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it did in england in regard to the spectator aspect of science is that what you're getting at? [inaudible] >> the theaters were located in medical schools for the most part, that standard medical anatomical bit wary of the cadaver in the center and the group, right? and is more of a closed space, more of a link to space but it is true that when we move into the scientific revolution, the 17th century, and definitely into the light of the 18th century, the educated elite want very much to begin to participate in science. by taking -- i'm fascinated in paris it's the king's garden. they would have regular dissection that women of the higher classes were very educated elite women would meet to discuss literature, they would you like field trips over
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to the king's garden to take a look at what's going on in these dissections. .. that is when you move in to the enlightenment. everyone should have an opportunity to learn about the body's working and the universe's working. not sure where that takes us. anybody who has seen -- wanting
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to see all the way you can see surgery on youtube. we all have bodies and questions and we want science to be accessible. not sure if i answer your question. each period looks a little different with different consequences. the idea of access to knowledge and information, to a certain degree has real consequences, we all have that desire to see what happened. okay. >> what were the killers's names? >> you going to tell me to give away -- really? really? i can't do that. that is a spoiler at the end of
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a book. you might be a little bit too young to read the book but maybe your mom can read it and she can be viewed as a idea. i can tell you this is very funny. truth is stranger than fiction. one of them may have known a few pirates. i am not kidding. there are pirates in this book too. [inaudible] >> all of us have questions. thank you for your contribution. if any of you would like to take advantage of that? we are telling you about medicine. [applause]
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>> booktv is on twitter. follow as for regular updates on programming and news on nonfiction books and authors. and now on booktv cbs news senior political correspondent jeff greenfield explores three moments in u.s. history. the near assassination of jfk by a 73-year-old suicide bomber in december 1960, the assassination of robert kennedy on june 5th, 1968, and the presidential debate between gerald ford and jimmy carter in october 1976. instead of recounting the record, he opined on what might have happened had the participants made different choices. >> i should tell you at the outset that you are living proof
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of an old advance in the first rule of politics. that when you book your candidate you always book and intimate, he is forced to speak to a steady moment and we are here. c-span is here and it brought to mind as a kid i had two passions. one pretty predictable and that was baseball and the other was politics. it occurred to me over the years that if when i was a kid c-span and espn existed i would never have left the house. so i am kind of grateful. here's what we are going to do. i am going to talk roughly 15 minutes to give you a flavor of the book and then answer questions. those of you who want to buy the book be my guest. there's no proof to this silly rumor is that the people who
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read this book experienced rapid weight loss and increased sexual endurance. i don't know where, i repudiate those anecdotes completely. can we agree on a common definition of a question? a ten minute speech followed by so, this is not a question. i will begin by telling you a story. it sounds melodramatic, it sounds purple prose but it is this story. story of a would-be suicide bomber who lies in wait outside the home of a man out to leave for church. the assailant's car ignored by the security to protect this man, his wife comes to the door with a child to see the man off and the bomber does not want to strike the family so he stays his hand and four days later he is captured. let me take the story completely
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over the top. the man in question, the target is the president-elect of the united states. the only reason that story is not ridiculously implausible is that it happened. his name was richard pavlik. he was 73 years old, opposed to work with a deep-seated hatred of the catholic church and kennedy family. his target was john kennedy vacationing at the family home in palm beach. he was parked on the morning of december 11th, 1960, holding a/s which loaded with seven sticks of dynamite, enough to level a small mountain and were it not for that appearance at the door, john kennedy almost truly would have been killed. there never would have been a president kennedy. the secret service chief at the time said in his memoirs we were seconds away from that disaster. some of you look like you might remember or have read it in
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history but we're talking a month after the election of the youngest elected president, a generational change from the oldest president to the youngest elected. how would we have dealt with that at a time when violence against public officials was virtually unheard of? how would lyndon johnson have dealt with the traumatized nation? where would robert kennedy have gone? how would johnson with the assumption that the mind-set so different from that of john kennedy deal with civil rights? or the cuban missile crisis? that is one of the questions i tried to answer in this book called "then everything changed". this is a trio of alternative histories that center on contemporary american politics or contemporary for some of us. they are all rooted in a common notion that the smallest twist and turn of fate can produce radical consequences. they are not as a is.
