tv 2016 Savannah Book Festival CSPAN February 14, 2016 6:00am-8:01am EST
but you get to know the boss and learn the job so when there is an opportunity you can step up. i left the white house and i was called upon to work on doing publicity for karl rove's book, laura bush's book and i got a call from 43 and he asked if i could help him with a public tour. and worked with charles krauthammer. i was an editorial director on that book and i liked being behind the scenes. i never thought of writing by own book although every press secretary thinks about all of the experiences they have and want to tell the stories. i remember on a train between washington, d.c. and new york where wrote downtown if i wrote a book what would it look like and at the top in block letters it said not political because i didn't want to write a book like
that. the guy who edits president bush, keep him in mind. he knew me and asked if i had a book. and he said what about your stories and he said you tell great stories about president bush. and i remembered i took the from the amtrak train and it was in my wallet for three years. all of a sudden i pulled it out and said i have do this. this is my book proposal a. ripped up piece of paper folded in my wallet for three years. sean looked at it and said leave this with me and went to this bosses and said we should do a book and they said that book will never sell and if you want to do something political we
will help you. i said i am not doing that. i was a little humilitated. and then sean went to another publisher, my publisher. he said what if you did your book here. his team gave him a lot of room to run and he helped me structure the book. i wanted to fill in the gaps of history about president bush and provide mentoring advice to young people who didn't go to ivy league colleges or young people who might have narrow horizons and let them know you too could end up advising the president in the oval office. and he said you cannot start a book at age 36 as the white house press secretary. you have to explain before that. that is where the stories of character come in. my grandfather was the first generation of italian
immigrants. they homesteaded and mined coal in the western regions. there is finally good development happening up in that area. the pictures take me home. it is a beautiful part of the world. it is my mount rush more. i started telling the story of my grandfather driving on the cattle ranch and my sister would be with me who is four years younger. i was about seven or eight. and my grandfather would tease my sister saying did you see the smurf? my sister loved it. i got the joke and went along with it. we are having this great time, and i remember driving along coming across a cattle guard and we see one of my grandpa's horses fell through the guard and broke his leg. he was in pain.
and my grandfather is a softy, u.s. marine and world war ii veteran bought soft heart especially for animals. he pulled up and is reaching for the rifle that was hung securely in the window. he told me to get down on the floor and don't look up. i remember trying not to look up but when someone tells you to look up it is like don't look at that guy. in the frame of the window of the truck was my grandpa who was rugged face, tan skin and i saw a single tear come down this cheek as he had to shoot the horse. when he got back in the truck i didn't want him to know i looked but i think he knew i did because he reached over and grabbed my leg and squeezed it and i hoped some of that character was seeping into me as well.
reading. i got to go to the barbara bush foundation celebration of reading. she is still very active in literacy issues. a lot of people who write books love to read books. everybody in this room loves to read or wants to meet jasper. i talked to my mom this morning and -- she would take me to target. you would not do this with your grandchildren. take them to target, park them at the book session, and then go shopping and come back and get them. back then you could do that. i would read one book by the time they finished and i remember i read sheila the great by judy bloom and that was my first instance of telling my mom don't we have to pay for this? my mom said we are going to the library and checked into two different libraries because you
could only get seven books so then i could get 14 because i would read them on the way home. my mom could not keep us in books. we were readers along the way but there was one instance that goes to this character point that helps me later on. my dad required be to read the rocky mountain post and the washington times every day and we would help me think through the arguments and critical thinking skills. when i was riding the book i thought back about to that because there was a moment one morning and i don't know the issue but it was controversial. it was the bush administration. you know, nothing but controversial issues. what it was that my opinion was unpopular among the senior staff. we were on marine one and the president looked at me and said what do you think i should do?
and i thought back to the moment at the kitchen table and how important it is for fathers or a male dominant figure, grandfather, to spend time with young girls to give them the ability and confidence they will need later in life because i was able to look at president bush and say this is what i think, hold to it, it was unpopular and he looked out the window for a minute, i didn't say anything, this is a negotiation, he turns back around and looks at the deputy chief of staff and said she is exactly right. and i also thank my dad for giving me a little bit of that ability. but when you are sitting on the barn yard fence thinking you will never leave wyoming you don't think you will end up in the oval office. my first time in the oval office i got kicked out. i asked bush about it on the
book tour and he didn't remember it. but i will tell you now. i mentioned part of the book is about ad vicadvice. i thought it was important to tell the stories because everybody knew about the policies and politics but very few knew him from the behind the screens perspective that i did. he and i were meeting in the oval office were the first time. january 2005 and i was brand new as the deputy press secretary. dan bartlet, the communication director, asked me to go into the oval office to sit in on an interview. he said you don't have to brief him just sit there. i will come brief him but i to go to this interview so sit there and report back to me. i am excited to go the oval
office and listening to dan learning the best and the president said i am not doing an interview with that guy. and he said boss, you said you would do an interview. and he said no, i said i would talk to him not an interview. the president was right actually. he should not have done an interview because it would look like he was negotiating with the iranians through this columnist who just got back. finally the president said i am not doing an interview and therefore she doesn't need to be here. he looked at me and gave me one of these see yourself out. and i was so mortified. i am brand new and i get to the office i have to go and there is a door you can have slit shut. so i close the door, and i call
peter and i was tearful on the phone and i said i just got kicked out of the oval office and i am crying. and peter said just thing, for the rest of your life you can say i have been kicked out of better places than this. [applause] >> and that is one of the reason why in the advice portion of my book i break it out into thick things you can do in the office, things you should do over your career, and things you should do over your life. the past piece of advice is that choosing to be loved is not a career limiting decision or doesn't have to be. peter and i met on an airplane. it is a sweet story. he tells the story better than i
do and has the british accent which is hard to compete with. when i was writing the book he was watching football and i am trying to write and i said what if you write this portion so i outsour outsourced a little bit of the work. it as a sweet story about how we meet an an airplane by chance on a flight he almost took a different flight and i almost missed the flight we happened to be assigned sheets from denver to chicago. love at first sight and i moved to england 17 months later and that was 18 years ago. if you think about it, as i said, i didn't know george bush beforehand. my life changeded a so quickly peter allowed me to grow professionally and in many other
ways. the reason i am going to read this is because it is hard for me to get through it. i came early today to make sure i was here to listen to travis mills. travis mills and i met not long ago at an event in new york. he and i share, as i said we shared a commander in chief, and this affection for president bush, and this story i am about to read to you is about a scene nobody knew about until this book was written about a wounded warrior visit next to walter reed and this is one of the scenes from evans. it is called "i think he wants the president" news of america's military men and women were wounded and killed in iraq and
afghanistan almost overwhelmed me on sunday. i may have sound n strong when talking to the press but sometimes i had to push my feelings way down in order to get any words out of my mouth to make statements and answer questions. the hardest days are when president bush went to visited the wounded families of the fallen. if it was tough for me you can only imagine what it is like for the families and a president who knew it was his decisions that led troops into the battle where they fought and were severely injured or lost their lives. on a morning in 2005 i was asked to go on behalf of scott mcclelin to walter reed with president bush. we started nlt intensive care unit and the chief naval office briefed the president about the first patient we would see. he was a young marine who was injured when his hum vee was injured by a bomb. at his bed side were parents,
wife and five-year-old son. what is the prognosis? we don't know. he hasn't opened his eyes since arriving. we had to wear a mask. i watched how the family might react to the president and was worried they would be mad and blame him. but i was wrong. the family gave the president hugs and thanked him over and over and wanted to get a photo. so they gathered him in front of the white house photographer and asked is everybody smiling which was funny since we were all wearing masks. the president talked quitely at the foot of the patient's bed. i looked up to the ceiling so i could hold back tears. after he visited with them the president turned to the military aid and said okay do the presentation. the wounded soldier was being awarded the purple heart given to troops that suffer in combat. everyone stood silenty the
