Tue, 27 April 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT


Malcolm Gladwell – The Bomber Mafia

In Conversation with Erica Wagner

What is the price of progress? The internationally bestselling author and podcaster joins us with a tale of innovation, obsession, and dreams gone awry with terrifying consequences.

‘When some shiny new idea drops from the heavens, it does not land softly in our laps. It lands hard, on the ground, and shatters.’ – Malcolm Gladwell

In the years before the Second World War, in a sleepy air force base in central Alabama, a small group of renegade pilots put forth a radical idea. What if we made bombing so accurate that wars could be fought entirely from the air? What if we could make the brutal clashes between armies on the ground a thing of the past?

Malcolm Gladwell returns to How To Academy to tells the story of what happened when that dream was put to the test. In this livestream event, he will share the stories of a reclusive Dutch genius and his homemade computer, Winston Churchill’s forbidding best friend, a team of pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard, a brilliant pilot who sang vaudeville tunes to his crew, and the bomber commander, Curtis Emerson LeMay, who would order the bloodiest attack of the Second World War.

What happens when technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war? Find out from one of the most ingenious and sophisticated storytellers of our time.

This livestream event is held in partnership with Penguin Live.

Credit: Celeste Sloman/Redux/eyevine

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Malcolm Gladwell

Bestselling Author and Podcaster

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of six international bestsellers: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, David and Goliath and most recently, Talking to Strangers. He is the host of the podcast Revisionist History, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and co-founder of the audio company Pushkin Industries. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He lives in New York.

Photo Credit: Celeste Sloman/Redux/eyevine

Erica Wagner

Former literary editor of The Times, author and writer for the New Statesman.

Erica Wagner is an author, journalist, and editor.  Her latest book, Chief Engineer, a biography of Washington Roebling, garnered much praise. Twice a judge of the Man Booker Prize, she was literary editor of The Times  for seventeen years, and she is now a contributing writer for New Statesman as well as writing for many publications in Britain and the United States.