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tv   Book Discussion on Prince of Darkness  CSPAN  January 18, 2016 3:22pm-3:46pm EST

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i would teach those chickens, i would say don't fight, you be kind. [laughter] >> i would tell them, i would say listen to me. so, if little creatures can get along, why can't we as humans? just emerge and be kind to everyone. [applause]. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> book tv is on facebook. i guess to get publishing news, scheduling updates, behind the scenes pictures and videos, author information and to talk directly with authors during our live program. /book tv. >> thomas mallon is an author of several books. mr. mallon, why a book on reagan in fiction form? >> well, it's debatable what historical fiction kennecott bush and i think mostly it is supposed to do it other novels do, which is entertained and make people think of it, but i think there is a bit of historical fiction back into actual history of actual biography cannot. if the reader knows it's fiction, the writer has to gain a certain intimacy that is not always available to the nonfiction writer.
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if you are writing a biography of ronald reagan and you are say dealing with him at the summit which is a big part of this book, the biographer will responsibly have to say, well, after this moment it is not unreasonable to suppose that reagan may have thought and if you are a novelist you go ahead and have him think it. there is a certain image-- intimacy and promise to it that allows readers to speculate about his street in a somewhat different way. >> host: when does your story take place in the reagan administration? >> guest: it almost all takes place in 1986, which was arguably the years of the ronald reagan presidency, only two wins after his reelection, but two years later things seem to be falling apart, the iran contra scandal. it is at the time proceed as a ps go even though in the fullest
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of time it begins to look pretty good. the democrats retake the senate and a whole host of new domestic social ill like aids, crack, homelessness, they are now on the scene and the reagan administration doesn't seem well-equipped to deal with them. so, it's really quite a perilous time for ronald reagan with talk of impeachment in the air and the white house needs a radical shakeup. the president's chief of staff, don regan is the mortal enemy of the first lady, nancy reagan who is trying to have him fired, so it's quite a dramatic time and i thought if i was going to write about the whole panorama of characters surrounding reagan that that might be the year to pick. >> host: what a reader recognize your reagan? >> guest: i think so except one of the things they will recognize about reagan is the
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absence. in that he was very remote in many ways for all of this warmth genealogy he is defeated by a lot about the first. think he opens up more possibilities for historic fiction than a lot of political figures do and i think they will recognize him on the surface, but a lot of people have spent decades scratching their heads wondering what was really going on inside. even nancy reagan to whom he was extraordinarily close, i mean, their marriage was famously close and intimate. she mentioned in her memoirs there were whole portions of ronald reagan that she could never really access, could never really penetrate, so he seemed to present a lot of opportunities for a novel. >> host: riggins authorized biographer ended up writing dutch, which dabbled in historical fiction. >> guest: he resorted to using a fictional character and
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fictional portions of the narrative. i'm surprised in way that at a certain point he didn't throw up his hands and go to his editor and say i can't do it. i'm going to write a novel. i'm sort of glad he didn't because he left of the field clear, but dutch is a maddening book in some ways because it doesn't get into any really known form, but it has a brilliant passages in it and morris has some tremendous insight into reagan, but you can sense also the frustration and the awful of not being able to get the kind of clear fix on his personality that a biographer often hopes and expects to get on the subject. >> host: without betraying your personal politics, did you develop on affinity for your antagonist? >> guest: i never felt intimate with him in the way that i did with richard nixon who was a
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protagonist. i won't say hero, but the protagonist of my previous novel, watergate. nixon and reagan were in frequent communication during reagan's presidency. i don't know what it says about me, but i felt comfortable writing nixon from the inside out, making him a point of view character and pressing his thoughts and feelings. in this book i see reagan on the outside, i see him through other people rather than going into his head, only in a brief epilogue when the president is very advanced in years and frankly is still do i make an attempt to see things from the inside out. but, i do have a good deal of admiration for reagan and i think you, pushed enormous things in foreign-policy. i have less admiration for what he did domestically, but he is a big figure and this is not a
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reverential by any means. i don't think you want a novel reverent towards anything or anyone. but, it's not a book that tries to cut him down to size, either. he was a big figure whether you like reagan's presidency are not it was consequential. transformative in many ways and that also was on attraction of the subject, just the magnitude of it. >> host: his newest novel is the reagan years. thanks so much. >> today book tv continues for an additional 24 hours on c-span 2. tonight at 6:45 p.m., science journalists in conversation with doctor jay williams langston on the state of parkinson's research and it apm on c-span's comedic it or federal communications commission or and ryan funk, the "washington post" discussing the key topics
