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tv   Kate Moore The Woman They Could Not Silence  CSPAN  November 22, 2021 9:55am-10:52am EST

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before because what happens to feisty women who stand up for themselves, history has chosen instead to commemorate those men who tried, but failed to silence elizabeth. elizabeth is perhaps the most fearless and resilient woman i have ever encountered. her story is extraordinary. i want you to picture her for a woman. she had long dark brown hair, brown almond shaped eyes, and a nose as strong and straight as her principles. she was 5 foot 1 inch tall, but her short stature is not an evidence of the power of her spirit which was absolutely mammoth. elizabeth and downfall and salvation came from one thing only elizabeth had a mind of her own. what i'll be doing this evening in talking to you about her
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story is to start in a moment with a short reading from the book. i'll then be talking about elizabeth's history around the book and my research process and at the end a chance to ask questions and put those in the chat as well. elizabeth's story starts on the cusp of the american civil war, june 1860 and it starts with elizabeth, the 43-year-old housewife and mother of six lying in bed in her marital home. what would happen if your husband could commit you to an insane asylum just because you disagreed with him? that's what happened to elizabeth and i want to turn to a reading from the book edited extract from chapter one the reason i chose to do a reading i want you to understand how i've chosen to tell the true
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story. this is a nonfiction book. it's a history book that i write in a novelistic way. i'm a story teller after all and i hope that my readers will get swept up in this true story. i hope that elizabeth will feel like a friend to you and you'll walk in step with her on her journey. ... matter how my style, everything in this book is based on historic. comes from a record made from someone who was present at the time. without without further ado let's begin. the date is june 18, 1860. the setting is in illinois. it was the last day but she didn't know it.
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in truth, we never do, not until it is too late. she worked -- fully covered by a snow white counterpane. it was a restless nights sleep. she had a mahogany bureau and smart green shutters that for some reason were failing to let in any light. ordinarily, her husband of 21 years, a preacher, what have been snoring next to her. his gravity defying curly red hair. but if you longbe weeks before e had abandoned their marital bed. he thought it best, or so he said, to sleep alone these days. instead, they were filled by the
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precious proximity of our slumbering six-year-old son. her childrenr- were truly that sun, moon and stars to elizabeth. two-seater happy faces and laughing eyes offered such blessed life. it was particularly welcome in a world that was becoming by the dayy increasingly black. but melancholy thoughts were uncharacteristic for elizabeth. in normalnc the 43-year-old was always rejoicing. but the split that was even threatening her country with some forecasting an all-out civil war were mirrored in her fear within her neat two-story home. over the past four months she and her husband had retreated behind those in the lines. . they packard's had married in 1839 and elizabeth was a green
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22 and a dusty 37. at first, all had seemed to well. she had learned to be a silent listener and her preacher husband entertained and was the sole mouthpiece in their marriage. to make him happy it was the height of my ambition, elizabeth roach. that is all i wanted, to make my husband that shine inside and out. the problem in their marriage had been he did not make her shine in return. the characters were opposite vibrant, sociable and curious. and in his own words, dull. elizabeth described their marriage nevertheless she said nothing to him directly, that
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is until everything changed. in 1848 the first woman rights convention was held in new york. unleashing a national conversation about the rights of a woman. it was one in which elizabeth took part. countless times there were discussions on the subject's. it was elizabeth nationally bus with that rare command of language who triumphed in these yet her victories came at a cost. she thought the demonstration of her intellect prompted jealousy less i outshine him and his grievances slowly grew. he was the kind of man who counted them like pennies including slights with amazing accuracy of a rich man unwilling to share his wealth.
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's wife is in favor elite by the tone of society. that came along. perhaps the notion that cost him most consternation in elizabeth words, i, though a woman has just as much a right to my opinion as my husband has to his. elizabeth's newfound autonomy was obey your husband became quoted in their home. elizabeth was no longer silent and listening. defiantly she kept on articulating her own thoughts asserting her own self inspired by the woman's rights movement it was her right to do so.
