tv [untitled] February 4, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm EST
this moment many months. now they dressed in the dark as their wives put together a knapsack, a bit of food or bread or dried meat laid out on the table. it took barely a minute and with the last soft word, the men were out of their houses moving into the road following the tracks of the horseman who woke them knowing only that the tracks led to lexington. well, if that doesn't get you interested -- it gets me interested. i'd like to keep going. for those of you who are accustomed to stories about the civil war, i do not demean those stories by pointing to this book and saying, you know folks, this is a better story. i didn't expect that. i didn't expect to ever say that when i started this. my connection to the civil war is a deep one. and one that will stay with me for the rest of my life, one that has stayed with me already for a generation almost. every american needs to know this story. and that's not marketing.
this is important to our culture. you know, today is the 225th birthday. it's not a coincidence, necessarily, that i'm here in this place speaking about that. the civil war preserved the united states. kept the united states from collapse. the american revolution gave it its birth. as we celebrate the 225th birthday, i would like to point out to that you one thing we are accustomed to in this country and in this world is the permanentance of change. we are all used to that. my grandfather was born in 1899. the amount of change that man witnessed in his lifetime was unfathomable. yet, in that change, some things remain the same. no matter how many times and it's going on right now in the world, civil wars, boundaries are changing between nations. people are changing. in this country, in some ways,
the demo graphics of ethnicity is changing. our culture is being shaped by the different kinds of people of different cultural backgrounds in this country. all of that is changing. we h of communications, of technology, of warfare. all the way through that, one thing has not changed -- we are a people whose birth can be traced to the extraordinary events that took place in the 1770s led by handful of unique individuals. that these -- that this collection of genius, little pieces of genius, came together at that moment in history and changed the history of the world. this is something we must remember. i'm struck by the fact that as much as we are used to change, there is a piece of us that i hope will never change. and that is that as much credit as we give to these founding
fathers, and mothers, that we also keep with us always the sense that as americans, we are born of fierce sense of independence. and if that ever changes, we're in a lot of trouble. thank you very much. >> i left a lot of time because i really would like to hear from you. this is a new subject for me and for many of you it's a new subject. i really would like to hear what you have to say. yes? >> i'm sorry. okay. first i'd like to thank you that your first reading demonstrated that you see the significance
not instead of but in addition to you see events that are significant in addition to troop movements and military strategy that there are other types of things that are very important. but my question is, i was intrigued by your reference to abigail adams perhaps being the first feminist. i asked another historian at another conference in get y gettysburg, if you want to move in early ir, she said i wouldn't go to abigail adams. she was going to acceptshe saidi would say it's perhaps your predecessor. she said i would go to mary ottis warren.
so what is your take on abigail adams versus mercy evans warren. >> first of all, they're not competitors. abigail adams and mercy were very good friends. i think they influenced each other. but i love -- one thing i sort of pick up from your question as you ruffled the feathers on this story. i really like that. congratulations. because somebody -- you know, you'll get absolute statements such as, and this is an example that is not fair maybe to say this in simplistic forms. well, the feminist movement in the united states started in
he's getting -- because he's the most visible columnist. he is a celebrity in his time. because he's the most visible columnist in london, he's getting the grief. he's the one being pinpointed by king george as the target of a lot of the frustration. consider 3,000 miles distance between england and the colonies. it takes a month for a ship going east. the ship going east can ride the gulf stream. coming back, it takes often as long as two months or more.
so if you send a letter or in the case of general thomas gauge, another of the main characters, if you send orders or requests for information, it takes a month to get there. somebody has to decipher it, sit down, answer it. that may take who knows how long and then two months to come back. that's a lot of time. there was always king george. and sometimes when the king receives information that riles him, he'll respond by targeting franklin rather than sending a letter that's going to take two months to get to the colonies. that puts franklin in a very
interesting situation. he knows what's going on. but he also resents the fact that he's a target and really sort of galvanizes in his mind the corruption and the bankruptcy that is the english government. i mean his insight, plus, i like franklin because of his humor. one of the things about a story like this, and i hope you -- and if i point this out, about this.
in "gone for soldiers," the characters i like won't stock because he is so aggravated with everything going on around him. he responds with such a humorous, it breaks the tension a little bit. clearly, a character like buster rain served that purpose as well. as even sometimes a character like jeb stewart can serve that purpose as a counter to the true. this man had some interesting personal quirks. and a lot of them are in here. in the mexican war, you have santa ana. it is important to have a story, do you have general thomas gauge. thomas gauge is a man -- that name means nothing to many of you. i'm sure of that. this is the most -- one heroes british. this man, he's the commanding general of the british troops in the colonies. he is given the job by king george to put down a rebellion but by all means don't start a war. i don't know that anybody can pull that off. thomas gauge understands he's not the one to pull it off
either. he ends the troops out to confiscate the powder, can you sort of get the feeling of what is going to happen from that. it is an innocent enough mission with no intent to start a war. and that's not quite the way it works out. well, later in the story, george washington is a character. it's not appropriate to bring washington into this story prior to 1775 because he really wasn't doing very much. he was quiet in virginia. he was very uncomfortable with politics. when he goes to the continental congress, the reason he's appointed is because he's essentially the wealthiest man in virginia. that's what did you in those days. he bankrolled them because he was the richest man in america. wealth got you position. washington is a veteran of the french and indian war. in fact, washington starts the french and indian war in this
country. a little bit about that in the introduction. he is flabbergasted whether john adams nominates him to be commander of the continental -- of the new continental army. he actually leaves the room. and when john adams says i replace a name george washington -- colonel washington of virginia and hancock is half way out of his chair and has to sit back down again. washington left the room. he's appalled because now he has to deal with this. his response to the congress which they did write down, which we do have the document, is a masterpiece of understatement and humble spirit and it's wonderful. so washington comes in later to the story. this leads up to the sequel.
