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tv   Book Discussion  CSPAN  September 20, 2014 4:30pm-5:16pm EDT

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fox news anchor bill o'reilly and historian martin dugar on the death of general george patton died months after the end of world war ii in killing pat and. in the short and tragic life of robert peeze , his college roommate was raised in newark, new jersey and attended yale university. colleges professor had their cots richards and provide the history of the republican party in to make men freely in landslide, political reporter jonathan darmin looks at how national and state elections of lyndon b. johnson and ronald reagan in 1960s change the american political landscape. paul barrett, assisting managing editor and senior writer at bloomberg business week reports on the 20 year legal battle between the citizens of ecuador and the oil co. chevron in law of the jungle. in who killed the american family, conservative commentator phyllis schatly argues the
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nuclear family is under attack and constitutional scholar pere when --erwin shemeresky in the case against the supreme court. watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and >> nina krushcheva, the daughter of nikita khrushchev discusses her book "the lost krushchev: a journey into the gulag of the russian mind". this is about 40 minutes. >> live coverage from the national book festival continues up next, a presentation by nina krushcheva, granddaughter of nikita khrushchev with her book "the lost krushchev: a journey
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into the gulag of the russian mind". she is being introduced by a peter roudik of the library of congress. >> government propaganda and -- this study is tied with national collective historic experience. officer of this book, dr. nina krushcheva, is president of international affairs in new york. and the policy institute. social scientists, she is a contractor, indicated articles regularly in the new york times, the wall street journal, newsweek and many other publications. published this year, information on political developments in russia. fortunately, or unfortunately because of what is going on now,
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the publication of this book is timely. because of this country we are witnessing millions of people falling victim of government propaganda. the national government takes action in ukraine by blaming her great-grandfather for creating problems. and typical russian phenomenon, people tend to believe the state more than they believe themselves, is being criticized. this book explains why all that happened. the russian people's minds, from the kind of invisible internal mental prison. so nina krushcheva. [applause] >> thank you very much.
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the introduction is certainly very much better and more than i deserve but thank you. thank you, all of you, for being here. is an incredible honor. i was talking to somebody today and said i don't feel like a writer at all, i right trifles, i right small articles about why arnold schwarzenegger should be, american ambassador to russia today so fact that i am treated seriously here is a great honor. i hope i will not disappoint you entirely. i want to start by saying right away that when i speak, when i wrote my book and i speak today i do not speak on behalf of the crucial of family or any specific group. i am not channeling nikita khrushchev in any way.
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this is important because recently some members of my family said because i am critical of vladimir putin i participated in entire russian campaign unleashed by the west. i don't feel this way in america and i thought in russia too until very recently we are in a free country so we can agree to disagree but apparently we can't. that is the subject of my book, it is the black of the mind. the glad of the russian mind is the state is more important than any individual. unfortunately it goes until today. the point that i am making is widowed needs barbwire to keep us in check. we will bills is all on our own and that explains vladimir putin's support, a to 80% of the population feels he is doing the
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right thing in ukraine. that is the gulag of the mind. i'm going to read from the book, i am very fascinated that it happened to me so i guess if i read it out loud i may believe it better because i still cannot believe it so bear with me for a couple of minutes here. i am reading from for a. which is called preludes all in the name. this is nina, as oldest daughter. i was introduced to and old balding man with glasses. the man greeted me with silence, holding his gays. is granddaughter, he said. the kgb recently uncovered an account saying your grandfather was a nazi trader. i cringed.
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a nazi trader? at the time i knew the of leonid crew sheave but i knew joseph stalin awarded him for tweet to medals for his -- that implied her wisdom, not treasury. all at once i realized who this man was. molotov, stalin's all-powerful foreign minister, a man once considered as terrible as stalin. his name had inspired the infamous cocktail, the makeshift bomb. i'll is imagined his voice to the gruff, sinister. instead it was surprisingly subdued, though be needed i detected something sharp and ominous like the gleaming point of the belgrade. don't worry, he added. it is rubbish. everyone knows leonid died in a plane crash in 1943.
