tv QA CSPAN February 1, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EST
>> this week on q and a. author scott christiansen. mr. christiansen discusses his book 100 documents that changed the world. from the magna carta to wikileaks. >> what did you want to do with this book, 100 documents that change the world? >> i wanted to wet -- whet readers appetites for historic documents. and to show people what the documents look like and to explain the context of those objects. a little bit of the story behind them. to put them together over time in chronological order to give people a sense of how they played out in history. >> how did you decide which hundred to put in? >> i worked with a publisher in london and while i am doing the writing of text, they are
getting images. we work back and forth on a list together. they suggest some things, i suggest some things, we come to an agreement and it is later refined. it is a process that is ongoing but it really started when i sat down with some members of my family, including a very smart young boy. i asked him, what do you think about the 100 most important documents in history? he is only 13 years old. he is a nephew. and i thanked him. and his parents for their contribution. >> how did he know 75 of these? >> he is a omnivorous reader of history.
he has a very wide range of interests in history. an encyclopedic knowledge of history. it was with his good graces that i came up with this list. >> if you had to pick one in this book that is in your mind the most important, which one would it need? >> i have a preference for the gutenberg bible. the gutenberg bible, which everybody knows the term but they don't understand the significance of it, was created in the 14 50's by a printer blacksmith in germany. he had a staff of 20 people. he was a highly skilled artisan and he set out to print a new copy of the bible using movable metal type, which was something that had never been done before with a project of that size.
at that time there were only 30,000 books in all of europe. it took years for scribes to copy one bible. he gathered his people together, they used high-quality inks, high-quality paper. of vellum that was used took over 150 caps they had to slaughter for just -- calfs they had to slaughter for just one bible. a very wonderful products, sold for a very high price. it revolutionized printing and the world of books. scholars say between 160 and 100 80 copies -- 180 copies were printed. i have not seen a copy close up.
i have seen pictures video other images from the gutenberg bible. it is an extraordinary magnificent creation, which now -- a complete copy goes for something like $35 million. >> why do people pay that kind of money? >> if you have that kind of money, you are a collector and have some particular reason for it. maybe you are somebody who was involved in publishing or religion. but there are very people -- very few people that can afford that kind of thing, or institutions that can afford that kind of a price. they are barely highly prized -- very highly prized. they were expensive when they were made at the time but today, they have grown in value. >> where did you get your
personal interest? scott: i had a varied career. i was an investigative reporter, i worked for the government, several positions involving criminal justice and the law. i am a social scientist and a particularly a criminologist and i am a documentary filmmaker and i have been curating documentary exhibitions. also, of course, i am an author. it depends on how you count them. probably over 20 books. in the course of doing this, i worked very closely with documents. as a writer today, we spend our whole life creating documents moving documents around archiving documents.
we have a different conception today of what a document is, so much so that we live in the age of documents today. >> where were you an investigative reporter? scott: i cut my teeth in new york, which was a ross -- awash in corruption in the late 60's and early 70's. we had nelson rockefeller as governor and we had a local tammany style political machine so i had a great time starting out. >> doesn't seem to have changed much. scott: it really hasn't changed. the beat goes on. >> where were you in government? scott: i worked under three governors of new york state. i worked primarily for governor mario cuomo in a series of
criminal justice positions. i worked from the 70's through the 80's, into the 90's while i was completing my doctoral work. i am also a teacher. i have taught at several universities. >> one of the last documents out of the hundred was from 2013 and it is edward snowden's files. >> yes. >> what is this piece of paper here? scott: that is a letter edward snowden wrote making it available to various people in the media and members of government in which he attested to the fact that he had acquired this information. he worked as a government contractor, british government agencies. he had obtained a great deal of information which he believed showed the government of the
united states was involved in illegal gathering of information and -- intelligence information from a massive front of people spying on government officials abroad. it was one of those things that horrified many people when it was going to be disclosed. he believed it was his duty as a patriot to disclose this information. he said he thought disclosing the truth was not a crime. many other people have disagreed and he was charged -- he has since been charged with theft of government property in violation of the espionage act and he remains a fugitive in russia. >> here he is from 2014. >> this is what state surveillance looks like. it does not stop with phone calls.
