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tv   LIVE from the 2017 Southern Festival of Books  CSPAN  October 14, 2017 2:58pm-4:59pm EDT

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this makes possible by advances in communication technology and the fact the iraqis are using cell phones and computers without a lot of thought to the fact they are getting intercepted. quite impressive and a lot of people think at this scale we can destroy the insurgency. we also have on the other side, a term people get confused about. the operators who are not part of j sock, mainly special forces, navy seals at this time but they also decide they want to do this surgical strike precision raid, go out and hold down bad guys in the middle of the night and as we move away from their more traditional role of working with local forces, local populations and come under fire for taking them
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away from that, and what we of counterinsurgency typically working with local forces to secure the population is done mainly and we will see over time there is better collaboration between special operations and general-purpose forces. .. >> together in that what they did could be mutually reenforcing. and, you know, there's a myth in counterinsurgency that you don't actually need to kaptur-kill -- capture-kill the enmy, and i think that's false. but you had the special operators would do the capturing-killing of the leadership targets while the conventional forces would do more population security, they'd
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go in and stir up hornets' nests and reveal targets. >> you can watch this and other programs online at [inaudible conversations] >> and now we're back live in nashville. up next, authors roger hodge and daniel sharfstein discuss westward expansion. [inaudible conversations]
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>> welcome, everyone. we are happy to have you at the southern festival of books. my name is andy bennett, i'm the host for this session. the southern festival of books depends on many sources of funding including individual donations. so please consider any amount that you can, and you can donate by web site, by facebook or at the festival headquarters during the weekend. our authors will be signing their books at the signing tent on the war memorial plaza after
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the session. you can purchase their books at the par par nasa book area, and a portion will benefit the festival. our first speaker is daniel sharfstein, professor of law and history at vanderbilt. he has twice won the law school's outstanding professor award. he's a graduate of harvard and yale law school. and before law school, he was a journalist. he's also co-director of the george barrett social justice program at vanderbilt law school. professor sharfstein? >> hi, everybody. you can hear me in the back? great. it's wonderful to be here again at the southern festival of books, my hometown book festival, and a real honor to be
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introduced by judge bennett. in the decade plus that i've lived in nashville, i've presented here as an author, i've been a host, and most of all i've been a member of the audience. so i think sharing this panel with roger hodge gives me the best of all worlds. i just love the range of conversations that we have here at the festival, and i look forward to hearing from all of you. today i'll be talking about the nez perce war and how i came to write my book, "thunder in the mountains:" and what their conflict tells us about america after reconstruction and about our current moment. my book centers around a war that the u.s. fought in the summer of 1877 against a small group of nez perce indians who refused to move from their
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traditional land onto a reservation. the fighting began in the rolling prairies and deep canyons where oregon, washington and idaho meet. but then the nez perce families -- men, women, children, ultimately about 900 in all -- fled east through the mountains into montana. they moved along the continental divide. if you look on a map, it's kind of the ragged border between idaho and montana. and then they went down into wyoming, across the newly-created yellowstone national park where they took some of the first tourists there hostage. and then finally, they turned sharp north across montana's buffalo plains trying to reach sitting bull in canada where he had fled after custer's last stand the year before. for three and a half months and
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over some of the roughest mountain terrain in the country, the northern rockies, the nez perce families outran the army. but then in early october 1877, soldiers trapped them just 40 miles south of the border. the families were starving, they were freezing, and they were devastated by months of vicious battles. it wasn't a big war, but people have been writing about it almost constantly from the moment it happened. why is that? because in its aftermath the nez perce leader who surrendered, chief joseph, became a national celebrity the. he was hailed both as a military genius -- wrongly, it turned out, because other men were the war chiefs -- but also a man of extraordinary kindness and feeling. thousands of people visited him
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in exile. school children recited his words. people packed his speeches and then adapted them as poetry. joseph's pleas to restore his people to their land inspired generations of activists for civil and human rights. i've been interested in the nez perce war from the moment i could read words on a page. finish when i was 6 -- when i was 6 years old, my mother gave me a children's biography of chief joseph. it was part of the classic dell yearling biography series where they gave you a bit of everything; abe lincoln, george washington carver, helen keller. and i just never forgot those books. but what compelled me to write about chief joseph in the first place, to write "thunder in the mountains," actually wasn't joseph. it was the general who led the
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army forces against the nez perce, a man named oliver otis howard. howard was a maine yankee, west point graduate, someone with a truly terrific, rippling beard. [laughter] actually, one of the challenges of writing this was very quickly you run out of synonyms for bushy. [laughter] and much to the displeasure of his men, he was a teetotaling advantage list. he was -- evangelist. he was known as the christian general. during the civil war, he had commanded a union army brigade and became an ardent abolitionist who early on knew that he was fighting a war to destroy slavery. in june 1862 he lost his right arm above the elbow, and the nez perce would later call him cut arm. but he quickly recovered, and he
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wound up as one of william tecumseh sherman's commanders during the march to the sea and during the final push up through the carolinas. as the war was ending, howard was tapped to lead a bold experiment in governing. congress had created a new agency, the bureau of refugees, freed men and abandoned lands. the agency's job was to redistribute confiscated rebel property and help nearly four million people navigate the path from slavery to citizenship. the bureau built schools, they built hospitals, orphanages, asylums, they set up entire court systems. this was the first big federal social welfare agency in american history. truly a radical test of what a government could and should do for its people. and as head of the freedmen's
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bureau, howard was a crucial player in giving concrete meaning to the concepts of liberty and equality. these are concepts that the emancipation proclamation and the 13th and 14th amendments boldly proclaimed to be the twin pillars of our reborn american republic. when congress, in 1867, chartered a new university for african-americans in washington, d.c., it was a given that it would be named for howard, howard university. in southern history oliver otis howard is a hero. a flawed hero, to be sure. someone who embodied the limitations of the federal government's efforts to remake the rebel south. but still, a dedicated and true warrior for black equality. then as reconstruction was
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collapsing, howard was sent to oregon in 1874 to command army forces in the pacific northwest. so he's a hero in southern history, in african-american history, but in western history, in native american history general howard is a villain. you know, his decisions all but sparked the nez perce war. men following his orders wound up massacring women and children. so the nez perce war is not just the story of one civil rights hero, chief joseph. rather, it's the story of how howard -- himself a civil rights champion -- made vicious war on another civil rights champion and, in a way, it's a quintessential story of america after reconstruction. the decades between the end of the civil war and 1900 are a story of an extraordinary pivot
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in american values. in 1865 the u.s. was a beacon of liberty and equality to the world. but by 1900 all that political and policy-making energy was being redirected to a vast project of sifting and sorting. jim crow was the rule of the south, and really much of the rest of the country. every two or three days an african-american was lynched. at the border chinese imi-- immigrants were banned. 1900, the nation had become an imperial power with territories stretching from san juan to manila. a person with dark skin was as likely to be a colonial subject as a citizen. so from 1865 to 1900, from emancipation to empire, this is a quick and stunning turn in our sense of america and the purpose
