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tv   Kate Moore The Woman They Could Not Silence  CSPAN  November 22, 2021 9:57pm-10:54pm EST

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>> good evening everybody. i am the author of the woman they could not of silence and i'm delighted to be here tonight talking to you. i'm excited to introduce you. her name was elizabeth packard but i expect many of you have never heard her name before. history has chosen instead to commemorate those who tried but failed to silence elizabeth she
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waspa 5 feet 1 inches tall but r short stature is not in elegance of the power which was absolutely. elizabeth's downfall came about because of one thing and one thing only, elizabeth had a mind dof her own. what i will be doing is talking about her story to start in a moment with a short reading from the book talking about the history around the book and also my research process and then give you a chance to ask
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questions. the story starts on the cusp of the civil war in june, 1860 and it starts with a housewife and mother of six, it starts with a simple question 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 from chapter one and the reason i've chosen to do the reading is because i want you to understand how to tell the true story. this is a history book i write in a model aut stick way and i hope the readers get swept up in this true story and i hope elizabeth will feel like a friend to you and that you will
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walk in step with her in her journey but never forget it is based onry our authentic resolv. further ado, let's begin. june 18, 1860.
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they were failing to let in any light. instead they were filled by the proximity of her 6-year-old son. it is either happy faces and their laughing eyes offered to such a blessed light as a cuparticular welcome.
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such melancholy for the characteristics. of the 43-year-old was always rejoicing and now even threatening the country she and her husband had retreated behind those enemybe lines. in 1839 when elizabeth was 22 22 and he a dusty 27 and all had seemed while and her preacher husband became the sole mouthpiece in their marriage. to make him happy was the height ofak my ambition, elizabeth wro.
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that's all i wanted. the problem in their marriage had been he doesn't make her shine and return. elizabeth was vibrant and curious. elizabeth described the marriage as cheerless and nevertheless she said nothing to him directly until everything changed. the first women's rights convention was held in seneca falls new york unleashing a national conversation, one in which elizabeth took part and
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countless times they had discussions on on the subject. elizabeth was naturally blessed with the language that triumphed yet her victory came at a cost and she sought the demonstration. his grievances slowed and he was the kind of man that counted them with the accuracy. perhaps the notion that caused the consternation i have as good
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a right to my opinion as my husband has to his. it was an anathema but elizabeth was no longer silent in listening. she kept h articulating her thoughts in her right to do so he didn't allow his wife agency or encourage her. instead he wrote he had a sad reason to feel that her mind was getting out of order. she was becoming insane on the
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subject. on the morning of june 18th, 1860, elizabeth shifted uncomfortably. over the past four months he made the claim he wanted her gone and couldn't cope with her independent mind into spirits not least of which because she didn't keep her character confined to their home. she asserted herself in public and in the face often felt powerless and impotent and conceived a plan he warned the
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elizabeth i should put you into the asylum. you might think as elizabeth did, what a ridiculous thing to say of course he can't send his wife to and insane asylum just because he disagreed or simply for having a mind of her own but then you, like elizabeth would be wrong because as crazy as it seems today, actually women were regularly committed so as they begin to articulate elizabeth find us elizabeth becomes more
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and more confident in her own belief and no longer wanted to worship at her husband's church but with the methodists down the road instead. this was such a rejecting of her husband's authority and is the final straw you make plans to commit and find a petition to haveve her committed as it can e conveniently done but what i found shocking and telling is to look at the socialists but
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because she shouted as her husband this was seen as evidence of maddening and that is true throughout the century a woman is characterized as irrational and insane. another parishioner shared the fact that elizabeth confided she had a dislike of her husband. in the 19th century when men are supposed to be satisfied with being wives and mothers. she's supposed to be timid and of course married her husband, the man of her dreams and to express dislike seemed completely insane so this was cited and perhaps the most
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telling evidence of all is that the parishioner slighted of the talking as evidence and that reminded me of studies in which people assist the conversation and she thought she was talking too much but when the social studies researchers broke down, the woman had only been taking up 30% of the conversation. women are compelled to the idea 100% behind him, he applies to the state hospital those that
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have ungovernable personalities and have strong resolution, these were absolute textbook examples the definition of that was the conduct anyone who was
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ambitious and studied and had a mind t of her own was seen as on unfeminine and therefore unnatural and mentally ill and these were the women that looked at of the asylum. she had two strikes against her. and as i did my research for the book, i found examples of doctors, teachers who taught at an all girls school you are training your girls for the asylum. to shed some light we can turn to doctor andrew mcfarlane who is the superintendent of the illinois state hospital and when
