Looking for something different to do this month? What could be more exciting than exploring new ideas and worlds with their creators? At the Hungerford Bookshop, we are believers in opening up book discussion and giving our customers access to the many brilliant authors out there. Take a look at some of the acclaimed writers we have hosted over the years. Our events are always held at one of the fantastic (and often historic) local venues in Hungerford and ticket prices often include money off the title being discussed and a glass (or two) of wine. See below for our latest events.
Multi award-winning wordsmith extraordinaire, KEN RICH, will get the evening off to a rollicking start as he performs a selection of his poems. Ken won the prestigious Oxford Hammer & Tongue Poetry Slam in 2015 and performs his poetry to much laughter and awe at open mic nights and slams across the country.
Deck open to the audience after Ken. All levels welcome including first-timers. Bring us your most moving verse, your lines of love, or your comic creations. We are a friendly audience.
No theme. Bring along 1-2 poems. Flash fiction welcome (no more than 3 minutes long).
Meet at The Rose under the cnal bridge at 6:45. Booking is essential.
This is a collaborative event between Hungerford Bookshop & Arts For Hungerford.
To herald the start of a season of military history, in a special event the esteemed military historian Sir Antony Beevor talks to General Sir Mike Jackson about his latest bestseller Arnhem: The Battle of the Bridges, 1944. They will debate whether the battle really was doomed from the start and explore the 'what ifs' of the campaign.
The British fascination with heroic failure has clouded the story of Arnhem in myths. Antony Beevor, using often overlooked sources from Dutch, British, American, Polish and German archives, has reconstructed the terrible reality of the fighting. Yet this book, written in Beevor's inimitable and gripping narrative style, is about much more than a single, dramatic battle - it looks into the very heart of war.
'In Beevor's hands, Arnhem becomes a study of national character' - Ben Macintyre, The Times'
'Superb book, tirelessly researched and beautifully written' - Saul David, Daily Telegraph
Sir Antony Beevor FRSL, FRHistS was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst, where he studied military history under John Keegan. He has published four novels, and twelve books of non-fiction. His work has appeared in thirty two foreign languages and sold more than seven million copies. According to the Bookseller, ‘Beevor is the bestselling historian of the BookScan era’.
General Sir Mike Jackson is the best known British General of modern times. He retired in 2006 after almost 45 years' service in the British Army, finishing as its head as Chief of the General Staff. He has served in theatres from the Arctic to the jungle, including three tours of duty in Northern Ireland, and spent most of the first part of his service as an airborne officer.
Join us for a lively debate followed by questions from the audience and a book signing.
Tickets are £10 from Hungerford Bookshop or on-line at ArtsForHungerford.com
Tickets include a glass of wine and £5 off Arnhem on the night. Please book early to avoid disappointment.
From the best-selling author of All Hell Let Loose comes a masterful chronicle of one of the most devastating international conflicts of the 20th century and how its people were affected. Vietnam became the Western world's most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle.
He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh's warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people. Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American.
US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners' victory in privation and oppression.
Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas. No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings' readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges.
He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record. Three years in the making, this is one of the non-fiction publishing events of the year. Sir Max Hastings was 23 when he reported from this conflict. This is sure to be an excellent event.
Early booking is recommended. Tickets £8 from Hungerford Bookshop or on-line at ArtsForHungerford.com
7:30pm The Croft Hall
Historian Ben Macintyre, author of Agent Zig-Zag and SAS Rogue Heroes, will be talking about his new book The Spy & the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (published on 20th September).
A thrilling Cold War story about a KGB double agent, by one of Britain's greatest historians. On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket.
The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB.
The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of spying. Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever...
7:30pm Croft Hall, Hungerford. Tickets £8 (includes a glass of wine and £5 off the book on the night) from Hungerford Bookshop or on-line at ArtsForHungerford.com
During the third week of February 1944, the combined Allied air forces based in Britain and Italy launched their first-ever round-the-clock bomber offensive against Germany. The aim was to smash the main factories and production centres of the Luftwaffe and at the same time draw the German fighter force up into the air and into battle. Officially called Operation ARGUMENT, this monumental air assault was very quickly became known simply as Big Week.
In the six months up to its launch, for the Allies, the bomber war was not turning out as planned. Raids by the US Eighth Air Force and the RAF deep into Germany were being decimated and falling far short of its purpose. With D-Day drawing ever-closer, that was a massive problem.
The Allies needed clear skies to invade. The clock was ticking inexorably. Yet the Luftwaffe was also in crisis.
Short of resources, of fuel, and on properly trained pilots, the strain on those still flying was immense, their losses severe. And despite the chaos of their leadership, they were achieving far more than should have been reasonably expected against the superior numbers of the Allied planes. Big Week is the knife-edged story of bomber against flak gun and fighter, but also, crucially, fighter against fighter, as the stakes rose higher and higher.
Following the fortunes of pilots, aircrew and civilians from both sides, this is a blistering narrative of one of the most critical periods of the entire war, one that culminated in the largest air battle ever witnessed. It is also one that has been largely forgotten, but which has been brilliantly brought back to life by award-winning historian, James Holland.
The author will be giving an illustrated talk about the subject of his book, followed by a Q&A and a signing afterwards.
Wednesday October, 17th at Hungerford Town Hall (Corn Exchange).
Tickets are £8 (which include a glass of wine and £5 off the book on the night) from Hungerford Bookshop or on-line at ArtsForHungerford.com
This is a very special bookshop. Seriously diverse and fascinating authors come to talk about their books. All in all, it gives a new dimension to Hungerford and is one of the main reasons it would be hard to move to a new area!
Belinda Coote, Customer