tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN2 November 24, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EST
brookline today, i'm alice schaffner, one of the booksellers and that staff at the store and i'm happy to see all of you for our talk tonight with susan quinn. the book details the vibrant and busy schedule of offers year-round and we depend on your enthusiasm and presence to keep our store and those events going. if you'd like to know more about them and what else we are up to, feel free to take an events calendar, we got the next to the register there. we will also be selling susan's book.you can join our weekly email list or look us up on facebook which keeps getting reinvented and is very fast. tonight we welcomesusan quinn and her new book , "eleanor and hick". although susan has for a long time, i'm told 45 years made boston and brookline her home, she was raised and educated in ohio. thank you, admit midwesterners here. we appreciate meeting you.
a graduate of oberlin college, susan wrote for periodicals, first on daily news and then for publications including ms. magazine, new york times magazine, atlantic monthly, damages the real paper and boston magazine. investigative reporting on the danger of cargo the boston and that was award-winning. she has written books about the lives of marie curie and psychoanalyst karen curry as well as fbi theater project and the book human child which is about the process, sometimes harrowing, of modern drug development. "eleanor and hick" is the story of lorena hickock, reporter and first lady eleanor roosevelt whose perseverance in a time that greatly disadvantaged ambitious women and whose infamous relationship and possible romance have made that icons of history for decades.tonight we will begin to delve into the possibility and facts of
their 30 years story guided by someone whose record of it curtis reviews called relentlessly captivating. curtis does not like giving up complements. clearly they have this one dragged from them by a book they did not put down. we are so lucky to have her as our guide tonight, join me in welcoming susan quinn. [applause] >> thank you all. i'm really pleased to be talking at brookline book smith, it's been such an important place in my life and i feel out of sorts between past. i walk into the book smith and look atthe staff recommendation for new books and when book smith outsold and outlasted the chain bookstore down the street , ... [applause] it felt to me like a personal triumph. since tonight i am going to
talk about what went into the writing of "eleanor and hick", every book has its ups and downs but this one had more than most, i would say. 2008, eight years ago, i published a book called furious improvisation about the federal theater project during the roosevelt administration and i loved writing about that and thought i would like to continue. so my first idea was to write a book about harry hopkins was probably the second most important person in the new deal under roosevelt, both with projects and during the war, just an enormously important figure. and i wrote a lengthy, lengthy proposal which i sent to the publisher. i spent a year on it. it was very nicely packaged with photographs and it was well-written area and both my agents and i thought it was a
sure thing. you can take a moment to introduce to you two important characters in the story. one of them is my agent. film era. but phil is much more than an agent. jill has been a friend, i'll just review what i say here. i think it's here. let's see if i can find in the acknowledgments. well, i don't need to read, i will just tell you. she's been a friend, she's been a critic, he's been a support and a very important person to me through this writing process.so we just thought it was a sure thing and the other person i need to introduce is my husband stand. he's right there and he's probably the reason you are all here because he really pushed me to send out a save the date. and he is my biggest cheerleader and credit so, also there are a whole lot of
friends here who are sitting in the back of the book and many of them have heard parts of this story. okay, so march 2011, the proposal goes out. the editors wrote back, a very flattering rejection. and they were right. it was too big, it was too unfocused and it wasn't mine in some important way. you know when they talk about when they say they were pushing it over the next, that's what it was like, iwas pushing it over the net. i wasn't engaged . so i got very depressed for quite a while and i thought my writing life was over and i couldn't think of anything to write about, didn't think i would ever find another subject and i'm not sure how it came together but there was a story connected to hopkins which was both more compact and more compelling. it had to do with a woman named lorena hickock who had
had a relationship with eleanor roosevelt and i know a little bit of background. i knew that from her letters and there was even a book in 1980 about this by a woman named doris faber.it turns out that lorena and eleanor exchanged over 3000 letters in both of them, lorena hickock gave to the fbi library at hyde park when she died in 1968. and lorena hickock, who was take to everybody said the letters should be open 10 years after her death. by chance, doris faber was the woman who first called the letters. she had written a lot of children's books about presidents and presidents lives and she was horrified. she even tried to get the library to block the letters again. but when they wouldn't, she decided to write a book about the relationship, playing
down the passionate part of the story. when the book came out, a publication called big mama ray lamented that the letters to doris faber was the prime can to turning over sappho's foreign to medieval christian theologians. [laughter] so i realized right away that this was an opportunity to revisit a story in changed times. here's where writing about what you can connect to came into it. through all my books, with one exception, that book about research have been about strong, remarkable women. the psychoanalyst who took issue with freud's ideas about sexuality was the first. married curie and even a theater book focused on one strong woman who was the head of the federal theater project, a woman named hallie flanagan. so there was another reason that i did this.
even though thelove relationship had been floating around in the atmosphere , times have changed and this is a story that should be embraced, even celebrated about who women who love and empower each other. it helped that i have a daughter anna who is clear. i say dave, she says queer. and i know that alex said queer. she actually prefers it. okay. so anyway, because of anna i had more accepting and tender feelings about the subject of love between women. so there it was. from the moment it came to me, i can even remember where i was when i realized it. i set out to write another proposal, a 50 page thing which took several months, this is one of jill's ideas . and her ambitious proposals really helped me to solidify the ideas and it's true when
they also help me to sell the book. so in april 2012, i went out to the publishers.the response was not all positive. an editor at one house said it feels like a slice of eleanor's market. i don't care how big, not sure we can garner significant attention beyond the lovely reviews that it will no doubt seize. killing me with kindness. another one said well, i have a son-in-law writing a biography about eleanor and my heart isn't in it. then the more positive ones. one said, it's an amazing thing to read a strong proposal and no without any doubt how much more exceptional book itself will be. july 2012, we've been in contact with penguin press after a bidding war, a number
of people were interested. 2 and a half years later the book was done and i was really pleased with it. so i had a date for lunch with the december 8, 2014 and i looked at my calendar and it says lunch, eastern standard. three exclamation points. so obviously i was expecting a triumphant lunch. but the lunch didn't turn out the way i hadexpected . i thought i was done. but according to jill, i wasn't. she thought the writing was distancing. there were too many quotes, she said everything i see quotation marks, i feel like you're pushing me away from the story. she said what's with er, we were calling her er. she said, it feels too inhibited. and she said it's nothing like the proposal, it's not nearly as good as the proposal.
but that really hurt. so i was really devastated and there happened to be a snowstorm that day so i walked home in the snow and the snow was coming down and the tears were coming down at stateside. i was sad, i thought she was wrong, i felt underappreciated, annoyed and angry, all those things. but by the time i got home i was beginning to see what she meant. the er thing particularly. i realized why was i using er? i was using her because i had reverence for this woman, too much reverence and i was talking about it on the one hand and er on the other hand. i couldn't talk about a relationship of twoevils . as long as she was er, she had to be eleanor. nobody in her lifetime called her eleanor, even didn't called her eleanor, she called her miss are. everyone called her miss our. her husband called her babs.nobody called her eleanor.
but so what? i had to take charge of this and it had to me my story and she had to be eleanor and as soon as i figure that out, things began to come together. so there are months and months of rewriting. i was determined to transition before we went on vacation in spain in 2014 but i wasn't finished and my husband, my other most important reader was suggesting ways to make it better. which was also annoying. and meanwhile, the editor who bought the book left. this always happens to me and it happens to a lot of other writers too. being orphaned. and it's not good. especially since it often means the book gets turned over to young editor who is invariably described as brilliant but usually is not.
