War

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Elizabeth Day and Margaret Evison

Death Of A Soldier

Hay Festival 2013, 

Examining writing about the human experience of warfare. Evison discusses her award-winning account of the impact of the death of her young lieutenant son Mark, who had been serving in Afghanistan. Day’s novel Home Fires is a fictional account of two generations of a family dealing with the reality of war and loss. Chaired by Peter Florence and Steve Corry.

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Mukesh Kapila talks to Philippe Sands

Against A Tide Of Evil

Hay Festival 2013, 

The former head of the UN in Sudan reveals the shocking depths of evil plumbed by those who designed and orchestrated ‘the final solution’ in Darfur – How One Man Became The Whistleblower To The First Mass Murder Of The Twenty-First Century.

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Stuart Prebble talks to Tam Dalyell

Secrets Of The Conqueror: The Untold Story Of Britain’s Most Famous Submarine

Hay Festival 2013, 

As a young TV producer Prebble scooped the story of how HMS Conqueror came to sink the Belgrano. He has waited thirty years to reveal what else he discovered about the sub’s secret activities.

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Jack Straw talks to Peter Florence

Last Man Standing

Hay Festival 2013, 

A conversation with the plumber’s mate, lawyer, politician and memoirist, who spent 13 years at the heart of the New Labour government. He was Foreign Secretary at the time of 9/11 and the Iraq War.

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Thomas Keneally talks to Damian Barr

Fictions – The Great War

Hay Festival 2013, 

The Booker-winner’s The Daughters Of Mars vividly experiences the Dardanelles and the Western Front in the First World War through the eyes of two Australian nurses.

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Simon Wessely

The Mental Health Of The UK Armed Forces After Iraq And Afghanistan: Myths And Realities

Hay Festival 2013, 

It’s now ten years since the invasion of Iraq, and the UK Armed Forces have been fully engaged in a decade of war. What has been the mental health impact? If you listen to many media accounts you might conclude that nearly everyone who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan ends up in a psychiatric clinic, on the streets or in prison. But what are the facts? What do we know about the actual impact of deployment now, and what can we expect in the future?

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Andy McNab talks to Paul Blezard

Bravo Two Zero At Twenty

Hay Festival 2013, 

On the 20th anniversary of publication of his iconic tale of disaster and endurance in the first Iraq War, the Special Forces veteran revisits the story with new material.

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David Horspool, David Blakeley, Damien Lewis and Paul Conroy

War Stories: Reports From The Front Line Of Modern Military History Writing

Hay Festival 2013, 

The TLS history editor chairs this elite unit of award-winning war reporters and authors of new books – Zero Six Bravo, Maverick One and Under The Wire. In an age of mobile-phone footage, embedded journalists and instant disinformations, the values of deep research, personal experience and intelligent analysis are more essential than ever to lend authority and understanding to writing about war.

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Ian Cobain

Cruel Britannia: A Secret History Of Torture

Hay Festival 2013, 

The official line is clear: the UK does not ‘participate in, solicit, encourage or condone’ torture. And yet, the evidence is irrefutable: when it comes to dealing with potential threats to our national security, the gloves always come off. Chaired by Philippe Sands.

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Guy Walters

The Real Great Escape

Hay Festival 2013, 

Squadron Leader Roger Bushell masterminded an attempt to smuggle hundreds of POWs down a tunnel built right under the noses of the guards of Stalag Luft III, a top-security prisoner-of-war camp for captured Allied airmen in Lower Silesia. Great movie. The truth is stranger and more wonderful. Chaired by Mark Skipworth.

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Charles Emmerson

1913: The World Before The Great War – Second Acts In A New World

Hay Festival 2013, 

Told through the stories of 23 cities – Europe’s capitals at the height of their global reach, the emerging metropolises of America, the imperial cities of Asia and Africa, the boomtowns of Australia and the Americas – the historian presents a panoramic view of a world crackling with possibilities, from St Petersburg to Shanghai and from Los Angeles to Jerusalem.

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Ed Stourton talks to Guto Harri

Cruel Crossing: Escaping Hitler Across The Pyrenees

Hay Festival 2013, 

The shocking, dramatic and intensely moving history of the hundreds who made the arduous and desperate climb through the Pyrenees during the Second World War. Chaired by Guto Harri.

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Derek Niemann

Birds In A Cage

Hay Festival 2013, 

The remarkable untold story of a group of POWs who, through a shared love of birds, overcame hunger, hardship and boredom to bring purpose and dignity to their lives behind barbed wire. Under the gaze of Nazi guards, they founded a secret bird-watching society, and their legacy lives on in institutions such as the RSPB and the British Wildlife Trust.

