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tv   The Witches  CSPAN  October 3, 2016 6:30am-7:16am EDT

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[inaudible]
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>> hello everybody. wow, what a streak we have. i'm proud to introduce our next author. she's a el gait an exciting writer. she's the kind of person that other writers just adore. and boy does she know how to pick a good topic. unbelievable. you know, even jon stewart was interested in cleopatra. she is welcome she's somehow brought to life cleopatra in a way that nobody else had. and by the way, cleopatra a lot of people knew cleopatra for a long time.
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of course, shoos won so many prizes it is fairly ridiculous, is when she was a child she won pulitzer prize for writing vierra about the wire of vladimir nobacoff runner up for plitser in earlier in 1995 and see how young she is it is superannoying for the rest of us writers. ron who snows how to write a book himself said about this stacey. even it forced to at gunpoint, stacey ship would be incapable of writing adult page for a lame sentencing, and david you know that guy that just always writes best sellers just like stacey most recent, live what he said about her. history in the hands of stacey
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ship is invariably full of life, light, shadow, surprise, clarity of insight, and so it is again and then some in her latest work the witches. few writers combine as she does to perb scholarship in a exceptional gift for language in amazing reach and agility of it is a superb book and turn it setting the stage in the hands of stacey shift. she bring you back to 7th industry massachusetts an exceptionally cold winter and the mystery begin when when a minister daughter starts to scream. stacey.
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thank you mary. if here at this hour you're a die hard or passionate lover of history or both or you want someone else to walk your dog. i like to think of history like mount rushmore. but it turns out to be an oddly malleable thing with moods and fashion and changes of heart. studded with misconception and jot outright fiction. pilgrim never heard anything talk about about plim knot rock or anything against cherry trees. some of the luscious fictions grew up around our commemoration of the past. which reminds me of a library joke. a man walks into his local library. i can't tell this with a straight face and asked can you
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tell me why so many major civil war battles were fought on national park lands? [laughter] none of which explains what we've done with this one immutable truth executed nine people for witchcraft. those innocent men and women they were 14 women and 5 men were convicted in salem, massachusetts courtroom. they hanged several miles we on a spot and this will tell you something about how the epidemic was viewed in its immediate aftermath in a spot that we can barely locate today. sometimes it seems as if the trauma of an event can be measured by how long it takes us to commemorate it. and by how thoroughly we mangle it in the process. if you go back to salem to get a
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start of the chapter in our history you discover that town has embraced its past with what you call uncommon people accused of witchcraft but none was a pirate. one was a harvard educated minister and other richest merchant in salem, but that's something else. for several hundred years, salem did everything it could mft to bury this chapter of its history. as late as 19 a 52 when arthur miller visited the subject of witchcraft was taboo you couldn't get anyone to say anything about it complained miller. stigma lifted only when the salem filming of the abc sitcom bewitch. i see some of you remember that show it was modern houses wife had supernatural powers and twitch could make value you mean cleaner work immorts to her husband.
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for various reason it is made since in 1970 shooting number of sitcom episodes in salem. and that allowed town to embrace its inglorious past and how it did so in 1992 is unveiled the memorial to elizabeth montgomery. the television show star, she had effectively laundered the history. still over next years, salem vigorously rebranded itself, this is the town paper. this is the football team. [laughter] >> and this is the police cruiser generally it turnld itself into witch city. every possible slogan, you can see every one of these when you walk around salem but this is my favorite, this is a t-shirts. after bewitch community of wickens established themselves today a very good place to buy
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crystals or a broom stick or a magic wand also a very good place to get a tattoo. a witch museum opened in a former church. the restored home of the 6092 judges recast itself as the witch house. and, of course, halloween now belongs completely to salem where october 31st is a month long celebration. this is particularly io roning as pearson and in 1692 most puritan had a horror of holidays renounce christmas and saint day and wound up with a calendar described as dullest in western civilization but in other words you can leave salas 4re78 today without a hint of its actual history. but you better book now if you want a room for next halloween. what precisely did happen in 1692 toward end of january after especially what are had issue winter two little girls began to
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bark and yell, and shudder they fell dumb and seemed to fly across rooms. they lived in whaftion then known as salem village hamlet five miles down road from salem town, and community today known to its immense relieve in massachusetts. girl's father and uncle were village minister samuel paris and resisted what seemed the obvious diagnosis. four years earlier, a family of boston children suffered identical woman. she hanged november of 1688. that case was very well known. probably as much to the village children as to their parents. after weeks of prayer, with no change and girl's condition and no other viable explanation for it, it seemed clear that witchcraft was at work. the girl soon named three names and three different women had enchanted them. one of them quickly confessed
