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from nashville public radio this is the fine print and exploration and celebration of the written word i'm scott smith filling in for rebecca day state with independence day life around the corner it seems appropriate time to examine a very american book a collection of poems songs speeches stories and photographs celebrating the history of ideas tragedies and trials of ireland with selections ranged from benjamin franklin and francis scott key groucho marx and the grateful dead caroline kennedy's anthology of patriots handbook is sure to stir up a little national pride in us all at a time when the stars and bars are being displayed everywhere you look you could probably all do with a reminder of just what that flag really stands for a patriots handbook does that by offering before texts of the constitution and the declaration of independence as well as memorable presidential addresses and supreme court decisions but it isn't just a reference book it's also a thought provoking and even
downright entertaining collection presenting a parade of voices that helped shape our nation mark twain langston hughes robert oppenheimer pettiford than bill gates to name just a few recently rebecca bain welcome caroline kennedy to our studios to discuss the patriots you chronicled it somewhat in the introduction to her book actually to the acknowledgment but i was wondering if you would share with us some of the nuts and bolts of how you tackle a patriots hancock well i was lucky because i i grew up with a lot of these things and so many many much of it was just said going back to things i had really always love myself oh my god great suggestions from my friend my children and now in a lot of reading from a living his work was doing and in the most work for me was doing there and they had notes that come before each entry because i
thought was really important for people to have a sense of the time place in which he sings a red and now and now as you know that's a lot of details that have to be right about a lot of work on but otherwise it was great because it was a lot of reading it was a life of there were many new things things i had never had a chance to read it i got a chance to read during nasser had really ravaged much of we now fdr mankins as i had you know i always meant to vote on the us owes a wonderful experience from eggs again each incident i can do all the reading that i've you know put off impressed him as very balanced i mean it would be very easy onto the stack a book one way or another politically but it's it's a very very balanced with tribute given where tribute history oh thank you i tried out money i've heard one of the great things about our country is that we really have found a way to you know respect and i'm an iron includes the many different voices often across the political spectrum as well as people who are you know pilots in and singers and
dreamers as well as judges and me now presidents and all that so i really want to get a sense of the variety and some of that is you know ideological a mean there's certainly wrong reagan called for then formed patriotism one that begins at the dinner table and i think that down that that has been a wonderful place to start something that you put in your introduction i like this a lot you said as parents we're part of a continuum between generations and we must decide what important values we want to pass on now i'm just a few years older than you and so many of the things that you include in here especially things like song lyrics you're a grand old flag only the easiest songs i grew up singing there things i read it in school but and less to honor very likely these days i don't think they get the immersion in history that our generation did i think i'm really young generations past a lot of these things were passed and
families you know in school and i know in our family you know my grandmother rose see now read us that when i ride of paul revere it was tremendously exciting way for you know asked to imagine that you know we might be able to get up and all the night dr morris and how one thousand acre dense and so i mean and so there's a sort of a passing over isaac other than families in and like you say in schools where the interesting things that comes through many chronicles is the role the schoolteacher in and creating america and certainly and waves of immigrants came to laos the school is a place where on the melting pot was really really took place and i'm in the public school teacher absolutely between the pledge of allegiance in teaching civics and history as well as teaching kids getting along really played just you know the most important role not hold civilizing process so so your debt of gratitude of course the teachers as as always but i'm i think they think they're down and hopefully this book will help people and by making these things accessible i think there's a tremendous outpouring of
patriotism and a real curiosity about the foundation's because it's one thing to just feel patriotic as for the general way that tends to tell on your car right you know anything about war was a really mean and what what sacrifices were be willing to make an end for why om then that it really becomes a much more interesting i think when people think about the times that we just are in right now are going through it i know where i live in new york people are very you know anxious about what's going to happen and when you read about the struggles and challenges our country has faced you known the wars the civil war that that first or second war a war on in the leadership that has been shown in uniting our country and really makes you appreciate and understand you know how strong this country as an hour can certainly faces challenge iowa was lucky enough to teach part time at fisk university for ten years and when i first started teaching there the students in my classes remember the vietnam war because their father's worst had served over there they remembered saying it on television just ten years later the stance that i had the