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his response, it did not allow his wife agency he did not encourage her independence. instead he wrote she was getting out of order. she was becoming insane on the subject of women's rights. on the morning of june 18 elizabeth shifted uncomfortably in bed at disquiet slowly he made a claim he wanted her own. he could not cope with his outspoken life with independent or at least he did not keep his character confined to his home. she asserted herself in public two. in the face of her impassioned eloquence, they felt powerless
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and fiercely impotent. they concede a plan, they kept it simple. intended to silence her. on the next argued, if he did not conform, i show put you into the asylum. now you might think as elizabeth packard did, what a ridiculous thing to say. of course he cannot send his wife to eight a saint asylum just because she just disagreed with him. he cannot send her to a lunatic asylum for simply having a mind of her own. but then you, like elizabeth, it would be wrong. as crazy as it seems to us today, actually in elizabeth time of self-assertion.
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and so as it becomes increasingly worried about his wife's behavior, the parishioners take her husband's side elizabeth becomes more and more confident in her belief. and ultimately she decided she no longer wants to worship at her to husband's church but she goes to the methodist down the road instead. this is such a public rejection of her husband and his authority both marital and spiritual and for the preacher it is the final. he makes plans to commit elizabeth. and to her shock the petitioners sign a petition to have her committed as speedily as it can be conveniently
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done. but i found shocking and looks at the so-called evidence of elizabeth packard's madness. through the prism of so-called insanity. so for example if she shouted at her husband because he had not clean the yard. this was seen as evidence of madness. actually that something is true throughout the century. a woman is characterized as insane. another parishioner confides she had a dislike of her husband for the way he was trying to control her. once again this was seen as madness. because in the 19th century their wives and mothers. of course a woman is supposedly the be all and end all of her life.
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she is supposed to be timid and decile. she married her husband, the man of her dreams, of her life and to express dislike for that man seems completely insane. perhaps the most telling evidence of all however was the parishioners cited and incessant talking as evidence of madness. it reminded me of more recent social studies in which people vest a woman's to a conversation visited thought she was talking too much and dominating the conversation. actually the social studies research broken down the women have only been taking up 40% of the conversation. of course women are not held to the same standards as men. instead, women are compared to
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the idea of a silage woman. and any woman who talks at all is talking too much. his parishioners, one 100% behind him, applies to the illinois state hospital to send his wife away. she is immediately accepted because to elizabeth's horror is not just the parishioners that think in the land described, actually it was received medically assertive, angry, or ambitious woman was a madwoman. doctors describe how women who have personalities, women who have strong revolution plenty turned nerves. these were textbook examples of female insanity in the 19th century. the eye diagnosis was
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something called moral insanity. but of course is in the eye of the beholder. any woman who pushed the on that the world ambitious who simply has a mind of her own was seen as one feminine and was mentally ill. these were the woman who were part of the asylum. in elizabeth's case she to stacks against her because not only was she an unasserted woman she was also an educated woman. i did my research for this book i found examples of doctors saying to high school teachers, who taught at an all
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girls school, the doctor told them you are training your girls to a lunatic asylum to shed some light on this belief returned to a man called doctor andrew mcfarlane. he was the superintendent of the illinois state hospital in 1860. implied when you want to send his wife. doctor mcfarlane described a limited mind of capacity to comprehend and try to do so this ultimately led to mental breakdown which is white women who studied received an increase risk of going mad. in fact any female intellectual endeavor is liable to cause insanity. when i look up the records of the illinois state hospital, i found that listed in black and white the causes of insanity
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they were committed within their walls. there it said novel reading was it because of insanity enough to have these women committed. i saw one example from may of 1860 just months before elizabeth is lying in bed on that june morning fearful about what her husband is about to do. it described the case of a 15 year old girls known only as being committed to violence because she had become greatly addicted to reading novels. i applies to mcfarlane to send his wife away she is welcomed with open arms. on a hot summer's night in june of 1860 elizabeth climbs the stone steps of the insane asylums and find the doors slammed shut behind her. she is admitted as a case of
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someone who has had excessive application of mind or as she puts it, she has been placed by her husband just in case. of course elizabeth was not too concerned. she thought okay the doctors are keeping me here, i show apply for full release. but here elizabeth packard had another shock. because the law was on her husband side too. it was a law known as coverture which is surgeon written in the 1100s and originated in england. it seems we have a lot to answer for. coverture said the husband and the wife are one. and that one is the husband. it meant married women had no legal right up or legally they are in the identity of their husband they are shadows of