if this book ends, there is a little more to the story. there is a war. the second book when i -- if i were not on the book tour, i would be writing right now knowing that at some point my publisher is going to be watching this. because she says, you know, can you give me a book a year? and i say, well, you know, if you stop sending me out on book tours, you know -- i'm sorry. i didn't mean that. i've been doing an enormous amount of reading and traveling. i've been all over the state of new jersey which is where the key battle fields are. i was involved in princeton and crossing of the delaware along with the stuff. virginia, yorktown go, to yorktown. i said this to audiences about different places, civil war sites, the stonewall jackson shrine. go to yorktown. it's still there. you can see the trenches. you can see.
it was used by the confederacy in the civil war. but most of it is still original to the revolution. take a tour. it's really interesting. one of the british works is on the banks of the river there. the river eroded. the works are almost gone. they have almost fallen completely in the river just by the course of the river clafrpgs. but you can still see one side of it. but another of the works is therein tact. and it's right in front of you. you can see the lay of the land. you did see how washington moved the troops closer and closer. i don't want to give away the end. washington clearly will be a character in the next book. now you have franklin again. this time he is in paris. another wonderful story. he is representing the united colonies, the united states of
america now to the french court, trying to get aid from louie the xvi. one of the people that comes over, this is something i bet most of you didn't know, many of you heard of the marquee lafayette. i bet most of you did not know that when the marquee lafayette came over and was given a commission as a general and in washington's army, he was 19 years old. i had his memoir. what a fabulous source of information. there is another name i'll throw out at you, light horse harry lee. robert e. lee's father. i have a first edition published in 1812 of light horse harry lee's memoirs, two-volume set. i also have a reprint that i bought here and it was a good thing. i never could have used this original for research. i would have wrecked it. but it has been -- it has been
reprinted. we have his memoirs. wonderful stuff. nathaniel green. nathaniel green is the stonewall jackson of the american revolution. the british voice, the stonewall jackson of the british army is charles corn wallace. this is another interesting. this is the next story. i'll be writing. i should have a manuscript by the end of next summer. they are already scheduling it for publication this time in two years. that's just a big tease. if you like this -- >> that's marketing. >> now it's marketing, right. let's not make any mistakes here. also, i would like to tell you, we are, because i get this question a lot. i know a lot of you are waiting to hear something definite. there's going to be a film of "gods and generals." august 28th is the scheduled start date. they are internet savvy.
go to www.ronmaxwell.com. there is all kinds of information there about casting. we are still in the process of casting stonewall jackson. that is a challenge. there is a lot of things going on right now this minute, not the least of which had to do with the strike of the settled yesterday. that is huge. a lot of the cast -- i mean you will see all of a familiar names from gettysburg are back. the crew, it's enormously exciting. the filming will take place. lexington, virginia around vmi, the shenandoah valley, the harper's ferry area, hagerstown, maryland, central maryland. it's all happening. the production office is open. ron may be here this weekend. they're already recruiting re-enactors. if you go to godsandgenerals.com, this is where you go to be involved. this is enormously exciting.