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dialogue and imagined scenes. they are all histories i tried to ground in plausibility and based on the thoughts and beliefs and impulses and instinct of the players as drawn from history, biographies and several interviews with people. and the common thread is history doesn't turn on a dime. it turned on a nickel. there are theories about history that focus on geography, natural resources, theology, ideology but the smallest random acts of faith, human beings like to see patterns in history. there are two examples i don't give in the book. one is on february fifteenth, 1933, giusseppi arrived to see the speaker stand early.
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when he pulled out a weapon judd -- he shot and killed a visiting mayor of chicago rather than his presumed target, president-elect franklin delano roosevelt. that was a few minutes delay in his arrival. so five minutes may have meant we would have had a different president during the depression, the speaker of the house john gorman, crusty texan with little time and less charisma and the capacity to move or shake a nation that was minimal. there was a book called philip k. dick called man in the high castle that presumes a nazi victory in world war ii because there's no roosevelt to mobilize the nation. you think of 1931 when a visiting british politician in new york looked the wrong way across the street.
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hit by a taxi, a slightly different injury, there is no winston churchill for the hour of need. i decided to write a trio of history's based on the smallest turn of random chance. hugely consequential results. each routed in as plausible a scenario as i could construct. held usually by the fact that sometimes startling things i discovered that really did happen in matters great and small. these are separate histories. not like plot against america, when one stops our role back to reality to move to the next one. you won't get stuck. i am very clear as i italicized that we are back to reality. what happened to president-elect john kennedy's assassin?
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the fact that he would be assassinated before the electoral college ever met, i couldn't do it again. what i described is a united political system. the eisenhower folks kind of boule richard nixon, you don't want to challenge this. johnson becomes president. he knows he lacks that personal connection to the citizenry. he was shocked that john kennedy had beaten the nomination with so much less experience because he didn't understand what modern politics was about but his persuasive powers, if you read the tapes from when he became president, it stands in a very good step. he was intent on freeing himself from the president of racial politics. so a voting rights bill, he saw
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himself as the second coming of fdr so there is an aggressive fight earlier. also there are little things that change for instance because he does not read the way john kennedy read he never tells life magazine that ian fleming is one of his favorite authors and there is no james bond, which john kennedy interview in life magazine in 1961 helped trigger. you will see this stuff happens a lot both for relief and because i believe it but johnson by every indication is bored by foreign policy. he doesn't like it. he doesn't have curiosity, doesn't see as john kennedy did the power of nationalism. john kennedy as a senator came after the independence of algeria in 1957 infuriated the democratic establishment because they thought it was betraying our allies.
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he doesn't have a skeptical mind. he accept things as they are. so when khrushchev decides to do what he did, put a fence of nuclear missiles in cuba johnson's instincts and fear of communism means the men in the room at the white house are much more inclined to believe a surgical strike on those missiles will work. the majority in 1962 favored that strike and it was 11 or 13 day process where they work for. robert kennedy in my alternate history has taken john kennedy's senate seat in massachusetts and teddy would have been too yet. in that year of the robert kennedy of 1960 was more of a cold war kind of guy than he later came to be. there is nobody pushing for the other way out which means not to give away too much the result of the cuban missile crisis are really different from the one
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that some of us lived through and read about. that is one. the second story, obvious personal connections, another attempt on a life of another kennedy on june 4th lead digital 1968. robert kennedy has finished his victory speech and because of the decision to spare him another rally he goes to the kitchen at the ambassador hotel but unlike reality, something changes. here is another of those discoveries that threw me for a move. i was reading oral history in the john f. kennedy library and cable across steve smith's oral history where i blame myself sometimes because i was always in the habit when i was around the senator of walking in front of him, not for security but to get him through faster. had he been where he normally would have been he would have been in front of robert kennedy rather than robert kennedy going into the kitchen and protected.