military aid in low and steady voice presented the award. at the end of it the son pulled on it and said what is a purple heart? and the president got down on one knee and pulled the little boy close to him and said it is an award for your dad because he is brave and courageous and loves his country so much. i hope you know how much he loves you and his mom. there was a commotion on the other side of the room and the marine just opened his eyes. i could see him from where i stood. the naval officer held the medical team back and said hold on, guy, i think he wants the president. the president jumped up and rushed over to the side of the bed and cupped the marine's face in his hands and they locked eyes and after a few moments the president said to the military aid read it again. so we stood silently as the
military aid presented the marine with the award for the second time. the president had tears dripping from his eyes on to the marine's face. the president rested his head-on the had marine for a minute and everyone was crying for the sacrifice, the pain and suffering, the love of country, the belief of a mission, and the witnesses of a relationship between the soldier and his commander and chief that no one else could grasp. i contacted several military aids to help me tig figure out who he was. i hoped so much he had survived but he did not. he died six days later in surgery after bush's visit. one mom and dad of a soldier from the caribbean were
devastat devastated. the mother yelled at the president wanting to know why was it my son and not your daughters' in the hospital bed. the president didn't leave. he sat there like he wanted to absorb some of her grief if he could. later as we road back on marine one to the white house no one spoke. as the helicopter took off, the president looked at me and said that mama sure was mad at me. then he turned to look out the window of the helicopter and he said and i don't blame her a bit. one tear slipped out of the sad of his eye and his face. he didn't wipe it away and he flew back to the white house. [applause] and there were other wonderful stories, i guess i can tell this in a church. on the last weekend before we turned the white house over to president and ms. obama we wept
to norfolk, virginia for the commissioning of the aircraft carrier. 41 is 90 years old and they follow that ship every day. they sent him all of the information and he knows exactly where it is. and i remember -- i don't want to take up too much time. i remember i was there and i was nervous because there was a high -- i cannot reveal anything but a high level of a threat of a terrorist attack because any time of transition from one period to the next is a time of instability. everybody who was anybody was at his ship commissioning. i was standing in the back. one thing you learn as a press secretary is the reporters don't always watch the president for what is happening. they watch the press secretary. i was sitting there watching the beautiful cold day but sunny skies and got a tap on my
shoulder from the secret service agent and he said the president needs you at the helicopter in five minutes. i thought what is happening. i thought we have to evacuate. i slipped back on to the ship we were staying on and ran to the helicopter. there is rice and the plane is on so we could not talk. he buckle up and i am nervous. and the president said let's go see the seals. he wanted to go see the navy seals one last time as commander and chief. we flew over there and dick cheney is going to speak. they go wild when president bush comes in. there is probably 400 young men, young american men with really long beards, so you can imagine this isn't the typical american guy look. the president speaks to them from the heart and they will not stop applauding. he is asking them to sit down. and i thought that is one order they do not have to obey.
he wanted to take pictures with everybody. he wasn't in a hurry to leave. the two seals came up to me and said excuse me are you the press secretary? i was honored they knew who i was. and they asked for a picture with me. and they are all-inspiring. i said to the first one what makes you want to be a navy seal? family tradition? sense of adventure? like to travel? >> and the first one said oh, no, ma'am e chicks dig it. >> and i said even with the beard? and he said oh, yeah, they get it. and when i asked the second one and i said were you are preparing to go whenever you are going do you have to take a lot of language courses? and he said oh, no, ma'am, we are really not there to talk.
and got on the helicopter and told the president that story and he threw his head back and said god i love those guys. i talk about the transition to television. i have to credit fox news for seeing something in me i didn't see in myself. i didn't know i could shoot the breeze with four other people and have a great time on television and make a living doing it. i have had more fun, and learned so much, it is like all of these things i studied from my dad reading me the papers, to being the white house press secretary, and being interested in journalism and being on the third most poplar show in cable tv news. my co-host have really helped me as well -- all of them --
[applause] >> i will ask gull field to come next year. just make sure you have a lot of wine. i am going to get to your question but i want to tell you how i end the story. we are in a primary season. they are the worst especially for a party who doesn't have running for re-election. in 2012, president obama didn't have any opposition so they breezed through. in the mean time we were bashing ourselves over the head-on our side. it is similar on both sides now. hillary clinton is getting a battle from bernie sanders. and there is the republicans and later tonight there is a debate. i remember how unxhfrlable it was and i write in the book about a moment where a president and press secretary an are like this. and if they are not like this
you cannot be a good press secretary. so there was an event and it was clear the president wasn't welcome. the president decided not to go and he gave a statement that was played live on the television at the convention. at the end of the, the president walked back to them and said do you think they know they are missing me? that is a hard question. you have to have total honesty when you are press secretary but you don't want to hurt someone's feeling and i had to say yes, sir, i believe they do. it was such a freeing moment maybe for him but certainly for me because that is when i
realized that more important than politics is always the character. on the last day when he was in office i got to go to the oval office and he wrapped his arm around me and he said the first day i walked in i looked at myself in the mirror and i said i want to be able to look at the same man on my last day of office and he said i think i can do that. he said he wanted to take one more walk around the grounds and as he left i thought there goes a great president. i miss him and i am grateful to be his friend. i call for civility and public discourse at the end. i don't mind if you start lining up because we want to get to as many questions. and if you don't line up, c-span can't get your question and it will be a mess. it is january, 2005, i was junior birdman and the president
didn't know my name and i just got kicked out of the oval office. i got invited to the grid iron dinner. it is humorous and fun and i love it. peter, who loves a great american event, was disappointed because there wasn't a spouses ticket. i had to go on my own. i had two black dresses. one short and one long and i alternated them for events. i wore the long one because it was a tuck and tail event. i am at usa today's table and sitting across from me is the junior senator from illinois barack obama. and he and i laughed our butts off for four hours. i had so much fun. there is a lot of buzz around him. he had just been elected, he had a great convention speech in 2004 and everybody wanted to be around him. i had his full attention and he wanted to know all about my
story, where i grew up in wyoming, all about peter and all about washington. it was so much fun. he took me to meet mitchell. and peter asked how my night was and i said i have to tell you i sat across from barack obama the new senator from illinois and i think he could be president in like 20 years. so, three years later, i am now the press secretary and the financial crisis is happening. john mccain suspends the campaign and calls barack obama into the oval office. 43 walks in and i am following behind my boss. i am a good staffer following behind. i never expect anyone to remember me so i am always re-introducing myself and obama is shaking hands with everyone and as he turns toward me i go
to introduce myself and he said dana perino and wraps me in a hug and i said sir, you may not remember and he stops me and says not remember? that was my favorite night in all of washington. and i sat down, blushing, and the deputy chief of staff leans over to me and says what was that all about? and i said i will tell you later. but i just might vote for him, too. i didn't. i am going to tell one more story about gratitude. senator john warner who was a senator at the time i was filling in for tony mills who was going through a lot of cancer treatment so i had to go to another press dinner. hollywood gives a lot of rewards but it is nothing like the press. i was sitting in the spot and thinking of work piling up and
how i didn't belong there because i was a deputy. and at the end of the night, senator warner comes up to and he said dana, dana and i thought he wanted he to pass on a message. and i said yes, sir? and he said do you mind if i give you a little advice? and he said i noticed when you were up there and they called your name you didn't barely stand and you hardly smiled and just give a little wave and sat down like you didn't belong there. you have a long career ahead of you, and you will be at a lot more dinners and whenever they call your name you need to stand up, wave and smile because you belong here. i always thought how remarkable it is as a young woman to be
helped by so many men who wanted to make sure i had opportunity and took advantage of that. i end the book with that story because i think it pulls together the point of character, humility and a ton of gratitude to be there and all of those experiences. [applause] >> thank you. i see that my friends have followed directions so i will start with you in the red. >> i like fogs news because they have a variety like williams as well -- so they give both signs. >> and alan combs. >> and whatever happened to bob beckle? >> he has moved on and you can find him on cnn once in a while. we miss him, too.
