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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 25, 2011 8:00am-9:00am EST

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institutions of higher learning the brazil traveled world engage in public service, go to war and return from that, merry and have children of their own. their spirit of adventure, insight and love and good humor have inspired and the joy of their company was not the least of this offer's pleasure. time, patience and wise affection i dedicate this book. ..
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books on c-span2 book tv. >> and up from 11th annual national book festival on the national mall here in washington. biographer edmund morris presents his book for roosevelt. they live to three blocks away from us on capitol hill in the late 1990s. i learned something very important and new from his own mouth this morning, that thanks to the efforts taken directly to
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don graham that the comic strip zippy was restored in the "washington post." you also may not know that is much a conservationist as his great subject, theodore roosevelt. and once many years ago there was a tree in front of their house on second street that the city of washington was determined to cut down. edman was so determined it not be cut down that he climbed a tree and wrapped his arms around it and said, should if you must this old gray head, but spare my favorite tree, he said. edman does not need an introduction. is now concluded after more than three decades work one of the monumental biographical studies in american literature, the third part of his theodore roosevelt is of course trend in which covers a protracted and difficult in times painful period in theodore roosevelt's life when he missed the bully pulpit of the presidency, this
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being said center everybody's attention, was touring the world, running into serious illness, suffered great personal losses. it's a dramatic story. nobody tells the story better than edmund. and it's my great pleasure to introduce my old friend. [applause] >> that's completely untrue about me climbing the tree. [laughter] i tried to end would skating back to ground level. after that incident whichç surprised even me, you're a michael 55 year old guy, and iñ was them.ññ [laughter] hugging this straight in añç passion of the protective isñç him.? i've never felt that way about 
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tree before. before that i tend to agree with ronald reagan. if you'd seen one redwood, you have seen them all.ñ but the site, the sound of that but it's often biting into the great pine tree outside ourrz house, just work something up i me. and next thing i know i'm out there in my socks, 7:00 in thez morning, hugging the tree.ç preventing its destruction.; well of course i did notñz= succeed. the tree actually belong to the building next door and had every right to cut it down. so i had to retreat back into my house and listen to the rest of the destruction of that tree, going just about worse than i've ever felt in my life, and sort of astonished at the intensity of my own feelings. wrote an article about it for
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the new times, and some monthsç later i happened to be talking about the incident for howardñ nemerov, the great american poet. and he said, you know, i onceç wrote a poem about theñ destruction of a tree at theç bottom of our driveway. and he said of all the thousands of poems i've written in my life, that was the one which generated the most response. there is something fundamental about the destruction of a great tree that affects us all very powerfully. i don't know if any of you remember, germany in the 1980s, the black forest suffered a strange period of angst where trees were dying off by the millions, some mysteries disease that no one could comprehend. the thought was it has something to do with environmental
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pollution. ultimately, what was interesting was during this period about the self-destruction of the black forest, there was a quantum increase in cases of clinical depression all across germany. the black forest eventually recovered, and the incidences of psychological depressions went down. when you consider the german people have this ancestral and mythological memory of the forest, the woods where the gods lived, and when they felt that their mythological history was being destroyed, they felt that they were being destroyed themselves, the people. all of which has nothing to much to do with biography, but, well, i guess it does. because theodore roosevelt as i'm sure most of you know, was
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the first and greatest of our conservationist president's. when he became president in 1901, the word conservation could be found in american dictionaries but did not have the meaning that we now associate it with. it was tr who much conversation on a capital see, on the map, into the dictionaries, and the concept of conservation into the american mind. he was the one, as president, who made the american people realize that our natural resources are inventory, our natural resources was being depleted at a frightening rate. 50% of the forests that columbus auch or at least whoever got here first, saw had already
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gone. and it was he who in 1908, and i think a single greatest stroke of statesmanship assembled the first white house conservation conference of the governors, brought all the chief executives of all the states together with men of science, man of -- to compile an inventory of the natural resources, and a method of philosophy of protecting these resources for the children and the children's children of everybody alive in the country at that time. when he left the white house in march 1909, conservation have become such an important topic that a world conservation conference was planned to take place in the white house two or
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three years after he left office. and he handed the agenda of this conference over to his successor, william howard taft, who couldn't have cared less about the subject and allowed it to die, and that conference never happened however when we do look back on tr now, 100 years later, i think that is the one achievement of his presidency that we should revere your and remember. it's something of a homecoming to me to come to this particular stretch of turf, and to be in proximity of a particular castle, smithsonian castle, because i came in here 1983, long before any of you were born -- [laughter] why are you laughing?