vietnam war was is alien to them as the korean war was to me and it made me realize that unless unless a parent or a teacher or someone you know says to a young person or this is what really read the contemporary reports of this you'll read what happened and get an understanding of this is just so easy to get bought off right i will certainly now i think in our living for our own sort of icy reno wars i think the larger mess inspired by them you know the heroism and the troops and then after september eleventh certainly the police and the firefighters and you know he knew or certainly looks at them the same way as it did before i think we you know we went through a period of disengagement cynicism and i think now people really are much more appreciative of the service and the importance of that but as you said thing counts when you read it in the actual
words of the time becomes alive in such a dramatic way and it's so interesting and sometimes i know i just looked at my own sons american history textbook i mean the whole thing is just a meaningless an ant doesn't it doesn't you now pay emotionally i'd really understand those were real people in those difficult situations and so i think one of the things i tried to get across in this book was the straw poll the heroism that down people once or whether they're immigrants come to settle here and another language have to go out and make a life in the family are obviously people more time or you know leaders who fell responsible on because i think that that that's a bass where i can act passes through the words of the people of the time under the flag section and i was very moved by john mccain's book about his experiences in vietnam and it was circling one of my career highlight interviewing him about that and that when i saw you had included that section about the fellow prisoner who so the american flag inside his shirt
i thought no one can read this and not be moved so much more moved than just reading numbers thirty two thousand killed in this particular battle in all sorts of songs up and made those kinds of things that they're really strike on right well that's it's an incredible story of courage and i think even senator mccain tells it so allen i mean they were just in prison for five years and almond and my christian so the american fight together inside a shirt from pieces that handkerchief that he had you know received from hama piece together scraps of material and then when the north vietnamese chapters discovered this made me and beat them a noun beat him mino merciless terribly and then now i'm john mccain tells a story of how he looked over you know and saw this guy with you know a full face swollen and bloody and bones broken and he was starting to sell another flight again you
know and they'll use to gather and recite the pledge of allegiance or it's really just you know i think there's such an emotional quality patriotism then i know when i was working on this a lot of the early documents i thought were so dr michael connelly's give an inch to resort to read in that in fact i think if finally surrender history there's this tremendous you know emotional quality to to have people who feel and about the idea of america an end values for rounds which has come to sound it's about tremendously for war and for me i was amazed at how moving i found the inaugural addresses of so many of the presidents as you include in this book for some reason that's something i hadn't really read before unfortunately in our sound bite society that you know we pull out a little phrase here or there and you don't get the full impact of the statement and some of those are just some of
those are just incredible all right well franklin roosevelt her amazing in and just eighteen when he talks about the situation the now heading into this are dark days a wart it was truly terrifying and ended they're way that our country we now respond to that challenge on thomas jefferson's inaugural addresses is really one of the me now as an everything he wrote was amazing that on me no cause ec also has seen a ghost greely through our history which is really there were all in this together and even if we disagree and there's something that binds us together and i think he and i hadn't really remembered that hey he was in a dead like election it took thirty six ballots for jefferson to be elected president and now i'm you know take thomas jefferson for granted so tire amazing and we just then strain our know what my who might turn into work that he and he gave this incredible speech where he said man you know every difference or
ten years nine different of principle and were all republicans were all fabulous and so i'm really you know there is the right to disagree and we showed you know so right i recognize it but at the same time on the fact that you know that this is a common enterprise and we have so much to work for together so i thought mmm i think that that's in a maze well let me say it to your father's inaugural addresses one of the most inspiring inaugural addresses that anyone could ever read anywhere it's a great great great great speech and think you know really one of his great bases are the number of people that he inspired to to enter public service and in london who many of whom were serving today all levels of government so and i think it started right there on the first day so it's really a powerful while there are those phrases that come to mind everybody knows neil armstrong one small step for man one large leap for mankind but of course your father's also ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country
ryan spree and as you fall section before you talk about the constitution and bring in pieces about the constitution i really liked what she wrote you said dell today we assume that the constitution must always have seemed like the inspired creation of a collective genius we take it for granted the separation of powers the system of checks and balances that we learn about in school with their eyes glazing over but in fact the constitution was drafted and seventeen eighty seven because our early government was falling apart and even in some of our founding fathers like thomas jefferson and patrick henry originally opposed its ratification believing that it's strong central government could overwhelm the state's and bring return to tyranny they objected that it did not provide sufficient protection for individual rights and the new ford to say the day i feel most proud to be an american is not the fourth of july i by election day because the right to