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of our government. and it's a crucial moment for america. you know, it's when the foundation was laid for battles that we're still fighting over the contours of liberty and equality, the relationship between race and citizenship and over the proper size, scope and role of government. the story of this turn from emancipation to empire goes through the west. the last decades of the 19th century involved a massive exercise of government power to take land and wealth from one group and give it to another. the west was the staging ground for empire. it was where the logic and the politics, the division of what our government existed to do were worked out. and what's amazing is that so many of the people who had fought for emancipation wound up
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playing key roles in building the new regime. you know, i wanted to explore how real people saw and experienced this ethical transformation. oliver otis howard went west, 1874, nearly a broken man. he had been a lightning rod for years for opposition to reconstruction, constantly investigated for corruption, turned into a national joke. and as he traveled along the transcontinental railroad, he hoped that his time in the west would be his great second chance. you know, a big part of his job would involve forcing native americans onto reservations. for howard, reservation policies enacted kind of fantasy of reconstruction. you know, during reconstruction he really hadn't been able to give away 40 acres and a mule to african-americans even though he
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tried. but in the west, he could give away small plots of land, and he thought that this would be a pathway to full citizenship. you know, he had convinced himself that this was an extension and not a betrayal of reconstruction's values. you know, it was for him an enlightened way to protect indians from genocidal wars. but then he encountered joseph. now joseph, by the time he met howard in the spring of 1875 -- two years before the war -- joseph was a seasoned add slow candidate for his people -- advocate for his people. he was a young man in his early 30s, outranked by many other leaders who had long experience hunting buffalo and fighting rival nations to the east, you know, black feet, crow, lakota. but then ranchers started encroaching on joseph's ancestral land in oregon. they told joseph rightly that
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under an 1863 treaty the valley had been put into the public domain, and it had already been divided up into homesteads. but no one in the valley had been represented at the 1863 treaty council. leaders of other totally separate nez perce bands 100 miles away had ceded the land for them. so that presented jost -- joseph with a real challenge. and it's a story for our time. you know, when so many people today are wondering if there's anything they can do to change our nation's direction. so joseph had to figure out how to move the federal government, how to find and connect with american power, how to change official policy and convince people that the 1863 treaty didn't apply to his band. and that's a tall order especially when we consider that
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he's native american, and native americans really did not get much respect for claims that they made to land. and what's more, he was in an incredibly isolated mountain valley surround by towering peaks and canyons deeper than the grand canyon, really hard to get in or out. and he didn't speak english. he did his talking in nez perce and in chinook jargon, regional trade language. so what did joseph do? how did he get his words to swim upstream? joseph decided to plead his case to every federal official he could find; local indian agent, regional supervisor for indian affairs, a congressman home from recess. and he pressed his claim until those officials reported to washington that joseph was right. in the process joseph was
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discovering how the american republic worked after the civil war. it had many faces, many competing authorities. you know, power was split, and it remains split in countless ways. you know, among federal, state and local governments, among legislative, executive, judicial branches and among all kinds of overlapping agencies. what joseph found was a fluid core of american power. you know, nothing is ever quite resolved once and for all. it's never over. there's always someone else to turn to. and often per since in this process -- persistence in thises process could be leveraged into rights. you just have to keep fighting. and joseph saw this. he figured it out. and he had remarkable success in getting his people's land claims reopened again and again both before and after the war. in the course of his advocacy,
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joseph developed a set of arguments about liberty and equality that howard would have immediately recognized as, you know, ones that he had made about the freed people during reconstruction. but howard refused to be, to see joseph as someone who was participating in a new american process. instead he saw joseph as someone showing disrespect for his authority, you know, someone who could only be governed by brute force. in his drive for redemption, howard was single minded as he pursued the nez perce families through the northern rockies. but military victory didn't mean redemption for howard, and almost immediately he recognized this. you know, at the moment of josephs' surrender, it was -- joseph's surrender, it was almost as if howard realized that he was no longer the hero of his own story. that's a tough thing to
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recognize. ultimately, howard wound with up playing a key role in making a place for joseph in american culture. in the days and weeks that followed the war, howard and his aide-de-camp publicized joseph's surrender statement. and in the decades to come, howard just couldn't stop writing about joseph. you know, in the end it was joseph and not general howard who would be remembered as a great civil rights figure. and joseph's rhetoric is so poignant, so moving that it's easy to overlook that he wasn't simply making a plea for a full package of rights as an american, you know, what we might call citizenship. you know, more specifically he was trying to define citizenship for an age of big government. he was claiming the right to participate in the contentious struggles that are just baked into our modern way of governing. it's the right to speak to the
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state and to be heard. he represents a set of ideas, but just as importantly a set of methods that we need more than ever. i'm going to finish, i think, by just reading a little bit of, from the book and really in the book i tried to foreground the words and experiences of joseph and many other native american nez perce survivor ises of the war. survivors of the war. so it's joseph's surrender speech that made him a celebrity. first, i thought i'd read his surrender speech and then a little bit of a speech he gave in washington, d.c. a year and a half after the war. so here's the surrender statement. it's like the first thing that ever went viral. [laughter]
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tell general howard i know his heart. what he told me before, i have in my heart. i'm tired of fighting. our chiefs are killed, looking glass is dead -- [inaudible] is dead, the old men are all dead. it's the young men who say yes or no. he who leads the young men is dead. it is cold and we have no blankets. the little children are freezing to death. my people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food, no one knows where they are. maybe freezing to death. i want time to look for my children and see how many of them i can find. maybe i shall find them among the dead. hear me, my chiefs, i am tired. my heart is sick and sad. from where the sun now stands, i will fight no more forever. but the thing is we have to
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remember joseph never stopped fighting. so here he is a year and a half later in washington d.c. more than 800 people bought tickets to see joseph, the main attraction alongside visiting choctaw, chickasaw, cherokee and creek chiefs. joseph spoke for more than an hour. to make his argument was to tell the history of his people among the whites. much of his talk he'd given countless times before the war. his tribe's long friendship with the united states, the injustice of of the treaty, the pledge he made his father never to abandon the valley. but it was the most recent chapters of his story that transformed him and his audience. according to one reporter, as his account of the war unfolded, his voice developed its flexibility, and joseph began gesturing and miming which for
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grace and appropriateness would have done credit to a frenchman. listeners gasped as he remembered the war, laughed when he described the raid on the army mule train in the meadows, wept as he told of the broken promises of the surrender. the audience then heard a message that had fallen out of favor with the end of reconstruction. an appeal for a new commitment to the basic values of liberty and equality. if the white man wants to live in peace with the indian, he can live in peace, joseph said. there need be no trouble. treat all men alike. give them all the same law. give them all an even chance to live and grow. he called for an equal citizenship defined by broad fundamental liberties. let me be a free man, he said. free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where i choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free
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to think and talk and act for myself, and i will obey every law or submit to the penalty. when he finished with the simple declaration, this is my story and here i am, the theater roared with emotion. thank you very much. [applause] >> roger hodge is a deputy editor for the intercept which is an internet news source. he's former editor of the oxford american and harper's magazine, and his writings are so numerous, i don't think i'll try and list any of them here. he's written a book that is, i think, part memoir, part reporting and part history. and so here's mr. hodge to talk about his book, "texas blood."