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as a fellow of the wilson institute, the wilson center for scholars, which used to be headquartered here in the castle. i was a fellow for three months and that's where i began my second roosevelt biography, theodore rex. it's the first time that i had ever been in an academic environment amongst fellow scholars from all over the world, and i must confess i felt very strange in the company of these several guys with long strings of degrees after their names. i was given the study in the tallest of the towers you see outside, right at the top with immense gothic windows looking out over the mall. and the first evening i spent
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there feeling very strange, i was disturbed by the most extraordinary screening in the corridor outside. it sounded like a knife fight on a new york subway. so i rushed out of my office and said to the professor was in office opposite me, is somebody being killed? what do we do? do we call the police? he said don't worry, it is a pair of wednesday scholars, don't mix with those guys. [laughter] >> that was my introduction to the lethal world of academe. and it hasn't changed much since. i have a feeling, ladies and gentlemen, we're all in the wrong tent. this is the history and biography tent but i noticed
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there is a tent down the way called fiction and mystery. that's where we should be if we're interested in history and biography. history and biography are supposed to be nonfictional disciplines. i want to speak about history because i'm not a historian but i will speak about biography. yes, it's categorized as nonfiction, and yes, we who practice it face everything we write, if we're honest people, on in controversial documents, on letters, on diaries, on contemporary reports. and from these presumably is undeniable, incontrovertible documents, we constructed the true story, in quotation marks,
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of what happened. but the older i get the more biographies i write, and the more obsessive i get about checking every single fact, even if i described the smell of flowers on a particular day in theodore roosevelt's life, or the expression on ronald reagan's face as he said something, never write these things unless i have documentary evidence. even so, and even though i have this philosophy which all of my professional colleagues do, the older i get, the more i began to understand that all is fiction. i was reading this morning and the library of congress, snitch -- some letters of thomas alba
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edison, who is my current, my next subject. and i found this letter, handwritten, in 1914 by thomas edison to his big buddy, henry ford. and it's about smoking, and he says something like your ford, dear friend ford, he said, in his exquisite handwriting, the damage done by cigarette smoking is largely due to the paper in which cigarettes are wrapped. the burning paper creates a chemical compound called something something, i've forgotten the words, which lodges in the lungs. and will lodges in the lungs of young people, it forms an uncontrolled habit and a disease which is ultimately fatal. and for this reason i never
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employee cigarette smokers in any of my factories. signed, thomas edison. so here's a document, which biographers would naturally want to quote. however, i know that he liked to smoke cigars in private. why did he write this diatribe against cigarette smoking? because henry ford, the recipient of his letter, happened to be fanatically opposed to smoking. e. had written to edison to ask them to write a letter on the subject that he could use to promote his cause, so edison wrote for his friend, apparently sincere condemnation of smoking. in other words, he and collected his letter toward the desire of sensibility of his correspondent.
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now, is that document a true reflection of the way to edison thought about tobacco smoking? no. it's not. so the biographer has to take into account the fact that every document they scrutinize is going to have an agenda of some sort or other. when i was writing my biographies of theodore roosevelt, it was one of the most articulate of writers, he was gifted perpetual writing machine. constantly pouring out his soul in 150,000 letters during his short life, 40 books, countless magazine articles, and no other -- no biographer has there been able to base how much.
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i based mine on authentic self-expression by an extremely honest and indefatigable literary person. i noticed time and time again that letters written to different people at different times gave totally different versions of different subjects, because of his consciousness as he was addressing himself to the recipient. we biographers will base our more contemporary biographies on recordings and interviews, presumably the transcript of an interview with ron reagan or richard nixon, is the authentic words that the president spoke, there on the page, black and white, but reading these
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transcripts you can't see nixon's face as he said something. you can't notice the way he hitched up his fat legs as he segued into a particularly dark full statement. you can see the expression on ronald reagan's face you are deprived of the body language that accompanied these words, offered a person's body language and facial expression will deny what that person is writing. so there again, it's a biography based on transcripts, authenticp over!b do we miss a large part x what truth really is? what is the truth? oliver wendell holmes, our greatest jurist, once defined the truth from, as a supreme court justice, the truth as what i can't help but believe.