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that she was, in fact, a witch. she did so in collidescopic detail with a story about yellow bird and black cat and regular hogs and been recruited by devil himself and that she had flown in a wink with of an eye boston and had several accomplices. three separate report terse took down her testimony which created this sensation. immediately grown men began to harl unearthly sound and had winged beasts from the moonlight. already the girl's symptoms had spread to a hope to a cohort of teenagers many eve themmer is vapts they would play starting role of the 1692. identifying the witches, displaying their bruises and their bites and their bloody limbs to the courtroom. ultimately predicting whom witches would attack next. fingers pointed soon in all directions, the epidemic spread to 24 communities. they called them salem witch
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trial by and over massachusetts was a village most effected. one in ten of its residents would be denounced. so many to accuse that witnesses confused their suspects. the youngest was five and eldest nearly 80. daughters accused mothers. brothers their sisters. parishioner and husbands tended to ashore court that they had long suspected that wives were witches. let me talk for a just few minutes about witchcraft and how it worked. what exactly was a witch? is the early americans he existed as plainly as a heat or light as one authority had it it was as obvious but theory to convey men through the air that wind would flatten the house. the early american witch i should add did not look like this. although there's something of
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the wizard of oz about the salem story. nor did the 178th century witch look like this. this by the way is the original wicked witch of the west from the 1900s edition of the wizard of oz i particularly like flying pink tail on unexpected -- this is an early halloween witch. or it should be. there she is. first halloween celebrated without witches and when finally witches appear the scene they're colorful and only dress in black after a the 1939 wizard of oz movie. the witch is a 17th century new englander knew her with someone who performed unnatural by virtue of her contract with the devil. from that pact she grew power to transform herself into cats, wolves, rabbits which would be a man or a woman though more often female. and she had familiars that did her bidding. those would be turtles or
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weasels, cats, dogs, toads were prevalent. 17th century woman is feeding her blood to her diabolical toads with a black cat familiar she illustrates 1621 english case mft this woman is acquitted of all witchcraft charges. these are are more diabolical familiars you will see they raise from barnyard pig to fantastic gargoyle like creatures a surprising number of massachusetts men to 1692 assault by cats by oversize cats, killer cats glow in the dark cats or neighbors disguised as cats. black cats with a favorite so they turn up throughout the stey lem testimony. black dogs occur in salem records too although historically they have feline form so family cat -- moose looking i hope just a
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little bit demonic. a witch enchanted with ointment and could be a muttering contentious or she or he strong and unaccountably start. both kinds of witches turn up in 1692 as wealthy merchants, sea captains who are witches. minister and homeless five -year-old girls who are witches. while her power was supernatural. her crime was religious. and her ultimate target ftion the soul rather than the body. and her connection to the convulsing children every english man knew what enchantment looked like. according to legal guide on many massachusetts desks in which was about to land on minister's desk this was the volume it manifested as paralyzed limb, crossing gnashing and violent shaking in other words the symptoms of the salem girls to a t. among the abundant proof of her
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existence was biblical injunction against her shall not suffer a witch i'm sorry to share with you basic english translation of exodus 22:18. any woman using unnatural powers or secret art is to be put to dakota. that pretty much covers woman i know. when massachusetts established a legal code first capitol crime was adultery and second was witchcraft so you know blasphemy next and murder after blays pany. in years since laws have been caught iffyed massachusetts, however, had hanged only six. so besides the mystery of the salem symptom is really a greater mystery, why in 1692 the hasty and merciless prosecution? the charges were familiar from earlier cases. casting spell on livestock was a
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common one and enchanted fireplace and wagon, they sent dishes sailing. they bid and claw and bludgeon anyone who refuse to sign devil's book cut us from an early english case. accused women did not farewell and why riding a pig? oh, they're not riding a pig, oh, no they seem to have gone away. oh, well. should have been riding below that. some witchcraft is clearly u at work here accused ofbq witches and do a great deal of flying down chimney and over apple tree ultimately to a diabolical sabbath and english witch did not fly. continental witches, however, did which will provide a significant clue as to what happened in 1692. those who confess to witchcraft will have flown i should add by their own confession on devil shoalers or pole or branch and sticks.
