Booknotes: Stories from American History

Booknotes: Stories from American History

Booknotes: Stories from American History

Booknotes: Stories from American History


From C-SPAN comes a browsable gift book and bedside companion for history lovers. The third in the series of the bestselling "Booknotes" books, this one recounts great events in American history as told by the writers and historians who have appeared on the "Booknotes" program. of color photos.


It's 6:45 A.M., Monday, June 18, 2001. in a cool, darkened control room on Capitol Hill, C-SPAN technician Paul Munson watches the final few minutes of the 619th Booknotes interview. a graphic appears on the bottom of the screen beneath the image of the speaker: Edward Said, author of Reflections on Exile and Other Essays. Across the hallway, a second technician, James Branch, readies the final hour of that weekend's forty-eight-hour package for C‐ SPAN2's Book tv—Walter Berns, discussing his new book, Making Patriots.

How did C-SPAN, so closely identified by the public with live coverage of the U.S. Congress, become this involved with nonfiction books and their authors?

It's been an evolution, to be sure, but it began in 1986, when an invitation arrived from Warren Burger, recently retired as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and supervising a task dear to his heart, the national celebration of the U.S. Constitution's bicentennial. Would I, he inquired, join a group of media executives forming an advisory committee for the national celebration? Interested, as much as anything, in an opportunity to observe the well-known chief justice up close, I agreed.

In one of our sessions, Chief Justice Burger spoke to the group of the enormous odds that had faced the writers of the Constitution two hundred years earlier. "If you want to get a better understanding of what it was like for them, read this," he advised, handing us copies of Catherine Drinker Bowen's 1966 classic, Miracle at Philadelphia.

At that time, reading had mostly become something I did for work. Preparing for my role as an on-camera host, I always faced a stack of daily newspapers to be dealt with, along with weekly cable trade magazines and lots of news and issue magazines. Books were a luxury for which I, like many people, had little time.

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