vote is perhaps the most critical write in any democracy and it has the means by which we can create the kind of society that truly represents america you can it's pretty inspired so why think you know is actually true i think you know it's hard to read the constitution but down the bill rice certainly is really the foundation or you know individual freedoms and i think when people think about america they think that freedom and that's really where it isn't and them and so on out and if it now to get their throw its it seems very old fashioned absolutely at all the cases that are on the front page today combative all right so and now i think you know and the things that i've been doing this but they're really doing my other books about the law was on me a lot of people get involved in those cases never thought that they would be the ones who have to stand up for their writing at a lot easier to let somebody else do it but in fact i am one woman said to me you know if it's up to each of us to create thick government that's
close to our hearts desire because if you don't do it somebody else well and nine and that is absolutely true we all have a real responsibility to to pitch and you know on their should everyone should do it in a way that's right for them but i think that it's it's so important for people not just to sit back and think someone else can take care of him if we've learned anything over the last couple of years and seemed you know it just didn't you know and two wars and an absolutely critical that we know what's going on that were unfortunately participate there's tremendous amount of social issues going on here in our own country in our view it's really two important areas as the old cliche goes to pour them into the petitions this is really something i really has taken winchester that's caroline kennedy talking with rebecca bain about the patriots handbook songs poems stories and speeches celebrating the land we lot more of that conversation is coming up right after a short break you're listening to the fine print oh yes
dames support for the five incorporated the most eerie and thirty three or one of their collections of poetry is the one you didn't have your mother's know as a home and i was so pleased that you included so many poetry selections and this compilation is well the patriots handbook and to give people an idea of the range of things that is in here and i knew infinity langston
hughes i really am i and i think that you know his butt his palms anemic who cried called winning their other time and place on a nice early rights that you know america segregated society is was on the power of the artist and down and also i think there's very universal it he touches on some universal themes to cities are great are great talents that we've ever produced and down sojourner truth i'm so glad to have easy access to her pain i a woman raised each oh gosh what an incredible incredible speech that was i now and then her life story also as a slave an amazing frederick douglass us only a powerful orator who really makes the point that you really love your country you can be afraid to say you know what's wrong or what could be better and certainly you know in his case it was a long time at that time and to taste
what courage to you know stand up and then really speak your mind and i think that people really should you know appreciate those who are willing to do that because most of the time and its leaves to constructive change one of my top five favorite books and i'm not foolish enough to try to just mean one two three four five order because i couldn't possibly depends on the whim of the day a one of the top five of all time is to kill a mockingbird and i was so pleased as i'm reading the patriots handled to find the section that in many ways is the heart of to kill a mockingbird and that's when scout has gotten into the fight in the schoolyard because cecil jacobs has said is your daddy defends makers and she comes home and she's so upset about this and atticus has the talk with her that i simply defend negroes and explains to what's going on and then of course the key to the whole thing that because so you going to win it no honey than why
simply because we were like to a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win that book i think really really now is so much part of our history in in the way that so many people really internalize some of those issues and so i thought was really corn opponent in the rule of law section because i think a lot of the times when we read a story about the wheel system that very dry and it now has its own generals and somewhat arcane but actually what's going on there really matters and you know and she bought recently in and he was such a great thought but you know now that they're nailed absolutely and also love discovering people i didn't know about fannie lou hamer he's an eastern andre she's only now one of twenty children grew up and start taking time at the age of six and on went on to become a civil rights activist and mama things italian them the city freedom party but i'm sure i think the story that she tells that i'm kind of at the end
of her selection there about the children when to play a trick on the village wise men and they found they catch a burden they're holding a tightly in their hands may go to him in a show tune they say is alive or dead and he says it in your hands and cities is such a great metaphor for all of us you know this whole enterprise is really in our hands now and so on to go either way it's another it's really important make it go away you know that really ties back to our founding ideals are lighter note haven't forgive me from a genius but the very first song i learned to sing was in here still yes nicely spikes the very best of the second song i learned to sing was davy davy crockett shed many here and has not only there but on the companion cd and i got so tickled because davy crockett is the tune when people get other song stuck in their head retinoids cure them right by saying builders thank davy davy crockett is you know emilio the other
song he's gone but i thought what fun to i mean this is a serious book but there's so much light hearted humor too which is such an important part of this country absolutely there's a you know a tradition that's really unifying and now i'm you know mixed ourselves that i think is so great may devote so much fun and in that song i know we know certainly rouse academy my own children have heard it on whatever cds are really just you and you know i just i think the life you say canada there had to be an you know as of nashville oil for the next twenty four hours is going to be singing baby cry that's right it is coal miners died there as well what's left now to the photographs as much fun as the text must have been to discover and to go through and shifted his arduous task is well i'm taking nothing away from that caroline the
