tv 2019 Southern Festival of Books CSPAN October 12, 2019 1:01pm-3:02pm EDT
>> welcome everyone. a beautiful brisk fall day at the southern festival of books. i'm a professor of law and history. i have the pleasure of hosting our session with jason depaul. before we begin just a few quick announcements for me. we had had 31 years of incredible conversations with amazing authors here in nashville.
and that's something we really can't take for granted. the festival begins on individual donations to keep going into say free and you can donate at any level via the southern festival of books through their facebook page. the southern festival of books app. this weekend in person at vessel headquarters. see mac i want to encourage everyone to visit humanities labor literary website. there are wonderful reviews there. you can also sign up for a weekly newsletter information about upcoming author events. and also a great way to be a part of the literary community. in tennessee. finally, after our session
jason will be signing books at the signing tent on the plaza. and plaza. and copies of the books are for sale at the sales area and a portion of the proceeds directly benefits the festival. enough announcements it is my delight to introduce jason depaul. i could talk for a long while about his decades of extraordinary writing about poverty and immigration among other publications in the new york times where he is a senior writer and frequent contributor to the times magazine at two-time finalist and winner of the george polk award in 1999 for his reporting on the welfare system. he is the author of the award-winning 2014 book american dream.
and now the breathtaking story of the family a good provider one who leads one family leaves one family and migration in the 21st century we are live on book tv. [applause]. thank you very much. my wife nancy and as a tennessean in the interstate system here has have a special's place in our relationship. it has become a meta- pharaoh for my digressive tendencies. because if you drive east out of nashville the road splits and if you go the right way to the hometown you go towards
knoxville if you go the wrong way you to go towards chattanooga. i apparently had gone the wrong way more than once. she's constantly reminding me not to go off towards chattanooga. i will try to stay on course and not go off to chattanooga in our time together today. thirty years ago i was a young reporter living with an interest in shantytowns. they cover the city. and i call the country's most famous non- say so hope it should help me move in. a friend of the new president and busy on a commission. she kind of blew me off.
call me back in a few months she snapped hoping for a quicker audience i let her know i was working with another nun in her order. i discovered they weren't friends. that's a mistake. meet me tomorrow morning 8:00 a.m. in front of the missile -- manila zoo. see mac she let me know that living with the family wouldn't work. the poor magnificent people unlike the rich she said americans need toilets. a family would need to buy me special food i would be a burden. sister christine walked on. and then she waved a hand above her said had and said that's all appear somehow we need to do more to build relationships on a personal basis. i return in a few days. i came back thinking she would have use the time in between to approach a family and see if they would let me move in. and said she led me into the alley and auctioned us up on
the spot. there is no room. the second was the same and the third was simply struck mute. at this point sister christine's patient was exhausted. she stomped away and said if you don't want him pass them on to someone else. don't cook them anything special. i don't know who was more frightened. they are looking at each other. there is not a lot to do in the town. they said i could sleep on the floor. migration was how the family survived. 5,000 miles away cleaning
pools in saudi arabia. while kita was home raising the five kids. it started as an act of desperation and it became a way of life. they all became overseas workers also. they are part of a large extended family. just about everything that could happen to a family good or bad it could happen to one of them. the book takes the name who was living in a straw hut and watching her siblings return from overseas jobs she urged her husband to find overseas work also. it became the family motto. a good provider is one who leads. a member of the family that came to know best. it was the daughter rosalie. they make the long leap from the slums to nursing school. all the while hoping to get to the safe. and she was just about to give up. the hurricane slammed into the
gulf coast. about a sixth of the people on the island never moved back. they struggled to reopen the hospital. they locally recruited abroad. with that they have the chance. she arrived in the summer of 2012 with their husband chris. the time of adjustment coincided with a rise of donald trump. it regards the simulation as a failure. two jobs, to culture. two safety. i think the story offers every torch. with a the house in the suburbs in kings -- kids on the honor roll. they have an a great mint of assimilation. they did so over in metro
houston. the fact that the story unfolds there i think is assigned to immigration that the life is less devices than is in national politics. they merely demand from their part. they also had experience with the greatest antipoverty story as well. it began in the early 1950s when a young boy on a distant island was smuggled aboard a credit ferry. their father was recently orphaned in a distant relative tip. a squalid mud flap. sanitation consisted of flying saucers. is the battle of dialects.
and men throwing dice in the alley. he wore it as a shield. and was quick to make friends. he spent his youth in traffic hocking cigarettes in newspapers. and then in this early 20s landed his first real job cleaning a government pool. he was walking home with his first paycheck when he spied a beautiful young woman in the alley. she considered emmett plain looking and said he was poor than a rat but his persistence carry the day. they married in 1967 and five children followed in the step they were born with a heart defect. they were in need of medicine that they can afford. they drop to dropped to their knees and ask god to make a decision. take her or let her head him.
got answered in a mysterious way soon after and it got an offer to work in saudi arabia. he would be away from his family for two years. stories of abused workers are right. but he would earn ten times as manila pay. by the time i arrived seven years later emmett was on his third contract they have their medicine in the house was one of the few that have a working toilet which is why sister christine had steered me there. i found my place among the poor. i was excited but i wasn't sure what to do with them and they weren't sure what to do with me. language gaps and excessive politeness. kept a strangers for a few days. then she enlisted my help with the gluing project. i botched the job so badly she laughed and threatened to mark them made in the usa. half of that life revolved around drudgery. i would listen to her boiling
the breakfast race. and listen to her wrestled the laundry. but the other half revolved around slum solidarity as a member of sister christine's uplift group deeply involved in a program of bible studies essentially meant to answer that question. as the manager of the co-op store. they were responsible for distributing 2000 eggs a week. she stacked under of fluorescent light in the kitchen. they told me they had been asking got a question why if you love your son are so many filipinos poor. it is the central question of faith. one with a special meaning in a place that stuffers as much. it's not expected them to say. i asked her what god had
answered and she laughed not yet she said. as if mocking her attempt to fortify her faith. i'm not sure what i expected to find but it wasn't a woman in a worn house dress. rosalie was the main helper a shy dutiful girl who always got cast as a non- in the uk -- youth group place. there were others in the area who seemed more outgoing or act academically lifted. the most telling line of the transcript was not her grave. for the four years of poverty she never missed a day about high school is where i got rich she later said. >> the surest way for a woman to advance was to become a nurse. they had established the first nursing school during the colonial occupation.