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currently before the fcc. we return to book tv programming at 8:30 p.m. eastern with a book party for karl rove, the trend doubly mckinley and edit 9:30 p.m. the story of the three year swim a club. at 10:15 p.m., the influence of the military on america's eating habits and that all happens tonight on c-span to book tv. >> here's a look at some of the current nonfiction books and politics and prose bookstore in washington dc. jacob weisberg looks at the career of the 40th president of the united states in ronald reagan. in getting real, fox news anchor gretchen carlson recounts her life and the challenges she has faced as a woman in broadcast television. warmer meet the press moderator david gregory describes his spiritual journey and how is your faith. in city of thorns, then rawlins
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exports the world's largest refugee camp, home to 500,000 people in northern kenya. our look at the best-selling nonfiction books in washington dc's politics and prose bookstore continues with the national book award winner and a look at the current state of black america and between the world and the. in wire to create, huffington post senior writer and psychologist scott barry kaufman examined the sources of creativity. erica weiner looks at the history of regions around the world and explores the relationship between natural features and innovative ideas in the geography of genius. and nspqr historian mary beard provides a history of ancient rome. that's a look at some a current nonfiction bestsellers according to politics and prose bookstore in washington dc. many of these authors have
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appeared or will appear on the tv. you can watch them on her website, book >> good evening and welcome to new york society library. and the head librarian and before we begin i would like to ask that you please silence any cell phones or other devices that might disrupt the presentation. as you may have noticed we are filming tonight c-span is here to film the lecture, so please be aware that if you do ask a question you will be filmed and
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we also ask that you please wait until the microphone comes to you before asking your question. the library is able to offer events like the one you here tonight as well as maintain our book collections, our electronic resources and e-books and maintain our expanded hours due to the generous support of our members and friends. we have kicked off our annual appeal, so if you have already sent in a donation, i thank you from the bottom of my heart. if you have not, there is still time. , it's my pleasure to welcome tonight's speaker, shane white. doctor white comes to us from australia where he is a professor of history at the university of sydney. he lives on the other side of the world, his main research interests are african american history in the history of new york city. he is the author of five books including playing the numbers, gambling and harlan between the wars, the sound of slavery.
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and stories of freedom in black new york. his most recent book is the remarkable story of jeremiah g hamilton, wall street's first black merrily at-- millionaire. the story is gripping, so too is his puzzling near disappearance from the historical record. he does not excellent job of drawing out the facts and supplementing them with the details with the history of wall street. we are proud to add that jeremiah-- jeremiah g hamilton was a shareholder of the new york society library and he received his share in 1856 in the library was down at the university place. please join me in welcoming shane white to the podium. [applause]. >> thank you very much. as far as i am concerned i speak and perfect accent free english,
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but that is the minority opinion. as when most americans do when they are in england or australia , just ignore that fact and speak quickly. who was jeremiah g. hamilton? he first turns up in new york city in 1828, as a 20-year old. running a cargo of counterfeit coin for a consortium of new york merchants. they get caught down there and jeremiah hamilton escapes. he is hidden by a black fisherman around port-au-prince harbor for a few days before he can get back on a new york bound bridge and get back to new york and there was a considerable tussle in the newspaper back in new york about this because it
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was seen as undermining america's trade because the north is trying to trade with haiti. the first black newspaper hated jeremiah hamilton because he was undermining their black republic. he then probably moved to new york in the early 1830s, probably 1833, i think, and he struggles for a while trying to make ends meet and trying to get ahead like everyone else in the dynamically growing metropolis in new york city at the time. he eventually does establish himself and get ahead, and he has a close link with the insurance company, the marine insurance companies. in fact, the marine insurance companies begin to founded their own associations and talk to one another in part because of jeremiah hamilton and what he specialized in was over ensuring boats and then sending them to the bottom of the ocean i think
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claiming insurance on them. by 1836, all the marine insurance companies in new york city had come to an arrangement amongst themselves that no cargo or ship that had any link whatsoever to jeremiah hamilton would be insured by them. he still manages to get around that. quite complicated and in very clever ways. by about 1835, 1836, he has established until the new york city and he does what every other businessman those in new york city in 1836. in 1836, new york city and america actually is undergoing a real estate frenzy. prices are going-- they are skyrocketing everywhere. and really for the only time in his business career hamilton
