conflict of the previous two years america was finally ready to claim its future. thank you. [applause] >> now we come to the favorite part, at least for me of my talk and that is questions and comments. anybody? there is a microphone, come to the mic. just repeating what i have been
told. >> is this on? can you hear me? two things. did you go into the role of eleanor roosevelt in this period, especially her relationship with wendell willkie and also what support from germany did isolationists' groups received in the united states? >> very good question. i did not explore eleanor roosevelt's role in this book. i mention her several times. hair relationship was really after pearl harbor. my book ends with pearl harbor. i talk about what happened briefly to everyone and it stops at pearl harbor.
second question, very good question, what role did germany have in the hole isolationist movement. almost none. the germans were very aware that even though the country was isolationist early on, most americans were very anti german, very anti nazi and they knew the more overt help they gave, it would backfire. so they tried very hard to stay out of the public eye in terms of isolationists. they obviously were pulling for the isolationists because they wanted to stay out of the war but everytime they tried to do something it backfired. they had one of the most inept organizations, the british were incredibly good at what they were doing, spying, sabotaging, etc. they also sent agents to the u.s. but inevitably they would be caught and the germans
sent cable after cable saying you have done it again. these guys keep getting arrested by the fbi, turning everybody against us and this idea that the administration and the british were promoting in this country than there were millions of fifth columnists around the u.s. undermining this country was not at all true. they were doing -- it really was a very bad organization that they had in their country. >> your answer to the last question was interesting because we had the opposite impression of german the efficiency. my question is totally different. after pearl harbor, roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against japan but did not ask for a declaration of war against germany and it was only because three days later hitler chose to declare war against the u.s. that we got into the war with germany. if hitler had not done that do
you think we would have had only a pacific war? >> that is a really good question. the answer is i don't know. we would not i am sure have gotten into the war against germany for a while. whether we would have gone into the war in time to saving 7-saving and from going down is an open question. roosevelt at the time of pearl harbor was surged by a number of his closest aides and members of his cabinet to declare war on germany and japan at the same time but he said no. it is a different situation, germany and japan. he was prepared to stay out as long as he could. quite frankly one of the stupidest things hitler ever did was declare war on us. it was one of the best things in the sense that it got us in at that time because as i said, i am not sure how long england would have been able to hold out against germany and japan.
they would have been facing a two front door. we would have been focused on japan. that is the country that attacked us, if we had not gotten into the war with germany the american people would have continued. world could have been very different if hitler had not declared war on us when he did. >> i have a two card question. what is fact, one is speculation. how do you explain roosevelt was popular and got reelected after two large defeats that he had prior to the e election. that is one. the second one, the speculation, had there not been a world war ii where would roosevelt have ranked in this best president?
>> the first question was tell me again? -- he won his third term frankly because the war had broken out. the american people tend to unite behind their chief executive in times of crisis, especially international crisis. going into -- until the early 1940s, summer of 1940 when hitler launched his blitzkrieg roosevelt claimed he wasn't going to run. it is a lot of feeling that he would have been defeated but the new deal had run its course, the republicans were coming back, they were becoming much stronger in the country but when hitler invaded western europe, launched the blitzkrieg of western europe and england was all by itself, a
lot of things happened. the american people rallied behind roosevelt, they needed veteran presidents, experienced president to take us through this critical time and roosevelt himself decided during this period that he was going to be the one to lead the country. i am sorry. i am having a moment. the second one -- >> if there had not been a world war ii where would he have been ranked? >> he still would have ranked very high. what he did with the new deal, leading this country away from the brink, the economic brink, he would still be ranked one of the top presidents. the combination of his leadership at that point and his leadership in the war, a number of things i don't agree with in terms of what roosevelt did during the war but no question he was a very strong leader.
maybe that boosted him up a couple of rankings, but he still would have been one of our top presidents even if there hadn't been a war. >> i want to thank you so much for writing this book. thank you for reading it. i have to say because i'm a normal sharing kind of person i found out about lynn olson's troublesome young men and have to report to everyone is one of the most fantastic book i ever read, a seminal book. most of us didn't learn these things in our history classes in public, private, parochial, whatever schools. lynn olson 11 has indicated as in a period of history that is similar to what we are going through now. i want to thank you so much and looking forward to reading this book. in this book i know i can find the answer to this question but again i thought everybody would be interested in hearing the answer as i am. could you name one of the interventionist groups? you mentioned the america first,
would you mind? >> there were two that were the most important, one was the century grew and it was named after the century club in new york which was one of the top used to be all men private clubs, basically it was a group of mostly prominent new yorkers, many from the media, when it was organized, this is quite revolutionary in 1940, we should get into the war immediately against germany. that was not the way the country was thinking or the way roosevelt was thinking that this group is incredibly influential because of its members and the power they had. they were henry luce who was the honor of time life magazine, fortune magazine's, and the most popular magazines in this country, basically conduct a propaganda war in those
magazines to get us into the war and that was very influential and there were a number of -- several people from the tribune were members of the century group including joseph house of who was the 30-year-old correspondent in washington. that was a big group. the other group which is much bigger and more nationally national in scope was the group -- committee to defend the allies, committee to defend the allies, a very long name, organized by william allen right. and you may know the name, he was a very famous editor from kansas. very popular. and in the middle of the road, an incredible influence, in
educating public opinion about issues involved. and get into the war. >> we it think of today's issues as polarizing. fiscal issues or military ones. these issues before the decision were made were equally polarizing. and people have strong opinions as today. >> it certainly was polarizing, perhaps more polarizing and one reason i wrote the book was to show history isn't often what we learn in school. it tends to be cast in a black-and-white mode. certainly world war ii, we think of that. as i said the good war. but it was much more complex.
i wanted to show that the american people have never been yes, sir, we will follow along. it was certainly as polarizing as this time and more so. sometimes when i despair about what is going on i look back and say it was even worse, but one thing that period had is both political groups, people in both political groups are prepared to cooperate and compromise. wendell willkie is a perfect example of that. you have a presidential candidate who is willing to support his opponent's policy because in his heart he thinks it is right. he thinks it is important for the country. and is willing to say that and
then after he loses is willing to say he is my president. we will support him. we don't really have that around and that is very disturbing. to get back to your point, it was just as bad or worse back then. gives us hope that maybe something can be resurrected out of this thing we are going through. any more questions? yes? >> given lindbergh's fear of getting into the public and the press, what combination of factors drove him to be one of the leaders against the war? >> u.s. really good questions. that is a really good question. charles lindbergh, one of the things about charles lindbergh he was always, whenever he took a position he always thought he was right. there was never any doubt in charles lindbergh's mind about what he should be doing or
charles lindbergh was never happy unless he was flying. i mean, what he could do really well was fly. he knew aviation inside and out. and, you know, getting involved in something that he really knew nothing about was a very big be mistake on his part. >> after the war started, can you tell us briefly about what charles lindbergh did? i mean, he had a lot of, i guess, intelligence based on his tour of germany and all that kind of stuff. was he, um, participating after the war broke out in any kind of way on a pro-u.s. side? >> that is one -- that's really one of the most interesting things about charles lindbergh's life, is what happened after the r the war, when pearl harbor happened, he disappeared from the isolationist movement. he was gone. he didn't criticize roosevelt
publicly, he did not criticize the administration publicly. what he wanted to do was to be able to fight. he wanted to be able to go into the air force and fight. fdr said absolutely not. i'm not about to have you in the air force. i mean, he still -- fdr still believed that he was a threat to the administration even though he wasn't. so he was banned from taking part militarily. he became a civilian consultant to a number of airline companies, and what he did, he tested the new military planes and actually helps make them safer and improve their flying ability, etc. a couple of years after the war began some of his military friends came to him and said why don't you go to the pacific and be a civilian consultant there. and lindbergh said, well, roosevelt won't let me. and they said, well, why does roosevelt need to know? and so he went to the pacific as a civilian consultant wearing a
military uniform without any insignia, and he flew. he flew on a number of missions, was almost shot down, shot down one japanese zero. and in the course of this time over there he also, again, improved a number of new airplanes. and from all accounts he was never happier. i mean, you know, this is where he really belonged. and his wife once said those five months that he spent in the pacific were the happiest, was the happiest time in his life. i don't know, i suspect that roosevelt did find out eventually that he was over there. but all of the military people that he flew with turned, looked the other way, you know? it was never, there were never stories about him flying. it was very hush hush. but he did have an impact on, a small impact on, certainly, on the flying in the pacific. i think we have time for one more question if anybody has a
question or a comment. okay, george. [laughter] >> so talk, your book so balanced, and there was a lot of character assassination on both sides. but talk about what you found about anti-semitism in the isolationist movement and with respect to the big speech that lindbergh gave. what did that reveal about his own mindset and his views about the races? >> there was anti-semitism in the isolationist movement, not throughout. but anti-semites did join america first, for example. charles lindbergh did give this very infamous speech in des moines, iowa, in which he named the three groups he said were most responsible for trying to get us into the war, and that was the fdrhe british and american jews. and his comments were anti-semitic. but what i point out in the book is that he was not alone. i mean, basically, what he was
doing was reflecting the attitudes of a good many americans at the time. there was a very strong, overt streak of anti-semitism in this country, in this period, during this period. and i don't write this in the book, but basically what i think is charles lindbergh's mistake was that he voiced -- i mean, it was a mistake to have those attitudes, obviously, but he voiced in a public speech, you know, what other people were saying privately. and this, again, shows his total tone deafness to, you know, politics, to whatever. but he didn't care. be but there's no question that there was this very big kind of climate of anti-semitism that extended, you know, from, you know, you know, the midwest into washington and the state department, the war department. i read diaries of important
state department officials, and it's appalling. i mean, what charles lindbergh said in that speech was nothing compared to what they were writing privately in their diaries at the time. okay. thank you very, very much. this was very fun. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you. um, the author will be signing copies of her book over at the book-signing tent, and you can get copies of the book right here. [inaudible conversations] >> thank you all for coming, and if you have a chance, would you, please, fill out the evaluations. [inaudible conversations] >> that was lynne olson. our live coverage of the 2013 gaithersburg book festival continues in a few minutes with
kitty kelley. be right back. >> here's a look at some books that are being published this week. journalist charles moore presents an authorized biography of the late prime minister of great britain in "margaret thatcher." in "brotherhood" deepak chopra and his bro sanjiv, a professor at harvard medical school, recall their immigration from the united states to india. david stuckler in "the body economic:y austerity kills, recessions, budget battles and the politics of life and death." george packer examines world
history and argues that the united states and its institutions are coming apart in "the unwinding." jesse norman, a conservative member of the british parliament, recounts the life and achievements of edmund burke. look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and on booktv.org. >> at the end of a working day, say about two a.m., the prime minister, churchill, would say soup out loud very loudly. the staff heard it. that was a signal that the working deal -- day was over. the secretaries could leave to begin typing up the day's memos, and he would have his cold jellied consomme which he always ate before going to bed. churchill loved all game, especially goose, and he raised geese on his farm. at one dinner, as a roasted
goose was laid in front of him at the table, he said, quote: you carve, this goose was a friend of mine. [laughter] in all my research into churchill's life, i never found a mention of a vegetable. and he made fun of vegetarians whom he called nut eaters. at a meeting he quipped to strict nut eaters, well, gentlemen, if you are finished toying with your boot root -- beet be root, we will get on with more important matters. all of the nut eaters i have ever known died early after a long period of senile decay. [laughter] another churchill favorite food was irish stew with plenty of onions and surprisingly sometimes pineapple. this is a meal that churchill served to general eisenhower when they planned the invasion of europe.
and, of course, caviar. churchill loves caviar. he was thrilled when stalin sent him vats of caviar or when harry hopkins brought caviar back as a gift from the soviet union. churchill ate small portions. when traveling, he had his meals served on his, quote, tummy time. not on the clock. churchill loved picnics. whatever the weather, even in wartime. there's a wonderful photo in my book showing churchill in a three-piece suit enjoying a picnic tea sitting on a rock by the side of the road. he picnicked with roosevelt at hyde park be, he picnicked on the banks of the rhine with his generals and in the north african desert with friends. he established his own picnic rituals, enthusiastically singing old indian army toasts and calling for verses that could only be recited at picnics.
much has been said and written about churchill and alcohol, some of it true, most not, some exaggerated. i go into detail in the book about churchill's drinking habits. churchill had been told -- roosevelt, sorry, had been told that churchill was a drunk, a charge one of two of his critics repeated. now, churchill did consume more alcohol than we're used to today, but not a great deal by the standards of his contemporaries, and drink did not affect him or his work. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> mr. moss, what happened in minneapolis in april of 1999? >> you know, i start the book with that meeting because it's so informative of the industry's attitude and strategies. 1999 the obesity epidemic was just beginning to emerge and raise concern not only among consumer activists and
nutritionists, but among people inside the processed food industry. they gathered together for a very rare meeting. ceos of some of the top manufacturers in north america got together at the old to minneapolis headquarters, the old pillsbury headquarters in minneapolis to talk about none other than this emerging crisis really for the industry. and up in front of them got none other than one of their own, his name was michael mudd. he was a vice president of kraft. he was armed with 114 slides and laid at the feet of these ceos and presidents of these largest food companies responsibility for the not only the obesity crisis, but he cited the rising cases of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease. he even linked their foods with several cancers. and he pleaded with them to collectively start doing
something on behalf of consumers. because michael mudd knew that the competition inside the food industry -- and, you know, it's funny, you walk into the grocery store and it seems so tranquil; soft music playing, doing everything they can to encourage you to shop and buy. but behind the scenes the food industry is intensely pet conservative, and he understand -- competitive, and he understood the only way to budge them toward a healthier profile of their products would be to get them collectively to do something. from his vantage point, the meeting was an utter failure. the ceos reacted defensively. they said, look, we're already offering people choices. if they really want that, they can buy those alternative products. we are beholden both to consumers and our own shareholders. they left the meeting basically going back to what they'd been doing and continue to do which
is having a deep reliance on salt, sugar and fat. >> so what are processed foods? how do you define them? >> you know, processed foods, and i'm mostly looking at what people like to call ultra processed food. look, even a baby carrot can be defined as a processed food because it doesn't grow that way in the ground. it's a regular carrot that gets shaved into the baby form. but typically, i mean, for my sense processed foods are those things that take sort of natural ingredients and highly refine be them, highly process them, and the formulas, too, are the products that i'm writing about in the book are incredibly dependent on salt, sugar or fat. and it's not a mystery. you can pick up the label, and you can see thanks to some government regulation that we have and labeling requirements, you can see the amounts of salt, sugar, fat in these items, and it's rather extraordinary. across the board of the grocery store just how reliant the industry is on these three
ingredients not just for flavor, but for convenience because they can act as preservatives and be also for low cost. because they can help the industry avoid using more costly ingredients like fresh herbs and spices. be. >> be are you interested in being a part of booktv's online book club? this month we're discussing "salt sugar fat." michael moss sat down with booktv at the l.a. times festival of books. you can watch the entire program online at booktv.org. as you read the book this month, post your thoughts on twitter with the hash tag btvbookclub and write on our facebook page. and on may 28th at 9 p.m. eastern, join our life moderated moderated discon on both online media sites. you can e-mail us at
email@example.com. [inaudible conversations] >> and now live from gaithersburg, maryland, biographer kitty kelley presents her most recent book, "capturing camelot." a collection of photographs by stanley treadic of the kennedys. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everyone. welcome to the fourth annual gaithersburg book festival. my name's matt hopkins, i'm a planning commissioner for the city of gaithersburg. our city is a vibrant, diverse community, and we are very pleased to bring you this event free of charge thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. so, please, visit them today and say thanks. just a few announcements. for the consideration of everyone here, please, silence your devices. and in order to keep this event improving every year, we need
your feedback. your thoughts are very important to us, so please take a couple minutes to fill one out. we really do read them. and by submitting a survey, you'll be submitted into a drawing for a cool new nook e-reader. ms. kelley will be signing books immediately after the presentation. not just the book we're talking about today, but several of the other books as well. we're all gathered today in this tent to hear from one of the most controversial authors of the last few decades. the list of literary subjects she has enlightened, offended, embarrassed and can even endangered ranges quite far from presidents and first ladies to connected crooners and even the great and powerful oprah, praise be her name. kitty kelley personal facts include growing up in the beautiful northwest, somehow finding a way to new york city which i suppose she found too boring and simple. she made her way quickly to d.c.