they were trained in english. and over the decades thousands and migrated to the united states. nursing school was a leap for a girl from the slums. and rosalie managed to make it but only very rarely. in the hospital near mecca was hiring. they met the husband chris. they courted secretly to avoid the religious police. at this point they get complicated. a daughter follows. another daughter came on behalf. then they had three children. they are mostly back at a farm in the philippines. rosalie and chris the parents were in abu dhabi. this is supposed to be a short-term arrangement. it went on for eight years. rosalie and i stayed in touch but we did not see each other
for two decades. the amount of money the migrants sent home to their families migration is the world's anti- poverty. that they should do more to help themselves migrants do. no country does more to promote migration than the philippines where they train and market overseas workers and presidents celebrate them as heroes. here in mexico if you go abroad it doesn't have anything to do with the government. they had bureaucracies to help you do this. migration is to that philippines what cars were to detroit.
going all the way to the philippines. i was a little worried that the story might be to settle as an outsider to grasp. they have the remittance tally strung up ten stories high. a quarter billion migrants had spread out. is not just about the size. it is that ubiquity. ireland has its first african born mayor. every country in that story differs. the underlying dynamics are the same. instant communication spreads word that opportunity awaits.
captured by the global sweep of the story i decided to turn the magazine article into a book built around rosalie in the family. from a book writer's perspective there's one problem. it would seem esoteric. i went back and forth on this for a while. i want to do this anyway. as can be in obscure project. i'm excited about it. i side of the contract. i met her in manila. and things got off to a rocky start. she spent her whole life trying to get to the united states. it was amazing how little she knew about it. i took her to the lincoln memorial. martin luther king was she
expected disney world and she found a declining town. american english was hard to understand. i got to galveston and someone suggested we grab lunch at a hole in the wall. she took me aside hole in the wall. she wanted to know why not poor girls. world travelers aren't always worriedly. always in a pocket of filipinos. she got to galveston and not very homesick. 7,000 of them. you could sit there. she kept the skype connection ( you could hear the roosters crow.
the first place she felt comfortable was in the hospital not because the work there was easy but because she felt equal to its difficulties. it became a vehicle of assimilation. i think there is a big point here in terms of a comparative context. one reason the united states does better at integrating immigrants in europe is that it is easy and they have higher unemployment rates here. work gets people out into the community. the other thing about it is that she didn't take an american job. they would not stay. she did not take a job from an american she filled a job that the hospital had not been able to fill. they improved the community's health care. the other thing to know is that the life as an nurse is she was really good at it.
it was wonderful to see it. the hospital gave me a pair of scrubs and permission to follow her around the most telling thing. was not in the hospital. it was in the produce aisle of a walmart where grocery shopping one day remember me. it's obvious that she doesn't. and the woman says they bright and said room 13. it had been six months since she have seen the woman. the woman had no idea who i was. and turned to me and says if even just really tell she loved to take care of people. >> if i was in the hospital and someone said that to me you might wonder for this woman she have no idea who i
was. she really loved to do this. i heard this a lot in the hospital. they have the kind there. it's like she feels your pain. given all of the talks of immigrants taking jobs i wondered if her patients had any resentment and i made a point of asking and private. not one did. if anyone would resent her. i thought it might be an elderly african-american woman who told me she always wanted to be a nurse. this was a lovely woman who told me a life story. she have chopped cotton behind me. how did she feel about foreigners taking the job that
she have wanted. >> she said she consider them part of the same clan i admire everybody and anybody that tries to get up a little higher she said. don't stop, keep going. >> it was a really nice moment. of solidarity across ethnic lines. six months later. the family followed. christine was nine. after years apart they were not just learning to live in a new country they were learning to live together as a family. they have not ever done that. the kids assimilated rapidly but in by in surprising and contrasting ways. christine the eldest assimilated to the popularity seeking ways of middle school girls her vision of becoming american was the suite life of zack and cody.
she wanted to be a ditzy diva. she snapped south east by self these by the thousands. she was americanizing her teachers. laura her younger sister was americanizing also but with a special gift for combining her cells. i traced the arc of the assimilation with a story about rosa parks. when laura first arrived. black history month it's february. her teacher called rosa parks hero but the idea of a hero in handcuffs made no sense to little girl. she did not listen to the police man she said. she couldn't be a hero and besides heroes were capes. a year later we are sitting at dinner apropos of nothing. >> i sort of agree with rosa parks.
she paid her money like everybody else. but what she really admired wasn't just principles of equality by her politeness. when they arrested her she didn't say any bad words. for an immigrant girl blending cultures. they became the civil rights hero who did it curse. the point about blending cultural strings goes well beyond laura and studying 3,000 kids in new york city. the team of sociologists found that the immigrants on average it did better than the children of the native born. they did so despite having parents with less money and less education. >> how could that be. they argued that the children of immigrants often enjoy a second generation advantage. there are two parts of this theory that are familiar. you would've heard these before. immigrants are self-selected for their driving ambitions.
the other is that immigrants had tight next -- ethnic networks. there is a third element i think really applies to laura. immigrants benefit from living at a cultural crossroads. they can combine the best of both worlds from their parents and their peers depreciate the power of this in the american past you might remember that it took a russian born to write i'm dreaming of a white christmas and god bless america. i think that's a powerful example of the cultural blending. she was second generation per bona fide. from america she got a reduced sense of class in gender constraints and above all she got a license to ask questions. >> this is really fun to watch. nothing in life have
encouraged her to probe. they are taught to obey their elders not interrogate them and a classroom of 70 kids have little time for raised hands. but in the united states american teacher love questions. and laura a black -- obliged them. laura formed her own theory. she was new to the country and afraid of having to repeat second grade. i told myself i should be interested right now. they put differently. life and cultural crossroads. they have stimulated in encourage new ways of thinking. when a habit of stopping at mcdonald's after school. one day they spring a sly
question on me. do you know how to infer. >> i frowned at as if trying to remember. my book editor wrote back on the main strip. she says it's like when you say it's cold, it's really snowing outside. i didn't tell you it was winter but you can infer it and then she marks the triumph. you see it works. >> after two years in the state. they finished their contracts and got hired as permanent staff. six of the filipinos brought houses in the same they managed to create a concept of
the compound. in a month later donald trump launched his presidential campaign. he offered the cheering crowd a parable about immigrant treachery he called the snake it's the tale of a kind woman who takes in a stranger and is repaid with a venomous bite. she was a snake she was a nurse. and the standard cost-benefit terms it was at when. good for the family she supports in the philippines. but cost-benefit analysis alone does not do her story justice. the escape is a minor miracle it was the vehicle of salvation. it respected her talent awarded her sweat and a large capacity for giving. made her life, deeper fuller and more filled with hope. a request.
it was something for them to cheer. it's good for your country to be the place that people make your dreams come true. with the league's raft. big difference mommy grew up in a shanty. >> what is a shanty. thank you. [applause]. we have plenty of time for questions if you have a question, i just ask that you go to the mic to ask. >> and if there is a positive i will fill our pauses because i have plenty of questions.
