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Anne McElvoy discusses violence with historians Richard Bessel and Diana Preston, academic Helen Benedict and June Oscar, advocate for Aboriginal rights in Australia.

On Start the Week Anne McElvoy discusses our obsession with violence. The historian Richard Bessel explores its past ubiquity, but argues that our modern attitudes towards it have changed. There's little change in the attitudes towards women in the armed forces, according to a play by the academic Helen Benedict. Diana Preston sees history repeating itself as weapons of mass destruction continue to be used in much the same way as a century ago. For June Oscar, an Indigenous leader from North Western Australia, the history of her people has been dominated by the violent struggle with settlers from the 1770s.
Producer: Katy Hickman.

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43 minutes

Last on

Mon 27 Apr 2015 21:30

Richard Bessel

Richard Bessel is Professor of Twentieth Century History at the University of York.

Violence: A Modern Obsession is published by Simon & Schuster.

June Oscar

June Oscar is the Chief Executive Officer of Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre in Australia and a champion for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

June is giving a talk at King’s College London on Wednesday 29 April: Encountering Truth: The Real Life Stories of Objects from Empire’s Frontier and Beyond.

The exhibition Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation is at the British Museum until 2 August.

Diana Preston

Diana Preston is a historian, writer and broadcaster.

A Higher Form of Killing: Six Weeks in World War I That Forever Changed the Nature of Warfare is published by Bloomsbury Press.

Helen Benedict

Helen Benedict is a professor of journalism at Columbia University and a novelist, journalist and playwright specialising in issues of social justice.

The Lonely Soldier Monologues is on at the Cockpit Theatre in London from 6 - 31 May.

The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq is out in paperback.

Helen is taking part in Women in Conflict: violence, injustice and power at the LSE on Tuesday 28 April.


Role Contributor
Presenter Anne McElvoy
Interviewed Guest Richard Bessel
Interviewed Guest Diana Preston
Interviewed Guest Helen Benedict
Interviewed Guest June Oscar
Producer Katy Hickman


  • Mon 27 Apr 2015 09:00
  • Mon 27 Apr 2015 21:30