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>> thank you. it's really an honor to be up here with dan, and he is a real historian. i am a journalist, and that means i'm a dilettante historian. but i -- there is a lot of history in my book. there's a lot of -- and there's a lot of personal history, family history and a lot of traveling. so the book begins and ends on the devil's river in west texas where my family has ranched for generations. and when i was growing up, i worked on that ranch every weekend, spent all my summers out there working, and i had no idea how historic this place was. i just, it just -- i took everything for granted. i would find air arrowheads, and
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i would play cowboys and indians when i was very small, but i didn't have -- i didn't really understand how long people had lived in that landscape. and i didn't want really understand my -- i didn't really understand my own culture, i didn't understand the ranching culture. i took that for granted as well. i assumed that i would always be -- i would be a rancher. that was my destiny. there was no choice. that's what i wanted to be, and that was what -- that was it. there would always be sheep and goats in those hills. there would always be cattle in the bottomland, and that was the way it would be. but when my father figured out that that was what was in my mind, he had a talk with me. he explained that ranching was dying, that the way of life that i took for granted was going away, it was passing away, and i had to have some other way to make a living, that we would
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always hold on to the land, but the land was not going to be the way we -- really we weren't going to live off the land anymore. and so this was a trauma. [laughter] but eventually, i made my way to new york city, became a journalist, became a writer and editor, and if you know any writers, you know that this is, there's -- it's as if there's, something has to happen to you to make you, to do this. [laughter] because it's not easy, and it's -- and i sometimes think that it was the trauma of not, of noting able to have -- of not being able to have that life that sent me into writing. and i, as i was in exile as i always thought of it in new york, i thought continuously about my homeland -- home
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landscape and wanted the figure out a way to write about it. but i was busy, i was editing magazines, i was consumed with the news cycle. and in 2006 a novel came out called "no country for old men." and i had been -- cormack mccarthy had been one of my sort of spirit -- he consoled me in my exile because he was writing about my home. all those border novels happened right there in my home. and "no country for old men" came out, and that opening scene, most of you have probably seen the movie, the shootout, the drug deal gone bad, that was on my family's ranch. the geographical markers were unmistakeable. it was just west of lozier canyon. that meant it was just west of my family's eastern fence. and so i had to write about
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this. so i wrote about mccarthy, i wrote about all of his novels, and i wrote about his encounter with the borderlands, and that took me deeper into the borderlands themselves and the history and the landscape and the whole 14,000 years of human habitation in that place. but it took a while. and i realized -- what i had to figure out though was not, i wanted to understand this transformation that had overtaken this place that was so important to me, the transformation was not only the fact that the ranches were emptying and there was no livestock in the pastures and people were moving away and the land was being bought up by tobacco lawyers and oil tie -- tycoons and environmental organizations. i wanted to understand why that was happening, but i didn't, i didn't know enough about the history of the place. i didn't know what had brought my own family there, and i
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certainly didn't know what had brought the humanos or any of the other hundreds of named indian groups that were there when the spanish arrived. so first i went and searched my own family's history, which brought me to tennessee. i went to college in tennessee, but i didn't even know that my ancestors were from here. my great, great grandfather who brought the family to texas in 1854 was born in 1828 in new market, tennessee. and then that family, the wilson family, moved west as people were doing. they ended up in missouri which was the staging ground for western migration. and not just wen migration, but western conquest. and this is where all the trappers and the scalpers and the speculators, they were all fanning out going north to oregon or going into texas or going into the mountains. and so part of the book is
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trying to understand what's going on in missouri in the 1840s. and the 1850s. and there are all these clues. my -- perry's father, william wilson, was killed by a mop in 1841. -- by a mob in 1841. i could never figure out exactly what it was, whether he just got caught up in something, whether -- the mormon war was heating up, there was so much violence going on, and this was the border. you go southwest of what's now kansas city, and you were in indian country, you were on the border. we forget about the western border. so my ancestors, my great great grandfather, perry wilson -- grandparents -- came down the texas road in 1854. perry had already been to california a couple of times. he was a 49er and speculator
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himself. he went back, married his sweetheart and brought her down the texas road which was an ancient indian high. it was the osage trail and then a military road and eventually became known as the texas road. so many settlers were heading down that way. now, my people didn't leave anything in writing other than property records, so i went in search of witnesses, fellow travelers, people who trod those same paths and wrote about it. and fortunately, there are some wonderful, wonderful writers who went down that road. among them,, washington irving who, when he came back from europe, ran into henry ellsworth who was administering the indian removal act. "a tour on the prairie," was his book. frederick law olmstead went down into texas and wrote a wonderful book called "a journey through
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texas," or "a saddle trip on the western frontier." so part of the book is this layering of me following these paths and describing what i see and shifting into different them poral registers and -- temporal registers and describing what other people saw all in the service in one sense of trying to capture what was driving my ancestors forward and also to try to understand some larger questions about the texas, about texas in general, about the texas border, about the border. what is it, what is it about the border that makes it continually return to our national debate. what is it, why are we so obsessed with the border. this was one of my questions. so perry and wilmet went west
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after drifting cattle along the red river for a number of years. they packed up in 1856 and were headed to california. and we're pretty sure, i'm very sure that they went along the southern road, the mail route from san antonio to the rio grande, up the devil's river, over the pecos, across the trans-pecos to el paso and beyond. they could have gone over the -- [inaudible] but there are various property clues that lead us to believe that they went up the devil's river especially because in later years perry drifted cattle on the devil's river, living in camps. so i found as many witnesses as i could who made that same journey; the cattlemen and the journalists who rode on the
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butterfield stage. they were wonderful writers as well. they weren't pros like olmsted or i slipping, but they could capture detail, they could capture hardship. and it was a hard, hard road. days without water. and when water -- when they found water, it was contaminated with livestock and death and disease. but they still had to carry it, they had to load their barrels with that water and carry it with them. and along the way they had encounters with the native peoples that were still there. they'd mostly been exterminated by that point. those hundreds of groups with the wonderful mellifluous names. and if you ever listen to the audio book, you'll hear me trying to pronounce them. [laughter] i had a lot of practice before i recorded it.
