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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 31, 2011 2:30pm-3:00pm EST

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somebody, not claiborne's secretary, in a later hand had written jewel at the top. it was supposed to be a duel between and englishmen and a frenchman. it didn't happen but they did meet each other in the streets later and one of them caned the other one. this led to a taking the side in the city that was intensified because of the situation of the doubt about where the country was going. where the colony was going. that was one of the things he faced. another example was a letter here where he began reporting to james madison that there are rumors that they would be returning to spain and not accepting the positions in the government like i was talking about earlier. claiborne suffered quite a lot of personal tragedy while he was
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here. his wife and daughter died of yellow fever on the same day in 1804 and his brother in law was shot in a duel of few years later defending him and his plight. in addition to the official correspondence that is in here there are a few personal letters and this is a letter he is writing to his in-laws telling them of the death of their son in the dual, march 23rd, 1805. so this volume is one of my favorites. it is fascinating to see it went back and forth and became part of america. how did that happen? change is happening and this volume tells us a lot about that and what things were like on the ground in liana at that time.
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>> it is the three day holiday weekend on booktv. the 3,000 year history of jerusalem tonight at 9:00 eastern. michael the zeneca on free will and a science of the brain and:00 p.m. and monday at 7:00 mark stein believes that the u.s. is destined for financial collapse and decline of current political and cultural trends continue. this weekend sunday live at noon your calls and e-mails in depth with former new york times foreign correspondent and pillage surprise winner chris hedges, author of nine books who writes about religion and war and its impact on civilization. his latest is the world as it is. booktv every weekend on c-span2. >> from the 2,011 los angeles times festival of books, larry flynt and how the private lives of
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presidents, first ladies and their lovers changed the course of american history". they discussed their book and take booktv viewers's phone calls. and columbia historian david eisenbach. >> how did you get started? >> a wanted to find out if what our founding fathers and others -- they had the same kind of sex scandal they had today, political landscape. once i decided i wanted to do the book, it was natural, my friend david who is a professor at columbia and wrote a lot about the subject matter, very bright and as co-author he has been fantastic and i think we
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have a great product and it is so unusual and no other book has been written like this. the publishers of different books tend to be conservative, politics and policy. they're not interested -- and latin america forever. what we have done is a great deal of research. follow the lives of various presidents and first lady's to see not just curiosity but to see how the relationship actually affects not just foreign policy but cases that
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were able to reveal just that. >> this is an interactive part of the day. we would like to have your questions by phone or send us a tweet at booktv. phone number is 202-585-3886 mountain and pacific times and your 202-583-3886. what is the sweep of history in this book? >> we start with the founding fathers and go to bill clinton and the monica lewinsky scandal in the koran sweep of history. we like to think it was just recently that the political parties started throwing the dirt at each other and reveal each other's sex scandal. that is not true. the founding fathers were doing that and the beginning. >> it had to have some effect. >> not just dig up dirt on the
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president and first lady. we were out to show those things -- historians consider personal were important in the grand scheme of the political story. how this had an impact on policy. >> i want to jump to the conclusion. you have a political message for today's society which i translate as grow up. can you tell me what you are trying to say to americans about the way they view the sex scandals of politicians? >> the desire we have -- obviously that has a huge effect on our lives and we use it to communicate more than any other. what i would like to do to make recommendations is light and up.
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like the europeans, have a much different reaction than we do. we have a very knee-jerk reaction about sex in general. we assume politicians -- why do they take three our lunches? i don't mean to sound facetious but it is true. centuries to learn to deal with it than we have. but i think readers are destroyed over sex. it is very dangerous. we have found no evidence in this book that would indicate our president was good or bad because whether he had an active libido or not. i am for -- we fight two wars
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and a balanced budget and say whatever you want to but certain amount of discretion is an order. >> in the last 20 years or so would it be fair to say there has been some level of more acceptance? when you look at recent scandals. correct me if my thesis is wrong. it is the ones who are attached not just with personal lives or sex scandals but some other wrongdoing that takes people out of office? >> politicians for not -- can survive sex scandals. david vitter from louisiana, won his last election in a landslide victory. it is possible right now because americans have gotten more use to sex scandal involving politicians. it will enable us to stop talking and obsessing about the sex lives of president
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politicians. >> what makes it so bad is -- in washington d.c.. when you have somebody that hypocritical getting caught up, actual escapade this makes it even worse. >> instead of talking about this conceptually, our lines are already busy, let's give a for instance. what is your favorite story about? >> my favorite chapter turned out to be the eleanor roosevelt and franklin roosevelt. it was complicated. he had his girlfriend in a bed room next to him and she had her girlfriend living next to her. the american public didn't know any of this. that is the thing about the
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story. franklin's girlfriend turned out to the essentials to helping these figures become the great heroes of american history who led us through the great depression and the second world war. the central piece of their stories extramarital relationships and an important piece which was long ignored by historians. >> let me take a caller. let's hear from a caller in auburn, alabama. we discuss "1 nation under sex". >> caller: thank you for our old good work. one of your buddies, woody harrelson who plays you in that movie, online porn plays a big part in his life. how much does it play in your? >> you say online porn? >> host: that was his question. >> guest: we have a web site.