while we were in spain, we came convinced that the book was in trouble and i wasn't going to get published at all. finally i made a desperate call to my agent. and she put me in touch with penguin's editor-in-chief and i remember she called me at midnight, spanish time. she was still in the office. and i was in tears on the phone. what's happening with the book? and i think she was quite taken aback area she had no idea, she said well, there's no reason to be concerned. she was very called and trying to publish in the in december 2016 and take advantage of it hillary clinton run for president. she said i have complete confidence in the book, as in hillary's nomination. so i called down. and in the end, that is what happened. and a newly young editor named emily cunningham
proposed at penguin, she's here tonight so bravo you did well . she actually was brilliant. and she insisted on more rewrites, quite a bit more. but she was invariably right in what she suggested sometimes it would be needing to explain something more clearly, sometimes it would be addressing an uncomfortable truth about one of my two heroines . facing up to things that were, some of them cringe making. and she did the best job anyone has ever done on a book of mine so that my happy ending. and now i'm going to read a short passage from the book. i have to give you a little bit of background. before i do this. so just briefly, in 1932,
lorena hickock was assigned to cover eleanor roosevelt who was in fdr's first run for the presidency and she did cover her alter the campaign and a little afterwards but then the relationship began to shift. eleanor started confiding in her, trusting her more and more and she started falling in love with eleanor and eleanor with her and by the time fdr was inaugurated, take new so much about roosevelt and fell in love with eleanor that she wasn't going to be able to continue as an ap reporter. she was one of the few women at the top of the ladder in the ap, really a male world and she had found her way to the top and succeeded so this is very important but she was under pressure from her bosses, learning more and
more about the roosevelt secrets and that roosevelt had a lot of secrets and more and more, she felt loyal and couldn't do it and on the night before the inauguration, she was with eleanor and fdr was in the next room with his son polishing up a speech in which he says the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, passed it on to eleanor who read it aloud to him and realized at that moment that all she would have to do was go out, drop a nickel, give a few key phrases and she was set for life but she didn't do it. instead she stayed with eleanor and slept in that hotel room that night. so after that, she became increasingly clear clear she did couldn't do that job anymore so she went to work with eleanor for the wpa, she went out out on the road and reported in conditions on the field and did terrific reporting and also a long letter to eleanor about what
was going on and all that made it back to fdr and he often told stories that people will wonder where he got the details. the details came from hicks reports. so in 1933 , take and eleanor went off on a vacation together for the summer and in eleanor's buick. they managed to not be noticed very much and had this lovely time. so they were counting on doing the same in the summer of 1934 in california. they were planning to meet out there and go on this private tour together. that's all you need to know except that by this time, she learned. she had a car that eleanor helped her, used chevy called the blue x, it was blue. but blue got total. just a little bit, it was a very serious accident on them and fortunately he wasn't injured but the car was totaled, a rollover so now
she had another car, a cheaper plymouth that figures in the story as you will note here. after nine, getting away with it. and eleanor had been exchanging letters for months about their west coast trip. quiet in seclusion and beautiful places but when he walked into the lobby of the hotel at sacramento, she encountered a swarm of reporters and photographers clattering for a story about eleanor. thanks in part to, eleanor was now the darling of the press area she found the ability and energy to turn up here and there and everywhere. time alone together was going to be hard to come by but hick had a plan. the next day, she picked eleanor up at the sacramento airport and shepherded her quickly through the cross of reporters in the hotel lobby, explaining they needed to freshen up before any interviews.
as a former reporter, he told them she understood the situation. they agreed , for the moment. unbeknownst to reporters, he had arranged for a state trooper to drive her newly acquired convertible to the rear entrance of the hotel and wait for the two of them to emerge. they took the front elevator up and another elevator down to the near entrance. through their bags and the rumble seat and started off with the trooper at the wheel. the secret service which eleanor usually treated as an enemy had helped out by taking hicks dc plates for california ones. it was no use. they haven't even gotten out of this week before they discovered they were being followed. the state trooper was game and stepped on the gas. another trooper swung around in front of their car and put
on his flashing red lights. it was worried. an expensive rope replacement for blue x had been broken in yet and the trooper wastaking up higher and higher speeds. it was eleanor who finally called a halt to the chase . it's no use, let's stop. she thanked the trooper and sent him on his way. we will have to find some other way out of this business, she said. reporters who crowded around the women had one main question, where were they going? eleanor refused to answer. this is my vacation, she told them, and i expect to be treated as any other tourist would be treated. she pulled her knitting from the back seat and announced she would sit there all day before she told them where she was going. finally they all agreed to retreat to a nearby roadside restaurant where the reporters sorted. mrs. franklin roosevelt, said one account, was trying to lose herself and get away from being the president's wife.
they were actually going to see ellie who is hicks former lover, a woman she lived with happily for eight years in minnesota ellie had fulfilled her childhood dream and found the man to marry and left hip which was heartbreaking for hick but they remained friends. they went to see her. something like a marriage, a lifelong partnership, might have been possible with someone like ellie but hick's relationship with eleanor could never be that. even if eleanor had dared to leave fb dr and live openly with a woman, she was not able to devote herself to one other person. he was always going to be tied not only to a husband but to the bond of duty and friendship of many others. this was a painful realization that had grown on hit in the years since she had met and fallen in love with her. it made this time alone together especially precious. eleanor had insisted there was a lot of resting and
reading on their vacation. she also mentioned in passing her idea of taking a little camping trip in the mountains. now hick discovered there was an elaborate plan to explore yosemite on horseback, riding up to a lakeside camp in the high sierra's 11,000 feet above sea level. how could you do this to me, take protested? oh, you'll manage, eleanor replied casually. he had no writing experience, nor was she in any shape to take a trip. she spoke too much and she had gained weight during her monk on the road. long busy days, she wrote eleanor at one point, lady, i get hungry. eleanor surely believed she was doing hick a favor with her yosemite plan. she worried about hick smoking and eating and even suggested she take up
knitting at one point and cut down on cigarettes and she wanted to lose weight is of her diabetes. eleanor was falling into the tradition of her uncle who once threw her into the water to teacher to swim. also theodore advocated the strenuous life in which one does not shrink from danger of some hardship or from jitters. a vigorous climb up the mountains would no doubt do hick good. as well as they could be together without the prying eyes of presence and public, they were content. even when her mayor decided to dump her in a creek, she was only embarrassed and amused. but what infuriated her were the tourists who suddenly recognized eleanor one day when the two of them came upon some tame chipmunks. they had just started to feed the animals when they noticed people have surrounding them and were pointing their cameras at the rear end. exploded, employing some choice profanities. the two women left in a hurry with eleanor trying to shush her. the rest of the vacation
followed the same pattern. they were at the time hicks love, attentively so, a delicious evening at her favorite restaurant followed by a cable car ride across the hill where she had lived with ellie. it was a quiet walk in looking out over the bay but the piece of that moment was followed by the shock of their return to a hotel lobby surrounded by reporters flashing cameras. over and over again, their private moments were interrupted. on their final night together at a hotel restaurant in bend oregon with a spectacular view of the snowcapped mountains, they emerged to find yet another crowded lobby packed serious townspeople including the mayor. eleanor handed hicks the
keys. she knew right now that hick was likely to behave badly undersuch circumstances. he went up to their room, leaving eleanor to deal with the crowd. eleanor arrived half hour later, slamming the door behind her . he's right, she declared. she'd say i never get away with it and i can't. from now i will travel like i am supposed to travel, like a presidents wife who tries to do what is expected of me. when they got back to portland where eleanor was scheduled to meet fdr's ship returning from hawaii, the sitting room was filled with flowers sent by the first lady's admirers. more flowers than either of them had ever seen in one place. two hick, the flowers represented the future. the intimate life she and eleanor had hoped for was simply not possible. all you need, she declared, looking around the extravagant display, is a corpse. as she prepared to resume her official role, eleanor told the brooklyn daily that she
should have a right to privacy went on vacation. she added a piece of ironic advice about the gangster dillinger who was currently on the lam. if i had charge of the dylan or dillinger case, eleanor told the reporter, i would calloff the police and send reporters after them . they would find him. [laughter] [applause] i especially love that because eleanor so rarely made a joke. so now, a little bit of thought, answering questions. yes. did eleanor have a previous history of same-sex
relationships? >> know, but she was surrounded by lesbian couples who were her closest friends including nan and miriam with whom she developed a little college cottage industry. she was the third in a lot of relationships of women who loved women and it's so interesting that so many of the women involved in democratic politics were actually starting after were in these life commitments with other women so they were all around her and then the thing that saved her life more than anything was that she was sent to a school in england called allison and the woman who ran was lesbian and had a partner. and there was a kind of atmosphere there where girls loving girls was possible, it was actually a play about that, very interesting sort of subject. so all the things around and
in some ways because she was so conflicted, she married at 18 and had to marry within her class and it was this narrow thing for her, this was freeing. >> i have one question, i have not read your book so i can't comment on it. i did read no ordinary time and it struck me if you think of their relationship being similar to my fair lady, the ironic thing was eleanor roosevelt was the one who was developed and a car came apart, it was the one that influenced her and help to mold her to take off was the henry higgins and eleanor who was certainly more wealthy was the eliza doolittle so i found a kind of holding. >> that's a very interesting
analogy. hick had ... he's making a comparison to my fair lady of all things and henry higgins and his protcgc and the role and he's suggesting that hick was the henry higgins in this relationship. i don't know if i go that far but she really helped eleanor and a very difficult time in her life, eleanor did not want to be first lady and hick new a lot about the press, encouraged her to have an all women press conference. she got the idea of my day, from their letters and exchanges because eleanor was giving her a diary of each day. with the idea that hick would someday write her biography and they realized before too long that what could be a column became six days a week for the rest of eleanor's life, my day and that was what introduced her to the wider world and made her by
the end of her life the first lady of the world. do we need to fix that? is it all right? okay. yes. so definitely hick helped with her with her writing, she was not a very good writer. she never became a great writer, eleanor, i have to say. a lot of platitudes in most of her writing but helped her a lot become less preachy and talk about her personal life much more than she had in the beginning so, there you go. >> there must have been many discoveries, i'm wondering if there's a favorite discovery or moment that you would like to tell us about, something that was really ... >> given that joke that i read to you, that was something i discovered online, combing through papers.