thanks for watching. >> thank you. the founder of the festival. this is going to be a tough one. >> too bad introduced myself before it started. you belong here, too. you did a hell of a job. we are methodist. we dance and have a good time. >> so i could tell that joke? >> you can tell any joke you want to. i am a huge fan of the bush family. i have had different connections with them through various people. julia reed is very close to the family. i voted for both 41 and 43. and i have gotten behind jeb unfortunately who doesn't seem to be keeping up with the family. when barbara came into new hampshire i said there is hope. >> there we go. >> anyway, when i was
researching this festival i didn't know anything. people asked me about my background and if i was in publishing but i knew a good georgia writer and signed him up for the festival. and i ended up going to the national, going to the south carolina, going to various festivals, decatur which is decidingly left-leaning. we have tried to keep this festival first amendment. when we had karl rove here i was extorted in the local paper and rather than responding to the paper i wrote to the people and said we don't have any opinion.
>> keep it fair and balanced. >> but anyway, the director of the national book festival is also the librarian of congress. i met with him in south carolina and he told a story of meeting when 43 was first elected he got a call from texas that said you will is a national book festival. and dwi -- we do. laura is not given credit for it at this point which i think is dispicable. i do have a question. my wife is going to kill me. >> hit me with the question. >> why this disparity in
coverage and the disrespect for someone who did this? >> about the festival? >> the guy didn't think he could do it. it was like three years before our first one. laura bush came through. >> this is the great thing about the bush's i learned is that is you do things that are right and you don't worry about the credit. 43 told me toward the end of the administration every reported wanted to ask him about his legacy and i would have to ask him and he would say dana, last year i read through three books about george washington and if historians are trying to figure out it the first president than the 43 doesn't have anything to worry about. they left the white house believing they gave it their all and continue to do so much in texas as well. >> indeed. >> thank you. hi. >> i want to start out saying
how much i respect you and think you are wonderful. >> thank you. >> what i wanted to say in this primary season a big issue is terrorism and you know donald trump and muslims and all of that. my brother just joined the marines and nothing makes me angrier than seeing our troops, you know, in iran and the whole thing about the video and them having their hands behind their back that makes me angry. i hate terrorist. i sound like a heartless conservative. but i have the upmost respect for our armed forces. what i wanted to ask you is how do we defeat these people that believe we deserve to die? that is their religion? how can we get rid of this threat? i am over it. i am done. >> thank you. well, i am not commander and
chief. but i think this is what i learned from bush is there is good and evil in the world. calling it what it is helps you figure out how to defeat it. defeating an ideology is difficult. they don't want our territory they want our way of wife. the military is equipped as long as they are allowed to do the same thing like signing up for the army during 2006. and who signs up during the middle of a war? that is a patriot. and they need our help when they return and they need our help now. we have an election coming up that i think will help us
clarify things coming up. >> my name is jay and my beautiful wife is michele. we are huge fans of yours. in 2006 we went to washington during reagan's memorial. i took my two little boys and my youngest was on c-span. >> and you are on c-span. >> i wanted you to know you are respected and important to us. >> thank you so much. >> i was wondering you watch the news and you see what is looking like a possible fight between trump and clinton. and i am thinking i am going to have to write in a candidate because i'm not going to vote for either one of them. but i was asking we respect you
so much and your character it is nice to see. why couldn't you be our first woman president? >> oh, thank you. [applause] >> do you think i could pass the background check? that is a great question. if i am in a group of people they will often ask how can we fix washington and i will say who here wants to run for office? and no one raises their hand. and the people that do decide to run for office i admire them because it is gruelling and difficult and doesn't matter what side of the aisle you are on. rice always described it this way. in 2004 she was the national security advisor and the president of the united states has to always have the national security advisor with them and the press secretary wherever they go. she had to be on the campaign
trail with him a lot. and she always says that the days were just ridiculous to get up at 6 in the morning for the briefing, for the presidency work, and then you would be on the road and have breakfast and lunch and have an interview with bill o'reilly and then you have dinner. they would have a team meeting to talk about the next day and president bush would be raring to go. she was exhausted because for some people running for office speeds their energy and some it depletes them. i am in the latter category. but thank you for asking. >> i am a graduate student at georgia state university. >> great. >> and studying mass media and anthropology.
>> are you going to dig up the ratings for cnn? >> kidding. i am doing my thesis on the production of media and media bias. i am wondering if you have advice on staying true to what we put out given all of the news outlets? >> do you plan to be a journa s journalist? >> yes, i do. >> i was a journalist as well. i worked in springfield, illinois. grew up in wyoming. started working in media and i was was like wow, i didn't know bias existed. it was against republicans. the -- it was 1994 and that is when the republicans lost the nation. and left ask went back to
denver, colorado and did what every good student that has graduated from grad school does. you know what i did? lived with my parents and waited tables. i am a planner, type-a,first born. i want to plan and my husband says if you are not worried you are worried you forget about what you were supposed to be worried about. what i learned over time is i have to let go of that. at a church singles group, i am sure it is in this book, there is a short verse that says fear not. i took a chance and ended up going to washington, d.c. if i look back at the things happening. moving to england to be with peter, moving back to washington to work at the justice department, all of those added up to what i do now. i cannot be responsible for what
anybody else says or does. the only thing you can do is be true to yourself. and you know inside what is fair and what is not. so just keep that in mind because you cannot be responsible for what anybody else says or does. i can tell looking at you. your light is shining so bright. you will do an amazing job and i am glad you chose that course of study. >> thanks. can i quote you for my thesis? >> yes! >> are you last question? >> yeah! last question. this is a lot of pressure. a lot of pressure. >> hopefully i can handle it. in today's world, we are seeing a huge rise of self-funded candidates from presidents to senate, congress, do you think it is freaking out the regular person to run if you cannot put in $200-300 million of your own money is it going to hurt the political process and keep the younger people out of the process? >> this is a great question.
financing a political campaign is a big topic. the supreme court ruled on citizen united case that we could have super pac money and everybody is mad at the super pacs. but self-funding your campaign means you inherited money or worked hard and care enough to spend the money on that campaign to get elected. however, i would submit having from a family that didn't inherit money or make a lot of money, it is harder to pick up the phone and ask for a donation. i cannot ask for anything so that is why i cannot run. i don't think we are in danger of people being frozen out yet because what have we learned in this campaign? money is not buying anything. one of the people self-funding their campaign spent the least amount of money of all of them.