the covers your e-mails, text messages, whether history. every google search you have ever made and every plane ticket you have ever bought. the books you buy at amazon.com. whether it is an essay or other government services, it can collect. defenders of this kind of dragnet say there is no room for abuse because we have policy in place to address these concerns. but ken pollack -- policies can change with every president congress, every new director of the nsa. when do we address the threat? >> you say the full extent of snowden's disclosure is unknown what intelligence services estimated a number of files at 1.7 million. scott: it certainly is an
enormous bonanza of information. there has to be some scrutiny exercise in terms of what information is disclosed to make sure that it does not endanger the lives of people. it really does perform a very final public service -- vital public service and i know it remains controversial. there is also a very strong feeling that he is an american hero. he is viewed as such around the world. it does call people to question who controls documents, who owns documents, what is the power of documents. what are these things about that the government is collecting. >> let me ask you for another one of your most important documents.
scott: there certainly are many types of documents. i am interested in 1984, george orwell's book. you get a look at the manuscript of 1984 to see what it actually looked like. as he was making his final changes and about ready to retype it. it is a very interesting thing to me that it is such a prissy and work that he -- precedent -- prescient work. he depicted a totalitarian state that he was warning people about. in the course of writing this book, he had a tough time economically. his wife died during the course
unexpectedly, his home in london was destroyed i a -- by a nazi bomb. he was very ill, he almost died in a drowning accident, and he was fighting tuberculosis. in addition to that as he was writing more about this totalitarian state he was becoming more and more paranoid. >> it is usually one page for an essay on each of these documents . the surviving manuscript of the novel is at the brown university library. how did you get this photograph. scott: all of these require approval from the institution. the library, the archive, that holds them. there are very few examples of the manuscript of orwell's work that are available.
this particular one was contributed to brown university by an alumnus. >> somebody that talked about george orwell all the time was the great -- late christopher hitchens. >> i have been in north korea. i thought i was going to try not to mention 1984 because everyone says it was an orwellian state. in fact, it is a cliche. >> the same thing over and over again? >> kim il-sung founded the north korean state the same year 1984 came out. it is as if someone gave him the novel and said "do you think we can make this work? " >> did you ever read it? scott: every kid who grew up in the 1960's red 1984 and animal farm. i have read it since.
it is a great work. >> where do you do your work from? scott: i presently live in the berkshires of massachusetts. i spent many years in upstate new york. i work at home, i am a full-time writer. i worked on many projects at once. books, articles, films, many different types of projects. >> how long did it take to put this together? scott: i think every book takes a writer his or her old -- whole life to produce. you have to learn how to write a book, it takes a lot of training to do that. you have to learn a lot. it takes various amounts of times to actually physically produce it, to type it. this particular book was actually quite a short. of time. i have done books that took as
long as 25 years or 18 years of work. this book was just a few months. >> i am working from the back to the front, so here is a 2001 document. bin laden determined to strike us,". what is it? -- >> there was a presidential daily briefing to president bush who was at his ranch in crawford texas. it was delivered by a woman named barbara sue who was a senior analyst specializing in al qaeda. prior to that time, the new president had received 40 or more warnings about al qaeda. he said many things about al
qaeda attacking the united states. >> the bush administration did not respond to it. it was by condoleezza rice and other government officials. the united states was attacked on september 11, 2001. that has changed our history. >> condoleezza rice testified before richard ben the nasty -- richard benvenisti. >> the august 6 warned about
possible attacks in this country. >> i believe the title was bin laden determined to attack inside the united states. >> thank you. >> i would like to finish my point here. >> given that you asked me what -- >> i ask you what the title was. >> it did not warn about attacks inside the united states. it was historical information based on old reporting and it did not in fact warned of any coming attacks. >> when you hear that today, your reaction? scott: mumbo-jumbo. there were repeated warnings. what is a government to do in response to these space threats without specific information --
vague threats without specific information? i remember being in the area of the world straight -- world trade center and i noticed individuals taking pictures. i had a feeling of unease. i was aware of the attack in the 1990's. it made me very uneasy. there was not a response. john ashcroft, the attorney general at that time, was asked to approve 400 more fbi counterintelligence agents. he refused to do that. in a lot of ways, the administration really blew off these warnings and did not respond until the attack occurred. >> the apple computer company. what is it? scott: in 1976, 3 young fellows out in silicon valley california
decided they were going to create a small venture by the skin of their teeth, with very little money in the garage of one of these young men. they were going to manufacture computers and computer parts. they formed this company, called apple computer. you may have heard of it. since that time, it has become one of the most successful businesses in world history. it was really done on a shoestring, a relatively short. of time ago. unfortunately for one of these partners, mr. wayne, he signed over his interest in the original partnership agreements for a paltry $800. >> it is amazing. they agree to pay and deliver to wayne, as their sole obligation the sum of $800.