after that and worked in senator mccarthy's office, and it must have been your catalyst for your love of investigative reporting. she was a researcher at "the washington post" and began her lifelong prolific career in freelance writing. this long career has been accented with best-selling investigative books and the uproar that came with them such as jackie o., elizabeth taylor, nancy reagan: unauthorized biography, the royals, the bush dynasty, o paragraph's biography and -- oprah's biography, and my favorite, the unauthorized biography of frank sinatra. ms. cel-- mississippi kelley's most recent book, "capturing camelot." very well photographed, obviously, and very well put together. personally, these picture books mean a lot more to me when the captions are well researched and thought out and a bit more prose than you would normally find which is what ms. kelley did
with this book. never failing to raise a few eyebrows while uncovering stories and doing such a wonderfully painful job of reminding us our heroes are very, very human, please welcome to the festival kitty kelley. [applause] >> the only part of that introduction that isn't quite right is the prolific. it takes me four years -- >> i heard it from someone. >> no, you've got to be careful. [laughter] prolific as a turtle. it takes me four years usually on each book. but this one, this book was a labor of love because stanley tretick was one of my very best friends, and he was one of president kennedy's favorite photographers. and i used to go visit stanley
in washington. and one time i asked him what he had in the marine corps locker that he used as his coffee table. and i said, stanley, what do you have in there? and he looked at me, and he said nude pictures. i dropped the subject. years later when stanley died, he left me his archives, and they delivered the marine corps locker to my house. and my husband said what's in there? and i said, um, nude photos. he said, well, come on, let's open it. and i said, no, i really -- i don't want to remember stanley that way. he said we gotta open this. he said stanley was a great photographer, i've got to see those. and we argued about it for a while. and when we opened it, it wasn't nude photographs at all. it was the most sentimental store of kennedy photographs and
artifacts and letters and handwritten notes from the president and the first lady. anyway, i'm going to show you some of them and tell you about them. but because this was the 50th anniversary of the ken key administration -- kennedy administration and because stanley had left me these photographs, i really wanted to share them. i didn't want to just donate them, you know, to a library with they'd sit in and people would never see them. so this photograph which is on the cover of the book came with an exclusive four days that stanley spent with president kennedy and his son. and he did it to do a cover story for "look" magazine. this is stanley. i want you to -- not robert redford, not dustin hoffman, but
the guy in the middle with the camera. stanley, stanley's passion in life was covering politics, and he was very, very close to the kennedys. but he also did a lot of special stills for movies like "all the president's men" and, um, "urban cowboy" and a lot of robert redford be movies, a lot of warren beatty movies and dustin hoffman movies. so i just wanted you to see what stanley looked like in his prime. stanley was a marine photographer in korea, and he took this picture which military times says is one of the ten -- one of the hundred best photographs showing military combat. i found it so moving that i included it in the book just to tell you a little bit about
stanley. this, this on the face of it is a guest towel, one of those linen things your great aunt nelly might have had in her guest bathroom ironed, and it's embroidered with jfk. when i went through the marine corps trunk, i found this. now, i thought i knew everything about stanley. we were friends for years and years and years. but he never mentioned anything about this towel, and i could find no record of it in the trunk. i did wonder if maybe, maybe when he went to be. ed it. [laughter] -- pinched it. i don't know. and it could be that
mrs. kennedy gave it to him. i doubt it, but the reason i've included this picture of the towel is that, to me, this became rosebud for stanley tretick. you remember "citizen kane"? well, when i knew stanley was years after he covered the kennedys. and when i met him, oh, he was driving a silver bmw and wearing a cartier watch and cashmere sweaters, and he was driving me in washington one time through a real bad area. and he slowed down, and i said why are you slowing down here? he said, well, you see that window up there? and he pointed to a rat-infested building uninhabited, and there was a towel in a broken, dirty window. and be he said to me -- and he said to me, that towel says it
all. he said that's where i came from. and i thought when i was doing the research for that book, he really did come from grinding poverty. but because of hard work and immense talent, he did very, very well, was very, very prosperous. so i put the towel in there because i do think that's a key to stanley. oh, and then these were in the trunk as well. the pt boat pin that jfk gave to people. and this plex i glass box that the president gave to all those people who traveled with him on the caroline which was the private plane that his father bought him for the presidential campaign, stanley kept all those things, and they were wrapped up
in the trunk. and you'll see pictures of them in the book. okay, this picture was taken at valley forge when president kennedy is campaigning. excuse me, senator kennedy is campaigning. and you can barely -- he's right there. the thing that is so extraordinary for us to be looking at in the year 2013 -- at this in the year 2013, no security, people are -- the press is up two feet from the candidate, and these are the crowds that turned out. you can see it just says something about a time and a place that we don't get anymore. and no teleprompters either.
this is what stanley called the hand shot. this was his favorite photograph of president kennedy. he's on top of a convertible and standing behind him is governor pat brown of california. and it's during the fall election. and i said to stanley, why is that particular photograph so important to you? and he said because i think it shows the charisma of a movie star and the appeal of a politician that has come together in a way that we hadn't seen it before. and i said, well, what about eisenhower? he was a hero. he was a war hero. and he said i never -- he said i covered ike, but i never saw pictures like this when people are reaching up. and stanley also said about
president kennedy that he felt that kennedy didn't revel in the adulation. there's a certain remove. he would do anything to be elected, taanly said -- stanley said, but he wasn't turned on by the grasping appeal of crowds. this is taken in valley forge. he spent -- oh. >> sorry. >> oh, no, i beg your pardon. this is in los angeles, and he's standing on top of a convertible. oh, he's standing up, and and he's taking it down. he's not in the picture. [laughter] this was president-elect kennedy's very first press conference in palm beach after the election. he'd flown to his father's
mansion in palm beach, and caroline came out in her mother's high heels and her little bathrobe and interrupted the press conference. president kennedy had wanted to appoint j. william full bright as secretary of state, but because fulbright was a segregationist and kennedy had made a commitment to civil rights, he -- fulbright is in the picture to the side -- he couldn't name him. but as a courtesy, he invited him down to palm beach to tell him why. this is a photograph of the christening of little john kennedy jr. and stanley was the pool photographer. and so he was the photographer that was designated to go in and get all the pictures for the rest of the photographers.
stanley was born jewish. his grandfather was a rabbi and read him the torah. and he told me that when he went in, the priest said, well, i'm sure you know, you're a pro, i'm sure you know your way around here. and stanley said, father, i've never made it past bar mitzvah. [laughter] so he has his cameras and lenses and clamps, and president kennedy is wheeling mrs. kennedy in. interestingly, she was still in the hospital two weeks after the birth of her child. now women, those of you who have had children, you know you're in and out. but it was two weeks. and president kennedy brought her into the chapel, and he saw stanley who was looking around for a place to clamp. and he is saw him going over
towards the statue of the blessed virgin -- [laughter] and kennedy went -- [laughter] and stanley looked at him and went -- then at the end stanley said, mr. president, i've got to get some pictures. and he kept snapping s. and he took the whole ceremony of the priest breathing into the baby, the whole ritual of putting the water and putting the oil, blessing him and so forth. and then stanley kept taking the pictures, and kennedy went, no. because he didn't want this particular picture that was going to be flashed around the world showing any kind of church background. this is how sensitive the issue of kennedy's being catholic at the time was. and even after the election he
did not want pictures of statues or crucifix or a church setting. he had made a very courageous speech in houston to the protestant ministers whomp opposed to put -- who were opposed to putting a catholic in the white house. and he basically said my church does not speak more me on public issues, and i do not speak more my church on church issues. and he seemed to put the issue to rest. but you will remember that election he won by a whisker of 1%. there were no more than 118,000 votes separating john f. kennedy from richard nixon in that election. and the part that bothered kennedy the most, the most was the votes coming pack from hyannis port. because up to that time the was with pes had never -- the wasps
had never accepted the lace curtain irish kennedys in hyannis port. and kennedy knew to the last vote it was, like, 4,873 votes for nixon and 1,2be 30 be votes -- 1,230 votes for kennedy. that was the one that bothered him most. this picture of president and mrs. weaponty coming back -- kennedy coming back from the blair house was jacqueline kennedy's favorite picture. she told stanley that they both realized that president kennedy was not an emotionally demonstrative man and didn't like any public show of affection. but coming back from blair house he reached over, and he took a wisp of her hair and tucked it behind her ear. and she is looking at him adore
ingly, and it's a very intimate gesture. and after the assassination, jackie asked stanley for this picture because she said it was her very favorite. so, of course, i had to include it in the book. this is a picture of mrs. kennedy as first lady on the first be state visit -- first state visit that the kennedys made to canada. when i was cure rating this book -- cure raitting this book going through, there are about 300 photographs. many of them had never been published before. it was impossible to find one bad photograph of the family. they just cannot take a bad picture. they were beautiful people, they were young, and can even the candid shots when they're not looking, they're fabulous. now, president kennedy cared
very, very much about image. and as some of you heard lynne olson say, time and life and look magazine were the driving image makers in the country at that time. even in 1960 87% of the country had television, but most people got their news from the newspapers. and so the pictures that went out on the wire services really introduced the country to the president. and stanley was working for upi at the time. and the other wire service, of course, was associated press. the ap kept changing their photographer, but upi kept stanley on the entire time. so no other photographer traveled with the president, and
at that time senator kennedy, as much as stanley did. now there's a scrum of photographers that travel with the candidate. but at that time it was only the wire services, and then when they'd hit a city like philadelphia or los angeles, they'd pick up local guys. but for the most part, it was simply the wire services. stanley told me kennedy would not pose for a picture. he said if it happens, you can take it. no posing. i don't want anything corny. be and the other thing he would never let stanley catch him combing his hair. he was very vain about his hair. he had great hair. but he would not be photographed combing his hair. he would not be photographed eating. and he wouldn't be photographed with any kind of a hat except for a hard hat. that one he wore with pride
because he felt he was getting criticized as the son of a very rich man, and at that time joe kennedy was worth $400 million which in 1960 made him one of the ten richest americans. so kennedy was very, very sensitive about that. in fact, after the vote came in stanley said to him, well, that was a squeaker. be. [laughter] the president said no reason for dad to buy a landslide. [laughter] anyway, you will see a couple of pictures, i hope, of the struggle with the indian head dress and other hats. and this isla, athe state dinner the shah of iran. and she was so nervous about how
the shah would come in. and she did come with this great crown of emeralds and diamonds as big as hard-boiled eggs. and mrs. kennedy went to harry winston and borrowed her jewels for the evening. and she felt that she add really done it. and she walked down, and the shah's wife came out, and the president said, oh, god, she's really beat you this time. [laughter] but she looks quite regal and beautiful, so it's included in the book. this is president kennedy on his first state visit, and it's with charles de gaulle who jackie was quite enamored with, all things french. and this was the trip to paris that made jacqueline kennedy an absolute star. and president kennedy very famously remarked, i'd like to introduce myself, i'm the man who accompanied jacqueline
kennedy to paris, and i've enjoyed it very much. this is caroline kennedy at hyannis port. jacqueline kennedy as first lady was ferocious about protecting her children. she did not want the children photographed at any time. and the word went out, and pierre salinger, the press secretary, was absolutely terrified of jackie. the president, on the other hand, began to see the value of these children and how adorable they were. stanley went to hyannis port to photograph the shriver family for a cover story he was doing for "look" magazine. and he was under orders not to photograph the president's children. but he said he couldn't help himself. and when maria shriver came
over, she gave caroline that postcard. and she said that's the president. caroline said, it is not, it's my daddy. and she said it's the president too. she said, no, it isn't. and stanley said he just couldn't help himself. he just found himself snapping picture after picture. this is caroline waiting on the dock for her father to come back at hyannis port during that trip which stanley was not supposed to take any pictures of her. and this is a famous picture called the golf cars. stanley was at hyannis port and saw the president get into his golf cart, and the president would drive a few feet, and he'd clap his hands, and all the little kennedys and shrivers and smiths and lawfords would compiling out and jump into the golf cart. and they'd go off to the candy
store. well, stanley went to him, and he said, mr. president, that's a wonderful picture. i would really love to take it. it just shows such appeal and warmth. and the president said, i'll check with jackie. he came back to stanley, and he said you can take the photograph, but it can't be with caroline and john in the golf cart. so that's the picture, and this is the picture that is huge. any of you who have been to the kennedy library in boston, they have a huge mural of this. but you won't find caroline or john in the golf cart. this is an important picture. this is president kennedy on the day of the march on washington for jobs and freedom. august 13, 1963. when i was going through
stanley's archive to do this book, i found about 200 photographs from the march on washington that have never been published before. so i'm trying to behave myself so that i can come back next year, because i have another photo book coming out on the march on washington. it's coming out this august. and it's called "let freedom ring." this is one of the photographs. this is after the march. the kennedys were terrified of this march. the whole city of washington had been shut down. businesses closed, the government closed. everybody thought there were going to be riots and bloodshed in the streets. and it turned out to be 250,000 people at a sunday picnic. it was a joyous, wonderful occasion. the president had been
terrified. and after the march, in fact, he wouldn't speak at the march. and one reason he wouldn't speak was because martin luther king was is such a fabulous orator that john kennedy knew that he didn't want to follow him. and he also, if there was a riot, didn't want to be in the midst of it. so he invite what they call -- invited what they called the big ten, and those are the ten speakers that spoke at that march. at first there were just six speakers. but showing the vision of martin luther king in planning this march, he said we've got to reach out. it's got to be inclusive. you've got to have jews, you've got to have christians, you've got to have labor. so they expanded, and secretary of labor roy worths is there, whitney young, dr. king, a.
phillip randolph, president kennedy, vice president johnson, walter luther and i forget who that is on the far, on the far right. this was the meeting that took place in the white house after the march. but to see all the pictures from the march, the book will be out in august. by the way, i do want to tell you that this book, um, is so easy for me to promote it and tell you about it because i'm not profiting from this. all the royalties go to the d.c. public libraries. [applause] all of them. [applause] um, and the book that'll be coming out in august, all proceeds from that book will go
to the children's defense fund. so -- [applause] this is part of this famous photo shoot that stanley had. stanley had been aft president to do -- after the president to do a cover story on the president and his son. it took him 18 months to get the story. the president said it's a great idea, i'd like to do it, but jackie, i don't know. and then when the little, the little kid turned 2, the president said i have to be very honest with you, he's going through this stage right now where he doesn't like me. [laughter] stanley said the president was kind of embarrassed to tell him this, but stanley said, we'll keep at it. you keep working with irving. and for some reason stanley called little john kennedy jr.
irving. everybody else called him.john john. the president didn't want him to be called jack. so they called him john john, stanley called him irving. anyway, mrs. kennedy took a vacation, and she went to greece after the death of their child in august of 1963, little patrick kennedy. and the day she left washington, ellen lincoln called stanley and said the president says the coast is clear, and you better get over here. [laughter] so stanley arrived at the white house, and he waited. and i guess -- yes. this is probably the most iconic photograph taken of the president in the oval office. john john came over to say good night to his father, and he ran
to play in his secret place which was under the president's desk. and he popped out, opened the door, and stanley knew that he had a photograph. and stanley said to me, he said i know when i shove off, that's the only picture anybody's or going to remember. -- anybody's ever going to remember. and it is quite true. in all of his obits, they did run this picture. this is caroline coming down to see her father before she started school up in the white house solarium. mrs. kennedy didn't want the children to be going out to school, so she started a school for her kids and for the kids of cabinet officials. so caroline just came to say hello to her father. and it's so endearing that i had to put it in.
this is a picture, obviously, of john jr. at his father's desk. and the president vetoed out of all the pictures saably took -- stanley took, and he did show them for approval. this was the only one the president said, no, you cannot publish this because it looks like we're being too playful in the oval office. so it was never published until now. and this is president kennedy after he made the nanny get john to have a haircut so that they could pose for pictures together for father's day. and it was, it was a heart of discussion, you know, which photograph would be used on the book. and the editors, the editors agreed that this would be the one.
this is an endearing picture when you realize that john f. kennedy could barely bend be over. one thing that came through when i was doing the research for this book is the amount of pain, distress, disease that really plagued the president. he had numerous back operations that never worked. he had a steel plate inserted into his back that became infected and had to be operated on again. he got the last rites two times. and it's interesting that this is the man who represented youth and vigor and a new frontier in the white house. and he hid his disabilities ite well. ablto do that now, but he did at the time.
this, for him to bend over, he told stanley it bothered him very much. he could rarely lift his children up, and he congress run with them too much -- he couldn't run with them too much, couldn't play touch football as much as he'd like to. but john is running to what he called his father's hebricop, marine one, the white house helicopter. and as soon as he got off, the president gave him, i don't know if you can see it in the picture, a parrot. but knowing that the president could barely bend over, it is a very sweet photograph. this is a picture of jacqueline kennedy less than a year after the assassination. stanley went to her and said that he wanted to do a story to show that she and the children were resilient and strong, and they were able to cope. she didn't want to do it at
first. stanley went to robert kennedy, and jackie agreed. and so robert kennedy and ted sorenson, jackie and the two kids and stanley went up to high hyannis port. and he took a series of photographs that are quite extraordinary. and jackie signed this one: for stanley, with a very personal inscription which is in the book. this is from that same photo shoot. mrs. kennedy with the two children. this is a photograph taken of caroline and john in hyde park in london after the assassination. the queen dedicated running mead to president kennedy. and stanley, he was a wonderful
photographer, but he was also a very, very good rider. and be he would -- and he would make notes to his editor, and he kept copies of all the letters that he sent to his editor and the back and forth that went on. and there's a wonderful ten-page memorandum called "my agonizing ten days in london with jackie." [laughter] and it goes into very funny detail about how he had to follow her around. she said you can come, but pretend you're not there. i don't want anyone to think that i have my own personal photograph -- photographer. anyway, this picture was taken in hyde park, and caroline is a real horse woman. she loved it, like her mother. john was allergic to horses, and jackie did not want his picture taken because anytime he got
around horses, his little eyes would fill, and he'd start crying. and she never wanted a photograph of the president's son crying. well, stanley took it. after the assassination stanley was very, very close to robert kennedy, and stanley started knowing the kennedys back in the late '50s when he covered the racquets committee. and robert kennedy was counsel, and senator kennedy was on the committee. in this picture was taken -- this picture was taken in 1968. and it was taken a few days before the assassination. and it is the photograph that earth them kennedy -- ethel kennedy decided should be on a postage stamp. so this was the picture.
stanley was so slammed by the assassination of robert kennedy that he took four months off his job and didn't work for a while. and i think he kind of lost his heart for coverage. i mean, he kept on working all of his life up until the time he'd had a stroke. and, in fact, he covered the carter campaign, and president carter asked him to come to the white house and be the white house photographer. i remember asking stanley why didn't you do that? and he said, oh, i just didn't think that carter would give me the kind of access that a white house photographer really needs. and that might have been true, but i do think that stanley had lost a little bit of heart. he was especially close to robert kennedy and traveled with him every single day and every single night of the campaign.
he had gone to him before, and he said, you know, years ago i had gone to president kennedy and told him for the second campaign for his re-election i'd like to cover him in a way that no other photographer and journalist has ever done before, and i'd like complete access to all meetings to be able to photograph at any time, take any kind of notes. and robert kennedy said, absolutely. so it was stirring. and as you know, the campaign was not very long. he came -- he made his announcement in march of '68, and-assassinated in june -- and he was assassinated in june of '68. and stanley's archives contain thousands of pictures, most of which, again, have never been published. but this one has. is that it? we did it. [laughter] we did it.
