March 12th: Clover Stroud talks to Sarah Langford about ‘My Wild and Sleepless Nights: A Mother’s Story’

Clover Stroud, author of The Wild Other, talks to Sarah Langford about her new book My Wild & Sleepless Nights: A Mother’s Story

Mother to five children, Clover Stroud has navigated family life across two decades, both losing and finding herself. In her touching, provocative and profoundly insightful book, she captures a sense of what motherhood really feels like – how intense, sensuous, joyful, boring, profound and dark it can be. My Wild and Sleepless Nights examines what it means to be a mother, and reveals with unflinching honesty the many conflicting emotions that this entails: the joy and the wonder, the loneliness and despair.

‘The best evocation of the all-consuming, self-eroding reality of motherhood, while also being luminous with love.’ – Sunday Times

Charting the course of one year, the first in her youngest child’s life, Clover searches for answers to questions that many of us would be too afraid to admit to – not only about motherhood, but also about female sexuality and identity. Her story will speak to all mothers, and anyone about to embark on that journey.

April 15th: Crucible of Hell: Okinawa – the Last Great Battle of the Second World War by Saul David

From award-winning historian Saul David, an action-packed and powerful new narrative of the Battle of Okinawa – the last great clash of the Second World War, and one that had profound consequences for the modern world. For eighty-three blood-soaked days, the fighting on the island of Okinawa plumbed depths of savagery as bad as anything seen on the Eastern Front. When it was over, almost a quarter of a million people had lost their lives, making it by far the bloodiest US battle of the Pacific.

In Okinawa, the death toll included thousands of civilians lost to mass suicide, convinced by Japanese propaganda that they would otherwise be raped and murdered by the enemy. On the US side, David argues that the horror of the battle ultimately determined President Truman’s choice to use atomic bombs in August 1945. It is a brutal, heart-rending story, and one David tells with masterly attention to detail: the cramped cockpit of a kamikaze plane, the claustrophobic gun turret of a warship under attack, and a half-submerged foxhole amidst the squalor and battle detritus.

The narrative follows generals, presidents and emperors, as well as the humbler experiences of ordinary servicemen and families on both sides, and the Okinawan civilians who were caught so tragically between the warring parties. Using graphic eyewitness accounts and declassified documents from archives in three continents, Saul David illuminates a shocking chapter of history that is too often missing from Western-centric narratives of the Second World War.

 

Saul David will be giving an illustrated talk at the Croft Hall, Hungerford at 7.30pm on Wednesday 15th April. Tickets £8. Buy on-line here.