A Brief History of Failure

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal,” said Winston Churchill. The American satirist Joe Queenan disagrees and rails against the very idea of failure. His sharpest attack is reserved for the supposed romance of defeat. From Braveheart in Scotland via the heretic Cathars in France to the pretend soldiers in Virginia still re-enacting the American Civil War, Queenan explores whether there may be something noble about losing a war.
“I’m in the south, at one of the many re-enactment battles of the American civil war that go on every year. Thousands have turned up to re-fight a war they lost. We don’t do this in the north – it would be odd, and divisive, perhaps even inflammatory. But the memories of a conflict that took place over 150 years down here – they don’t go away.”
Contributions from classics professor Edith Hall; historian Geoffrey Regan; writer Armando Iannucci; former political correspondent and Strictly star John Sergeant; plus music from Laura Marling, Viv Albertine of the Slits and rock and roll’s greatest failure, John Otway. Produced by Miles Warde.

Archive on 4 | 14th February 2017

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