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their spouses. married women have no right to their own earnings of the custody of their children even , by law in illinois in 1860, a husband could send his wife to an insane asylum and specifically without evidence of in sanity acquired and other cases. before you say this is an age old law it has no bearing on today, in fact this law has echoed throughout the 20th century. for example did you know it was not until 1974 that women could get credit cards in america independently? before that a man had to cosign any credit. a wife would have to ask permission of her husband to work or open up a bank account
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until 1985. elizabeth also found in fact he became what she was up against as she was admitted on the state hospital. and the countless women who have endured the same treatment doctors at the time wrote they would admit women who had caused the greatest annoyances to their family, women who defied domestic control. and so elizabeth found they got overcrowded so much better state recently applied for funding to build a whole new wing it will open with space to commit another 150 patients. every single one of them will be a woman. and this brings to light another 19th century psychiatry which is doctors
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believed increased risk of madness. they thought women's sexual organs and menstrual cycle made them go mad. so prevalent was this theory that mothers were encouraged to delay their daughter's periods or attempt to do so. the advice these doctors gave these mothers is the young women in question shouldst limit their red meats. and in this way doctors hope to stave off the onset of that dreaded. and stave off the onset of potential insanity. what makes elizabeth special is how she reacts to this impossible situation in which
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she finds this out. a world in which her very body means she is at risk of lifelong imprisonment. what makes elizabeth special is that she realizes very quickly the treatment doctor mcfarland has out there is what she calls a subduing treatment. mcfarlane himself sees himself he is there to tame them, to teach them to submit to masculine authority. only then every ounce is crushed from them they are to be allowed out again. but elizabeth writes in my case this woman crushing machinery works the wrong way. the true woman shines brighter and brighter instead of being strangled. what i read about elizabeth story and about the narrative
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that they cannot silence is it's about this woman striving to find her belief. striving to become the woman they could not silence. she achieves enjoys, she goes through the baptism of fire, this cruel treatment this abusive asylum is the same woman saved a life it's a crucible of suffering elizabeth finds herself. she writes the worst my enemy can do, they have already done. i fear them no more. i am now free to be true and honest, no opposition elizabeth does become a woman this unstoppable woman she becomes a writer in the asylum she is not permitted as being
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too transgressive. she perseveres regardless. she rips out the margin of newspapers, so you do understand truly what it means to be in an essay in asylum. tells the intimate detail the book charts or journey from housewife to significance. someone who to improve the right of women and the mentally ill? she does so in the asylum. she forges with patients she's battling to improve that around her. ultimately however, women as
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special as this it's a way to container. throughout the 19th century and the wider world issue truly becomes becomes a force to be reckoned with. make no mistake however, this issues at its heart could not be more modern. and actually this is how i came to the story. the story started for me not in june of 1860 but in the fall of 2017 amid the fire of the youtube movement. everywhere women or speaking out and speaking up. sexual harassment, sexual abuse. what really struck me about that empowering time however because to be honest we always have but finally we were being listened too and believed.
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it got me thinking, how is it been undermined and sounds in the past? >> and the controller and that's what i want to give up my next book and overtly in the book as i sit at the top of his presentation i am a storyteller and i want to use this to find in history that's not only and also allow me because these are
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issues that the resignation into the cover, think of a few weeks back and and a policy of control and her testimony theatrically and running for president enough that she would run for bidens presidency, so we see how this is an attempt and still continuing until the present day. i didn't know elizabeth's name and i did not know her story i went looking for her and i fell
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down of internet searches about a woman in january 2018 i fell down the rabbit hole in an essay. four pages and in a single paragraph about elizabeth in particular and interesting those i looked into more of her story, very quickly i realized she was the one and what a woman she is just think about what she has to do against her husband's authority and medical wisdom of the age battering the entire patriots he and she is an extraordinary person and even better for me her story is absolutely phenomenal impactful of drama yet people hacking
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their way with the axis into her room to safer and her courtroom drama in a legal response to justice of horror and of the 19th century. this is the story of a woman a compelling story and a struggle to become a woman in the fact that elizabeth and for me. i realized i was going to be against it and i'll know more than to get to mcfarland and
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howie attacked elizabeth in her own risks the word that she found to use her right, no publisher officially will touch her because of the stigma of mental illness that fielded her to the rest of her life but elizabeth regardless was so forward thinking that she actually funded a publication of her book she convinced thousands of people and she was on top of it and to draw on her doing and you will hear from elizabeth's inner own word telling her exactly what she was thinking and feeling every step of her journey, remarkably however,