[applause] i'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about the book, about stanley. yes. >> hi, kitty. excuse me, could you, please -- [inaudible] sorry. step to the microphone there so everyone can hear you? i'm sorry. >> that's okay. that's fine. >> anyone else, get in line there too. thank you. >> yeah, kitty, i just have maybe it's a two-part question regarding jfk and his extramarital activity, controversial as it was and so forth. did stanley ever have any, talk about access, or was there any mention of this? what did he relate to you? >> well, now, remember, i didn't meet stanley until, i guess, 1981.
but he was anker replaceable part of my life. and this subject did come up. and stanley knew about affairs with white house secretaries. he was a little stunned about the judith campbell exerner affr with the mafia mistress. stanley came from a different generation, and he was no stranger to affairs himself. thank you very much. which is why i believed him when he said he had a trunk full of nude photographs. so he was kind of like, well, yeah, you know, you know. but more than that we didn't really -- he told me about the secretaries. he told me about a couple of -- one very pretty journalist. but it was no big thing to
stanley. and at that time the extent had not been published, the extent that we have now. >> and me second question is i just want to agree with the man that introduced you about his way. i just love that book about, you know, frank. it was such a great portrait, this kind of jekyll/hyde personality. and i remember it was very vivid how you would describe he would get back at people. i don't know if you remember there was some comic that had been ridiculing sinatra, and a few days later his face was smashed open. do you remember that? >> i do. i do remember that. [laughter] i have not forgotten that book because before i had written a word, frank sinat me for $2 million to stop the book. and it was terrifying, and i remember i called the publisher,
and i said i don't understand this. i've just read that i'm being sued by frank sinatra. and the publishing lawyer said, well, that's very interesting. and i said, um, well, i know, but, you know, when you're sued, you have to get a lawyer -- and she said, well, you might want to do that. [laughter] and i said, well, what are you? you're a lawyer. and she said, we don't have a manuscript. so i was on my own, and had it not been for a group of writers that stepped forward to defend the first amendment, i probably wouldn't be here. i would be in debtors' prison because frank sinatra kept this going until he finally dropped it a year later. ..
how maybe my sources weren't so good. i have sources within the family, i had sources in the entourage, i have the mall over the place, interviewed hundreds of people flows this book and one of them said you don't have to worry about a thing. if anything happens to that, i would be the first one blamed. at the very false sense of security until about 3 weeks ago when paul's book came offense said there had been a hit put
out. they probably didn't even know how to spell kitty kelley correctly. any other questions? >> if i may. >> it is kitty kelley. >> so much controversy in the books you have written one of the more controversial pieces for me is you break your journalistic code in the law of love characters you are writing about, all on the subject you are writing about comes through. certainly this book lays it bear, makes it easy. >> this does. it really was a labor of love. i am a firm believer in what they called the unauthorized biography. unauthorized does not mean and true, it means that you are doing it without the cooperation and blessing of your subject and
i do believe this a legitimate, wonderful way to cover history, especially public figures that have spent many years and millions of dollars creating their own image, so i think it is viable sometimes to go behind that, so usually i am ville one 2 is trying to get behind that and tell you what is going on but in this book, because it was stanley, because he was my best friend and because he loved president kennedy, i felt i owed it to him to do the kind of book that he wouldaveone and consequently you won't find anything too negative in this
book. it shows my affection for stanley and his great affection for the kennedys but there are parts of it that makes you think. jacqueline kennedy lost many children, two or three miscarriages, she went into severe depression at one point and had electroshock therapy and you begin to understand why the kennedys threw themselves into mental health because rose marie kennedy, one of president kennedy's sisters also had electroshock therapy and it never worked and there's always the party for ambassador kennedy and his wife so there are poignant parts of this book but it is for the most part a love story and i hope you like it.
[applause] >> you will be signing copies of your book? right? and the book is for sale right behind us here. if you have a chance on the web site, the evaluation, thank you all for coming and our next author will be here in ten minutes. thank you. [applause] >> thank you again. [inaudible conversations]
>> booktv coverage of the 2013 gaithersburg's the -- book festival will continue in a few minutes. >> here's a look at upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the nation. book expo america is the largest gathering of booksellers and industry professionals in the u.s. and it features 500 others. this year takes place in new york city thursday, may '32 through john -- june 31st. booktv will be live at the chicago tribune printers festival for coverage of other panels. check our web site at booktv.org for updates on our coverage. in mid july the fifteenth annual harlem will fare in new york city. the festival highlights award show with reader's choice entaons from authors like john carlos and henry louis gates jr.. in a bit down, mass. martha's vineyard book festival in august, a two event will feature
several others including adam, dick player. please let us know about book fairs and festivals in your area and we will be happy to add them to our list, oppose them to our what facebook.com/booktv or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. booktv is on facebook. like us to interact with booktv guests and viewers, watch videos and get up-to-date information on events. facebook.com/booktv. >> the title stating justice comes from god's decision not to resign after the saturday night massacre, it should have been called the saturday night involuntary manslaughter. because nixon didn't plan it but just wandered into a. bob believed the president has
the authority to control everyone in the executive branch and to fire insubordinate personnel. cox had proclaimed insubordination on national tv. whether i president is wise to exercise that authority is for history to decide. attorney-general richardson had promised the senate that he would maintain a special prosecutor in place. and he thought he had to resign when nixon asked him to fire cox but he could not have made any such promise and thought that the president was entitled to dig his own grave if he insists bucci also thought he should not gain by did the deed and certainly should not appear to be a teddy so he plans to fire cox and quit. rich edson and william, the deputy attorney general talk to not a resignation. there was no line of succession in the department of justice
after the solicitor general. so if bob had walked the plank the department of justice would have been leaderless. no one knew who the president might install. rich edson and bork feared it would be a political shell leading the assistant attorney general and much of the department senior leadership to resign and crippling the department so bob bought say of justice by saying, then he quit in protest, he probably would have been treated as a national hero and confirmed to the supreme court in 1987. perhaps you would have been appointed by president ford in 1976 to destroy see that went to john paul stevens. he was on a list that would leave the sent to president ford. had he quit the nation as a whole would have suffered so he stayed in office, so determined
not to benefit that he turned down an opportunity to be appointed as attorney general, turn down the chance to work on attorney-general's more elegant office, avoided the attorney general's private dining room and even turned down the attorney-general's chauffeur and limousine during the time he was acting attorney general. i can't say much more about those times. they occupied the last six months of 1973 and i did not arrive in the solicitor general's office until mid 1974 but everything bob bork says in his book he said in 1974 too. richardson and the people who worked with him most closely than such as edmund kitsch and keith jones still the same story. bork's narration in the book is entirely consistent with the man i knew for 40 years,
intellectual, considering consequences before acting and absolutely honest. he is also the funniest man i ever met. that it come through in his 1987 hearings but the book is full of his wit. the life of the solicitor general, like the life of a judge is reactive. other people decide what suits the brain. the solicitor general controls the government's presentation in those suits to the supreme court, with petitions to file, what responses to file, briefs, oral arguments and the solicitor general also decides when the government will repeal an adverse decision by district court or seek a rehearing on bonds in a court of appeals. the solicitor general has the authority to decide when and if at all in the supreme court or court of appeals, it is a broad portfolio that requires a large base of knowledge plus the ability to learn fast. the solicitor general does not control litigants about what and
does not start a process in the justice department. cases of litigating divisions, civil, criminal, civil rights, antitrust, tax, lands and natural resources in the environment, they make recommendations which go to the assistants and the duties. sometimes there is an internal conflict. department of justice includes bureau of prisons in the criminal division and those people always want to defend wardens and guards, civil-rights division tends to favor the prisoners. somebody has to resolve those. or an assistant to the solicitor general may think the criminal division statutory theory of prosecution is week. the solicitor general has to resolve those issues personally. bob bork conducted many conferences not only to settle flights within the government but also to hear presentations by private counsel.
is one of the office extraditions that anyone, litigant, potential curious i can be heard by the solicitor general personally before the united states filed a brief in the supreme court. bob prepared carefully and asked tough questions at these meetings. as he said in the book, he tried to could vance positions of the executive branch, not his own views. i never saw him favor his own position and never saw him misunderstand an argument. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> here's a look at some books being published this week. journalist charles more presents an authorized biography of the late prime minister margaret thatcher. in brotherhood, diamonds, destiny and the american dream, a professor at harvard medical school, recall the immigration
to the united states from india. sociology professor at cambridge university and sam davis, assistant professor of medicine at stanford prevention research center present their research on the correlation between financial crisis and personal health throughout history in the body economics, why austerity kills, recessions, budget battles and the politics of life and death. george packer, staff writer for the new yorker examines u.s. history over the last three decades and argues that the country and its institutions are coming the part in the unwinding, an inner history of the new america. jessye norman, conservative member of the british parliament recounts the life and achievements of 18th-century irish philosopher and statesman and edmund burke in edmund burke, the first conservative. look for these titles in bookstores this coming we can't watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and on
booktv.org. >> there is no bird been processed food industry needs more than a prediction. i tried to use it sparingly because they can rather convincingly argues that there are some differences between food craving and narcotics cravings, certain technical thresholds. however, when they talk about the allure of their foods their language can be so revealing, they use words like cray ofab , ofable,able. >> sold sugar that is our online book collection this month bill was more video of michael moss at booktv.org and for the next we share your thoughts, see what others are saying on twitter at hash tag be tv book club and our facebook page enjoy our live moderated discussion on line, tuesday, may 28th at 9:00 p.m.
[inaudible conversations] >> hello. welcome to the fourth annual gaithersburg book festival. i am a book festival committee member and workshop coordinator and also a writer myself. gave is byrd is a diverse city which celebrates support for arts, and communities and we are pleased to bring you this free event every single year by the support of our sponsors of these a thanks to our sponsors was a couple quick announcements. for the consideration everyone please silence any cellphones aid in order to keep improving this event we would love your feedback so there are surveys online at our website gaithersburgbookfestival.org and your thoughts are important to us. by submitting a survey you'll be entered in a drawing for a cool milk e. reeder.
hopefully fat will get you going. sam will be signing books immediately after this presentation and copies of his books are on sale at the politics and prose tent. sam kean is author of two books about science, the disappearing spoon and the violent, his books are not only about the technicalities of science but also the people and culture of the science of the world. in his latest book the violence -- "the violinist's thumb: and other lost tales of love, war, and genius, as written by our genetic code" he has a cast of eccentric characters who lead deron detailed biographies. from the beginning of genetic discovery in the university labs to a broom closet with microscopes and beakers to today's scientists who are moving science-fiction toward reality sam draws you into stores of personal struggle and triumph and on your journey he teaches you something you didn't even realize you were learning.
he has worked in the radio lab, all things considered, he will actually be doing a live webinar for one of my clients, the american chemical society in june. his latest book is "the violinist's thumb: and other lost tales of love, war, and genius, as written by our genetic code" and it is a new york times best seller and amazon top five science book of the year and here to tell us about our own dna and how we know what we know about it, please welcome mr. sam kean. [applause] >> hello, everyone. thank you all for coming out this afternoon and joining me. i appreciate it. i will be talking "the violinist's thumb: and other lost tales of love, war, and genius, as written by our genetic code". it is a book about genetics on the surface of it but deep down it is a story book, storybook about all aspects of human life. there are a number of specific
historical stories about people trying to prove or disprove ancient legends or stories of personal triumph for personal tragedy, but overall it is kind of a storybook about human beings, about our big kind of overarching history and as an species. kind of epic stories about who we are, where we came from, why we almost went extinct at various points, kind of big questions about humanity and i thought i would jump right in with a few of my favorite stories from the book from a chapter the my mic to call retro diagnoses. the basic idea of retro diagnoses is you want to figure out how your favorite historical celebrities died. what you do is look at when they
lived, look at where they lived, look at their social circumstances, what they complained about on their deathbed, look at other symptoms and through all of these things you try to piece together how they might have died. so you retro diagnose them. doctors are really kind of incorrigible about doing this type of work. if you get a hold of a medical journal and start flipping through it you will see just paper after paper after a paper saying this emperor died of this, this artist died of this, everyone is an idiot for not realizing this president had this disease, they really get into this. unfortunately the field is a little trickier than you might imagine that first. often times you are relying on testimony from witnesses who may be quite didn't know what they were talking about, didn't have a lot of medical knowledge of few hundred years ago so they might not exactly get things right. or you might be relying on
sources that were compiled hundreds of years after people died so there is much legend as they are fact and if you are not careful you can get one more from reality pretty quickly. i have seen papers, serious papers suggesting for instance that beethoven died of syphilis of all things, that edgar allan poe died of rabies which would be fitting lee learned for him. that alexander the great died of ebola. just a partial list of all the things that charles darwin supposedly suffered from, just a partial list include middle you damage, pigeon allergies, arsenic poisoning, lactose intolerance, lupus, narcolepsy, of course or a bear, cyclical vomiting syndrome and something
called smoldering hepatitis. i have even seen serious suggestions diagnosing fictional characters with various diseases, suggestions that sherlock holmes had autism, ebenezer scrooge had obsessive compulsive disorder, darth vader had borderline personality disorder. not bad. you might think with this type of work that dna may be is a little more objective, you get somebody's bones from the ground, do a test on it, get a nice easy edge, they added disease or they didn't but as i explained in the book, is not quite that simple when it comes to genetics. barista lot of interpretation, still a bit of an arch to figuring out whether someone had a disease or not and there are certain cases where they started to look into doing a genetic test and cited to stop because they realized they wouldn't get
a nice clean answer. the best example in the book is abraham lincoln, two decades or so ago they were going to do some genetic testing on him and realized they would have to destroy a little bit of a small artifacts and they might not get a clear answer one way or the other so they decided to hold off, not do anything and still really haven't gone back and looked at it today so the question of whether he had a certain disease is still hanging. but the story i'm going to talk about now actually explains one of the success stories of doing this type of genetic testing, retro diagnoses and that story gets started in 1300 b.c. with an egyptian pharaoh by the name of a man those have iv. a few years into his reign he decided enough with this, we
already had four, i am going to change my name to i cannot and and that is what he is known and is history today, the very famous ferro i cannot and as more than anything else he was a reformer. he wanted to reform egyptian society top to bottom and the thing he was really excited about reforming was egyptian religious services. traditionally add chicken people worship the lot of different gods and worse of them at night. but i cannot and was one of the first monod's diaz, he believed in only one god, the sun god and he also wanted people to worship during the day, the son's prime afternoon hours. does not allow people upset. they didn't like the idea of changing their religious services put akhenaten and forced that and a lot harsher statutes on the too. for instance he became something
of a grammar not see in that he wouldn't let people use the plural hieroglyphic god's on public monuments. they would go and smash it if they saw the plural hieroglyphic. he also sent his fed doing to people's homes and if they saw a mug with a local guide on it they would take and smashed on the ground because he couldn't stand the depiction of any other gods. as heretical as he was with religion, he was equally heretical when it came to art because for the first time during his reign he starts to see a lot of realism, ala realistic depictions of things like birds or crocodiles or plants, things like that. you also start to see realistic depictions of themes from his life. it might be akhenaten kissing his wife, the famous queen nefertiti or he might just be sitting down and having a meal
with his son, the future king taught and the lot of people were surprised by this that the feral would have himself depicted doing normal mundane everyday things. kind of a departure from normal egyptian art. but for all of the realism and all of the art throughout all of his reign, there was one thing that was decidedly unrealistic and that was akhenaten himself. whenever a he was depicted he always looked a little funny. he always looked a little off for some reason. there is another picture of him here, he is on the left. if you listen to archaeologists describing what akhenaten looks like a sound like carnival barkers sometimes lose one promises you will recoil from this the epitome of physical repulsive this.
