tv Book Discussion on Appomattox CSPAN December 14, 2013 5:15pm-6:01pm EST
s. grant-led union forces appomattox, virginia on april april 1865. this is about 45 minutes. [applause] >> thank you so much for that very, very kind introduction. is a pleasure to be here. robert e. lee surrendered to u.s. grain april 9, for most of american's a familiar tableau. here in the modest central virginia ament of appomattox court house. lee war of fine dress uniform and embody the prod gentility of the south's planter elite. grant dressed casually in a much better uniform representing the hardscrabble farmers and wage earners. after awkwardly is changing some pleasantries about their service in the mexican war the two men agreed to the surrender terms and effectively ended the civil
war, in essence, grant's terms set free a concord soldiers of the army of norfolk, virginia on their honor. the promise that there would never again take up arms against the united states. magna many in this hour in stock resignation not only reunited the north and south that prepared the way for america's emergence as a world power. this is an edifying story, a comforting one. the cash surrender is an ominous feeling that transcended politics. today and will tell u.s. altogether different dramatic story and suggest that what happened here on april 91855 is even more significant and fascinating and we realize. the surrender was an inherently political moment that would set the terms of an unfolding debate about the meaning of the war. lee and grant consummate leaders both knew this. so each man moved to state and opposition. for lee the surrender was a negotiation in which he secured honorable terms for his men. the piece was contingent upon the north's good behavior. the union victory in these guys
was one of mine over right. in grants to the surrender was in no sense and negotiation. he could be merciful bit -- precisely because he had rendered the utterly powerless. grant's terms were designed to effect confederate submission and atonement. for grand union victory was one of right over wrong and peace was contingent on the south. these competing visions would exert a profound influence of reports will -- postwar politics and yet they did not kraft the surrender terms an isolation. for the appomattox, unfolded, countrymen and women with crown this the -- crowd the scene. these streams included the dream of freedom itself and in the eyes of african-american soldiers and former slaves, more than the union had been vindicated that april day. the surrender was for them a freedom day, the moment the promise of emancipation was finally fulfilled. proposed three distinct understanding of the surrender
is a moment of restoration, a confederate interpretation, vindication. it took shape within the contending armies on april 1965. i suggest to the debates of the appomattox terms reveal not only the depth of the bitterness between the victors and vanquished but it deep divisions within each society, north and south. we will begin with the confederate trooper -- unfettered interpretation. on april 8 in the midst of his desperate dear retreat he wrote a letter in response to his suggestion that the confederate cause was a hopeless and the time had come to capitulate. he wrote, to be frank, i do not think the emergency has risen to call for the surrender of his army and the restoration of peace should be the sole object of desire to know whether your proposal will lead to that end. can there for me with a view to a surrender of army and are virginia but as far as your proposal matane to the restoration of peace and should be pleased to miss you. in using the word restoration twice lee began to elaborate his vision of an honorable peace.
what did he mean by restoration? it was of course of favorite of the northern peace democrats sued the plug the leak administration conduct particularly the added to the emancipation and he sought to return the union to the weather was. we had hoped that confederate battlefield victories would swell the course of northern dissent and bring the north to the negotiating table by lee's own understanding of restoration was distinct and routed in his family culture and in that of his native virginia. like many other virginians of his generation, an elite bloodline, steeped in this house for the days of the republic when the other states, stick it for granted the viejo would be their leader. when virginians felt a proprietary pride in the union. for lee, an honorable peace would restore to this out prosperity and influence, his words, he associated with the halcyon days of an imagined passed before the nation had drifted away from the principles
of the viejo founders. from april on restoration would be least political keyword, and we see it crop up again and again and again. his post war correspondents. for example, six months after this surrender he wrote his friend the following command. as long as virtue is dominant in their public, so long is the happiness of the people secure the money and never a merciful god save us from destruction and restores to the bright hopes and prospects of the past. this was a fundamentally backward idea. lee's hopes for restoration or promised not only honest doubts about the case that his army was blameless. he elaborated that case on april 10 in his farewell address drafted under these guidance by charles marshall. again, after four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude the army of northern virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. confederate troops have remained steadfast to the last and could draw satisfaction, even in this