the person who spent the most amount of money has had the fewest results. so i think the answer to your question cannot be fully answered yet. i think we will have to find out sort of in the future how it turns out. but because of these great things, social media, things on your phone, the way people can participate i don't think people are at risk of anybody buying on election. everybody, thank you and happy valentine's day. >> she can sign her book out in the square and you can meet jasper. [inaudible conversations]
>> we have one more author event from this year's savannah book festival. you will hear from the traveler of the oregon trail recalling the journey. first, formler president and chief executive of simon and shuster talks about his career. >> i started -- well, i started working for pocket books, the paperback company, back in the beginning. and that was sort of in the hay day of the paperback era. we had authors like hal robins and we had sort of the great brands of the time. it was an interesting time for
books because the industry was transitioning from sort of a two-world system. there was hard cover publishing and paperback publishing. and in that era they began to merge so a lot of the books being published in hard cover were actually being published by paperback publishers. and hard cover publishers are realizing they had to get into the paperback business in some way. so there was -- i would say confusing but interesting transition going on. with us, at simon and shuster, people like bob woodward were super star authors. we had mary higgans clark and jacky collins who was a super
star at the time. we sort of had a legacy. i sort of inherited a legacy of simon and shuster authors and by applying mass market techniques we were able to take it to new levels. shortly after i started i became in charge of the whole what we call consumer publishing so pocket books and simon and shuster were under one management. that is when we could career development. start an author out in paperback, build an audience to the point where the paperback audience was large enough, we would publish the author in hardcover. we were building anna audience for the author and the author was perfecting the ranks by their own talent. it was a happy time and fairly easy time for us. >> you mentioned the whole
transition going into the paperback books. now people are doing electronic e-books. >> yeah. it is very interesting to me. i could say fortunately or unfortunately i am sitting on the sidelines as the transition plays out. but it is my choice to let others do it. what i observe is there is great similarities between how the paperback evolved in the '60s and '70s and in the '80s and changed the business and how i think the electronic publishing phenomena will do the same will do the same relatively a few years ahead of us. >> some people are saying this electronic books are becoming -- these books becoming electronic
and people doing mostly on loon -- online is bad for the book publishing industry. >> i don't so how it could be. it eliminates most of the negatives of physical publishing. for example there are no returns of unsold books. it is not a format where you print the book first and sell it second. it is a business where you sell it first and print it second. it solves the problem of what we call shelf life where new books have a short time to succeed before they are replaced with a new group. in the electronic world there is no shelf life. the book and and will exist forever as long as there is a demand for it. in the physical world, you have to produce a book.
paper, printing, binding, shipping, warehousing. you don't have that in the electronic space. and then there is two other things which i think a phenomenal and under under-appreciated. number one is the fact that the with the electronic book there is no pass along. so you cannot buy the book and loan it to your friends, give it to your relatives. so in theory, this mathematically, if you can keep the same number of people reading, so a book that may be sold a 100,000 copies in physical form, if the same number of people read it, you should sell more because you are not going to be able to barrow
it. you will have to buy it for your own consumption. and number two is that the electronic books should be a global phenomenal. traditional publishing is territorial and languages are barriers. there are no geographic barriers to the distribution of electronic books. that is sort of the second thing that is phenomenal. there is instant gratification. you want to buy a book on a kindle or ipad or nook you can download it in 60 seconds. you can be reading it in 61 seconds. there is no getting up off the chair, driving to the store, finding the book, paying for it, bringing it home. all of that is gone. so, you know, i don't see any downside from a business
perspective as long as present-day managers manage the transition and stay in control of the content. >> do you think the book publishing companies waited too long to get on the bandwagon with amazon and google selling books? is the publishing industry now playing catch up? >> no. the important thing to remember is the content is still owned by the publisher/author copyrighted. and the kindle, the nook, or any of these devices are simply distribution vehicles. they don't own the content. they are virtually little bookstores you carry around.
as long as there are physical books and let's not forget physical books are still the dominant format. most people still read print in books. the publisher should be in control of the content for the foreseeable future. >> something else i wanted to ask you about is it seems like a lot of publishers are creating conservative imprints separately from, i guess, their major lines. why is that? >> simple answer is i think they finally figured out that conservatives buy books. probably a better answer is at least from my own experience at simon and shuster it probably wouldn't surprise the audience to know most publishing people are liberal. certainly the publishers and the editors are liberal. and people tend to publish what they like.
what i found at simon and shuster is we had a sense there was a huge conservative audience out there wanting to buy books but nobody wanted to publish them. so we found the one conservative publisher who instant -- started threshold production. and some of the best sellers have been in that category. >> what were some of your favorite authors while you were at simon and shuster? >> many of them were authors that not only did i read but become friends with. most notablely an author named vince flynn and an author named brad thor. these are people who when i was actively publishing i participated in developing and
discovering them and really enjoyed the fruits of their success. so personally they are among my favorite. one of my all-time favorites is lee icoca who i did a book with that set records and the book i am probably the most closely associated with. we became good friends and happily four years ago i did another book with him. he was in his mid-80s then. it became a best-seller so it was kind of rewarding. i was always fond of mario peruzo who wrote "the godfather" he is a great character. >> and lastly to bring it all around. where do you see the future? where do you see book publishing going in the next 10-15 years?
>> i think it will go rapidly to an electronic-driven business. i think not too far down the road the electronic book will be what i would call the readers edition. it clear to me that people will read electronically, enjoy it, and have gotten over the concern about physical books. so in terms of what i said earlier, the convenience of the delivery system, the pricing, people have really shown us that the electronic books will and are important. i think a smart publisher has to look down the road and say if my main audience is electronic maybe i should release the electronic edition as the
primary edition. and follow it up with what i would call the furniture edition because physical books are still ador ' -- adored and sacred people. there are many bookshelves that need to be filled. so i think there will be many opportunities to sell physical books but i don't think they will be the dominant force 5-10 years from now. i think electronic books will be. so i think today's publishers have a challenge of finding a way to managing the old world of paper and ink and transition to the new world of digital publishing knowing both are important. what i see, and i am not
but different books. >> are ebooks as lucrative as presented books? >> should be more lucrative. it depends on how the publishers account and how much overhead they charge to the electric trannic edition, so -- electronic edition in the electronic format, you have no manufacturing costs. you have no selling or distribution costs. you do have some selling costs. so you basically have the creative cost of creating the content, marketing costs, and then you have the author's participation, the royalty payments. i can't imagine that there's going to be -- hair going to be hugely more profitable. they should be. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> this is booktv's live coverage of the savannah book festival. this is the final author talk of the day. here's author rinker buck. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to final author presentation of the ninth annual savannah book festival. my name is chris aiken and i'm delighted you have chosen to end your day here at this beautiful and historic trillion united
methodist church made possible by the generosity of bob and jean faircloth and south bank. tomorrow is valentine's day, so i'd like you to send some love to our members and individual donors who make saturdays free festival events possible. if would like to shower the book fife in your affection, we welcome donations and have provided yellow bucks for books buckets at the exist. i want to remind you about turning off you're cell phone, please, and also no flash photography. for the question and answer portion, i ask you to please come into the center aisle to the mic, because i'm sure you'd like to be on c-span, and also, they cannot hear the question unless you're at the mic. so i would appreciate you lining up in the aisle. immediately following the presentation, rinker buck will be signing festival-purchased copies of this book.
we are especially grateful to the kessler collection for their generous support of this afternoon's author. rinker buck is an award-winning journalist with a penchant for adventure. his first book "the memoir flight of passage" recounts the winter that he and his brother rebuilt their father's 1948 piper pa-11 and flew it from new jersey to california. buck now has written an epic can't of traveling the electric of the oregon trail the old-fashioned way, by covered wagon with a team of mules. along the way he discovers the rich history and the people who made manifest their debt -- destiny. ladies and gentlemen, i'm proud to present rinker buck. [applause]
>> thank you. thank you so much for that production, and i'm glad to see so many people here. thought we'd get to the end of the day to and there wouldn't be my book lovers left in savannah. i'm especially happy to be here, and i think the organizers because there's sort of a rounding back that's happening for me, inning savannah, this lovely city. which is sort of typical of my life, the things that have happened. in 1970, while a freshman in college, i came down to participate in a vista program, a well-drilling project before there were houses there, and there was just the old community and so forth, and remnants of the plantations that had been there. and i was down here for combined work study and the kind of thing that college students in the '60s did a lot, early '70s.