does that mean that is all he got? scott: that is all he got. >> how available is this kind of a document? scott: some of these things are available from the company. they are proud of their associations that make some of these kinds of things available to historians and others. in all of these cases it involves a search. this particular one came from apple it self. >> back to the 13-year-old you talk to, what is his name? scott: joel gardner. he was in hastings on huston -- hudson. >> what was his reaction when he found out he named a third of these documents? scott: he was not interested. he was off reading more interest -- history.
i inscribed it and dedicated it to them. maybe someday, maybe it will mean something to him. he is still pursuing his own interests in history and maybe someday he will be doing something on the grander scale in my book. >> where did he get his interest? scott: he, like many of the people involved in these documents and other books i have done is a polymath. he has many different interests. he is a mathematical genius and he has many interests but he just developed an interest in reading and history and he has been pursuing it on his own. he will get a contemporary book that has just come out 500-600 page. stalingrad, or some sort of event in history.
the napoleonic wars. he will knock off those books. >> here is 1969, apollo 11 flight plan. you can see it right here. here is some footage from that moment and it is not the normal neil armstrong stepping off on the moon. it is buzz aldrin and michael collins. >> during the three-day journey to the moon the astronauts kept busy. check lists, navigation and observation, housekeeping. they must work in a weightless environment, keeping their spacecraft and themselves in good condition. data must be collected and reported, experiments must be performed. including photography both inside and outside the spacecraft. >> it lays out the role of each
of the three astronauts, at every moment of the mission. at this particular time, it suggests there was a possibility that perhaps the astronauts would have to be left on the moon if something wasn't working properly. the mission would go on. this was done according to a plan to -- july 1, 1969. there was a plan that set out this very detailed chronological time frame and according to this plan, they had to follow all of these instructions. each of them knew exactly what they were to do. >> in the book, you write the
apollo program had involved 400,000 engineers technicians and scientists from 20,000 companies at a cost of $24 billion. scott: yes. it was an enormous investment. it had great political significance and spiritual significance in the united states at that time. i had a relative who actually worked in the program at various times. it was a huge enterprise following from john kennedy's attempt to land americans on the moon. it was a triumph by the united states. united states technology. >> how close did you come to the vietnam war? scott: everybody my age came very close.
some people so close they didn't survive it. i did not serve in the military but as a journalist, i was involved in covering things that were going on at that time. like everybody of my generation, i was involved in the turmoil over the vietnam war. as a young boy in 1964 i was watching on television when president lyndon johnson announced to the nation in a national televised speech that the united states had been attacked by north vietnamese vessels and that as a result he was going to be authorizing the use of force and wanted congress to give him the authority necessary to effectively wage war against this aggressive
power of north vietnam. this was during a presidential campaign. he was going to be running against barry goldwater. it was the beginning of a very long involvement. a long vietnam war. >> where did you get this particular document? scott: this document is from a congressional office. it is one of the actual coffees -- copies of one of the executives that was working on that at the time. >> you mentioned you were responsible for the written word. did somebody else have to go after the document? >> in some cases we would find there was not a suitable document available. or they would come up with a document that was different from what i had written about.