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that is all that has to change for him to survive in this story. so you don't need to speculate in a way. you look at history. you remember what happened when ronald reagan survived john hinckley and survive with humor. i hope you adopt this role in public and i don't care what your politics where you had to hear an enormous sense of relief for him and the country that we were scared another one. robert kennedy had a sense of humor and he responds to this with humor and the dynamic of that primary changes. had there been nothing like that hubert humphrey would have won and my argument is that shakes things loose. if you imagine, as one history of that campaign that mayor richard daley was prepared to
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endorse bobby, he thought the war a disaster on every ground including political. what happens to the demonstrations? you don't have thousands of people. you have marginalize radical protests. that is very different. what about president johnson? would he have been so angry that his nemesis was repeating that he might try to get the nomination back? that sounds pretty absurd except in real life he did. there were five johnson operatives at the chicago convention including postmaster general and chief political guy. johnson's plan was to announce a soviet summit, fly to chicago, give a speech and think maybe he could shake those delegates lose. at an end his people said this is not going to work. if he did that without robert
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kennedy as a potential nominee you have to imagine or i have to imagine, the reason johnson didn't do this was the soviet union mated czechoslovakia, no way to announce the summit. there is a lot that place through but in talking about what is in this book as fiction grounded in what i think israel, there is a scene here that really pivots the nomination and basically kennedy, robert kennedy looking at grand park sees the demonstrators and he says i want to talk to them and the secret service is not happy about this but he does it. that is what he always did. he did it in japan with radical nationalism, did it in poland, did it in chile, did it in san francisco during the campaign when he confronted a group of
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radical citizens and it was a real give and take is a polite word. making that up by made that up obviously but it comes from a sense that this guy is going to confront his adversaries. the rest of the story, johnson's effort to for the election to the nixon. nixon surprised his running mate. i will share this with you. i said to pat buchanan, if you guys were in miami and you knew that bobby kennedy might be the nominee or vice president you wouldn't have put spiro agnew on the ticket. he said we had to find someone like john lindsay. i laughed because it was a book. this is what happens. some of this stuff you can't make up. what will surprise some of view, with you by the boat or borrow at or whatever, thaw carlos all speeches that he gave, many of
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which denounce the size of the federal government that has grown too big and powerful and distant from ordinary citizens that we need to break a public education because money alone can't solve it. public welfare is a disaster. this is not what poor people need. they need honorable job. this sounds like tea party staff exit visa speeches he gave in a different context. some of you will remember by the mid 60s some on the left were challenging that worth about liberalism of the new deal and he was one of them. i worked for the guy for auld trouble ends. there's a scandal and a close relationship to watergate. one of robert kennedy's -- i don't know how to describe him -- and associate named paul corbin. all his other aides kept saying why are you -- what is with this
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guy. of member of the communist party and senator joe mccarthy's business partner. if you think i am making up what he would do in fact it was paul corbin who stole jimmy carter's briefing book and gave it to ronald reagan. again and again you can't make this stuff. you can but when you realize what history teaches you you don't have to stretch that far. two other things about this period. it has consequences great and small. i suggest robert kennedy like eisenhower in korea would have lanced that really quickly. at least got the vietnam war to cease-fire so nobody was done. one thing that means is when mashed comes out in 1970 the country is so sick of the war as it was of the iraq movies that there is no tv show, on the would you believe front if robert kennedy sought to open the door to china but was
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worried about political consequences can you think of who robert kennedy might have sent to china that would have given political protection? nixon. nobody can call himself a communist. not everyone -- this does not involve life and death. the gerald ford at the debate in 1976 when he prematurely liberate poland from soviet domination. what is sometimes forgotten and you can see this on youtube. one of the panelists from the new york times who spent a lot of time in moscow looks at him believe you know the honeymoon is -- he says you didn't mean that, did you? and ford says the yugoslavs are dominated and the poles aren't
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dominated and we go through one solid week of the ford campaign on its heels having to persuade the president to say i made a mistake. presidents always run against their opponents on the ground that they know the world better. so what? suppose he said come on, i am the commander in chief. i know how many soviet troops are there. i am talking what is inside. they will never yield. let's say that changes a tiny handful of votes. go to ohio. a lot of european immigrants. you change 6,000 votes in ohio and ford wins. huge change 3500 votes in hawaii or mississippi. he wins the electoral college. he loses the popular vote substantially. has a playful note i have a congressman named al gore saying this must never happen again.
