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9 June 2008
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This week Andrew Marr is joined by John Laughland, Amitav Ghosh, Simon Critchley and Kate Soper.
The trials of Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein have brought to the world’s attention the growing trend of international tribunals prosecuting former heads of state for crimes against humanity. Organisations in favour of international tribunals have heralded them as a ground-breaking development in the global protection of human rights. However, in his new book, writer and journalist JOHN LAUGHLAND argues that the ‘brave new world’ of international tribunals is ‘neither new nor brave’. A History of Political Trials: From Charles I to Saddam Hussein is published by Peter Lang.

Best known for his sweeping historical epic, The Glass Palace, AMITAV GHOSH is back on epic form with his latest book, Sea of Poppies, the first of a trilogy. Set in 1838, just before the Opium Wars between Britain and China, it’s a sprawling adventure set amongst a multifarious set of migrants on a former slave ship bound from Calcutta for Mauritius. Sea of Poppies is published by John Murray and Amitav will be talking at Daunt Books in London on Thursday 12 June at 7.00pm.

Death, the last great taboo of modern society? Philosopher SIMON CRITCHLEY’s new book is a catalogue of the weird and wonderful ends that philosophers have met over the last three thousand years. He explains why we should not run away from death but look it in the face, and then have a good laugh. The Book of Dead Philosophers is published by Granta Books and Simon will be speaking at the ICA in London on Wednesday 11 June.

Picture the Anglo-American philosopher: seated in his armchair in a stuffy university teaching room, discussing inaccessible questions about logic. Now picture the Continental philosopher: chic, commanding and arguing animatedly in the public eye about politics and ethics. But does this clichéd comparison really hold true? Ahead of a debate about the public intellectual at the London School of Economics, KATE SOPER discusses the role of the philosopher and philosophy in public life both in the UK and on the continent. Kate Soper will be debating ‘The European Exception? The Public Intellectual in Britain’ at the Forum for European Philosophy Thinking in Public at the London School of Economics on Thursday 26 June.

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