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he wanted to send his wife away. doctor mcfarland describes the limited capacity and this ultimately led to the mental breakdown those that are committed within it all and instead the noble reading acquitted of insanity it
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described the case of a 15-year-old girl committed to an asylum c because she had become greatly addicted to reading novels on a hot summer night, elizabeth climbed up the stairs to the insane asylum and found the doors slammed shut behind her and she was admitted as a case of someone who had as she put it she had been placed there by her husband for thinking. but first she wasn't too concerned. she thought the doctors are keeping me here but i shall
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apply and here elizabeth had another shock because the law was on her husband's side. that is the husband and mend there was no legal right or legally a husband in the identity they were shadows and married women had no right to theirav own earnings so the custody of the children even to their very liberty in 1868 husband could send his wife to an insane asylum without the
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evidence of insanity required in other cases. before you say this is an age old law that has no bearing in today's world, in fact it had echoes throughout the 20th century so for example did you know that it wasn't until 1974 women could get credit cards in america independently and before then, a man had to cosign for the admission to work or even open a bank account until 1985. elizabeth found there was no remedy or hope and in fact it became clear to her what she was up against for the hospital and the countless women that have endured the same treatment.t
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in fact, doctors of the time wrote that they would admit women that caused the greatest annoyances and who defied domestic control and since they were overcrowded so much so in fact mcfarland recently applied to build a whole new wing it would open the following year with space to commit another 150 patients and this brings to light another reality of psychiatry which is the doctor believed at increased risk they thought the sexual organs and cycles madehe them mad. so prevalent was the theory that
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mothers were encouraged to delay their periods were to attempt to do so. the advice doctors gave these mothers should avoid reading and must take cold showers and in this way they hoped to stave off the dreaded period of insanity. what makes elizabeth so special is how she reacts to this impossible situation she finds herself in which hoeven anybody means that she is at risk of lifelong imprisonment. what makes her so special is that she realizes very quickly that the treatment is what she calls a subduing treatment.
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he writes that he the detainment to teach them to submit to the authority and only then for other women to be allowed out in the societies again. this woman crushing machinery works in the w wrong way. the true woman shines brighter and brighter instead of being strangled and what i love about the negative of my book is that actually, the narrative is about the woman they could not silence and elizabeth achieved it because she goes through this
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treatment, this is the same woman sent away potentially for life, through this crucible of suffering that she finds herself and writes the worst my enemies can do they have done. i misread to be true and no opposition can overcome me. she becomes this fearless woman, she becomes a writer even to have a voice on paper it's been too dangerous but she perseveres regardless and still rips out the margins of the newspapers and keeps a journal that has survived to this day and that i've drawn on in my book so that
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you do understand truly what it means to be a sane woman in an insane asylum because elizabeth tells every intimate detail. she was a truly special person and to charge her journey from housewife to historically significant, someone that battles ultimately to improve the rights of women and the mentally ill, she does so and forges and his tireless in sbattling to include that immediate world behind her. ultimately, however, a woman as special as this is way too small to contain her and if this incident is felt as she truly becomes a force to bess reckoned with. make no mistake, though this is
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a history book, the issue at its heart thiss is how i came to the story. it started for me not in 1860 but in the fall of 2017 amanda the fire of the movement everywhere that fall women were speaking up into speaking out against misogyny, sexual harassment, abuse and rape and what struck me however isn't because to be honest but finally we were being listened to, and it got t me thinking how have women been underminednd and silenced and around the single
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realization. it has been used as a weapon against us we need to undermine and control us and that is what i wanted to write about in my next book. i didn't want to write a polemic or over to book as i said at the top of the presentation. at my heart, i am a storyteller so what i wanted to do is to try to find one woman that would allow me to take the reader on a journey but would also allow me to hold a mirror up to the modern day as well because these are issues that still resonate up to the present day. think of the few weeks of giving the testimony fighting to get out of the masculine control and
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in the testimony explaining how she asserted herself and would be punished quite theatrically. think of the t musical figures, hillary clinton running for president, even when harris announced that she would run, called a madwoman i didn't know elizabeth's name or her story. i went looking for her. i found on internet searches and january i fell down that into thisy. essay for pages in and every single paragraph about
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elizabeth, i thought she sounded interesting and i started digging a little more and quickly i realized she was the one i was going to write about next because what a woman she is. think about what she's having to do against her husband's authority against the received medical wisdom of the age, battling the entire patriarchy and triumphing. she was a truly extraordinary person, and even better than me, her story is absolutely phenomenal and packed full of drama you have people hacking their way into her room to see her and the courtroom drama.
