Sarah Churchwell and Justin Webb on America past and present

Sarah Churchwell and Justin Webb on America past and present

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Join acclaimed historian Sarah Churchwell in conversation with Justin Webb to delve into American myth-making and denialism past and present

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Join 5x15 for an online event with the acclaimed historian Sarah Churchwell in conversation with Today presenter Justin Webb to delve into American myth-making and denialism past and present.

In THE WRATH TO COME: Gone with the Wind and the Lies America Tells, historian Sarah Churchwell uses one of the most enduringly popular stories of all time as a lens through which to examine the divisions ripping apart the United States today. Sarah will be joined in conversation by Justin Webb, the longest serving presenter of BBC Radio 4's flagship news and current affairs programme Today. For eight years, Webb was the BBC’s chief correspondent in Washington DC, and he won the Political Journalist of the Year award for his coverage of the Obama presidential campaign.

Gone with the Wind was an instant bestseller when it was published in 1936; its film version became the most successful Hollywood film of all time. Today the story's racism is again a subject of controversy, but it was just as controversial in the 1930s, foreshadowing today's debates over race and American fascism.

Separating fact from fiction, Churchwell shows how histories of myth-making have informed America's racial and gender politics, the controversies over Confederate statues, the resurgence of white nationalism, the Black Lives Matter movement, the enduring power of the American Dream, and the violence of Trumpism.

Charting an extraordinary journey through 160 years of American denialism, Churchwell shows what happens when we do violence to history, as collective denial turns fictions into lies, and lies into a vicious reality.

Praise for The Wrath To Come:

'At times the narrative took my breath away' Philippe Sands

'Eye-opening and at times jaw-dropping' Peter Frankopan

'One of the must-reads of the year' Suzannah Lipscomb

'Brilliant and provocative' Gavin Esler

Sarah Churchwell is Professorial Fellow in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is the author of Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream and Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby. She was co-winner of the 2015 Eccles British Library Writer's Award and long-listed for the 2021 Orwell Prize for Journalism.

Justin Webb is the longest serving presenter of BBC Radio 4's flagship news and current affairs programme Today. He joined the BBC in 1984 as a trainee, and has reported from around the world, as a war correspondent in the Gulf and in Bosnia, on the break-up of the former Soviet Union and the first democratic elections in South Africa. He was Europe Correspondent when the Euro was introduced, and for eight years he was the chief correspondent in Washington DC. He's a regular columnist in The Times and for the Unherd website. His most recent book is The Gift of a Radio, a memoir of his 70s childhood.

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