another call him a humanoid praying mantis. if you look at the symptom is they just go on and on, the archaeologists have seen, and all and shaped head, con cave chest, spidery arms, chicken legs with a backward bending these, big botox lips, potbellies, on and on. these are the anti david, the anti venus they milo of our history and the lot of archaeologists always wanted to know, what is going on here. he is the pharaoh. he can have himself depicted however you wants and this is what he chooses to look like. why would you do that to yourself? there has always been one school of thought that said maybe this is just more realism, maybe his body did look a little funny. maybe he had a genetic disorder
of some sort and it is not at all implausible because frankly there was a lot of incest in the pharaoh lines it is not implausible he would have gotten a bum copy of the gene from his mother and his father and had a disease that gave his body strange shape. but of course no one had any sort of hard evidence pretty conjectures beyond the carvings they would see everyone's a while so they would argue and argue and bicker back and forth and no one really got anywhere until genetics entered the scene. i am going to be reading a little bit from the book about what happened when they did start to do genetic testing on a few mummies for the very first time around two thousand seven. so the egyptian government long hesitated to let geneticists' just have at their most precious mummies. boring into the tissue or bones
inevitably destroy is small bits of the manned paley a genetics is actually pretty iffy at first. only in 2007 did the government relent and allow scientists to withdraw dna and also do meticulous ct scans of five generations of mummies including cuts and akhenaten. the study turned up no major defects in akhenaten or his family. this hints that the egyptian royals did look like normal people, that means that the portraits of akhenaten with shore don't look normal probably were not striving for verisimilitude. they were probably propaganda. apparently decided his status as the pharaoh, lifted him so far above the normal human rabble that he had to inhabit a new type of body in public portraits. some of his strange features in the picture is like a distended
belly or big paunch call to mind fertility deity so perhaps he wanted to portray himself as the womb of egypt's well-being as well. all that said the mummies did show some subtle deformities, things like club feet or cleft palate and each succeeding generation of mummies had more of these deformities to indoor. can touch of the fourth generation had both a clubfoot and cleft palate. scientists realized why he suffered so much when they looked at his jeans. certain dna stutters, repetitive sections, little bits repeated over and over, dna stutters get passed intact from parent to child so they offer a way to trace lineages. unfortunately for king tet, both his parents had the same stutters because his mom and dad had the same parents.
nefertiti may have been akhenaten's most celebrated wife but for the crucial business of producing an air he turned to an unknown sister. this incest likely compromise king tusk and simian system and did the dynasty in. because a few years after the 9-year-old king tusk assumed the throne of egypt the bullet renounced his father's heresies and was hoping for better fortune from the gods. unfortunately it didn't happen. while working on king tax's money scientists also found scads of malarial dna deep inside his bones. malaria wasn't uncommon. similar tests reveal both of king touch's grandparents, he only had two, both of king touch's grandparents also both had malaria and they l until they're 50s. however king taught's malarial infection added one strain too many to a body that because of
the incestuous genes could no longer carry the load. king tug succumbed to malaria, probably at age 19. indeed there are some strange brown splotches as you can see here on the walls inside king touch's tomb and they provide clues hal sutton his decline was. dna and chemical analysis has revealed this as biological in oregon. they were basically mold. what happened was his death same co quickly and was so unexpected that the tomb's in walls didn't have time to dry. they had to steal him up before the paint was dry and it attracted mold. powerful forces in egypt never forgot the family since and when tut died without an heir and army general seize the throne. he in turn died airless but another commander, the famous
ramsey's took over please ramsey's and his successors tried to erase all traces of akhenaten, tut and nefertiti from the annals of the pharaohs and as a final insult ramsey's and his heirs erected buildings over tut's tomb in order to conceal and in fact they concealed the tomb so well that even looters struggled to find it. as a result the treasures survived mostly intact over the generations. treasures that in time would grant him and his family something like immortality. so the entire thing about covering the tombs ended up backfiring for ramseys because he is trying to hide tut but ended at preserving his treasures and making him the very famous ferro the we know today and i like that story because it shows how you can
start with something like dna but if you know what you are doing you can really parlay that into a lot more information. you can find information about the history, the funeral practices, archaeology, politics, so many different areas just starting with dna and that is what is really exciting about genetics these days. genetics is not just medicine any more. is spilling over into so many different areas. it is really a field that is expanding into all parts of science. is really an exciting time to be studying and looking at the field of genetics. for the next part of the talk, i would take a little closer look at jeans and dna themselves. what do genes do? the basic idea is that genes control body traits so you have a gene that controls the body
train and if you change the genius end of changing that body trade. that is the general idea. and jeans change when they get damaged or suffer mutation or something like that. that is basically what happens, why you get changes to body trades. why we are not all the same and the really exciting thing to me about dna and jeans is that they work the same basic way in all those forms of life, in all creatures dna and genes work the same basic way. with you are talking about tulips, and guinea pigs, bacteria, toads, toadstools, slime molds, members of congress, what ever, they work the same way, all of these strange creatures, it is the unifying idea of biology and i find that absolutely fascinating. and because they work the same
basic way in all creatures we often study them in animals first, to get a general idea of what they do in animals and then we can apply it to human beings. is often easier to study them in animals. at least personally i find it a little bit more fun sometimes to study genes in animals rather than human beings for a specific reason. the names of the jeans. i am sure a lot of us have had the experience looking at a medical paper may be or even reading a newspaper story about a certain gene coming across the name of it and having no idea what the word meant. they are usually very long, very technical words, very hard to decipher, usually the case with human genes. when it comes to animal genes scientists have a little bit more leeway. they can be a little more creative with animal gene names.
in particular i am thinking about the gene names of this animal right here, the fruit fly. they don't look particularly witty, but the fruit fly has probably inspired more funny and unusual team names and every other animal out there. there are different food fly jeans named groucho, there's one called smurf, lost in space, fear of intimacy, speed faint sausage, have no idea what it does that is a lovely name. there is the tin man gene. if the team man gene gets mutated fruit flies cannot develop a heart. there is a gene -- yes. there is a gene from flies exceptionally tipsy after a tiny step of alcohol called the cheap
date jean. there is the ken and barbie gene and if it didn't mutate, fruit flies cannot develop any jenna tally of. but it is not just in fruit flies, there's an occasional zinger out there in other animals too. my favorite been named story has to do with this gene right here, it is a gene in mice called vp okay jean. at first glance that is a perfect example of one of those horrendous team names, no idea what those words mean but if you look at it a little more closely for the first three letters are p o k e and there's been at the beginning of the next word, kind of spells out polk --pokemon. it appeared in a scientific paper and became the official name of the gene and everyone
had a good laugh about this. except, notice right after the word pokemon along all are with a circle around it and lawyers were not very amused by this because it turns out that the gene contributes to the spread of cancer and they didn't want their cue little pocket monsters confused with tumors and so they actually threatened to sue these scientists. they were really going to take him to the cleaners over this the scientists backed down and gave it some other horrible jean name but the one shining moment, there was actually pokemon gene. one thing scientists are starting to get into, for a few minutes i was talking about individual genes, groucho, the tin man machine, things like that but nowadays something scientists are really interested in is systems of genes, talking
about how lot of jean's work together to give us a certain body traits. the next story i am going to talk about is a good example of how lots of jean's work together to give us a certain body trade that is very dear to human beings, specifically our very large brains. the idea of where we get our large brains has fascinated scientists for a very long time. they have been looking into this for centuries and there have always been a couple schools of thought on how to study this. one school of thought has been you want to study how human beings got very smart, you got to look at the smartest human beings out there, just like if you want to figure out why some people are very tall you go to giants, look at the biggest, the best examples and if you want to study why human beings are smart, people have always wanted to look at the very smartest people, they want to look at the
brains of people like albert einstein and believe it or not, we do actually have einstein's brain preserved to thisday. unfortunately the way we got einstein's brain is of bit of a gruesome story. the story got started in 1955, princeton, new jersey where einstein was living and he had and a your neck aneurysm, held on for a few days but finally died at 1:15 in the morning one night. they called in a local doctor to do the autopsy and it should have been a pretty straight forward autopsy, just had to go in, confirm the cause of death, so the body up and give it back to the family. but the doctor who was called in, a man named thomas harvey was payable ambitious, dr. harvey got to thinking, dr.
harvey said this is the gray matter of the greatest scientific thinker since isaac newton and we have one chance, just one chance to preserve his brain. not like we can go back a month from now and decide we want to do this. we have to do it tonight or never and i think a lot of us might have been kind of tempted in the same way harvey was but i am not sure we all would have done what harvey did which was to extract einstein's brain without permission, to sell einstein backup, the body to the family without telling them he was doing this. unfortunately for him, harvey was very excited about this kind of war, told a few friends, also told his family including his small son who went to school the next day, they were talking about einstein, son's hand goes
in the air and you can't blame the kid, hand goes in the air and he blurts out my dad has einstein's brain. people start talking, thomas hardy's friends started talking, newspapers got a hold of the story and if you can imagine einstein's family was not very happy to find out what happened to his brain this way. this isn't the first celebrity autopsy to take a laird turn like this. beethoven for instance, doctors wanted to study his year bones so they set them aside but when an orderly came, put them in his pocket, no one ever saw them again. the composer-had his head sold by for enologist who wanted to study is head bumps and figure out what made him a great composer. one of the odder stories out there involves thomas edison to on his deathbed someone shoved a jar in front of his face to
capture his last breath and then put the lid on the jar. the breadth ended up in a museum and people came from miles around to look at this jar with the breath inside of it supposedly. probably the most lurid story, though, involves feinstein again because after his body got out of thomas hardy's office bottle went to another doctor who decided to pluck out his eyeballs and kept them in a jar in a safety deposit box decades and decades. word got out about this in the 1980s that which point michael jackson, who else, michael jackson reportedly offered $3 million to get einstein's eyeballs but the doctors said no, he was not going to part with them because he had grown fond of taking them out and
gazing into them every now and then. i don't mean to lump thomas hardy in with these other people. he didn't have some sort of weird fetish about a celebrity body part. he actually had a serious scientific purpose, to figure out what made einstein very smart. first thing he did, he took out of the brain and he waited and that is where the first disappointment started because the average human brain waves are around 49, 50 ounces, something like that. einstein's a great weight in at 43 ounces so he was actually about two standard deviations below normal for of human brain size, had a very small brain. thomas hardy kept going, took a lot of black and white pictures of it and talked of rain up into little pieces. you can see some examples right
there and put them in kind of this hard plastic coating, basically shellacked them to preserve them for future generations and when he have all the pieces, he started putting them in mayonnaise jars and mailed them out to neurologists around the country and asked them to examine them and so he wanted to know what made einstein special, what set him apart? the neurologists got back to him and they said funny thing, there is not that much unusual about the brain. it just looks kind of normal to us. he got all the pieces back and sent out the pieces again to another wave of neurologists and he said what have you got? what made einstein einstein? and they said you know, it just looks like an old man's brain, there is nothing unusual, just a normal brain.
this kept happening over and over. no one could really find anything strange or unusual about einstein's brain. there was a paper a few months ago where they find something a little bit different about einstein's brain, but neurosciences often don't put a lot of stock in these studies for various reasons, the idea he might have had a few more cells in one part or may be missing a fold. in some cases s they noticed also come about when people play musical instruments from a very young age. feinstein started playing the violin when he was 6 or 7. you don't know if the folds change in his brain because he was a genius or because he was playing violin. and overall is very hard to tell with the sample size of one if something was just idiosyncratic to einstein war if it was really something that made him a
genius. brains very as much as faces do so with is really hard to tell from just looking at einstein's brain. so harvey eventually got all the pieces back, put them in a cookie jar in his office, put them in a cardboard box beneath the beer cooler and that is where they sat in his office, einstein's brain. as all this work was going on with harvey other scientists were looking at human genius in general and it turns out that a much better way to try to figure out where human genius came from is through genetics and the last part i am going to read here explains a little bit about some of the things we know about that helped give rise to the big brains that we have. some of these findings are a little preliminary so you have to be careful but we are starting to get a glimpse of what made our brain special in genetic terms for the first time.
some of the dna that enhances human intelligence does so in roundabout ways. a sayre mutation in humans a few million years ago deactivated a gene that bulked up our jaw muscles, this probably allow us to get by with their skulls which in turn freed up precious cubic centimeters of skull for the brain to expand forward into. another surprise was that a gene that originally allowed us to eat more red meat helps out our brains a lot by helping the brain manage its cholesterol. to function properly brain cells need to see if there axons in a substance which is like insulation on lighters and prevent signals from shore seconding or misfiring. cholesterol is a major component and certain forms do a better job distributing the cholesterol
in the brain where it is needed most. some genes lead to direct structural changes inside the brain. the l r r t m 1 jean helps distribute -- helps keep term in which exact patches of neurons control speech, the motion and other mental qualities which helped the human brain establish its unusual asymmetry and left/right specialization. some versions of the gene reverse parts of the left and right brain and also increase your chances of being left-handed to do, the only no genetic association for that for eighth. scientists of also recently detected 3100 base pairs of so-called junk dna in chimpanzees that got deleted in human beings. this helps stop out of control neuron growth which the lead to big brains obviously but could
also lead to brain tumors because tumors are basically out of control cell growth. human really gambled in deleting this dna but risk apparently paid off and our brains. . discovery showed that it is not always what we gained with dna but sometimes what we lost that helps make us human. i am not going to go into a lot of the other genetic changes but i think you can see again it is not just one gene that gave us our big brains. it is really a suite of a lot of different changes that all came together to help us get our very large mental endowment. lot of factors working together. but still there's that big question, we might know how human beings in general got smart but it is fascinating to think about why some people are even smarter than the normal
person. why does someone like einstein stand a couple standard deviations even beyond regular old human genius. you might be thinking we have einstein's to brain and we know a little bit about the genetics of what makes human beings smart. maybe we could look at einstein's dna and figure something out. unfortunately this turned out to not work and the story, i am going to finish up the story right now explains why it ended up not working. thomas harvey, the local doctor, lost his job in new jersey and tiring of life there took off for greener pastures in kansas where he moved next door to the author and junky william burroughs of all people. the brain rode shotgun in his car. einstein's brain got back on the
road in 1998 when harvey, his jaws and a writer took a road trip in a written buick to visit einstein's granddaughter in california. although weirded out by grandpa's's brain evelyn einstein accepted the visitors for one reason, she was poor, reputedly not very smart and had trouble holding down a job. not exactly an einstein. in fact evelyn was always told that she had been adopted by einstein's son haunts, but evelyn could do a little math and when she started hearing rumors that einstein had been with various lady friends after his wife had died of unrealized she might be einstein's illegitimate child. the adoption might have been a ruse. evelyn wanted to do with genetic paternity test to settle things but it turned out that the
embalming process denatured the brain's dna and made it useless. other sources of feinstein's dna might be floating around, stranding mustache brushes, sweated on violins, but for now we know more about the jeans of neanderthal sites who died 50,000 years ago than the genes of a man who died in 1955. i would like to end with that story for a reason. it goes to show it is a good reminder that we don't know everything about genes and dna. there are a lot of surprises allowed they're waiting for us so in some sense the stories in this book are still waiting to be written. in the interests of time i won't go into any more stories. i will mention a few of them from the book, stories that are still going on today, stories about other man who survived the hiroshima and nagasaki nuclear
bomb attacks, but the kicker on the story is even though he was probably the most unlucky man of the 20th centuries ended up living until 2010, and probably because he had very good dna repair mechanisms that extended his life. there are stories in a book about people who have a certain genetic mutation that leaves them without fingerprints, their fingerprints are completely false and scientists have named this immigration delay disease because as you can imagine if you get to the border you don't have fingerprints people don't really want to hear that. they want to know what is going on, not about your jeans. there are also stories about our connection to our animal past, connection, these traits that pop up in us, atavisms where people might have an entire body coat of hair.
there are even stories of babies and other people born with kales, things like that. it goes to show we have a lot of these traits buried inside of us just waiting to come out with genetic mutations. and right now is really a special time with regard to a lot of these stories. the overarching theme of the book is about human beings, all of human history, and scientists thought a lot of these stories were probably lost forever. they just happened too long ago for us to really have any information about them. but it turns out that our cells have been copying these stories inside us for millions, sometimes billions of years and we can finally read these stories inside us for the very first time. i hope the talk this afternoon and especially hope the book has been able to capture the fun, the excitement and all the great
science of being able to read these stories for the very first time. so again, thank you for coming out of this afternoon. [applause] >> i am happy to take questions. >> if you have questions of you could go to the mic in the back of the tent please so we can all hear and -- >> thank you. i think so. >> i enjoyed your talk. i was wondering what did you do before you wrote these books? what was your day job? what was your study in college? >> i studied physics in college and english in college so i had degrees in both of those things and i reallyed love studying it, doing the
classes and things but i was kind of abominable in labs shall i realized i probably wasn't cut out for it and temperamentally i just wasn't able to do the science. i knew i wouldn't be happy doing it. but writing gave me a chance to really keep up with the field and to study science but without having to specialize, without being a disaster day to day. before this i worked at various publications in washington d.c. writing for the man doing free-lance work writing about science on my own. since i have been out of college i have been riding, picking up pieces here and there and eventually hits on the idea for my first book, the disappearing spoon about the periodic table and i have beenull-time since then. >> thank you. >> my question is along those lines. i went to a conference that the
dna learning center one time. have you been there? have you worked with anybody ask and i h? are you involved in any other way? what kind of job do you have other than your writing? >> i do not have another job. have been fellowshiped at various places, given talks, gone and met with people, i interview a lot of scientists at various places but i am not officially affiliated with anyone and vital full-time writer right now. >> thank you very much for your presentation, very interesting. >> i really love your book. i am not quite done with it but i think it is fabulous. >> i won't spoiled an end. >> i was curious how you decide on an example of how to develop an ele when you didn't mention here is a fascinating one on the philadelphia chromosome. i know there are so many examples of that and i was curious how you come of with the
one you want to develop. >> what i focus on in both books was the better stories. i figured the science would take care of itself once i had a story that would really hook people and what it is is reading very widely and trying to find these great stories, digging them up and have a file at home where people filed a things i might want to write about. and figure out how i can write about some. the periodic table book i wanted to write about art and military and things like that so i was finding connections so it is partly knowing those stories are out there but also some serendipity too. ..
access. is this going to be on c-span? >> i'm not the best person to ask that. >> we are live on c-span now. i am glad -- gaithersburg local tv have it on afterwards. >> it will be on line too. >> it will be on line for sure. he said in the library. >> with the study of dna, i hear sometimes on the radio these commercials about these commercial services of being able to send and a swab of your dna and they will be able to tell you your lineage and all these interesting things about you and your ancestry and things like that. what kind of science is there in your experience in studying dna with those kinds of claims?