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if it was he who died why mention it at all? growing up in the u.s.s.r. i didn't have to read george orwell to know about doublespeak. that was the beginning of my journey, many years ago, decades ago, that is how i was introduced to my birth grandfather, nikita khrushchev's son, leonid krushchev. it was mentioned it was a detective investigation. it was indeed because i grew up knowing krushchev's son was always the hero. my first grandfather was always the hero. as it turned out, in recent years more and more accounts have come out to convince the public that he was a traitor to the nazis, he was the benedict arnold of the russian state, the
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soviet state. the reason it is such an important story to meet is today we witness when we look at ukraine or the russian propaganda, the kremlin propaganda, we hear a lot of this nazi rhetoric, anti nazi rhetoric, apparently as we were told recently by vladimir putin, the siege of the cities in east ukraine are just like the siege of leningrad during world war ii so it is important to understand that once you mention the nazi, for the russians it almost becomes an excuse for all criticism about even -- without any research being done. regrettably that happened to my family. of course for leonid krushchev who was 25 years old when he died, i really -- it is
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important to say he is twice as young as i am now. it is strange to talk about my grandfather in such a way but he was 25 years old when he died. he was a playboy, he was a womanizer, he was the james dean of soviet nomenclature but because of the soviet system which always puts state above an individual, he paid dearly and even more dearly paid his father, nikita khrushchev, my great grandfather, because suddenly in the contemporary story, the contemporary rhetoric of russia today, the reason nikita khrushchev, which i think the greatest thing he has ever done he denounced stalinism first in 1956 during the sacred speech and later on his qualities as imperfect as they
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were, i readily admit that, he denounces that it is no longer seen as an act of courageous politician who feels regret for the fact that he himself was a very trusted stalinist lieutenant until stalin died in 1953 but instead it actually dismissed as a simple act of political revenge because if lee and did was a traitor to the nazis, and the story goes because russians love -- russians are great in inventing stories. russians are so good at propaganda because propaganda is inventing stories. so as the story goes today, if it weren't my grandfather or my family i would have said that is such a great invention. it reads like a great detective novel. when allegedly today the story goes, it went way beyond molotov.
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the story goes today that when stalin discovered that leonid krushchev was allegedly a trader and had already died and the documents that he died on march 11th, 1943, so he died, but supposedly stalin discovered instead of undying he was actually defected to the nazi is. he was a fighter pilot and he flew soviet fighter jets and so the story goes that -- the new story goes that his plane fell down and he was such a strong man and i do love this kind of creation of a hero. he was such a strong man he took a rope and dragged it to the nazi front. can you imagine? it was march so you are in washington d.c. it is warm in
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winter but in march in dep russia, it is actually snow, thick woods, so it is hard even for a person to go -- drag up plane so he dragged his plane on a rope, he was that strong, imagine. he dragged that plane on a rope and he was very happy there apparently. stalin was very much in cents and sent a clandestine operative to steal him and those of you who know a bit of russian history caught stalin's own sun, his oldest son was also captured by the nazis and did you think about it, it is always when you think about propaganda it doesn't make sense.
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when stalin ordered to steal his own sun from the nazis in 1941, he couldn't do it but he was much more successful with krushchev at sun in 1943. in 1943 it was very successful, the stealing. you would be surprised because some of you remember nikita khrushchev, you saw him in pictures, he was a rather stout, round figure and was almost my height. he was 5 foot 4, he was a very short man. a lot of soviet leaders tend to be short. i wonder what that means. we are not going to speculate here. leonid was a very tall young man. you was 6 ft. 1. so because he was such a tall man, those who tried to steal him couldn't fit him into one potato sack so they had to so two potato sacks together.