so you are not a passive observer in the story. i was wondering whether you struggled with the moments when you intervened in the family's lives. when you are helping rosalie practice for the job interview. or you ask a few questions at the embassy. i was just wondering how did you strike a balance as an observer and a journalist but also as the family's oldest american friend. see mac it was an unusual project in that i didn't start as a journalist and go out and find a family and establish a relationship i did that in my first book and i was very worried my involvement might affect the story one way or another.
no matter what i did it would not affect the story. the dynamics of the family were so deeply entrenched nothing would change. i was already friends with them so i did not feel a conflict very often the one time i did was the thing you mentioned in the embassy they had been approved for the visa. i could not had done anything to affect that. it was being hung up in the processing. she'd gotten the approval but she have not gotten the actual stamp in her passport. i happen to have an interview at the embassy and if she didn't get it in the next hour she wasn't to make her plane. from a journalistic standpoint it probably would've been better if she did not get it. it would have illustrated a big point that even for all of the talk of open borders they're not very open even for
someone that is legal and skilled. she'd been trying to get to the united states for 20 years. it could really screw things up. >> i went back and forth and i mentioned to the visa officer that she was having a problem. the woman very nicely got up and made a phone call. that is the one place i really wrestled with it. i dealt with it in the book just by explaining it as i just did. i don't think it would've happened that way if i have not had been there. >> for the most part i effected affected things probably at the margins by being there but the drive and resilience and the ability to keep pushing for her goal for 20 years all that came from her not me.
>> kind of a follow-up to that. first let me say i finished your book last night. it left me overwhelmed. it is an overwhelming extraordinary break --dash make great book. as an old man it actually brought me to tears several times. my question is around as my wife will pick up the book now that i finished it this afternoon there was numerous trips as i look back on it started and 86. numerous trips to texas at the end. saudi arabia, and then you .-dot -- dropped everything and went to miami that time.
>> i think it would've died if you have to drop everything. if you keep a travel log. if you did that. all of the many trips that you made to provide this first-hand report. do you have that? to make the computer file it was probably midway through that reporting what a great aid and iphone is. i have to credit my son zachary for putting an app on there that showed me how to scan things into the phone. i would take pictures just to remember what was there.
the kids would be talking and i would just turn on the tape recorder. in six or seven trips to manila. the new york times let me cover migration as a beat. for a couple of years. i made a dozen or more trips around the world to write migration stories. several trips to india this just try to see migration in different contexts. >> this kind of reporting is really inefficient.
it's not like you sent up an interview with a 7-year-old kid and tell me about how you are simulating to the united states. if you hang around until she wants to go to mcdonald's. a lot of times friends would say what are you going to do and why are you going to texas now. what's can happen. i don't know what's can happen i'm just can hang around. you'd be two or three days into your trip and nothing interesting have happened yet. and then a fight or argument would erupt in the house. we would go to church and the priest would say to something. they wouldn't know what was important when happening. part of the writing of the book. was laying out the family narrative here.
where the story became most powerful to me was when i could see that what laura was experiencing and blending was a much bigger theme and have a resident that went back a century to the ellis island generation. is not always evident to see it there. what are some of the larger patterns of migration now. the story of modern american immigration is a story of unintended consequences. for four decades immigration was very low and white in the
united states. he signed a law that changed that. he did so in a way that promised nothing would change. the numbers of migrants would increase. in the democratic mix would not increase. they rose to a near record high. and it put the country on the course to become a minority country. eighty-five to 90. for a long time the philippines was second only to mexico as a source of immigrants. salvador after that. among new immigrants you might
be surprised to know that asians have outnumbered latinos. there is a growing difference between the new immigrants. when we thought about the johnson thing. it is a story of great unintended consequence. i think the fact that happened in the same time as civil rights movement and gave america an advantage that europe or australia doesn't have in terms of integrating immigrants i think if we went back to 1965 when johnson was saying and cannot sign this. if you imagine the level of demographic change that was can happen in houston or for that matter in nashville the most diverse country in the city.
when i was growing up houston was honky-tonk and rodeo. we had had tremendous demographic change. i think he would've expected much more ethnic conflict than there has been. for all of the political conflict we are having. by and large pretty well. intermarriage rates are high. integration is high. it was an unintended consequence but either by luck or the fact that it played out simultaneous with the civil rights movement the cooperation that one would fix back.
>> what does rosalie think of the book and do you have a range of responses from other family members? >> rosalie has the book and is taking pictures of the book. rosalie came up for a bookstore event in washington. they got a general sense that it was positive. no went to my knowledge has. i shift a box there. unfortunately she have to box ten books. what happened. i have to ship another one. they have all posted it on facebook. i think they feel like it's a compliment.
but no one has gone through our they gonna come back and say i had two chins. they haven't gotten any of that. >> one of the amazing parts of the book is the way that you balanced how do we approach and striking that balance. global macro economics with the really fine texture riveting multigenerational story. >> i was presently -- pleasantly surprised at how
will the story connected with the larger story. >> you kind of suspend a certain part of your brain when you're taking notes. you're not at that moment thinking about what migration point does this make. you are just watching what's going on in the class. it's only really after the fact after-the-fact that you realize kind of what you have in your notes. the thing with laura and you know how to infer. a lot of that stuff i thought was cute at the time but i did not understand it made a bigger point about why children of immigrants might have a cultural advantage. >> may be because there is so many different characters and their extended family it seemed like almost everything that could happen have some relationship to the family.
>> someone earlier mentioned a story about a character in miami i should fill with that one. there are two chapters in the book where they are not about rosalie herself. the others about a man named manila who is married to her cousin they were cruise ship workers. they met in barcelona and made 50 laps around the dinner -- the world. they suffered a terrible injury in the caribbean and was medevac to miami.
a dispute with that company about whether they would pay to give him a prosthetic leg. that was a story that really had no direct relationship to the rest of the narrative but certainly shows the perils of migration. >> another really striking part of the book for me. is the incredible conversation for me in the story of inconceivable opportunities for them. alongside that curdling of the politics and surrounding immigration. i'm wondering, from all of your reporting and your deep connection with the family in the book do you see any way to bridge the gap and get out of
that? >> i think sometimes we are stuck on them only having one. we have talked about this at the new york times. in meetings of how we are trying to follow two contradictory stories which is the transformation of places like houston, into multiethnic displays of a prosperity and general cooperation with the political narrative. and they obviously are both right, it is interesting to note that at the same time i don't know if america has ever had as much political conflict. public opinion surveys show the public holes more favorable views on this.
