Fascinating Footnotes from History

Fascinating Footnotes by Giles MiltonWith Giles Milton
Did you know that Hitler took cocaine? That Stalin robbed a bank? Were you aware that Agatha Christie went missing for eleven days? That Charlie Chaplin’s corpse was filched and held to ransom? Or that Churchill slaughtered sheep? Do you know who really killed Rasputin? Fascinating Footnotes From History details one hundred of the quirkiest historical nuggets; extraordinary stories that read like fiction but are one hundred per cent fact. Peopled with a gallery of spies, rogues, cannibals, adventurers and slaves, and spanning twenty centuries and six continents, the book sheds light on some of the most infamous stories and most flamboyant and colourful characters from history.
Giles Milton is a writer and historian. He is the internationally bestselling author of Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth, The Riddle and the Knight, White Gold, Samurai William, Paradise Lost, Wolfram and Russian Roulette.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 26 September 2015.

The German War: a nation under arms – Professor Nicholas Stargardt in conversation with John Bowman

The German War by Nicholas StargardtWhen war broke out in September 1939, it was deeply unpopular in Germany. Yet without the active participation and commitment of the German people, it could not have continued for almost six years. What, then, was the war Germans thought they were fighting? How did the changing course of the conflict – the victories of the Blitzkrieg, the first defeats in the east, the bombing of Germany’s cities – change their views and expectations? And when did Germans first realise that they were fighting a genocidal war?
The German War is the first foray for many decades into how the German people experienced WWII. Told from the perspective of those who lived through it – soldiers, schoolteachers and housewives; Nazis, Christians and Jews – its masterful historical narrative sheds fresh and disturbing light on the beliefs, hopes and fears of a people who embarked on and fought to the end a brutal war of conquest and genocide.
Professor Nicholas Stargardt is one of Britain’s foremost scholars of Nazi Germany. He teaches Modern European History at Magdalen College, Oxford.  John Bowman is a broadcaster, author and historian.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 27 September 2015.

The Beautiful Game or the Garrison Game? A History of League of Ireland Football

History Ireland Hedge SchoolWith Donal Fallon, Cormac Moore, Brian Hanley, Ciaran Priestley. Chaired by Tommy Graham
This year’s History Ireland Hedge School will focus on a discussion of the history of League of Ireland football. Why was it called the ‘garrison game’? What were the circumstances of the FAI split with the Belfast-based Irish Football Association in the 1920s? Why are League of Ireland clubs so poorly supported and resourced? Hedge School master Tommy Graham addresses these and related questions with the panel:  and historians Donal Fallon (Come Here To Me blog), Brian Hanley, Cormac Moore and Ciaran Priestley.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 25 September 2015.

Napoleon the Great

Napoleon the Great by Andrew RobertsWith Andrew Roberts
Andrew Roberts’ Napoleon the Great is the definitive modern biography of Napoleon Bonaparte. In the space of just twenty years, from October 1795 when as a young artillery captain he cleared the streets of Paris of insurrectionists, to his final defeat at the battle of Waterloo in June 1815, Napoleon transformed France and Europe. After seizing power in a coup d’etat he ended the corruption and incompetence into which the Revolution had descended. In a series of dazzling battles he reinvented the art of warfare. In peace he completely remade the laws of France and modernized systems of education and administration. Napoleon is often portrayed as a despot but, Andrew Roberts conveys his tremendous energy, both physical and intellectual, and the attractiveness of his personality, even to his enemies.
Andrew Roberts is a biographer and historian of international renown and a Fellow of the Royal Societies of Literature and Arts. His three-part series on Napoleon aired on BBC TV this Summer.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 26 September 2015.

Commemorating 1916

Padraig PearseWith Diarmaid Ferriter, Anne Dolan, John A. Murphy & Eamon Phoenix. Moderator Jane Ohlmeyer.
In 2011 the Government announced its intention “to properly commemorate the centenary of the great events of 1916”. The emphasis on “proper” commemoration suggested a certain caution about what might be construed as “improper” appropriation of 1916. Since then the debate has raged on how to properly celebrate the foundation story of the Irish state with a broad spectrum of views expressed. Some advocate proud and unashamed celebration of the sacrifice of the men of 1916; others counter with concern about the legitimacy of violence and the need to respect sensitivities towards all-island perspectives. Consensus, for now, seems a long way off. A distinguished panel debates the issues.
Diarmaid Ferriter is Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD. Anne Dolan is a lecturer in Modern Irish History at Trinity College, Dublin. John A. Murphy is Emeritus Professor of History at University College Cork. Eamon Phoenix is Principal Lecturer in History at Stranmillis University College, Queen’s University Belfast. Jane Ohlymeyer is Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 25 September 2015.