>>. [inaudible] >> the question was discovery. i'm not going to be able to come up with a specific one nownow. i counted how many times i traveled , it was 22 times and each time i paid for probably a week. so i read all of the 3000+ letters so it's kind of a totality of understanding that the depth and breadth of the relationship from doing that.or maybe you remember. >> i gather that word some of the letters cut short or concealed a great bit and all survived, is that right? >> hick through some in the fireapparently. she told emma , her daughter, your mother was way too explicit at times. so she did throw some out. people, well doris faber accused of wanting to have
posthumous fame from revealing these letters.but i think hick understood these letters were a treasure. and so i'm glad she didn't throw them all out. >> so when you did this research on these two women, what was the relationship between fdr and eleanor? >> what was the relationship between fdr and eleanor? avery complicated relationship . as you know, she discovered that he was having an affair with her secretary. which was pretty wounding in 1918, and after that the relationship was a partnership, the romance was gone. and she said about creating a
separate life which was one reason it was so hard for her to leave new york and become the first lady so fdr had a number of flirtations, they may have been sexual relationships, certainly flirtations with women and he like to have women around him who adored him, laughed at his jokes and who shared his cocktail hour, what he called the children's hour and eleanor just was not that person. he always had somebody else. missy was the prime one and there's an interesting new book about misty, by the way but i think he really accepted hick and all of eleanor's relationships because it got him off the hook. they lived separate, parallel lives. he liked some of eleanor's gay friends a lot.
and he helped nan and miriam and eleanor to build this thing together and they called it their love nest area so you know, you have to make leaps about how much they knew because they didn't talk about this, certainly not publicly. >> in the united states, how did that go? >> what did people know? >> one reporter loved eleanor and they pretty much loved it because she managed because of the all women press conferences which were her idea, a lot of women got jobs so sometimes she was described as a news hawk or sort of manage, there would be those kind ofdescriptions of her . and there was a subtext but
that was a part that went in the wider world yes. >> so roosevelt had children and eleanor was obviously a mother and i'm wondering if you delved into how related to her relationship with, having the children and how the children related to that. >> i keep forgetting. yes. eleanor was a mother, she had five children and how does that relate to her relationship with? the irony is that hick had no children, no pedigree . he became eleanor's main confidant in terms of children and the children were pretty much hearted. the oldest daughter anna, the one she was closest to probably had managed the best but there were among the five children, there were 17 divorces over their lifetime.
and this was starting to happen when they were in the white house. anna was one of the first who knew that anna was having an affair. which, she wound up marrying that person. another son had just married, had a newborn and left within months. and the mother and baby stayed at the white house. everybody stayed at the white house. including hick who lived there, had a room there were almost the entire 14 years of the first presidency. so patricia. >> the children, did you say something about franklin's father? >> one of my theories of, saying something about franklin's mother. franklin's mother. one of my observations is that eleanor spencer life
involved in triangles. i think even in her family origin, she was , she adored the father who was absent and after the mother died, she even wrote, i wasn't sure if i was to bethe mother and she the father . so she was confused about that and had wished to be the father's partner. but then when she married fleck franklin, she was also part of a triangle very much was franklin, this first speech was to his mother and she was this very powerful figure and that was one of the things that complicated children because she even would tell them i'm your real mother. which is very undermining of eleanor and eleanor wanted to set limits on whatever she did, she underlined them in some way so eleanor had a lot of mothers and that came out
a lot in her letters to hit area hick was a safe person and that was one of the most according things that she could talk about things. yes, susie. >> could you talk more about writing the book, where it got really difficult. your own sort of emotional journey through this. >> about the writing of the book and my emotional journey . i'm not sure. how should i answer that? one thing as i said about when i took all of the material and decided it was eleanor, when i decided i didn't have to have letters all the time, that i could paraphrase , that was very important. that i could make it my own, that my opinions would move
the narrative forward. that was the drive and that's what i needed, i shouldn't be afraid of it. it was about not being afraid of eleanor, this person. one of the things that happens when you are writing a book about eleanor roosevelt is half the world met eleanor roosevelt. people all the time, my mother met. how many people know of someone or who met eleanor roosevelt or met her themselves? yes. so there would be these things, i met her, my mother met her , she was the greatest woman, the most wonderful woman. it's very hard to write a book about paragons, it's impossible in fact and eleanor was magnificent but she had her flaws. and some of them actually wound up hurting hick in some ways so i had to love them both and i had to get rid of them all that's law.
that was spinning away. yes. >> after fdr died, did eleanor and hick live together then? >> after fdr died, did eleanor and hick live together? number what happened was i the time fdr died, the relationship was no longer passionate. the passionate part lasted i think about six years. five or six years and then hick through tremendous discipline managed to accept the fact that she wasn't going to be number one which was her dream and she wasn't going to be able to go off with eleanor and have this private relationship there were just all these people in eleanor's right .