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what we believe is true to us, as any interviewer will discover when they ask questions of a person that contradicted that person's fantasies. you can get no more violent reaction than when you question a long held fantastic belief. ronald reagan, one of his favorite stories, which never fail to make them tear up with a story of world war ii bomber flying over germany and being struck by antiaircraft fire and beginning to plummet towards the ground. reagan would tell this story time and again, always with exactly the same inflections about how all the crew bailed out of this destroy bomber, with
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the exception of the rear gunner, a young boy who had been so badly damaged by the anti-aircraft fire that he was dying, strapped in his seat, he couldn't move. incapable of parachuting out, and he called out to the captain, says reagan, pleading captain, captain, stay with me, don't deserve this plan, don't jump. and the captain went back and cradled in his arms and said, don't worry, son, we will ride this one down together. at which the president of the united states always burst into tears. well, after i heard the story about 18 times, i had the courage to say, mr. president, that story, we can't really be sure that it's true. he said why not? i said well, if they went down
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together, in the plane, -- [laughter] he said it's true. [laughter] and the expression in his eyes was rarely angry. so we biographers, if we're honest, have to deal with the compulsive need of believers to believe, what they believe, and to believe in belief. since i am here design a few copies, or with block, quite a few copies, of "colonel roosevelt," i'll give you a brief indication of what the book is about. it's the third book in the trilogy that i've written of his life, and it tells the story of his last 10 years.
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the years following its departure from the white house in march 1909, culminating with his death on the piece of the epiphany, january 6, 1919, 10 years of extraordinary adventurous life. a story so astonishing in its terms of fate, in its combination of tragedy in common and comedy, and it's moments, long episodes of adventure, notably the expiration of the river of doubt in brazil in 1913-1914. that estimate, initially felt like it when i was writing it, to read like a novel, like a narrative novel. but it is all, in so far as i can help it is true, it is true.
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he really did do all these things. so of all the three books i've written, this is the one i enjoyed most writing. because he we have the only bona fide literary intellectual who has inhabited the white house since thomas jefferson. i told you about the 14 books he wrote and all the letters. i did not tell you that many of the periodical articles he wrote after he left the presidency in serious magazines were astonishingly cerebral, and the infusions of a man so you can't believe was also a politician. for example, in 1911 i discovered this piece, and then completely forgot about, and enormous along essay by theodore roosevelt, former president about the ideological conflict between evolutionary science and conservative orthodox religion
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o.exactly the kind of theologicl scientific debate which is going on right now 100 years later. inviting this enormously long study of the conflict between faith and reason, he revealed not only his own scientific error edition, this was after all a qualified foreign of colleges and natural historian, paleontologist, smithsonian, when tr was president would sometimes send hostile eyes -- of the present identify what they were. a genuine scientist. in addition a man who had a skeptical but respectful attitude towards organized religion. i get it quite a lot of space in my book because of the maternity, the contemporaneous news of the subject he addressed
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so eloquently in 1911 in the course of which he read books in three languages, german, french and italian, as well as english. it's truly impressive achievement for a man who, just a few short years before had been president of the united states. but apart from his intellectual side, apart from his political side, which and held him in 1912 to run the most formidable third party campaign in our history,bb the famous bull moose campaign, progressive party campaign. a campaign which he knew was doomed, but which the ideological and idealistic reasons he felt compelled to wage. by doing so, splitting the republican vote and making
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inevitable the election of woodrow wilson. that was his political side in action, as opposed to the intellectual. but it also, this campaign, brought out his supremely dramatic theatrical side. one of the reasons it's been such a delight to read about him all these years is he was such good theater. he was a natural ham. he discharged magnetism and electricity. he had the gift of theater, the gift of presenting himself, the gift of drama, the gift of articulating things, doing things in a dramatic way. for example, at the height of the campaign in october 1914, at the end of a long day of campaigning, milwaukee, wisconsin, colonel roosevelt, as he liked to be called, was emerging from his hotel about 10