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but they had mostly been exterminated or absorbed by another invader, the apaches. the human knows, for example -- humanos, for example, who ranged all across texas, they had encounters with the french and the spanish, and one captain in particular, he shows up again and again in different parts of the state, in different parts of northern mexico. they ranged widely. they even, they encountered -- [inaudible] in the 1530s when he made his epic naked, barefoot journey across the continent. from being ship reck whered -- ship recked on the texas -- shipwrecked on the texas coast. so i delved into the history of those peoples through the spanish contact narratives, through the records of expeditions and into the
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ethnohistory of the comanches which is incredibly rich. we know a lot about the comanches now. as opposed to the mythology of the comanche which, i have to say, mccarthy's depiction to have comanches is sorely lacking. it's -- he treats them as hellhounds, as these infernal spirits. but they were incredibly complex and sophisticated society. i'd recommend the wonderful book "the comanche empire," if you haven't read it. so part of this ending counter with -- encounter with the native peoples gets you into the militarization of the border which is one of the things i was trying to understand about the contemporary border, is this buildup, this enormous footprint
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of law enforcement that has descended on my home. now the largest payroll in my hometown is law enforcement. it's just, you can't, you can't throw a stick without hitting a federal law enforcement officer. and what you figure out if you spend some time studying the history is that the militarization of the border is nothing new. that's how the border was settled. it was this line of forts that was there to protect travelers and the mails and slowly, very slowly, people started to try to live in these deserts. and a lot of innovations happened. a lot of military innovations happened along the border. the first deployment of a tank by the u.s. military was along the border. the first deployment of an airplane by the u.s. military was in the punitive expedition
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against poncho villa. and the expeditions continued. the first deployment of a predator drone surveil ising the united states -- surveilling the united states citizenry is happening, happened on the border. and these innovations continue. so it's part of my metaphor -- so the book is organized as a series of journeys. one of the journal knits that i undertook was not just following my ancestors, but also following some of the other people who made these journeys. so i loosely and metaphorically followed his path, but this time in my case in the company of the border patrol. i got myself an assignment with popular science to write about border security technology. finish and i covered most of the texas border with them. and i showed up in brownsville,
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and a guy, this very imposing guy wearing a tan jumper said, are you roger hodge? i've been waiting for you. it turned out he was the, he was a very high ranking guy in air marine operations. he wanted to show me their surveillance platform which is called the big pipe which is a way to integrate all the surveillance assets -- the drones and the airplanes and the cameras, the border cameras and even cameras in airports. any place that you have a surveillance camera that the federal government has access to can be brought together into this platform. so anybody who needs to see it anywhere can log in as long as they have credentials. and it struck me watching this, seeing this thing in action, seeing this machine in action on
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the border that we were watching, this is an experiment. the border has been a place of innovation, like i said, for a long time in terms of civilian policing. but this is place now where we're seeing something very new. and in the same way that deploying aircraft was very, very new and powerful for law enforcement -- for the military, deploying surveillance on that scale, he talked about total domain awareness which is pervasive and persistent surveillance. so, and as this gips to get -- one of the questions i asked, what is it about the border that keeps coming back to natural -- national consciousness, that keeps coming back into our national discussion. what is it that we're really afraid of on the border, that's the question. and what i've come to realize, i
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mean, i didn't want fully get this -- i didn't fully get this until trump was elected that it's the return of the repressed. it's the return of our political repressed. and the thing that we haven't really dealt with politically or socially in our country is the genocide is and conquest of north america, and that's why i'm so excite to be sitting, to be on this panel with dan. because those themes that he articulated are exactly what i am grappling with in this book. we're not really afraid, i don't think we're that a afraid of what's on the other side of the border. we're afraid of what's inside already, and that's why i think, ultimately, that trump's wall is not really about the border. and it's not really -- it doesn't even really matter whether it gets built. it's already here. it's not about keeping people out, it's about dividing the people that are already here. and i think the wall's already here. the wall runs through every
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single community in this country. and so that was, that's kind of the answer i end up with. that's not really in the book, that's kind of implied in the book. because i don't even mention trump's name in the book. anyway, this is a very personal book. it's a journey that i undertook to try and grapple with these themes, and i hope you enjoy reading it, if you do. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. i hope you can see the quality of the two authors we have here. we have a few minutes if any of you wish to ask questions. there's a microphone over on the side, and you are invited to go up and fire away with your questions.
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i'll start while some of you might be lining up. both of you, of course mr. hodge has a lengthy journalism background. professor, you have a shorter journalism background. how did your journalism backgrounds help or hinter you in your -- hinter you in your -- hinder you in your writing of your books? >> well, i'd say my journalism job hindered me because i was having to do it while i was -- [laughter] trying to write the book. it was a tremendous help for me because i really learned how to write on the job. and i had the opportunity to work with great, great writers and still do. and harper's, harper's was -- when i was editing harper's and coming up there, i was there for
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14 years, i really began my journalism career there, i worked with some of the best writers in the world. and and either at the beginning as a fact-checker or later as an editor, and then i had the opportunity to write for the magazine. the first words i wrote in this book are, were published in harper's. so it was a tremendous advantage to have that experience. i don't think i could have written the book otherwise. >> so for me, i spent three years before law school working as a reporter in west africa and in southern california. i went from covering liberian peace talks to covering the city council meetings in monrovia, california. [laughter] and for me, it was an amazing experience. you know, writing about real people who you're going to have to see again, who can call you
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up and yell at you, i think, really makes you accountable and really makes you committed to getting the story right. i also think being a journalist, in a way it turned me into the historical equivalent of a method actor. i have to see the places where i, that i write about. so for this book i traveled the full length of the nez perce trail, about 1400 miles, i -- in a 4x4. and then i, so much of this was, so much of this war took place on a horse. nez perce people were horse-herding people. a huge amount of the war involved -- it wasn't just the 900 nez perce men, women and
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children who were pleaing the army, they took their herd with them. thousands of horses new the mountain -- through the mountains. and much of the army, it was a cavalry action. so is oliver otis howard, he had one arm, he rode a horse for 1400 miles with one a arm. so i think it was the journalist in me that compelled me to take riding lessons south of nashville. it's very humbling. all my life i'd been told i was allergic to horses, so went to the allergy clinic hoping they had a shot for me -- [laughter] and it would turn me into the marlboro man. [laughter] they told me i didn't need shots, i wasn't really allergic. it was just the dust from the horses that was irritating my eyes. so as long as i took claritin and wore the worst pair of goggles you've ever seen over my glasses, i could do that. and i learned how to ride a
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horse and then spent a week in the yellowstone back country tracing a part of the park where the nez perce families had crossed. and i think if i hadn't been a reporter, i wouldn't have done that. >> okay. we have, we have a question here. >> i can talk really loud. >> okay, i'll -- >> they really want you to go to the mic. >> yeah. >> this is for roger. can you just explain a little more your point at the very end about the repressed coming back? i'm really interested in that. i think i know what you're saying, but i want to make sure, just want a few more details. >> yeah. i mean, i think i was a little enigmatic there possibly. but i think one of the things
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that we haven't reckoned with in this country is the extent to which we committed a genocide. and we conquered this continent. and i believe -- i've come to believe that the reason we are so obsessed with the border is that we -- it's a stand-in. it's a stand-in for other things in our, in our history and in our politics. and it also has a lot to do with slavery and our, you know, these are the original sins of our founding. and as dan was saying earlier, by, you know, between 1865 and 1900 we had changed really the whole character of our approach
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to governor happens in. but before that -- governance. but before that as well, the whole question of race and citizenship was of absolute central importance. and so when you think about the history of the border and the history of immigration policy, i think you mentioned the chinese exclusion act. the border patrol was originally created to keep chinese out. not to keep mexicans out. they wanted mexicans to come and work. so i think that this is -- i mean, i could argue at great length, i think, and there's a lot of discussion of this in the book. but i do think that it doesn't make sense what we say about border, what politicians say about the border, people who have never really been there or have only been there once on a