better hour, from the consciousness of duty, faithfully performed. his address immediately took on an iconic status. it had profound emotional resonance to his starving and exhausted troops. the yankee army seemed endless and encompassing. but his farewell address at layers of meaning in deep, tangled groups. for white southerners the roughest of overwhelming numbers and resources was a code. in the context of proslavery ideology in the confederate creed, numbers conjured up the northern army of mercenaries, seduced or coerced into service and having no real stake in the fight. resources coverage conjured up images of modern factories and cities in which an exploited underclass turned up the material of work at the behest of the cap -- capitalist. secessionists sets in the burgeoning wealth and population of the north as an indictment of northern society, its social instability and obsession with the bottom line. the addresses references unsurpassed courage and fortitude of the confederate
troops part and parcel of that same indictment of the north, defenders of the southern way of life had made a staple of the claim that seven men accustomed to mastery and roadways were made of sterner stuff than north wage slaves it really was well aware of this ideological free. in implying that union troops had not been equals to the confederate the essential attributes the man had come his farewell address many political statement. by denying the legitimacy of the north military victory, the confederates could deny the north the right to oppose this political will. here at appomattox lee moved on a second front, to cast the surrender terms in the best possible light, hoping their parole could confront his men a measure of immunity from reprisals of the hands of the victorious federal's the requested a grant that each individual confederate be issued a printed certificate signed by union officers as proof that the soldier came under the settlement of april 9.
grant readily accepted to the request in keeping with the language of the surrender terms, the pros to give us that if a soldier observed the laws enforced when resided he would not be disturbed. union in imagine that the certificates would remind confederates of the obligations upon their status is paroled prisoners of war. but the confederate synthesize the well not be disturbed caused. in their eyes the parole represented the promise that honorable man would not be treated dishonorably. in the confederate interpretation, the surrender terms impose conditions on the north, and in april 291865 lee warned that if arbitrary or vindictive or revengeful policies were adopted seveners would consider the surrender terms reached and would renew the fight. ten months later testifying before congressional committee investigating the waves of anti-black violence in the south lead if in in a lenient policies of andrew johnson which had
projects confederates back to power and cautioned that the north must be restrained and conservative in its approach. for them was the best way for northerners to regain the good opinion of the south. the main point here is this. lee has a reputation in the modern-day crabbing counseled resignation in defeat. but for confederates in the postwar time, lee was not a symbol of submission. instead, he was a symbol of unbowed pride and measure defiance. confederate civilians imagine the very surrender seen as an enactment of the superiority grant. a revealing invincible report on the conference at the mclean house circulated to confederate newspapers in late april of 1865, a report in which lee offers grant his sword but refuses to take it. according to the newspaper account, grant turns chilly in says, generally come keep that sort. you have won it by your gallantry. you have not been whipped but overpowered and i cannot receive
it is a token of surrender from sober of a man. of course, grant never said any such thing, but the reports incredible to confederates because it affirmed the might over right interpretation. the road of the surrender seen that union officers jeered from the as he left the mclean house and the rank-and-file yankees dared not under a single insulting word to the defeated rebels. why were the yankees the victors so reticent in even submitting? al qaeda plane, they feared the lion, even in chains, lee, the lion. in the year after the war confederates not only again and again invoked the overwhelming numbers of resources interpretation of their defeat, the sentiments of the farewell address but invoked the appomattox terms and particularly the well not be disturbed cause as a shield against social change and a weapon and the looming battle over a black civil-rights. republican efforts to give a free people measure of equality and opportunity and protection were met by confederate protests
as such a radical agenda was a betrayal of the appomattox terms, that the prospect of black citizenship as one virginia newspaper put it, morales and disturbs us. in short, confederates believed that lee had drawn a line in the sand. the north carolina power put it most succinctly, urging seveners to model the behavior on that of lee, she wrote in the summer 1860's six that lee had not stooped his grandly, proud head one hairsbreadth since he surrendered to grant. confederates would observe the terms, but more than this, she insisted, and hon. enemy should not desire. it is idle to attempt to force the confederates to say and feel that they were wrong. from the start this view of things was resoundingly rejected by u.s. grant and his inner circles in the vast majority of union soldiers and civilians. it was precisely an admission of
wrongdoing and a change of heart that grant saw from his defeated foes. the rhetoric of restoration of the charm for the union general. indians expressing his support for lincoln he's busily rejected the equation a piece with restoration of a turning back the clock. he associated says language with the defeat is among the democrats and with the specter, as grant put it, the restoration to the south the slaves are already free. grant also rejected the notion that he had in any sense uninitiated. in grants few he had all the cards. grant felt the meaning of the surrender terms to be unmistakable. he wrote, never claimed that the perot gave these prisoners and the political rights whatsoever. i thought that was a matter of which i have no control. and simply is general in chief command in the army and right to stipulate the surrender on terms which protected the lives of the confederates. these tires rested on military calculations. grant felt certain.
