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Start the Week
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10 November 2008
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image: andrew marr
This week Andrew Marr is joined by Stefan Aust, Sara Maitland, James Hall and Jo Marchant.
The Baader-Meinhof Gang was the first serious challenge to post-war Germany, provoking a state backlash with new anti-terrorist laws, according to the journalist STEFAN AUST. His updated book, The Baader-Meinhof Complex, has been made into a controversial film and he explains the significance of the group, its brutality and his own personal entanglement with some of their members. The Baader-Meinhof Complex is published by Bodley Head and the film of the same name is released on Friday 14 November.

The writer SARA MAITLAND has been pursuing silence, from retreats in the Sinai desert to solitary stays in Skye. She describes the different kind of silences she has experienced and how it has had an unexpected effect on her creative life. A Book of Silence is published by Granta.

The art critic JAMES HALL believes that left and right symbolism is the lost key to understanding Western art. He argues that only by understanding the history of the sinister left side can we appreciate the full implication of depictions such as the crucifixion or Leibovitz's portraits of the Queen. The Sinister Side: How Left-Right Symbolism Shaped Western Art is published by Oxford University Press.

Science journalist JO MARCHANT tells the story of the Antikythera mechanism, a mechanical ‘computer’ designed to calculate astronomical positions, which was found in 1901 at the site of an ancient Greek shipwreck of around 70 BC. Its discovery has encouraged a re-evaluation of what scientists and historians have believed about the capabilities of the ancient Greeks, as nothing close to its technological sophistication appears again until the invention of astronomical clocks in medieval Europe well over a millennium later. Marchant explains the 100-year-long process attempting to piece together its purpose and intricate workings. Decoding the Heavens is published by William Heinemann.

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