she was sort of in love with the young man, a young radical named joe walsh and there would be another person and there was a whole lot of people and hick was one among many which she said. and that was painful for her but there was a point at which she realized if she was going to have any relationship with eleanor, she had to accept that area so she toned down somehow, got her need under control so she wasn't having upwards all the time so they remained your friends and remain correspondence. she was not well, she had diabetes. she lived with herself in a college for a long time but then she wasn't able to support that at one point eleanor heard she wasnot paying rent , not maybe even able to eat and eleanor sent for her with one of her cars
and took her to hyde park and she lived with eleanor for a little while and then got her own place. she managed this kind of small victory, she began writing children's book and she wrote one about helen keller that became a huge hit and by the time, i talked to her granddaughter recently was given the right after she died and that book, helen keller still brings in about $85,000 a year. so that's an amazing thing. and so she did that but she really wasn't the end for an after eleanor died she lived on for another 5 and a half years. she requested that she be cremated and that her ashes fertilize a tree somewhere but actually, the ashes stood on a shelf in the funeral home for 30 years. and then were finally dumped in theunclaimed remains part
of the cemetery . quite recently, in 2000. a number of women including a married gay couple found out about this and decided to raise money for a plaque and so there was an installation of a plaque in the cemetery remembering hick who was a journalist, activist, friend of er. so thank goodness for that because i end my book with a postscript on that. yeah. tom. >> two short questions. the granddaughter who wrote the helen keller book ... >> she has the rights, wrote the book. hick had died, she gave her granddaughter the royalties.
yes franklin is kind of absent from this story. can you say anything about that? >> franklin is absent from this story. it's one of the things i remarked on right from the beginning area is the profiles of eleanor, the news about eleanor, descriptions of eleanor and franklin that they are absent from each other story. >> 'srelationship with hick? >> he likes her, see he seemed to have like her. he would user stories and people would be impressed. he wouldn't necessarily give credit but he thought, he said at one point you'd better watch out, this is early on. you better watch out for that woman, she's really smart which she was. i think he liked her and i think in some ways as i said before, that relationship got him off the hook.
ross. >> a two-part question, at the time was either lady worried about the outage and now is there any chance or are you expecting any blowback or denial of the nature of this relationship between these two women as the book comes out? >> yes, any blowback or denial now of my talking about the lesbian relationship would be at the time of the outage. i have very little evidence of how they felt and whether they worried about it. hick at one point said in the book there was a famous book called the well of loneliness which is a quest about love between women and hick once said i wouldn't walk around
with in public with that under my arm. so that's about as close as i get to knowing how they felt about this. there was a lot of shame, there was actually a crime so it wasn't talked about and now, we debated quite a bit about whether to call it a love story and we talked about it as, we could have called it, what was the other thing? an intimate relationship. and jill and i work very strong on love story, it is a love story. i think eleanor was a very inhibited person. i don't know how much she enjoyed sex with franklin and i don't know how much she enjoyed it with either. i think there was hugging, kissing, maybe there was more. it was more experience, maybe she let her into a little more but there's no doubt that their time together, speaking of those early years was very blissful and their longing for each other was deep and genuine and it was a love story. nowadays, it's almost a attainment story. it doesn't seem like a big
deal at all is why it can be celebrated and it can be kept in proportion. and it can tell it like it is and is not sensationalizing it, there's no need to. or deny it. axel. >>. [inaudible] did she have a relationship with churchill? >> eleanor? oh yes. winston churchill often visited the white house during the war. did eleanor have a relationship with churchill? yes she did. she did not like churchill at all. i have some very funny incidents about this because it can eleanor often celebrated christmas together but not on the day because hick couldn't stand to be in competition with everybody else they would have their own private celebration so they were supposed to have it on christmas eve. and hick came to the house,
to the white house to celebrate and eleanor seemed very annoyed. heck, our whole celebration has been ruined because winston churchill has showed up. at which point hick thought it was hilarious. she thought, she disliked the way the two of them, fdr and churchill talked about war. she thought they were little boys playing at war with their maps and their pins, she hated all that. she hated his whole imperialist view of the world. and they argued about that, they argued about the spanish civil war. which he said at one point, those that the spanish civil war, both of us would have had our heads handed to us by the republicans. and so they thought about things and didn't really like each other much at all.
>> your opinion of eleanor change over time as you were researching the book? >> yes, definitely. >> did your opinion of eleanor change as you are writing the book, very much. i went through different phases with it. i had a kind of to get past the hero in part of her and see her as a real person with all her works but then towards the end, especially after franklin dies in that list left. of her life, it's so heroic . i came to just admire her profoundly as sort of watching from the sidelines. one more.
>> i find it interesting how eleanor carved out a public role for the first lady almost on aday by day basis . for my date column and yet, historically looking back on it, she was in this incredibly private relationship with fdr. there's actually i think upwards of three books about his affairs . love or not. and it's just funny to me because the adoration of the presidency from the white house, it's so huge area and i think the impact on the country is so big that these days the moral standards were holding our politicians very still in that, especially the marital ones. i wonder if you have any thoughts on it. >> so many thoughts, lucy by the way is the person responsible for the title. the subtitle. the question is, what is the
question? about the amount of attention that has been paid to fdr and his affairs and the kind of that has been in the shadows, is that your point? yes. well, no more. >> and how it would possibly translate to modern day, i guess. >> can you imagine? i wrote an op-ed piece which no one has published yet about what would happen if eleanor actually ran for office . if she ran for office, first of all she would be attacked for her teeth, her hair, her clothes . and all of that idealism would be suspect. people would be saying is she really idealistic or just ambitious? is she outrageously ambitious which i think has been said
about hillary. so i'm not sure where i was going with that except to say that it would be, nowadays it would be different and of course, eleanor if she really wanted to run she said i would never run for office. i would have to be chloroform. but in our day, a woman of accomplishment like eleanor probably would run for office. and then she would have to deal with all the, i feel, terribly biased and unfair attacks hillary has had to endure. and also the unfaithfulness. the men, both of the men being screwing around, that would be all out in the open. catherine. >> you focus on some of her less admirable qualities, sorted ended up hurting.
to discuss how some of her qualities ended up. >> she could be kind of oblivious. the question was what are some of the qualities that hurt in the end. for instance, she really never, she never gave enough credit in her memoirs and so on. that might be also a concern about putting the relationship so it kind of got married and her importance got buried and eleanor wrote a lot of books. she turned out one memoir after another and a lot of them are untrue. or you know, not for public consumption and hick just is pretty invisible there. and so, she could be hurtful in that way.
hick was probably the only person eleanor loved and she had a number of people she love who loved her only, not in some other relationship. eleanor attended to go for relationships with this doctor, this doctor who were married to someone else. so she was the third person. at the end of her life, she lived with this couple and his wife and they bought a house together and she was on one floor and they were on the other so the pattern repeated itself over and over and hick really i think was the only one who loved her only and who wanted to have an exclusive relationship and eleanor wasn't capable of that. that i think is the deeper thing. she really wasn't capable of intimacy of that time. but she had no, really, love in her childhood. one more. i'll try to repeat it.
>> so i was wondering, i found it very interesting that supporters like paparazzi were all sort of running after her and looking for her. i was just thinking about other first ladies in my lifetime and i think maybe the only one who might have been followedaround like that was jackie .>> yes why were they so interested in her? did she have that kind of charisma at that point? >> i think she did and a lot of that, as i said before, he created this phenomenon. and people got a big kick out of eleanor because she was inexhaustible. and so she was a story. you're right, not jackie kennedy but a very different time. different kind of woman. i didn't repeat the question,
did i. [laughter] [applause] thank you all. thanks for coming. >>. [inaudible conversation] thank you. thank you. >> sunday, december 4, book tvs in depth. we are hosting a discussion on the 1941 attack on pearl harbor on the eve of the 75th anniversary. on the program, jean toomey, author of countdown to pearl harbor. harry, author of japan 1941,
countdown to infamy and craig nelson on his book pearl harbor: from infamy to greatness followed by an interview with donald stratton, pearl harbor survivor, and american sailors firsthand account of pearl harbor. we are taking your questions live from noon to 3 pm eastern. go to booktv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >>. [inaudible conversation] >> good afternoon everyone. i have the honor of serving at the kennedy library.