it is a back and forth between a publisher in london and me in the united states. the book is published simultaneously around the world and printed in china. so it is a global process. >> i have to read about the gulf of tonkin resolution. by 2005 the release of more classified documents from the nsa plus others new disclosures revealed high government officials had distorted facts about what actually happened. scott: a whole series of things occurred. we had the pentagon papers in 1971. we recently had a film involving robert mcnamara, in which he did effectively a mea culpa about this whole chapter in american history. we have had tapes involving
president johnson and mcnamara and others. the bottom line is we see this resolution was really a deceptive one. congress was not completely told exactly what had happened. this of course, is very unfortunate. it is not thing. >> sensing that the words lacked power, the impassioned gospel singer mahalia jackson cried out "tell them about the dream martin." scott: martin luther king during the civil rights march on washington in 1963 was, of course, at the lectern giving his great speech. but it really wasn't worth going over that well -- wasn't going over that well. he had a prepared speech that other people had worked with him
on. it was handwritten by jones himself. and reverend king is up there and mahalia jackson had heard the speech some months before in which martin luther king got into a whole theme about be on the mountaintop. and so, he ad lib.. he paired -- began to add extemporaneously, a passage that became the basis of the most famous speech in american history, which was an enormous, immediate, resounding success. the largest
crowd ever in any kind of mass meeting in american history to that point. millions of people saw this on tv, heard about it. but as he was leaving the lectern, a young basketball player who was sitting nearby asked him, gee, can i have a copy of that. and he ask a gave a copy of his prepared remarks to that man george reveling, and off the cuff u.n. that document is still valuable but it is still in mr. reveling's position. brian: you say the speech did not appear in writing until august 1983. scott: yes. a whole story of the speech has been the subject of a lot of study and commentary. but we forget that it really took a long time for the speech to be fully out there and in various forms. the king family asserted various copyrights to it.
and there has been a lot of contest over who controls, who owns this document, whether it can be reproduced. brian: you also point out on the same page that the family sold all of martin luther king's works for $32 million to morehouse college. scott: yes. brian: what you think of that? scott: i think it is very important that an institution, responsible institution that obviously has some connection and some personal stake and that it values such documents will step forward and agree to be the repository and the keeper of such precious documents. and i think it's a good that that has occurred. i think it is fine that they are at morehouse. the only other possible place would be the national archives
the library of congress. brian: i want to give you another opportunity to name another one of your favorites. scott: gee, you know, it's really hard. there are so many. i think "the art of war," each -- which is so old. it really dates back. an ancient chinese text and that deals with the nature of warfare, how to win a war, and a the trials and tribulations of war. it offers a lot of sage advice so sage that, of course, many, many commanders since that time, norman schwarzkopf, douglas macarthur, have followed these instructions very closely. tony soprano, the mobster on tv,
talks about reading it for his own organized crime battles. i don't know if dick cheney ever read it. but he should have. brian: what is this that we are looking at right here? scott: this is, i believe, a copy written on bamboo of part of this document. one of the things about such ancient works is, of course, that, in many instances, whether or not the suppose it author, in this case sun tzu, actually existed or was mythical is under debate. it is unclear exactly when this was written. it is unclear how long it remained a verbal, poorly transmitted document before it was then copied. it took many centuries for this document to be preserved in a copy and it is still extent. so we don't know a lot about this document but it has lasted a long period of time.
brian: you quote sun tzu saying no country has benefited from prolonged warfare. scott: yes. that is something that has some meaning to us today. brian: from 1953, dna. scott: it's an interesting story because the discoverers of dna crick and watson, francis crick was the senior researcher at cambridge and was involved in this incredible discovery of the double helix, the dna molecule that was really the building block of life. and he realized immediately how important this was. and at this time, before the discovery was going to be published in the journal "nature," he wrote a letter to his 13-year-old son laying out what this discovery was really about, explaining it to him very carefully and saying i want you
to study this carefully and understand what i have done. crick also enlisted his wife who was an artist, who specialized in doing nudes. he got her to do a drawing of what this double helix looked like. and that drawing was used in the subsequent "nature" article. so this was a family affair. brian: what is this in your book? scott: that is an initial drawing of what he tried to convey what this was like and what dna was really about, this look of dna. of course, this was one of the great discoveries in the history of science. brian: let's listen to a little bit of francis crick speaking. [video clip] >> the worry much about what the diagram i tell us?