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no new england wism would ever fly on a broom. there are possibly there they are -- some french flyers. this 15th century but leave to a french woman to fly gracefully. the accepted logic on phenomenon went like this. witches existed in all time the and places. how was it possible that imagination could deliver the same conceit across cultures and ire are as? in other words, witchcraft was so propows rows you couldn't make it up. so the impossibility of a shared delusion was that of the most compelling reason and not to subscribe was hair city. in 16 2 then witch could be a foot stamper or troublemaker, but it could also be someone who simply denied the existence of witchcraft. faith aside served a purpose. it made sense of the unfortunate and eerie, sick child, and disappearing kitchen scissor. what else shrugged one husband
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in court? might have caused those black and blue marks on his wife's arm? one more breathtaking thing about the trials. they came to an end because scope of the crisis tax the imagination could there really be that many witches floating around massachusetts and because of what appeared to be an overzealouses court carefully, quietly, anonymously sane man began to speak up. few of them, however, questioned existence of witchcraft. at issue was simply the difficulty in identifying it. many would believe that innocence had died in 1692 but most also believe that guilty witches had escaped. to my mind writers can be immensely unhelpful about what nudges towards a particular subject. i can't say precisely where my interest in salem began but u i can report that you don't head off into the long hall of writing a book without some kind of obsession.
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the kind that wakes you up in night that make you read daily newspaper through eyes of someone who lived centuries or hundred was centuries earlier. so i began thinking about salem began to feel to me eerily, oral culture like internet feeds on rumor. both very effectively so mass astair ya. we too know something about how fear can corrode our thinking. about how raging against the power of darkness can convince us that we stand in the light. here is an instructive tale about a different war or terror about politics of fear. both of them conducted by enlightened men. because at the center of the events in 1692 were increase matter, the most e ill illustris and had no trouble when i knowing its way through massachusetts.
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he was convinced that the colony was under assault more to the point he relish that attack and proved colony special status. the epidemic seemed like a badge of honor for their proof but new englanders were chosen people. american exceptionalism really begins here. specific authorities regularly appeal to matters for giants they owned most extensive printed matter in massachusetts. they had devoured library on subject of witchcraft. it was to that we owe our knowledge of the earlier boston epidemic and he pleasured best selling volume and wrote more about salem and decade afterward puzzling over what could have caused witchcraft epidemic and concluded it was fault of the native americans. one additional thing that may have contradicted to my salem obsession it is not loss that after writing about ben franklin years in france eight years for
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which two and a half times as many documentation as the rest of franklin's life combined i wrote a life of cleopatra for which no shred of documentation what had so far. so here with salem blessedly was an an archive with diary and sermon and church record best of all a u thousand tripghts arrest warrant, petitions this is a page that best of 17th century penmenship from sermon book of samuel paris the village minister. this is the accounting of many jail keeps that incarcerated witch suspect. a 17th century prisoner had obligation for paying his own charges so jailers tended to be very meticulous in their records. the trial then struck me as terrifically urgently relevant when you factor apings and conspiracy theory. some were obsess with origins and thanks in large part to
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hawthorne and to arthur miller trials inserted themselves into our dna. and talking about witches this past year, it's sometimes seem to me that half of america descends from settler of 17th century new england and the ore half start in high school. [inaudible] willlet me end with confession a 72-year-old farm woman. for me she was the start of the story and finally of the book. we don't know initially accuse foster but we do know that she submitted to three intense facts to interrogation. initially she denied any involvement with witchcraft. but sheen began to inspool astonishing tale. i should say that six alleged witches hanged by this time now it is mid-summer. the epidemic really takes off at a gallop that begins in general or february and from start to finish it last only ten months.
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the foster admitted had appeared to her as a bird. and his direction she bewitched several children and a hog. this is the record by the way if repeated examination this is not the best of 17th century handwriting. the neighbor who was a witch had led her to a diabolical cab both in may arranging her trip through the air. foster provided precise details of that gathering to which the witches have flown from all over new england and reconstruct meeting from over 50 sworn testimonies. but last we have no image. this is the closest we can come, this is 17th century engraving of a german witch cab sabbath but themes are familiar as these men and women fly by various means to a clearing. you remember that i said that -- there have been no flying in massachusetts before 1692, well suddenly everyone is aloft.