all of the rebel army's on the field would surrender and that it would be a continuation of the war. in the union interpretation grant's terms did not set lee's men freak. technically there were permanent prisoners of war. the freedom was entirely contingent upon good behavior. the surrender was a vindication on many levels, restoration is les keyword. vindication is grants. he was keenly aware of the fact of the cars of the war many northerners in the union army had attributed to the formidable the almost superhuman qualities as grant put it in his memoirs. grant knew all along that the rebel chief was moral and the surrender vindicated grant in the knowledge. moreover, grant had long been stung by the charge leveled at him by the anti-war copperhead press and the north that he, grant, was a merciless butcher. grant felt undisguised contempt for the state on traders in the
anti-war copperheads. now with lee's defeat and grant's show of leniency the men who were butchered or fall from rant shoulders. more than anything, the surrender in grant's eyes was the triumph of a just cause, namely that of unions. they tramped, vindicated the principle of rule by majority, the founders' belief in a perpetual union, the capacity of citizen soldiers representing democracy to south but the conscript's of an autocratic society. the downfall unburden the south and the nation of slavery in institution to all civilized people not brought up under it. now the way was open for the union speech was a moral and material progress and the massive white southerners to be disenthrall from their subservience slave holding class. this is out grants saw it. is lenient surrender terms would hasten the political conversion of the defeated confederate to a crowded democratic self governance and freedom. granted not believe lee and his men to be blameless.
he describes the session as the san in the crime, but he believed, as he put it, that for every san there must be a chance to atonement. his mercy was designed to affect an atomic. grant made no concession to the confederates are copperheads in his magnanimous term. his generosity, he believed was that of a cocker his victory was total. grants you of the surrender is the triumph of right a wrong proves just as president and enduring among northerners as lee's interpretation. among those northerners who embraced his policies a magnanimity or abolitionists and radical republicans. part of the argument of my book is americans across the political spectrum embraced magnanimity but with very different kinds of meaning. it was charged at the time by confederating copperheads that radicals or in tents on vengeance against the south, but the historical record suggests otherwise. in the eyes of abolitionists such as the influential editor,
magnanimity was the means to achieve is a good purpose, namely the ascent of the south to emancipation. northerners are grants magnanimity and an emblem of their moral authority proving that a civilization based upon free labor is a of a higher and more humane type and that based upon slavery. really continued, one as many rebels as possible to live to see the south rejuvenated and transformed by the insolence of free labor. what fitter fate and to bear witness to the unfolding social revolution. this is how some things. in essence, northerners to embrace his terms said to the south, we don't want to inflict further punishment. when you to change. the confederates responded to the demand for change as a form of punishment. this contest of this renders meaning did not simply put this out against the north or even a confederacy against the union. instead, it pitted those who favored a thoroughgoing social
as ration of the south against those who reject -- rejected such a transformation. we have the scene of divisions within the side. the north conservative, democrat stomacher operas or loathed for their political rivals, a republican party of lincoln to treat the surrender as a vindication and mandate. so these democrats rallied behind the confederate interpretation about max. in valor and martial skill, southerners were equal to the north. the confederacy was subdued by overwhelming numbers. here is lee's interpretation lock, stock, and beryl. this tough to was divided. the beleaguered minority that oppose confederacy rallied behind grants interpretation and reveled in the fact that the noble rank and his army had led to the healing. no americans held more keenly or assertive more fervently that the surrender marked a new era and african-americans.
for then the union victory vindicated because a black freedom and racial justice. appomattox, the last clash of grant and lee at the end of the desperate chase from be is work to appomattox, lee's army had tried on the morning of april april 9th to break free of the federal trap only to find its last escape route blocked by a black soldiers. blues six regiments with one other way in the wings. when they heard of the capitulation of black troops exultation knew no bounds. they shouted, danced, sang, and embraced each other. the black regiments at appomattox numbering 2,000 men in all or a microcosm of black life in america including sex slave straightneck and techies can nelson and free blacks trained at philadelphia's camp william penn. race leaders such as the renowned historian george washington williams and the baptist editor william j.
