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Out of the Book: DC Day 1

[Editor's note: Dave gets his capital letters back from the cleaners on Tuesday!]

five a.m. call-time, in front of rick's apartment on west 57th street, manhattan.

starbucks on the new jersey turnpike, just so you know, isn't open before seven o'clock.

a thrilling day of interviews, though.

bob woodward's house in the georgetown district of DC has a broad, wooden, spiral staircase aside the foyer, climbing toward a four-floor tower. it's a kinda nice house. he had given a lot of thought to what he would say. he made sure to tell us, for instance, on camera, how he and david had disagreed about some things; that david to some extent couldn't abide by woodward interviewing george w. bush — "giving bush," woodward said, "that much of a voice." david was never afraid to express himself; we've been hearing as much over and over. clearly woodward respected that. he brimmed with admiration. and he recognized source material when he saw it, these cameras in his sitting room. if today's words someday found their way into david's biography, or some lasting historical text — a peer's reaction upon the great man's passing — woodward would take care to get those words right.

have i mentioned how beautiful the house was?

we broke for lunch.

we've been asking all our subjects to read passages from the coldest winter. they read one longer passage of approximately 400 words, in addition to three or four clips around 40 words apiece. each responds to the request differently. they look at the camera or they don't. they commit to varying degrees. robert caro needed his glasses, whereas joan didion had to take off the sunglasses she'd been wearing through the course of our intervew and change to clear lenses. woodward warned us, "i'm not a very good reader."

neil sheehan met us in a hotel ballroom not far away. our ninth interview in three days. neil met david in 1962 or 63 while they were reporting together in vietnam. he was still visibly shaken by david's death. a representive shock of white hair. he told such incredible stories. we ran twenty-five minutes long, gladly. we kept the tapes rolling, then changed tapes and rolled some more. the memory this man has, for names and years! he told us to enjoy our youth. "like my mother always said, god rest her soul," neil said as he walked out the door, "skate while your blades are still sharp."

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Editor's note (last one today!): What's Out of the Book? In June, 54 bookstores around the country hosted a screening of our first short film, about Ian McEwan. Each host designed the event to suit its local resources and community by inviting local authors and experts to lead discussions, or musicians to perform, holding contests or serving food and drink. So far independent bookstores in 60 cities have signed up for round two, featuring David Halberstam. All events will occur between November 11 and December 16. Look for a list in the coming weeks.

÷ ÷ ÷

Dave interviews authors for Powell's. He created our Out of the Book film series. He likes cats and dogs.


Books mentioned in this post



Dave is the author of Out of the Book, Volume 3: State by State

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