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tour makes no sense. the problem they're trying to solve is has nothing to do with what they're talking about. >> it's what, to me it's not just about the border, it's what the historian barbara wellke calls about who belongs, who doesn't, you know, who has rights in our society, who has a stake and who isn't allowed. >> there's a thing, some sociologists talk about called social silence, the things that we refuse to talk about. and this is like the flip side. something that we talk about all the time. well, what is that telling us? because we're not, we're not really that worried about people coming in from mexico. and if we are, building a wall is certainly not the way to do it, because it's just a speed bump. >> well, i believe our time is just about up, so i wanted to say thank you for coming. i'm sorry, but thank you for
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coming, thanks to our great authors here. [applause] wonderful, wonderful presentations. [applause] please remember that they'll be signing at the signing tent on the war memorial plaza immediately after this, and you can buy their books up there too. thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> and you're watching booktv on c-span2, it's it's for serious readers. we are live today from the southern festival of books in nashville. we'll be back with more authors in just a few minutes. >> here's a look at some of the current best selling nonfiction books. topping the list is pastor john -- with his thoughts on making the christian community more incollusive in "a bigger table." followed by "we were eight years in power: an examination of race, the obama presidency and the election of donald trump" by national book award-winning author ta'nehisi coates. after this in "braving the wilderness," renee brown asks what it means to belong. fourth is hillary clinton with her thoughts on the 2016 presidential election followed by martha mcdowell's field
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guide to the landscapes that inspired the little house series in "the world of laura ing gals wilder." our look at the best selling nonfiction books continues with astrophysics for people in a hurry by neil degrasse tyson followed by petty, a recount of the life of the late rock musician tom petty by warren zanes. after that in "strong inside," andrew maraniss recalls the early years of the first african-american basketball player in the sec. patchett with her memoir, this is a story of a happy marriage. and wrapping up our look at bestsellers according to par nasties books in nashville is "unbelievable." some of these authors have or will be appearing on booktv, and you can watch them on our web site,
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>> so what can we learn when we look at these searches. so if you remember in the 2008 presidential election all the way back then, barack obama was elected president, he defeated john mccain, and there was a big question after this election did race matter in the voting. did people care that obama was black when deciding whether to vote for him. ands this is kind of a classic question that could be complicated by social desirability bias. if you ask americans, the overwhelming majority of americans --9 8 or 99% of americans -- say they don't care, they didn't care that obama was black in the election. and that was kind of why a lot of people assumed, concluded that we lived in a postracial society back in the day. there was this idea that, you know, voters voted for obama, and they said they didn't care that obama was black. so could you use google searches to potentially, because people
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are so honest, because people tell google things that they might not tell anybody else on socially unacceptable attitudes, could you use google searches to get the real answer of the effect that race may have played in people's voting decision. so what i did is i made a map of racist search volume on google. and this is the percent of google searches that include very, very charged racist word, i won't say it out loud, but you can kind of guess maybe what it is. and the first thing that struck me about this data, first, was how common the search was. so in the time period i was using, people are making these searches, these racist searches in about the same frequency as they were searching lakers and migraine and daily show and economist. so it wasn't by any stretch of the imagination a fringe search. these are mostly for jokes mocking african-americans. that's kind of a big theme of these searches. the other thing that struck me about this map is it looked
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very, very different from the map i would have expected of racism. so if you had asked me where racism was highest against african-americans in the united states, i would have guessed that racism is predominantly concentrated in the south. if you think of the country's history, the civil war, slavery, we think of racism as having a strong north/south divide. and definitely racism is highest -- some of the places it is highest are in the deep south, places like southern mississippi and southern louisiana. but you can also see in the map with darker red meaning a higher frequency of these searches that it's also higher in many places in the north; in western pennsylvania, eastern ohio, industrial michigan, upstate new york, rural illinois. i think the real divide this search data reveals is not north versus south, it's east versus west. you see that it's much, much higher east of the mississippi river and then kind of drops pretty substantially west of the mississippi river.
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so once i had this map, i wanted to see -- because people are so honest here, could you use this data to measure how much obama really lost in the 2008 election. and, of course, you can't just compare racist searches to votes for obama. it might be that places that have high racist searches would have opposed any democratic candidate in 2008, so that wouldn't be really a fair comparison. so what i did is i compared obama's vote total to previous democratic candidates such as john kerry in the previous election who was a white candidate and was ranked similarly liberal. and what you see when you do that -- and you can read the paper, read it in the book -- is a very, very strong, significant relationship that places that had highest racist search volume, these places in appalachia or in industrial michigan, support obama much less than previous democratic candidates.
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and you can start controlling for anything you'd like. you can start controlling for education or demographics or political views or cultural views, and nothing changes the relationship that that was a big factor. and overall, i conclude that obama lost about four percentage points from racism which is much higher than you'd get from really any other, any other measure. and he got about one to two percentage points from increased african-american turnout. this paper kind of languished in the act academic word for a little bit, and then very recently when the trump phenomenon was starting, trump was saying a lot of racially-charged, making a lot of racially-charged comments, and people were questioning how is he doing so well even when he's saying these things you're not supposed to say is, and was racism driving some of his support. and nate cohen of "the new york
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times" asked me for the data on the racist search volume. he had data for support for trump in the republican primary, and he said of all the variables he could test, the single highest correlation he could find was the racist search volume for trump. this, of course, does not mean that everybody who supports trump is racist, but it does mean that some of his supporters were and that it did drive some of his progress in the, in the primary. ..
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starting now, arthur and biology professor david haskell provide a field guide to a dozen trees and their connection to the natural world. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. i'm your host in this session of the southern festival of books with 15. i have a couple housekeeping items. if you haven't silenced your cell phones please do so now.
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the session needs to end at 3:50 because we are reporting live on c-span. we will head to the plasma and the signing tent where you have an opportunity to meet david and have him sign your books. we cannot linger in this room because of the live broadcast. david haskell is university of biology professor receiving a phd in ecology and evolutionary biology from cornell university. his work integrates scientific, literary and contemplative studies of the natural world, his 2012 book the forest unseen was a finalist for the pulitzer prize and the wilson very science award. he is here today to share his newest work, "the songs of trees". please join me in welcoming david haskell. [applause] >> thank you for the kind
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introduction. the library here, the slide has gone away. library of the year, extraordinary space, beautiful space not just in its physical presence but the beauty of what the library provides and thank booktv for carrying a number of sessions life and sharing the exciting things happening with the rest of the world, those connected to c-span. i am going to share a few readings from "the songs of trees" and set up and explain what this book is about, how it came to be and as i go through i will be sharing excerpts from longer chapters and be delighted to take any questions or comments at the end and linger afterwords, i will be happy to sign or otherwise
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deface books in any way you would like or grab me in the hallway. so "the songs of trees" examines the lives of 12 different trees around the world, trees on the face of it seemingly different places in the amazon rain forest, jerusalem and the west bank, manhattan, tennessee, fossil tree that has been dead 30 million years in the mountains of colorado and peachtree by practice show up to this tree again and again over many years and try to pay attention, listen to the tree, open my senses and through that engagement over many years interaction with each tree try to discern the stories present in the sounds and the texture of the tree and in my
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conversations people whose lives are bound up with the life of the tree and each story is very different in the amazon it is different from suwanee, tennessee or mountainside in japan and a horticultural collection in washington dc and yet under the surface there is commonality these trees have meaning in a certain set of relationships in the air and soil and people and those relationships take the form of different places. cell i try through the differences to see beyond into unifying questions, unifying this and one of those was we were always part of these stories even in places where we imagine ourselves not to belong. deep in the forest or where
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human presence seems very slight if there at all. we are wrapped up in those stories partly through deep connections back over thousands of years. and then through the vigorous flapping of our industrial lives, we have all sorts of things in the atmosphere, bringing new species to one place, the human presence even if we don't see a person in the forest, sometimes the influence seems beneficial, nurturing the diverse city and our presence can be pinching off or causing diminishment in the complexity of connections in the community so the unifying theme is we are part of these stories and what