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minutes to eight in the evening to give his last speech of the day in a milwaukee auditorium. he was exhausted after a long day of speaking, but he wanted to go through with his speech. he comes out, and in an uncanny degree shattering, foreshadowing of the assassination attempt on ronald reagan in march 1981, he stepped out of a hotel, his limousine was waiting for him, the door opened to receive him a secret service guys surrounded him, small crowd in the street cheering as he appeared. as he climbed into his limo, he waved at the crowd acknowledging their applause. and as he waved his arm up, a short, pale young man emerged from the crowd, shot him point blank in the chest. the bullet went through his
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thick overcoat, and threw his jacket, through his waistcoat pocket, through the steel rimmed spectacle case in that pocket, through the 50 page speech he was about to deliver, double voted so that makes 100 pages of very thick paper, through his shirt, smacked into a rib, on a trajectory, which if it had continued, a fraction of an inch more would have killed him before he sat down. he did, in fact, sit down with the shock of the bullet. the cops wrestled this young man away, and took them off, a paranoid psychotic like all the others. tr said it's all right, he picked me. aware of the fact that blood was beginning to spread initiative front, and he, he poleaxed his
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aides by saying take me to the milwaukee auditorium. i have to deliver my speech. they said colonel, we got to get you to the hospital, you've been shot. i will go to the auditorium, showing off his 78 teeth. so they had to take him. one of these aides felt he had to step out onstage to when the capacity audience, ladies and gentlemen, for the roosevelt has been shot, but he does wish to address you tonight. [laughter] and here he is a. looking great in the face, teetering slightly, i.t. spoke for 90 minutes. [laughter] when he took the speech out of his pocket and saw the perforations, there's a photograph of it in my book,
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still exists, that's when he realized the seriousness of what had happened to him. whereupon being a naturally theatrical ham, he unbuttoned his coat, he exposed his spreading bloodstains and said, it takes more than that to kill a bull moose. [laughter] now, what writer can resist this kind of theatrical but genuine behavior, this kind of extraordinary drama, and the symbolism that it implies? this is my blood which was shed for you, this is my body. is not fanciful -- it's not fanciful to apply religious
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interpretation to this occurrence, because progressive party campaign in 1912 was extraordinarily evangelical. tr was a nominated in the convention, it was to the south of professional hymn singing, organ music, evangelical oratory, the new york delegation stormed the isles led by oscar solomon straus, the first jewish singing onward christian soldiers. [laughter] and, therefore, tr's behavior, which i'm sure was quite subconscious, was an example of religious history at its most compelling. so you can understand why as a writer i love to write about this guy. his confrontation with woodrow wilson in world war i begins to
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approximate tragedy, because although wilson was president when that great conflict broke out in europe, theodore roosevelt as you see if you read the initial chapters of my book was a man who knew intimately from personal experience every crowned head in europe and every president and prime minister in his great can't -- in this great cross-country tour he stayed in the palaces, he reviewed their army, he lectured at the universities. he spoke their language is. he understood the outside world. he had a nobel peace prize in his pocket for his diplomacy during his presidency ending the russian japanese war. this was a very accomplished diplomat. the only president in our
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history who has ever been asked to mediate a foreign war. if he had been president in 1914, and i don't likely speculate but it's pretty certain that the heads of the european powers, at least in early 1915, we know the were all looking for a way to find a way out, i think it would have turned to president roosevelt to mediate the differences. but instead they had to make do with a president who was parochial in the extreme, the son of a virginia preacher whose only foreign experience before he became president was a couple of bicycling trips to england. spoke no languages that i'm aware of. so theodore roosevelt out of power during those years in world war i became more and more pathologically frustrated that wilson was in charge and he not.