>> i actually, i explained in the introduction i submitted my dna for one of those tests and i ended up enjoying the process. i thought it was kind of fun to do. there were a few scary moments in it. there were certain diseases and my family history that i didn't want to look at and did not want to think about but overall i think those services are a lot of fun if you realize that there are limitations to them, especially if you say you know they find you have a certain genetic propensity for disease, you just have to keep in mind that those are probabilities, those aren't aren't certainties. you are not condemned or sentenced to come down with that disease. and with ancestry as well, if they look back they can tell a lot of things abou thain things that will kinds remain hidden and that you might never able -- be able to find out. so as long as you do know some
indications on those, i think it can be fun and a lot of people have found long-lost relatives and fifth cousins that have helped them out with genealogy and things like that so people do enjoy doing those things. as far as the actual science, the really important thing about those kinds of enterprises is that you are getting lots and lots of people submitting their dna and so for a disease that only has a few people or a treat where you know one might contribute just a little bits to the disease or the trade, the more people you have the more you are going to be able to key out the exact genetic contribution so it is important to have lots and lots and lots of people. they are starting right now finally getting the numbers where they can look at lots of people and figure some of these ideas out. there is a real science coming out of that type of work even though they are not going as in
depth into your genome and some of the really fancy university or governments can. anyone else? >> in the course of your research, did you find anything relative to the use of dna in i'm going to call it managed medical care, where my understanding is that at some point in time it may be possible to for insurance companies, and i'm stuttering for words here, physically use it against you if you have a propensity for a cancer or another type of disease. did you find anything along those lines? >> yes you can find a lot of
information about that. i didn't go into it in a lot of detail in the book but that is one of the scary things about genetic information, that you not only find things out about yourself that you might learn that you might not want to know about that other people might find them out as well. and i'm not sure about this but i don't think it's legal actually for insurance companies to discriminate against you based on that. but you know there still is that fear because you do feel that it's out there and that we don't want other people knowing those kinds of things. there are a lot of people that are very very worried about that type of thing and i do talk about it a little bit in the book but it's kind of focus more on historical stories -- historical stories and things like that. all right. [inaudible] >> she's said they passed
legislation in maryland seven or eight years ago to make sure that kind of discrimination doesn't happen so you are safe on the ground right here. [laughter] >> is there anything you're working on now? what is the next very we have to look forward to and is there anything you are going to write about the human microbioproject? >> i'm working on a book now actually about neuroscience so it has the same diversity, a funny unusual weird story but this time about the human brain and how it works. all parts of your brain that explores what happens in each part and things like that, so i'm working on that. i don't have any plans to write a book or anything about the microbio, but i do talk about it in the violinist him, the interplay between microand human needs and some of the really fascinating interactions there, the human placenta, the mammal
placenta for instance, the gene that helps its views to the inside of the. we probably basically stole from a virus. it's at virus gene that allows us to do this so without those viruses we wouldn't have this characteristic of mammals. we don't want to think about that of virus gave us this ability but that seems to be the case. it's kind of mind-blowing connection and the microbiois another good example of these connections that scientists really weren't thinking about until maybe a decade or so ago. so that is probably we are close to the end of time anyway ,-com,-com ma yeah okay. thank you again everyone. [applause] >> author will be signing copies of the book at the signing tent
and their copies of the book available for sale at the tenth right behind us. c-span told me that the entire program today will be re-aired tonight on c-span2. it is live now on c-span2. on monday everything in this tent will be on c-span on line. and then if you have a chance to fill out the evaluation for the gaithersburg festival, we would appreciated and thank you all for coming. [applause] >> sam kean live from the gaithersburg festival in maryland. our live coverage continues in a few minutes with neil irwin.
>> if you cut demand for somebody's product per day by 50% per total by 50% you would get crushed. here's what actually happened. the average american medicare reimburses per day in a hospital has grown by five times since 1980. so 50% decline in the number of patients, five times increase in the price.
i want to be in that business. there's another statistic which is entirely sort of irrelevant and quite fascinating. hospitals tell medicare what their costs are so that medicare can compare the price they paid to hospitals costs. so when in those 30 years that medicare increase the price to the hospitals by five times, hospitals reported that their costs had increased. the interesting thing is, our demand collapsed and in any industry that would have been devastating. medicare paid five times as more but the hospitals say they are now only getting reimbursed 40% of their costs down from 7% and one of my most fun -- -- you have to stand outside to see this is that medicare and hospitals that perform medicare services have a loss law said that losses been growing and you can see the numbers.
that losses been growing over the last decade. since medicare patients are the bulk of our hospital patients nobody has ever asked successfully explained that medicare is never asked why. because you would think if you lose money on every patient you would want to reduce volume and not increase by them. there is a lot a lot of that in health care. health care. there a lot of things in health care. if i get off the island and think in terms of the real world, if gm's prices declined in half they probably wouldn't increase. i want to spend one more moment on pricing because prices aren't the real common enemy and that thing most understood in health care and it's a little wonky but it's the things that drive human beings. one of the things we assume is that we pay for health care. one of the arguments i'm making today is how we pay drives the type of care we are getting.
you. if you are visiting welcome to our town. gaithersburg is a vibrant diversity that celebrates and supports the arts and humanities and we are pleased to bring you free of charge thanks to the generous support of sponsors here. so please visit them. they are scattered all around the venue here and please say thank you. if you can spend some money in our fair city even better. a few quick notes. if you have a device that make the noise, please turn it off. and please help us by filling out the on line survey about this event. your thoughts are really important to us. please take the time and fill one out. if you do you will be entered in a drawing for a really cool new nokia e-reader. also i would like to remind you of the washington independent review of books upcoming writers and leaders conference called
localized. this is going to be on june 8 at the marriott conference center. they will have two literary agents with great editors and authors like george palo con off. information is available on the washington independent review of books web site and in their booth here. neil irwin are featured author will be signing books immediately after this presentation and copies of his book "the alchemists," and i've got my own, are for sale in the projects tend. neil irwin has been a journalist for "the washington post" and a graduate of st. mary's college in maryland where he is a member of their board of trustees. he was a -- business at columbia for which he is an mba. most importantly he covers the
federal reserve for the post all during the financial crisis that at least according to the book really started in 2007 and frankly we hope that is over now. this book is great. buy this book. this is really the untold story of how it works. most people don't follow this but let me tell you, follow the money. for me, we politicians think that we have something to do with that too. our tax policies and spend policies are pretty clear and understandable and of course it's easy to blame us for whatever is going wrong in the economy. if it suits you, you can vote us out of office but really if you follow the money according to neil irwin's book the "the alchemists" it's the central
banks of the world and their unelected leaders that make the truly important decisions. to highly complex strategies they control how the money flows and how well economies function and frankly how well the voting public is doing. when was the last time you voted for a member of the board of governors of the federal reserve? none. neil irwin's book is a fascinating account of how the these central banks, our federal reserve being the big kahuna if you ask me, establish monetary policies dealing with the international markets over the years and probably kept us all from really major turmoil. luckily for everyone, the world is too big to fail. on a personal note, as a person of swedish descent i love that the first central bank started in sweden and frankly i'm tempted to put in a bill requiring that all books about history have a timeline just
like yours. it's really terrific. with that i will turn it over to mr. irwin. [applause] >> thank you so much nancy and i'm so excited to be here at the gaithersburg book festival which is a mouthful and thanks so much for your interest in the book. this is $20. you can use this to buy a couple of tickets to a movie or by hotmail and you can take it over there and buy a book if you like but why? it's just a piece of paper that doesn't have much going for it. it has the treasury secretary signature here but the really important part is here on top where it says federal reserve note. what makes this money, what makes a something to use that you can buy something you need? the federal reserve unconstitutional at nonwashington agency a tendency or group of bank regulators said around and decide how much money they're going to pump into or
take out of the u.s. economy. they are the ones making it to use the things you need to buy. it's an oversimplification but not all that much. that piece of paper i was holding up is worth $20 you can buy a book as the power in society and rising economies. obviously that's the labors of millions of people around the country but the that the financial system, the system of money is what creates the bedrock that allows it to happen and the platform on which it stands. how did that come to be? why is ben bernanke and the federal reserve why does that matter and why does that make that money valuable? as i alluded do we have to do a little bit of history so i will give you a brief history of what central banks are how they have this great power for the world in great power for society. as mentioned in 1653, we go way
back. sweden was an emerging power at the time. you control the great empire and controlling most of scandinavia and the little bit of the ukraine. they were a great empire but they were on the rise. as in most of europe at the time their money was based on metal. in most of europe that was gold or silver and in sweden they have more copper so they use copper is there money and they have these giant copper plates. they weighed about 40 pounds. you can see the problem there. having big copper plates is not a terribly efficient way to conduct commerce. if you want to go to the story does not come in very handy. they needed a system of having money in their economy that could be more efficient. that is where the first central banker comes in and here i will give you a little preview. the first central banker was a pretty shady guy when you get down to it.
he was born in latvia. he moved to amsterdam where he learned the banking business as a young man and spend some time in a debtor's prison, and then he got out of prison and reinvented himself. he moved to sweden and changed his name to johan. we don't quite know what the swedish king knew about all that at the time because doing background checks was really hard in the 16 50's but johan established himself in swedish society and we don't even know really what it looks like or what his personal the west but i can only guess that he was somebody who instilled confidence and he seemed like a completely credible sober minded serious person that the elite of this country in the 1600's.yeah we are going to trust that guy with their money supply. johan got a license from the royalty to start what became stockholm's spur central bank and it started out simple.
he would take the plates and deposit them in the bank and they would get paper notes and what they realize pretty quickly is well wait a minute, why should we only give out notes equal to the amount of money and copper we have in these faults? why don't we actually make loans with this and actually do something with this because not everybody needs the big copper plates at the same time. with the sauce these thoughts became was the first paper money in europe and it created it to him. suddenly go to the bank and you could use your estate as collateral or in vittori as collateral and get these paper notes that were unconnected from the amount of copper in the bank. the economy boomed and things seemed to be going well, and tell suddenly there was a devaluation in the dollar, the big copper plates and everybody at once said you think i want my copper plate after all and they showed up at the bank. so you have seen is a wonderful life. i would like to imagine johan was like george bailey.
you don't understand, none of your money. it's tied up in mrs. christiansen's estate. it's tied up in mr. nielsens swedish pickled herring inventory. i don't have your money. you can see why people were not very happy with this. what happened was ultimately the collapse of the bank and the collapse of the swedish is not -- economy. he was brought before court and sentenced to death and his sentence was commuted that he died a couple of years later anyway. it was not the most, not a history for the central banking that i think any people would look to as a swedish success but they did invent something very important in sweden and the 1650s which is the idea that money can be paper and money is not so much a physical object, it's an idea in the way of keeping track of the economy and that is why i called the book "the alchemists." around the same time you had people across europe and the arab world as well who were
trying, went through all kinds of methods to try to turn base metals into 10 and ordinary materials into gold and silver. sir isaac newton was not the first modern scientist but the last of the alchemist. somewhere between hucksters and frauds and didn't have much going for them but the truth is what did the experience proved during the 16 60's is that you don't need potions and magic and all kinds of elaborate chemistry to create golden money where there was none. what you need is a central bank with a printing press and the authority of the state to create money. that became a model that one by one the countries that the advanced world started developing and putting it in place. that was the first not terribly prideful not terribly exciting story of where banks came from. it's been a long learning process since then and not always successful. so one moment that a lot of
modern central bankers look back to his 1866 the bank of england. once again britain the great and prior. we think of all the reasons the british empire controlled much of the globe. one overlooked one is the power of the british financial system in the 19th century. what the british banking system was able to do is funnel the savings of millions of farmers and merchants all across england all across britain through the city of london through the financial sector in the center of london into major investments that fueled the industrial revolution. one person can't easily come by the money to build a massive textile factory or underwriter shipping voyage to india or hong kong but banks by taking the savings every one and funneling towards it investments were able to do that. the bank of england which was created not too long after the central bank was a key part of that financial system so there is a story that walter bagehot
was the 19th century economist and he wrote a book on this. it happened in 1866. there was a bank that resembles like wachovia or bank of america these banks it ran into trouble during the recent crisis and the sense that they were both had roots in the countryside and people got into high finance and it was a major force. so over -- went under one day and they tacked a piece of paper to the door saying sorry guys we are out of business. suddenly no one had faith. if overland could go under what is to stop the next bank on lombard street from going under? to have this wave of panic where suddenly assets that would be completely normally traded freely in normal times called discount bills nobody had trust that they would maintain their value and the flow of commerce shut down in the city of london so the bank of england stepped in and said our rule is to be
the lender of last resort. we are going to stand here and any collateral that would be good in normal times we will take it and give you a short-term loan. we will keep the flow of money happening in this economy come hell or high water. walter bacher wrote a book about that and that establish some of the doctrine of what central bankers have been doing for 200 years since. you lend freely at a penalty rate and stand ready to make money available when it is otherwise not. it's not a seamless progress for the good when you look at this history. a lot of you probably know the stories of the 1920s and what happened in germany. this is the power central bankers used and they have sometimes misuse of this is a prime example. after world war i there reparations payments that the german government was supposed to make and rudolph and havenstein was the central banker for germany in the early
20s and he saw this as patriotic duty to print money however which was needed to fund the government to need its obligations. you can imagine how the story ended parity just there to just print, print without regard to the price level it becomes an inflationary force. he had this obsession with the physical technical job of printing enough money so he was very proud of this capacity to build rice marks and distribute them out of the country. the stories from that time, there are million of them but you need will dare to go to the grocery store and buy your groceries. the mark went from four for 1 dollar at the end of 1919, 24.2 trillion to the dollar in 1914. what we learned was not just if you print too much money their role inflation and that will be destabilizing but the high inflation is to stabilizing to society as well. it was the very weak that the hyperinflation peaked and it would soon bring in a new more
credible central banker. that very weak the munich -- that young adolf hitler lead in trying to come to power ,-com,-com ma it's very much the case that when central bankers failed societies fail. that is all the more true 10 years later in the early 1930s and this amounts to the greatest failure of the global central bankers that the history has seen. the stock market crash was the kind of thing that happens fairly often. stocks go down and there's no reason that would cause a global catastrophe and no wheeze and u.s. talk markets dropping 20% should lead to the german economy or the british economy collapsing. the central bankers of that era did not have a proper common understanding of what their obligations are to each other, to the world into society. they were so committed to keeping the price of their
currency type of gold and not doing the steps to support their banking system that a deflationary spiral set and the entire commerce shut down. a checkered history but over the at last 70 years the central bankers spent a lot of time and effort trying to learn from those experiences trying to apply analytical tools for better answers to how to guide the economy. by 2005 a thought i had figured it out to be honest. in this historical section of my book by looking at the 2005 jackson hole conference that happens every year in jackson hole wyoming. the central bankers of the world come together and they talk and exchange big ideas. this was alan greenspan's last year. there was a rumored 2005 at at that the great mysteries of the world economy have been solved. we know how to do with this and we know how to fix this. yeah japan is a bit of a mess but europe is fine in peaceful and prosperous in the u.s.
economy's doing great. yeah there are bubbles building here and there and maybe housing is something to watch and certain credit our kits are a little out of whack but we have got this. after all this long history we have solved the mystery of how to corral these forces that have caused booms and busts over the course of history. well, let's fast-forward to august 9, 2007. this was about a year before with most what most of us think of as the crisis but for the central bankers this was really the beginning point. it was a thursday. the governor, president of the european central bank was on vacation in saint mello on the coast of france. his phone rings at 7:30 in the morning and the head of the desk says we have a problem. the problem was that the mage or european banks had lost faith in each other so they bought a lot of the sub prime mortgage securities in the u.s..