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i tried to do is how the stories manifest. this is something that takes us all the way back to our origin as a species, as homo sapiens. if you gather people around the campfire, blood pressure drops, our stories turn from the realm of the every day to the realm of the imagination to the realm of the possible to the realm of the mythical, to the realm of people who are not present or processes are not evident on the surface. this can be replicated in the lab with the sound crackling in the campfire enough to reduce our blood pressure and change the texture of our minds. and really relationship with trees from the get go when the human species invented fire or brought fire under humanity's
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control. it was there all along through lightning and other sources of fire that didn't involve human hand. when we brought fire within the circle of human agency, human control that was the origin of human culture. human cultures not just the chitchat of every day but imagining the future, imagining relationships and that happened because we were in relationship with trees. beyond that what else is human culture? it is about music, we are in music city usa. at the airport you are reminded of this. what are we hearing with music, human creativity, stories that lead to different musical genres and where they might go in the future but also hearing vibrating, the ecological particularity of that species of wood so a song of the tree is a song we would here in
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country music are variations on the sounding board in the pno and one of the short chapters in the book i visited to someone who could listen with his fingers and understand this particular piece of wood is going to make a magnificent violin and this one isn't. these trees grew in a particular place, very fine grain and wasn't influenced by the wind and these other trees that grew on a different side so we are hearing the story of a particular tree even though it has been translated and transmuted in many ways through human art in beautiful ways, we are having a flow of ecology and 3 lives and human lives in music so connecting to more than other people's minds, we are connecting to the mind of
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the forest. what else is human culture? the book, the festival of the book. what is the book made from? sheets of cellulose. we did a come from? these days mostly from trees though there are other ways, linen and drag collecting and mashed up hemp and other forms of paper but mostly as we connect to another point of human consciousness across space and time when we pick up someone's book and read their words they may be dead for hundreds of years and on a different continent but their consciousness reunited comes into being in our heads. one of the more extraordinary inventions of life. life invented all kinds of things like coral reefs, trees, solar systems and books that
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connect the most mysterious parts, consciousness, subjective experience in a way that transcends what we traditionally understand as the limits of space and time and the relationship to trees. my arguments again and again through this book is these stories come from the present day and echo back through the centuries, the millennia, millions of years, to the deepest stories who we are as species and understanding who we might be moving forward because we live in a time of rapid environmental change, understanding the nature of these relationships. let me read from a chapter, the opening chapter is the amazon rain forest, a place of great sensory overload. anytime i went to eastern
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ecuador, my ears were filled with the sound i couldn't -- every minute was more than a lifetime and the smells walking forth from one meter to another, smells changing and the visual sense and so forth. a very rich place. that richness let me to a couple insights how the forest holds together and there are multiple realities. i will read and share some of that narrative and talk a little about the role of relationships in the life of trees. the sound of the western amazon seeks a strength that connects life wound so tight and packed so densely that the air runs with energy night and day amid this intensity, the nature of life's network reveal themselves in extreme ways. at first nature seems to be one
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of vigorous, even frightening conflict, war cries and lamentations ring loud, the role for humans walking in muddy trails. if you slip or need to steady your self those scraps, tree bark is an armory of spikes and needles and if it goes to us was stemmed bark awaiting and snakes, the will to live is less. your laceration moves faster in this soup of bacterial fungal support. one doesn't need to reach out to find danger or lean forward to pickup my notebook and the bulletin drops from the vegetation to the gap between my shirt collar and landing with a quiet -- purist entomologists who deliberately
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sample the pain, they ranked to the top of the global scale with a jab from a venomous, this is like a strike on a bell cast from the purest drop. clear, metallic, single tone. small arms fire, my left hand slammed away the attacker before dropping to the ground. the at scale pulled my index figure with its mandibles placing two grooves down. this pain was a shriek of fire, over minutes the sensation ran across the skin of my hand. a cacophony and panic. for the next hour my arm was incapacitated. my left pectoral muscle felt
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bruised and hours later the bite and sting were reduced to a hot wine let out of the hornet sting but not so deafening. this was my initiation into one reality of the forest. i sells none of the row's quote make indescribable innocence and beneficence in this network of relationships, the art and science of biological warfare reached high development in the amazon. the trees around me, the leaves on the trees around me suffer multiple lines of attack, bacteria and fungi, insects tender new shoots, one of the better studied species, the genus, half the weight of young poison, costly, defense of
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investment, they have slightly less poison but they have up to a third of their weight invested in chemical defense. deflection of the ubiquity of pathogens and insistent nips and tears that herbivores impose, 1 acre of forest may contain 60,000 species of insect, 1 billion individuals half of which do nothing but eat plants and breed. fungal and by serial diversity uncounted but likewise vast. all of this conflict, we seem to force life into an atomistic mode. individuals must fight victim versus enemy, an endless loop and strain of conflict. the struggle is indeed intense, but instead of separating life into atoms, individuals, the darwinian war has created a
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furnace that burned the way the individual, melting barriers and welding networks as strong as they are. one of the guiding themes through this book, an individual turns out to be an illusion, a tree seems to be such a magnificent example of individuality, especially if it is an oak tree of individuality and strength. where does that strength come from? a network of relationships. inside the lease, it can't defend itself from passages or drought. of relationships between the roots and fungal partners and communication with bacteria, that haloed route, if that communication is taken away, it is strong and magnificent but
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that life emerges from the relationship of a network of the creature and made from networks and that is true for us also as we learn about human microbiology. the little probiotic thing, four times the price, you can make it yourself at home. is the truth embedded in a lot of layers of commercial pr and advertising, our good health depends not just on human cells but the cells of all the other creatures that live within. skin creatures and bacteria that accompany us through our life including in the womb are essential to our physiological genetic functioning and even that place we imagine ourselves, our consciousness, subjective individual
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experience emerges from community too. if that changes the texture of your mind changes. you become happy or depressed or anxious so the quality of individuality, and thoughts in our head, imagine a bear, imagine an oak leaf, and acorn, all those images and sounds that flash to the interior of the subjective experience. they emerge not from one neuron from an acorn the lights up and says acorn but among nerve cells, from one to another, changing. it emerges as the property of a network emerging from relationship and emerging from relationship. i continue in the amazon, and
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ecology and culture of some of the people who know this forest the best. and hundreds if not thousands of years. the culture of human society real meals -- reveals the network. in the western amazon, much of this time as hunter gatherers and gardens, produced other taxonomy. they have multiple names described by many ecological relationships and uses in human culture rather than individual models. and they write when pressed, could not bring themselves to
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individual names, 3 species. without describing ecological context like composition of surrounding vegetation or their use in human culture. there is no equivalent of himalayan cave dwelling hermit in the cabin, quote, living by the labor of my hands alone. in north korean philosophy. individuality, autonomy and mastery are highly valued, in the context of relationship and community. any who take to the woods to live in self-reliance to write books about one square meter of forest are considered profoundly ill or angry, destined for death. individual names are a product of the group leaving one group for another entails the death
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of the old name. the acquisition of new personhood. to be lost in the forest, especially lost and alone at night is a fearful event, even those with deepest experience of the forest. when they do become lost they find a large savo tree, the same kind i studied in the amazon and turn it into something else, pounding on the roots of the tree vibrates the whole trunk, but animal -- pool to friends and family and try to reknit the bonds that keep life. the great height allows it to bellow in a way that shouting could never achieve. here in the pulsing air people will come. a particularly helpful symbol for lost children, families no where it grows. hunters and warriors use the tree to signal news of kills
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but no coincidence that it is the tree of life in their creation story. the tree is a hub, so many forest creatures and saved lives while maintaining reconnecting life-giving threats of relationships. this dissolution of individuality into relationship is how the savo and all its community survived the rigors of the forest where the art of war is so supremely well-developed. survival paradoxically involves surrender, giving up the self in a union with eyes. the society understands the nature of these relationships through the hard lessons learned by living in the amazon rain forest, very challenging environment for thousands of years at western scientists just starting to discern those patterns through a decade of research into the ecology and evolution of this forest.