i want to welcome all of you to the 16th national book festival and of course to the biography state which is generously sponsored by wells fargo. we at the library of congress are extremely thrilled to be presenting the national festival for the 16th time. this terrificevent would not be possible without the friends that we have supporting us . generously supporting like wells fargo and we are very appreciative of that. but more importantly, we would not be here but for readers like all of you who support the authors, are interested in them and come out in droves we are extremely excited, thank you for being here today. thank you. [applause] this year's festival is inspired by journeys. the idea that a book is a voyage unto itself.taking
us to places that we might not be able to see in person but we can visit by reading about it. and it gives us the opportunity to better understand our world and in particular why we are here today celebrating history and biographies so reading to us in an ideal form of travel and it's really the best way for us to develop and encourage and grow our minds. in addition to the author presentations we have here on this stage today we have lots of other events, i hope you will take the opportunity to visit the lower level of the convention center where we have family activities. we have aarp, wells fargo, and we also have congress and i encourage you to visit us and learn more about your national library. learn all about things we are doing at the library of
congress to make our treasures available to you, whether you come to visit us in person or online. >> you will welcome our first presenter who will kick things off before us, mr. carlos lozada, the associate editor and non- fiction book critic for the net-- washington post. thank you very much and enjoy your day. [applause]. >> good afternoon. welcome to the 2016 national book festival. i review nonfiction for the "washington post", which is a charter sponsor of the festival. thanks again to the library of congress, which has hosted the festival for 16 years as well as festival cochair and many >> i've never met sarah vowell
personally until right now, but maybe like a lot of you i feel like i've known her for ever. whether to work on this american life, her delightful books intot the side alleys of american history and in the role of most excites my moody six year old daughter as the voice and soul of violent from the incredible. sarah can basically do anything and make it seem effortless and funny and profound all at once. if you've not read her own obituaries of john ritter and tom landry, you are missing out. here to talk about our books for children history of hawaii, the. is, a presidential assassination sites.identi most recently a book on america's revolutionary bff, marquis de lafayette. in her book, lafayette in a somewhat united states. there will be time for questions after she speaks and c-span is
covering the history and biography session, so be on your best behavior. sarah will be signing books at 1:30 p.m. so please get one. it is my huge fan but pleasure to introduce sarah vowell. [applause] >> hello. hello, book lovers, people ofi c-span. i realized recently i've come around the country so much and i only meet people who read books. and i don't know if you watched the news like the last year or so, i would like to say that i am cool with that. [laughter] [applause] thank you. >> that i like my little vision of america that i get from meeting all of you.
so i'm feeling very contemplative today, if you're watching this on television, we are here in washington, d.c. and for me i arrived in the city precisely half my life ago, 23 years ago. i'll wait a second for you to do the math. [laughter] i know that's not your strong ng suit off mike or mine. you have other nice qualities. so 23 years ago i arrived in this city on the train fromm montana. my parents drove up to shelby montana where i caught the amtrak. i took it across north dakota.a. that took a while. change trains in chicago, saw the buildings of luis sullivan f. i want to live there someday. i ended up doing that. went across pennsylvania. i remember the conductor. we were passing the sussed along
the river and he said get a load of this scenic wonderland. and i arrived here in d.c. for my smithsonian internship, and i think it was the next day yasser arafat shook rabin's hand on the white house lawn. is a hopeful time in america. the library of congress is sponsoring this event. you know what i was an intern at the smithsonian the first words i worked on that had the isbnth number, we're finding aids to things like art in philadelphia, the archives of american art, or, yeah, that was the main one. italian-american art history. i was saying earlier that for me as an offer every time i get one of my books when it comes in the mail the first time, the first thing i do is look at that catalog number. because as we all know life is
short and the library of congress is forever. [applause] so take that, great britain. [laughter] but anyway, being here thinking about when i was a young pup leaving him to come to i realized that is the story thati i've been writing all these years to seven books. it's always the story of the mistake leaving home, and that is the story of our country. i think earlier this year in the city t-bone burnett said this is the story of the united states, a kid walks away from home with a song and nothing else in congress the world. so for me that is always the story i'm writing whether it is theodore roosevelt leaving newod york city to more his wife andmo mother, and head out to north dakota to be a cow man, youof know, as one of his biographers said he was the only president
who ever read anna karenina and while on a three-day search for cattle thieves.ur frien [laughter] or our friend abraham lincoln who, when he left springfield to come here as president and took the train to philadelphia to independence hall, he said the political sentiments i entertained have been drawn from the sentiments which are given to the world from this hall. and he said that the goal of his presidency was to save thehere d country invented there, and he added ominously i would rather be assassinated on this bad tha. surrender it. -- on this spot. obviously, the person who did assassinate him is another misfit who left home, from baltimore, you know. [laughter] have been written about new england missionaries who come to hawaii, like so many churchy
folk of the early 19th century who saw a new map from expeditions like that of captain cook and resolved to spread the gospel to all the places where the sailors had spread to clap. [laughter] or to their forebears the newani england puritans such as the massachusetts bay colonists who, unlike those hippies from plymouth, were trying tont convince the english government that they were not separate from english, and that they're going to america where they would remain as english as beheadings, and even wrote a letter to charles i in 1630 called a humble request to which they t said they just wanted to remind the king that we shall be in our poor cottages in the wilderness, whereas in private john
winthrop, their leader, we tell them -- would tell them the opposite, we will be a city upon a hill. submits its leaving home. my latest missive leaving home as a french teenager, marquis de lafayette, and this book tells the story of him leaving home and his pregnant teenage wife, to come to america to throw in with george washington's continental army. and so i'll read for a bit and then onto questions i wanted to read this section of his voyagey to america and his early time, if it ever read a little tangent about a heroic bookseller, to pander to the subject of the proceedings. [laughter] >> so 1777 lafayette has aasnd discounted to america. he bought his own ship to come
to pick the king of france is trying to keep them at home. is why sam is time to keep them at home because as i mentionedme she is pregnant, and once he makes it onto the ship has purchased across the atlantic, he starts sending his wife, he started writing his wife these letters to try to explain why he has abandoned her. and their forthcoming choker i believe i said about that while history might be full of great fathers, recorded history is not where to find them. [laughter] >> at sea, lafayette unveiled the grandeur of his mission to his wife and attempted to include her in it. he wrote i hope as a favor to me you will become a good america. she is a teenage french aristocrat from one of the most
illustrious families in france. she lives in a mansion in paris when she is a living in her mansion in versailles. asking her to become a good american is sort of baffling. he also was really in a position to ask her any favors. [laughter] nevertheless he proclaimed to his wife the welfare of america is intimately bound up with the happiness of humanity. she is going to become a and deserving and sure refuge of virtue of honesty, of tolerance, of the quality and of a tranquil liberty.hright now to establish such a forthright dreamland of decency, who would sign up to shoot a few thousand englishmen just as long as mr. bean wasn't one of them? [laughter] alas, from my end of history,f from our end of history, there's a big file cabinet blocking the view of the sweet naturedrepu republican lafayette for told,te and it is where the government
keeps the folders full of indian treaties, the chinese exclusion act, and nsa monitored electricc messages for internationalpp security which is up nearly all of them, including the one in which i asked my mum for vice is out of couch upholstered. lafayette confided in his wife's income as a friend offer my services to this intriguing republic, i bring to it only my frankness and my goodwill. no ambition, no self-interest it working for my glory, i work for their happiness.ns of disregarding the contradiction of proclaiming his lack of ambition and self-interest inth the same sentence, he reveals that attaining glory was one of his two stated goals. [laughter] he was an only child. [laughter] the phrase coming as a friend glows on the page because itit turned out to be the truth.iatet
it's appropriate to being locked up for the casual cruelty for which he abandoned his family, roll the eyes of it at his recto crust for fame or in these outlandish optimism, but now that the gates of the fact he turned out to be the best friend america ever had. had.ic i'm not only referring to his youthful bearing view on battlefields up and down the eastern seaboard, most referring to any number of this bill grown up kind of -- i decided such as assisting thomas jefferson, then united states minister to france, now putting up french markets to american goods. lafayette's lobbying procured nantucket way alert, the contract to supply the whale oil that let the streetlight off paris. because of lafayette the city of lights glowed by new england boiled blubber. and to say thanks, all nantucket
rallied its milk houses in a giant wheel of cheese. [laughter] that's gratitude. [laughter] what's so american? let's send cheese to france, okay. [laughter] so finally after his two-month voyage on a ship the victory, which he called floating of his career reporting, they came ashore in charleston around midnight on june 13, 1777, waking up the household of major benjamin cukor of the south carolina militia, and that's where they stayed. lafayette wrote later, i retired to rest that night we do see that i had at last attained the havens of my dreams. he went on to gush, the next one was beautiful.l.
