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History Extra podcast

History Extra podcast

The latest news from the team behind BBC History Magazine - a popular History magazine. To find out more, visit www.historyextra.com

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Vikings in North America

Gordon Campbell reveals how the Vikings made epic voyages of discovery across the Atlantic a millennium ago 

 

The argument over whether Norse explorers settled in North America a millennium ago has raged for two centuries, pitting Protestants against Catholics, Native Americans against European colonists ? and producing claims and counterclaims often grounded in an ideology of racial superiority. Gordon Campbell, author of Norse America, discusses this often-fractious debate and sets out what we actually know about the Vikings? remarkable voyages across the Atlantic.

 

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2021-03-02
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Shipwrecked in the Arctic: a 16th-century survival story

Journalist Andrea Pitzer discusses her latest book Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World, which 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.

 

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2021-03-01
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The Roman emperors: everything you wanted to know

Shushma Malik discusses some of the most admired and reviled Roman emperors, and considers whether the legends surrounding them stand up to scrutiny

 

In the latest in our series tackling the big questions on major historical topics, historian Shushma Malik responds to your questions on some of the most admired and reviled Roman emperors, and considers whether the legends surrounding them stand up to scrutiny.

 

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2021-02-28
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Adventure and archaeology in the golden age of Egyptology

Toby Wilkinson, author of A World Beneath the Sands, gives a lecture on the men and women whose obsession with Egypt?s ancient civilisation drove them to uncover its secrets in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He reveals how their work helped to enrich and transform our understanding of the Nile valley and its people, and left a lasting impression on Egypt, too.

 

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2021-02-27
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Crafting historical weapons for Wolf Hall and The Witcher

From Roman catapults to medieval daggers, Tod of Tod?s Workshop has made it all. The historical weapon-maker gives a behind-the-scenes peek into making replica weapons and armour for period dramas and hit TV shows like Wolf Hall and The Witcher. 

 

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2021-02-26
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Nefertiti: wife, mother, pharaoh

Following the discovery of her striking bust in 1912, Nefertiti has become one of the best-known women of ancient Egypt. Professor Aidan Dodson ? author of Nefertiti: Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt: Her Life and Afterlife ? discusses ancient Egypt?s sun queen and offers his take on whether she ever reigned as a fully-fledged pharaoh in her own right.

 

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2021-02-25
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The women who fought back against Hollywood

Film critic Helen O?Hara talks about her new book Women vs Hollywood, which highlights female pioneers of film, and reveals some of the challenges faced by women working in Hollywood over the past century ? from controlling studios and sexist roles to unequal pay and #MeToo.

 

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2021-02-24
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Rivalries and romances: couples that shook up history

When it comes to making a mark in the history books, sometimes two heads are better than one. Broadcaster and author Cathy Newman talks about her latest book It Takes Two: A History of the Couples Who Dared to be Different, which highlights duos that changed the course of history.

 

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2021-02-23
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The Vikings? global connections

Dr Cat Jarman explores the far-reaching trading networks of the Vikings, from the Baltic sea to Asia

 

Dr Cat Jarman discusses her new book River Kings: A New History of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Road, which opens up the story of Scandinavian trade, settlement and communication from the Baltic sea right through to Asia.

 

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2021-02-22
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The space race: everything you wanted to know

Tom Ellis responds to listener questions on the great Cold War rivalry that saw the US and the Soviet Union battle for dominance in space

 

In the latest in our series tackling the big questions on major historical topics, historian Tom Ellis responds to listener questions about the space race. He covers topics including Cold War espionage, the role played by German engineers with Nazi connections, and the battle to plant a flag on the moon.

 

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2021-02-21
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Sathnam Sanghera on how modern Britain is shaped by empire

Sathnam Sanghera discusses where we can see the legacy of imperialism in Britain today ? from politics and education to museums and multiculturalism 

 

Journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera discusses his new book Empireland, which interrogates everything from the objects in our museums and the subjects on our curriculum to the ways we think about race and multiculturalism, to trace the legacy of imperialism in Britain today.

 

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2021-02-20
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The big questions of LGBTQ history

We mark LGBT+ History Month with a panel discussion tackling some of the biggest themes in LGBTQ history

 

February is LGBT+ History Month. We mark it with a panel discussion in which Matt Cook, Channing Joseph, Jen Manion and Angela Steidele tackle some of the biggest themes in LGBTQ history.