it struck us with a tremendous impact. just how beautiful and exciting it was. because there before us was the answer to one of the fundamental problems in biology -- how do genes replicate? it was very simple and you couldn't miss it. we used to, jim and i just sit and look at the molecule. brian: protocol. and you have over here in german. what is it? scott: the once he protocol -- the protocol involved all of
the top nazi --. this was to be carried out by a nazi official who was at the meeting and copies were distributed to all the members. notes were taken by a fellow named adolf eichmann. it was determined at the time that there were 11 million jews in europe, in countries that were under occupation. and the plan was laid out in great detail how these people were going to be eliminated, exterminated, murdered, killed removed from the face of the earth. unfortunately for the nazis and the holocaust revisionists, one copy of this document survived. they tried to destroy all the existing copies.
but one official in the foreign office -- and this is his copy -- left a copy in the file. and it was used, after its discovery in march 1947, it was used in the war crimes trials in the trial of eichmann for the murder of millions of jews. brian: monsignor berlin, you point out in your piece here that it was a 90-minute meeting. scott: a 90-minute meeting, kind of like a typical government interagency meeting. an agenda and some notes. and afterwards, cigars and cognac's celebrating and a little small talk about how everybody was doing. but this horrible event, this horrible meeting that is shown in this document really tells us what happened.
brian: where did you get your initial interest in history? scott: i probably got my initial history as a young boy growing up in connecticut earning that some of my ancestors had fought in the civil war. and had given some of the letters of my ancestors, corresponding with other relatives about their experiences in the warp. -- in the war. also, my maternal grandmother had started a habit of collecting newspapers when something important happened. so we would collect the front page. she had been doing this her whole life. my mother did it. i did it. i continue to do it. i have many thousands of newspapers. the moon landing. the election of all the presidents. assassinations and other events that have heard as shown in that -- that have occurred as shown in that day's newspaper. brian: aside from the nazi protocol, you have other things based in germany in world war ii. i want to look at the cousin -- i believe it is a cousin. let me double check.
it is the cousin of anne frank. [video clip] >> once returned to amsterdam he was informed his dose co-children had died. he then received anna's diary from the brave lady, from together with the other helpers had supported the people in the secret annex for no two years. he began to read very slowly. he was overwhelmed. just as i was overwhelmed when i read anna's diary. otto said i didn't know my child until i read her diary. it was anna's dream that someday, something she had written would be printed. and i say to myself every day anna, if you would know what
came of your diary. brian: it sold 30 million countries and 67 different languages. scott: absolutely. it has been an enormously influence or work. and really was instrumental in introducing many people in the 1960's and since to the holocaust and to really come into terms with what that meant for ordinary people at that time. there have continued to be questions and controversies surrounding this book.
many people try to suggest that this was something a young girl could not have written. it was too fine as a literary work. and other criticisms were made. it has been found that it was authentic. but her father, otto frank, was responsible for bringing the book to publication in 1947. and in the process of doing that, he cut and pasted various versions that she had written together into the final work that was published. moreover, recently, there has been a copyright dispute involving the foundation that in heritage ownership of the anne frank diary that has made a great deal of money from it, as you can imagine, given its to medicine sales. and they attempted to say that a co-author of the work should be otto frank, which would extend the copyright life another 30 years. others have said it would not be appropriate. further, they question what that really means for the providence of this document, this book. as with so many of these
documents in the book, every day, there continued to be controversies. they continue to be in the news. they are really living things that go on and on and there are questions that are always being asked about them and their meaning. brian: "war and peace," the very large book written by leo tolstoy. here is a picture of anton chekhov and leo tolstoy. and you have tolstoy saying to chekhov, "you know, i hate your plays. shakespeare was a bad writer. and i consider your plays even worse than his." [laughter] scott: i included "war of these" because it was an epic work in history. but i was also intrigued by the fact that this manuscript of
"war and peace," this monumental piece could not be understood because his handwriting was so true stories -- was so atrocious. his wife had to intervene and recopy it. she did this. she was involved in copying over what he had written each and every day. the book was published initially as a series in a magazine. but he was not completely pleased with it. so he started from scratch and rewrote the whole thing yet again with his wife. and it was brought out as a book in 1869, 1 of the great literary works of all time. blending fact and fiction. brian: have you read it? scott: i have read it here and i read it years ago while i was waiting for airplanes to arrive when i was involved with summary who worked for the airlines -- with somebody who worked for the airlines. i always brought "war and peace" with me.