simmons, the journalistic mentor to none other than item b. wells. for all of these soldiers regardless of background, their presence on the battlefield was the culmination of a long struggle. the federal army initially turned away by volunteers claiming that african-american men did not the debt tapis the attributes of patriotism and courage, but they can't hate that the wall was a golden moment. when they finally get there chance to fight it prove their mettle at dozens of engagements. indeed, the regiments at appomattox saw considerable action. some of the bloody initiation into combat. joined in the grinding warfare of the government campaign in virginia and man the trenches to the siege of petersburg entering the city in triumph when it fell on april 2nd. african-american soldiers were keenly aware that even after getting all this proof of their courage and marched to equality could still be turned back so long as powerful confederate armies are still in the field. the confederate government been
viewed all black union members soldiers as so many slaves. and they were aware that there investment was viewed as a social experiment, testing the capacity of blacks for citizenship and some hoped and expected that the experiment would in the and failed. unsurprisingly given the context black soldier's quickly seized on the u.s. critical role in the surrender as a vindication. as william because when put it, we, the colored soldiers have fairly one our rights by loyalty and bravery. thomas smores chester, a correspondent embedded with the army of the james to reveled in the fact that u.s. regiment's participate in a vigorous campaign that gave these forces a trophy for a union army, as he put it. many of these men's white officers and comrades in arms share the conviction that the role have been decisive. they recanted this scene.
the morning in the ninth game. the cavalry was being pushed back rapidly toward the station. why was it that victory was so near one of the help a dark column was spied coming down the road. what a relief from the awful suspense. the colors or race of those men so long as there relief to us. we saw courage and determination in their cold, black face. moreover, african-american jurors understood themselves to be an army liberation his defeat of lee was the nail in the coffin of slavery itself, of london and venice exists as slaves saw appomattox as a freedom day. for many was the moment of emancipation, the moment of defacto emancipation. virginia slaves were the first to you that tidings of a surrender and the significance of the event. none other than booker t. washington and his classic autobiography remember so when the war closed the day of
freedom came to southwestern virginia. a union officers belated reading of the emancipation proclamation asked that the apple surrender had brought the long-awaited moment of delivery. interviews conducted in the 20th century with african-americans that had been slaves echo such public reminiscences they burst into spontaneous song. at the moment -- at that moment they knew that there were free for example, james h. johnson of south carolina who lamented that after the freedom proclamation in 1863 the status quo of slavery kept on right as it had. it was only when generally surrendered that we learn that we were free.
these were interviews conducted by the federal writers' project. told her interviewer, the first thing i remember was living with my mother. about the year 1866. the year after the surrender. we know that surrender was 1865. it was an enduring presence of the commemorative calendar. festivities begin in southern virginia as early as 1866. on the north carolina border they commemorate april line because as they saw it if we had never been beaten the emancipation proclamation would have been to no avail. the pivotal role as is a liberation would long remain a point of pride within the black communities. george washington williams noted
in his landmark history of the negro race in america that at appomattox in the last hour of the slaveholders rebellion the brilliant fighting a black troops in sure the salvation of the union. additional symbolic meaning. for he and his army typified the first families of virginia then made in in sustainable claim that in defeating lee's army they dealt the death blow they insisted that only that the union army victory emanated from a superior virtues loss of the black troops in particular
exemplify that virtue. most important, african-american soldiers interpretation of surrender inscribed a civil rights message into the magnanimous terms of the surrender, emphasizing the promise of appomattox, black veterans depicted three people and black soldiers in particular as agents of national healing. williams' 1888 history of the negro troops and the war of the rebellion praised black soldiers for treating the vanquished confederate with quiet dignity in christian humility. he rode after the confederate army had been controlled the negro troops cheerfully divided their rations with the late in the me and welcome them at their campfires had a conscious effort
as purposeful as grant's own act of clemency to lead to break the cycle of violence. the emphasis on restoration in the trade that true spirit. they invested with very different meaning. for lee and his followers the radical republicans were the arch betrayers. imposing a regime of black suffrage that contravene the promise in the parole term that southerners would not be disturbed. for grant and his followers andrew johnson was the arbitrary for capitulating to the idea that the peace must be the restoration of power. confronted with what he called
of foolhardiness. he would write in his memoirs to my gradually worked up to the point where i savored immediate enfranchisement. this was the only way to dispel the confederates intention that there would be able to control the nation and were entitled to do so. in may 1866 kg tickly to task saying that lee was behaving badly setting an example of forced acquiescence so grudging and pernicious as a hardly be realized. grant reason to flee for denigrating the union victory as a mere show of force and for encouraging confessed to resist change the name of restoration. he learned in a year he would need to enter the political arena.