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it's also antagonistic in the memoir of the husband inevitable writing and other historical records from the time one fact that struck me the record it recorded of the asylum in which their own struggle. perhaps marsha can and untroubled in my research however. comes from the medical journey at the time while i spoke earlier how woman's sexual organs and perhaps understandably some of the treatments of the air focused on
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these two and without a doubt in those treatments that are uncovered in something called a surgical treatment, today we recall genital remediation, as i dive into the medical notes of the women to undergo this procedure i found the been forced to have the treatment such as a 20-year-old woman and the society of her husband. perhaps more shocking of all is the treatment will not confine
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the 19th century and in fact my research shows these treatments continue in the western world into the 19 eighteenths with a five year old girl. and the more passionate every cam the research i traveled to the town of massachusetts a tiny town in the north of the state in the mountains and it's a town that unfolds and it speaks definitely and always will be in illinois in the change to stem on the open parties and where
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they ended because elizabeth is open as she made the journey and i'm sure the change in landscape really informed her journey when she became an part of my research i traveled as the church had preached, again it was eliminating to do so because they sat with the congregation fell in unison cleared of that and i realized they must've taken elizabeth away from her community that was always known because she believed it was the right thing for her to be in it
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was in herself and to strike out on her own. and when i worship at that church in a church and a women in prayer. in the journey to fax it entered jacksonville in the fight of the hospital and it marked of the asylum ground as you would expect their twice the time of the woman.
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and as you leave the home of civilization and what is now a community pass. it was among them and i interviewed local townspeople and claim asylum at night and the qualities that elizabeth had once used seeking out the secrets of asylum. also a place to go because it's a pun pointed even the true think of secrets and what elizabeth described in her book and more truly also nobly that was proven is found as though
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this is all around you and to my disappointment and elizabeth had been held is demolished in 1984 and to go inside. they attacked the lungs and another member told me how she remembered how they have call marks in them in a patient's asking them to get help. this still has secrets even after the hospital would not standard discovered a challenge in the patient's were outspoken and over the years they have been in power.
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the hospitals would no longer stand and i looked around the building that surrounded it and it's incredibly haunting to clear even though they abandoned the building. to see the light unfold in the staircases that look like his stored content and abandon desk and chair. the buildings were graffiti and open nothing inside but it's important to open the doors to the past with elizabeth and
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silence through the centuries and women are made and not to creep in crop. in her many legacies, through her story she teaches us all how to fly she teaches us and not what others think about this or say about this but she teaches us to be true to yourself and what we believe is right because like her and elizabeth writes i will not shine my light under the ocean it may be to others
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and to our benefit elizabeth lights still shines and you can read that. i hope her light touches all of your lives as it has done mine. thank you. >> that was a great presentation i want to thank you for anybody who joins us late i am coming to you sitting here in the bookstore and here is the book we have been talking about and kate moore is the author and who you been listening to the woman they cannot silence and we hope that you purchased the book already come on to be a bookstore about two i'm sure you will after hearing this and if you're one of the first to do it while we still supplies we have
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some sign bookplates to go in your book and you also get a free copy of the woman they could not silence journal and also get the holdup of the radio girls in your previous book and octavio books and elsewhere. and of course a new york times bestseller. we have a few questions that we have time for it if you want to get another one in please use the chat button if you're listening to us. erica would like to know, her question can you shed a little bit more on elizabeth steele throughout the ordeal, or call in the book you said that her father initially supported, i
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don't think i'm pronouncing that right and later came around, do we know why what the rest of her family thought aside from her cousin. >> one thing it's important to say her father at the time she was committed he was in massachusetts and she was in illinois and it would not be expensive and difficult to travel at that time they had not seen each other and her father took her husband were separate and then a little bit of a twist and i told you earlier how educated women were seen and is
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taught in randolph massachusetts at the age of 19 and during that time she committed to asylum and mental labor and begin 20 years later and the father in the back of his mind as well, he is also in her brothers due to she has two brothers and as soon as they see elizabeth she's in the asylum but as soon as they leave her again they realize in the back of the lines in her father issued a public statement because he's reliant on his earlier letters to continue to
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squander elizabeth and the only she was mad by her family supports and her father attracts that support and publishes a public statement to say that he fully supports his daughter and no reason to treat her in this way and we can see in the records that he did truly believe that in the leaves elizabeth directly and it could be entrusted for her and her share of the money he doesn't he gives it to elizabeth. >> okay, we also have a question from julian and julian would like to know was she released, i think we know the answer to that
