Main content

This month, as the gears of government grind to a standstill on both sides of the Atlantic, Sarah Dunant looks to historical deadlocks and the radical ways they were resolved.

Sarah Dunant presents a monthly dive into stories from the past that might help us make sense of today.

This month, as the gears of government grind to a standstill on both sides of the Atlantic, Sarah looks to historical deadlocks and the sometimes radical ways they were resolved.

From the elder statesman called from his plough to become Rome’s first benign dictator, through the random selection of citizens resolving bitter conflicts in Imperial China, Medieval Florence and beyond, to the figure of St Hild the Anglo-Saxon woman whose grace in defeat sealed the future of Christianity in Britain - Sarah traces stories of paralysed systems and deep divisions, to shed a little light on how today’s entrenched leaders and struggling democracies might find a route out of impasse.

Sarah’s guests are:
Professor Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, University of Kent
Professor Yves Sintomer, University of Paris 8
Dr Hetta Howes, City, University of London
Dr Luke Pitcher, University of Oxford

Presenter: Sarah Dunant
Readers: Keith Wickham and Karina Fernandez

Producers: Natalie Steed and Nathan Gower
Executive Producer: David Prest

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

28 minutes

Broadcast

Podcast