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this is the story of a woman struggling to become a woman who couldn't be silenced and if elizabeth succeeded so incredibly it makes the story all the more compelling for me. looking into the story however i realized i was going to be up against it because that is the special collection that you can go. named after doctor mcfarland who kept elizabeth incarcerated. what i did find, however, that voice that she found she used to write and publish.
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because of the stigma of mental illness for the rest of her life. incredibly she was so forward thinking that she crowd funded the publication of the book and convinced thousands of people and she knew the books that i've been able to draw on and writing the story that you will hear and you will hear from elizabeth in her own words remarkably, however, the research also uncovered the voices of the antagonists and the memoir of her husband had been able to draw the letters and the medical writing of her fury and psychiatrist. and to delve into other historical records from the time
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one that struck me came from the asylum records that recorded when women like elizabeth were set to work in the room of the asylum they were forced to make their own restraining jacket. perhaps the most shocking thing i uncovered came from the medical journal of the time. they said women's sexual organs calls to their madness and understandably some of the treatments focused on these two and the most shocking treatment that i uncovered used on women was a surgical treatment. today we would call it female genital mutilation.
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they cut off women's and i found examples of those that had been forced to have this treatment. patients such as a 20-year-old woman whose only symptom of madness was that she liked to engage in serious reading and another patient who dared express dislike for the society of her husband. ..ba >> and about the subject, and my
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research took me all the way to america. in a traveled in massachusetts and wake up in the north of the state in the mountains and it is a town this sort of clings to the mountainside in the forest around it, it speaks and deafening ways of what is always been and it was so in spite of this for me to travel. in the sea months and changed to find in the open prairie and lack of light and elizabeth mind opened and made that journey and i'm sure that her journey. [inaudible]. in a part of our research i
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traveled at the church where he had preached and then when enjoyed a service there and again, it was so illuminating for me to be there because i sent with the congregation, and we were in unison as we prayed and stood in such a realized what it might have taken for elizabeth to break away from matt we did that sense of community and adhesion in the communities that she had always known simply because she believed it it was the right thing for her to do. she was confident enough in herself to leave that behind and to strike out on our own. and at the church, led in prayer but a female and i think it just makes such a wonderful accolade to the story that the church is
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that once tried silence a woman is now led by a woman. and perhaps the most powerful of my research however was my journey to jacksonville in the hospital that elizabeth had been housed like her i walked past the stone gate post that marked this ground as you would expect it's incredibly old now the stone is crumbling and yet there twice the height of the women. there is offense crossing over and as you leave this home and go to simulation you move into lithe quiet of what is now a community park, these are abandoned and wanting to walk among women i actually interviewed the townspeople who recalled that they used to break
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into the insane asylum at nightg and go through the main car doors were elizabeth traveled through in the secret of the insane asylum. and it also invites those who, eventually are inec place, is a place haunted by the ghosts and even for those trees seem to have sick undertakers that they won't share. elizabeth had described in the book, the maturity in those trees, offer many of the bird in this and it sounds as though it's already up, just trying to be her.nt and to disappointment, it was demolished in 1984, for i was 30 years too late to go inside read
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and when they knocked the building down, over a century of patients and had drawings and another person told me how she remembered that they used to have - to get out and enticing site of secrecy and even after the hospitals were not found, they discovered markings and over the years . [inaudible]. in the hospitals i wish to visit was no longer failed and i did so go around new york city and the buildings around it and it was still incredibly abandoned buildings and the way that it
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unfolds and it looked like underwater seaweed, it just cut it was trimming on the underside of the staircase and through the windows often abandoned the desk or a chair, or more hats rated in the building it was graffiti and the door stood open to inside read but i think it's important to open the doors to the past. it's what people want. and how on silenced through the centuries as it should of felt and elizabeth wrote, these are made to not to creep and crawl up the steps and evolve for many prophecies i think that
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elizabeth exist through her stories, she teaches us all how to fly and she teaches us all to believe in yourself and not being swayed by the things that happen there she teaches us to be trueo to yourself and focus n what you want despite what you believe is right because we can make the way of sacrifice. and elizabeth wrote that i will not find my light under a bushel. it may be want for others and to all of her benefit, elizabeth, her light still shines and you can read all about it. and i hope her light touches a small and you can read this in "the woman they could not silence". thank you.
