Between 1917 and 1921 a devastating struggle took place in Russia following the collapse of the Tsarist empire. Many regard this savage civil war as the most influential event of the modern era. An incompatible White alliance of moderate socialists and reactionary monarchists stood little chance against Trotsky’s Red Army and Lenin’s Communist dictatorship. The struggle became a world war by proxy as Churchill deployed weaponry and troops from the British empire, while armed forces from the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Poland and Czechoslovakia played rival parts.
The author of Stalingrad gives an action-packed account of the Russian Revolution, filled with historical detail from the streets of Petrograd, the brutal battlefield and the offices of Churchill, Lenin and Trotsky. He assembles the complete picture, conveying the conflict through the eyes of everyone from the worker on the streets of Petrograd to the cavalry officer on the battlefield and the woman doctor in an improvised hospital.
A conversation with the team behind the hit BBC podcasts Death by Conspiracy? and War on Truth. Hear how journalists sift fact from fiction – and report on all the bad information swirling around on social media for audiences around the UK and across the globe. Death by Conspiracy? follows the story of Gary Matthews, a man from Shrewsbury who believed in Covid conspiracy theories until he caught the virus and died. Following the remarkable success of that series, Radio 4 launched War on Truth – a reactive series tracking the stories of people caught up in the information war in Ukraine. Both podcasts are presented by the BBC’s first ever specialist disinformation reporter, Marianna Spring, produced by Ant Adeane and edited by Mike Wendling.
The acclaimed historian, Professor of History at Harvard University and a leading authority on the Cold War and nuclear history, tells the tale of the six nuclear disasters that shook the world: Bikini Atoll, Kyshtym, Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Based on wide-ranging research and witness testimony, Plokhy traces the arc of each crisis, exploring in depth the confused decision-making on the ground and the panicked responses of governments to contain the crises and often cover up the scale of the catastrophe. He talks to writer and journalist Oliver Balch.
The Last King Of Scotland author’s latest novel Freight Dogs explores the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and the individual consequences of Africa’s ‘Great War’, distilling a world-shaking conflict into the spellbinding story of one man’s life. In a 1996 Ugandan dive bar, an anarchic group of mercenary pilots from Texas, Russia, Kenya and Belgium find a new recruit – a 19-year-old cowherd fleeing Congo’s bloody war. Taken in by this band of unlikely brothers, Manu’s soon seeing his vast country from above and falling in love with flying. But no matter how fast he flies, trouble follows closely behind. And when the past erupts back into this new life, he is forced to leave behind African skies for the chilly embrace of northern Europe. With Rwanda in the news, Giles Foden discusses why he wrote the book, the genocide, its legacy, and why the story of those like Manu is so important.
Leading authority on the Cold War and nuclear history Serhii Plokhy, journalist and author of Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals Oliver Bullough, and author of Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West Catherine Belton come together to analyse the tragic events taking place in Ukraine and how they are causing a whole-world shift. They speak to lawyer and writer Philippe Sands.
Bill Browder is a financier and activist whose new book Freezing Order exposes Vladimir Putin’s campaign to steal and launder hundreds of billions of dollars and kill anyone who stood in his way. He joins Oliver Bullough, author of Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals, to discuss these themes in relation to Putin’s path to war.
In 2015 Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”. Using a wide range of interviews and crossing the boundary between reporting and fiction, she writes in a way that lets human voices speak for themselves. In 2018 she won the Anna Politkovskaya Award from the human rights organisation RAW in WAR, honouring women journalists and human rights defenders working in war and conflict zones. Mariana Katzarova is founder of RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in War) and the Anna Politkovskaya Award. In 2014, she led the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission’s team in Eastern Ukraine for two years at the start of the armed conflict. The duo hold a conversation about a region that has historically suffered from a conflict that is now threatening the whole world.
The Burney brothers from Hay-on-Wye fought extraordinary wars against Nazism that have been forgotten. Christopher was a secret agent, captured, tortured and incarcerated for 18 months alone, followed by 15 months in Buchenwald concentration camp. Afterwards he wrote Solitary Confinement, which became a classic. What does it tell us about the human character? Roger drowned in a mysterious submarine disaster and Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem is dedicated to him, but that is another story…
The reconstruction after two World Wars was pre-planned by the Allies and carried out with huge drive and commitment, leading to a reconciliation between the warring nations that has endured. But since then, we have witnessed the tragic fallout of too many civil and international conflicts. In the Congo and Rwanda, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Israel and Palestine, the former Yugoslavia and now, dismayingly, in Ukraine. The panel discuss the reasons behind these failures and look at how reconciliation can be achieved. Lyse Doucet is the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent; Tom Fletcher was UK Ambassador in Lebanon; Oliver McTernan has a background in conflict resolution and interfaith relationships. They talk to Major General Arthur Denaro.
How to deal with climate change, mass migration, new wars, big technology, the rise of the democratic mob and authoritarian capitalism? The Principal of Hertford College, Oxford University, and former diplomat Tom Fletcher offers answers in his latest book, Ten Survival Skills for a World in Flux – a practical manifesto that can help us transform the way we learn, live and work together. Alice Sherwood is the author of Authenticity: Reclaiming Reality in a Counterfeit Culture and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Policy Institute at King’s. They share ideas on how to reclaim reality, renew education, restore society and reimagine the future.