they are on two separate tracks. it's a very impassioned minority that feels very strong. immigration is bad for the united states and a strong voice in a strong advocate but that is not to be confused with public opinion at large. it is less passionate but much more favorable. >> you mentioned in your talk the moment when you thought this could be a book it seems like it is relatively late in your decades long relationship with his family. as you were reported stories. did your approach to this family did it change as you started thinking about the speed something bigger i have
to arrange my life to be around more. my notetaking became more purposeful. in that sense, i don't think my relationship really changed and often obviously they knew i was writing a book. the publish required them to signed releases. sign releases. everybody knew i was writing a book. they would seem like they would forget. when it finally came out. it's not like they were waiting to see. a kind of was out of there and their mindset. it was a great way to report on people. they weren't self-conscious about it in the least. >> when you reached your deadline did they miss your
regular presence. >> yes i did, i had tried obviously i can't be there as much but i had tried particularly with the kids they were seven, nine and six when i arrived. yes i had tried to maintain a relationship with that. just because i like it. they wouldn't feel like i had left them somehow. >> our our our time here ends so we can transition to the next author.
this is an extraordinary session. please join me and thinking him. and we will be going to the author signing pavilion. make sure you get a copy of the book. and you can follow us if you want to the plaza. thank you everyone. [inaudible conversations] >> we are live this weekend from nashville for the southern southern festival of books in a flume -- in a few minutes will be back with the contribution of immigrants.
we want to share a portion of the program that is airing tonight on book tv. >> now it is no longer about who won it is one color one. and i call this fortification of politics. it is no longer just about politics it's about a sport. and interestingly enough the data backs this up. you are all engaged some not talking about that. for a lot of people they are not engaged in issues. they are engaged in identity and who they belong to. who are they a part up. they've done research where they had switched positions and do you agree with that they think it is their party's stance. even though it's not.
what this tells us is it's really not about ideology it's about who people think they are and how they identify themselves within a group. >> we have a lot of work to do communicating who we are to the vast majority of the middle. >> we know that they belong with us so what are we communicating. we have i to fix that. >> i will challenge you in the last few things. and then i will open it up with question. incredibly worried about that. and yes politics we need to make sure that we support and understand our foundational values. i think we also had to talk about what we can do together
i think in the long term we have to be optimistic not only for our party but for our nation. i like to think of a little framework i will give you. this is how i try to think about things. they have a lot of agreements let them have it. let them grieve about. let them have agreements. let them have gratitude. we live in the best nation on earth hands down. >> people want to come here illegally because we are such a great country and they live in such horrible places. there is a reason we want to come here. let's be grateful for that. we have a great structure. god gave us rights. and we loved them to government. be grateful for that. i was just bored here. be grateful we have a place
where we had free speech. be grateful we have because we have a free speech we need to use it. and not to yell at the other side but to try to articulate more clearly why we are the better party. [applause]. i think we win best when we went with clear communication. with explaining to people why we are the better choice and understanding what we can bring to them. i love to think of the grievance. no more grievances just gratitude. we should be grateful quite frankly that we have an opposite party that makes us more clearly communicate. we need to do the work. i am an avid tennis player. i'm not very good but i'd love it. i love to have some competition because it makes
me work and think. and that's where we are. we have to work and we have to think and we have to communicate. secondly, i want to think about the national narrative again, this optimistic versus narrative. i am not saying we are perfect nation. i do believe we are the best nation. i also believe that if we constantly tear ourselves down we will never be able to move forward. try to home. >> try to tell your child how horrible they are. they will believe it. and it's terrible. i think we have an entire generation of people we who we have told cannot be successful and unfortunately they have begun to believe it and i think it is a travesty. i think we have to change it we must confront the national
narrative, we must communicate to people that you must be successful. i think to do anything else than that is quite frankly unacceptable and we must continue to be positive about our country not seen were perfect but positive and move forward. the last thing is the biggest challenge. i had spent the last 20 years and i was in corporate america for a long time. i ran a division in south. i was traveling so much i did not want to do it. i had consulted. i'm on several boards. i've been very heavily involved in the community. when you work with people when you find any problem you care about it could be the
symphony. or a garden club. you can find whatever you care about and you spend time with who ever cares about that same thing and you work together and you make progress and you don't know if there a democrat or republican. they will be both. he will change their minds about what i do republican as. they will see you working next to them they will see you caring about people. you will leave their lives changed. >> we can't sit back and think that the 65 percent of us are not okay. we have to be in community with people even people we don't like. quite frankly if we did it would sit alone by ourselves at home. it's not really a good choice. i think a little intellectual humility. we have a lot of things right
but not everything right. we need to be part of this big system. every time we are out in public that we reflect not only ourselves in our country but also if we are republican in value. reach out to people. if they yell at you i had been yelled at 70 times i had been yelled at when i'm trying to check out at a store. i finally for a while i just would get very upset about it and then i decided to just smile. >> if it makes them feel better to yell at me, maybe that's my job for the day. if i yell right back at them. what does that do? that doesn't do anything. my challenge to you is go out and get involved be pleasant
♪ >> i'm the provost at the university of tennessee at martin and tiff pleasure of hosting this session, shared history, americans of hispanic and african decent. southern festival books remains completely free thanks to strong community support f you'd like to donate to support the festival, you can do so on site at the festival headquarters or online via the humanity's tennessee website. you can purchase copies of the books that will be discussing today at the books sales area which is up on the memorial plaza and after the session both of our authors will be signing books at the signing tent. our session today is going to focus on two books, dr. kerry
gibson's book el norte, epic and forgotten story of hispanic north america and kristina coles american founders how people after african decent established freedom in the new world. in just a minute we will hear from both of the authors and after that questions from the audience. dr. carry gibson grew up in united states and graduated from the university of georgia before moving to london england more than 20 years ago, she worked as a journalist for the guardian and observer newspapers for more than a decade before returning to academia, earning her ph.d from the university of cambridge in 2011 with thesis that focused on the hispanic caribbean and era of the haitian revolution. in 2014 she published her first book empire's cross roads, history of the caribbean from columbus to the present day.