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sometimes you can't resist. you got to go with this. and the national security adviser suggests unlike carter, ford didn't have vietnam thanks or pay a price for arrogance. so maybe this buying monarchy is eased out and maybe instead of the ayatollah and meets an untimely fate for reasons i choose to clout in mystery maybe it is a much more moderate guy who takes over in iran. that changes a lot and also means when the hostages are seized that is wrapped up in five days so there is no -- i have 14 years of my life to figure out. the problem for ford or anyone who is president back then, the economic calamity of the 1970s
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was baked in the cake. it happened for structural reasons. the great stagnation makes this case which means that in 1980 ronald reagan who was undeniable, he is no longer running against an unpopular democratic incumbent. he is running to succeed an unpopular republican and 12 straight years of republican rule. as we saw in 2008 when you are trying to succeed your own party it is difficult under any circumstances. almost never done. when the person in power is unpopular you have a headache. on the democratic side everybody would assume ted kennedy would be the nominee and here i turn to 2008. the most prominent figure in the democratic party relative of the president everyone assumes this
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person -- could i find the 1980 equivalent of a first term young vibrant dynamic senator who could be it change candidate? maybe you could take a poll as to who it is. i think it is gary hart. i talked to some of his aides to figure out how that would be plausible. judge for yourself if it works or not. to wrap up, many of you may quarrel with these histories. that is fine. you can argue johnson would have so intimidated khrushchev he would not have put those missiles in cuba or humphrey would have beaten kennedy any way or nixon would have beat him or ford would have lost. the purpose of this exercise apart from my accumulating enormous wealth is to offer a kind of meditation on history. to suggest our impulse to fits what happened in these grand schemes and patterns can conceal
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from us the thought that history could have just as easily gone this way or that way. if the book gets you to shake your head or not your head i have done what i set out to do and i hope you will enjoy. [applause] >> here's what we're going to do. there is a microphone there. barbara, she who must be obeyed once questions asked from here. i can take -- if you can't get there i will take it and repeat them. i need to tell you one thing that happened today. i have done a story -- because this is history. i have done a story for sports illustrated that will be in the baseball hit issue about what would have happened in october of 2003 at the top of the eighth inning in relief field in game 6 if the gunmen reaching for the foul ball is stopped from
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interfering with more dilutive captors the ball and 0 cubs win the pennant and go to the world series with the new york yankees and destroy the career of a promising african-american senator. you can read that. is cheaper than buying the book but the way amazon's market is i don't think so. go ahead. >> as a contemporary of yours, i am glad i didn't know back in the 1970s, america would go more and more to the right and to the punitive fundamentalist christian etc. write. does your book suggests that if some of these things had happened that the move to the right would not? >> no. it is an intriguing question because my book stops in early 1981. but i do think by 1980 ronald reagan would have had the
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support of what was then the moral majority. the question would have been could you imagine an america that was less polarized on secular religious lines. i hadn't even thought about this. robert kennedy was a religious man. one of the things i didn't speculate about because i didn't have to was i am not sure robert kennedy would have been comfortable with row freeway. you can do that one. i have done enough. >> last weekend i went to see the movie made from philip dick's book. i had heard a blurb about your book. has the movie unfold and i kept thinking about your book. one question. why were you not one of the
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persons in that film, and the second is what is the connection between your book and dick's story? >> there is no connection. why didn't they ask me? how about anti-semitism? it was a guess. >> many years ago you wrote a hilarious piece for the national lampoon called if kennedy had lived and it had a lot of multifaceted cultural fall off as well as political as well as we would have gone to war on behalf of the beleaguered irish and so on and i want to know, did that work and inspire your thinking about this now, and secondly i wanted your view of
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some alternate history like going back in time to try to make sure hitler isn't born ends up with bad things happening anyway because of social forces that are so strong. >> stephen king is doing one of his compact thousand page novel for a guy goes back in time to prevent kennedy's assassination. those things are fascinating. the sound of thunder, famous fried bradbury store where somebody travels back in time to hunt dinosaurs and goes back to a mean world because of the lack of beauty, i deliberately -- i like them. >> what influence did that -- >> i would like to came credit but it was a group effort. that did write for the lampoon in another life. the most amazingly creative thing we did was to do an entire
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issue on the fact that john kennedy did not die in dallas. grateful nation repeal the twenty-second amendment and he was president of way through. and the cover is either a norman rockwell impression or maybe they got rockwell to do in of a gray-haired 16-year-old john kennedy and the whole culture changes. we don't go to war in vietnam but we go to war on behalf of the beleaguered catholics of northern ireland. what you have proven here is this has always been kind of stuck here. there's something about the near miss of life that has always intrigued me. i don't know that it was the reason i did this, but now that you mention it may have a point. >> you talk about the cultural impact of these political changes in your book too. >> this is the national lampoon and and i'm not going to a cultural changes we describe because --
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[talking over each other] >> in this book the one that i mentioned, at one point i will just share one moment with you. 1969, robert kennedy is reading about this three day concert and he is not happy with this and is saying to his young aides why aren't these people -- why are they fixing the environment and teaching people to read and one of his young aides takes a deep breath and says mr. president, on the one hand you have a choice of arduous physical labor. on the other hand you have a choice of three days of great music, drugs and easy sex. it is not that complicated. where these folks want to go. >> thank you so much.