not only those two rejected black citizens about right but the sedan and the long retreat would give up the fight for a. stayed unfulfilled. it does not begin to capture this complex legacy. deep into the 19th century the heart. it's so important that people come here and what the national park and visit the museum and try to understand its artifacts of that we can recover in appreciate what this moment meant in the turbulent era of the end of the civil war. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. >> some time. >> yes. sure. i am happy to take any questions. >> a lot of people say. [inaudible question] >> this is a great question, and anyone who knows civil war literature knows looking at books on shelves of libraries and bookstores, it eclipses the surrender. there are scores of books on the assassination, and very few on the surrender. and there has been an assumption that has gone along with the notion that the assassination eclipse is a surrender. at that moment the northern impulse evaporates, and there are calls for vengeance that
drowned out the hempel's. i found something quite different. northerners are absolutely embittered by the assassination and we do see calls for vengeance against those who perpetrated it. we see a call and response. some northerners say. we have been too lenient. now johnson initially believed he would be an enforcer of retribution and vengeance. johnson is the right man to correct our course, we see just as many people saying, upholding the notion of magnanimity in the idea that magnanimity confers moral authority on the north and is an emblem of moral superiority. just as many northerners speaking with the argument does not make martyrs of these people will stick with what lincoln wanted. he wanted a piece characterized running in san reunion. the best way to honor his memory is to uphold this spirit of his
magnanimity. the interpretive lines hold. there is moment of uncertainty which was surprising. they hold. the other thing have found is that we know, you know, john wilkes booth is in the audience when linking gives his last famous speech in which he gestures he might accept black suffrage. modern-day scholarship has tended to say, well, but at this moment says that will run him through. this is a lashing out against the possibility of black civil rights. all of that is true, but americans at the time as they receive the news of lincoln's assassination did not know the details of this but plot. what they assumed was that the assassination was a response to the surrender, that booth had been infuriated by the south's defeat and that he was lashing out against lincoln to try to rob blake and of the efforts of his victory. what happened here at appomattox , the context for the
assassination in the eyes of almost all northerners. we lost sight of a connection between the surrender in the assassination. they believe he was trying to undo the union victory at that moment. >> any other questions? comments? >> a place in the nation, united. would you want to revise that in some way? >> something that was put on a billboard. again, that gentlemen's agreement between grant and lee is a compelling one and is not one that does not have bearings. these two men -- it was a great achievement for these two men to end the war and would like to say parenthetically sometimes people will argue and talk about a long civil war.
yes, there are armies in the field, but what happens after appomattox is not going to revive hopes. they die here. it was a great achievement. this notion, it exists from the start. it is arguing about the terms, there is an air of congratulations. the gentlemen's agreement is rooted in an american exception laws and, how remarkable that we are able to and without massive executions. across the spectrum that impulse to self congratulations is present. even among people who in the next breath or audio with the terms really meant.
my argument is nothing that will affect the alienable board. i know think one has to up throughout the old billboard so much as remember that the surrender was controversial. how could it not be? the road to true reconciliation was a very difficult one. to appreciate the meaning of surrendered we have to remember that they looked to lee and grant, the two most prestigious men in the country aside from lincoln. and after link in the two most prestigious. southerners and robin is look to these men to represent their respective causes for which so many people laid down their lives. they did not expect these meant to be slammed. they saw them as lions and assume that is what they would continue to be. they are enemies in the year after the war as they had been during the war. how could it be otherwise?