everything around me was new to me. the room, the bed draped in delicate mosquito curtains, the black servants who came to be quietly to ask my commands, a strange new beauty of the landscape outside my windows, the luxuriant vegetation all combined to produce a magical effect. in other words, it was a buggy swap chalk full of slaves. [laughter] but lafayette was in love. he and his men basically start out in carriages and end up on horses and by the end they are walking to philadelphia where he is going to, what became k independent tall, to announce here i am. -- independence hall. he expected a warm welcome. the mullet lafayette recalled
was peculiarly unfavorable to strangers. i don't really get that at all. the americans were displeased with pretensions and disgusted by the conduct of many frenchmen. consequently he wrote, that congress finally adopted the plan of not listening to any stranger. so lafayette and his friends called on the state has, james lovell of massachusetts issued darling it seems french officers have a great fancy to enter our service without being invited. but most of them including lafayette had been invited by american agents in france, hence the throngs of frenchman who'd been watching the show from its expected to be welcomed with rank and riches. also i should mention at this moment europe is unfair to sleep at peace, sal the european officers especially frenchmen come over in droves wanting a
job. and washington who is always in need of men wasn't excited about these particular men, because he said they had no attachment now ties to the country, and he bemoans their ignorance of our language. and he pointed out that american officers would be disgusted if foreigners were put over their heads. so that's exactly what happened right before lafayette arrived, this other french guy, felipe, a french veteran of the seven years war, and he showed up in philadelphia months beforeay lafayette did saying here i am, i'm a bigwig -- i'mraphrasi paraphrasing, bigwig at louis xvi court, and i am the greatest renowned authority on artillery in france, and what he was was a wine merchant's son who i it may
be seen if you can, but he shows up and he says i deserve to be your artillery chief. so it turns out that replacing the continental army's beloved chief artillery officer was not as easy and arbitrary as he wished casting a second darren. [laughter] because henry knox was the revolution. board in boston in 1759, the irish immigrants, he dropped out of school to support his mother and siblings after his father's death, and eventually open his own bookstore, the london bookstore. after the coercive actions in 1774, this is really hard on pretty much all the colors but especially the merchants and especially knox, they close the port and couldn't get any of the books he was selling from and
england and the colonists were boycotting stuff in englandfroma anyway, so those acts, they were supposed to serve as a warning to all the other colonies and it does not massachusetts into submission. but what happened was it further radicalized and already radicalize massachusetts and rallied the other colonies to come to his material and political aid. so henry knox, meanwhile, he had wooed the royal governor's daughter, lucy plunker, great name, india joined a local militia, and then shots were fired at lexington and concord in 1775. knox le so knox leaves his failing bookstore in the hands of his brother, throws in with the militias. then when washington is appointed a new commander-in-chief of the continental army, he shows up
and is telling the soldiers we should have no more sectional rivalries. we are all one country. when privately he is writing to his cronies back in virginia,ec these people are stupid, especially the massachusetts men. then. [laughter]it w is still a work in progress. and at that time, boston was under siege, the british occupied the peninsula of boston and the navy controlled the harbor and they were resupplying the city with provisions shipped down from candidate. this is me, these are the maps on drawing in my mind. i just assume you can see them. [laughter] the patriots have been surrounded, but to break up the stalemate they needed weapons, and then they got the news that ethan allen and benedict arnoldt and their people are captured
fort ticonderoga whether all these artillery cannons and mortars and howitzers 300 miles away. henry knox, the bookseller, he's like 26th i think at this point, he goes up to washington and says how about i go get all them weapons?30 [laughter] 300 miles away. washington is like yeah, sure, go ahead, bookstore owner. [laughter] and he did it. he and his brother set off for new york in november i think it was, and then by january they had returned with a 43 candidates, 14 mortars and to howitzers dragged across frozen rivers and over the snow and mountains by oxen on customsn slide.
the old yankee probert, if yous can sell a book you can 60 tonse of weaponry 300 miles in winter. [laughter] and in washington like is all this artillery moved up on the hill and in the british wake up and see all these cannons pointing down at them, and they probably hightail it to canada. -- probably a trend that's not have been knox became the chief artillery officer of the continental army. he got the actual cannons come he actually got the artillery and then he trained and recruited all the other artillery officers. so everybody liked him. [laughter] and that he was a pretty good job, and so with this french guy shows up and says either new artillery chief, there was a bie flip out among the men, office of the continental army.
so that's sort of, you know, that's the environment to lafayette walked into. luckily the french guy had theyo decency to and -- crossing the delaware river and he drowned. the horse lived. [laughter] so everything was fine. [laughter] it's a win-win, you know. [laughter] so that's what lafayette walked into. the reason the colonists, especially their leadership to congress and washington in his highest-ranking officers are in this would position with a frenchman all these french nobleman, lafayette concluded, is all they want to do, becauseu there basically, they just want what any self-respecting terrorist wants, they want to become a state sponsored terrorists and they're just waiting for the king of france to give them money and guns and
support and his army and his navy, and that's how they won the war eventually. so they take lafayette on because in franklin sense of this letter, like again i'm paraphrasing, this kid is a really big deal, nice to him, i haven't finished shaking down the french government.rench [laughter] so that make lafayette a major general, that's what he is called. he's basically a glorified. intern.unti [laughter]f until he proves himself. and then, so finally he gets his commission and then a few days later he meets george washington and, you know, washington was six-foot four inches tall and he historically makes a big impression on lafayette. lafayette was so starstruck when he meets washington he wrote, it was impossible to mistake for a moment his majestic figure and
deportment. nor was he less distinguished of the noble affability of his mayor. which is a sweet memory, but it does get on my nerves how easy it is for tall people to make a good first impression. [laughter] [applause] unfortunately because of a scheduling mishap we can't be at kareem abdul-jabbar's presentation next-door. [laughter] i'm just going to go out on a limb and say everybody loves kareem abdul-jabbar. [laughter] i do love kareem abdul-jabbar. [laughter] so anyway, he joined up and washington, he grows on washington because he is just so gung ho. the whole war, office men are deserting in droves and here's this french kid who is just, the whole war he's like, put me in, coach. [laughter]
and what washington says okay, you can join my military family, which was lingo of the day tobaa basically, washington is saying okay, you can become one of my minions, like the way alexander hamilton was described as an of of washington's military family. remember, lafayette was an orphan, and when washington said family, he meant chow mein mignon. but what lafayette heard was s son. then hijinks ensue. [laughter] site us i will take some questions if you have them.m. there are these microphones set up here. yeah, let's get cracking. [laughter] >> i was wondering when i read the book if you had seen the
show hamilton to what you thought about the portrayal of lafayette? >> if you didn't hear that the question was about hamilton.bo [laughter] [applause] have i seen hamilton and what do i think of the portrayal of lafayette? ifc hambleton.ee i obviously love hamilton, even though there's so much hamilton in hamilton. obviously, you know who would love to lafayette and hamilton is lafayette who was just a publicity whore. [laughter] unit, the fact that he comes up so charming and chivalrous and such a good dancer with suchnc wonderful hair. [laughter] lafayette was already going bald at 19. the last time i saw it, there was an empty seat in front of the for some reason i just kept
picturing lafayette in it, and he would just have been swooning the whole time. it's interesting though, one thing about that show especially because of the casting and, this wasn't a question but i have been thinking about it lately because people have some qualms about the founding fathers, especially the ones who owned other people. there are some people lately who want to disregard all of theirrp accomplishments. and i can understand that but one way you can pass that is make washington black. which i am definitely doing next time. [laughter] such a good idea. we should have done that. that should've been original casting. washington should have beenrigil blocked. >> in today's i guess the mass recording that goes on in
everybody's life, so archived, how do you think that will affect our look at today'sn events as a historian? how do you think it will change speak with everybody's lifet today are so archived? >> right. just like with television, social media, everything is out there and like, very intimate thoughts are posted for everyone to see. how do you think that will your job as a historian looking back or how would it change? >> i mean, i guess the nsa is archiving a lot of stuff, right? [laughter] i mean, my bread and butter and a lot of these books is letters, like letters on paper that you have to put on white gloves to look at. i think if things are being saved and that's good. one thing that i think would be useof use to future storage is t for better or for worse people nowadays are pretty forthcoming about everything.