those were all on the books in the securities it turns out were not worth what people thought they were. things that were aaa turned out not to be at all aaa. what happened was they were not sure what degree of laws they incurred. if the bank down the street you know they have a lot of sub-prime mortgages you don't want to lend the money because you are not sure how bad it might be. so the funding markets shut down and/or merly deutsch bank would lend happily and the french banks would loan to the british banks in the swiss banks. that day on thursday august 9, 2007 that was shutting down and the european central bank and colleagues had to decide what to do about it. they got a conference call going. now the european habit of taking long vacations made it a little bit tricky. people were in different villas and resorts in greece italy and switzerland that they were able to get everyone on the phone. they said we are the lender of
last resort. when banks will not lend to each other we will step in and be that fund. essentially what the bank of england did in 1866 for the modern age. they decided to create a facility and say we are going to offer you all the money you want, fixed rate full allotment. here is our interest rate. 49 banks took 49 million euros that day. across the english channel in england, he was on vacation. he was going to watch cricket that the kennington oval in south london and he told his staffstaff, don't comment unless it's an emergency. i'm ready to have a day off. so that created a situation. they first had to decide is this big enough deal to interrupt the governor's vacation and they decided yes it was that but there is a metaphor there. mervin king was off at a cricket match that day and the fact sense that in the early days of
the crisis they felt these banks bought all these bad securities and that is their problem. they need to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions. let's sit back and let them deal with it themselves. banking in those early days was more hands-off than the federal federal reserve. the s&a august 9, 2007 ben bernanke and wakes up at his house on capitol hill and is driven to his breakfast meeting at 7:30 a.m. with hank paulson the treasury sec great -- secretary. it's nice to have your own police force for traffic lights. ben bernanke is on his way through to his meeting with hank paulson and he gets an e-mail from a man named dave skidmore which is in the public affairs office. this e-mail says and i'm paraphrasing hey just thought you should know i got a call from this guy at reuters. apparently the ecb is doing some dollar denominated thing with the deutsche bank. you know, they are heading to
the treasury press room early and we will see what this is. the translation the most powerful financial policymaker in the world is learning about this from a garbled message from a reuters reporter which is not a great way to run a railroad. so bernanke has his meeting with hank paulson and they eventually get complete information on what happened and what the europeans have done and what became the global crisis had begun. it was the first intervention by central bank in the first unconventional step in the beginning of the story we all know too well. i will tell my personal site. september 14, 2008, it was a sunday. i was the federal reserve reporter for "the washington post." i had a long few weeks because you remember the fannie mae freddie mac bailout was the week before. i haven't had a day off in forever. september 14, a few days before there was a cartoon in the financial times saying please hank take the weekend off. people wanted hank tolson to
take the weekend off and not they'll anybody out that weekend. september 14, 2008 i was watching the redskins play the new orleans saints, 1:00 game can i get an e-mail the first quarter from a source. the e-mail says hey our u.n. office? i respond, should i be? and they respond, you might want to be in the office. so i respond, can it wait until halftime? the responses you might want to be in the office. that of course is the day that lehman brothers was about to go into bankruptcy and also the day that bank of america bought out merrill lynch and the day that wall street change forever. it events that followed an ugly weeks of the fall of 2008 have been chronicled in a lot of books and history. it's aig and the tarp and all these ugly payloads and all of this economic calamity happening at that time. i'm going to focus on a couple of aspects you might not know
about that are important in understanding this in a global level. in the 19s the central bankers didn't understand each other and didn't communicate and act with common assault. that a change by 2008 in by the time 2008 rolls around there is very much a sense of common purpose among these guys. they meet six times a year. they go to basle switzerland. they have two days of meetings in long discussions of economic forces and they have them world's most exclusive dinner party in switzerland. the most intimate opportunity for the leading central bankers to exchange ideas and understand each other on a personal level. ae delicious food and drink very good wine. so by the time we hit 2008 and there's also jackson hole which i mentioned and these international meetings that happened seemingly. one central banker told me sometimes in crisis i feel we
see each other more than we see our wives. so with that sense of common purpose how did they deploy that in 2008? here is one aspect that i don't think people paid much attention to. the basic idea is simple. the european banks had all these u.s. dollar denominated assets, the german and french and dutch banks have spent this money to buy u.s. dollar denominated assets at the ecb cannot lend dollars in a pinch so when they couldn't get dollars on the private market they have no way of getting the dollars they needed. the ecb and the federal reserve and the swiss national bank in the bank of england came up with this arrangement where if you are the ecb and you have your banks that need dollars to go to the fed and say okay i need $10 billion. you give the fed the equivalent amount of euros and you have a contract in 90 days later you unwind the whole thing. the fed makes interest money on it and then the ecb is able to land those dollars out to european banks.
people pay attention to the bailouts in 2008. aig was at 85 billion-dollar bailout. at the peak they swap lines added up to $585 billion. this is the untold story of how the sense of trust and common purpose enable them to respond in a fair and coordinate away to this crisis that affected the world. so that was the most intense crisis and then there was the calamity spreading in every part of the world and ben bernanke and mervin king who're cutting-edge straits, bringing all these innovative ways to pump any into the world economy and it adds up to a wall of money. they essentialessentially surrounded this crisis and said however bad it gets we have in our power this autumn with capacity to create money and we are going to stand and staunch the tide and keep it from spiraling into something worse. since the crisis ended in 2008
in 2009 that is not the end of the story. i think we all know if you didn't already that that was really only the beginning of a much bigger story. it's a story that starts in sub-prime mortgages and lehman brothers and all those things from 2008 but spread into europe and spread into sovereign debt in ireland and spain. it spread into different corners of the financial system. the world trade system. this was not a one-off story of crisis response, it's all over. that is what i try to do in the book is tell this global story with all these interrelated parts. warren buffett has a line you don't find out who is making it until the tide goes out. it finds out the greek government was in this case. it exposes their excessive borrowing and bad governance that i think we just didn't understand or didn't see when things were going better and it was this receding tide created by the crisis in the mega-crisis that enabled us to see as the world what was going on and
recent european depths. let's talk a little bit about how that came to be. the european crisis is a hard thing to get your head around. i went over there a good bet and i still feel like it's something that is not easy to get a good grasp on. i started that story and october 2009. what happened is a new government came to power, the socialist party of greece came into power in three days later a new finance minister was in a meeting with the central bank governor increase. all the important
when everybody in the world was worrying about slovenia was going to do. they have to improve this fund and if their parliament could not prove that who knows knows what could have resulted so we were all waiting on slovenia. if you think having a u.s. congress and having to see what they do is a system imagine if
you had 17 of them to deal with. that has been the consistent challenge of europe over the last few years and one that i tell about in the book. so you know in europe you have a situation where there are a number of governments that had large deficits and markets were turning on them so the question is what do you do if your central bank? in the u.s. you can have monetary policy. the problem in europe is the greek and spanish economies are different from the spanish or french economies. these imbalances that have been building up over a decade he didn't have a way for those, you didn't have a pressure valve that allowed this to escape. the adjustments that in the past would have happened by evaluating currency and stagflation and people are less wealthy, that pressure did not exist. you have to have the same force happen through different
measures and so the european central bank the international monetary fund and the european commission would come together would come together in greece and ireland portugal to say this is the thing we have to do to receive the state. these are detailed long documents. you need to make these reforms to your pension system and these reforms to your health care procurement. it was the least bad option for these countries but it's also a very initial moment here you have these on elected officials in frankfurt who are dictating here's what you're going to do on your pension's system on your privatization of the electric utilities and everything else. that is one prime example of where the democratic questions arise from this power exerted by the central bankers is at its most exturreme. central bank is dictating what you're going to do on your pension's something is gone wrong in the world. so one more story i want to kind
of tell and help characterize what this saga has been. so we get to the darkest days of the crisis in 2008 in 2009 in the find yourself in an economy that is really not good at all. from 2002 to nine to 2010 starts are covering in the summer 2009 but it doesn't feel like much of a recovery. it's not enough to make up for the lost ground during the recession. you get to the summer of 2010 and there is a decision to make for the fed and ben bernanke and the federal reserve. growth was very slow and there was evidence we might've been slipping back into the doubled digit recession.s to decide we e been and 0 cents 2008.
do we do more? do we come up with something we can do to increase the money supply and get inflation towards 2% and hopefully get growth on track? the answer they came up with is -- what that means is we are the fed, we have our target for short-term but we are going to buy longer-term bonds. we will essentially create money out of thin air and by millions of dollars worth of bonds and that money will be out of the economy and help the markets and the economy recover. now it's funny, we think of this process of creating money is a mysterious thing and you might think it's it grand scheme or something grandiose. i have actually seen how they do it. i was in the room at the federal bank and is pretty impressive to tell you the truth. here's what it looks like. iningn a conference room no bigger than this stage and you have three guys at computers on one wall
and behind you have a supervisor watching everything enough tech person in case the computers break and maybe as senior manager will stop by. you have cnbc going on the wall and a digital clock and all your financial data and they say okay today we are going to buy $3 billion worth worth of bonds so the in the market and the 19 largest banks in the world that have this relationship with the new york fed and say okay we are looking to bite $2 billion worth of bonds what do you have for his? they make offers and they so rightly have right we have this bond and we will sell it to you at this price. they find the price for the 3 billion-dollar number and click. what just happened is $3 billion that did not previously exist is on the books of those banks in the sponsor and the books at the new york fed. it's all over before lunch and takes about 45 minutes for the entire process to happen.
now this is what you do if you are trying to pump money into the economy but what we found a glass figures are these unconventional ways to support growth are not as effective as the normal tools so the fed is doing $85 million a month trying to play more bonds and it's been enough to keep us away from deflation and we haven't had falling prices. we often had a double-dip recession but we also haven't had the robust growth that everyone is trying to get so the question is are they at the end of the road? have they done everything they can or we out of tools? what we have seen at the bernanke fed is a real capacity to look around and say okay what is working, what's not? if it's not working we will dust off the playbook and try something new. in december we are not just going to buy all these bonds.
we are going to use communication until you your going to do. we are going to keep pumping money into the economy until we are in track and keep interest rates low until unemployment drops to 6.5% or inflation becomes a problem. communications in a sense that this is the plan to get the growth on track. so far the economy has done better this year but it's pretty modest. now the question is what have all the global central banks been doing, what is the cost? the truth is we have been in uncharted territory and that is true for nearly six years now. inevitably the kinds of things that are being done with all these trillions in taxerpayer dollars to euros, yen and everything else there consequences we don't fully understand and don't know what they will be. so far inflation has not been a problem. could have said bubbles emerge that are really problematic?
stocks have been rising a lot in the last couple of years. it's a good thing if you have a 401(k) but it some point do they create a new set of bubbles? some of the junk bond markets do look a little bubbly. the question is do they have the tools and capacity to deal with this on the backend and the real thing to worry about is not that it's beyond the fed's capacity to deal with inflation but political will. let's say some of these predictions of inflation turn out to be truant a couple couple of years. will the future fed not bernanke anymore but whoever is the chairman then will he or she have the resolve and the ability and courage to say all right the party is over and now's the time to start tightening the money supply and prevent this problem. at the same time might take and i think you will see in the book is ultimately, it's unnerving, in a democracy to have this group of people who deploy
trillions of dollars in euros on behalf of the public. it's certainly troubling. as a reporter i like to have transparency in people being clear about what they're doing and not lurking in the dark shadows of the building in basle switzerland. at the same time and again and again what we have seen in the last six years is these are the guys that have the capacity and the will to act on a scale commensurate to the crisis. at the time that democratic institutions move slowly, it was the central bankers who had the ability and the power to use their bottomless ability to print money to deal with the crisis as it unfolded. i think it is troubling from a democratic perspectiperspecti ve that this is how this happened but i think it's been better than the alternative is something that we certainly can be grateful to bernanke and his colleagues for keeping things from getting worse. it's not that this is a great
economy. it's a very difficult environment in unemployment is still close to 8%. that is not anything to be proud of but when you look at history and the grand arc of history what can go wrong when they do not respond, how bad things can get. short of catastrophe averted is no small thing. but you know the fed has a 3 trillion-dollar base. it's all the more important given all they have been doing that we all pay attention and that's those hard questions. there is accountability and journalism and what report is one of them. another is congress. i think for lawmakers asked those hard questions and make sure we as a society understand what they are doing and why and what the risks are and hold them accountable if they get it wrong, think that is one of the most important things we can do in the world where they are deploying this vast power on
behalf of all of us. that is my take and that is the story of "the alchemists." i hope you read the book and enjoy it. i would love to answer questions. [applause] >> if you ask a question can you please go to the mic in the back? >> floor mat i read, this austerity that has been pushed by congress has been debunked. the study was absolutely wrong and i don't know whether bernanke has the power or the will to come out and say no, this is not the time for austerity. we need to spend federal dollars in order to get an employed populace. you are never going to lower
employment unless the feds who can print money start printing it and hiring and hopefully replicate what happened during the depression years. can he speak out or is it an unwillingness? >> that's interesting. it's funny their spin to conversations over the last few years on austerity and when to cut deficits when you have large deficits. one view that is pretty widely held is the austerity view, if you have large enough deficits you have to reduce them and that will instill confidence that will in turn create growth and is just what we have to do. that is what jean-claude touchet argued and that is the policy per suit by britain as well. as you alluded to that is not looking like a good set of solutions. the european economies disaster in the british economy has been stagnant for three years and one of the studies that provide some
of the intellectual foundations for that idea but said if you get that over 90% of gdp you will have lower growth, there were major metal outfit -- met the lead article flaws. on the other side you have pretty good consensus so paul krugman is the most visible and very aggressive and assertive in his way of writing about it but i think the truth is where krugman is and say ben bernanke and reshard of the international monetary fund, where a lot of the mainstream economists in the big banks and forecasting firms they are not so different. they might have a different tone and how they taught but you're not going to hear ben bernanke talk the way krugman does in his columns on the hill next week. in substance they are not as far apart as you might think and bernanke has been contly inastouple of years been a voice of caution and told congress he is we need to worry about long-term debts and entitlements and long-term
issues that can make our economy more competiticompetiti ve but in the short term there's a lot of risk if you cut too far too fast. we saw two weeks ago they explicitly set the fiscal policy is going to grow. the widespread view within the federal reserve and ben bernanke is that look we are doing everything we can here. don't mess it up, congress and what we have had is actually a surprising deficit reduction so 10% of deficits to gdp four years ago in 2009 and we are going to be 5% this year and two or 3% in 2015 so that has been a rapid pace of deficit reduction that is, about because of the expanding economy and the fiscal cliff tax increases and the debt negotiations and the spending cuts. i think what you will see as bernanke goes to congress this weekend in the future is he will be very polite about it but he will say watch it, guys.
this is too much budget cutting too fast in this endangers our economy. >> yeah, i understand that there is not much if any regulation on some of these economic toys like derivatives and i guess there are a lot of others that i don't know about but i was wondering, is there any protection against the common man against some of these inventions of high finance? >> if there's one thing we learned from this entire episode over the last several years is how unimaginably complex for finance a system has become and how much that complexity can endanger the rest of us and endangers the entire economy in the world. in 2007, 2008 in 2009 every week i was learning of some new corner of the financial markets that i had never heard of
before. i wrote about this stuff and i had an mba and thought i knew a lot about how the financial markets worked. it turned out that there were all these corners of the financial market that i hadn't even heard of and even the regulators were not as for -- fully versed as you might think. .. aig buildout taxpayers.
it was essentially regulated by nobody before that. it was taken to the office of thrift supervision but this major no figure -- federal regulator understood. under dodd-frank the financial stability oversight committee can say you mr. insurance company or mr. non-bank lender you are systemically important so you will be regulated by the fed just like jpmorgan. there is a new office of financial research and the treasury department charged with finding new ways of pulling out statistics to understand where risks are building up. will all that be enough? do the regulators have enough information and enough ways into understanding what risks are in the system. i sure hope so because if not we have not learned anything. if they fail it is not for lack of trying. it's because of the sheer complexity of the financial system is hard to keep track of.