this book el norte, epic and forgotten story of hispanic north america published in february of this year, work has taken her in extended travels, trips to latin america, caribbean, u.s. and europe. dr. kristina coles examines questions surrounding race and ethnicity with an interdisciplinary comparative transnational and transhistorical framework, a dual doctorate in history, sociology from the new school of social research, professor of the african and atlantic world at virginia state university from 2004 and 2011 and currently lecture in the american study's department at the university of virginia. while her book american founders help people of african decent establish freedom, decades of
research, founders not academic project but meant to be invitation for all americans to engage in their shared history. we will begin with carry gibson. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you for the kind introduction, i want to say how great it is to be at southern festival books in nashville because i spent my childhood in springfield, tennessee, i have family in the area, i come to the festival quite a few times and real pleasure to be here on this side of the audience, so it's a real honor, i'm going to do a short reading from my book that outlines why i wrote it and the more personal story behind it, before do they i want to talk through what's in el norte, history of the hispanic past of the united states and going through it chronologically and i
start with columbus and take it to 2017 and i move across the book mostly in order because there's a lot of information to get in here and i didn't want to hop back and forth in time. i also made -- really we wanted to make a point in writing it and making quite a large landscape and i wanted -- quite a few maps in the book but i wanted to get a sense of this scale of this past and, you know, when we talk about the hispanic past, i think sometimes people sort of reduce it down to the border land, the rio grande valley of texas and what i wanted to show that this is a story that reaches from, you know, to canada, story of méxico, united states, cuban, puerto rico for the most part. but i also we wanted to give a sense of that scale, so i
traveled 10,000 miles to -- in researching i went to cuba and puerto rico multiple times and in this book i tried to get a sense to have landscape and each chapter i kind of put it around the place, some of the places will be obvious like los angeles and others less obvious like what their connection is, you have to read it to find out. not going give anything away but i also we wanted to give a sense so next time when you're traveling in the state, you know, this will kind of perhaps be more on your mind and because once you start looking for the traces of hispanic past the united states you begin to see them everywhere. explain whos who i am and the rt of the book is pretty much straight up history with
reflections and i will, so my journey to el norte taking my by england and later to islands in caribbean and before ending not far where i began in georgia, the appalachian town had dramatic transformation when i was why n high school. in 1990, freshman year, the school consisted of a majority english-speaking student body with only handful of people with english and second language classes, by the time i was senior esl classes were full, thousands of workers and family mainly from méxico moved to delton for work. i graduated in 1994, only months after the north america free trade agreement nafta came into
force. 1200 miles from the border but méxico had come to us, today my old high school had a student body that's about 70% hispanic, what started in spanish language classes was augmented by people who can teach me about banda music and telenovelas. finally my experience had been filtered through two decades of living in one of the world east most multicultural cities, london england, my family moved away from dalton years ago and i hadn't thought about the town or the question of immigration in the united states in any serious way until 2012 election.
i was in washington, d.c. working on history of caribbean and as i watched and read the coverage i was struck by the general turn of the media conversation, the way hispanic people were depicted surprised me because the language seemed unchanged from rhetoric of decade earlier. the sub text and implications were the same, little recognition of a long shared past and instead the talk was lack of documentation and the use of mexican as shorthand for illegal immigrant, the reality of who was coming to the united states had long been more complex not least because plenty of immigrants and citizens have roots in all the distinct nations of latin america, the spanish-speaking population that such rhetoric exposed exploded in 2016 presidential race. during which chants to build the wall between the united states and méxico could be hard at campaign rallies for donald trump but when i started this project that election was still
years away. this book is still concerned with the question that arose in 2012 but now they are given a new urgency, there's a dire need to talk about the hispanic history of the united states. the public debate in interval between elections had widen, for some time the president has been out of sink with the past as well. much of the hispanic history of the united states has been unacknowledged or marginalized given that this past predates the arrival of the pilgrims by a century, it has been every bit as important in shaping the united states of today. i realized watching my mexican schoolmates that if my name were garcía instead of gibson entirely different set of cultural assumptions and expectations placed upon me. i too had moved to the south, i was born in ohio because of my father's job, we were also catholic, my grandmother didn't
speak english well and i had lots of relatives in foreign country, yet my white little class faces shielded me from indignities and like most people in the united states, with the obvious exception of native americans my people are from somewhere else, i'm a rather late arrival, the majority of my european mix of irish, danish, scottish and my father's side 1840's, maternal grandparents came from italy in period of second world war, before in the case of grandfather and after the case my grandmother, the pressure to americanize is great in 1950's and my grandmother who never lost her heavy italian accent felt necessary to raise my money in english, she died before i could learn, what continued to bother me was why had i other italian americans been able to transcend those but
not those with hispanic names, plenty of hispanic american who is have a much deeper past in the united states than do i, why are they still treated as strangers in their own country. language belonging community, race, nationality, these are difficult questions at the best of times, but they are especially pain at the moment. this book is an attempt to make some historical sense of the large complex story of hispanic people in the united states. i will leave it there. >> thank you. so like carrie, i have written a book that's trying to expand the way we think about the american narrative, my book is called american founders, how people of african decent established freedom in world and the story begins in 1492. i'm going to read a little bit from excerpts from the book and
then we will have questions and conversations. so also i think there's -- there's 200 images in the book that are on the cover, tinny handful of the individual who is were described in the book. historical narratives shape how we imagine our place in the world in the past much of american history has limited african americans to few roles, slavery or civil rights movement and gives the impression that mainstream history is the patrimony of white people, if we turn you have lights in history, becomes evident that people of color were there at every point and not just passive observers. the distinction between american history and african-american history is imaginary. american founders explores 3 things that we can figure traditionally conventions of american history.
first, slaves were americans, citizenship rights were recognized by the state who participated widely and meaningfully in ordinary and watershed event that compromised history of americas and slave individuals were instrumental to the negotiation and course of virtually every major new world historical event before demise of slavery and demise of slavery itself was epic multifaceted revolution in which enslaved people play seminole roles. second, in the era that proceeded the abolition of american slavery, not all black people were slaves despite slavery, people of color, won freedom because of military service or marital relationships purchased their own freedom, secured in courts, most cloonley liberated themselves through flight, and contributed greatly to development and ways, the third theme undergoes the first two, black and white americans not only share the same new world history, they share the
same an rest dye, enslaved and free people of color frequently had european relatives whose descendants became black and white americans. cannot be reduce today slavery. african and descendants proceeded the english and suddenly becoming the united states. this book chronicles many ways in which afro american men and women help found and develop not just the u.s. but the america as a whole by forming communities, continually undermining and eradicating the new world slavery and championing universal citizenship. people of african decent
followed in mission from canada to chile, unbroken tradition of slavery in americas. seventeenth century afro americans continue today establish, defend towns and settlements throughout the americas as explorers, soldiers, cowboys, pirates, agents, rebels and maroons. the black democratic paveed the way for and shaped the national independence wars that started at the end of the 19th century. end of 18th century, i should say. citizenship during critical period ofnation building, soldiers, lawyers, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, educators, artists and local and international activists.
in 20th century afro americans continue today champion the ideals of universal rights, quality of justice and civic engagement through endeavors and politics law academia, science, law, medicine, business, journalism and art. men and women used courts to petition and alter legal frameworks of slavery, african americans capitalized on political instability and conflict to undermine slavery, this can be served thousands of black militia members, this can be said of the thousands rebels who defended freedom militarily as well. conquistadors and black pirates, people of color served in every
military engagement throughout the americas including north america and in many cases getting freedom for themselves if they weren't already free. the american revolution itself, seen as part of century's long process of emancipation of the united states where black americans sought freedom on both sides of the conflict. thousands joined patriot army including james, enslaved virginian who served as double agent helped to foster the yorktown victory and british surrender, promise of freedom, vast ranks of men and women who left plantations to aid the british in exchange for their freedom made american revolution among the largest in american history. afro americans engaged in revolution proceeded and paveed the way for declaration of independence of 1776 favorable
to communities were part of american life defacto political movement that is shaped the larger events of the analysis of revolution, south carolina and far beyond locals. throughout the americas, afro americans took up arms both for and against the state as patriots and loyalists, militia, rebel slaves and regular army officers to state claim to rights, the language of emancipation proclamation shows that lincoln understood that the military service of black americans was essential to the winning civil war. history has too often been misconstrued as something based on purity when it is in reality based on interaction. many of us have been conditioned to think americans as binary terms, black or white, slave or free, north or south, anglo or latin, us or them.
