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Radio Recordings





Germany: Memories of a Nation - 30 Reichstag

BBC Radio 4
Neil MacGregor began his journey through 600 years of German history at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and ends it at the Reichstag, seat of the German Parliament. These two extraordinary buildings, only a few hundred yards apart, carry in their very stones the political history of the country.


Great Lives - Captain James Cook

Greg Dyke
James Cook is one of Britain's foremost explorers. His three voyages to the Pacific added greatly to the fields of navigation, anthropology and biology. His aim was to go, "farther than any man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for a man to go".
History


In Our Time - Thoreau and the American Idyll

Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg discusses the life and ideas of the 19th century American writer and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. His guests this week are Kathleen Burk, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London; Tim Morris, Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Dundee; and Stephen Fender, Honorary Professor in English at University College London.
Literature Books%%%Radio-Recordings%%%History

In Our Time - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg and guests Roy Foster, Jeri Johnson and Katherine Mullin discuss A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce's groundbreaking 1916 novel about growing up in Catholic Ireland. Many novelists choose their own young life as the subject for their first book. But very few have subjected themselves to the intense self-scrutiny of the great Irish novelist James Joyce. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, published in 1916, Joyce follows his alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, from babyhood to young adulthood. He takes us from Stephen wetting the bed, through a teenage visit to a prostitute, and on through religious terrors to the prospect of freedom. When it was published, the book met with shock at its graphic honesty. Joyce shows Stephen wrestling with the pressures of his family, his Church and his nation. Yet this was far from being a straightforward youthful tirade. Joyce's novel is also daringly experimental, taking us deep into Stephen's psyche. And since its publication almost a century ago, it has had a huge influence on novelists across the world. With: Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History and Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford Jeri Johnson, Senior Fellow in English at Exeter College, Oxford Katherine Mullin, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Leeds.
Literature Books%%%Radio-Recordings%%%History


In Our Time - Architecture and power

Melvyn Bragg
The role which architecture has played in our public life throughout history, whether in homage to an individual or as a monument to an institution or ideology, has always been a potent symbol of wealth, status and power. From castles to cathedrals, from the pyramids to Canary Wharf, architecture has always served to glorify in some way the animating ideal of the time. Why is architecture such a powerful form of expression? Have architects concerned themselves mainly with the masses, or restricted their designs to the demands and aspirations of the elite? What can a country’s buildings tell us about its ideas of its own past and present identity?
Radio-Recordings%%%Built Environment & Architecture%%%History



In Our Time - Babylon

Melvyn Bragg
Six thousand years ago, between the Tigris and the Euphrates, the first cities were being built. The great empire to spring from the region was Babylon, which held sway for over a thousand years and in that time managed to garner an extraordinarily bad press: it’s associated with the Tower of Babel, with Nineveh where Jonah is sent to preach repentance and, perhaps most famously, with “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth” - the whore of Babylon, who in Revelation is taken to personify the city itself. It’s not just the Bible; Herodotus described the Babylonians as effeminate, lascivious and decadent as well. But what is the true story? Classics in this country has meant a study of Greece and Rome, but there is an increasingly vocal contingent that claims that Babylonian culture has been hugely undervalued, and that there is a great wealth of extraordinary literature waiting to be translated.
History

In Our Time - Bismarck: The Iron Chancellor

Richard J Evans, Christopher Clark & Katharine Lerman
Otto von Bismarck was one of Europe's leading statesmen in the 19th Century and credited with the unification of Germany. He had a voracious ambition for his home state Prussia and made it supreme among other states in the German Confederation. After vanquishing Austria and France, he led the new industrialising Germany, managing to remain in power for a further two decades. He founded one of Europe's first welfare states. But he was also known for his ruthless tactics, ignoring democratic institutions if they blocked his will and never afraid to dabble in dirty politics, leaking opportunely to the press and bribing journalists. Bismarck said: “The art of statesmanship is to steer a course on the stream of time.” So was the unification of Germany a carefully planned campaign or a series of unpredictable events that Bismarck made the most of? How did his encouragement of nationalism bear fruit in Nazi Germany? And what is his legacy today in contemporary Germany?
History

In Our Time - Black Holes

Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Black Holes. They are the dead collapsed ghosts of massive stars and they have an irresistible pull: their dark swirling, whirling, ever-hungry mass has fascinated thinkers as diverse as Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen Hawking and countless science fiction writers.
History
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In Our Time - Catherine the Great