 

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2021-02-19
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Chaos & communism: China?s 1949 revolution

Historian and journalist Graham Hutchings discusses his new book China 1949, which explores the events of a tumultuous year that saw communist victory in the Chinese civil war and the birth of the People?s Republic of China.

 

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2021-02-18
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Elizabeth Barrett Browning: poet, activist, trailblazer, runaway

Fiona Sampson, author of a new biography, Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, discusses the life and work of the Victorian poet. Although perhaps best known for her runaway romance with fellow poet Robert Browning, Elizabeth also battled chronic illness and family troubles to create influential activist writing and ground-breaking poetry.

 

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2021-02-17
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Is ?Blitz Spirit? a myth?

Ahead of their new BBC One documentary, Blitz Spirit with Lucy Worsley, historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley, historical consultant Joshua Levine and producer Yasmine Permaul interrogate the idea of ?Blitz Spirit?. Introducing us to a raft of characters who lived through the bombings in London, they reveal how people really reacted to the devastating raids that threatened them and their loved ones. 

 

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2021-02-16
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Fatal accidents and violent injuries in the Middle Ages

Dr Jenna Dittmar, who has been studying medieval skeletons, reveals what her findings can tell us about injuries and violence in the era

 

Dr Jenna Dittmar, who has been part of a research project studying medieval skeletons from Cambridge, reveals what her findings can tell us about occupational injuries, accidents and levels of violence in the medieval period.

 

 

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2021-02-15
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The Dissolution: everything you wanted to know

Dr Hugh Willmott responds to listener questions on Henry VIII?s suppression of the monasteries in the 16th century

 

In this special live edition of our ?everything you wanted to know? series, Dr Hugh Willmott responds to listener questions about the suppression of the monasteries in the 16th century, exploring why Henry VIII targeted religious houses, how they were repurposed, and what happened to the monks and nuns that lived in them.

 

 

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2021-02-14
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The forgotten mothers of civil rights leaders

Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and James Baldwin are often remembered as change-makers who came into the world with their political ideas fully-formed ? but this was far from the case. As Anna Malaika Tubbs reveals in her new book Three Mothers, the mothers of these civil rights leaders shaped their activism and taught their sons to resist racism.

 

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2021-02-13
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Sex, romance and rights: women's lives since 1950

Historian Carol Dyhouse talks about her new book, Love Lives: From Cinderella to Frozen, which explores how women's lives, dreams and loves have been transformed since 1950 ?when Walt Disney's Cinderella was released, and teenage girls were told to dream of marriage, Mr Right, and happy endings.

 

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2021-02-12
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Victorian pet cemeteries: animals in the afterlife

In the 19th century, devoted pet-owners established Britain?s first pet cemeteries. Dr Eric Tourigny explains what they tell us about Victorian attitudes to animals

 

In the 19th century, devoted pet-owners established Britain?s first pet cemeteries. Dr Eric Tourigny of Newcastle University, who has been analysing inscriptions on animal gravestones dating back to the 1880s, explains what they tell us about Victorian attitudes to animals, and how Britain became a nation of pet lovers.

 

 

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2021-02-11
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How slavery fuelled the British empire

Padraic X Scanlan discusses his book Slave Empire: How Slavery Built modern Britain, which examines how slavery fuelled the British empire and explores the complicated, often contradictory, motivations of abolitionists.

 

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2021-02-10
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17th-century London: a city shaped by catastrophe

Author Margarette Lincoln talks about her latest book, London and the 17th Century, which describes how a period blighted by plague, fire, revolution and civil war helped transform London into one of the world?s great cities.

 

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2021-02-09
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Medieval forgeries

Forgery was the dirty little secret of the Middle Ages. Levi Roach explains who counterfeited medieval manuscripts and why

 

Forgery was the dirty little secret of the Middle Ages. As historian Levi Roach explains, some of Europe?s leading holy men cooked up counterfeit documents to rewrite the past as they thought it should have happened.

 

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2021-02-08
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Daily life in ancient Egypt: everything you wanted to know

In the latest in our series tackling the big questions on major historical topics, Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley responds to listener questions about daily life in ancient Egypt, from governance, pharaohs and the Egyptian mindset, to makeup, dental care and the popularity of cat mummies.