as it turns out we always have been intertined. anthony johnson was among the first many cases. they along with americans have significant european ancestry is beyond question. you'll notice that many people of the people in portraits have european ancestry which says about the balance of the color line that has put americans apart. until the first quarter in 19th century, vast majority of americans arrived in the new world as slaves. americans today are descendants of slaves and slave owners, many women have fundamentally shaped
american history and massive contributions in every possible way. men and women should encourage us to think more deeply about what we mean when we say we are americans. americans of african decent help today liberate all americans from conceptions of citizenship. seeking and defending the ideals of liberty and justice even in the midst of slavery and discrimination, african americans were crucial to the founding of modern world and development of democracy. we will not understand american history until we understand that african american history and recognize that it is not solely a story of oppression, oppression extremely dangerous against such people of african decent and black people were architects and founders of america at large. continue encourage the united states to live up to ideals and shrines in founding documents,
african-americans were innovators, visionaries and scientists, made enormous contributions not just through american history but humanity. multiculturalism is not correct. convention that is shape how we think about history and race and not result of kinds of racism that are easy to identify. perhaps insidious the assumptions of consciously and unconsciously understand ourselves and how we fit into the world around us. >> thank you both for sharing some of the great information that you have provided in these two books and it is -- these are books that share small parts of lots of people's stories, i guess that i would like to
invite the audience to come up and ask some questions if you're interested in asking a question, there's a microphone to my left, please come over to that so we can hear you. but i guess i'd like to start carrie, with you, when we say hispanic history of the u.s. this often brings to mind the south western part of the united states or texas and california, how does this story connect to the south and to tennessee? >> it's a great question. we don't think it does but there's a whole hispanic history >> when the spaniards started trying to set a settlement in florida in 1500's they didn't
really -- they claimed everything north of it, so place that is we think of today as south carolina and florida and the georgia coast are part of what they envision florida, so you have, for instance, this is one of the stories that i really liked and tried to put a settlement in georgia in 1526 and it failed but some slaves that were on it ran away. this is from the earliest nonindigenous people to stay here and this is 1526, this is coastal georgia. i think they believe it's around darian, the area, the expedition through the south going through alabama and in louisiana kind of around louisiana and arkansas
but it's interesting that at various points i encountered so i was in montgomery recently and in capital paintings sort of depicting of history and they were done in 1920's, one of desoto in front of chief and they look like they are about to have a standoff. i was struck by that but, again, kept showing up especially in alabama because he -- well, through part of it, and then there's the case of -- the story of st. agustin in 1965 and that's come out of spanish and french conflict that began at the end of paris island between french refugees who tried to establish a settlement and the spanish ran them off and massacred them which is -- which
compressing complicated story, so you get -- when you start of digging at it, the south is full of the stories and i guess one last thing to mention is there were all the missions in florida and i have a mouth of them, especially in 1600 and a lot of them were destroyed, they were quite humbled both, but you can see, this is sort of the commission in the 1600's, this is the south, and it's fascinating to think actually the story of -- of hispanic people in the u.s. start here, there were also parts of north carolina, you know, some sort of argue that maybe tennessee, some of this isn't, you know, we can't trace things exactly yet but the story actually opens here. [inaudible]
>> yes. yes. louisiana -- >> it's quite funny. the whole spanish element to it. >> if you like to ask a question -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> mississippi which i think -- [laughter] >> kristina, let me ask you, what's the relationship between african american history and slavery, how do you understand that? >> document the stories of these individuals who were shaping american history within slavery but outside of slavery as well, but i want to make the larger point that, you know, slavery is a transhistorical institution that existed since the beginning
of human civilization and the very first, you know, civilization, 50% of the population was enslaved and slavery in ancient greece, asia, africa, precolombian america, so in the ancient world it didn't have anything to do with race, it had to do with the rules of religion, you know, the natural order was considered to be a hierarchy one so you didn't need race to justify or taking someone else's, most individuals on the earth were unfree somehow. you might be a servant, subject, apprentice, the idea that individual rites and -- and freedoms, very recent ideas, one
of the things that happened in americas, story and at the very moment individual freedom or developing and the public ideals, the very same moment that slavery is becoming this new capitalist sort of nightmare that's based on mass production for mass consumption and it's happening, new type of slavery and still thinking about individual rights and government are happening at the same time and yield some very interesting distressing tensions that we saw but this is to say that i think that african americans had become reserved for people of african decent, there's people of european decent and indigenous people who are enslaved, eventually hereditary condition, that's the way that it ends up working out and this
idea of completely strip get away rights for individuals as well as prepeople of color, that's a new thing of modern american slavery story to have free people who are no longer enslaved, this is why i argue in the book that people of color both enslaved and free on the forefront of the struggles to eradicate slavery, to put the ideals of democracy in practice, military struggles, legal battles, cultural, you name it. so i would say that the relationship between african american history and slavery is that african american history on the front lines of trying to eradicate and ultimately dismantle slavery, for example, american civil war, i would argue that it is fugitive slave, people abetting them and putting war into motion and you can see south carolina, people are not responding properly to these, you know, fugitive individuals and they're not being returned
properly and instigate the american civil war and insist on fighting it, so the story around the america that is people of african decent are responsible for eliminating slavery. i think another fruitful way to think about history of slavery and the violence and discrimination that comes with the fallout of slavery is to think about the relationship between slavery and european american history. >> okay. thank you. >> carrie, i guess another question that i'm curious about is what -- what gaps in the existing national narrative do you think el norte fills? >> i think it's quite a few in different sort of ways and i sometimes think about history as being, we really think totality and it's fragmented and i think
of like u.s. history, multiple layers, like, you know, the first layer is the indigenous history of this country and the second layer is europeans arriving and, you know, the arrival of enslaved african, the third layer is independent struggle, the fourth layer and if we -- they all sit on top of each other, they all complement each other, one of the layers that has been missing is the story of the spaniards and then later on by hispanic people, people from latin america and have been missing from the narrative and what it brings and kristin's book focuses too that we try to take approach because so many people, for instance, in your book are from, you know, brazil, you know, from cuba, from all over, but we both take, i think, quite wide term generous idea of the americas and i think that was missing,