and i had to get to the island once a day and there are was a mail boat that rap once or twice a week but they said there's a school teacher, and if you're down at the bluffton dock easers morning also 6:30, quarter to 7:00, you can gate ride over to the island any day you want. so i got down there, and it was this skinny guy there, skinny, mid-20s. i remember he had a beautiful sunburn and he was -- i felt like we belonged together because i could just tell, you can just tell, this guy might have had a whacky upbringing just like me. and so not every morning but the few morning a week i would go out to the island i would ride back and forth with n this little metal skiff with a skinny guy by the name of pat conroy. and pat went on to, of course, the first time i sort of caught up with him when the river is
wide was made interest a movie issue think john voigt played him and is pretty good at it. so, i've been back to savannah a few times. akind of sentimental being here. so what happened is my publicist told me a year ago, something like that, at simon & schuster, as we were making preparations for the reese loaf my book there's a great thing called the savannah book fife, and i didn't pay much attention at the time because there was so men other things going on. i assumed it would be the kind of venue like most talks. i go and give a power point presentation and i want to warm up the audience by showing them what the oregon trail actually looks like today and explaining how we became the first -- my brother and i became the first to cross the trail in over a century. and then after that i do some funny readings from my book and everything is great. so i didn't think much about it.
then, oh, back in november, i called down here and i said, i want to make surely you have a power point presentation reading and my reading. and they go, very southern accent, you don't have to worry about all that. when i do -- we're not doing power point because you're going to be speaking in a church, and we just signed -- if you don't mind my saying it -- authors just stand up and read from the pages of the book are just so boring. so, she goes, you just come down here. die have to wear a tie? a good catholic school boy. no, no, just come down here and tell the folks what makes you tick.
and i was immediately worried because i spent a lot of money over the years in some of the best offices of the most well-trained psychotherapists in the country, and we have never figured out what makes rinker tick. but that got me started. and i'll start this way. i will get to the oregon trail book in a bit and i'm going to leave plenty of time for questions. if that's what folks are interested in. but i want to start this way. i stand before you as someone who, with complete plausibility and no prior planning, is not only the youngest aviator ever to fly america coast-to-coast but the first person to take a covered wagon across the oregon trail in a century. okay? how do you get to that level of weirdness? how does that happen?
so, i thought i'd start this jay talk about a subject that's always interested me. first of all, we tend to talk about important periods in life, hatch, match, dispatch, you know, christening, wedding, second wedding, third wedding. leather and all this, is a the pivotal moments in like. like in the '70s, gail sheehey published a book called "passages" all about the traditional shared moments in life, passages, we all have to good through, and the only problem i had with what gail wrote was that there's a lot of other passages that are equally more important than the official ones we recognize. for instance, first job, and i have a book called "first job" and all the crazy things that happen to me when i got out of college and got a job at a really great newspaper and they
put me to writing obituaries and it had not occurred to me before i started writing obituaries, the way you spell a last name has any significant as all. so people would be calling up on the phone and saying, i'm not dead. stuff like that. so, first job is really important. that book is going to be re-issued. so -- but probably the most important period and the most formative period is what i call the adolescent turning in, 12, 13, 14, 15, those -- might be a lot here with children and grandchildren now, they say from what i'm reading in the papers that everything is start -- starting earlier now, but 12 to 15, so the adolescent turning in. this is the period when you wake up one morning, everything has been going fun but all of a sudden something changed and some has to do with new chemistry in the body and stuff, but you wake up in the morning
and it's like, my hair isn't straight anymore. i come from the most embar'sing family on -- embarrassing family on the planet, catholicism is just -- why do they expect me to believe i'm consuming the body of christ? all these things -- the priests in school are just -- and you're just convinced your life is horrible and nothing -- no one is more miserable than you. and so what happened to me at that age was we had an eccentric household. i grew up on a farm in northern new jersey in the middle of the republican hunt country. the only problem being is we were the only democrats in the whole county, and we had 11 kids, which was unusual. my dad was quite he can send trick. we -- eccentric. we had a carriage collection of 25 or 30 wagons. win we got bored with that we
started building airplanes in the barn, all this interesting stuff. my dad would come home after a big day's work and we had a yellow school bus, used yellow school bus, parked out by the barn, and he'd take us down -- a lot of kids and a lot of friends so he would take is down to the dairy queen in the next town over in this eccentric yellow school bus. so i had a lot to be embarrassed about. and my dad at the time was associate publisher of "look magazine" actually the publisher but the owner of the magazines would keep the title publisher for themselves, and he was very involved in politics, and the civil rights struggle. then the anti-vietnam protests and so forth. and so i'm about that age and just really getting embarrassed. my father getting arrested at a civil rights march when i'm, like, 12, 14 years old. kind of a vulnerable age to have all the republican neighbors
really know that you're kind of coming from a crazy family. so, my adolescent turning in, what i did was -- i didn't go out for a new sport or get grumpy or sneak out and drive the car. i became a reader and a big reader, and reading is so important for the formation of a writer. and so what would happen is i'd go down there and my father had this beautiful library, big walk-in fire place, and i'd go down there and i just loved to read. and i was a little bit precocious, i think, and i went down there and so on the shelf he cooperate miss it -- couldn't miss it, this big shelf, all the same book, blue, principled the same way. i said, the collected speeches of winston churchill. so, i took them upstairs and started reading away. it was really fascinating for me. i still can't believe i did it.
but i learned all about the india question and the irish question and -- on questions day, church chill had to stand up at first lord of the admiralty and defend the debacle that just happened in the battle in turkey, during world war i and all this stuff. and the other book that i found, really great -- i was mad at my father bit for a while -- was the six are volume biography of abraham lincoln by carl sandberg, and i went all the way through that, and my little brother would -- hey, rinky, have you finished reading the biography of lincoln? you started it at easter. this is now august or something. and i got mad at my father at the end of it because you get to at the end of the biography of abraham lincoln by carl sandberg and the sixth volume is a condensed version of everything.
