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Start the Week
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6 October 2008
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This week Andrew Marr is joined by Chris Patten, Xinran, Richard Holmes and Andrew Roberts.
CHRIS PATTEN’s career has seen him part of the British government in Northern Ireland, the Minister for Overseas Development, the Environment Secretary, a European Commissioner and, of course, the last Governor of Hong Kong. His latest book draws on his past experience by tackling the big questions about our global condition and future, from terrorism to climate change, epidemic disease to weapons proliferation. And, he says, he still remains an optimist. What Next? Surviving the Twenty-first Century is published by Allen Lane. He is also appearing at the Chester Literature Festival on Wednesday 8 October and the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Tuesday 14 October.

China is facing an extraordinary generation gap, as society’s eldest members keep silent about their experiences through the Cultural Revolution. The writer XINRAN has led a pioneering oral history project, persuading ordinary people to tell their stories of famine, the Long March and serving their country. She uncovers tales that grandparents have kept hidden from their children and grandchildren and ponders the dangers of this history being lost. China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation is published by Chatto & Windus.

Science at the end of the eighteenth century underwent a second revolution, fuelled by Romantic ideas about wonder and discovery. In his book, The Age of Wonder, the biographer RICHARD HOLMES explores the careers of men like Humphry Davy and William Herschel and how their work impacted on everything from ballooning to religion, creating a new people’s science. The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science is published by Harper Press and will be Book of the Week on Radio 4 from 20 October. He’ll be speaking at the Royal Society on Tuesday 7 October.

Why did D-Day happen on June 6 1944? Why did the Allies not take Berlin, Vienna or Prague, and why did they allow the Iron Curtain to descend where it did? Historian ANDREW ROBERTS argues that the answer to these riddles of WWII lie in the personalities and relationships between two political masters - Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt - and the military commanders of their armed forces - the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Alan Brooke and the US Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall. Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West is published by Allen Lane.

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