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can you imagine this international spy ring selling potatoes act together to steal krushchev's son and bring him to the dungeons of the kremlin? the great joseph stalin can look in his eyes? that happened allegedly. joseph stalin looked in leonid's eyes and said how dare you, how could you? me and it was shot supposedly and to complete this story, in 1956, 13 years later, krushchev decided to go after stalin and denounces stalin. what we have here, we have an individual sport, family story, an explanation of grand political formula. knowing this really helps explain what happens in russia today. when i wrote my book it was before crimea. sort of quite remarkably
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vladimir putin decided to give a hand to me being able to talk about my book more because he accused nikita khrushchev personally for plunging russia from such an important part as crimea and raping russia. that rhetoric is remarkable. raping mother russia. sounds grand. 5 foot 4 nikita khrushchev blames russia from crimea from stalin. the great things russia ever was because he did put khrushchev -- krushchev in the middle of it. to clarify and 1954 crimea was transferred from the russian authority, the russian republic, was then the soviet union. the crimean republic was more of an economic, more of an administrative transfer because
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crimea as you know is connected to ukraine but not connected to russia. that is why some of you know that in the area precisely because the russians need some connection to crimea or it becomes an economic issue. remarkably, my book gels overzealous holds the issue and new issues, new issues together. so the book is not so much about nikita khrushchev also people topeka -- keep asking me about him. when i said he was my great grandfather, by relations he is my grandfather. when leonid i. in 1943 my mother julia was adopted by the older krushchev, grandparents, she was adopted as a daughter so by relations i and nikita khrushchev's granddaughter and
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by birth i am his great granddaughter so from now on i will be for referring to him as my grandfather. the reason i think the story is so important is because kremlins stories are rarely told. it is all about leonid brezhnev, the man who succeeded krushchev, went to the united states, he and jimmy carter didn't get along, or how gorbachev and ronald reagan got a long but it is more about politics. it is very rarely about family. in america where i have lived for almost 25 years, i want to clarify i am not an immigrant. because mchale gorbachev, the last soviet leader said it is a free country, you can do whatever you want. what do i want to do? i guess i want to see how it is to be a foreigner in a foreign
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country and where else you can go for that? the united states. so i came here. what i was trying to do in my book was to bring humanity to the kremlin. i was trying to bring the family story to the kremlin story and my book is filled with anecdotes and stories. i remember very few of them just because there was very middle when nikita khrushchev died in 1971. i was able to interview a great many people and really put all those little tidbits that usually felt completely lost in understanding of politics and instead present them in my book because kremlin leaders are people too. you might not believe that. but that is what they are. what i was also trying to do in my book is i was trying to look at how women look at politics.
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i look a lot at mother russia, mother russia, what does it mean? usually men who are there, at some point i came up with a joke, the russian president while vladimir putin was not the russian president, sort of warming up vladimir putin's kremlin seat from 2008 to 2012, incidentally, it is year 3. i will stop there. and so he was -- barack obama in 2009 decided he could be a good partner. what a mistake that was. the russian system precisely because there is always mother russia living somewhere as an example do we should aspire to, russia is very patriarchal. that is what is remarkable because older leaders are married to that state, mother russia so i wanted to see what
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the women are like. i wanted to show what their life was behind all this great man who we always see when we talk about mother russia. next to this great man when we talk about mother russia. my grandmother who i love and i was named after her, some of you remember her, she was visiting in 1959. this was almost the only access to a family portrait that americans ever got before gorbachev came on stage but that was overshadowed because you remember she and nancy reagan didn't get along so that became an entirely different story. what i was trying to do was show what women were like. a lot of my narrative is about
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the women and how they looked at their life, close to the kremlin power but also how they were trying to branch out of the very rigorous system where you are supposed to be a great communist, were you supposed to be in great service to the state and the night every single in the individual and polls that you have and one of the stories i am talking about is leonid's white as it turned out that detective investigation, turning out this woman, my mother's mother, was actually never leonid's wife. they were never married. she was this great example of a woman who aspired to be a perfect soviet. female suffrage that the soviet union put forward, egalitarianism was a total sham,
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and in her case in particular the and aspiring to be a pilot and was one of those great young communists who was always walking around with a newspaper under her arm and that was prov the. it was very kind of -- the soviet union, and she died a couple months ago, 101. until her last moment, she really kept that soviet formula alive and it was really -- that strength of spirit was fascinating but it was also fascinating how it was wasted on presenting an image that was completely hollow and fake almost like the soviet union was
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a symbol of what the soviet union showed. the great achievements and there were achievements, not denying in 75 years the soviets really aspired to do a lot of things but what is so remarkable is when the soviet union collapsed in 1991, it all came to nothing. the space program was almost dying before the americans started to pitch in. what we reusing for eastern europe, who wants to them, it was not. this woman became a symbol for me, heroism, the great hypocrisy. in propaganda called the big lie. the story is fascinating in its
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own right. if you take communism out of it, she and the and it got married. they didn't, but they lied to the families that they did, and everyone knows she is married to her so one day she may marry her. not that original, very human. then she went to the front and that kind of hope when to way. she never admitted it but that is what my sense was and she was a russian woman although she was originally born in kiev, a russian/german family. russians, you may know that or not know that about them but we really want to be french. you know, we try to mary french, we try to learn french, we copy
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french passion, not always good. if you know some people who had to leave the soviet union, generation of russian aristocracy it is all french. they spoke french, they married french and what not. this woman in the middle of the war, she is away from moscow, she is -- she took up an affair with the french manner which for a russian woman was an amazing achievement. it is. in some ways it is a lot of irony because she was aspiring to become more independent and being a pilot and she picks up an affair with a french man and wants to marion and unfortunately he is married. could for her. she is quite remarkable so she decided in the middle of the war to learn french.