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these relationships, what else is happening in this amazon forest? turns out it is the most diverse place we know of, you draw a map and it shines out. you draw a map of where petroleum reserves are, fossil fuels, right underneath the national park. so this is an old jurassic shoreline of fossil riches and ecuador of course would like to develop some of those resources to help their economy. there is an interesting and difficult convergence of values happening in the forest, people who lived there for many years, longer than most of us in western culture can imagine. a recent flowering compared to
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understanding the forest that are present in the amazon. western culture arrives and we are addicted to fossil fuels. oil prospecting is moving into these regions. it is two hours after sunset. we are so deep in the forest that the sky should be a dome of black and white just. people gathered here a day's travel by road and river. other than flashlights there is no electricity except a brief run at the generator. yet the sky is smeared by light from two horizons, gas flares and diesel fuel, electric lights and oil drilling, just over 5 km away, spilling into the black and dimming the stars. when the stir of leaves from
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the evening breeze are quiet, rumbles from generators wash through the trees and crowns. what is happening is resistance to uncontrolled development in this region is coming from the forest itself from ecological understanding of the forest it found its way to constitutional law. protesters march on the capital, nonprofits and academics release press releases, activists outrage crackled on the internet and foreigners opine about how ecuador should manage its affairs. what distinguishes the struggle from so many others is what lies at its heart, communities of people who are participants, and these communities comes a philosophy of living whose words rooted themselves in
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political discourse, thoughts from the forest have permeated the nationstate. here are some of those from activists today. trees have music in them. we learn more human songs them. people think we are crazy for saying trees thing but it is not us who are crazy but those people who belittle us. our politics is this, to show the trees and rivers have music, songs and life, the national parks into living forests where people belong. to delineate our lands with gardens filling with flowering musical trees, this is not empty land. we have known tree songs for a long time, living with millions, politics is this to
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show trees and rivers have music and life. the community invaded by columnists and oil explorers, his colleagues craft words that fly on paper from the forest. and translate and politicized, publishing it in academic journals and political tracks. they reject the idea of linear progress from underdeveloped to developed, measured by accumulation of material wealth. good and harmonious life should be the goal and mission of every human effort. such a life emergence from ongoing reciprocity and solidarity in the human community and between the human community and biodiversity
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experience, western development destroys these relationships imposing itself by blood and fire. the constitution of ecuador gives rivers, and to evolve and explore biological creativity into the future. unprecedented in my knowledge across constitutional law. how that will play out in the struggle over what happens in the amazon, they were politicized and any judges who stand up for the forest and rivers find themselves out of a job soon but legal framework is present. and in the amazon, a fascinating ecological study in the forest but they entered our
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debates, how to live well on this earth as nations, how to meet our needs for work and fuel and clean water and cultural survival for many of these communities by listening to one another and listening paradoxically and listening to trees and they insist that would be part of the process moving forward. let me move to another part of the world right here in tennessee on the mountain slope. i will do a reading, and ash tree, great big ash tree that fell over and i have been waiting a long time to see one of these right after it fell. i saw this happen and as long as i am on this or if i will keep coming back to that tree
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again and again to watch it fuse its life into the rest of the forest and it will be around longer than i take to get out of here. of all the trees in this book, this one surprised me the most because it would be very quiet, some observations will show things happening, every time i go there another creature makes use of the great whole torn in the canopy when this tree fell down. this tree is full of food and other creatures once. it is sunlight, how well did and others use it. an incredible hub of life. and over many hundreds, thousands of hours and still blown away, shocked by how much
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life is around this tree but i will read the introduction to this chapter and give one or two examples and moved to the end here. this is a reflection of the particularity of this tree but also on the process on death and decay, different from animals particularly animals with access to formaldehyde. green ash in tennessee. there is life after death. it is not eternal. the nature of trees, and branches and roots and focal points of thousands of relationships. to find food or home and incumbent parties and fallen
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trees coming in the tropics, softwood trees pile their bodies in rapid, smokeless glazes of bacteria and fungi, longer than a decade. process of decay takes much longer in the ass and cold of any arctic bog. dairy tree measures the river of its afterlife in spoonfuls, fit to patient bacteria over millennia. between these extremes of the tropics in the mid-latitudes a downed tree in the temperate forest might live in death of long as it stood in life. before it's fall, a tree is being the catalyzer to regulate around the body. death and active management of these connections, root cells no longer send signals to the dna bacteria. and the chemical chatter and
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fungi, no more messages. but a tree never fully controlled these connections and only one part of the network. it doesn't end it. in tennessee, springtime brings collisions between walls of arctic air and pushy bubbles of moisture from the gulf of mexico, windstorms and shoe, gusts emerge from the sky and roots or trunks and on one such wind bruised day i was wondering across the woody mountainside and came on the giant green ash tree after it fell and the rest of the chapter relates particular instances over several years of observation, a whole load of insights showed up in the first
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few minutes. there every footfall was a dry splinter of sound, 6000 titans feet raised a shutter of air, scrabble of bark, slaps, punctuate their writing has clumps drop to the leaflet and they break apart and fly back to the tree, wings going, in black and yellow with tendril us antennae and their feelers as i approach, dissembling countenance protects even though these insects, the color of their bodies, their confident behavior and the sound of their wings are hornets like. they have been here only one day. they made and they tell their eggs into the ashes.
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this morning even this doll human could find the wind field tree. it loses the sense of tannic acids, salad and opaque is oak with with of brown sugar. hours after the fall only that -- this freak of would freshly down - trees are there nursery. the larvae all spring and summer with their mouth & sawdust populated by symbiotic microbes. without these would digesting opinions, beetles cannot feed. and then i hear clicks under the sponge. what continues his stories of rattlesnakes and shrubs size as
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other beetles move in, special packets of fungi they put inside the log and farm the log for food and take off to find the next log and bobcats and foxes use it as a walkway and deposit little seeds. i took some of those seeds, a reminder of passenger pigeons that used to be all over and are gone so foxes do the work of billions of birds and every case those creatures have their lives only through relationship and if a particular relationship is broken life is ended for them. this is the other thing this tree taught me. the motion of relationship and life through living networks is not the metaphor. a pretty way of describing
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oneness and benevolent oneness in the universe. is a lived reality. is what the tree experienced and what forest is made from. they are very physical earthy grounded reality so a couple reviewers looked at the sense that it is mysticism. no. this is ecology. this is how the soil works. you can impose spirituality on this, but this -- these are descriptions of plants and animals in physical, biological realm and lives made from relationships. you can spin stories out of that and layers of interpretation and some are probably true and others are not. all these descriptions are rooted in studies of the forest. when a being, a person, tree,
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chickadee, being full of memory, conversation and connection, a network of life loses a hub of intelligence. for those closely linked, the loss is acute. ecological analog of grief unfolds in the forest so the creature that depend on living trees, death ends the relationship, living trees, partners and foes must find a new living tree or they will themselves die. much of the understanding of the forest 12 embedded in these relationships also passes away. the trees particular knowledge of the nature of light and water and wind and living community gained through a lifetime of interaction in one location in the forest, all that knowledge dissolves.
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but catalyzing new life around their bodies trees bring about new connections and new life, creative process is not perceptive. and re-creating a new version of itself, inside the tree, death brings about thousands of interactions, with psychological opportunity. and an uncontrolled multiple emerges compose of new knowledge and new relationships. like a lightning rod the dead tree draws into its body the potential that surrounded intensifying what was something else but unlike lightning the surge doesn't flow into the ground and disappear. life feed on the closeness of connections in the dead tree with vigor and diversity of
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expression. our human language does a poor job recognizing the afterlife of trees. and deadwood. these are slack words for so vital a process. the composition is renewed composition by living communities. smelters for new life. deadwood is effervescence creativity, regenerating as itself, degenerating into the network. even in death these trees reveal something about their processes of network connection, what life is made from and we see ourselves in these decomposing trees even on a mountainside in tennessee.