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second report that she had flown to a pole one sharing with her neighbor. as sailed through the air they crashed but took off a second time and foster hurt her leg in the fall. you can see she was not the first woman to plunge to the ground at often is moment. about the crash not only from her official account but because of local minister had heard her confess and questioned her privately afterward in prison. he was fascinated by mechanic of witch crafts and lied to meeting on a stick. what had she done about food she told him that she had bread and cheese in her pocket she described the standing ground on which she sat and provided details of the timing of the flight in both directions. as for the accident she claimed that her leg still hurt her. she was entirely forthcoming. asking if it was true and
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seclude her daughter into the conspiracy. hardly marted that she denied that because daughter immediately confessed imrim nateing and daughter arrested after that, and she assured authorities and grandmother practice witchcraft are. let me go become to ann foster's account. to enter into the world of the early american to grasp what could have the epidemic we have to find today what we consider today to be a solution. this was a narrative challenge for me essentially writing a book of nonfiction that had its center event. so ensure that challenge was to make a crazy thing seem perfectly rational and then afterward to show whyed it been crazy. here's the woman that believed that she had attended a diabolical sabbath but envision
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difficulties getting there and felt she had still feel its afterefnghts. more over that sabbath stood at the center of the story. it amounted to a full conspiracy against the state. they felt that witches were plotting to overthrow church in newly seated government so this was original plot against america. foster reported there were 25 conspirator, granddaughter said 70 and estimate would soon rise to 500. it is gravity in part explain the prosecution. witchcraft became a political crisis for a colony that felt vulnerable for any number of reasons nothing to do with witchcraft. all of which convince me that book opened foster's flight. that sends us into the heart of matter and signals to reader that implausible things were afoot. i had to begin with how ann foster was to a diabolical
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meeting 12 miles away. here was the initial stab at the first line of the witches yes, i write on yellow legal pad it is embarrassing first line of chapter two because i much later wrote an introduction which retitled chapters one because he explained no one reads introduction. should you care to know how long it takes to write a book it seems that i made amendments at opening line on april 8th, 2013, an i did not see my children for the next two years. by later that day, the line had evolved to this. i had in hand and foster sworn testimony along with the account of that minister who interviewed her in prison but i also had to check number of details. for example, if, in fact, you flew just above tree topover so salem could you see as far as the ocean?
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how thick were the trees? for this i plague kind enough to take me seriously, and, of course, i needed to verify the night. there upon followed extensive correspondence of my favorite research librarian a man of superu human tenacity to give you some idea. this is one of several multipage e-mails in which he confirmed that, in fact, the night of may 15th, was not inky. a bright moon shown over massachusetts that evening. so yes you're hearing correctly i spent hours with circumstances underwhich the vent took place which is surely definition of lunacy. let me point out something ems too in trying to recreate foster flight with detail i too landed in the darkness of error.
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you may have noticed it already but i didn't see it for months. ...
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i had wanted to stress how much the dark, disorienting, terrifying blackness was a player in the story. and after all, everybody knows witches fly at night. of course when i went back to look, there it was, foster's granddaughter, very plainly tells the justices done >> that the meeting had taken place at noon. a plush carpet of meadows unfurled below as she flies salem, or swears she did, over red maples and streams. there's a bridget moon in sky which is no longer dark. there will, of course, no flights through the air in 1692 or goblins in the parlor. how did niece things seem to happen? when you pry the whole chapter apart you see it makes uncanny and holy modern sense.
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i hope you took from the book what i took. how quickly we jump to conclusions and information can lead us astray. fear warps our thinking, preconceived notions trip us up. above all the salem history reminds us of the importance of keeping our heads even when that leaves a question unresolved and leaves us off balance. that's an uncomfortable state but it was noted, bewilderment is crew. henry james wrote, if we were never bewildered there would never be a story to tell about us. thank you. [applause]
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there would never be a story to tell about us. thank you. with two questions and microphones in the aisle for whoever gets there first. i am wondering about why people would confess to something that they did it really do. you know there was this situation in central park these were teenage boys and they confessed the police worked them over the confess to crimes they did not commit and i'm wondering what the process is whereby somebody is gonna do something like that? >> in the case of this. with some of the young men who
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are accused they are actually tortured. we had evidence of the fact that they were hung up to have the truth extracted from them. many of the people that are brought in our women the men who were interrogating themd, are the best dressed in the best spoken men in the colony they are terrified they are often men were who are able to reason very logically and emily a woman who comes into the court and says i'm not a which i've never practiced. immediately ask how then can you be certain that you're not a witch if you're not sure what one is. the matter of questioning was rather circular.it's confession comes veryct naturally and the sense of
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inadequacy and the fear thatur you might actually and some level it's very close to the surface. so that you hear and some ofth the testimony people saying i wasn't able to confess but i don't know if i couldn't because i was innocent or if the devil was stopping my words. everyone feels like he is a has a blemish on his conscience of some kind that must feel diabolical in some way. by midsummer the confessions begin to run rampant for an additional reason which is itam have become clear to people if you confess you did not hang. so confession is used as an additional means of protection and of course inside every confession is a gleaming bit of shrapnel. if you confess you generally hand over the name of your co-conspirator.
