Military History Circle -CANCELLED
Lunch:1215 (£6 optional) Lecture: 1245.
Professor A.C. Grayling
School of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London
Professor Anthony Grayling MA DPhil (Oxon) FRSA is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a Supernumary Fellow of St Anne's College. He has written and edited many books on philosophy and other subjects; among his most recent are a biography of William Hazlitt and a collection of essays. For several years he wrote the "Last Word" column for the Guardian newspaper and is a regular reviewer for the Literary Review and the Financial Times. He also often writes for the Observer, Economist, Times Literary Supplement, Independent on Sunday and New Statesman, and is a frequent broadcaster on BBC Radios 4, 3 and the World Service. He is the Editor of Online Review London, and Contributing Editor of Prospect magazine. In addition he sits on the editorial boards of several academic journals, and for nearly ten years was the Honorary Secretary of the principal British Philosophical Association, the Aristotelian Society. He is a past chairman of June Fourth, a human rights group concerned with China, and has been involved in UN human rights initiative. Anthony Grayling is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, and a member of its C-100 group on relations between the West and the Islamic world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and in 2003 was a Booker Prize judge. Among the Dead Cities was first published by Bloomsbury in 2006.
Britain and the USA carried out a massive bombing offensive against the cities of Germany and Japan in the course of the Second World War, which ended with the destruction of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Was the bombing of civilian targets justified by the necessities of war? Or was it, in fact, a crime against humanity? How should we, the descendants of the Allies who won the victory in that war, reply to the moral challenge of the descendants of those whose cities were targeted? A.C. Grayling looks at the stands people took, both for and against, and crucially asks what the lessons are that we can learn for today about how people should behave in a world of tension and moral confusion, of terrorism and fragile democracies. Among the Dead Cities is both a lucid and revealing work of modern history and an investigation of conscience into one of the last remaining controversies of that time.