>> i was wondering what the reaction of the bankers is to your book? >> is interesting, i will be honest, i am tough on mervin king in this book. mervin king is an interesting character. he is a brilliant economist and was sharing an office suite with ben bernanke at m.i.t. but he has sharp elbows. he rubs a lot of his colleagues the wrong way. he can be a little imperious and tough and getting his way so he has a lot of enemies and british politics. i tell some of those stories from different colleagues of his complaining about his manner over the years and how he steamrolled them. it's clear that the bank of england is not terribly happy. the rest there's not much i can say but it's funny. you try to tell a story and turn this five years of history into a narrative that makes sense and
hopefully they can at least respect what it does which is trying take this complex stuff they have been doing for six years across three continents and turn it into a single narrative that makes sense for people don't understand the inner workings of monetary policy, which most people don't. >> thank you for your talk. one question which i think is pretty quick. how do you think they will reconcile these issues with the fact that of those 19 banks that you mentioned many of them don't serve american interests and if you could also kind of tried do we then the confluence of those overseas interests with the fact that the federal reserve is actually private and not a federal and city? >> so first on that last point, that is not exactly right. a lot of people say that. it is true that the reserve banks the 12 reserve banks around the country technically are owned by the banks that are
in their district and they regulate. that is more than eight convention than a reality. the federal reserve lord is a government agency in washington and its leaders are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. it's a government agency like any other covered by foia and all that kind of stuff. the reserve banks is a weird hybrid structure and the profits are returned to the taxpayers so when the fed makes money off of programs the money is returned to the taxpayers. they actually have a record earnings of $90 billion last year. it is a strange structural where the presidents of those reserve banks are chosen by a board of directors that includes local business people and they have to be approved by the federal court in washington. i don't think it's as simple as saying it's owned by private interest but i can see why people would say that.
it's clearly the case, the fact that european banks were major holders of these american securities, it's amazing to think about but if you took out a mortgage in 2005, 2006 that mortgage was very like they packaged into a complex security that then was sold to somebody and in a lot of cases that somebody was a german bank or a belgian bank. that created this global crisis in a way that i think a lot of people didn't understand at the time and a lot of those early steps by the fed including the swap lines that i talked about really were about providing dollars to european banks. on the one hand this is u.s. taxpayer resources and wires or money going to help european banks? the flipside is that european banks are lending money to u.s. homeowners and other kinds of people borrowing money in the u.s. so the question is what is the alternative tax if the banking system imploded in 2007,
2008 in 2009 with the economy be better off and i would argue no because if those were the institutions providing capital think about how much mortgage lending froze up. and imagine how much worse it would be if a european banks were not able to buy those securities. if you care about accountability and transparency it's not good but it may beat the alternatives. with that thank you all so much for coming. i will be signing books in just a bit. [applause] >> as mr. irwin says he will be signing books and the author signing tents. you can buy his book right here at politics and prose if you want to get a copy of that. and if you have a chance if you could fill out the survey which is on the gaithersburg book festival web site and thank you all for coming.
the last group is actually a panel today and they will be starting in about 10 minutes. thank you all. [inaudible conversations] >> that was neil irwin light from the gaithersburg book festival. we will have more in just a couple of minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> mr. moss what happened in minneapolis in april of 1999? >> i start the book with that meeting because it's so informative of the attitude and strategies. 1999 the obesity emmett did -- epidemic was just beginning to emerge and raising concerns not only among consumer activists and nutritionists but among people inside the processed food
industry. they gathered together for a very rare meeting, ceos of some of the top manufacturers in north america who got together at the old minneapolis headquarters, the pillsbury headquartheadquart ers in minneapolis, to talk about none other than these emerging crisis really for the industry stand up in front of them got none other than one of their own. his name was michael mudd, the vice president of craft. he was armed with 114 slides and he laid at the feet of the ceos and presidents of the largest food companies responsibility for not only the obesity crisis but the rising cases of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. he even linked their foods with several cancers. he pleaded with them to collectively start doing something on behalf of consumers.
michael mudd news that the competition inside the food industry. it's funny because you walk into the grocery store and it seems so tranquil with soft music playing and doing everything they can to encourage you to shop and buy but behind the scenes the food industry is intensely competitive. the only way to move the industry and budgeted towards a healthier profile of their products would be to get them collectively to do something. from his vantage point the meeting was an utter failure. the ceos reacted defensively. they said look, we are already offering people choices. we have low-fat this, low sugar and fat that. if they they really want than they can buy those alternative products. we are beholden to both the consumers and our own shareholders. they left the meeting basically going to bat to what they have been doing it continue to do
which is a deep reliance on salt, sugar and fat. see what her processed foods? said he defined them? >> i'm mostly looking at what people like to call ultra-processed foods. even a baby carrot can be defined as a processed food because it doesn't grow that when the ground. it's a regular carrot that gets shaved into the baby form. typically from my sense processed foods are those things that take natural ingredients and highly refined them, highly processed them and the products that i'm writing about in the book are incredibly depended on salt, sugar and fat. it's not a ministry, you can pick up a label and you can see thanks to some government regulation we have and labeling, you can see the amounts of salt, sugar and fat in these items the next rather extraordinary across-the-board of the grocery store just how reliant the industry is on these three ingredients not just for flavor but for convenience because they
a pandemic is underway. around the same time, engineers at google developed an alternative way to predict the spread of the flu not just nationally, but down through regions in the united states. they used google searches. now, google handles more than three billion searches a day and saves them all. google took 50 million of the most common search terms that americans use and compared when and where these terms were searched for with flu data going back five years. the idea was to predict the spread of the flu through web searches alone. they struck gold. what you're looking at right now is a graph, and the graph is showing that after crunching through almost half a billion math mathematical models, google identified 45 search terms that predicted the spread of the flu
with a high degree of accuracy. here you can see the official data of the cdc and alongside are google's predicted data from its search queries. but where the cdc has a two week reporting lag, google could spot the spread of the flu almost in realtime. strikingly, google's method does not involve distributing mouth swabs or contacting physicians' offices. instead, it's built on big data, the ability to harness data to produce novel insights and valuable goods and services. let's look at another example. a company called faircast. in 2003 a computer science professor was taking an airplane, and he knew to do what we all think we know to , which is he bought his ticket well in advance of the day of departure. that made sense. but at 0,000 feet -- 30,000
feet, the devil got the better of him, and he couldn't help but ask a passenger next to him how much he paid. and sure enough, the person paid considerably less. he asked another passenger how much the person paid. he also paid less, even though they had both bought the ticket much later than he had. he was upset. who wouldn't be? but he's a computer science professor, so not only does he get upset, he thinks about his research. so what he realizes is he didn't actually need to know what are the reasons on how to save money on air fare, whether you should buy in advance, whether there's something called a saturday night stay that might affect the price. instead the answer was hidden in plain sight which is to say all you needed to know was the price that every other passenger paid on every single other airline for every single seat for every single route for all of american
civil aviation for an entire year or longer. this is a big data problem. but it's possible. he scraped a little bit of data, and he found out he could predict with a high degree of accuracy whether a price that you're presented online at a travel site is a good price, and you should buy the ticket right away or whether you should wait and buy it later, because the price is likely to go down. he called his research project hamlet. to buy or not to buy, that is the question. [laughter] but a little data got him a good prediction. a few years later, he was crunching 75 billion flight price records with which to make his prediction, almost every single flight in american civil aviation for an entire year. and now his predictions were very good, indeed. microsoft knocked on his door, and he sold his company for $100 million.
the point here is the data was generated for one purpose, reused for another. information had become a raw material of business. it had become a new economic input. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] >> the final event live from the 2013 gaithersburg book festival on booktv is a panel on independent bookselling. [inaudible conversations] >> hello. welcome to the gaithersburg book festival. i'm a member of the book festival planning committee and the owner of a public relations a vibrant,ooks and authors. diverse city that is pleased to bring you this event free of charge. please visit our sponsors today and say thanks.
please allow me a moment to point out two particular sponsors. the first is the washington independent review of books, an online magazine of book reviews, features and much more. if you need an informed voice and want to know what's new in the world of books i urge you to check them out at their web site. and also a special thanks to our friends at c-span's booktv who have once again provided a full day of coverage. c-span's coverage is a tremendous public service. a couple of quick announcements. for the consideration of everyone here, please silence all electronic devices, and we need your feedback so please go to our web site, www.gaithersburgfestival.org and fill out a survey. you'll be entered into a drawing to read a free e-reader. i've been in the book industry for over 20 years, and it seems for some reason or other it is
an industry that is constantly under assault. well, the fabulous people on this panel today are going to show you that the book industry is alive and well. this isn't to say that things haven't changed in the book world over the past 20 years. many things have changed. but i'm also please today say that one constant over the past couple decades is the media presence of john mudder who will be moderating today's panel, co-founder and editor-in-chief of shelf awareness. john was also a longtime executive ed or to have at publishers weekly and executive editor of p work daily for bookpw daily for booksellers. go to the web site, www. www.shelf-awareness.com. without further ado, i'll turn the stage over to john who will introduce this panel of wonderful and talented professionals who will offer great insight into the ever-changing world of the book business.
john? [applause] >> thank you, dean. i've been called a lot of things, but i don't think i've ever been called a constant. [laughter] welcome to the independent bookselling panel. i want to start off by saying if there's anything you take away from this session, it should be that contrary to current perceived wisdom, one independent bookseller stores are not dying and are not going the way of the dine sour and, two, e-books are not taking over the book world and won't replace all printed books. to put that more positively, while independent bookstores went through a difficult period in the '90s and the first decade of this century, they're doing much better now. during this hour i hope you'll have, get a sense of all the dynamic, positive things that are happening and the continuing challenges that booksellers face , and it's helped make them even better than they were already. first a quick overview, then
i'll introduce our panelists who represent a nice range in the business. we have a relatively new bookseller, a veteran bookseller and a sales rep who sells to bookstores, and they're all really smart and very nice. each of the panelists will talk a moment about an issue of particular importance to them, then we'll have a general conversation about some key issues. and if we have time at the end, we'll have questions and answers. of course, you've all heard the bad news about bookselling that dean referred to. the general media narrative is stuck on several things that are east not the whole story or are out of date. major elements focus on the borders' collapse two years ago, fears of something similar happening to barnes & noble, digital books and amazon taking over the book world, e-books replacing printed books completely and indies dying out. but this isn't the way a lot of us see things. there's a lot of good news about
independent bookselling. sales are up, many stores had their best year ever last year, and sales continue to be strong this year. quite a few indies are opening branches, and, in fact, in shelf awareness on friday we had three separate stories about independent bookstores either having just opened or are going to open a branch. the new stores are popping up again at a healthy rate, and they tend to be run by people who are very well prepared and business-orient inside contrast to a few decades ago. stores with owners wanting to retire are no longer closing, instead they're finding buyers who have been able to take over the reins and improve the stores. and one excellent example close to home is politics & prose. after a long period of decline, membership in the american booksellers association -- the main trade association of ip competent bookstores -- independent bookstores, has increased the last several years. rather than replacing printed
weeks, e-books are starting to look like they will be a variation of format for books, particularly popular with some genres like fiction but not others. and studies and anecdotal evidence are finding that a hybrid model is developing with many people reading both printed and e-books depending on the type of book, where they are and other factors. and some people are even returning to printed books after trying e-books which is what happened with me. also the rate of sales books for e-books is leveling off from the somewhat stratospheric levels of a year or two ago. at the same time, many indies are now able to compete in the digital arena by selling e-books and other products in the new aba partnership with cobo which i've heard referred to as the most famous e-book retailer that you've never heard of. they're very big outside of the united states, and hopefully they'll be bigger here now. another issue is sales tax fairness.
this involves requiring large internet retailers to collect sales tax, something all brick and mortar stores do but most interbe net companies have arided -- avoided which gives them a competitive advantage with consumers. a federal bill requiring sales tax collection by large internet sellers has just passed the senate. and if it makes it through the house, president obama has said that he'll sign it. in the meantime, quite a few states have either passed similar laws or have made deals with amazon or other internet sellers to collect sales tax. the buy local movement has begun to influence consumers. on a national level, the aba has worked with interested national groups. at the local level, many indie bookstores are partnering with other retailers to promote an awareness of the importance of locally-owned businessesents ro. in a related trend, many indeed have become even more important in their communities. they're making a very conscious
effort to partner with schools, nonprofits, religious groups, community groups and more. what is called discover ability has become a major issue in publisher and bookselling. most people who go online find it's really easy to find a book if you know what you want the buy in advance, but it's not a great place to find new books. bricks and mortar bookstores remain one of the key places consumers learn about new books, and indies are particularly good at this. with the collapse of borders and the growth of sales on line, the role of indies in helping consumers discover books has become ever more important. having weathered so much, indie booksellers are better business people, and some have branched out into publishing, printing, joint ventures, doing more and more off-site events, and both books and books and politics &
prose are great examples of this. so on to the panelists. want to start with chris kerr who has worked in bookselling -- in book publishing for 37 years. for roughly the first half of that period, he held sales and marketing management positions with oxford university press, blackwell publishing, little brown, houghton mifflin and walden books. he founded a group that sells scholarly books to bookstores in the northeast. spent a lot of his time on the road. i've known chris for way too many years and can attest that under the stereotypical cynical, gruff sales rep exterior is a cynical, you have sales rep -- gruff sales rep but with a heart of gold. [laughter] i'm counting on him to give a reality check from time to time, and if he can take a few minutes and talk about how sausages are made in the book business. [laughter]
>> first, just a big shout out to city of gaithersburg. it says a lot about your community that you can organize this. i think logistics would be impossible without the full support of your municipal government, and i go to a lot of these affairs, and i'm just so impressed by the level of detail and, you know, the congeniality and also the support for authors and, you know, thank you very much. i graduated from high school in this area, in arlington. i'm going to my 48th reunion tonight. the school is being razed on its 60th anniversary to be replaced by a new school. but, you know, when i grew up here, there was no beltway. tyson's corner was a gas station and a flashing light.
and my high school was the subject of the largest school integration case the country had ever seen when the county was forced by the courts to close the black high school in south arlington. so, you know, after i came back from the army and finished college, i got my first sales rep job here. so i just always feel very lucky to be able to come back to the washington area, especially because it's always just been such a terrific, congenial bookselling community. in very broad fashion, i want to just hit three themes, one which is survival strategies that are keeping independent bookstores going today, and many of them thriving. some of the new booksellers out e o are lymaking exciting, moreg than i can ever remember, and, you know, some of the opportunities i think that are out there for retail booksellers
, you know, when i started selling in the mid '70s, there weren't that many real bookstores. most were hybrids; book in card, one case book in pets, you know, a lot of them sold religious articles. you know, it was a much smaller footprint than it is now. and, in fact, when i moved to the washington area, you know, i got my books from the basement of woodward and lothrop. and when i went in as a high school student having taken the bus in from the burbs to look for a george ken nonbook, they were very embarrassed they didn't have it, but they not mind calling the book shop in georgetown, gave me directions on how to take the crosstown bus. and for those of you who
remember, it was really one of the most extraordinary bookstore experiences you could have. it was a house that had once seen much, much better days. every nook and cranny was jammed with books. it was inconceivable to me that you could walk in the front door, and the delivery room was entirely history and biography. the paperbacks ringed all the stairwells into the back room, you know, cookbooks had their own room. it was really a bit of a revelation. today we're seeing a lot of stores looking backwards at those hybrid models for businesses that they can bolt on largely to extend the possibilities that they could offer to people who are already inclined to be there. and, you know, i'm just going to mention a few of my favorites. a book shop in manhattan on 14th
street right off of the square, if you walk into the store, it's basically the size of this room, maybe a little skinnier. there are at any one time a half dozen instructors working one-on-one or with small groups of people, students they've brought to the store courses on meditation, relaxation techniques. with them they bring their book requirements which the store supports, you know, the store sells a lot of sort of support material from yoga mats. the store uses its teachers and its partners to push its message out in the community, and as a result of it, they've had some pretty interesting offers. they're going to open another branch in manhattan very soon. they've been offered starter money to create a satellite store in palo alto. they're a little wary about the 3,000-mile commute. but it's a really wonderful example of a store with, you know, an organizing theme, a
small footprint really extending itself into the community quite well. bank street bookstore in mystic, connecticut, if you've ever been to, it's quite wonderful. they have now partnered with local movie theater, the most popular restaurant, the library to bundle events. your ticket gets you a meal, an evening with an author. the movie theater live stream dan brown's appearance at lincoln center this last week, and the went fit of the -- benefit is it's cash in the till, it's customers who might not ordinarily have walked into the store, and it's a chance to sell books at each of these off-site opportunities. there's some clever real estate deals being made out there, and real estate is really one of the issues that doesn't get talked a lot about in the business because, you know, the owner dies, his kids take over.