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Owen Sheers

Pink Mist

Hay Festival 2013, 
We are thrilled to launch the publication of this verse drama with a reading by the poet. Three school friends return from Afghanistan to face the consequences of their tours, for them and the women in their lives. Drawn from interviews with wounded veterans, Pink Mist is a lyric narrative of rare dramatic and emotional intensity. Introduced by Francesca Rhydderch.

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Kevin Powers talks to Jenny Valentine

Fictions – The Yellow Birds

Hay Festival 2013, 

The poet and Iraq veteran Kevin Powers has composed an unforgettable account of friendship and loss. It vividly captures the desperation and brutality of war, and its terrible after-effects. But it is also a story of love, of great courage, and of extraordinary human survival.

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Alicia Foster, Francesca Rhydderch and Joanna Rossiter

Fictions – In The War

Hay Festival 2013, 

Warpaint by Alicia Foster is a compelling tale of truth and lies, tragedy and black comedy, loosely based on the lives of four painters of the time. The Sea Change by Joanna Rossiter is a haunting and moving novel about a mother and a daughter, caught between a tsunami and a war. In Francesca Rhydderch’s The Rice Paper Diaries, four interweaving accounts relate the intimate havoc wrought by military conflict on individual lives. Chaired by Lisa Dwan.

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Jonathan Dimbleby

Destiny In The Desert: The Road To El Alamein, The Battle That Turned The Tide

Hay Festival 2013, 

Dimbleby describes the political and strategic realities that lay behind the battle of November 1942 which inspired one of Churchill’s most famous aphorisms – ‘This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning’.

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Jody Williams talks to Francine Stock

A Vermont Girl

Hay Festival 2013, 

The dynamic and inspiring activist, advocate and hero won the Nobel Peace Prize for her International Campaign To Ban Landmines. She describes her life and work in My Name Is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path To The Nobel Peace Prize.

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Mark Urban

The Tank War: The Men, The Machines And The Long Road To Victory

Hay Festival 2013, 

The 5th Royal Tank Regiment were on the front line throughout WW2 in Africa as part of the Desert Rats, before returning to Europe for the Normandy landings. Wherever they went, the notoriety of the ‘Filthy Fifth’ grew – they revelled in their reputation for fighting by their own rules.

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Brendan Simms

Europe: The Struggle For Supremacy, 1453 To The Present

Hay Festival 2013, 

The story of Europe’s constantly shifting geopolitics and the peculiar circumstances that have made it both so impossible to dominate, and also so dynamic and ferocious. It is the story of a group of highly competitive and mutually suspicious dynasties, but also of a continent uniquely prone to interference from ‘semi-detached’ elements, such as Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Britain and (just as centrally to Simms’ argument) the United States. chaired by Jonathan Derbyshire.

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Jonathan Boff

Sleepwalking to War? Britain in 1914 and 1939

Hay Festival 2014, 

Did Britain stumble blindly into two world wars? The war historian compares preparations for both conflicts and argues that the lessons learned from the First were crucial to survival in the Second.

 

Jonathan Boff

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James Holland

Normandy ’44

Hay Festival 2014, 

The historian looks at both D-Day itself and the wider 77-day campaign and challenges some of the many myths that have arisen. In the 70th anniversary year, he draws on the perspectives and experiences of those who were there, as well as the latest academic thinking and his practical knowledge of the battlefield and the equipment used.

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Paul Cartledge

After Thermopylae

Hay Festival 2014, 

The Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE is one of world history’s unjustly neglected events. It decisively ended the threat of a Persian conquest of Greece. For the Spartans, the driving force behind the Greek victory, the battle was sweet vengeance for their defeat at Thermopylae the year before. Cartledge masterfully exposes the Athenian/Spartan rivalry that ‘rewrote the history books’.

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David Reynolds

Cambridge University Series 3: The Great War and the Twentieth Century

Hay Festival 2014, 

Re-examining the differing impacts of WWI on Britain, Ireland and the United States, The Long Shadow throws light on the whole of the last century and demonstrates that the First World War is a conflict from which Britain, more than any other nation, is still recovering.

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Helen Dunmore talks to Alex Clark

Fictions – The Lie

Hay Festival 2014, 

Behind Daniel lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life. Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss.

Helen Dunmore talks to Alex Clark

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