if i don't seem really excited, it's because i'm worn out. because it's been five years we have been working on this. and it's the mate of the beast. and i will say this right into the camera, thank you ted turner. because it is ted turner who is the body, strength, spirit and money behind this project. fit were not for ted turner, nobody in hollywood would care if this film is made. we have dealt with an astonishing variety of -- i won't get into it. it's been an interesting experience, to say the least. but because of ted turner, we are making a movie. and i hope all of you get excited by that. the release -- this is a big screen feature film. it will be released probably christmas 2002. the filming should go from the end of august into december. you have to cover two seasons. i talked about this before. you have chance lorz bill in the spring. you have to film it when there is green leaves. you can't film it in when the
leaves are changing. then you have fredericksburg which takes place where there are no leaves on the trees at all. you have to bridge the two seasons. and they'll be doing that from august to december. so i knew about that. so i thought i would just answer it first. anyone else have any questions? yes? >> i wondered if one of why you ever characters is francis hopkins from the revolution. >> as an aside, yes. not as a main character. i haven't said it yet. no. i haven't started writing. no. i will start writing -- that will be this fall. you know, one of the things i get on shaky ground because i get very mad about problems i h the way history is portrayed in hollywood, and it's going on
right this minute. you go to the big screen multiplex and see that world war ii thing. and i won't talk any more about that. hollywood has no confidence that you will buy a ticket to a movie if it's just about the history. they have to jazz it up. they have to stick, you know, a soap opera. it's titanic with a bunch of ships going down. well, one of the problems i have with the story of thomas jefferson as it has been related in the last five years is you cannot read about thomas jefferson or watch a television show or film without hearing the name sally hemmings. i have no problem or no dispute with the story of sally hemming. there was an article yesterday in "the wall street journal" or some place talking about dna. i'm not into that. you know, i'm not going to dispute whether or not, you know, thomas jefferson fathered a baby. if it's true, it's true. that's one story about thomas
jefferson. it is not the story about thomas jefferson. and the problem that i have is that hollywood is so eager -- and i'm using using hollywood as sort of the catch phrase for maybe pop culture, but in this country, we're so excited by the scandalous, at least they would have us believe that, if it titillating if it's salacious, it gets the story. thomas jefferyson is the man who wrote the declaration of independence. this is a man who feels very much out of his league in the continental congress. he feels very inadequate to the task, not only that but he writes this document with john adams and benjamin franklin looking over his shoulder. he is not the sole author of the declaration of independence as you may have learned in school.
it was edited heavily and there was quite a bit of input. the fact that this man, that he writes the final draft of this, one of the reasons they pick him, number one he's not as exalted as these old guys, and two number, he's got beautiful handwriting. that to me is an interesting story. it's not the only story, but it is an interesting story and i think that story deserves as much coverage as any other story of thomas jefferson that's my rand, if you please. >> your last book gods and generals was good. >> winfield scott is another one of those discoveries and by the time of the civil war winfield
scott is essentially shuttered aside. scott spends the rest of the civil war as sort of this daughtering old man. but there's a real good story about winfield scott that has nothing to do with the civil war and that's why i wanted to write about him. this is a man who is a lieutenant general in the army and no one other than george washington has ever achieved that rank until you police sl y s. grant. this is one of the hard sells i had to do to the publisher.
the mexican war? who wants to -- what is the mexican war? it's a story that involves the civil war characters not in the civil war but just as interesting. >> you mentioned jefferson writing the declaration with adams and franklin looking over your shoulder. was mccullough looking over your shoulder in this? >> i appreciate you asking me about mccullough. is there a conspiracy of publishers, i mean do you guys all get together and say, you know, let's make the revolution hot, and so everybody gets together and writes -- i was not aware of david mccullough's book, and i was thrilled that it's receiving the attention it's receiving. here's a message to hollywood, john adams' biography is a
number one best seller. it's not about his affairs and all this bogusness, thank you american public for recognizing that. i'm thrilled with that book. as i said in some interview that, i'm so happy that new york considers this valuable, and that new york cares enough and believes that the public might actually buy these books. because that's the only way these books get published. david mccullough certainly proved that he has taste, certainly taste in characters. i have not met the man, but i understand he spent a lot of work on this.
>> i had no control over the filming, i have mentionedbio of had to get my permission for things. that's not the way it was. i'm going to be there, i'm going to be in it. ron has a trademark like alfred hitchcock, he's in every one of his movies in a cameo. and maybe i'll get the thing that ted turner did last time or something, i don't know, or maybe i'll just stand there, real muscular. but it's not fair to say that i would have any control over it.
that's not the way it works. i have absolute confidence that this project is in the past hands it could be in and that's the hands of ron maxwell. >> so you won't be doing the screen play? >> i wrote the original as a screen play. ron gave me the assignment, turn the book into a screen play, he wanted to see the visual of what it would look like. so he from scratch wrote his own screen play based on that. thank you. >> next on history bookshelf, victor davis san son talkses about his book "ripples of battle" examining the lasting
impressions battles have on families, society and future military planning. history bookshelf airs on american history tv every saturday at noon. >> beaumont founded in 18 -- you're watching american history tv on cspan 3. >> we're standing on forsythe street in downtown beaumont, texas. forsythe street was the home front of the town, the home
front industries created these new jobs and created tensions that in some cases resulted in race riots, there were race riots in harlem and mobile and i think beaumont, texas. in june of 1943, there was this very sad, tragic episode in beaumont, a race riot broke out here june 15, 1943, there was a story about a black man having raped a white woman and when this story spread into the shipyard, several thousands of the ship ward yorkers came out of the shipyard and came downtown to the city hall and to the police department and.
>> they dloef through black parts of the town, including forsythe street where we're standing here, forsythe was a very vibrant black business communities with lawyers and doctors and pharmacists, insurance agestores, there was a movie theater here, so there was a vibrant black business community and some of these men in the mob attacked this neighborhood, they attacked some of the people, they store up some of the automobiles and they attacked some of the businesses. there were three lives lost, and the