you know, i guess one of the more radical things i try to do in this book, hey, why don't we position the u.s. for what it is which is part of latin america, part of this whole continent, we were all formed by same forces and all have individual trajectories but to kind of acknowledge that there's this shared -- now, sure the spaniards were more successful than méxico with sort of density of colonial settlements and that sort of thing but d -- but the initial encounters start here with the spaniards. so i think that was definitely the big gap i was trying show for sure. >> i think we have a question. >> excuse me. so i'm puerto rican and when going to puerto rico i am often times seen as the american cousin, but here in the states i
am often sometimes certain token for being brown. i have sometimes difficulties negotiating like the complexity of my identity and i was wonder if you could comment on an interesting moment or changes in history of like people of color identifying themselves. >> thank you for your question o.i will start and i'm sure you have something to say on that too because i write about puerto rico quite a lot in el norte, two moments jump out at me on the basis of your question, one is not puerto rico, but after the mexican-american war when 51% of méxico became u.s., california, big chunk of the west n california when they were creating the state constitution they were going to give right to vote to white men and so
actually looking around they realized, wait, who is white, what does white mean when somebody is brown and that is -- that's the kind of constant theme in the west in 19th century and 20th, a whole jim crow aspect to the west in places certainly texas and california where mexicans were suppose today sit in balcony of cinemas and restaurants didn't serve people. we also see about brownness and that's also a gap that needs to be filled and needs to be discussed. the other interesting moment is after the -- after the spanish american war when puerto rico becomes a colony, i believe it's around 1902 there's a legal challenge involving this young woman who wants to immigrate to new york and she's pregnant and she's seen and challenges i'm a u.s. citizen and becomes this whole question of like, wait a minute, what is puerto rico, and finally gets answered, answered in the court case but really
answered in 1917 with jones act and so at that point it becomes official but the fact that, you know, again it brings up the question of identity and citizenship, it's like, well, wait, you know, if you are controlling us, then we should have freedom of movement, why am i not allowed to come here and i write a lot about puerto rico because puerto rico is super important to the idea of the hispanic past because puerto rico within latin america history has a unique place as well. it followed somewhat different trajectory to the other countries, so -- so, again, it continues and i think we saw this in the aftermath of maria, a poll that showed that about half the country didn't realize that puerto rico was part of the u.s. and that's -- so people kind of believed it didn't deserve disaster relief because it's foreign country and no, no, no, it is a common wealth and so ways to go and kind of
reconciling these things but clearly as you say in your own personal experience, broader public sense too. do you want -- >> i mean, my family -- my dad's family is from cuba so -- my mom's family is from the american south and my -- it cause node write my first article in graduate school which is what color is cuban because a lot of answers to that question and certainly growing up in miami which is a place that uniquely in the story of -- i will add one thing that's not in the book. the oldest documented christian marriage in what becomes the united states took place in st. agustin, 1565 between an african woman and a spanish soldier. i don't think she was enslaved and so that's the earliest, to me that's the american story right there.
>> yeah. >> but in the case of miami, they experienced -- cuban culture, hispanic culture is the dominant culture in south florida since 1986, sort of a different relationship, i think, to being latin and the issues about race are certainly not resolved at all but i will say in general, in my looking at colonial history, education on comparing mixed-rate children colonial virginia and colonial cuba and what i found that the very definition of whiteness, much more class, and these are communities who were often catholic and in virginia protestant individualism
discourse, the notion of whiteness was strict and you get into this period where ultimately in 1800's one drop rule, there's the story, i don't know if it's -- american journalist interview u.s. journalist interviewing haiti, what portion of your population is white and he said 99%, she said i think he misunderstood the question and he said, one drop rule. it puts the perspective of race. the way we consider identity ethnicity really changes depending on place, very site specific. >> another question which i was reading through your books it came clear that these are
interventions in a lack or they're trying to remediate a lack in american history but the fact that we have a session called about hispanic and african decent to try and intervene and bring something into the larger mainstream american history, you know, that's not where you want it to be i don't think in 25 years, so if we were to move forward 25 years from now, what would your work have led to in changing what american history or will we continue to talk about hispanic american or african american history? >> i mean, quickly, i always enjoy seeing my book in the bookstore but it is generally in the african-american history section which i'm a big fan of
african-american history but i also believe that the story is american history first off and so i would love for a time when we could consider this a shared history, visions of the south and talking about how the south has been -- you know, not a minority culture, they've been a dominant majority presence in the american south and where i live in the eve of civil war, the majority of population was of african decent, it was kind of gone with the wind vision of how american history was, as i said multiculturalism isn't a new thing, some sort of mention that we had on the panel that takes about minority americans, these are majorities. before 1920 to the africans came to the new world and europeans and mexicans in 1810.
the american south, people of african decent outnumbered. so to stop imagining this history without them, in other words, once we incorporate the actual demographics it'll become easier to think about this interconnected. i don't think it's an either/or story by the way, american history and i think there's all the roots, indigenous, they're african, they're hispanic, they are anglo and asian and they all can fit together. i mean, i think that's part of the problem is that i think that what we are both asking readers to do is to kind of complicate what has been presented as very simple, very segmented narrative and go, you know what, not going to get historical narrative that that you want to hear, what happened and overlaid and
complex and just accept, you know, if you could change kind of the public mood away that the public in general approaches history i think it would be to go, okay, this is going to be messy, but let's dive in and let's see how things connect and when you start looking for history of connection it becomes very hard to write just, you know, the segment of histories because everything -- i was amazed reading your books how many people connect and how many events and i think that would be the thing if we were to kind of go forward 25 years, i mean, obviously makes sense chronologies and things like that but to go into moments with eyes much more widely kind of open, think about roots that have been, you know, kind of left out before and big national moments, like where do they fit in, how does the narrative change and it's like sometimes i feel like writing the books is a bit like, you know, being a kid playing in clay, it's messy, it's a messy business and that's
what makes it so exciting and i hope that's what readers feel when they start to read the book, wow, it's complicated and messy but come to an understanding and that's what we can put forward as historians. >> there was a brief mention of the color line as far as africans go and i read a good bit about color is an issue within, among african americans, you know, the idea that the lighter skin you are the closer the white you are, the better you are and hierarchies based on that and that sort of thing. is that -- i'm wondering if that's the case with hispanic americans as well? is there this phenomena of color line, if you will? >> i will say that hispanic
approaches generally speaking are so graded and so finely tuned that it's beyond color line. it's unbelievable to look at comments, every possible combination you can think of human beings, they draw a picture of it and invented name for it. i feel like there's a session with the gradation and i'd also say that different between work in latin america versus the united states, is that there's a color line, you can get instances of people who look incredibly european, they appear white and i would argue white in latin america and on the other side of color line regardless of what their patrimony is.