brian: how long did it take you to read? scott: it took me, i would say, days to read it. certainly many hours. it's not something that you read very quickly, although i can be when necessary a speedy writer. i took notes of what tolstoy had done as an aspiring writer. this book is published in the united states by rizzoli. brian: i have to ask you if there are a couple of documents that you wanted in there but never made it for some reason. scott: sure. there are many. i certainly think that the pentagon papers, which i don't believe is in there, is really a magnificent set of documents that had an enormous effect. of course, it's known as a set of documents. that is one example.
there are some others, popular things that i tried to include a song or two. i was especially partial to bob dylan's "rolling stone" tune. but that was not in the final version either. brian: this one is 1851, a fort sumner telegraph. scott: how things have changed. back in the day, the beginning of the civil war, fort sumter was canada needed by the short on charleston harbor. it took a long canonade. they surrendered the next day. the day after that, there was an evacuation of the troops, the 68 troops a had been in the fort. there were 10,000 confederates against them.
they finally surrendered. two soldiers were killed in the evacuation process when there was an accidental explosion. it took almost a week for the government of the united states to receive this telegram notifying the government of the united states that the confederate forces had attacked the forces of the united states and the civil war had effectively begun. brian: you say the original telegram is kept at the national archives. we have some video down off of charla's -- charleston, fort sumter, the beginning of the war. [video clip] quakes>> to the west at fort johnson with the water batteries, to our north from the battery on mount pleasant on the shoreline, and also from cummings point to our south, the three batteries there. so 43 confederate guns or more would bombard this fort for 34 hours, firing 3000 rounds of
ammunition where we are right now. when it was all her with, we found that there were only about 600 scars on the exterior wall that did some damage. what caused fort sumter to surrender, they were hot cannonballs. those red-hot cannonballs set huts on fire. scott: i heard they caused some explosions of some of the ammunition and resulted in fatalities. that it certainly is an interesting notion they used these weapons. the union side, the federal troops, had guns that were very ineffective.
and really for the sake of appearance, they tried to respond, led by a commander named abner doubleday, who was later credited with inventing baseball, which he did not do. he was an officer in the union army. so there was this destruction of the fort. brian: from 1776, the wealth of nations. why did you pick "the wealth of nations"? scott: it is the foundation -- capitalism is the foundation of modern economics. at this time, this fellow, adam smith, was a philosopher, a curious term for an economist today. but he came up with a theory
that he spent many years developing. this was produced in a two-volume magnum opus in which he laid out this theory. and he really said that self-interest, ambition, competition is in the interest of the general public. and this is something that should be embraced, that it was moral further effectively to be self interest and, dare we say greed. and he also called for free trade.
he said he supported natural rights and liberty. this was done at the beginning of the, can revolution and was -- the american revolution it was a revolutionary time in the world. when he completed the work, he had always kept the manuscript close at hand. it was always in his site as a writer. and he was working on it, after he finished it, he carried this huge manuscript with him around wherever he went. he'll waste kept it within his view because he was so attached to it. it was like a friend, a loved one. but when he died, he directed that it be destroyed. so the actual manuscript copy of this great influential work is nowhere to be found. this is the basis for trickle-down economics, the basis for huge economic systems that have existed in the world for hundreds of years. but it was a system of relatively new ideas that adam smith made up at the time. brian: david seidenberg was the director of the huntington
library. he is talking about another one of your documents. [video clip] >> this is the famous first folio shakespeare printed in london by isaac jagged and edward blunt. not clear whether shakespeare saw any of these additions are not. no shakespeare manuscripts survive. this edition that was produced in 1623 was the first real attempt, as it says in the subtitle, published according to the true original copies. now what those true original copies are scholars have debated since this book appeared. brian: what did you take shakespeare? scott: i think he is a pretty good writer. [laughter] i think he has had an enormous effect.