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>> brendon de jonge and when he became president passed a prodigious amount of legislation, large part of which was kennedy's legislative program. he became very unpopular because of that. this is a speculative question. would you care to speculate how john kennedy would have fired if he had to push those controversial issues through congress himself? >> good question. no question that in terms of the legislative skill johnson was a master but if you read the white house tapes of johnson's first weeks and months in office you see him talking to be southerners and say i will have to do this. i am getting incredible pressure and he talks to civil-rights leaders, at one point emulating roosevelt. i need you to start civil writing. put pressure so i can tell the southerners i have to do this. i am not sure john kennedy had
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those skills but one thing about reality is the last five to six months of john kennedy's life he was beginning to change from a cautious politician, not all that interested in domestic life. he was a foreign policy guy, into a guy who for the first time ever put an american president on the side of civil-rights as a moral issue. that is where the what ifs gets those they can divide don't know how to deal with. it is a really good question. >> i have only read the first section dealing with john kennedy and the assassination. when i first read the book or that particular section at least it was in the first context of the first fifteen pages or so, you hypothesized that johnson was going to become president, i
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was shocked at that. i came to different conclusion. i came to the conclusion the country would have been so shocked by that particular assassination that they would have sought another year or two of eisenhower. i was curious -- >> they couldn't because he was a two term president. this is a case where you take your choice. that is what i meant. the parallel universe theory. it is infinite. somewhere in another parallel universe someone has written a book with everything completely different from mine. but i do think -- the thing i sketched out was a live version. the country is traumatized and we have to get past this. democrats won the elections so
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let's not worry about the electoral college. let's finagle it so johnson gets hubert humphrey to widen his reach to the liberals and that is what i chose. i am thinking of a line that h. l. mencken use to write to people who quarrel with him, he said you may be right. >> those of us who understand history talking through reading new generation. do you consider any examples liberal alternative history examples where it is not why not, and -- >> the reason people are laughing is some of us think we were in the modern age. you are right and we are wrong. when i did a piece on the 50th anniversary of the kennedy
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inaugural any, turned to a member you are doing a what? yes i did. i am always asked -- the book is that out five years but i have frequently been asked what about the 2000 election? i presume you remember the 2000 election. the answer is assuming this book sweeps the country and they make a lot more i have the only other one i come up with, plausibility and consequence, a change in the 2000 election but i will tell you this. it is not what you think it is. it has nothing to do with hanging chad's for the butterfly ballot and nothing to do with katherine harris or florida or the u.s. supreme court. it is something else and i am working on it. the other reason i can't bring it too far forward or too far back is first of all it has the courage enough that there are people i can talk to about it. there's a great what if about
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the 1916 election but the interview is a bitch. there is a really interesting real what if about the most recent election which seems to have a kind of gone by the by. all the analyses that hillary clinton's campaign was dysfunctional and she wasted her money and barack obama's campaign, all true. if michigan and florida had not moved their primaries up to try to go first and therefore made them invalid, if they stayed where they were we would have had a tie on supertuesday and hillary clinton would have won a landslide in florida. it was the worst demographic state for barack obama imaginable. a landslide in florida. the third biggest state in the country. she would have had more
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delegates, more votes and the superdelegates were pushed to follow the rule of the electorate would have been on her side. i am sure the obama campaign has an alternate theory. the problem is i don't know where to take that. we are only two years in and there are plenty of more modern things that don't yield interesting results. i had all kinds of ways. keep bill clinton from being in impeached, they don't yield it to me. i had to have a scenario where the consequence of small change was enormous. when you cease to be a member of the modern generation then you should do one of these. >> i hope i can successfully articulate this. you based lot of your stories on suppositions with fact that seem to exist but what ifs.