it reminds us that these terms to their very core, we do not want to be disturbed. if he is service, you broken the government to the covenant. i think sometimes when people are trying to debunk the myth they're telling you something you tell was great or important is not as great or important as you thought. because of what happens here sense the term. we have appreciated it. >> the problem with american practice. in momentous occasion, a cornerstone event. in some way political factions began to claim pieces of it.
the most surprising discovery, will relish than to republican democrats, it's a shows you how the instant impulse to politicize northerners on mass celebrate grants victory. and never a moment when confederates on mass were southerners on mass. it is political from the very start. my book the news is the wires. the impulse to spend the news is instantaneous.
but any society, not just between them. yes. >> what you were saying. great camaraderie. >> yes. >> that did not. and that was -- that was a quote from a postwar race history by george watson and williams. in the context for these, african americans planted the idea that the surrender is a special moment for them, a moment in which they are in the victor circled. which they are dispensing magnanimity. in the context for that is a very long standing charge that goes back as far as we can trace to base about slavery that if you have emancipation a race war and chaos and reprisal.
and to highlight -- i think that his account is somewhat wistful, but is serving a political purpose for him to highlight the possibility of racial reconciliation and to say that appomattox could symbolize racial reconciliation, an answer to all those who has said if there is freedom, union victory, there will be social chaos, race war and so on. williams wanted to ally himself in african-americans with the forces of progress and to emphasize the magnanimity of african-americans in that moment was to do that and to offer a counter narrative to a dystopian discourse about what happened if you have freedom and a union victory. [inaudible question]
>> and really, this was a moment at which there is essentially, you know, the way -- the way it is described, lee and his men thought that they might have achieved a breakthrough moment by scattering the union cavalry, but when they see the infantry on mass they realize that their ups and failed. and so it is the presence of the african american troops and the sight of union reinforcements that causes those bright -- red flag to start going up. an epigram in an african-american post-world war discourse that black troops fired the last shots. that is technically not true, but, again, it served a purpose, and it served a purpose to say what was in the victory circle and that we helped to bring to heel this army that symbolized
everything, symbolized the very regime of slavery and of the planter elite. again, to get back to john's question, part of what i am arguing is that what the actually happened here is fascinating. i try to talk about the campaign in detail, but i try to argue that appomattox as a symbol is a much richer symbol than we have realized. it was not just a symbol of victory and defeat. it was vindication and restoration and liberation. a function on all those many levels. >> to you recall? >> yes. it was the 116th, i think, that 27 to, the 145th. it is all in the book. yes. you got it. good. >> the brigade.
>> and there is one of their regimen waiting in the wings. and one of the more interesting discoveries for me is how many of the men now or in those armies or obscure, not the officers and leaders later became prominent race leaders and refer back to the service proudly. george washington, perhaps the most important african-american intellectual of the post wartime command he was there. he considered it important, a key moment in it -- in his life. as did others to become prominent political leaders. that is a story. in a way, this is what brought me to the project. i have been interested for a long time. i was passed some years ago the subjects, the emancipation mom and taxes were union forces arrived and announced to slaves that they are free. in the course of their research, which is something i knew very
little about, i kept running across references to appomattox, references that day into the 1930's. this symbolic importance of this place for african-americans persists a long time, sometimes into a form of epigram. this covering this sort of spectrum of african american military service eventually displaced by the world wars and so on, but it lingers as a moment of symbolic importance. goes beyond things like casualties. >> thank you very much. >> my pleasure. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> is there nonfiction authors are but you would like to see beecher? send this in the melt. tweet us. >> it is a rare constant in american political life. congress in 1901, less than 2 percent of numbers came from working-class backgrounds, got into politics and then eventually wound up in congress. faster over to the present date. less than 2 percent of their
careers doing manual labor jobs. and so this is one thing that really has not changed. lots of different aspects of the political process. broadcast television, table news, the rise in candid centers to my election, big money in politics. while all of this is happening one of the constant stirring that, during the last hundred years or so is the working class people are not getting elected to political office. ♪ does it matter that there's a socioeconomic disparity between most elected officials and the services they represent? the white collar government sunday night in 9:00 on afterwards. ..
neil postman talks about the dependence of americans on technical advancements. he argues americans have come to expect technological innovations to solve the larger problems of mankind and the belief in the power technology has become a national religion. this is about an hour. c-span: neil postman, author of "technopoly: the surrender of culture to technology," what's your book all about? >> guest: the tendency in american culture to turn over to