of all the six -- i'm going, dad, dad, why didn't you tell me? i could have -- this is almost like cliff notes here. and he goes, well, didn't want to spoil the experience for you. so what would happen is because of my -- because my dad was very active in politics and kind of a big wheel in democratic party, this, that and the other thing, he quit his job in 1959 to work for the kennedy campaign for a year. and then went back to it and so forth. the people that came out to our place on weekends, everybody would come out and we'd take them for carriage rides and things like that. and they were newspaper columnists and politicians and so forth. a lot of -- i could drop a few names and you'd recognize them. not important. so, they would all sit around and get on these big debates in
my father's beautiful library about, what are we going to do about vietnam and what is the impact going to have on lyndon johnson, and i'm sitting there, the only kid in the family at all interested in sitting there listening to this, and the '60s were all about what do the kidsing? this whole conversation started and all these people are sitting around, and said, rinker, what do you think is going to happen to lyndon? i go, well, i think we have to go back and consider what winston churchill said about neville chamberlain during the munich crisis. and these guys would -- whoa, are all your kids like that? and we got talking about martin luther king and the civil rights struggle and everything, and there was a point, if you
remember, where martin luther king in addition to his civil rights activities, actually came united states and opposed the vietnam war, which i felt defined him because he said this morality is going apply across everything, not just civil rights. and -- but it was very controversial at the time and my dad was one of the few people at the time defending king doing this, and again, we're there, a nice, beautiful fall day, and beautiful views out the windows of our place and the fire is crackling and everything, everybody sitting around, all these big wigs. risker, what do you -- rinker are what do you think? well, you really need to consider this in light of the free soil debates in congress in 1854. and that was volume 4. what was great about this is it -- writing was working for me, being a reader and a big
writer was working for me mitchell dad recognized my. none of the other kids were interested in this kind of intellectual engagement my father had -- because of the depression his family had been so wiped out by the depression he never graduated from high school and they didn't have equivalency editions and he rows up to become publisher of "look magazine." no education, just self-taught. so he started exhibiting this extraordinary interest in me, and he later kind of bake meddling. in the oregon trail book i wrote about it's. bit. because he was too involved. but essentially what he was doing was encouraging me, and all my history papers, he'd send around to his friends and some of them, including historians, just -- but it was a way of getting recognition in this adolescent turning in was starting to work for me in a certain way. the next thing that happened that i remember, my writing career, that i'm dying to share
with you. pretty significant prestigious thing that happened to me. i went to a little school in new jersey called delbarton, a benedictine boys academy, this little school that could. we would show up with a station wagon full of kids for the track meet and all the other big rich schools would show up with big buss and they had guys massage your legs and stuff like that. we were just this little -- and we won. so it was kennedy of an antiquated ways in some places and they had a tradition there -- this is in the mid-'60s -- of freshman hazing so seniors and juniors, any upperclassman could haze a freshman, ask them to do whatever he wanted, like a senior could tell you to shine his shoes and you were supposed to carry this little shoe-shine kit around, and i could tell who the nerds were in any class would be because they're running around, shoe kits, practically
begging the senior to tell him, shine his shoes and one of these little freshmen ran by and he was in my class itch said, shine my shoes. and he did. so, kind of learning there war ways around the rules but i did get to the bus stop one day, there's like two weeks of freshman hazing, and a lady came by, named agnes jenks and she used to come by in this battered up vw bug, and she was kind of old some had a lot of liver spots and her jowls considerable, and whenever we were cutting up at the bus stop or doing something we shouldn't be doing, she would go by in this volkswagen like that. so the guys used to moon her a lot, and -- she just -- so this senior goes, sees the yellee volkswagen coming ump the road there -- up the road there and the senior says to me, buck,
shine a bear ass moon to the moon lady. she's coming. and i did it. i figured, i can't get out of this one, and he is a senior, and my culpability is very low here because by accountability is very low because a senior made me do it. and that's what i did. i gave her a really good bare bare-ass moon. she screeches to a halt, stops at the pay phone, calls the police, and before the bus could get -- i'm begging, come on, where is the bus. before the bus could get there, the cops come and actually arrested me and took me down to the station, and it helped my career. just helped me immensely because everybody at school is like, yeah, rinker! and there were kid when the cops -- city got to the police station. the cops were there well, i don't know, what is the statute?
and so i got driven back to school in a police car, and the kids were hajjing out the win -- hanging out the window, yay! and so in those days we had something that was called -- seems to antiquated, probably giving you some good inflammation here -- in those days catholic schools had somebody called the dean of discipline. father arthur, and he says i got you now, buck. i got you. he says, you know, could give you weeks of detention, i could do anything. and i got something in store for you, the worst punishment possible. and i go, oh, okay, father, what? he goes, i'm calling your dad at work and telling him about this. so i get home that night and my dad is sitting in there -- if know it's a serious thing because he is home on time. he didn't go to the aa meeting
on the way home. just came straight home. and he goes, son, -- he is really angry and -- but i'm going to give you a good lesson. i'm not going to get angry. i'm going to show you how this exhibitionism you seem to display, how that can be turned for the good of the world. and i go, okay, dad. and he says go upstairs to your room. and write a letter of apology to this woman. i said, dad, that a great idea. i'm going up there i'll do it. i went up there and i remember -- because i was one of the first kids in the neighborhood to get one -- this is the point in the communications technology when we were making the transition from the manual to the electric type ridder and i had this little portable smith cor --
corona and i had a big plastic case and i went up there and i must have known i was going to become a writer. i must have known there was some significance here but i didn't at that age but an unconscious -- i rolled some carbon in and when i actually got to write about this, which is when i sat down to write "flight of passage" i found the carbon. i couldn't believe it. i wasn't that -- so i took the letter down to my dad and i gave it to him, and the first -- these are not exact but this is pretty close to paraphrasing -- dear mrs. -- i handed this to my dads' he started reading it. dear ms. j.s. you cannot imagine how humbled i am to have to write you under these circumstances. i had no idea that my thoughtless school boy prank
would have such an impact on a woman of your advanced age and hysterical temperment, and just went on and on. just like -- i said, the next -- another sentence was: the sun glinting through the windows of your volkswagen shimmering off your liver spots and jowls, reminded me that i had made a terrible mistake. and my father is reading this. his hand actually started to shake. and -- goddammit, can't send this to this lady. you booby trapped it and she's going to dry from a heart attack and then we'll really be sued. he pacted it up and threw it in the fire place. so, again, writing was working for me. writing was working for me.
my older brother would confront my father and have a fight, and i really knew that was the wrong strategy so i just go kind of, just like a little last maneuver around him, and i said, dad, it's a good letter. he says, a goddamn good letter and that's why you got out of it. i'll give you one other example and then we'll talk about the oregon trail book a little, give you some questions. so, writers talk about, well, all these pretentious things. i read forup frye as a boy and i knew the lit larry life -- blah blah blah. there are specific things that happen to you that put you in the direction of becoming a writer. so the other thing i remember was a couple years later i was in high school, and this little school was trying to become a much bigger and better place and now is. it's very successful second dear school.
-- secondary school, but in those of days everybody in the class had to do really well on at least one or two advance placement exams because that would help you get into a better college, and they were trying to get abuse good secular colleges and not just the catholic schools. meanwhile, i'd just become this obsessive reader, and my strategy that worked well for me in high school and college, i would read ahead in the whole syllabus. by the middle of october i'd have the whole syllabus read for the courses and then i could spend the rest of the time reading what i wanted to read, and what i wanted to read in those days was novels and what i thought novel meant, novel, it's novel because it has sex. and that's great. so, instead of reading my hoyt some nights i'd read -- what happened was, i got in to take the ap exam and i -- father john
said you have to get a perfect score. there will three essay questions and then multiple choice. multiple choice was easy but the three essay questions were the only three you would get and whatever you got you had to answer, and so -- and giles said, father giles said, look, if you don't know the material, just try anything because if you don't answer that question, you're really going to be in trouble. so, i get in there and my biggest say question, big essay question was, tell us about the alien and sedition acts, and i think back and i go, shit, the only thing don't know about. and i think back and negotiating that was the night i was reading lolita. yeah. oh, man, what am i going to do? so i thought about and it i really didn't know anything about the sedition act but i thought bit it, aliens and
sedition. and i remembered because i was very full of myself then and read harper's magazine, and i do remember reading a sentence where someone compared the black lifting period in the 50s to alien sedition acts. so i go, okay, alien, sedition. it was bad. it was bad. kind of the fourth volume of carl sandberg's biography on lincoln is all about how he suspended habeas corpus during the civil war, and all these other things he imposed on the south. so i said, all right. and they gave me an out, and the out was a comma at the end of the question, and don't be afraid to reflect on the significance of the alien sedition acts on future events in american history. and i go, okay, we're good. so the opening sentence, i swear i can still remember it -- no
historian could possibly analyze the nefarious effect of the alien sedition acts without contemplating their influence on president lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the civil war. and i was good. it was like the catholic schools were just -- they're great because they teach you shortcuts and the priest says -- because we all had to study latin, if you put a latedin phrase, but in (s what it means habeas corpus, give me the body. so i put that in there. it's a big deal in school, everybody is going, how did you do on the am? so all the papers come back from princeton and father giles calls
you in a lone and holds the payment down low and didn't -- gives you a big lecture about yourself and everything, and then he pulls it up and says, so, they're escort one to five, five being the best. i got a five. so that question must be -- and this real jim pressed me. this had a big influence because i realize it it's all about the writing. you need a lot of knowledge but in the end it's all about the writing because i didn't know what the alien sedition act was, and these things are graded by college level historians. i did fine. so all about the writing and don't be afraid to go in strange directions. i got all these other examples here but we won't have time and i know you want to hear about the covered wagon trip, but so the adolescent turning in forced upon me a regimen of welcome,
welcome reading, a lot of reading, and then i would get romantically tan to liesed with all -- -- there was a period between 19 and 20 i thought it was the most awful thing in the world that i hadn't been alive during the civil war. there was no way to make it in america if you didn't start out after being a civil war soldier. i couldn't imagine that. so i was very impressionable and very vicarious, the reading pushed me in vicarious directions. so six or seven years ago when i became fascinated be the oregon trail and all the things about the trail that were true and they never taught news school, and of course, you wouldn't find them in a hollywood movie. i came across the line, "the
last documented crossing of the oregon trail. was in 1909." and it just -- you know, my autism, my whole sense of things, just didn't occur to me especially since i had a horse background, growing up ton a farm -- didn't occur to me there might be a strange response to that. that the book i should do on the trail. let's take the covered wagon across and write about the oregon trail. and people go, rinker york crazy. the wheels are going to break in nebraska. and you're such a weirdo. and i'm going, like, i know, but it feels normal to me. this feels formal to me. so i bought a-i got my brother nick to come along, thank baud, because he is more experience horseman than i am and can ticket mission. i bought a team of mules from amish in missouri, very close from where i had to depart from, and the amish are annot allowed
to have cell phones and communicate in any kind of minor way. that's why you always cal them on their cell phone at night because you know he'll be out in the barn doing chores. so i bought the team and boat a restored wagon, original covered wagon, and took us four months, 79 camps. we camped in the pioneer ground ounce crowneds and the fairgrounds, and flying gentleman truck stops are good because they have showers. my brother said, we're going to get in trouble for going in. it's a truck stop. he said i bet you nobody says a word and nobody said a word. and things like we went -- took us 29 days to cross wyoming.