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in my opinion there are four instances where politics had a chance to change but didn't because of the assassination of mr. lincoln, the two kennedy brothers and martin luther king. had those gentlemen survived, i would like you to comment on the fact that that would have brought the truth change that seems to be lacking in politics today which seems to have things that continue to exist over and over again. i see nothing different in the past 200 years except those four gentlemen. >> it is a pretty sweeping notion. no question the removal of those people from life changed things. if john hinckley's gun had been appointed an inch to is left we would have had ronald reagan as president for eight weeks.
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original not eight years. one of the reasons i stopped the robert kennedy presidency in the summer of 1970 is he is having a lot of trouble. he is having big city mayors and traditional democrats and organized labor push back on his ideas because they involve structural changes that hurt. i don't quarrel with what you are saying but i don't -- i don't feel secure enough to know if lincoln isn't assassinated we have a better post civil war period. could be. i just don't know. ladies and gentlemen, but for a few hanging chad's and possible justices of the supreme court. >> you probably answered this question. you were an aide to senator robert kennedy. if he had been elected president
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you would have been in the white house with him for several years. you would have remained in washington and does that mean you would have turned into a boring lawyer like the rest of us? >> since i am talking to a former supreme court clerk who won the job that i had competed for i should point out the best thing that happened to me in my life was not getting that job. not you, me. i would have been a terrible clerk. i would have lost the papers. some innocent person would have been put to death. it was not the right role for me. in the same sense that i had ambitions to be a supreme court justice and not taking the bar exam really -- i tell presidential candidate ever to 4 years could i remind you you did not have to be a lawyer to sit on the supreme court? i'd don't know.
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i chose not to live in the fleshpots of washington. i live in the heartland of america. personal the upper west side. i just don't think -- let me put it more seriously. i would have liked the chance to see that. something robert kennedy said to dick goodwin not long before he died. original there is a wonderful book called remembering america. you have to find it on ebay. i don't think it is in print. he said to him if i am elected what chance do i have to make basic changes? it is not like you get elected president and then you say here is what happens. that is what are dealt with. all these forces are pushing back on you. one of these things he said in 1966, kennedy propose that high
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school students be permitted to leave school for a few hours a day to work. the point of that was you could earn money for your family and you would start learning the satisfaction of work because in a lot of neighborhood they have never seen it. they see drug dealers and professional basketball players. you have to forgive the gender. they don't see men at work. imagine the teachers' unions with that proposal. i think you would hear cries of child labor. not just from teachers' unions but traditional liberals. i think it would have been a really neat experience to see what that was like. i am not sure i would have been any good at it. >> i don't think it is really a detour. you mentioned the cuban missile crisis in essence of decision
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about the crisis. you focus on the chance that puts people in to play. that was a factor that is a fairly minor factor but there were other forces in play in a historical crisis like that that would be more important. >> it is a confluence. robert kennedy is giving credit for this but it was tommy thompson, former soviet ambassador who first pointed out that when two letters came from khrushchev, the first one, dated, the second one bellicose,
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kennedy said answer the first letter. he understood the character of the soviet leadership. you have to have a certain mental agility to fink about that. that is the best that i can do. is there somebody who does not -- want to ask a question? it is not compulsory. [inaudible] >> the question is what i do something like this on a world
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stage? there are three or four book called what if. these are essays by historians. there are a couple narrative. they go all the way back to grecian times. had cheeses not been crucified. if i have a strength it is here. the idea of doing a book like that about stuff i don't know much about is not a good idea. plenty of other people -- it is not -- i said at the beginning, i am not alone, people who do what i do to an extraordinary extent, they are hooked on politics at a ridiculously early age. doesn't make sense. i am dating myself. summer of 1952 i was young.