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i tell the story of this gigantic confrontation as honestly as i can, i where of the papers behind it, and also of the idealistic nature of tr's desire to have the united states joined at war and fight on the side of the allies. he was a profoundly civilized man. we all know what a warmonger he was and how in his youth he loved to fight and talk about battle and charge up san juan hill. but at this stage he had begun to understand the nature of war, and the nature of the militaristic threat that german digression was posing in europe. three anti-civilization incidents staged his attitude of that war. at first he supported wilson's policy of neutrality. but when he heard him that the
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germans had burned down the university in belgium, thereby destroying the greatest medieval library in europe, an act of deliberate cultural tourism, that they had gone on to distort weems cathedral, about which tr by the way said when he heard the news, it was as though he had heard about the extension of a whole species. and then the lusitania incident of may 1915 when a passenger ship carrying american citizens, german submarine with a loss of many hundreds of lives. those three incidents persuaded him that the united states had to get into that were anti-must defeat the pacifism of woodrow wilson. i won't go into the long story of the competition because it
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does take up the second half of my book. i will only say that at the end in 1918 the tragedy began to manifest. tr, who have been denied permission by president wilson to form a rigid and of volunteers and take them to europe in advance of our own regular army, this is when the united states finally did decide to enter the war, he was denied that permission, quite justly, by wilson because he was by then an aging man whose notions of battle were no longer valid. he went home and he put all his hopes, military glory and honor, in the service of his four sons. theodore junior, archibald, kermit, and the youngest, the brightest, the one most like himself, quentin, who became a fighter pilot. all these boys went to the war
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the distinction themselves as soldiers, but, of course, in july, it had to be quentin to be shot down in his first serious a dog fight, and hit the ground a dead man. the impact of this tragedy on tr, which you can perhaps get if you look at a photograph in my book of quentin's dead body laying beside this broken biplane, laying there like something falling off a hook in an armored war, that reality of his death destroyed the lost vestiges of romanticism in theodore roosevelt breath, and made it just about inevitable that he himself would die a few months later of what was then called a pulmonary embolism, but which i think we can now quite
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just avoid call a broken heart. he died january 1919, the unquestionable future nominee of the republican party in 1920, if he had survived. and if he had survived and been nominated, he would unquestionably had been elected president again in the republican landslide that gave us warren harding. but he died when he did. i'm glad for mixed reasons that he died when he did. eight, because after 30 years of writing about him -- [applause] i didn't particularly want to write a fourth volume. people say to me than you must feel terrible about that dreadful deaf. i said actually it was the greatest killing them off. all authors love to write death scenes, so he is dead now, he is
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buried. there's an apple log describing his reputation. and now i buried him, too, and i am moving on to the life of thomas edison, with anticipation and excitement. and no particular nostalgia for tr, but a lingering affection which will be with me until i die. so thanks for coming, ladies and gentlemen,.dgd. [applause] thank you. i believe we have five minutes for any questions, if there are any. is that a line to a mic there?8 >> theodore roosevelt ability to multitask, did that change much
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and attacked to the aging process? initial quote again? what did you start off by saying? >> his ability to multitask. at the same time that an ordinary human didn't seem possible to do. >> yes, his ability to multitask. >> did that change much during his lifetime? >> no, it did not change. throughout his lifetime he was a phenomenon of activity. as henry adams said, the president is pure act. he literally did multitask. he could dictate to her three letters simultaneously to three secretaries. if you enter the executive office and a good time walking across the space between the door and his desk that he would pick up a book and you would read a couple paragraphs ask you were approaching him. he was a phenomenally fast moving and phenomenally
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receptive to indiscriminate information. i told you, i mentioned are the on the he tends to memorize what he read. he read at an average of four pages a minute, turn them over with extreme regularity. and as he read, he had this photographic mind which oddly enough ronald reagan did, too, of photographing the contents of each page. so much so that years later, in one documented, 20 years later, he could add at a whim, start reciting stuff he had read 20 years before and had never recited since. so he was a phenomenon in that sense, and that's how he managed to get such extraordinary amount of work done, physical work, intellectual work, during his
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>> hi. rededicate so much overlap to seems to be a pattern throughout history the great men are often saddled with particularly i'm great siblings or brothers. you say is the root behind the production in one family such a great site and such a troubled one? >> the gentleman is asking about the disparity between the income grew the between one sibling and another. the one sibling who will become world, as happened with ronald brother's footsteps. his younger brother's footsteps.
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i would interview him and i'm eyes, the texture of his flesh. it was ronald reagan's flash and mediocrity which made him light years different from his brother. i'm sure the same is true of tr and his brother. i certainly know it is true even more and his brother alec was sort of a pop knowledge that but it is a picture of these two guys together, the eyes of the one and our electric, snapping with genius but the eyes of the other men are not. it's inexplicable, to me, at any rate i presume scientists can get near to explain it, but there are strange, unique personalities who emerge from to
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create unique things, and do unique things. where they come from i have no clue, the fact that they exist is why the profession of biography is so rewarding. one more question. i think we have two minutes left in that we in communications with tweet roosevelt regarding the river and? >> what about in? >> he re-created the river of doubt, document on 12 vision -- >> can't hear the question. >> if you in communications with tweet of roosevelt? >> and oh, yes. tweed russell is a great, great, great grandson of tr. he led a reservation -- experienced it firsthand, and
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the nightmares that is great, great grandfather experienced. and through doing this has been able to make us understand that that trip really was hellish as it seems to be in tr's own personal account. that river by the way is a river longer than the right, and tr took great pride in having put on the map. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> that event part of the 2011 national book festival here in washington, d.c. to find out more visit fast. reflate "the new york times" released their top 10 best books in 2011. here are the five nonfiction titles.
