How Constitutions Changed the World

History Extra | 24 April 2021 | 0h 41m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Linda Colley about her book The Gun, the Ship and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World. Explores how written constitutions, together with warfare, forged the modern world. Cites examples from the United States, France, Russia and the Pitcairn Islands.

The Merits of Meritocracy

History Extra | 21 June 2021 | 0h 40m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Adrian Wooldridge about his book The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World. Explores meritocracy’s role in forging the modern world, and weighs up the challenges and advantages of a system in which people are advanced solely on the basis of their talents.

What Can We Learn From Past Catastrophes?

History Extra | 13 June 2021 | 0h 50m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Niall Ferguson about his book Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe. Discusses how disasters have changed the course of history and what we can learn from them for future crises. Argues that we need to prepare for crises more generally, rather than specifically with bureaucratic complexity.

Why Are We Living Longer Than Our Ancestors?

History Extra | 29 May 2021 | 0h 28m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Steven Johnson about his book Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer (and BBC Four series co-presented with David Olusoga). Chronicles the revolution in medicine and innovations in science and public health that have led to huge increases in life expectancy since 1900.

The Peasants’ Revolt: Who Were the Rebels of 1381?

History Extra | 28 April 2021 | 0h 49m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Adrian Bell and Helen Lacey about their research on the Peasant’s Revolt, which has used big data methods to uncover that far from being an ill-disciplined explosion of rage, it was organised with military precision, with key players being non-peasant returnees from the warring in France.

Stalin: the Real Victor of WW2

History Extra | 9 April 2021 | 0h 54m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Sean McMeekin about his book Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II. Discusses his revisionist history of the Second World War, which places Josef Stalin at the centre of the conflict, showing how the Soviet dictator outmanoeuvred both enemies and allies to secure his own ends.

The Western Front: A Cauldron of Innovation

History Extra | 10 March 2021 | 0h 30m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Nick Lloyd about his book The Western Front: A History of the Great War, 1914-1918. Argues that the Western Front in World War I was a cauldron of innovation and an epic struggle against the odds, shaped by transformative military and technological advancements.

Shipwrecked in the Arctic: a 16th-Century Survival Story

History Extra | 1 March 2021 | 0h 53m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Andrea Pitzer about her book Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World. Recounts the Arctic ordeal of Dutch explorer William Barents and his crew. In 1597, they set sail in a bid to find a North-East passage to China, but spent nine months fighting off ravenous polar bears, extreme cold and a seemingly endless winter after becoming stranded in the ice.