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it is not relevant in my life at all. it is true that much more material is available now because of the internet that was never available for the technology that can in to use. >> host: is it good or bad for society? >> guest: it is a good thing. free speech you don't draw the line. we -- can't limit what happens -- alice-in-wonderland and a little red riding hood, have to police with chilled and are exposed to but we can't restrict viewing habits for adults. it is wrong. >> this book covers the a sweet from benjamin franklin and beyond, sex lives of politicians and american reactions to a. let's hear from providence, road
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island. >> can you tell me how has the book been received so far and are you surprised at its reception? >> we have had great reviews. everyone who has read it has had something positive to date. there are some who resent that we are telling these stories about the heroes of america. the important thing, not trying to tear down the heroes or seem like they weren't important figures and good figures. just trying to show their live for more complicated than what you were taught in high school and college. >> you are a member of the academy. professor at columbia. what is the reaction of colleagues to your project? >> supportive. i teach at columbia and we have a long history of being supportive of alternative voices and they understand this was a
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huge opportunity to work with someone and not only has a different perspective on history but who made history themselves and is an important figure. >> host: larry friend refers to you as his friend. did your relationship predate the book? >> we had known each other before but we had been working on this before and became good friends. >> host: what was it like when the phone call came in? >> guest: i was in my office doing a little work and i got a phone call from larry flynt they have a business proposition for you and that was it. when can you come to l a? i will be on the next flight. i flew out not knowing what he had in mind and when he proposed a collaboration for this book i said i got to do it and the rest is history. >> host: why did you have your eye on him? >> guest: i had become aware of some programs produced for the
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history channel. on the same subject matter. i was very intrigued by cs shows. so i knew he was quite familiar with the subject matter and it would be sensitive what we were dealing with, historical figures. i felt he was the right person to do the book with a. >> host: let's hear your favorite chapter or story in the book. >> i love the whole book. i love what we did on ben franklin. are was fascinated with woodrow wilson mainly because of him having a stroke and his wife running congress for three months. it was fascinating. but the one that really gripped me more than anyone else was the warren harding one.
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i couldn't believe somebody that was such a doofus, this guy was not bright at all. and elected to the white house talking about the tax code, my taxes -- don't talk to me about that. the only thing is how many women can i take to bed in the white house? they had their own saying of the difference between harding and wilson, warning a vote or houses of columbus, ohio and there was a lot of truth to that. another is a i want to say -- he was picked to run for the senate because north of columbus they came out, two political offers,
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he will make a marvelous senator. when he got elected one of the first things he wanted to do was change the national emblem from the eagle to the chicken because there are more chicken than eagles. that shows how bright this guy was. >> in las vegas, you are on. >> caller: this is an attempt by mr. flynt to normalize deviance of bill clinton. his deviance had nothing to do with sex. it had to do with cheap law enforcement of an officer of the united states engaging in perjury and obstruction of justice. evidence of this is president clinton was the first president to lose his law license because
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of perjury and obstruction of justice. just a way of normalizing himself. >> guest: i would say that is not accurate. we are telling an important story. in the case of bill clinton, in which this national saga over sex captivated the public mind and distracted us from a serious threat to america, one of which was al qaeda. in the 9/11 commission report the commissioners flat out lay it out that the monocle with the scandal distracted the administration and kept us from doing what we should have been doing which was protecting the american public rather than focusing on a sex scandal. >> guest: you are never going to convince everyone. everyone will have a pros and cons leaders to why he was a great president or why he was a
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deviate. people are going to be arguing that in centuries to come. >> host: we have a tweet to larry flynt, any political escapades' you let out because they couldn't be substantiated? >> we had some important audio tapes involving high-ranking politicians that we wanted to use but couldn't because they were recorded in one party today. out of both parties -- we could have published them. we would definitely have been sued for it. >> host: any others? >> guest: there has always been plenty of rumors about presidents and first lady's. we go back and debunk the
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concepts so the focus was going to substantiated stories and how they shave american politics. >> host: what is a for instance? >> guest: j. edgar hoover wearing a dress and being a transvestite. that story was manufactured just to tarnished j. edgar hoover by one of his enemies and has been around ever since but the problem with that story is it really distracted from the true scandal of j. edgar hoover which is that he used sex files on every congressman and senator and supreme court justice to control the federal government for 47 years he served as fbi director. this undermined the constitution using sex. that is the true scandal that we have not come to terms with.
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>> host: with two days of the los angeles -- we are here with larry flynt and david eisenbach and their book "1 nation under sex". next, you are on the air. >> caller: calling from the other end of america. mr. flynt legal i was executive producer of that you appeared in as you may know. the rentals affair which is one of the early american sex scandals with alexander hamilton. >> absolutely. right along with the jefferson -- those two were the first two scandals in the beginning where the founding fathers. >> host: tell us more. >> in the case of alexander hamilton legal thomas jefferson, democratic republican opponents discovered hamilton had a unique
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financial arrangement with a man named james reynolds, who hamilton was paid for the right to sleep with his wife maria reynolds. the democrats and republicans found out about this and proceeded to try to defame hamilton and derail his plans to create the national bank by exposing a sex scandal. opening up the sec's discussion boomerang on jefferson because federalists' dragged up the story of sally having this and jefferson was his own slave children. it for political points as part of the law tradition of american politics. >> that is your thought we go if we were not focused on this we would spend time on more important issues. we have important news throughout our country's history yet people do like to talk about this.
