Chalke Talk

The podcast from the Chalke Valley History Festival
Released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings


Latest releases

  • 151. EMPIRES IN THE SUN: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE MASTERY OF AFRICA
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    In this talk about the men and ideas that radically changed the course of world history, Lawrence James investigates and analyses how, within a hundred years, Europeans persuaded and coerced Africa into becoming a subordinate part of the modern world. The continent proved to be a magnet for the high-minded, the philanthropic, the unscrupulous and […]

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  • 150. ROBERT KENNEDY: WORKING FOR BOBBY
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    In 1968, a year that saw America divided by the Vietnam War and shocked by the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Steve Isenberg, a 27-year-old political novice, joined the presidential campaign of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He recounts his adventures on the campaign trail and reveals the highs and lows of a campaign that […]

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  • 149. THE WARS OF THE ROSES
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    The Wars of the Roses were fought over thirty bitter years from 1455 to 1485, as rival dynasties from the Houses of York and Lancaster repeatedly clashed in a desperate power struggle for the throne of England. Best-selling author Conn Iggulden uses this period of human drama as the backdrop to his novels and here, […]

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  • 147. AGENT JACK: MI5’s SECRET NAZI HUNTER
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    In June 1940 Britain was Europe’s final bastion of freedom – and Hitler’s next target. But not everyone feared a Nazi invasion: in factories, offices and suburban homes people were determined to hasten it. Robert Hutton exposes the astonishing story of the MI5 agent at the heart of Operation Fifth Column, the covert wartime operation […]

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  • 146. DISRAELI
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    Benjamin Disraeli was the most gifted parliamentarian of the nineteenth century. He twice rose to become Prime Minister, dazzling many with his famous epigrams along the way. Politician Douglas Hurd and political speechwriter Edward Young strip away the myths which surround his career, explore the paradoxes at the centre of his “two lives” and bring […]

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  • 145. ATHELSTAN
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    Athelstan is arguably England’s greatest monarch and here best-selling and award- winning author Tom Holland tells the truly amazing story of how Athelstan built on the foundations of his grandfather and mother to become the first King of a united England.

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  • 144. THE ILIAD
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    Tom Holland, classicist, historian and master storyteller, returns to the Ancient World with his unique, captivating and witty take on Homer’s tale of the Trojan War. A retelling of this most enduring of stories, this is for young and old, and all ages in between.

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  • 143. BRITAIN’S GREATEST BATTLE: IMPHAL AND KOHIMA
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    This epic battle was voted Britain’s Greatest Battle in a poll by the National Army Museum, yet few know or understand why this brutal but decisive engagement was so significant. As James Holland reveals, it deserves greater recognition not just for the extraordinary leadership of General Bill Slim but also for epic heroism and the […]

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  • 142. GENTLEMEN BEHAVING BADLY: EIGHTEENTH CENTURY RAKES AND RASCALS
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    When a pious Swiss traveller visited London in the 1720s, he complained that ‘debauch runs riot with an unblushing countenance’. But just how badly behaved was the average English gentleman? Drawing on diaries, letters and gallows confessions, award-winning author Antonia Hodgson explores the lives of several fascinating rogues – from the amiable to the downright […]

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  • 141. THE WIPERS TIMES
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    The Wipers Times was a newspaper for the troops that was written, edited and printed under extraordinary circumstances by a small group of British soldiers during the First World War. Wry, irreverent and topical, it was, in many ways, a precursor to Private Eye, of which Ian has been editor for many years. Here he discusses this brilliant […]

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