they want to monetize what they feel is the, you know, family heirloom and suddenly rent goes through the roof. but when the borders bookstore chain collapsed, a lot of mall owners were stuck with really tough propositioning. it turned out that, of course, borders was considered an anchor store. the lease agreements with all the other tenants required that they be rebated if one of the anchor stores went out. so they were really committed to keeping this bookstore going no matter what it called itself or how it operated. and they reached out to a number of indidn't booksellers to come in and, basically, provide a management team with operational expertise in exthing for which the -- exchange for which the mall financed the store, you know, covered the rent, financed the inventory. and while it's a fairly recent experience, i think there are lots of opportunities like that, you know, with realtors to be much more creative about their partnership not just rent collectors and people who don't
show up to clean the drains. this real estate can cut both ways. i don't know if any of you are familiar with st. mark's book shop in manhattan. personally, one of my favorite stores. bob and terry have been friends for 30 years. they were recruited by cooper union to be the lead retail presence in a building that they wanted to put right there at the astroplace subway stop. and the community board would not approve the building unless st. mark's was part of it. fast forward, the building is up, the university now has jacked the rent up to the roof, they're pushing st. mark's out. it's a really naked betrayal. you know, the university has not really been called out on in. so, you know, while i want to tout the possibilities with working creatively with realtors, i think st. mark's experiences is something of a
cautionary tale. one of the fun things to talk about is, you know, espresso book machine. really the great thing about these machines is that every store has had a completely different experience with it. harvard bookstore, when i queued up for my first reprint -- i mean, i had to have something come off this machine -- you know, the person many front of me was reprinting a 19th century irish textbook on crop rotation. the person in front of him had reprinted a medieval manuscript in the public domain. i mean, to me, it was just one of the great astonishments. mcnally jackson in new york city has actually created store bestsellers off its machine. you know, the whole zip code is stinky with poets, writers and novelists. but some of their, some of their printings have sold 3-400 copies, and they guarantee the
people who print with them display space in the store. it's not a luxury that a lot of people have, but it's just turned out to be the whole new revenue stream, it's really extended the store's message. the other thing about mcnally and jackson is that it's an example of a bookstore that can actually change the real estate picture. they opened in what could only politely be described as a drug shooting alley, you know? it was more heroin addicts than, you know, shoppers. people could not wait to tell sarah how crazy she was. and yet, you know, fast forward a year later, she had transformed the neighborhood. the store was a magnet. all the real estate around her had changed, you know? it was really quite magical. and for a cynical new yorker, it was quite a revelation. one of the great things about bookstores, liz and brad are a
wonderful addition. everybody did a huge sigh of relief when they bought the store. politics & prose helped put me in business when i announced i was going to start my business. there's a lot of pushback from people. a, they were going to step up for us, we could use them as references and, people just better shut up and cooperate. and, you know, it really helped. we jump-started very nyse. sarah mcnally, whom i mentioned, this woman's a rock star. i mean, she's really impressive. veteran bookseller from canada, but she is actually drawn to her community. you can't work there unless you've got a book in progress. you know? everybody there is doing three different things outside the store and on the staff, and it just makes for an incredibly rich environment.
christine at words in green point, the folks who opened green light bookstore, huge two-year fundraising campaign involved the borough president, involved, you know, the community, developed a huge measure of support. i mean, this is the sort of leadership that's arriving these days. i want to very quickly say that there are some continuing threats. i think the biggest problem for independent retailers and retailers of any kind is a lack of access to money. the banks rolled up everybody's lines of credit when the real estate market imploded. you know, people have been punctilious about paying their notes, suddenly couldn't get their inventory financed. it didn't help that publishers lowered the boom on stores demanding earlier payment of more. i think we talked about predatory real estate, a lot of real estate being jacked up beyond reason. you know, changes in technology, you know, these folks can talk
about it a little bit better. and then the internet. i don't think anybody realizes that the internet retailers got an $11.5 billion gift from state and local governments last year. and they're using that $11.5 billion last year to club main street retailers over the head with discounts, free freight, predatory pricing. when you look at amazon's balance sheet, you know, it's a great stock. i bought ten shares for $6, you know, i feel like a genius. but they don't make any money on their transactions. the only real revenue is commissions on third-party transactions. not the stuff they warehouse and ship themselves. and, you know, shareholders can strip off $200 billion in value from apple when they miss their sales target by 5%. i think when the bubble bursts on amazon, it's going to be much, much louder. big opportunities out there, english language remains the
biggest export commodity in the world. there are more people learning english at any one time than currently speak english. within our lifetime there will be more english speakers in china than there are in the united states. stores who recognize that there are a lot of new americans out there, there are a lot of kids who are in remediation, you know, who have extended their graphic novels. they're doing a lot of really great stuff. and then common core which is the educational standard maryland adopted in 2011, implemented in the 2013-2014 school cycle, this mandates that more nonfiction be read by kids earlier. i think by junior high school in maryland the mix will be 50 clash 50. that -- 50/50. that nonfiction is on the shelves of bookstores. it's been be published by real authors, it's available, and there's a lot of it.
i think this is a great opportunity. >> great, thank you. just a couple footnotes. comes a story that chris mentioned, word in brooklyn is opening a new store in jersey city in july, i think. and mcnally and robinson -- or mcnally jackson now is opening, just opened a new store like around the block. and also about hybrid bookstores, there's so many it's kind of, it's really cool. but my two favorites, i think, of all time were car wash bookstore in los angeles. very upscale car wash. [laughter] and in texas the famous bookstore/hair saw a loan -- salon that kathy patrick runs. i want to introduce melissa muscatine, co-owner of politics & prose. i don't really need to say this, but the iconic washington, d.c. store which is a sponsor of the store, and they have a tent
selling books which is kind of an example of the entrepreneurial spirit that a lot of booksellers have. andsay, as chris said before, there was a sigh of relief in the industry when she and her husband, bradley graham, bought politics & prose two years ago. they've done a really phenomenal job of achieving the sometimes difficult trick of maintaining the elements that have made a longtime store beloved by its customers while updating aspects of it and improving things. and i've got a long page or two here of her accomplishments and jobs over the years which is very impressive. most recently, before buying politics and prose, melissa served in the obama administration -- [laughter] >> that was all planned, you know? we timed it. >> or is that hillary's train?
i don't know. [laughter] i'll start again. most recently, she served in the obama administration as director of speech writing and senior adviser to secretary of state hillary clinton. she was a senior adviser on hillary clinton's presidential campaign and was co-collaborator on her white house memoir, "living history." during the clinton administration -- maybe the first one we'll say at some point -- melissa served as a presidential speech writer and deputy assistant to the president and later as director of communications to the first lady. before entering government, she reported for the delta democrat times in greenville, mississippi, the washington star and "the washington post" where she was a reporter and editor covering a range of beats from politics to sports. she's contributed commentary pieces to the new york time, "the washington post," the huffington post, she blogs for punditwire.com and the politics & prose web site. she's received several
journalism awards and is a frequent guest speaker at area universities. she's also chairman of the board of trustees at sidwell friends school and has served on the boards of association of american rhodes scholars and imagination stage. she's also on the advisory board of the school for ethics and global leadershipment -- leadership. i'm hoping she'll talk about the surprises and challenges and successes you've had since buying the store two years ago. >> thank you so much. that was way information than you either need or want, but i appreciate the lovely and very generous introduction. and i just want to echo what chris was saying and thank all of the people here who are from gaithersburg and the city of gaithersburg and judd ashman who really started this as a kernel of an idea some years ago, and everyone thought he was nuts and it would never happen, and here it is in its fourthar even with kind of not typical weather, there seem to be great crowds. so we're really thrilled to be here for our second year as the bookseller for the festival and
just really glad to see all of you out here. and it's just such an honor really for me to represent politics & prose on this panel with chris and mitch and john who i hope you have figured out if you didn't know already are really titans of the book and bookselling industry each in their own way. each of them has such an incredible influence on so many positive things that are happening in the bookselling world. it's, you know, i could go be on and on just talking about them, and i should also say that because i'm sitting next to mitch who is a bookseller, of course, i really should just stop now, and you should just listen to him because he knows a thousand times more than all of us put together about bookselling. he is, among other things, the king of books. as i'm sure you've all heard of the miami book fair which we did a panel on today. it is the biggest fair besided the national -- that's what they say, but he never -- doesn't tell the truth. so i'm sure it is.
and he runs some amazingly beautiful stores in miami. if you ever have aance to visit books and books, any of their stores in miami or south beach or bell harbor, you must go. and the other thing that's really important, and i think brad and i acquired politics & prose, and we became stewards of this treasured and icon you can -- iconic cultural institution. our pledge to ourselves was don't screw it up. we felt a strong responsibility to maintain this incredible bookstore. but one of the things we did was we basically went around to independent booksellers who were successful around the country. and, of course, one of the people we talked to was mitch kaplan. one of the things we discovered is the successful ones are very entrepreneurial. they're very creative, they're willing to try new things, and mitch kaplan is the visionary amongst visionaries in a really
impressive group of people, and i cannot tell you how much we have learned from him over these past two years and hope to learn more. but the other thing, and you'll -- the thing that's really great, he is so generous. to people like us. and it's just great to see fellow booksellers who are so supportive of the newbies on the block and really want the success for everyone. brad said when he introduced mitch earlier, there is literally no one as admired and beloved among his fellow booksellers, and i'm glad to repeat that. it's such a pleasure to have him here. he's the best be, and you'll find out in a minute why if you've never heard of. but one of the things we learned from mitchell and others is the most successful independent bookstores are those who really retain deep community roots. and so we knew from the start that that was going to be the ms and prose, making sure that it was both financially successful and enduring as a kind of community institution. so what did that mean?
what does that mean for a local bookstore that's already doing pretty well but is facing these potential threats like e-books and uncertainty in the book industry? and what it's meant for us is a few things, and i'll try to sum them unfairly quickly. one that books remain our bread and butter. we sell books. that's pretty much what we do. it's the heart and soul, it's the nerve center of our operation is our book selling floor. we retain an incredible staff of expert booksellers that are really kind of curators. we have a fantastic buyer, we have great inventory, and we build pretty much everything we do around that basic, fundamental mission. but we also are mindful that the industry is uncertain, that even if physical books remain a majority of the books that people read in our area and among our clientele -- which we hope and think they will be -- we have to prepare for the possibility that they're not as strong as they have been in the
past. and so what do we do in that eventuality. well, we remain true to our community mission, but we also look for new streams of revenue which chris touched on a little bit. and as he said, there are all these hybrid models where people are finding little niches whether it's yoga be or toys or games or hair products or car washes or whatever. everybody's sort of looking for this little niche. and we haven't so much done that. but we have tried to build on the foundation of community be kinds of programming -- community be kinds of programming. so we are very, very lucky, as mitch is, to have an incredible array of author events at our store every year. we have about 475 a year. i think mitch has over 600. and we're lucky that we're in washington, and authors want to come, and publishers want to send their folks to us. we've also been able to build out programming outside the store. so there will be days when we have three author events, one at the store and two at other places. that continues to be a huge part
of our identity and a huge part of the way we support our community and, obviously, a huge part of the way we sell books. secondly, we think we were really brilliant when we decided to make our first hire novelist susan call who some of you may know who has been around here today as well. she had a lot of ideas about how to provide courses and classes. she felt there was a market for this. we were clueless. we said, okay, sure. if you really think so, give it a go. and 50, 60 classes later that we sell out routinely that we have waiting lists for and, mind you, this is without a designated classroom space in our store, something we're trying very hard to address, we now have managed to, through susan, satisfy this very, very deep appetite for learning in our community also built around books, but fairly liberally i might say, and providing a great service to our community and also helping the store with its bottom line.
we also have started to offer trips and outings. so we have had trips to the arena stage in which somebody from our staff goes with a group of our customers. we have dinner beforehand, we go the play together. it's really fun. people seem to love the group outing. i know this might be stretching the book thing a little, but we've also had two outings to nationals games. the first one we did a chicago cubs/washington nationals game at the end of last season when the nationals were looking really great, and it was against the cubs. so we had the author of city of scoundrels and our chief buyer who happens to be from chicago. and we took 35 people. they had a picnic lunch and then got great seats, all sat together. and then the first week of the season this year we did it with sports writer chris brennan who's an old friend of ours and also a patron of the store and one of the foremost sports writers in america. again, had a great time. i just want to add, you know, this may be with serendipity,
but one of our customers did get a foul ball. so that was fun. >> oh, never happens. >> it did for politics and prose, so you never know. you know, we have day trips to falling water. we've -- we're going to do some i'll war battlefields, some other kinds of interesting local day trips. we have two trips to france this summer which are sold out, and we're almost sold out of a trip to us canny, a writer's retreat which is going to be fantastic in october. and lastly, chris mentioned the espresso book machine, and i won't go on. there's a lot of other things we're doing, but that gives you a general sense. the espresso book machine for us, we're trying to drive more people to it. it's been a really interesting source of self-publishing. i think people who want to self-publish have been really happy with it. we've had an event for people who published their works where they each got five minutes to speak about their books. it was an exciting event. what we're really excited we've
just done was -- and, again, this was one of susan's ideas -- we solicited submissions of all kinds, writing, art, poetry, whatever people wanted, of local experiences, places, anecdotes about places in neighborhoods in washington. and we were overwhelmed with the number of submissions. and our staff whittled this down to i think it was 40 or 50. we are just publishing our first anthology on our espresso book machine. it's called district lines. we're really excited. some of the stuff in it is phenomenal, by the way. it will be on sale in the store. and i just want to say this, but, you know, this is like, this is just sort of kids' stuff compared to what mitchell does with publishing. so he doesn't even need an espresso book machine because he's doing really amazing things. but we really believe in the community partnerships like this festival. we're always looking for more of these kinds of associations, and that's really what we hope will cement our foundation for the
future. so thank you all for being here. [applause] >> well, now i feel like i don't really have to introduce mitchell. but for the record -- [laughter] one or two things you left out. i think he's done just about everything a person can do in the book industry except maybe write a book. maybe something's in the works. [laughter] as lissa said, he's the owner of books and books which has five stores in south florida and be also has licensed stores in west hampton beach, new york, and also in the cayman islands. and i think that makes him the only international-american bricks and mortar bookseller. i don't know anybody else. and that would be enough for he lissa sort of not mitchell. touched on it, he's an agent, a book packager, a publisher and a movie producer, all roles that
evolved out of his work as a book seller and knowing writers and knowing publishers. he also, of course, almost 30 years ago founded the, helped found the miami book fair international which has become the template for almost all book festivals in the country, including this one. he's currently chairperson of the book -- the miami book fair board. he sevens on the steering committee -- serves on the steering committee of the florida center for the literary arts. he's a former president of the booksellers association and was on the board of the foundation for free expression. and in 2011 he was honored with the national book foundation's literary and award for outstanding service to the american literary community. which is given to an individual whose life and work exemplify the goals of the national book foundation in expanding the audience for literature and enhancing the cultural value of literature in america. well deserved and -- [applause] >> two years later, still --
[inaudible] >> right. [laughter] >> well, i think i'm just going to go home now. thank you, lissa, for that wonderful, beautiful, generous comment that you made. and thank you, john. i mean, every morning i wake up i try to make sure that i wake up when shelf awareness just hits my mailbox so i'm the first one to read it. and i was disappointed when you made it a little later. >> that was not a conscious decision. >> i know. you just wanted to sleep a little longer, i think. [laughter] but i, i can only say that being here in gaithersburg has been just pretty remarkable. it's brought me back to a time when we first started the miami book fair, close to 30 years ago. and to see, to see the energy here, to see the young and old, to see the amazing amount of people who came and the wonderful authors that presented and to see people buying books
from politics & prose tells me that books are alive and well here in gaithersburg. and i think that it bodes very well for this festival. and i think 30 years from now there'll be little kids who were brought here for the first time who are bringing their own kids back here. and that sort of memory of discovery and covering books here at the gaithersburg book festival will continue. and i just bring, i just want to shout out to judd and tell him what kind of a great job he did in creating this thing. and i feel like i let him down a little bit. i know he invited me from miami to bring a little sunshine here -- [laughter] and it didn't quite work out that way. but also listening to chris, it made me realize about my own connections to this area and connections that i think caused pretty much of a straight line which got me into the book business. i was a young 21-year-old who
had the good fortune of being an english major who didn't know what he wanted to do and went to law school and ended up in law school in washington d.c. and i was there for two years, and i attribute being a law student for two years, i attribute that to getting me into the book business. after two years i decided i gotta, i gotta go into the book business. i don't want to be a lawyer. and the reason -- what i found myself doing is he mentioned the saw vel bookstore. i found myself wandering the bookstore more than i was wandering the law libraries. at that time there was also the original olsons in georgetown that i loved going to. and i had the good fortune of living just two blocks from kramer books and afterwords which had just opened, and they had just opened the afterwords part of it. and it was the first time i got in my mind the idea that i would want to do maybe a
but they are really helping to redefine what bookselling is. they brought their fresh eyes and an incredible equanimity to the whole process of selling and i think -- i thank them for that as well. i thought i would just talk a minute and give a kind of road sense of why i think bookstores will never really disappeared. i know there's a question what's going to happen at the e-books in cloud and all of that stuff. i think that knowledge he is all changing and i think today we read e-books and tomorrow who knows what we are going to be reading but the physical book is here to stay. it's about doubling down on community and it's about this kind of open air. you might say this is a metaphor that this book festival as a metaphor for what a good
bookstore does, presents authors, sells books and has educational things going on. and it allows booklovers to meet one another and to experience one another and to engage in a kind of dialogue. that is what i think when i really think about what got me into the book business. those are the things that got me into it. i was an english major and i remember taking contemporary 20th century lit class and it dawned on me three-quarters the way through the class that almost every literary movement in the 20th century there was a bookstore really at the heart of it in some way or another. many of you know shakespeare & company in paris, the original one was sylvia beach. all of you know that was a bookstore where all the expats came in paris and in fact they actually published the first edition of ulysses.
in new york in the 30s in the 20s and even into the 40s the bookshop became one of my favorite bookstores. it's unfortunately no longer around but the guy at the bookmark in new york, it was a bookshop that you now fight the good fight against censorship. it helps bring and help lawrence's book to be able to be distributed in this country and henry miller's books. they went to court in order to make sure they could sell his books and it was a really really important bookstore in that period. then of course in the 50s and 60's unfortunately the