i think show it is absurdity of whiteness in particular and certainly say name is jim, black smith, very light completed. they had european ancestors. >> i will make a comment on more contemporary, it has a very complicated relationship to color and blackness because of history with haiti. some people said i didn't know i was black until i went to the u.s. they would argue from latino, argentina and perú, you come to the u.s., you're brown and you're latino.
development of latino. i talk about it in the book and the -- it's a way to mobilize and bring those groups of people together because certainly cubans and mexicans, for instance, it is not necessarily community where people are, you know, not necessarily in close proximity geographically, that's changing as well, but also a question of language within the u.s. and whether or not you speak spanish. i mean, certainly in the 50's there was the kind of post war kind of -- post war generation mexican americans, raised children to speak english and gets lost in the family or spanish is imperfected. the person asked about family in
puerto rico. cultural identity rather than racial. it's part of the whole sort of package if that makes sense. >> we have a few minutes left and i want to shift gears and ask a question about being authors, if you could share just real briefly what was the most difficult part of writing each of your books? [laughter] >> i think it was emphasizing scholarship. because of the scale is so wide you to rely on work of other scholars and you have to make a lot of editorial choices, what did those -- what needs to go in and making sure that you're challenging narratives and accepting that this is how this happened and, you know, and also trying to get a good balance of actors and not just sort of focusing on the main historical
figures, i think we both try to include more women who have been overlooked and i found out quite challenging because the people not in archival records or -- can disappear but thankfully there's been so much amazing scholarship in the last 20 years and especially like the things from florida and the areas that i didn't know nothing about going into and such great bodies of work out there to -- to come and help me along the way, yeah, doing the synthesis was hard work. >> if you go on -- my books have been 15 times as long, so many individuals that i could have include. i'm standing in the shoulder of many, many scholars, 1850 black gastonian and ps, not only african americans soldiers who fought for the revolution,
african cuban, afro mexican and indebted to scholars who have been hiding in plain sight of the information that i was able to correlate. >> great, i want to thank you both for writing the wonderful books, important books and sharing such important information today and i hope that you will help me in thanking them. [applause] >> and i just want to remind you that the signing to have books will happen right after this in the signing tent at memorial plaza, thank you all for being here. [inaudible conversations]
>> southern festival of books will continue in a few minutes. next travel writer paul, journeys along the u.s.-méxico border. [inaudible conversations] >> in the meantime preview of tonight's author-interview program afterwords with former obama administration national security adviser and un ambassador susan rice. >> you went on the, no sc instead of becoming secretary of state and you have description of the job, most days the job of national security adviser seems infinite, huge slab of concrete constantly resting on one torso. and there were a lot., let's try to go through them as quickly as they can because i want to get to the subject of race in america and some of those
issues. wikileaks reveal that the united states had been tapping the looters of countries which led to real anger among whether it's the chancellor of germany or the president of brazil, and you write about how for six months you spent mopping up the mess, some look at him as a hero. >> i view him as a trader. >> and what do you think, first of all, what did you have to do during those 6 months and what is the last thing you want to see? >> well, without getting into classified information, i say in the book that snowden leaks did enormous damage to national security in way that is the american people will never fully comprehend but cost us the ability to use tools that we needed to use to keep americans safe and i think to this day
that -- the cost and consequences endure. what i spent my time doing after this snowden, one trying to help with other senior colleagues in the administration repair the relationships with closest partners, 2, built very complicated and intensive inner agency process where we tried to look at how we were approaching our use and collection of such intelligence and to make sure that we had the proper safeguards in place and that was process that led the president by january of 2014 to issue a whole new set of compliance as to how we approach the collection of this information. but i can't overstate how much damage snowden did and went to russian's arms where he remains,
he has his own book out now in which he tells his side of the story, from my vantage point if you're american you don't steal secrets and give them to adversary and put them out in public. >> the conversations with president obama had, vladimir putin was short and lasted 90 minutes and sometimes he would keep the president waiting just to take the call during which president obama might play scrabble. so what was putin, what was the engagement with putin like, did you ever feel like we could do business with him, did you feel it was constantly undermining him, you left -- right after discovering that the russians had intervened in the 2016 presidential election. >> well, there's no question that putin personally and his
objectives as leader of russia -- there's nothing that one can say about his objective that align in a meaningful way now with ours and the interference in our election is just the most glaring example. there were occasions over the years where we were able to work with the russians like on the iran nuclear deal and -- and getting a large chemical weapons removed from syria, but you engage with putin without trusting him, is my judgment, and that's what's worrying about i think how president trump has engaged with putin. he's privileged putin's word over that of our own experts and intelligence community. but the flip side of that ironically is that, you know,
phone calls with putin were not screaming matching, they were quite civil and respectful even when they were adversary in substance. and then, of course, i had a number of experiences engaging with putin personally and directly when at meetings or summits where president obama was attending and i also can attest personally that he's a creep as it relates to women and i mention this in the book as well where we had an opportunity at a reflection in normandy france, d-day anniversary and president obama and i were at the reception in a large room, obama was across the room and i was unfortunately by myself as the only american with putin and his national security adviser and he made some unwelcomed comments about my
attractiveness. >> what's striking about putin is how small he is. i was with him in the same hotel lobby in chile during apec conference and one of the bodyguards and i turn around, i realized this is a man who i think has issues. [laughter] >> well, he's got issues, i can't say. >> what are you worried about in terms of russian intervention in 2020 election? >> first of all, well, i think it's important for the american people to understand that it hasn't stopped, this has been constant, they did -- they were very actively involved in 2016 as we saw through stealing and hacking and steeling emails from the dnc from john podesta and others in the clinton campaign, they tried to infiltrate our electoral system. they put out false information and then they were active on social media trying to pin
americans against each other over domestic issues of contention, whether it's race or immigration or guns or what you. and their whole thing is to discredit our democracy to cause people in this country to hate one another and turn against one another and try to weaken us from within and they continued to do that every day since 2016, not just in the context of every national election, we have every reason to be concerned that they will continue their efforts in 2020 and intensify them from learning about holes we plugged and trying to get around them and i'm very worried that congress under majority leader mcconnell's leadership has not done enough to help us defend against that threat. >> after words with susan rice airs tonight at 10:00 p.m.
eastern. you're watching book tv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend, book tv, television for serious readers. >> here are programs to watch out for this weekend, nashville with live coverage of southern festival of books, on author interview former national security adviser un ambassador susan rice will reflect on life and career, jackie gringrich cushman. and extra day of book tv on monday with full list of author programs including talks by hillary and chelsea clinton, columnist michelle morgan and former nsa contractor edward snowden to name just a few, for a complete schedule of everything airing this weekend check your program guide or visit our website booktv.org.