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a lot of it is gender politics in 17th century massachusetts.chuset i'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the later take on the salem witch trials and adds to those gender politics in a way it makes the women in the young girls who are at the center of the story to be the accusers and the evil ones. >> it is a play it is not history.
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the most interesting thing i think they do is to centralize it. history raise the age of abigail. this in he makes us into sexual politics. the missing piece did any of these girls actually suffered some kind of sexual abuse.the gi the girls feel tremendously vulnerable. many of them have survived those attacks. they've often been assaulted inc by the men in the homes in which they live.her their prey to the masters there is a lot of imagery in the accusations but we can't pin it to these particular girls. there are any number of aggressions, rape unwanted advances but not in the salem
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records. it's very hard to connect the two. miller took the greatest liberty in using some of those and attaching them to the story we know a lot about it but we have nothing on the record.>> perso >> in 1953 a fellow for my neighborhood went and he was very much influenced by the mccarthy era he went to salemn g because he was looking at an image did you have a political thing in your mind that motivated you to go do that. i c obviously the mccarthy beat was a perfect analogy in many ways. i am not adept at being able to say why i wrote something i will give you an example of that. only after i finished thisr book that a friend say to me tio did you notice that the entire time you're working on this group you are living with an
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athletic -- adolescent girl. i would say i was reading this material about this subversive terrace in the yard. they were about to disembark in boston harbor. i was reading all of that in the wake of iraq. i think i probably saw an echo of this kind of invader idea.suw those are issues which we seem to be grappling with the still today.e that may have been the some of it but i did not really see that in any conscious way at the time. i did not act in the crucible
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but in a direct descendent of suzanne and north martin so i will be interested in any little stories you head about her. she was targeted as a widow who was in a family property dispute so i was wondering how much you think that there was intentional bickering targeting going on and whether in general manner the new arrival was any kind of rational way that there were certain people being fingered. >> she is one of the few of the accused that uses sarcasm and the court. she's very disrespectful with the justices. she has been strident in the past.
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that is true of a number of the suspects. it's very hard to determine if they been accused in the pastnd because they were strident but all of those left over accusations come back to be reactivated by the fear he fury in 1692. nobody really seems to be prosecuted. many people seem to be prosecuted for different reasons. in one case there is a decadeth old long-standing unresolved grudge of our property line and that claims a few lives.cour there had been previously court cases in which people still have bad feelings about. men are accused because theyey have officials they told people what they didn't want to hear. so they are accused. in one case and andover constable is accused because the refuses to round up anymore which suspects.witchcrat
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>> you alluded to it earlier when used showed some notes on a legal pad and the different drafts that you have my question is can you take us through when you have an idea to head motivation and then you outline what the book will be or do you just start writing and do you allow it to pivot. in short it usually takes meto four to five years in which i spent the first three years in the archives.e archiv i'm just following my way through the archives. i didn't know when i started this book i was can be reading. mounts.n't have
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not really good for the soul. it starts to ferment. i knew and foster it was can be the way into the story but you're always surprised by what you find. and the whole idea is have a very open mind when you first begin a project you will end up proving your thesis. the red as a thriller. as was the idea of conveyed what conveying what it felt like to live in brief in 1692. what were their obsessions. that was something i have not found in a previous book. we had one minute left.
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if you have a quick question i was just wondering about the extent of the research that you do. did you actually sit in a courtroom and see how that would be displayed. i try to get as close as i can to ground level. in a world where they were just gone. not even the coast was in the right place.er but it's very hard to re-create.ar d what are the worst months of the year. and everything one of themf said january and february
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thank you very much. hillary clinton and donald trump had written several books with their political philosophy. democratic candidate hillary clinton has written five books in her most recent title she remembers her 2008 presidential campaign enter time as secretary of state and the obama administration. in 2014 they spoke with secretary clinton about the book. published in 2003 living history

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