that includes or wheels breaking at south pass, and somehow replacing those wheels and so forth. 29 days from fort layer my laramie to cokeville, and had to come straight down the rockies and stuff like that. 289 days and we had three showers and i can each place where we had the showers. so, i know that you want to ask questions about that. and i'm all set, and i just want to say that to me, even though i really can't explain who i've become and what i'm doing and i'm going off on another crazy adventure this year -- watch those children and those grandchildren because it's the adolescent turning in, and the great things, great things can come from it. so, thank you very much, and --
[applause] i'm sure there's a few people who have read my book or want to read it and -- but you asking me any question you want, but -- sure go ahead, please. >> i know you can elaborate on this, but each of your -- have distinct personalities. have you been back to see them? >> yes, i have. so, beaut, done the two molly mules, the female mule, beaut and beck -- they just don't like me. i took them 2,000 miles. they were in harness for four months straight. and jake, the middle mule, the john mule, was just a big, kind-hearted gentle giant. so, at the end of the trip i
managed -- i wanted to keep the team together. mules are fraternal and they had been on the same farm for all their lives and it would be hard on them if i just sold them to the highest bidder and they would split up the team. so one of the ranchers understood this and said just tell me what you got into them and i'll buy them and put then on the retirement ranch here. so i've been out to idaho twice now to visit them, and the mules really know who you are. they just look at you get out of the vehicle, this guy. but when they hear your voice. so when i got out of that vehicle, and that ranch in idaho, hey, beck, hey, beaut, how are you? those two molly mules just take off. they go, oh, no! [laughter] >> not that guy. oh, jesus. and then jake comes over. so i still have great relationship with jake, and the mules are fine. they're also overweight. animals should be exercised and
this rancher sort of had plans to use them but doesn't really. so beaut, who was just the big eater in the gang, anything to do with eating was just -- i swear they just feed her every night a bucket of bon-bones but a they're great to see and still healthy and i get strongly a team that had done something no other team hat done in a century, which is go 2,000 miles straight across the plains, needed the reward of a good retirement, and when you take risks like this, think good things happen to you in the end, and so i found a really good home for them, and i spoke with the rancher who has now become a friend, just a few weeks ago, and there's doing great. >> does the trail still exist? >> i'll explain that. they wouldn't let me come with a power point.
2100-miles from st. joe, missouri 0, independence, jumping off town along the missouri river, to oregon city, near portland, across the great american desert. okay, of the 2,000 miles, a thousand miles now are two-lane blacktops, just like highway 26. and they follow the river, and the reason that the -- it's repaved -- was one good example, as early as the 1850s, the former pioneers, now ranchers and farmers in the west, namely oregon, they were driving cattle back eastward against the wagon traffic, and it was being slaughtered and this new thing in america, the beef industry was being created in places like ohama. and so in world war i, the need to get processed meat, precooked meat, canned so it was safe for the soldiers over to europe was
enormous. so long stretches of the trail they had been driving cattle long along but was the original trail was turned into the highway because the combustion machine had been invented and we had trucks and it was a lot more efficient and reliable getting the cattle there by truck than pushing them. so, about a thousand miles is that. but mainly backcountry roads, or farming ranch roads. follow the river, and whatever road is there, and there are trailmarkers along the way. the other thousand miles, roughly, is the original ruts, and i mean original, and this is why -- this deprivation of power point was cruel to this audience. because there's some beautiful pictures. from kasper, wyoming, to cokeville, wyoming, north central to the idaho line, the
oregon trail is existent, 350-miles of original ruts and you can read the pioneer journal and what they said about and it there's no development. just all federal land and ranching. so, of that thousand miles of open ruts, we did sections in every state. nebraska, about 50 miles in nebraska, 350 miles in wyoming, 70 or 80-miles in idaho and so forth. of the thousand miles of ruts that still accessible, we did 500 of those miles. but for the most part we followed the trail exactly. >> hi. halfway through your book, thoroughly enjoying it. i wish you had brought nick you brother, with you. >> yes here. >> yes. are you going to take him on your next trip and number two, how did you too your research? >> so, number one to answer your question, so, i go out and i
give these talks and think i'm a big guy because my book was a best seller and, a writer and -- and so important how i wrote the book and it's so good and all this. and someone stands up at the end and goes, usually a woman, how is nick? and we just did an appearance together last week up in maine, where we both live, and it goes well, and it's good having him in the audience because he always ad adds this littled aer toal. i go, here's a picture of trail and we flipped in nebraska and we had that baby back on at the trail 24 hours later and nick is in the audience and says, excuse me, we? because he did all the work. so, nick's great and the only reason i didn't bring him down here is he is back at work in construction projects and he
can't make the distant events. how did i do my research? just -- it's that adolescent turning in. you just sort of happy, lost in your books. so i did pioneer journals, read over 100 pioneer journals itch read all the -- i read the classic histories, like the point of cross, and a book called "the great platt river road." i paid $160 for a bibliography of every pioneer journal and letter ever published, also done by merrill maddison, one of the great feats of scholarship in america, and just obsessed on it all, and it turned out to be great because i knew a lot more than i had to, and we get to places like -- this was the year we crossed, 2011, was very high water year and we god to a place called will low springs, a traditional water crossing, and will low creek. and we couldn't get across
because it was such a high water year, like a 30-acre swamp and i could see the oregon trail marker on the other side. but i'd done so much reading knew there was something called the seminole cutoff in the same area, and see seminole cutout was more heavily traveled than me maintain ruts, so i took some come pause bearing and found it. but just a huge amount of reading, going museums, 0 going back to primary sources. so if i got somewhat in history books, itch i got a footnote, or if i wanted to use that information, i'd go to the footnote and try to get the original source and believe it or not, if you thought the book was researched -- the only man awe script was 85,000 words longer than what got published.