like sometimes it's really hard to figure out, like what washington was thinking. his wife burt of almost all their letters upon his death,e and they are a little cagey impactful, and delete about private things because those are private. i guess one advantage of this world we live in, how people are documenting every omelette and aspect of their day i'm guessing, i'm not on social media but i hear the jokes about it. .. i guess that would be helpful especially if you were some kind of social historian where your job was to figure out what people ate. just like look at all of these food blogs and twitter and everything and you can see, you know, like oh, people like goat cheese.
i don't know, but i think because computer case-- communication is so constant maybe there is less of that grandeur, you know. like george washington was painfully aware that everything was doing was basically especially as president that he was inventing a presidency, so he wrote these letters with such care he wrote these letters with such care. you know, he was writing to the person, but also to ask, to posterity. i don't really do that with my friend sure. but the letters because they were more formal, but also the best of these people. maybe we are not always that are best in our electronic communications. i am not. yes. >> hi, sarah.ie i'm with the american friends of lafayette. [laughter] thank you for bringing our hero to the forefront good
>> i would've done it for free. >> we bought your book. is crit so sometimes he's criticized fon doing things for the glory of, it, not for the reason, the purest reason.th in 18th century, was that such a bad thing doing it just for the glory? >> no, i don't think so. if we are going to condemn all a the figures who accomplished their cognition is because what they wanted is glory, maybe mother teresa, but she got a lot of trina lappin, too. if you're doing good things, i don't care what your motives aru that much. lafayette is such a boy. you know, he's 19.
it is kind of bad form to abandon your pregnant teenage wise, so i can't overlook those things. his glory, his request for glory was part of what fueled his accomplishments in one of the reasons he was so valuable to washington and the american cause was that he was so gung ho, he was so brave, he didn't care about his own personal safety. when he was wounded at the battle of brand-new one, he was supposed to be recuperating but he wraps his bum leg in a blanket and read back to the thread. it kind of reminds you of what you said about grant. like he needed him. so all of that glory had a very practical outcome. it wasn't just that he wanted the glory and he certainly came back an old man in 1824. he just loved -- it was a love
fest for over a year of people talking about how much they love him. so he wanted glory, but the immigrants get things done. his glory was based on achievement. it is based on spilled blood and sweat. in the old college try.it w it wasn't late getting glory for her, i don't know, what if people give glory for now? it has to do with twitter and think, not that that isn't an accomplishment. but you know what i mean. >> i do. thank you very much. >> hi, hey there. you have written a lot about historical folk heroes and about our american rope and it seems like you tend to enjoy the life of the rope more --
>> the what? >> the rogue. >> the rogue. >> i was wondering if you have a favorite. >> rogue. that's what. that's what i was saying at the beginning. i have a soft spot for a lot of them come even the unlikable ones. maybe especially the unlikable one. i subscribe to the digital "washington post" and you will go to an e-mail from them as you do every morning and the headline was issued likable. not sure who they were talking about. [laughter] but in my opinion, likable can make kind of overrated. one of my favorite people to write about was roger williams
who was a puritan theologian,ad; likable already. and he comes to boston to the messages colony and they offer him the job of being a minister and by then, bush has puritan jobs go, that's the one you want. he turned them down because basically he found them not stereotypical enough and they kicked him out of massachusetts basically because they wanted him to calm down about religion. and he is just as annoying person who was can't complain or rainman and so they boot him out and he goes to rhode island and sounds rhode island and for a lot of non-hippy dippy reasons, basically establishes freedom of religion and rhode island.
not because he thinks everyone's beliefs are valid, but because he feels like pretty much everyone except for his wife is going to for what they believe and maybe that should be punishment enough. and so rhode island becomes this bastion of misfits, trina lappin, baptists, quakers. one time he spent three days debating them to the extent they think they wanted to kill themselves. but meanwhile back, massachusetts, quakers are being hanged on boston common. he's a very weird and likable annoying person. i found him hard to light, but very easy to love. people can do great names and
maybe you don't want to have lunch with them. [laughter] >> i love reading the books for this tree and also places like bruce springsteen and what you learned then and the correspondent and now that delve into. i was wondering if you are writing people like lafayette, do you know what their theme song would be? do you get that in their mind that their theme song would be?a >> generate the books have theme songs, like this one for some reason i always wanted to put on the seekers version of ocean an. lf. first time it is just like it adheres to the passage i read, what lafayette in it's like an
something in the way he singshe that song. that's the country they were trying to build.d. when i was writing about the period since, i had three songs that i would always put on because they were leaving home and they had these ideals. one of them was the mormon tabernacle choir's version of bound for the promised land. there is chuck ares promised land in springsteen's promised land because it was not what they were doing. it was all about promised in the future and they had these biblical overtones.tory >> i love the history especially george washington.
george washington is a hero. his overall a marginal general. what can lewis do they have on him? >> what influence of lafayette have on washington?hi >> i think for one thing lafayette just bucked up washington. for most of a war, washingtonas was about to get fired and sometimes for kospi about that was always on his side. whenever these conspiracies arose to get rid of washington, mafia was the one paying these people are. you are one for the ages. it was like keeping washington going in this kind of the key to that war. his endurance, putting up with it. there was bad influence.
he could have influenced washington to have some of his own slaves and have some of his own slaves freed upon his desk about that. i would say mostly it was moral support. i don't know if you have a friend like that when you're down, they are the ones who brought you out you got to lafayette was for lashing tin. i only have time for one else is question because someone else is coming in here next. which one do you think has the better question?he say [laughter] says he is the better question. that makes me want to hear his question. you can ask me a question after, which i just have to physically remove myself from the podium.lo it >> attacked about lafayette
coming back in 1824. talk about the reason why almost every city in america at that time they spend in after lafayette. >> yes and yes. in fact, great questions andend. done. i made the right choice. thank you. yes, when lafayette came back in 1824 and 25, a lap around thevi country where he went to all the states. and they have all these stayed -- not states, the cities and counties and warships and streets and parks got named after lafayette. and i think speaking in washington d.c. is worth remembering the most meaningful of any of these no offense to ronald hubbard has lafayette sparked in the white house because this is our capital of
protests and where we go to yell at her president. i was kidding about lafayettela being an only child for one of the most on the chat thing he says because we don't have time, but lafayette said i did notat hesitate to be disagreeable to preserve the independence. par so i think lafayette square embodies that spirit. even though we beat ourselves up in this country for how much recurring for how we can get along, i think that is annoying and time-consuming, but is also the source of our greatness and the fact that we have this place across the street from our head of government palace where people as george w. bush said would be those drums while i was trying to have dinner, this is
who is nicole? >> the call was bored and identical twin boys in 1997, board and given the name wyatt. this is a child from the age of 22 and a half identified as a girl. when i say it identified as a girl, didn't say to her parents i think i'm a girl, said when do i get to be a girl? when do i get to look like a girl, believe she was a girl into middle-class ordinary parents living in the state of maine needed to figure out what >>at was about. >> how did they figure it out? did they? a day. these twins were adopted at earth. kelley knew there were two things that were most importantt to her as a mother. make sure her children were safe
and happy. she knew she could control the space-bar. you have to understand the happy part because she also knew this child was unhappy when she didn't get to play with the toys that she wanted or a father who was conservative, republican, better written, you know, was really an sure about to this child was and resisted it. and so she did very early, when a lot of us do and should google the word. that became the beginning of her honest aid to understanding. she'd never heard the word transgender. so she began to become a student of it and to understand it, to try and bring her has been into it, it took her longer to do it. it took them longer, but he's probably the one who undergoes the most transformation in the book.
