We are delighted to launch Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble by the bestselling author of Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day.
On 16 December 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back.
The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe. American troops, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians fled, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While many American soldiers fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters that slowed the German advance.
The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the eastern front. And after massacres by the Waffen-SS, even American generals approved when their men shot down surrendering Germans. The Ardennes was the battle that finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.
Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock? In this gloriously entertaining romp through human history Greg Jenner, historical consultant to Horrible Histories, explores the gradual and often unexpected evolution of our daily routines.
As you grow up, you are told to renounce most of the hopes and dreams of your youth, and resign yourself to a life that will be a pale dilution of the adventurous, important and enjoyable life you once expected. But who wants to do any of that? No wonder we live in a culture of rampant immaturity, when maturity looks so boring. The moral philosopher discusses childhood, adolescence, sex, and culture, and asks how the idea of travel can help us build a model of maturity that makes growing up a good option and leaves space in our culture for grown-ups. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
In his funniest and filthiest novel yet, Welsh celebrates an unreconstructed misogynist hustler – a central character who is shameless but also, oddly, decent – and finds new ways of making wild comedy out of fantastically dark material, taking on some of the last taboos. So fasten your seatbelts, because this is one ride that could certainly get a little bumpy…
The Palestinian editor of Rai al-Youm offers a comprehensive review of the group’s organisational structure and leadership, strategies, tactics and diverse methods of recruitment. He traces the salafi-jihadi lineage of IS, its ideological differences with al-Qa’ida, and the deadly rivalry that has emerged between their leaders. Atwan also shows how the group’s rapid growth has been facilitated by its masterful command of social media platforms, the ‘dark web’, Hollywood ‘blockbuster’-style videos, and even jihadi computer games, producing a powerful paradox where the ambitions of the Middle Ages have re-emerged in cyber-space.
The Director of the British Library browses the infinite possibilities for Libraries and Creativity in an Age of Data. ‘These are times of historic disruption in the whole global system of information and publication, and it seems right that the great knowledge institutions – with their historic remit to think and act with a view far into the future – should play a full part in shaping the changes that lie ahead.’ Chaired by Gaby Wood, Head of Books at The Telegraph.
Few would dispute that we live in an unequal and unjust world, but what causes this inequality to persist? Dorling, author of Inequality and the 1%, examines who is most harmed by these injustices and why, and what happens to those who most benefit. O’Hara, author of Austerity Bites, takes us on a journey to the sharp end of the cuts in the UK. Hard-hitting and uncompromising in its call to action, this analysis is essential for everyone concerned with social justice.
Franz Schubert’s Winterreise is one of the most powerful and enigmatic masterpieces in Western culture. One of the work’s finest interpreters, Bostridge, focuses on the context, resonance and personal significance of a work that is possibly the greatest landmark in the history of Lieder. He unpicks the enigmas and subtle meaning of each of the twenty-four songs to explore for us the world Schubert inhabited, bringing the work and its world alive for connoisseurs and new listeners alike.
Through the 25 stories in Swift’s most recent anthology, we are steered effortlessly from the Civil War to the present day, from world-shaking events to the secret dramas lived out in rooms, workplaces, homes. With his remarkable sense of place, he charts an intimate human geography and, in doing so, he moves us profoundly, but with a constant eye for comedy. He reads from the collection and discusses his work with Peter Florence.
More people are going to university in Britain than ever before, and they’re paying to do so. But are the institutions themselves fit for purpose? How could they be better? Horrocks is the new Vice Chancellor of the Open University, Grayling is Master of the independent New College of the Humanities in London, Churchwell is Professor for the Public Understanding of the Humanities at UEA, Usher is the co-leader of the newest university in Britain, the New Model in Technology and Engineering in Hereford.
Eight hundred years after a gang of barons met in a tent by a river, which Rights do we want to fight for today? A fortnight after what looks like a rough old election, let’s dream about what a better world might look like and talk about how that might be achieved.
The festival President hosts this first in a Magna Carta series of twenty events at Hay Festival 2015, and is joined by international guests to discuss equalities.
‘You can have a dog put to sleep but my mother had to go through hell.’ End of life issues are especially difficult for people with dementia and their family carers, as the person themself is often unable to make and communicate their views in a way that would be respected by our autonomy-centred healthcare decision-making frameworks. Drawing on empirical data from a socio-legal study funded by the British Academy, Professor Rosie Harding of the University of Birmingham explores the social, ethical and legal challenges of maximising dignity for those dying with, and of, dementia.
In a magical evening of storytelling, the playwright and poet performs his fabulous tales: ‘Indeed the world is two worlds – one for lovers, / Another for the loveless altogether…’
An evening to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Welsh passage to Argentina aboard the Mimosa. Gower sets the scene with his Gwalia Patagonia – a tale of legendary giants and Andean condors, devil spirits and chapel-worshippers. He is joined by Argentinian writer Jorge Fondebrider, author of The Spaces Between. The evening is completed with the fascinating anecdotal and geographical ramblings of one of Wales’ best-loved guitarists, singers and actors, René Griffiths. Full of emotion and passion, Ramblings of a Patagonian is the revelation of one-man’s unrelenting love for his own Andean desert. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
The unanimous Supreme Court ruling today to lift the injunction on this extraordinary memoir means we are delighted and thrilled to launch the book at Hay on Saturday evening.
'Over the last five years James Rhodes has become my latest addiction...his wit on stage and concentration on the keyboard have earned him a new audience for whom classical music had always appeared stuffy and elitist. As for his life and personality – they transcend the imagination of the most vivid novelist. His story is one filled with unimaginable terrors and unconquerable triumphs. The unforgettable story of an unforgettable and remarkable man.' – Stephen Fry.
James Rhodes' passion for music has been his absolute lifeline. It has been the thread that has held him together through a life that has encompassed pain, conflict and turmoil. Listening to Rachmaninov on a loop as a traumatised teenager or discovering an Adagio by Bach while in a hospital ward – such exquisite miracles of musical genius have helped him survive his demons, and, along with a chance encounter with a stranger, inspired him to become the renowned concert pianist he is today.
This is a memoir like no other: unapologetically candid, boldly outspoken and surprisingly funny – James' prose is shot through with an unexpectedly mordant wit, even at the darkest of moments. An impassioned tribute to the therapeutic powers of music, Instrumental also weaves in fascinating facts about how classical music actually works and about the extraordinary lives of some of the great composers. It explains why and how music has the potential to transform all of our lives.