 

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2021-02-07
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Novelist Kate Mosse on The City of Tears

Author Kate Mosse talks about her historical novel The City of Tears, which transports readers back to the Wars of Religion in 16th-century France 

 

Author Kate Mosse talks about her historical novel The City of Tears, the latest instalment in the Burning Chambers series, which transports readers back to the Wars of Religion in 16th-century France. She speaks about the challenges of balancing historical reality with exciting storylines, and about mining sources to reconstruct the everyday lives of ordinary women.

 

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2021-02-06
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The Dark Ages: a ?black hole? in Britain?s history

Max Adams discusses his book The First Kingdom, Britain in the Age of Arthur, which pieces together the evidence to uncover what happened after the fall of Roman Britain. He speaks about some of the current theories about the era 400-600 AD, and why Arthurian myths have proven so popular.

 

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2021-02-05
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1962: London?s big freeze

Author Juliet Nicolson talks about her latest book, Frostquake, which tells the story of the frozen winter of 1962. As Britain shivered under a blanket of ice and snow, new political and cultural forces were emerging that would shake up the nation.

 

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2021-02-04
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Edward I?s letters

Dr Kathleen Neal explains what we can learn about Edward I, the famously militaristic ?Hammer of the Scots?, from his letters

 

Dr Kathleen Neal explains what we can learn about medieval king Edward I, the famously militaristic ?Hammer of the Scots?, from the letters that he sent to his nobles and officers. What can these missives tell us about Edward as a man, and how his reign unfolded? 

 

 

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2021-02-03
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Cary Grant: from humble beginnings to Hollywood icon

Author Mark Glancy tells us about his latest book, Cary Grant: The Making of a Hollywood Legend, which chronicles the remarkable story of how Archibald Leach, a working-class lad from Bristol, became the most celebrated actor in Hollywood and the epitome of debonair sophistication.

 

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2021-02-02
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Blitz spirit or broken morale?

Jeremy Crang investigates reports on British morale made during the Second World War and considers what they can tell us about the ?Blitz spirit?

 

Historian Jeremy Crang discusses his book The Spirit of the Blitz (co-edited with Paul Addison), which investigates reports on British morale made during the early months of the Second World War and considers what they can tell us about the so-called ?Blitz spirit?.

 

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2021-02-01
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The Black Death: everything you wanted to know

Professor John Hatcher answers listener questions about the medieval pandemic, and reflects on how the Covid-19 crisis might shape our understanding of the plague

 

Professor John Hatcher, author of The Black Death: A Personal History, responds to listener questions and internet search queries about the medieval pandemic that ravaged 14th-century Europe. He also reflects on how the current Covid-19 crisis might shape our understanding of the Black Death.

 

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2021-01-31
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Why do we fight wars?

Margaret MacMillan gives a lecture on her book War: How Conflict Shaped Us, which explores the recurring reasons for conflict throughout history and examines how warfare has impacted on the human story.

 

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2021-01-30
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A guide to the Norse gods

From Thor to Odin, Carolyne Larrington discusses the legendary figures of Viking mythology

 

Professor Carolyne Larrington discusses her book The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes, which explores the legendary stories and figures of Viking mythology, from one-eyed Odin to hammer-wielding Thor.

 

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2021-01-29
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The hunt for Caesar?s killers

Author and journalist Sir Peter Stothard discusses his latest book, The Last Assassin, which chronicles the hunt for Julius Caesar?s murderers, a momentous episode in ancient Rome?s story that triggered a brutal civil war and the dawn of the imperial age.

 

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2021-01-28
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Werewolves of the ancient world

Historian Daniel Ogden, author of new book The Werewolf in the Ancient World, explores the origins of the werewolf legend in stories from classical Greece and Rome.

 

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2021-01-27
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Rich vs poor in Regency Britain

Historian Ian Mortimer discusses how a vast chasm between rich and poor marked society in the early 19th century

Historian Ian Mortimer discusses the chasm between rich and poor that marked society in the early 19th century, and explores why many popular depictions of the era fail to show the realities of Regency inequality.