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>> well, >> it's my policy not to discusm
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the films that i am making while i'm making them. for all the obvious reasonsre yy given are eagerly working on one? >> may be. i just don't, i don't talk about it. they just appear when they appear. i mean, it's not in the bestiv interest of the film to give a heads up. with sicko, before i made sickoi i made a mistake of saying i wae making the film about the healtt hareak industry.stry andhe healt the health care industry just went on high other.aceutimp armors companies wentan on realn high other.asn't goi even though the film was going to be about them, it was about health insurance industry at the pharmaceutical companies spent dsndreds of thousands of dollarn preparing for me. gi i would get all these internal memos sent to me from people that worked at different pharmaceutical companies sank we had an interest today were tiree
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and michael moore actor to comen in and do role-playing with us e is michael moore should show upy in the building of this is how a you're supposed to handle them. advisor had a michael moore in e hotline.and if i sho if i show up at one of the regional offices around theoffio country, call this number in ner york. they just went -- wendell potter who was an egg sac is can he wrote his great book last year, lked abo he was a vice president of sigma he talked about the millions of dollars they spent hoping to discredit me, to attack me, too, if necessary figuratively, not literally a help them push me off a cliff. so they, you know, i learned my. lesson there. it's not a good idea to give them advance notice what i'm workingem on. if >> and booktv interviewed wendell potter. if you like to see that you can go to t just use the search function in the upper left hand corner.
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this e-mailfu t to mr. moore, a: iranian american i am concerned about rumors that you may be-ama planning a trip to iran. then, pro-government press haspa written more than once that you been invited to come to iran and to have accepted. they would consider that a too if it happened. happens. >> i have been in invited for many years and "bowling for columbine" won the top prize at a film festival in iran and the prize was a beautiful persian rug they sent me. no. i'm not going to iran to the film festival. i don't know if it is really... you know, the thing is, with iran, i have been active in the last year or two, they've had a couple of filmmakers, essentially have been under house arrest, and i have been
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active with other filmmakers in the country to convince them iranian government to leave them alone and let them make their films and iranian filmmakers, they have the greatest filmmakers, if you have a chance to see an iranian film, they are really, really good and it is definitely a country that loves the movies and i think we saw through the green movement here a year or two ago, there are huge -- a huge sentiment in the country to be free of the dictates of those who would want to run the country. iran is a democracy on a certain level. they actually do have free elections, anyone can run, and there have been a couple documentaries i've seen that are incredible things and they're not -- i try to avoid any sort of evil act, axis of evil discussion because i know that
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there are people in our government, now that we've had our way with iraq, want to move on to the next bogeyman and iran seems to be it. and there are certain forces that want us to now go to war or bomb iran, things like that. and i try to avoid any kind of -- i don't want to be associated with anything to do with my government attacking anybody else again on this planet. so i think we leave to it iranian people and i think they are going to stand up and get the country they want. and i'm hopeful for that. >> this is michael moore's most recent book, "here comes trouble." stories from my life. john in portland, oregon. you're on the air. >> caller: hey, michael. i've seen a few of your propaganda films over the years, and, i've noticed that you try to edit things so people think something happened when it didn't. and i wanted to specifically ask about fahrenheit 911. you have a section where you are
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asking congressmen to send their kids to iraq and one congressman, republican congressman said he had two nephews in afghanistan and you edited it so it doesn't respond and looks like he has no response and walks off. and, that is not what happened and i want to know why you didn't include his actual response if you are supposed to be a documentarian. >> thank you for that question. first of all, in that particular scene i had him a specific question and, i asked it of every congressman i ran into, republican or democrat. would you send your son, your son or daughter, to iraq and he wouldn't answer the question and instead, he tried to -- and a number of others did, too, oh, i have a nephew, i have an uncle or a cousin or... i have somebody down the block, that is in iraq right now. and no, i don't think you understand my question.