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i don't even know how she imagined that. it was stalin's soviet union, not like you get your education or johns hopkins university or then you get some diplomatic post in paris, the soviet union, doesn't happen this way unless it is assigned to you, because of various reasons. it is not going to happen. anyway, somehow in her interesting delusional mind she decided you are going to learn french and you are going to get to paris comments say i made it on my own which is a great exploration that was possible so she went to learn french and she left her children, one of them was my mother, she left her children with older krushchev and said i don't want these children anymore because they really mess up my life. once again, we try to be normal
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but we are russia, we cannot be normal. it is true. how many countries do you know with nine time zones? seriously. we are even times zones. the first lady of russia was trying to pretend we are more than that so squeeze it sold nine is many times zones. from finland to japan. so we are not normal. we are a geographical oxymoron. in this sense we do imagine the world not the way it is. judging by the actions of vladimir putin always appears this way. we are guilty of that. so we try to be normal as i said. my birth grandmother who i just called a new boss because i am
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far from knowing her and loving her although i did interview her for the book. fringe didn't work out for her. she was accused as people do in the u.s. as our for contact with foreigners which she did and she went to gulag. it is a very sad story. as perfect as she was, as hypocritical as she was, she didn't deserve any of this. c-span ten years in the detention camp. one of the fun facts, in russia fun facts are always very tragic. one of those fun facts, one of the riot members, those young women, at st. against vladimir putin, they went to prison, one of them was released blast year. she was in the same camp as
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leonid's suppose the wife. just imagine for a second. this is the camp that continued to exist. the gulag did not exist the 7 camps existed. it was refurbished. they kept track of human rights violations. .. her times in 1940's there was so much thing. but it is the same camp. in those times it was called [russian name] and then for a second imagine russia is no longer a soviet union and still has the camps under stalin there. that will mess up your mind. this isn't only a mind issue but
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the geographical issue or also the mind and not the geographical. so i am trying to tell a lot of stories like this in my look and bring them together to understanding what russia is today and why indeed all of it, whatever is and why indeed all of it, whatever is happening in russia becomes some stories become very easy as an entrance into thatkif mindset because he was my role model and i don't chase after men too much. [laughter] and so he was, this happens to many people and this happened to
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when i was investigating, i wase interviewing peoplerv that was e still alive, i found a lot of wartime letters and they were fr there for 30 years never touchew and i am covered them in i was reading those letters and it was absolutely fascinating withhroun these young boys went through as they were bombing together to try to fight not and not cease. they were very much like womenh and don't take offense to that, but it was very much about one friend, saying bed i miss you like a young man who is missing a and he said, what is up with whs
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that, why would you be missing a girl and i was taking -- and img actually interviewed some girl detectives in the new york city area for that just to get adete mindset when you are facing some horrible difficulty -- someu horrible hardship and it really bonds to you and you become very affectionate with your team member. nd that was confirmed to me by people which was quite stunning and so wasn't that special but really quite beautiful to read.i and of course, when i read this letter and i published it in ani book and i tried really to make as many as possible because they are beautiful. and this is a literary book festival and we regrettably losy that ability to writeo w beautifully and to communicatehy in simple as they were and they
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really wrote beautiful letters. so when i discovered and i was thinking that that man who iswat now accused ofhat any trader, he was in i full service to hisothr motherland and mother russia. and suddenly i felt like those are very important to show how the war was won and, you know, all those things and what i was also learning is that he was what i discovered, the first dissident, and it was way before in the 1930s and 40s, before the word existed and those that protested it, he was the firstod dissident and he always
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protested thsoe regime. commparttudied navigation and he studied world socialist movement and all those other fun subjects and he would always get very deep and he was very proud of37 that.roud it's 1937 and he's proud of getting a grade d in the history of the communist party and he boy.a very interesting boy in that sense and every bit ofdered humanity that would be considered as a bad communist and he was often in aviation school, he was always detained and often detained for such a ce horrible crime is wearing hisths sick cat backwards, you know like will smith. the fresh prince of bel air. so that was something he would
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get five days of detention for and so what i also found fromnt. one of the letters and then interviews, when the war was was raging on and he was flying this russian airplanes that were not of great construction, it's not really a great construction and those planes were not really so hiso protect the pilot and ous head was always sticking out from the cockpit and so he invented and they called it a certain type of helmet. and it it was the soldiers hardhats and then the pilots had above it. and so that protected them from shrapnel. and what i was very touched with, my mother didn't keep thef letters, but if i didn't have enough courage or was notleonida