Lord Edward and “Faithful Tony” The story of Tony Small, valet to Lord Edward Fitzgerald

Stella TillyardStella Tillyard in conversation with Marion Lyons
Citizen Lord is the title of Stella Tillyard’s bestselling biography of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, one of the most fascinating characters in Irish history. Tony Small was a runaway American slave who rescued Lord Edward from the battlefield in South Carolina in 1781 and nursed him back to health. Lord Edward offered him a job and for the next decade Tony was with Lord Edward constantly – in North America, in Paris after the Revolution, in Dublin and Kildare. At some point after Lord Edward’s death in 1798, Tony left Dublin for London and died there sometime after 1805. What might Tony’s story tell us about colonialism? How did people of colour and minorities experience Dublin in the late eighteenth century? What are the implications of Tony’s story for the writing of history?
Stella Tillyard is an historian and author of several books including the best-selling Aristocrats. Professor Marion Lyons is Head of the Department of History in Maynooth University.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 26 September 2015.

Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists fought and died together in the First World War

Belfast Boys by Richard GraysonRichard Grayson in conversation with John Horne
This is the story of men from either side of West Belfast’s sectarian divide who went to fight in the Great War. Richard Grayson follows the volunteers of the 36th and 16th divisions who fought on the Somme and side-by-side at Messines, recovering the history of the forgotten West Belfast servicemen, and the traumatic lives they endured after the war. In so doing, he tells a new story which challenges popular perceptions of the war and explains why remembrance remains so controversial in Belfast today.
September 2015 marks the centenary of the death of Grayson’s own great-uncle from Lurgan who served and died on the Western Front in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.
Richard S. Grayson is Professor of Twentieth Century History at the University of London. John Horne is Professor of Modern European History at Trinity College, Dublin.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 26 September 2015.

Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar

Dynasty by Tom HollandTom Holland in conversation with Zuleika Rodgers
After conquering the world, the great Roman republic collapsed. Rome was drowned in blood. So terrible were the civil wars that the Roman people finally came to welcome the rule of an autocrat who could give them peace: Augustus – “The Divinely Favoured One”. The lurid glamour of the dynasty founded by Augustus has never faded. Now, in the sequel to Rubicon, Tom Holland gives a dazzling portrait of Rome’s first imperial dynasty. Dynasty traces the full story of Roman rule: its allure and the blood-steeped shadows cast by its crimes. It is a world populated by murderers and metrosexuals, adulterers and druids, scheming grandmothers and reluctant gladiators. Dynasty is the portrait of a family that transformed and stupefied Rome.
Tom Holland is one of Britain’s greatest popular historians and a best-selling author of several works on classical and medieval history. He is also a novelist and documentary film-maker. Professor Zuleika Rodgers is Head of the Department of Near & Middle East Studies at Trinity College, Dublin.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 26 September 2015.

KL: A History of Nazi Concentration Camps

KL by Nikolaus WachsmannNikolaus Wachsmann in conversation with Robert Gerwarth
By the end of 1945, the SS concentration camp system had become an overwhelming landscape of terror in central Europe. Twenty-two large camps and over one thousand satellite camps throughout Germany and Europe were at the heart of the Nazi campaign of repression and intimidation. Dr Nikolaus Wachsmann is the first historian to write a complete history of the camps, examining the organisation of an immense genocidal machine, whilst drawing a vivid picture of life inside the camps for the individual prisoner. Wachsmann’s superb book looks set to become the standard work on one of humankind’s darkest hours.
Nikolaus Wachsmann is Professor of Modern European History in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. Robert Gerwarth is Professor of Modern History at UCD and Director of the Centre for War Studies.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 26 September 2015.

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan in conversation with David McWilliams
For centuries, fame and fortune was to be found in the west, in the New World of the Americas. Today, the east is taking centre stage in international politics, commerce and culture, shaping the modern world. This region, the true centre of the earth, is obscure to many in the west and yet this is where civilization itself began, where the world’s great religions were born and took root. The Silk Roads linked continents and oceans together. Along them flowed ideas, goods, disease and death. This was where empires were won – and where they were lost. As a new era emerges, the patterns of exchange are mirroring those that have criss-crossed Asia for millennia. The Silk Roads are rising again.
Dr. Peter Frankopan is Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. David McWilliams is an economist, author and broadcaster.

Recorded at Printworks, Dublin Castle on 26 September 2015.