Melvyn Bragg
In Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery hangs perhaps the most well-known picture of Russia's most well-known ruler. Dimitri Levitsky's 1780 'Portrait of Catherine the Great in the Justice Temple' depicts Catherine in the temple burning poppies at an altar, symbolising her sacrifice of self-interest for Russia. Law books and the scales of justice are at her feet, highlighting her respectful promotion of the rule of law. But menacingly, in the background an eagle crouches, suggesting the means to use brutal power where necessary. This was one of many images that Catherine commissioned that demonstrated her skill at manipulation and reinvention. For an obscure, small town, German princess her ambition was large - the transformation of a semi-barbaric country into a model of the ideals of the French 18th century Enlightenment. How far was Catherine able to lead her country into full participation in the political and cultural life of Europe? Was she able to liberate the serfs? And should she be remembered as Russia's most civilised ruler or a megalomaniacal despot?
History

In Our Time - Childhood

Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss childhood. The 20th Century was proclaimed the Century of the Child. It has been much else but in the western world the position, the possibilities, the meaning and the story of childhood have been changed, for many, monumentally
History
pdf

In Our Time - China: The Warring States Period

Melvyn Bragg
400 BC to 200 AD is known as the Axial Age, when great civilisations in Asia and the Mediterranean forged the ideas that dominated the next two thousand years. In China the equivalent to the Golden Age in Greece was the Warring States Period. It was a time of political turmoil, economic change and intellectual ferment that laid the foundations for the first Chinese Empire. Astronomy was systematised, the principles of Yin and Yang were invented, Confucianism grew and Taoism emerged, as a hundred schools of thought are reputed to have vied for the patronage of rival kings. Why was a period of war such a fertile age for culture and thought, what kinds of ideas were developed and how do they still inform the thinking of nearly a fifth of the world’s population?
History

In Our Time - Climate Change

Melvyn Bragg
With Sir John Houghton, Co-Chair of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change - the United Nations’ global warming science committee; George Monbiot, environmentalist, journalist and Visiting Professor, Department of Philosophy, Bristol University.
History
pdf

In Our Time - Darwin the Genius of Evolution - Part 1

Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn tells the story of Darwin's early life in Shropshire and discusses the significance of the three years he spent at Cambridge, where his interests shifted from religion to natural science. Featuring contributions from Darwin biographer Jim Moore, geneticist at University College London Steve Jones, fellow of Christ's College Cambridge David Norman and assistant librarian at Christ's College Cambridge Colin Higgins.
History




In Our Time - Economic Rights

Melvyn Bragg
Is democracy the truest conduit of capitalism, or do the forces that make us rich run counter to the democratic institutions that safeguard our rights?With Professor Amartya Sen, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Science; Will Hutton, former Editor of The Observer, Director of The Industrial Society and author of The State We’re In.
History
pdf


In Our Time - Evil

Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the concept of evil. With Jones Erwin, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Limerick; Stephen Mulhall, Tutor in Philosophy at New College, Oxford University; Margaret Atkins, Lecturer in Theology at Trinity and All Saints College, University of Leeds.
History
pdf

In Our Time - Field of the Cloth of Gold

Melvyn Bragg
In the spring of 1520 six thousand Englishmen and women packed their bags and followed their King across the sea to France. They weren't part of an invasion force but were attendants to King Henry VIII and travelling to take part in the greatest and most conspicuous display of wealth and culture that Europe had ever seen. They were met by Francis I of France and six thousand French noblemen and servants on English soil in Northern France and erected their temporary palaces, elaborate tents, jousting pavilions and golden fountains spewing forth red, white and claret wine in the Val D'Or. For just over two weeks they created a temporary town the size of Norwich, England's second city, on the 'Camp du Drap D'Or', or Field of the Cloth of Gold. What drove the French and the English to create such an extraordinary event? What did the two sides do when they got there, and what - if anything - was achieved?
History

In Our Time - George Washington and the American Revolution

Melvyn Bragg
In 1774 a tobacco farmer from Virginia with nice manners and a quiet lifestyle was moved to put himself forward as the military leader of the most massive rebellion the British Empire had ever suffered. George Washington had been a stout upholder of the status quo, regularly lending money to his ne’r-do-well neighbour simply to keep him in the plantation to which he had become accustomed. He even wrote a book on how to behave properly in polite society. What drove him to revolution? Washington may have been a moral man, but by anyone’s account he was no scholar; the American constitution is one of the great Enlightenment documents, who provided its intellectual inspiration?
History