Jon Meacham

  • Aired:  05/05/11
  •  | Views: 55,040

Jon Meacham talks about Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy, Osama bin Laden's death and terrorist Burger Kings. (7:40)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT BESTSELLING

AUTHOR WHO HAS EDITED ALSO A NEW

E-BOOK CALLED "BEYOND BIN

LADEN."

HE HAS EDITED A NEW COLLECTION

OF ESSAYS, CALLED "AMERICAN

HOMER" INCLUDED AS A NEW VOLUME

IN THE CLASSIC CIVIL WAR

NARRATIVE.

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE

PROGRAM, JOHN MEACHAM.

( APPLAUSE )

THIS IS A RE-RELEASE OF SHELBY

FOOT'S FAMED CIVIL WAR TRILOGY.

>> YES.

>> Jon: IT ACTUALLY COMES NOW IN

ITS OWN REAL, HISTORIC CIVIL WAR

OVEN THAT THEY USE.

>> YES.

>> Jon: AND YOU CONTRIBUTED--

>> THEY WERE FORGED AT AN

TEATUM.

>> Jon:.

>> Jon: IT IS THREE PRET GOOD

VOLUMES.

I'M SHOW THEM.

THIS IS ONE...

( LAUGHTER )

THIS IS TWO...

AND THIS IS THREE...

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: AND THEN YOU CONTRIBUTED

THIS.

>> YEAH.

( LAUGHTER )

( APPLAUSE )

YOU KNOW HOW LONG THIS TOOK?

SGLON HOW LONG?

>> OH, MAN, LONG.

LONG TIME.

LONG TIME.

>> Jon: DID YOU HAVE TO SEND OUT

THE E-MAIL-- "HEY, MAN, COULD

YOU WRITE ME AN ESSAY ON THE

CIVIL WAR THEY COULD PUT IN MY

PAMPHLETS?"

>> DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TOOK

TO DO WITH MY THUMBS.

>> Jon: THIS IS AN AMAZING

TRILOGY.

I HAPPEN TO BE AN ENORMOUS FAN

OF THE CIVIL WAR.

>> DO YOU HAVE THE FRANKLIN MINT

ONE WITH THE LITTLE SOLDIERS?

>> Jon: WELL, LOOK AT YOU.

I DO HAVE THE CIVIL WAR CHESS

SET.

IT'S A REGULAR CHESS SET-- I

JUST PAINTED PEOPLE'S FACES ON

IT.

( LAUGHTER )

WHAT ARE-- ARE THERE SOME

REVELATIONS IN HERE, REFLECTIONS

IN THE AMERICAN HOME THEY'RE ARE

INTERESTING TO ADD TO THE CANON?

>> I THINK SO.

READING THE BOOKS, AS YOU KNOW,

TAKES ABOUT AS LONG AS THE WAR

DID.

>> Jon: YES.

AND WE LOSE ABOUT AS MANY MEN.

>> EXACTLY.

( LAUGHTER )

PRECISELY.

BUT I THINK SHELBY FOOT WAS

PROBABLY THE UNCREDITED FIRST

NEW JOURNALIST.

HE WAS A FELLA WHO-- HE WAS A

NOVELIST.

HE BROUGHT NOVELISTIC CINEMATIC

TECHNIQUES TO NONFICTION BEFORE

A LOT OF PEOPLE DID.

AND SO THERE'S A LINE, REALLY,

FROM WHAT FOOT DID TO TEDDY

WHITE IN "MAKING OF THE

PRESIDENT" TO BOB WOODWARD.

REALLY, WE ACCEPT THAT GENRE NOW

AS PART OF THE WALLPAPER, BUT

FOOT WAS WORKING VERY EARLY ON.

IT STARTED OUT AS AN 18-MONTH

PROJECT.

THEN THE HEAD OF THE RANDOM

HOUSE WROTE FOOT HE LIKED HIS

NOVELS.

HE SAID YOU WANT TO DO A QUICK

HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR?

( LAUGHTER )

AT 150,000 WORDS.

THIS IS 1.5

>> Jon: RIGHT.

AND HE WROTE--

>> HE WROTE IT-- HE COULD HAVE

BEEN MARRIED ABOUT THREE TIMES.

SO HE COULDN'T HAVE BEEN A

MONK-- WELL, ANYWAY, THAT'S A

DIFFERENT TOPIC.

HE WROTE IN THIS AMAZING

HANDWRITING AND THEN WOULD TYPE

IT.

IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

HE DID IT IN MEMPHIS IN THIZ

HOUSE THERE.

BEST FRIEND WAS WALKER PERCY,

GREAT FRIENDS WITH ROBERT PIN

WARREN.

AND FINISHED-- PUBLISHED THE

FIRST ONE IN 1958, AND FINISHED

30 YEARS-- 22 YEARS LATER.

IT TOOK FOUR-- FIVE TIMES AS

LONG AS THE WAR.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> TO DO THIS.

>> Jon: HE FINISHED IN 1970...

>> 1-2.

>> Jon: I REMEMBER I WAS JUST A

KID, 10 YEARS OLD, AND I

REMEMBER HEARING A FAINT,

YEE-HA!

I JUST REMEMBER HEARING VERY

QUIETLYUE COULD TELL IT WAS FROM

DOWN SOUTH.

"I CAN'T BLEEBL IT'S ( BLEEP )

OVER."

( LAUGHTER )

BESIDES THIS--

>> WE HEARD THAT A LOT.

WHERE I CAME FROM.

>> Jon: SETTLE DOWN.

I KNOW.