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would you send your son or your daughter, not your sister's son or daughter, your son or your daughter, and he wouldn't answer the question. they don't want to answer that question, because at the time when i made the film, "fahrenheit 911" there was only one member of congress who actually had a son or daughter in iraq. and i just thought, wow that is interesting, there are 535 members of congress. majority of them voted for the war. but they don't seem to want to be willing to sacrifice someone from their own family. send kids from the other family, those who live on the other side of the tracks, let them go do it. that was the point of that and he was giving me a dodge answer, and saying he had a relative over there and that wasn't my question. and i still think it is a relevant question. if you are going to vote for
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war, would you be willing to send your son and daughter and, i will tell you, i was over... i had not seen a world war ii memorial until yesterday and i went over there, and when you walk in, on the first stone as you walk into the memorial, it says, world war ii memorial, big letters and big letter under it it says, george bush and it shocked me for a second and i think, oh, because he was president when it opened but i'm thinking, i don't see that on the washington monument, who was president when that opened and a plaque on the jefferson memorial. you know, who was president when it opened. what is his name -- his name, specifically, doing on world war ii? here's the guy who supported the vietnam war, but wouldn't go. i mean, at least with clinton, he dodged it, too but he was opposed to the war and that is a consistent position. he didn't like the war and didn't want to go. i get that.
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okay. but, bush, he was for the war back then, and thought other people should go, not him. so he gets -- strings are pulled and he's in the national guard and his name is on the very first stone as you enter the world war ii memorial? a war my uncle died in, 405,000 americans died in, and your name is on this? i'm like, you know, it took me back to the question about, you know, yes, they are really good at supporting war, getting us into wars, but if they had to die or their kid had to die, no, i don't know about that. but, somebody else's kid... just abhorrent to me. >> there's a story in "here comes trouble" about your father and his world war ii experience and there's a story in there about you taking a trial run to canada. >> my dad was in the first marine division, world war ii.
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and he was in many of those island battles right on the beaches, horrific stuff and i tell one story about christmas day, 1943 where he was in a battle in new britain, part of new guinea, and it was an incident where -- a friendly fire incident and he and his unit had taken a hill and the american plane is coming in and -- american planes coming in thought they were japanese on the hill and strafed the hill and every guy in my dad's unit was shot, one was killed and 13 were wounded and everyone was shot but my dad, only one who wasn't shot by the low-flying american planes coming in thinking they were japanese. and he told me, you know, growing up, every christmas day, he remembers, he's grateful, was grateful for being alive, somehow he survived that
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incident. and i until the longer story in the book. my incident with -- of course i was opposed to the vietnam war as i said earlier and as i became near draft age i think what will i do? i'm not going to kill vietnamese and i and buddies decided, we were like i don't know 16, 17 years old, we weren't going to go to jail. we weren't going to go do service in some other service, you could do that for the government. we decided we were going to move to canada if we had to and so we knew nothing about canada and one day took a car and boat over to port huron, michigan to do a dry run and see how we'd escape to canada and we got over there and forgot the motor to the boat. so we couldn't take it and wee we decided to try and cake the
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car acro -- take the car across the bridge and, the other guys were smoking a joints so they could relax and i didn't do drugs and i was the designated driver and tell the story about getting across the blue water bridge and into canada and our great escape and of course the next year there was a draft lottery and i number came up like 273 and i wasn't drafted. >> richard, richmond, virginia. thanks for holding, our on with author michael moore. >> caller: mr. moore, an absolute pleasure to speak with you today. how are you doing, sir. >> thank you, sir. i'm doing well. >> caller: i have a question to ask. i contacted my local american cancer society concerning an event they'll be holding and i suffer from a brain injury and other illness and i'm -- your
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piece on "sicko" was absolutely beautiful. i loved it. beautiful. my question, sir, is how do i approach or how would i go about approaching the american cancer society concerning a study they did in 1974 with thc shrinking tumors in mice and them not wanting to go that direction? >> i do have memory of something about that. i can't speak to it. i will say this. thc which is an active ingredient in marijuana, you know, our drug laws in this country, i mean, this is another whole show. are just


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