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>> thank you that was such a great presentation and i want to thank you and if anybody joined us late, i am coming to you sitting here in the bookstore. here iss the book that we have been talking about. and kate moore is the know you have been listeningng to, "the woman they could not silence" and we hope that you have either purchased the book already or you are about to entry will after hearing her and after review one of the first to do it while we still w have supplies,e have some signed bookplates to go in your book with a stylized bookplate and you'll also get a free copy of "the woman they could noty silence" journal. and also get the radium girls come the previousrl book which s
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so highly regarded here and elsewhere and plus the new york times bestseller we have a few questions that we have time for and if you want to get another one in, please use the chat button if you're listening to us here on the zoom event. so eric i would like to know and her question, can you shed light about elizabeth's family stance throughout the ordeal and in the book you said that her father initially supported the opelousas, i don't think i'm pronouncing that correctly. and later came around but do we know why or what the rest of her family thought besides her cousin. >> and i think that's one important thing to say is that
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seeing her father the time she is committed. he was a master to shifts and she was in illinois and it was difficult to travel at the time and hadn't seen each other ultimately our father. also, i like to say in the book, elizabeth, they felt that she spent time in the assignment i have an audio about how the educated women were seen as going mad read and before she married elizabeth actually is having teaching career. she teaches and principle of the age of 19 and she is or she said that she is physically sick. and she was committed to the asylum by her father. and again excessive, it was
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thrown at her years later. and her father in the back of his mind and so yes, he was optimistic and she had two brothers and as soon as they see elizabeth, which cannot happen for ages bucket under cheeselike of the asylum, they realized that were a pack of lies. and her father issued a public statement because on his earlier letters he was continuing to not only she met a better family supports thiss imprisonment or it's actually her father retracts that support after he publishes a public statement to say that he - the daughter there's no reason to treat her this way.
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and you can see actually the records that he didn't truly believe that because in his will he lives pretty leaves elizabeth's, it could be and a trust for her, and her share of the money braided and he gives it to elizabeth herself which is evidence that she is of sound mind. >> okay, we also have questions from jillian and jillian would like to know where she released and think they know the answer tod, that already and how long s she held in the asylum and maybe you could talk a little bit more boabout her release. >> sure, shoot was ultimately house for three years in the state hospital and she could've easily been held longer. alongside elizabeth who had been
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there for a decade and one woman was admitted at the hospital and she was admitted as a case of extreme jealousy and confined tn 16 years so in some ways elizabeth treat her and was a lot less painful than this other woman it had to endure and many other women as well, some women actually but elizabeth's husband subsequently try to do this without any hope of getting out at all. it's very illuminating to share how elizabeth got out. there are lots of things to the story but ultimately in his words, she had been come at source of unendurable source because she was feisty and she is described by and you know her
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friend this is someone who possesses an air resistive of magnetism and she truly did and so what happens in a solomon if she stopped telling that the two other women in their she encourages them to resist that treatment and to have faith in themselves. and she doesn't want the behaviors to be medicalized and she doesn't want the doctors to the personality and she wants the patient's to know that there doesn't mean that what they're doing is not right as individuals. [inaudible]. an actual she encourages them, and their labor and protest. and that's why there are a lot of patient labor and efficiency so elizabeth encourages the
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patient's rights and to stir up all sorts of trouble and riots and revolution. and all because of elizabeth so ultimately she gets released because she really too much trouble and then i'm pleased to say that she goes on and thank goodness. >> you talked about the graves, how many graves were found in light of the news coming out of canada with the native american schools over there. and that we live made you dig a little deeper but do think there are many graves are more graves. >> it is i very possible, i thik there is a genealogist actually found at the records and to build on the lounge and a