he's now someone who goes outan and gives talks to people about transgender kids in the children being transgender and especially helping to try to understand their children. >> what about the other twin boys? >> jonas is a remarkable kid. they are both now entering their sophomore year of college at two different branches of the university of maine. what was wonderful was that jonas really probably knew before anyone. kids would come up to him and sometimes they, you know, what is it like to have a transgender assist terror?r? you know, he didn't know. he just knew he had a twin that was really a girl, not a boy. when they were both very young, and basically said to his father, dad, you have a son and a daughter. it was kind of a wake-up call to realize out of the mouths of t babes coming here is my child
telling me that his brother is really a sister. so jonas had to go on a journey, too, to helping other people understand, to be protective of his sister and she was discriminated against in the fifth grade and bullied and toll by staff at their middle-school that she would have to use. she her to change her name for all intents and purposes was nicole. it was tough on jonas. he had to be sorted a brother. and at the same time, he said very profoundly on the kid and i'm a sixth-grade vocabulary, so it's hard to talk to people to try and make them understand. he struggled with it, too. they are very close. they are both very different in a lot of ways and that each one another's best friends and protect yours.
>> what was the first step in becoming a call? was it name? >> it now, the first evidence to the parents really were that close. nicole, born wyatt would pull her shirt over her head to makek it look like it was blonde hair. she wanted to wear her mother'se jewelry. she wanted to pretend that things were dresses. these were obviously the first time and a lot of kids go through these phases. this was consistent and this was constant. and then there were things saying when does my penis falloff. this was in a child's pain i feel like i'm a girl. this was a child who knew she was a girl, but could members
and even a child why people were treating her like a boy. >> host: when did surgery happen? >> guest: surgery happened last summer after she graduated high school. the call was one of the first cases of an american child at the children's gender clinic in boston established in 2007norman under.environment stack was one of the first to have surprised so that she would have time to go through the psychological ties, had the time to draft an act and be a in order to know for certain this was who she was and when was going to start for her, they could see in her twin brother when it was starting. that was when they started her on. and so, she wasn't going to have the surgery until high school.l.
she wanted to do a before college. this is a very important that.o so many people go through andit when they decide to make the transition, don't make it until they're adults. it's especially difficult for female transgendered people because, you know, they've gone through male and surgically a lot has to be done. she didn't have to face that problem. she went through female at the right time. so she's been able to have the b right development and at the right time as other young women. she's a beautiful young woman and a copy and thrilled and has a boyfriend and is about as normally kid is you could come across. it is the beauty of this family because they're ordinary in soyw many ways that are extraordinart in how they dealt with thebut th situation.ey but they're ordinary in being a
everyman family. they are mother and, sister and brother. it would be hard not to identify with this family.. to the degree that can normalize for people what it means to be transgender and have a transgender member in the family, then i think it is a message and educates people just by their presence. >> host: now that your science writer at the "washington post," how did you find the story? >> this jury found me. it was first published in a newspaper in "the boston globe," page one in december 20 about them. ready parents, executive editor of the "washington post" is the executive editor of "the bostont globe," very far seen at it orod story. i read it, i was fascinated by and i was contacted -- i did know that they were being represented at the time by someone i had known yearshed ou earlier in boston.
she reached out to me because the family was getting a lot oft publicity requests. they were encouraged about doing anything more than that. they wanted to protect their kids and have them grow up, have been a normal teenage life, that they knew down the line after they graduated high school they would want their story to be told. she contacted me to see i had written about. the story came to me. i rather say to my agent, this is fascinating and the fact there were identical twins is an important aspect trying to explain the science of what we know about the brain and gender they said you think anyone will want to read a book about a transgendered kid?ar that was five years ago. the world has changed dramatically since then. honestly a serendipitous public? location. >> host: what's the estimated population of transgender? >> guest: obviously the best estimates are grosslyad mos inadequate.
the ones that you read most frequently are between 70,800,000. those figures are based on 10-year-old surveys of three states. it's impossible to know. it really is. i'm waiting for the next sort of stage where we can get a better estimate of that. we face the same problems in people not identifying as transgender and not wanting to identify. honestly, we don't know. but what i've learned from doint this book is i had always thought the phrase gender spectrum was very nice, politically correct, but itbu really is true this is not exceedingly rare. one in 200 kid is born withe ma atypical. there are many types of variations of chromosomal dna,
people born ask why why insensitive to androgen, to testosterone or not. there is no average male or female. we really are spectrum in many s ways. and as we are beginning to learn the science of this, your anatomy is set in euro as six weeks. scientists believe your gender identity process in the brain does not occur until six months in utero. you think of all the things thaa can happen between six weeks an six months that affect the brain and this is why identical twins can have the exact same dna, buc they get different chemical messages from the mother even where they are positioned in the womb. the degree of variation because of things the mother takes in from the environment that affects the distribution of
hormone leads the variability in how our brains are set is nearly infinite. >> host: so what kind of testing did wyatt have to go through to become nicole before even surgery happen.ing. genetic testing what she went through was psychological tests and physiological tests to understand her anatomy. it was mostly a series of psychological tests. this is one day why they delay and suppress so that a child can live the gender they believe they are for as long as possible to be fully confident with who they are. they test boundaries and boys
delayed to dress up as grossman grows that were tomboys and these are temporary. these are things that are experimenting. but a child he says that the age of two, when do i get to be a girl and said that constantly and consistently that is a transgender child. >> host: amy ellis nutt is the author of "becoming nicole: the transformation of an american family." she's also the co-author of the teenage brain: and are assigned to survival guide to raising a molested and young adults. the pulitzer prize for working at the star-ledger for what? >> a series called director mary, it was a story from a true story based on the thinking off the coast in 2009. six of them died. the seven survived.
it happened so quickly that heth didn't know what happened. the story was on the one hand a narrative about what happened tb these men and their families, but also an investigation. i basically make the case, a strong case that they would dems have a hit run by containerwe ship, german containership thatt didn't stop. it is a mystery and investigation in a story about people. >> host: amy ellis nutt also spent nine years as a fact checker at "sports illustrated." a little bit of her career. "becoming nicole" is the book we have been talking to her about. "becoming nicole: the transformation of an american family," here it is.
[inaudible conversations] >> good evening and welcome. and ken weinstein, president and ceo of had been institute. i apologize for the condition of my voice this evening, but i really wanted to be here for the book foreign for melanie kurt hat trick's new book, thanksgiving: a holiday at the heart of the american experience. i want to thank our friends here at the historic spot here in
manhattan, executive director in our good friend judith hurd stats and i also want to thank the viewing audience on c-span's booktv. now, let me know if hudson institute is the policy organization based in washington d.c. we are dedicated to promoting u.s. international leadership for the sake of security, prosperity and freedom. most of our work is in the public policy space. we do a lot of work on the future of security and asia. ..