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>> the interesting thing is in the early nineteenth century the sex lives of president andrew jackson, thomas jefferson was in the press. it was fair game. and the 20th century with the emergence of the national new jersey state, professional they should of journalism that journalists are part of the establishment, part of the elite. the sec's discussion, well known in washington circles that john kennedy, franklin roosevelt have their affairs doesn't make it into the press and in that time period we don't have these sex scandals to protect us from the true problems at hand. >> host: you write another it >> regarding politicians and sex. what happened with our country in the 1970s? you suggest it is another era when american attitude toward politicians changed once again. >> the reason why it changed --
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after is the cold war, the press changed. they no longer protect roosevelt or truman or eisenhower or whoever. as far as their private lives they protected them and after the cold war we are not that way anymore. that changed a lot of the political landscape and how the press dealt with personal lives of politicians. >> host: >> guest: you also have the sexual revolution which made people more comfortable with discussion of sex and the rise of feminism. in kennedy's they what would have been a pass became after the 1970s a sexual harassment lawsuit as we saw with paula jones and bill clinton. we had this huge change in american social moress, politics and journalism and what was kept secret for so long became part of the national dialogue.
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>> host: since the 1980s the rise of the conservative movement. how did that change? >> guest: the rise of a conservative movement coming off of sexual liberation of the 1970s and reduces gay-rights legal abortion, social sexual issues into the political discussion. jack kennedy never had to talk publicly about gay rights. and now everybody has to. it lead to the republicans or those leading the charge will rumble. if you are going to say you are against gays getting married you better make sure your own marriage is on the up and up. >> host: next in california, you are on. >> caller: i would like to say i'm a big fan of larry flynt for a long time and thank you for everything you have written. i am so excited about your book. my other son -- my question was
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i have a 14-year-old son, premature for his age. if he thought his book would be -- he is an avid historian and very mature and after listening to your story is so historical that i believe it is a perfect book for abutting historian. >> as far as the book goes i think it is very much proper for 15-year-old. i would like to add to that. i have been publishing "hustler" for 30 years. a lot of teenagers in puberty. not that they were necessarily legally supposed to read the magazine but that is the way it happens. >> host: our last call from hollywood, florida. you are on. >> caller: two comment. i want to complement mr. flynt. back to the clinton/monica wins
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the thing. to flush out some republicans were offered a million dollars monica wins a million dollars the thing. to congressman and livingston's wife approached mr. flint and said she would try to get back together with her husband and appreciates the published material and the second thing was the whole clinton/lewinsky thing was not perjury because it was completely immaterial to the -- was a consensual affair. how is having a consensual affair would influence a criminal case, you just can't ask that. kenneth starr's behavior was much more inappropriate than bill clinton's ever was. >> guest livingston's wife who approached mr. >> they felt about clinton the way we do about president obama. they wanted to get rid of him and they would do it any way they possibly could.
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from the time the effort was started to prosecute clinton they were totally out of control. as i said earlier in the show i think people are going to be discussing this for decades to come about the pros and cons of how bill clinton was treated. >> host: you are on quite a tour with this book. unusual in publishing these days. publishing "1 nation under sex" widely available in your local bookstore or online bookseller. why are you spending so much time talking about this? >> one of my main goals is to introduce history to new audiences and if it takes something a little salacious 3% a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine of history, this is a great primer for anyone who is curious about history because you learn a lot more than about
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sex lives. you learn about economic policy and politics and formulation for american history. >> host: tell us about the civil war. >> the civil war story. the key one is james buchanan, our first gave president. of 32-year-old love affair with senator william rufus king of alabama who was a slave owner and staunch defender of slavery who indoctrinates the young james buchanan over the course of their relationship with a romantic notion of slave owners being good and james buchanan brings that attitude into the presidency in 1856. does nothing as the southern states secede and his encouraged for passivity and abraham lincoln is left with a huge mess in 1861 when he takes over the presidency. america has to go through a civil war that cost 600,000 lives. >> host: will these pages -- will be stories make their way
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into the pages of "hustler"? >> guest: we are doing an excerpt. the key thing we have to do with the book and the reception is great. not only are the readers good but preliminary sales are strong indication. >> host: you are ready for a panel at the festival of books. thank you for being with us. >> this event was part of the 2011 los angeles times festival of books. for more information visit events.l.a.times/festivalofbooks . >> in the last iowa caucuses in 2008 barack obama won the democratic caucuses and went on to win the presidency. mike huckabee won the republican iowa caucuses but dropped out of the race two month later. see what a caucus looks like


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