The Concubine who Launched Modern China

Jung Chang in conversation with Caitríona Crowe.
Empress Dowager Cixi; The Concubine Who Launched Modern China is Wild Swans author Jung Chang‘s first book in eight years, and tells the extraordinary story of a concubine who rose through the ranks by producing an heir and on the death of Xianfeng in 1861, installed herself as sole regent for her son. She went on to rule China for 47 years. Under her stewardship the ancient country attained all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, telegraph, and an army and navy with up-to-date weaponry. It was she who abolished gruesome punishments like ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and put an end to foot-binding. She inaugurated women’s liberation, and embarked on the path to introduce parliamentary elections to China. Jung Chang comprehensively overturns the conventional view of Cixi as a die-hard conservative and cruel despot.
Caitríona Crowe is head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 28th September 2013.

Duel Personalities

James Larkin, William Martin Murphy and the 1913 Lockout.
With Historian Padraig Yeates & Actors Bryan Murray, Barry McGovern The 1913 Lockout convulsed the city of Dublin for several months and was by any reckoning the most significant industrial dispute in Irish history. But the clash was not only between 20,000 workers and 300 employers, it was also a battle between two extraordinary men, William Martin Murphy for the employers and James Larkin for the ITGWU. For Murphy, James Larkin was a dangerous revolutionary hell-bent on destroying his business. For Larkin, Murphy was a class enemy determined to prevent the unionisation of the workforce, thus perpetuating the grinding poverty of the Dublin slums. The antagonism between these men is captured in some of the memorable speeches they gave in 1913 and this event dramatises them with a leading Lockout historian and two of Ireland’s best-known actors.

Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 28th September 2013.

Unofficial Histories

With Donal Fallon, Mark Little, Jane Ohlmeyer & moderator Joe Duffy
History is written, it is said, by the victors or by those official and elite historians of the winning side. But there are many other versions of the past. In Unofficial Histories the panel will discuss how society produces, presents, and consumes history and explore the interactions between competing and corresponding impulses in history-making: the scholarly and the political; the academic and the everyday; the traditional media and the new social media which can beam news across continents in an instant. Donal Fallon writes primarily on the social history of the Irish capital and runs Come Here To Me, a group blog that focuses on the life and culture of Dublin city. Mark Little runs Storyful, the first news agency of the social media age filtering breaking news amid the noise of the internet.
Professor Jane Ohlmeyer is Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History at Trinity College Dublin.
Joe Duffy is the presenter of Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1.

Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 28th September 2013.

The Downfall of Money

Frederick Taylor in conversation with David Murphy. The early years of the Weimar Republic in Germany witnessed the most complete and terrifying unravelling of a major country’s financial system to have occurred in modern times. The story of the financial crisis has a clear resonance now, when the world is anxious once more about what money is, what it means and how we can judge if its value is true.  Taylor’s new book, The Downfall of Money; Germany’s hyperinflation and the destruction of the Middle Class reveals the real causes of the crisis, what this collapse meant to ordinary people, and also traces its connection to Germany’s subsequent catastrophic political history, to provide a timely, fresh and surprising look at this chilling period in history.
David Murphy is a writer and the Business Editor of RTÉ News.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 28th September 2013.

The Story of the Jews

Simon Schama in conversation with Myles Dungan. Simon Schama’s book, The Story of the Jews, is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds. It takes you to unimagined places. And a great story unfolds. Not, as often imagined, of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world imprinted by many diverse peoples; from Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians. Which makes the story of the Jews everyone’s story. Simon Schama ranks among the world’s most popular communicators on matters historical and we’re delighted to offer this opportunity to hear him discuss his new book with Myles Dungan.
Myles Dungan is a historian and presenter of The History Show on RTÉ Radio 1.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 27th September 2013.

Truth, Lies and Historical Fiction

With Robert Goddard, Katharine McMahon and Tim Severin and+ moderator Sean Rocks. Cynics characterise historical fiction as flawed and unreliable history which is to misunderstand its essential nature. History tells us what people do; historical fiction helps us imagine how they felt. And yet, historical novelists differ hugely in their modes of telling stories. Is fidelity to established historical facts strictly to be observed? How much licence may an author use when dealing with historical figures and periods? Is invention more important than research or vice versa?
Historical fiction is currently enjoying a period of massive popularity and here is a marvellous opportunity to hear three leading practitioners discuss their personal approaches to the genre.
Sean Rocks is the presenter of Arena on RTÉ Radio 1.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 27th September 2013.

The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945

Richard Overy in conversation with Robert Gerwarth. The Bombing War is a major new book on one of the most controversial military issue of World War Two by one of Britain’s greatest historians, Richard Overy. It is the first book to examine seriously not just the most well-known parts of the campaign, but the significance of bombing on many other fronts – the German use of bombers on the Eastern Front for example (as well as much newly discovered material on the more familiar ‘Blitz’ on Britain), or the Allied campaigns against Italian cities. The result is a rich, gripping picture of the Second World War and the terrible military, technological and ethical issues at play in the conflict.
Robert Gerwarth is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for War Studies at University College Dublin.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 27th September 2013.

The Dublin Lecture: Daniel O’Connell: The Liberator

Patrick M. Geoghegan in conversation with Ryan Tubridy
Following the winning of Catholic Emancipation in 1829, Daniel O’Connell was recognised as one of the leading figures on the world stage. He was hailed as ‘the defender of Ireland’, the man who had ‘incarnated in himself a people’. Identified as the champion of the weak and the oppressed, he became famous internationally for his opposition to slavery in all its forms. O’Connell was the first democratically elected Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1841. Patrick Geoghegan will discuss the dramatic final years of O’Connell’s life and career, charting his remarkable rise and fall in the 1830s and his political resurrection in the 1840s when he rolled back the years to lead a new national movement, and confirmed his reputation as the man who Gladstone believed was the ‘Moses of Ireland’.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 27th September 2013.

In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World

Tom Holland in conversation with Michael Ryan. In the Shadow of the Sword explores how a succession of great empires came to identify themselves with a new and revolutionary understanding of the divine. It is a story vivid with drama, horror and startling achievement, and features many of the most remarkable rulers ever seen. The book is also a dazzlingly colourful journey into the world of late antiquity and every bit as thrilling a narrative history as Holland’s previous works which include the prize-winning Rubicon; the triumph and tragedy of the Roman Republic. Tom Holland has the rare gift of making deep scholarship accessible and exciting. Michael Ryan is a former Director of the Chester Beatty Library.

Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 27th September 2013.

Birth of a Nation

Ronan Fanning & Charles Townshend in conversation with John Borgonovo. Ronan Fanning’s Fatal Path; British Government and Irish Revolution, 1910-1922 is a magisterial narrative of the most turbulent decade in Anglo-Irish history. It was a time when violence and the threat of violence trumped democratic politics and, argues Fanning, it worked, however much this view offends our contemporary moral sensibilities. Charles Townshend’s The Republic; The Fight for Irish Independence, 1918-1923 dovetails perfectly with Fanning’s book, taking us from the War of Independence through the Civil War and shows how the betrayals and grim compromises put the new nation into a state of trauma for at least a generation. Thus was the new republic born.
John Borgonovo is a history lecturer in University College Cork.

Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 26th September 2013.