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follows the herd and jumps in and he buys real estate. he buys 47 lots of land in a soria. but, he also buys in poughkeepsie. he buys several acres of land, the mansion house, which is perhaps the flashiest hassan poughkeepsie. he finds a wharf with three violet-- buildings on it, so he is actually going long on real estate. he buys about three or four weeks short of the top of the real estate market and it is going to go bust. he had borrowed money like real estate-- falling real estate prices and mortgages, un- unholy, as we have seen repeatedly since then. what actually happened then is that hamilton-- with the next five years is fending off
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creditors who are after him. he is one of thousands of new yorkers who are on the verge of bankruptcy. he actually takes advantage of the new federal legislation that comes through in 1842, a new bankruptcy law, which is rather more forgiving of the bankrupted and is not so good for the creditors. on the third day that the new law operates hamilton went in and cleared himself bankrupt. the thing about hamilton, he's black. he's a pioneer. he's the only black man on wall street and if you think about the first black baseball player in the major league's, the first black whatever, usually they had to appear in the most
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deferential fashion and sort of healing their way because there is no one really to tell them how things operate. the thing that's interesting about hamilton is that he knows his way around. he knows his way around a wall street in the most interesting fashion, so he declares himself bankrupt, but then his assets are sought and he knows. his real estate that he had paid something like $35000 for in 1836 is worth a lot less in 1842 he goes along with the bankruptcy and he buys a back for $20. again, this is an insider, a whole bunch of people who are buying up bankrupt stock because it's day after day of bankrupt people with all of their holdings being sold.
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and there are people organizing among themselves to buy it. he goes in, clearly talks to these people and make sure no one drives the price up and buys it back. as i said, for $20. he then hits the real estate-- the stock exchange in a big way. he has been buying and selling shares in 1830s, but his second fortune is on the back of working in the stock exchange up buying and selling shares. again, if you are a black man buying and selling shares dealing with basically a lily white world, you have to be sharper and quicker than everyone else. if you hit hamilton, he hit you back and added 10% for interest. he is not a backward step in
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individual. in 1845, the second board of the stock exchange here passes a resolution that anyone who buys or sells shares from jeremiah hamilton will be expelled from the stock exchange and again, the two institutions, the insurance companies and the stock exchange both put the coin phrase, a black man on jeremiah hamilton and it can hardly be coincidence that he is black. this discrimination is not a level playing field. on the other hand, for the most part the white businessmen are more interested in the color of his money than the color of his skin. he is innovative as well in the way he deals on the stock exchange, so he forms what is called a port which is very similar, a similar version of
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ahead fund in which people put in money and then he is in charge of that money and uses it as leverage to borrow more money and then takes an aggressive position in the market, so what you have is prominent white new yorkers trusting the judgment of a black man as to what stocks, mostly railroad and steamship companies, stocks to buy and sell. one of his customers who ask a end up was actually the librarian of the new york society library for 50 years who ended up-- he had a thousand dollars, which he invests with and he is the reason why-- and next line a show by hedge funds only deal with multimillionaires rather than small fry because he he kept on changing his mind.
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he's not a professional investor there was a long court case out of this. the other thing that hamilton did was buy shares in a company, then sue the company and try to bring in a receiver to have all of the assets of the company sold and redistributed to the shareholders themselves. he does this with a poughkeepsie silk company and the accessory transit company, which was-- with sketch him into a pitch battle with cornelius vanderbilt and when cornelius vanderbilt died there is a interesting obituary that says cornelius vanderbilt-- there was one person respected and that was jeremiah hamilton. it doesn't mention he was black, but he was. so, in the 1840s and 50s, jeremiah hamilton is a prominent
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man about town. he is the first black millionaire and has been acknowledge to be a millionaire in a black newspaper in 1851 or 52. one of my favorite images of hamilton is for a couple of years in the late 1840s he has got problems living-- she's a master of the universe in his day job, but when he works-- walks on the street he is not even a second class citizen and violence is out to a rapt, so a couple of times when he is buying poughkeepsie real estate he is thinking about shifting to poughkeepsie. earlier than that he is there columbia university outside of the city, but in the late 1840s he buys an estate in new jersey, which is 30 miles from manhattan. the image of a black man on a


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