this was one of the great achievements -- of course, were it not for this particular volume here, we would not know about shakespeare really in large measure. more than half of his plays have never been published before. there had not been an authoritative edition of his works presented. while this is just the dramas, not his poems and other works, it is a full presentation of his comedies, historys, and tragedies. and it was compiled the members of his shakespearean drama company who revered him, worked with him, involved in presenting these plays. they had stage instructions and other documents that they used as these plays were being staged at that time. so it is quite an authoritative version. brian: we have just scratched the surface. one thing we haven't -- we haven't spent a lot of time on american documents. but if i go to the list here, i can pick at everything from the
cost to shunt to the declaration of independence, 14 points of woodrow wilson -- how did you balance that often how much of the sales of this book do you expect in the united states versus around the world? scott: i don't know what the sales are going to be. it is something that is interested in english speaking countries, australia, great britain, united kingdom, as well as united states, and a number of other countries. i know it is in the national archives in london and in the united states. libraries are beginning to pick it up. hopefully, it is something that is will circulate. what was your first question again? brian: just the american documents and how many of those and how did you decide the difference of how you chose them? scott: it required striking some sort of balance. we wanted a variety of things
that would cover the whole world, cover the course of human history over 5000 years, a real variety of things. that is not to say that these are the 100 one and only greatest, most important documents that ever were. but many of them are paired they really are -- but many of them are. they really are fundamental to an understanding of history. brian: you have the koran in there. you said the angel gabriel revealed the world of allah. the current environment in the world, does it have something to do with picking this? scott: it certainly did. it is an interesting thing in the case of mohammed, the prophet mohammed. and the angel gabriel.
both were illiterate. so these accounts were transmitted verbally. and they were memorized by hundreds of followers of mohammed and transmitted for several years and finally were set to writing. and there was an authorized edition of the koran produced shortly after the death of mohammed. brian: our guest has been scott christianson, "100 documents that changed the world: from the magna carta to wikileaks." thank you. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: for a free transcript or to give us your comments
about this program, visit us at q&a.org. q&a programs are still available as c-span podcasts. announcer: if you enjoyed this week's q and a interview with scott christianson, here are some other programs you might like to michael whitmore talking about his work at the shakespeare theater. tom blanton on accessing federal government documents. and allen weinstein talked about his job as archivist of the united states. you can watch these anytime or search our entire video library at c-span.org. >> next, your calls on washington journal. legislative begin business --
legislative business begins at 2:00 p.m. >> tonight does code guests holding different views on net neutrality. the company first to sue the fcc on its rolls over internet service providers. they are joined by alex politico technology reporter. >> what we object to is the way the fcc went about the open internet standards. this is a 19th century form of regulation tied to common carriers like railroads and we
do not think, and carrier regulation is the right form of regulation. we want to get the best we can. we want to make sure everyone has access when you start to see a two-tiered internet created because of any competitive way data captions are supplied, that causes concern. >> watch the communicators tonight. >> this morning, catherine lucy previews the iowa caucuses. jim hightower and why he supports bernie sanders. and selzer looks at voter
preferences based on the latest des moines register. we take your calls and you can join the conversation at facebook and twitter. "washington journal" is next. ♪ host: good morning. it is february 1 two thousand 16. all eyes on iowa. let the voting begin. after 1500 candidate rallies, 70 million spent on 60,000 tv ads iowa voters get to go first. followed by new hampshire one week from now. donald trump with 28 percent. ted cruz flipping to 23%. marco rubio at 15%. ben carson at 10.