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genealogist failed records that know that our patients are buried there and you can't do that and inec ultimately i belie it was in the hundreds. so it is possible because you know, the patients were literally buried there so it's very possible that there are others that were not documented. >> okay the children how they perceive the situation read. >> so there was largely elizabeth's was supported by her children at the expense of her 18 -year-old to see if he can release her but in a time of 21, the authority as to our largely basically it is most case, in
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front of her children who she was called the troublesome child, he did not initially take her side. and he does change his mind. and actually found would happen to the children, incredibly slap entrance at the that the story would happen into her daughter in particular is quite horrifying because shelley had one daughter out of the six children, five sons and one daughter and she was ten years old when she was sent away and she said that she was expected to pick up all of her mother's work and so all the cooking and cleaning and sewing and gardening, everything that her mother did was expected to do. she actually has a mental breakdown and rightfully so, clearly the pressure alone would've been enough but even just the very act of the separation it of the girl from her mother would be enough to
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have a mental disturbance but she suffered for the rest of her life and i think that it's a very sad story that this action doesn't just impact elizabeth, on the entire family as well. >> and i think that we have room for a final question and a good one from virginia. the statement in a question she said that she loved both books, i think this book and you've also written other books as well. so she is asking what are you writing next. >> i'm not quite where i making a decision in the next couple of moments in months and you have some ideas although i do not know which at the moment.
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but i am so delighted to hear that you love to both of these books and i hope that whatever it is and whatever it comes out probably in a couple of years, thank you. >> i see another one popped up, she wants to know regarding the radium girls, what did you think of the movie. >> all i have to say they're not related at all. is not t an adaptation of the bk or the true story, the women are not represented. i'm not actually seen the movie. i'm still hopeful that i'll see the movie one day. >> here's one, the book is always better astt usual that's our official position. >> absolutely, yes, i concur braided. >> holy thank you so much.
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you are in the uk and it's 1:00 a.m. and here it is 7:00 p.m. and is been fabulous our listening to you and thank you so much for allowing us to present your book are you presenting it so beautifully. >> i only wish that i could be there in new orleans thomas one of my favorite places in america. i'll save it for the next book pretty. >> rdwe are looking forward to having you here and will welcome you and willng bring a big crow. if we are so glad that we can do this virtually but we would really like to have people in the store and we are starting to do some of those events again. and if anybody is listening, please go to our books .com and see that we have more great events next week and thereafter we will do more virtual events. last night and we had a nice group in the store.
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and we look forward to next book very much and in the meantime, anybody is not gotten the book, please go to octavia books .com and bite your copy of "the woman they could not silence" by kate moore and good night to all we look forward to seeing you soon predict summa thank you provide. >> weekend is on "c-span2" are an intellectual feast every saturday, american history tv documents america's stories and on sundays, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors for defunding for "c-span2" comes from these television companies and more, including charter communications pretty broadband is a force for empowerment that's why charter has invested billions to build
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and researcher upgrading technology empowering opportunities in communities big and small. charter, is connecting us, charter communications along with these television comedies for "c-span2" as a public service. he has work in journalism for over 60 years of his life, and until 2015, he was a national security correspondent progression husband on the cover of his new book called blown to heck, is subtitled america's deadly betrayal of the marshall islanders and it was in those islands, and served as a staging ground for over 60 nuclear tests conducted by the u.s. government beginning in 1946, and ending in 1958 in the castle bravo test over in 1954, was where america executed its largest nuclear that is designation a thousand times more powerful than
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hiroshima. walter pincus on this episode of notes plus, it's available on the cspan now app or wherever you get to podcast. >> download cspan's new mobile app and stay up-to-date with slide video coverage of today's political and is watching to the house and the senate floor and see congressional hearings the white house events and oral arguments and even a live interactive morning program, washington turnover we hear your voices everyday, cspan out as you covered, download the app for free today. >> greetings and welcome to the museum it, and executive director and i want to thank all of you for watching the program and express our appreciation to our cosponsors,

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