photographs must've been much the same way some of these you couldn't possibly not putting in there so wonderful and then some of them i know what he family must have thought oh my goodness this is so perfect right when they're selling out for us a really capture these moments in time the spear of america and there's one where the you know they fired a shot for the oklahoma land rush or the railroad in east to west on where the you know opening day the statue of liberty in your carver what is incredible is inherently beautiful and down and then there's ones entering a much more political never really know when you see an anthem from the civil rights ruby ridge is going to score in the town just this little tiny girl is walking up the steps and now majority now on there's a great photograph in the air of these kids trying to drive a car across it river you're not in the ratings at ease why any other kind of academic going on a mound and they're witches so that
was great in this beautiful photographs of various in the landscape and i think that they're really and there's a lot of poems and songs about the land but now you say that we now live for graphic guys really you know capture so much about how did you discover all these photographs that people are going through every of congress are causing how did you find another son has a wonderful guy that i knew who i am who has done for research on anemia we taught and taught at the kinds of things i was looking for and he came up with some things that i i hadn't seen before a lot of these photographs were familiar to me that i am but certainly one of the ham the revolutionary war soldiers hasn't been seen i thought that that was so incredible because on they're all very all that the idea that they were still living in the camera was already in use really depressed our history from a way it was amazing and there's a photograph also blank soldiers from the civil war so war veterans right yes civil war veterans who are are they are
some of them in their uniforms and they're you know obviously old old man now but the power there is an eventful matters doesn't very moving and that other there other view no more photographs where there is d day are on the moon landing on the beach in your universe of some vietnam era ones and isis for graph of general allen's them world trade center destruction and so i think that really and so routes are you know i'm of course a great art forms that really a you know the american photographers pennant to mislead players to mensa important social world to know our history and then there are lighthearted moments or moments that really weren't meant to be a light hearted but you have to laugh that there's one taken at an orphanage and it's obviously an american pageant and young girls are dressed up as the american flag and i have these sac like so
their arms and hands or star in a memorial stand together to make the flight and the expressions on the words that isn't just price gray has another incredible fire out of the largest flag i think of the time it's that size is blowing o's woven by a factory workers in new hampshire which has just crumbled soul there's a question that i have really wanted to ask you the whole time that i have been reading the patriots handbook and it is after all this research all of these entries all of the people that you write about and included who would you like from history to have a dinner party valerie so great lifestyle items added dinner party doing this book i was really fantastic eyesight as there's such a privilege cause i was going to spend time with you know everyone from mark twain to you know thomas jefferson term you know rachel
menken so land grab from so i graduated show you know i feel like the whole thing's really fantastic seeking near a downtown la morning i could start with those fire facts and you know now i get some my friend yeah and oscar wilde of the right on this well you have to be careful not have someone who's gonna talk the whole time right that's right they're not for good as aaron party yes dinner party which included that hilarious section from picture of dorian gray where they're talking about the characteristics of the americans and no lord henry says i can stand the brute force but brute reason is quite unbearable there's something unfair about it use it is hitting below the area a live fire where ailsa says that you know i hear that when did americans die they go to paris is this a war where that americans any
scenario it's a temple was her while english attitude towards america and the on the dumbness and what would be your next project i know you don't lack for projects do you want to do something more in the line of the patriots handbook you wanna go on to completely mm totally different direction well actually for me to serve one and you know i mean when the book comes out it's great because and then you can get to talk to people that i like to go around and talk to school says well sir i think that are you know i'd like to continue this for a bit longer and working with the schools in your city also so that's very interesting mr mahmoud now know of my next for product okay that i'm sharing our lifetimes yet when these ideas in unexpected places and since i'm really doing this i really haven't had a chance to think about what's next cell say caroline kennedy is the editor of patriots have
songs stories and speeches celebrating the land like scott smith filling in for effective pain please join us again next week for another look at the fine print the fine print is produced by rebecca bain in a toboggan scott smith for nashville public radio copies of the program are available on compact desk to order a car business office monday through friday at six one five seven six zero two nine zero theory you can hear the fine print any time by visiting our web site you'll find more than three years worth of programs archived at the address was wpln dot org
The Fine Print
Program 03 19 Guest Caroline Kennedy Book A Patriot's Handbook
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An episode of WPLN's The Fine Print featuring host Rebecca Bain discussing an author's work with the author.
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Guest: Kennedy, Caroline
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