 

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2021-01-26
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Spectacular discoveries at Sutton Hoo

Ahead of the release of the new film The Dig, Professor Martin Carver discusses the real story of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo

Ahead of the release of Netflix?s new film The Dig, about the famous 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo, Professor Martin Carver explains the fascinating history of the iconic burial site. He speaks to David Musgrove about the team that worked on the excavation, and the remarkable early medieval treasures they unearthed.

 

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2021-01-25
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The Persian empire: everything you wanted to know

In the latest in our series tackling the big questions on major historical topics, Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, an expert in ancient history, responds to listener questions and popular internet search queries on the Persian empire. Once the largest empire the world had ever seen, Persia was one of the dominant powers of the ancient world.

 

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2021-01-24
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The shipwreck that sank a royal dynasty

In a talk from our virtual lecture series, author Charles Spencer discusses his book The White Ship, which explores the story of England?s early Norman monarchs and recounts a maritime tragedy that threw England?s royal line into disarray in 1120.

 

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2021-01-23
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The NHS: a brief history

Historian Susan Cohen discusses how Britain?s National Health Service has changed over the decades since its landmark creation in 1948. She explores the challenges of providing ?cradle-to-grave care? for all Britons, and discusses some of the biggest issues that the service has faced, including discrimination in the ranks, AIDS and Covid-19.

 

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2021-01-22
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Rebuilding Europe after WW2

Historian Paul Betts discusses his book Ruin and Renewal, which explores how postwar regeneration after 1945 was inspired by the contested concept of civilisation, and examines some of the competing visions for Europe?s future.

 

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2021-01-21
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How oceans shaped human civilisation

Physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski discusses the impact of oceans on human civilisations through history, from providing food to connecting trade routes. Plus, she explores how our relationship with the oceans has changed throughout the ages.

 

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2021-01-20
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Searching for freedom after the Holocaust

Rosie Whitehouse tells the story of a group of Holocaust survivors who sailed to Palestine in 1946, in defiance of the Royal Navy

 

Author and journalist Rosie Whitehouse discusses her book The People on the Beach, which tells the story of a group of Holocaust survivors who sailed from Italy to Palestine in 1946, taking on the might of the Royal Navy in the process.

 

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2021-01-19
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The race for vaccines: lessons from history

As the campaign to vaccinate the population against Covid-19 picks up pace, Gareth Williams explores previous efforts to combat lethal diseases, from smallpox to polio

 

Gareth Williams, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Bristol, traces historical efforts to vaccinate populations against killer infections ? from Edward Jenner?s eureka moment with smallpox in 18th-century England to rival scientists? bitter battle to conquer polio in 1950s America.

 

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2021-01-18
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Britain?s Swinging Sixties: everything you wanted to know

Dominic Sandbrook answers popular search queries and listener questions about Britain in the 1960s

 

Did the Sixties really swing? Why did the decade see such an explosion of popular culture? And what were the top sellers in the supermarket? Historian, author and broadcaster Dominic Sandbrook answers popular search queries and questions you submitted about Britain in the 1960s.

 

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2021-01-17
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MI9?s secret escape missions

Historian Helen Fry, author of MI9, gives a lecture on the secret service for escape and evasion, who led missions to help allied prisoners of war make it out of Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War.

 

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2021-01-16
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Hitler and Stalin: tyrants at war

Laurence Rees compares the actions of the two dictators over the course of the Second World War

 

Historian, author and broadcaster Laurence Rees discusses his new book, Hitler and Stalin, which compares the actions of the two dictators over the course of the Second World War.

 

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2021-01-15
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How historians helped build the British empire

Priya Satia explores how historians helped advance the British empire, only to later become critics of imperialism

 

Professor Priya Satia discusses her recent book, Time?s Monster, which explores how historians helped advance the aims of the British empire, only to later become highly critical of imperialism.

 

 

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2021-01-14
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When British pop invaded America

David Hepworth tells the story of the British rock bands ? from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin ? who took the United States by storm in the 1960s

 

Author and broadcaster David Hepworth tells us about his latest book, Overpaid, Oversexed and Over There, which documents how a wave of skinny, pale, long-haired musicians from Blighty became the toast of 1960s America, heralding in a cultural revolution.

 

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2021-01-13
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The collapse of the Third Reich

Frank McDonough discusses the second volume in his history of the Third Reich, The Hitler Years, which details how Nazi Germany fell from the peak of its power in 1940 to disastrous defeat five years later.

 

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2021-01-12
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