Andrew Marr is joined from the Cheltenham Literature Festival by Simon Schama to talk about his new book and BBC TV series, The American Future. Journalist Christina Lamb discusses the prospects for Pakistan and Afghanistan, correspondent Robert Fox talks about the reliability of the eye witness and writer Jenny Uglow on the relationship between artists and poets in the Romantic period.

The US election of 2008 has been described as ‘historic’ for many reasons – and not just for the presence of an African-American on the Democratic ticket. In his new TV series and book, SIMON SCHAMA explores four key issues of this election - the economy, war, religion and American identity - and finds out what we can learn about today’s election from their role in US history. The American Future: A History is published by Bodley Head and the accompanying television series continues on BBC Two on Fridays.

Foreign correspondent CHRISTINA LAMB first travelled to Afghanistan at the age of 21 and has reported the country’s chronic instability and conflict for almost 20 years. Drawing on her experience, Lamb argues that nothing can be done about the current grim situation unless the West recognises that the conflict against the Taleban is inextricably intertwined with what is happening over the border in Pakistan. She is currently writing a book on Afghanistan and Pakistan called Not A Shot Fired.

For the last 40 years, ROBERT FOX has reported from the Falklands, the Middle East, Northern Ireland and Italy. His latest work, however, is an anthology of other people’s reports, ranging from Herodotus’ accounts of Egypt to the Baghdad bloggers writing about the current conflict in Iraq. He debates the crucial role of the eyewitness. Eyewitness to History, a four-volume anthology, is edited by Robert Fox and published by The Folio Society.

The biographer JENNY UGLOW has turned her attention to the relationships between British writers and artists in the Romantic period. She examines the connections between the engraver Bewick and Wordsworth and their contrasting approaches to nature. Words & Pictures: Writers, Artists and a Peculiarly British Tradition is published by Faber and Faber.

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45 minutes

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Mon 13 Oct 2008 21:30