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Book of the Week - I Was Vermeer

Frank Wynne
In 1945, a small-time Dutch art dealer was arrested for selling a forgery of a priceless national treasure - a painting by Vermeer - to Hitler's right-hand man. The charge was treason, the only possible sentence death. And yet Han van Meegeren languished in his dank prison cell, incapable of uttering the words that would set him free: 'I am a forger.' This riveting account of greed, hubris, excess, treason and fine art is the story of a failed artist and the greatest forger of all time, who executed a swindle which earned him the equivalent of fifty million dollars and the acclaim of the very critics who had mocked him.

Book of the Week - Judge Sewall's Apology

Richard Francis
Samuel Sewall sat in judgement at the Salem witch trials. Five years later he recanted the guilty verdicts. Through his story, Richard Francis brings the New World vividly to life. The Salem witch trials of 1692 have assumed mythical status. Immortalised by Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the witch-hunt is now part of our vocabulary. Yet the actual events are more remote than ever. Biographer and novelist Richard Francis brings the reality back into focus with the story of Samuel Sewall, New England Puritan, Salem trial judge, publisher, entrepreneur and writer.

Book of the Week - Love and Louis XIV

Antonia Fraser
Mistresses and wives, mothers and daughters - Antonia Fraser brilliantly explores the relationships which existed between The Sun King and the women in his life. This includes not only Louis XIV's mistresses, principally Louise de La Valliere, Athenais de Montespan, and the puritanical Madame de Maintenon, but also the wider story of his relationships with women in general, including his mother Anne of Austria, his two sisters-in-law who were Duchesses d'Orleans in succession, Henriette-Anne and Liselotte, his wayward illegitimate daughters, and lastly Adelaide, the beloved child-wife of his grandson.

Book of the Week - Persian Fire

Tom Holland
In 480 BC, Xerxes, the King of Persia, led an invasion of mainland Greece. Its success should have been a formality. For seventy years, victory - rapid, spectacular victory - had seemed the birthright of the Persian Empire. In the space of a single generation, they had swept across the Near East, shattering ancient kingdoms, storming famous cities, putting together an empire which stretched from India to the shores of the Aegean. As a result of those conquests, Xerxes ruled as the most powerful man on the planet. Yet somehow, astonishingly, against the largest expeditionary force ever assembled, the Greeks of the mainland managed to hold out.

Book of the Week - Preferred Lies

Andrew Greig
Andrew Greig grew up on the East coast of Scotland, where playing golf is as natural as breathing. He sees the game as the great leveller, and has played on the Old course at St Andrews as well as on the miners' courses of Yorkshire. He writes about the different cultural manifestations of the game, the history, the geography, the different social meanings, as well as the subjective experience, the reflections between shots. An indispensable book for golfers and non golfers alike.
Literature Books%%%Radio-Recordings

Book of the Week - Queuing for Beginners

Joe Moran
We spend our days catching buses and trains, tapping away at computers, shopping, queuing, lying on sofas...But we know almost nothing about these activities. Exploring the history of these subjects as they come up during a typical day, starting with breakfast and ending with bedtime, Joe Moran shows that they conceal all kinds of hidden histories and meanings.
Literature Books%%%Radio-Recordings%%%History

Book of the Week - Salesman in Beijing

Arthur Miller
In 1983, Arthur Miller was invited to Beijing to direct the first Chinese production of Death of a Salesman. This book is the diary he kept during of that unique and eccentric production. The diary portrays the challenges that faced Miller as a Liberal American playwright and director working in Communist China. Miller's major concern was how to overcome the linguistic and cultural difficulties of trying to communicate his artistic vision to a Chinese cast. The result is not merely an interesting account of a highly unusual production, but it also reveals the process any production may go through, and is an insight into the mind of a considerate director.

Book of the Week - Seize the Hour - When Nixon Met Mao

Margaret MacMillan
In February 1972, Nixon amazed the world with a trip to China. He was the first US President to go there -- in fact officially the first American since the Communist takeover. It was like a visit to the far side of the moon, but also a brilliant stroke of policy. With China on side Nixon could get out of Vietnam; US technology could help Mao recover from his disastrous Cultural Revolution; most of all, both needed a buttress against Soviet Russia in aggressive mood.

Book of the Week - Thomas Hardy: The Time-torn Man

Claire Tomaline
Thomas Hardy is one of the sacred figures in English writing, a great poet and a novelist with a world reputation. His life was also extraordinary: from the poverty of rural Dorset he went on to become the Grand Old Man of English life and letters, his last resting place in Westminster Abbey. This seminal biography covers Hardy's illegitimate birth, his rural upbringing, his escape to London in the 1860s, his marriages, his status as a bestselling novelist, and in later life, his supreme achievements as a poet.

Book of the Week - Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees

Roger Deakin
From the walnut tree at his Suffolk home, Roger Deakin embarks upon a quest that takes him through Britain, across Europe, to Central Asia and Australia, in search of what lies behind man's profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees. Meeting woodlanders of all kinds, he lives in shacks and cabins, builds hazel benders, and hunts bush-plums with aboriginal women. At once autobiography, history, a traveller's tale and a work of natural history, "Wildwood" is a lyrical and fiercely intimate evocation of the spirit of trees: in nature, in our souls, in our culture, and in our lives.
Literature Books%%%Radio-Recordings%%%Geography

China on a Plate - 1

Lars Tharp
Lars Tharp explores the Chinese porcelain industry. He travels to Jingdezhen, west of Shanghai, the most important city in the maufacture of pocelain for 1,000 years and follows the trail linking Jingdezhen to Britain.

China on a Plate - 2

Lars Tharp
Lars Tharp explores the Chinese porcelain industry. He travels to Jingdezhen, west of Shanghai, the most important city in the maufacture of pocelain for 1,000 years and follows the trail linking Jingdezhen to Britain.

Defining the Decade: A Googling We Go

Edward Stourton
Edward Stourton tries to make sense of a decade in which history has been put on fast forward. There has been a revolution in the way we communicate, widespread alarm about the planet's very survival and a challenge to the world order. What does it mean for the way we live as we head into 2010? The impact of the internet - dreamt up by visionaries, embraced by commerce and full of (not always welcome) surprises.

Einstein's Shadow 1

Dr Brian Cox
1905 is the year that shook the world of science, and sent Newton, unchallenged for well over 200 years, tumbling from his throne. In Einstein's Shadow takes a look at the huge impact of Einstein's theories and talks to the scientists, who one hundred years later are still heavily influenced by his work.

Einstein's Shadow 2

Dr Brian Cox
General Relativity and Einstein's "biggest blunder". All cosmology today is essentially based on Einstein's theory of general relativity and so far, every prediction he made about the universe has turned out to be true. Even his so called "biggest blunder" may well solve the greatest riddle in cosmology today, the nature of dark energy - the mysterious force that makes up nearly 80% of the universe.

Einstein's Shadow 3

Dr Brian Cox
Quantum Theory and why God does play dice It's not just cosmologists who claim to be working in his shadow. Particle Physicists trying to discover how the very first atoms formed at the beginning of the universe, through to quantum theorists and those working on a unified theory of everything all site Einstein as a major influence. And his theories remain unchallenged to this day.

Freudian Slips - 04 Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria

Sigmund Freud
Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria' is Freud's first great case history. Dora was brought to Freud for analysis by her father because of hysterical symptoms and threatened suicide. Dora rejected Freud's interpretations and fled before her treatment was over. Why did she leave and what did Freud learn from his apparent failure? Lisa talks to psychoanalyst and writer, Susie Orbach to find out why 'Dora' would lead to the invention of one of psychoanalysis's most important tools.