so i'm just obsessed with this stuff now. please. >> the trail journals, must have been a time when they, coming west all of the high plains, short grass prairie, and the first time they come over at ridge and then see the rockies. and what was their comment and what was your comment when you experienced the same thing? >> well, i -- my comment was unprintable. you're looking at the rockies. there's exactly that point in the book. the point where they came up the prairie, as you call it, and first looked upon the rockies was scott's bluff, nebraska. from scott's bluff, from the top of mitchell pass, which is right -- and i was -- did this thing in at the book where i
quoted -- i can't remember her name how, to difficult to remember everything you research and put it in the book but amanda something, when she got to the top of mitchell pass and saw the rockies for the first time, and what she was looking at was the top of mt. laramie, 9,000 feet, and the purple dome of laramie filled our horizon. and about 20 pain pages later we get there. the book is kind of that sort of thing of tenses and we go -- and the real thing that was said was nick was on the wagon seat with me and he goes, jesus, we got to cross that? and what i said was, the purple dome of laramie, 90 miles away. you can see it right across the wyoming and it's out just the
other side of a place called wheatland, wyoming. so that it where they first saw the rockies, and the thing about the trail is you actually circuit around the big peaks except this one awful place called dempsey ridge, and on the wyoming-idaho line we lad to go straight down, kind of scary. that's the place. scott's bluff. go to scott's bluff and stand up on the bluff, or go to mitchell pass, which i think is highway 52 going on, that big purple mountain is laramie point. laramie peak. yes. >> would the adolescent turning in and the displain of father arthur and at the guidance of father giles, and the endurance training of toney, how did you do that during the -- >> it did. it did help me. the thing about the track coach, this fellow here went to my --
with graduated from the same school and the thing about tony pastoreli our track coach and the most profane man in the state of new jersey. i won't use the actual words but he would go, jesus, rinker, you're running like a freaking egyptian today. and if your remember, i was a good miler. i won a lot of -- and so i'd be coming in, and i know i'm going to win but i'm still behind. you're freaking egyptian. pick up those feet! so i learned endurance. that was a big thing about the trip. it was just -- my brother and i were very proud of it and we would like over at each and say woe don't know many people who
could do this. we would be 18 hours some days in harness, and it was just the ability to take monotony, which i learned in the trip, got very tired of the wagon and i fell to sleep and that's dangerous on a covered wagon because you can fall into the wheel so every day by noon, even if i wasn't tired that day, i'd get off the wagon and nick would drive the team and i'd walk five or six miles no matter how hot it was. i really needed to do that to get myself back up. then the rockies were fascinating because we spent, i think it was 42 days -- i went back and looked -- spent 42 days above 7,000 feet, and my feeling was, because you're in the high plains out there, and all the way up to 8,000 feet, to get over the last peak of the rockies, and my feeling about it
was, you never get altitude sickness until you get up around 12, 13, because i knew from my flying you really not required to put oxygen on until 10,000 feet. so, i thought i was fine. and i wasn't. i suffered severe altitude -- not altitude sickness but the hypoxia, deprivation so if started forgetting things and leaving buckets and chapes hip which caused problems. we'd get to a spot, like, those who read the book, we had to go over rocky ridge, and said do not cross rocky ridge, even the pioneers stopped do it. they went to seminole cutoff. do not take rocky ridge, it's even illegal. the federal government doesn't want you up there i said, how do i -- you get to the mormon camp, take a left. so we got to the mormon camp and it was saturday and all the mormons had gone back to salt
lake to go to church and there was no camp, so i just went straight, and this other more. mon came town and said you do know you're headed straight for rocky scrimmage you can't turn a covered weigh gone around. a very narrow turning radius, and never get -- not -- rocky ridge, listen to me. then we got there it's rocky ridge and it's a sheer escalator of stationary escalator of rock going up 300 feet, and nick and i look at it and said, what are they talking about we went right up over that baby. it was no big deal next oxygen deprivation i concluded later, the wheels are broken, we don't have any water now because they were in that wagon, and that's -- we'll be good.
because i had that kind of oxygen deprivation where there's two foam easterly forms, one you've get more rose and the other you get uuforric, and nick would go, the wheels are broken. and i'm, we'll make it to oregon somehow. anyone else. >> one more question. you spoke about your brother nick. i know i'm supposed to ask a question about him. >> oh, yes. >> because he is not here. what is the most creative fix he made? now, he admitted to fixing things. >> okay. >> i know you that a lot of adventures. >> i think the most creative fiction was -- the most creative thing he did on the whole trip is he called my mother -- my 90-year-old mother in maine, and nick was very critical of me because i'd always wear clean shirts and buy new shirts and
get them pressed and everything. he goes, you know, mom, i think i'm crossing the oregon trail with three mules, a jack russell terrier and a clothes horse. so he made all kinds of creative fixes. one that he did is he built this platform on the back of the trail pup so we could carry another hundred gallons of water. the -- we bought what is called today bioharness, sort of an imitation leather harness. all the horses here probably have them. and it's considered better for leather on a trip like this because it's very durable, strong and not going to break so we wouldn't have to do harness repairs in the middle of the planes but the problem with those harnesses, at certain very critical junctures, in the trip,
this imitation leather, which is really nylon reinforced plastic, would rub against the mules and they'd get sores, very bad sores and leather won't do that as much because leather is leather to leather, and so i come in one night, come into camp one night after i think i was carrying water or something, and nick is going through my backpack and everything and taking belts out. he goes, you've got so many belts. tough for bringing all these belts, rink, and he rebuilt the bridles and other parts of the harness out of my belts. and, boy, did it work. in other words, he made them a little bit on the large side, and now when they were rubbing against the mules, there was no sores. so, they were a dozen things like that. the best thing about nick it was like an old western, like festus, always complaining about
something. every 100-mile wets had to grease the wheels. jack up the wagon, pull the wheels off. they're heavy, regrease, put it back on, screw the hub in, and i'd go - the nick would say, we would get somewhere and he would say yeah come every week since we've been gone, i greased these wheels and i haven't had a of help from my brother. and then i would go over in the wagon when he was gracing the wheels and say hey, nick, let me help you greased the wheels. you try and do all the work yourself. let me help you. he does get your college-educated away from my wagon. [laughter] so the beautiful personality contradictions about him. i don't have any myself. [laughter] he was absolutely and surmounted for the trip because he could fix everything. thank you very much. this has been great.
down in 2008. because it intrigues me. when we think about great country and you wonder how could we possibly have ever imagined that we could exist primarily on fact and speculation? it is intriguing because you see it as a moral issue, but one might also have a look at it more precisely as perhaps a more psychiatric behavior issue. and so i began to wonder whether you could dissect out from that particular debacle something that might make sense that would take us out of the moral realm and put us in a more construct of realm about how we might see this into the future and avoid it because it doesn't look as if we have as we run up to another bubble, it seems to me with the
quantitative easing and so on and so forth, but it was a worthy cause and it allowed me to bring an interest in history and economics and a few other bits and pieces together to find out in my own mind why it is that we don't do better. i mean, we have such material success that somehow it doesn't quite work in terms of human progress. none of the things that strikes me is in my lifetime, the population of the world has increased -- it has doubled actually. economic output has increased by eightfold in the same 50 years. 50, 60 years. that is extraordinarily straight in. so one wonders, given that we as a nation are earning 4% of the population of the world that we
consume in the traded resources something like 25%. one wonders why it is that we are not doing better than we are. because yes, of course we are rich. but if you look at statistics, in terms of our social parameters and other things, we are settled in the middle of the pack. one wonders, how could that be? is there some correlation here between what we do and the fact that we have certain personal health problems and we worry about the environment, the actively i think, it better, it better. so i'm not 50 years, if you look at the world writ large, there is no doubt that health and our wealth have improved enormously. most of the children that we bear these days in the world grows to maturity.
we are literate in general. we are very successful. and yet, when you look at the u.s., we have many scourges, which play guys. one of which is, for example, that we have a great deal of obesity. we are one of the fattest countries in the world. over 50% of people are now obese, if actually nails, white males. ..