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already, how long will she be held in the asylum and maybe you could talk more about her relationship. >> she was ultimately in the illinois hospital she could've easily been held longer at the asylum alongside elizabeth for decades one woman was in the hospital and she was admitted with extreme jealousy income find 16 years so in some ways elizabeth three years was a lot less painful than this other woman had to endure many other women to and that is something that elizabeth subsequently tries to do but any type of getting out at all this is very illuminating to share how elizabeth got out, not in terms
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of the story but she was released by andrew mcfarlane and she has become unendurable annoyance because elizabeth was so feisty and describe by her friends and patriots as an irresistible mother and she truly did. what happens in the asylum she starts with other patients that they shouldn't of admitted she encourages them to do treatment and she doesn't want to be medicalized and doesn't want the doctors to seek pathology she wants a patient's to know that just because they are eccentric in the 19th century that does
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not mean what they're doing is not right as individuals. she encourages them in to lay down their labor in the 19th century that's where we rely on labor. elizabeth staring out into trouble and one behind all for elizabeth they ultimately got released because she cause too much trouble and then she goes and thank goodness. >> i wanted to ask you you talked about the graves in light of the news coming out of canada with the native american schools that were there, maybe that would've been a -- how many
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graves are known. >> is very possible they were only discovered because the epidemiologist and they're actually going to build on the land but luckily they have found and no there are patients and you can't do that all because there into the hundreds on the particular flight and realistically for a while so it's possible, the patients are buried and it's very possible there are others and it's been lost over time. >> they want to know about the children and how they perceive the situation.
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>> there was largely elizabeth's supported by her children enter 18-year-old son to see if he could release her so he helped him move as to have any say, largely her children she called her most colorful child he does make a change of mind and i found what happens to children incredibly son the story of what happened to her daughter in particular is horrifying because she only has one daughter six children one daughter who is ten when elizabeth was sent and she is expected by her father to pick up all of her mother's work so the cooking, cleaning, gardening and everything that her mother did is expected to do
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and later in life she has a mental breakdown in the psychiatrist today make very clearly that the pressure alone even the active ventilation from her mother with the mental disturbance and they suffer from what the rest of their lives and i like to think it's a very sad cohort to the story that the actions don't just impact elizabeth, of course they impact the family to. >> i think we have room for a final question it a good one from virginia, it's a statement and a question she said she loved those books so this book and we have another book as well but she says what are you
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writing next. >> the point where have to make a decision so i don't know i have some ideas and i must say i don't know which one but i'm delighted to hear and whenever it comes out, thank you. elizabeth: i see another one she wants to know what should you think of the movie. >> the movie on netflix is not related to my book not even adaptation of the true story when you look at the cosmetics presenting you and i haven't seen the movie either and i can't comment on it and maybe
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one day. >> as usual the book is always better. >> absolutely i can tell. >> we thank you so much, you're in the uk and it's almost 1:00 a.m. were here in new orleans and it's about 7:00 p.m. it's been a fabulous hour listening to you and thank you so much for allowing us to present your book in for you presented is a beautifully. >> thank you so much. i only wish i could be there in person. new orleans is one of my favorite places in america, maybe for the next book i can come in person. >> we are looking forward to having you here and we welcome you and will bring up big crowd. >> thank you. >> we are so glad we could do this virtually, but what we
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would like to do is have people in the store and we are starting to some of those events again. for anybody listening, please go to octavia books.com and see what's coming up. we've got more great events next week and thereafter. we'll do some more virtual events. last night we had a nice group in the store, and we look forward to your next book very much. and in the meantime for anybody whoo hasn't gotten the book, please go to octaviabooks.com and buy your copy of "the woman they could not silence" by kate moore. and good night to all come and look for to seeing you soon. >> thank you, tom. thanks for having me. >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's stories,
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and on sundays booktv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including charter communications. >> broadband is a force for empowerment. that's why charter has invested billions, building infrastructure, upgrading technology, and powering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. >> c-span offers a variety of podcast that if something for every listener. week days washington today gives you the latest from the nation's capital, and every week booknotes+ has in-depth interviews with writers about their latest works. while the weekly uses audio from our and is archived a look at how issues of the day developed over years, and our

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