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urious, i would never have found out that after many, you know, times, his battaliontinued continued to wear this kind ofid headgear until the end of theors war and it was really quiteerede wonderful and all of it is didn political. and he was not a good soviet ane therefore he faced that. also one of the problems, ithinw think, that was sort of important was to discover that none of it was about them buton. nikita kershner. as as important as he was, nikita khrushchev, the fan that he was
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a very important tenet and he a the country to move forward as much as he could and that was a very important process because e ultimately mikell -- mikhail gorbachev. he officially declared him his mentor and predecessor and so is a very important moment int history when they tried to do diversion to try to open up the borders and it's all about him because he took down a great i ea that power is always right. and power could be wrong, ian could be wrong, and that was
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important for the soviets to hear and the russians to hear and i think that what vladimir putin is doing now is saying now, that was power cannot be wrong word is that power that could be wrong w like khrushchev in 56 and in 54 forgiving crimea to the ukraine and now look at the power, power cannot be wrong, i am clever putin and i am the kremlin and i'm telling you how to live your life and suddenly after all the things that we russians know, you think oh, okay.hat i and i want to conclude with a small story that i also used in the book and it is sad that an anecdote, all our anecdote oran very sad but funny. when khrushchev was ousted inon 1964 for reforms that were not consistent with each other, he
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really tried to democratize orsr breakdown into smaller pieces that song created. in and he didn't die, he was ousted in 1964 in his last words were to his bill is who kicked him out of the kremlin, the greatest thing i have ever done that today i am ousted by voting. tcause he said 10 years ago he would've gone to the gulags and died. so he came back and my mother was trying to meet him and he walked out of the car and he -- she hugged him and she cried because she knew that was it.
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and he was the only soviet leaner who wouldn't die in the kremlin and wouldn't go into that house, so they didn't even know what the retirement would be so we lasted for another seven years which is quite an achievement and it was not very much of a russian monarchy. so mother cried and she was very nervous and khrushchev did not cry and she said to her, that is okay, i'm going to be a normal s person now, which in thatn system, it's one of the reasons because he didn't know how to be a normal person among thatpower. power. push it to
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so you pull it out and right in front of your eyes, once again, it is full of joy. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> booktv is on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you. send us a tweet at or post a comment on her facebook page. this week the national book foundation announced their long list of the 2014 national award for nonfiction. bliss will be short and to five nominees next month in preparation for announcement of the winner in new york city. this year's national long list titles for nonfiction are roz chast, "can't we talk about something more pleasant" and
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john demos, "the heathen school: a story of hope and betrayal in the age of the early republic". >> this is a story of faith and their connection and it's really not so much the history of such an we don't think and we don't like to think much about failure. america has developed to be a success story and a lot of books are or not. but yet i think it is important and there have been 20 of them in american history. i was actually sort of looking for a chance to write about him thing that was another success story. >> also nominated for this year's national book awards for nonfiction is anand gopal, "no good men among the living: the taliban and the war through afghan eyes." and nigel hamilton, "the mantle of command", fdr award from 1941
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through 1942. plus, walter isaacson, "the innovators" hal geniuses and geeks created digital revolution. >> it was something that came out of working with steve jobs and before that, build a. and who made that kind of person so the book is not just about singular people but collaborations. because one of the things that i have discovered in doing this book is that real innovation comes from great themes. >> the 2014 national book awards long list includes also john lahr, "tennessee williams: mad pilgrimage of the flesh", matthew stewart, "natures god: the heretical origins of the american republic" and chasing fortune and faith in the new china and matthew stewart,
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"natures god: the heretical origins of the american republic". >> let me just lay my cards out on the table here. >> i will tell you right now that in my view, the christian nation myth is worse than a myth or worse than a false interpretation. i think of it as sort of a betrayal of the american revolution and i think it represents precisely the kind of thing that thomas jefferson and thomas paine and others were fighting against. >> the final two title selected to the national book awards one was for nonfiction art ronald rosbottom, "when paris went dark." the city of light under german occupation in 1940 through 1944 and edward o. wilson, "the meaning of human existence." that is a look at this year's long list for the 2014 national book award for nonfiction. be sure to turn yo


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