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we only had a radio and my grandfather's cottage and i would listen to yankee games and i couldn't because we had to listen to the republican convention. so it was a beauty. it with a knockdown drag out fight between taft and eisenhower. dirksen gets on the podium and looks at tom do we and says we followed you before and you took us down the road to defeat. not the things you see these days. i didn't know what this was about. i knew something cool was going on. for me this is where i should stay. the same reason, mariano rivera should not play third base. i'm not comparing myself to him but you ought to know what you
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think you are ok at the hand just stay there. it is tough enough talking about what you think you know something about. there are couple of more books and they are in this arena. i appreciate you coming. >> this event took place at politics bookstore in washington d.c.. this is >> c-span's local content vehicles with st. petersburg cable provider white house networks traveled around the area to look at the city's literary theme. st. petersburg is the first of eight southeastern cities that will feature between now and the
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end of the year. >> how do you think the book industry has changed? >> the word former is the word. there are so many of us. newspapers have dropped their book pages. i am -- after i retired we have two pages. what is changing is the way people are reading, the vehicle. and to some extent what they are reading. but mainly habit of reading is what is changing. we emphasize what book editors covered and they are tied into an industry. one thing that is happening is they are disassociating from the
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usual traditional vehicles and they are looking for people love books and want to read. i don't think that has ever changed but they are looking for other ways of reading in an easier way and you have hand-held devices and there's nothing wrong with reading on these devices. old fogeys want the books but the content is the same. they are still reading so i am happy about that. >> they have gotten rid of their book reviews. >> i don't know. it is a big mistake. they say it is because they have no advertising which is true enough. the publishing industry is on the ropes. their rationale is this place. that is their client. that is the customer readers. i never understood why they didn't want to emphasize books
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and reading. the st. petersburg times is ahead of a curve that way. >> he mentioned these changes in technology. what does that mean for independent bookstores. how do they keep up? >> some of them are incorporating some of this. they are figuring out that they have to go with it and there is going to be in the future books on demand, people are going to come in and a book produced on the spot. it has already happened. the book industry is very old fashioned. when the paperback case of how people said that was it. no one is going to read any more because the first paperbacks were really these trashy novels and it was the end of reading. paperbacks were the beginning of a mass democratic distribution of books. all this alarm is some is
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misplaced but you understand it is a very old-fashioned industry. someone once said that it is a nineteenth century industry living in a twenty-second century world. it is schizophrenic. some are adapting better than others. i am happy to see a huge warehouse space filled with books and people coming, it is a tourist destination. and in tampa, another model which is a very personal you get to know your customer and call them up when a book comes. it has the aspect of used books, self published books, and revolutionizing the way they
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read. >> they said the closing of borders and barnes and noble not doing very well that this is almost the end of bookstores. they are reading. >> it is funny because when these came on the scene they predicted the end of reading. the independent stores created the aid the a and did a lot of innovative things to stay alive. not all of them made it. some people are cheering the end of the bookstores. i like them because they did lot of activities in towns and have a lot of book signings and were very active in communities and to me that is the key. getting involved with people and bringing them in for various other reasons. not just expecting them to wander by. it is easier to set up your computer and order a book on
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amazon. if you have a reason to come to a bookstore because you're going to meet other readers or you are a writer and these are communities where people who write and read, this is why this of publishing industry is becoming so popular and flourishing and why amazon is getting involved, why barnes and noble is going to start doing it, they are starting to publish their own books because they understand the connection between people who want to read and people who want to write and people who want to publish in all its forms. the successful ones have understood that they have to draw the community in and you have to have -- the bookstore has to be a destination not just to buy the book because they can do that easier on line. it has to be for other reasons. >> as a person who has founded a book special be personal in what will be think these have?
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>> here's what i thought about the book festival back then. i had gone to the miami book festival in the early 90s and i was amazed because it was so much fun and here were my people. i said why can't we do this? i asked the publishers why do you send others to certain places and not others and they said these places have these book festivals. i kept saying why not us? so we started this book festival and the first time we held it the didn't know what we were doing. we ask authors to come. we had big names. thousands of people showed up. we didn't expect so many people to show up. there was this need for people to reach other people. that is why you have book clubs. what i find interesting, people keep saying people don't read.
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book sales have gone down. but the book sales have gone up. amazon is one of the biggest purveyors of anything on the net. book clubs have flourished. men are forming book clubs which was never true. book clubs--the first book clubs were formed by black slaves who secretly got together to teach each other to read. it is a very old tradition for people to get together and read books. i really think when you look at this you're looking at the object of the publishing industry, which is groping around like the newspaper industry. they are in trouble but not because people have stopped beating. i don't believe that. [talking over each other] >> they have to adapt.
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i do think the industries are going to do best, the industries that tap into the community needs that don't just get sort of obsessed with the latest books. that is why bookstores are becoming popular. like us clothing stores. people realize we don't have to have the latest. we are frugal when we look for the most interesting. you have a lot of used bookstores cropping up. that is an interesting phenomenon. you have a lot of people who are publishing and selling books in a very nontraditional way. they are not published by traditional publishers so they don't have the usual routes. i gave the last festival of reading, they invited me to give me a lecture about self publishing and the room was filled. i don't think it was my popularity but people are hungry


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