Michela Wrong: Do Not Disturb

The Book Club | 24 March 2021 | 0h 43m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Michela Wrong about her book Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad. While Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame has basked in the approval of Western donors, Michela Wrong argues, his burnished image conceals a history of sadism, repression and violent tyranny. Discusses what our goodies-and-baddies account of Rwanda’s genocide missed, and why it urgently needs correcting.

Cat Jarman: River Kings

The Book Club | 24 February 2021 | 0h 36m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Cat Jarman about her book River Kings. Spins a global history of the Vikings out of a single carnelian bead found in a grave in Repton. Explains that there was more to the Viking culture than arson, rape and pillage in Northumbria – showing how 21st-century techniques have helped to expose a culture that raided and traded from Scandinavia as far as Baghdad and Constantinople, and may have been the ancestral population of the Russian heartland.

Simon Winchester: Land

The Book Club | 27 January 2021 | 0h 42m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Simon Winchester about his book Land: How The Hunger For Ownership Made The Modern World. Discusses mankind’s relationship to land through place and time. Considers whether capitalism is possible without land rights, whether climate change will alter our relationship to property, why the pioneering map makers of the nineteenth century are now barely heard of – and Dutch land reclamation.

What Would Orwell Be Without Nineteen Eighty-Four?

The Book Club | 31 January 2021 | 0h 43m | Listen Later | iTunes
Podcast marking the moment that George Orwell comes out of copyright. D. J. Taylor (author of On Nineteen Eighty-Four and Orwell: The Life) and Dorian Lynskey (author of The Ministry of Truth) discuss how Orwell speaks to us now, and how his reputation has weathered. Was he secretly a conservative? Was he a McCarthyite snitch? How would he be remembered had he died before writing Nineteen Eighty-Four? And does ‘Orwellian’ mean anything much at all?

James Hawes: The Shortest History of England

The Book Club | 18 November 2020 | 0h 43m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with James Hawes about his book The Shortest History of England. Discusses why there’s real value in so brief an overview of our history, how Jurassic rock formations determined UK politics, why the English never got over the Norman Conquest, how the break-up of the Union is now an inevitability, and why the Cross of St George is a funny emblem for English nationalists to rally behind.

Carmen Callil: Oh Happy Day

The Book Club | 4 November 2020 | 0h 32m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Carmen Callil about her book Oh Happy Day: Those Times and These Times. Uses the story of her 18th-century ancestors being transported to Australia to explore English and Australian social history and the darker side of empire.

Hugh Aldersey-Williams: The Making of Science in Europe

The Book Club | 7 October 2020 | 0h 33m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Hugh Aldersey-Williams about his book Dutch Light: Christaan Huygens and the Making of Science in Europe. Discusses the life and work of Christiaan Huygens. Argues that this half-forgotten figure was the most important scientist between Galileo and Newton. Describes his advances in optics, geometry, probability, mathematics, astronomy – as well as the invention of the pendulum clock and the discovery of the rings of Saturn – against the backdrop of a turbulent post-Reformation Europe and the beginnings of an international scientific community.

Sam Harris on the Value of Conversation

The Book Club | 12 August 2020 | 1h 05m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Sam Harris about his book Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity. Discusses why civilised conversation is what the world needs now more than ever, why ‘cancel culture’ is real and J.K. Rowling’s trans-rights-activist opponents are ‘insane’, how ‘bad philosophy’ has ruined the social sciences, the circumstances under which totalitarianism might be okay – and why, as a liberal, he thinks the left is in danger of destroying America.