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i will conclude here with an assignment to pick a tree in your neighborhood, some place you visit regularly and conduct an experiment, show up to that tree again and again over the next few weeks with nothing but an enthusiastic openness of the senses. bring a notebook and attend, what is the quality of light, house light different, what is the soundscape telling me about this place? what does the tree feel like? what is the texture of the soil, leaving behind any presuppositions, i am going to find an environment here or sacraments or some interesting tension to weave into a short story. no. just show up and pay attention to the tree, listen and follow the stories outwards and the last part of the assignment if you tell the stories back into the human community weaving
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that awareness of trees, the reality that is our ecological world back through the propaganda and layers of electronic manipulation and interpretation we are surrounded with and buried under, we need to penetrate that and the indian system is composed of sensory awareness awakened to the lives of other teachers in the present moment. i will close with that assignment and thank you for your attention. [applause] >> shout the question and i will repeat it or there is a microphone, use the microphone here and on tv. so viewers on tv, the question
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you are posing. >> i would prefer not to be on tv but when you mentioned 3 and enlightenment i thought about the bogey tree in india. and achieve the experience of enlightenment, and what the idea was about enlightenment. >> sitting on the trees, have yet to find that. and trees -- what scientists are learning late in the game which is an extraordinarily complex - multiple layers and humans are tied into those. and philosophical traditions
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and literature going back thousands of years i'm not aware of a major tradition did not have a tree at the center. the tree of knowledge of good and evil country of enlightenment, and all three of the abraham of religions, and christ means anointed come you don't get anointed with canola oil. it is not a symbol or metaphor because without the olive tree there could be no life in that part of the world at least for several thousands of years and people were living only because this tree was nutrient rich from the land and these symbols in many ways i pointing us to truths but also getting in the way. it is the symbol of peace, the temple and so forth, not seeing the tree for what it is,
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complex being with its own story with pigeons of the mediterranean. and link our lives to. think about them but listen for the story of ecological reality. the story of enlightenment under the tree. there is the cross, the other part of the story and culture. and that becomes a symbol -- would is tightly tied up with the central notion of a fracture at the same moment. the enlightenment to wake up to the fact the desires and suffering are part of the
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community. rambling on. >> with global warming in mind, you talked about interconnectedness. do you think one of the main problems of the human race is we have shut ourselves off from nature, and that could solve the problem? >> we have in many ways forgotten the nature of those connections so we are still deeply connected but we have lost in many ways awareness of that partly because the structure of our society hides from that so as author of this book, can i find out which forests produced this paper even though i know my editor? i cannot reach as a consumer of a book when we go to the market or we buy a house constructing complex materials can we see the consequences of those
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actions and on the other side of the world, it is not so much cutting ourselves off from that is from awareness of how interconnected we are and this is one of the things that crises show us so when things go wrong, the water supply fails or fire or drought where hurricanes hit a particular area we are reminded it is not just about us and our relationship with other creatures including physical systems of the earth are what we need to move forward. one of my regrets about the present political moment is some of these questions have become politicized where they should not be. we should agree we need to be a good relationship with others, other humans and other species. there are all sorts of philosophies how to pull that off, some we would label conservative, some liberal and we should have a healthy debate rather than debating are we in
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relationship? are there physical patterns that are changing in the world? to those questions the time has passed for many of those questions and we are at a time we should be engaging vigorous debate, hearing different solutions and visions for what the future might hold and that debate has narrowed, some portions of the political spectrum are represented and that is a loss for everybody, we are missing political wisdom and ecological. >> in a book called been sweetgrass the author talks about the relationship between trees via their roots which i never heard of anything like that. can you comment on that? >> a magnificent book, he also wrote gathering mosque, fabulous right i recommend to you all, she writes about the relationships of people to
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roots and people to each other and her life and work as a scientist. we see the above ground part of the 3, most of the tree is above ground. the above ground part of a small little feeding appendage collecting sunlight and most of the action is below ground and those roots, a root in my mind is not a plant structure. it is a community structure because the root tip is so filled with funds he said go out to the rest of the soil and increase the surface area hundreds or thousands of times, there are bacteria communicating at the genetic level in the cells in the root. to understand the tree we need to go belowground to understand the relationship between roots and other species. we are the earliest stages of scientific investigation because it is such a hard place
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to study, take the route out of its native and assignment it stops functioning because these are often happening at the micro level, tiny chemical defusing over the width of the bacterial cell, hard for lumbering creatures like us to get into the lab and study little and synthesize that knowledge and come up with more comprehensive vision but our language recognizes this rootedness, groundedness, these are symbols of truth. it is true for trees as well. we need to literally get our heads, putting her head in the stands, putting her head in the sand is a way of seeing further than looking above ground. that is a way of scratching. take this time for one more question and i will be delighted to move on. >> in your years studying composition of trees or the
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life of these trees have you noticed a change in those processes to to pesticides for things we are doing? >> briefly the ash tree, the main influence is the effect of plastics or invasive species in the arboreal forest, one of the largest forests in the world the whole nutrient process has changed, we changed the nature of rainfall over that forest. i describe that in the second chapter but the process of decomposition has changed on a global scale with consequences for all of us. thank you for your attention. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> in just a few minutes we will be back with the final offer talk of the day from the southern festival of books. he will hear from criminal justice professor carter smith who looks at why some veterans join gangs and extremist groups and how their military training poses an increased threat. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> here is a look at some of the books being published this week.
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look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for many auditors in the near future on booktv on c-span. >> how you might wonder, there are all these other communities too? i didn't know this community, i had never been here, didn't have any friends here but i had
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heard, in 2009, looking for a setting for one of the stories for the washington post. someone mentioned there was a community in wisconsin that lost a big old general motors plant. that was interesting but didn't come here at the time because this just happened. a lot of people were still getting sub pay. the economic pain hadn't begun to see thin. but it lingered in my mind. getting started after i did this scary thing of taking time off from my job and kept thinking of various places i could go and something inside me kept telling me this might be the place. why was that? one reason was i needed to find a place that lost a lot of jobs
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and you definitely qualified. i don't have to tell you thousands of jobs left from around here. there are different figures you can see but looking at the bureau of labor statistics figures, in 2008-2009, 9000 jobs left this county. a lot of jobs. if you look what happened to the unemployment rate at that time, in june 2008 when the announcement was made the general motors would shut down production the unemployment rate was 5.4%. in march of 2009, a few months after the last of these jobs disappeared, and employment shot up 13%. on the job loss front, you were a winner or a loser. beyond that i had the sense i wanted to tell the story of what this recession had done. it was important to find a place that was not part of the rest else. i didn't want to write about an
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accumulated of economic decay. i wanted to show what bad economic time did. flint michigan was an old story and i wanted to find a place where economic trouble was new and obviously general motors assembly plant was shrinking a little bit and a little bit more over a couple decades but always got a new product. this clothing was a different things that nobody had experienced and that was very appealing to me, not that i was happy but very appealing to me as a place to do this writing and talking to people about what happened in their community. i had the sense there places like everyplace but as much as possible i thought it would be interesting to find a community where the pattern of job losses matched the national pattern


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