HOW DID YOU EDIT AN E-BOOK ON

THE FUTURE OF TERROR, OSAMA BIN

LADEN'S DEATH.

IT JUST HAPPENED ON MONDAY.

>> I KNOW.

THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED AN

INSTANT BOOK.

>> Jon: ARE THEY ESSAYS-- WERE

THEY WRITTEN PRIOR?

>> NO.

>> Jon: THESE WERE WRITTEN POST?

>> THIS IS VERY EXCITING.

THIS IS RANDOM HOUSE'S FIRST

INSTANT E-BOOK.

IT'S CALLED "BEYOND BIN LADEN."

WE HAVE RICHARD HAAS, THE HEAD

OF THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN

RELATIONS.

DANIEL MARKEY, COUNCIL ON

FOREIGN RELATIONS.

KAREN HUGHES, LOOKING AT IT FROM

THE "W" WORLD.

JIM BAKER COMPARING THE WAR ON

TERROR TO THE COLD WAR.

AND ONCE AGAIN, YOU SORT OF

CRACKED THE CODE ON MY EDITORIAL

METHOD A FEW MINUTES AGO.

I SHOULDN'T UNDERSCORE IT-- BUT

YOU SEND AN E-MAIL AND YOU ASK.

>> Jon: THAT'S RIGHT.

YOU'RE AN AGGREGATEOR.

>> HAROLD ROTH AT LEAST HAD TO

WRITE LETTERS.

NOW ALL WE DO IS-- NOW ALL WE DO

IS E-MAILS.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> SO WE HIT IT HARD ON MONDAY,

AND YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT NOW.

>> Jon: DOES IT GIVE US A

PERSPECTIVE NOW ON WHAT HIS

DEATH WILL MEAN TO THE WAR ON

TERROR?

>> YES.

THE SCENE THAT EMERGED

ORGANICALLY IS PAKISTAN,

OBVIOUSLY.

YOU HAVE A COUNTRY HERE THAT-- I

DIDN'T KNOW THIS DETAIL-- THAT

IN 50 YEARS, IT'S ANTICIPATED TO

BE THE FOURTH LARGEST NATION IN

THE WORLD, U.S., CHINA, INDIA,

PAKISTAN, 180 MILLION PEOPLE.

WITH THIS WEAK GOVERNMENT, THIS

SENSE OF INFERIORITY, SENSE OF

INSECURITY, THAT LEADS TO THE

RADICALISM, AND PROVIDING THESE

SANCTUARIES.

AND --

>> WELL, THEY HAVE DENIED THAT

THE ISI IS IN ANY WAY LINKED TO

THIS TYPE OF THING, AND I, FOR

ONE, WHY WOULD THEY LIE?

WHY?

( LAUGHTER )

WHY WOULD THEY DOWNPLAY IT?

THEY FEEL BADLY FOR, YOU KNOW,

THE SPLIT NOW IN THE PAKISTANI

CULTURE.

I MEAN, THERE'S AN ENORMOUS

SPLIT THERE.

THERE'S A MODERN CULTURE MOVING

FORWARD, VERY DYNAMIC, VERY

EDUCATED, WANT TO WORK.

AND THEN THERE IS THIS REAL

FUNDAMENTALIST STLEEK IS VERY

INFILTRATED INTO THE SPECIAL

FORCES, THE INTELLIGENCE

AGENCIES.

>> AND IT'S HONE COMBED IN THE

WRONG PLACES.

IT'S IN THE ISI, IT'S IN THE

MILITARY.

AND UNDERSCORES THE

INTRACTIBILITY IN MANY WAYS OF

THIS.

AND WHAT THE BOOK REALLY, I

THINK, UNDERSCORES AS WELL IS

DEATH OF BIN LADEN, WELCOMED,

LONG OVERDUE.

WE DON'T KNOW IF IT'S ENTIRELY

SYMBOLIC YET.

WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY FOUND IN

THOSE COMPUTERS.

I THINK EVERYBODY'S BEEN TOO

QUICK --

>> SYMBOLS MEAN SOMETHING BUT IT

CERTAINLY IS NOT A TACTICAL

VICTORY IN THE SENSE OF--

>> BUT WE DON'T KNOW.

WE DON'T KNOW YET BECAUSE THEY

FOUND A LOT OF STUFF IN THE

HOUSE.

>> Jon: WE DO KNOW.

YOU PUT OUT AN E-BOOK.

>> WE KNOW IT'S BEYOND HIM.

WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR

THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS IS IT'S

DECENTRALIZED.

THEY'RE ALL LIKE TERRORIST

BURGER KINGS, FRANCHISEES.

WE DON'T KNOW HOW INVOLVED BIN

LADEN HAS BEEN AND WE MAY NOW

FROM THE INTELLIGENCE GATHERED.

I THINK THAT'S THE GREAT THING

TO WATCH GOING FORWARD.

>> Jon: RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT, AND

YOU JUST WROTE YOURSELF A GREAT

McDONALD'S COMMERCIAL.

I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE RONALD

McDONALD FIGHTING TERRORIST

BURGER KING.

THERE YOU HAVE IT.

THE CIVIL WAR, SHELBY FOOT PUT

IN PERSPECTIVE.

150 YEARS AFTER THE CIVIL WAR WE

FINALLY LEARN A LITTLE BIT OF

ITS MEANING AND THE WAR ON

TERROR, YOU FIGURED OUT HOW TO

DO IN FOUR DAYS AFTER DEATH OF

BIN LADEN.

>> IT TOOK JESUS THREE DAYS.

( LAUGHTER )

>> Jon: ON

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