Saturday, March 20, 2010

VaBook10: Short Takes 4

While I anticipated attending four events at the Virginia Festival of the Book today, in the end I went to just two.

That might sound disappointing, but the two sessions were quite good. In fact, the second -- A Conversation from Left and Right: With Hendrik Hertzberg and Richard Brookhiser -- may have been the highlight of the festival.

That one, sponsored by the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at UVA and moderated by its executive director, Bob Gibson, offered a wide-ranging exploration of American governance and constitutional issues that could serve as a model for civil discussion between (as the event's title indicated) "left" and "right."

Here's what Bob Gibson had to say shortly after the program, held in the Culbreth Theatre on the grounds of the University of Virginia, ended:
I was also able to ask the two conversationalists, Hendrik Hertzberg and Richard Brookhiser (both, as Gibson noted, called "Rick"), to give their basic elevator speech about their most recent books.

National Review editor Brookhiser talked about his new memoir, Right Time, Right Place: Coming of Age with William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative Movement:
Hertzberg, a senior editor at The New Yorker, spoke with great affection about his new book about Barack Obama, called Obamanos!: The Birth of a New Political Era:
Earlier in the day, at the UVA Bookstore, the producers of the public radio program Backstory: With the American History Guys sponsored a panel featuring three historians. (Like the Virginia Festival of the Book, this radio show is underwritten by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.)

Tony Field, the show's producer, acted as moderator and said a few words about Backstory for the camera:
One of the panelists was Backstory's "20th Century Guy" Brian Balogh, who teaches at the University of Virginia and is the author of the new book about 19th-century America, A Government Out of Sight: The Mystery of National Authority in Nineteenth-Century America:
A second speaker also wrote a book about the 19th century, though a more discrete segment of it. Attorney David O. Stewart once worked on an impeachment case before the U.S. Senate and has now produced Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy:
The third speaker was Guian A. McKee, an historian at UVA's Miller Center for Public Affairs and author of The Problem of Jobs: Liberalism, Race, and Deindustrialization in Philadelphia:
Tomorrow is the last day of the book festival, with twelve programs remaining.

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