9 May 2024

IWM London

£20

Limited availability and advance booking only.

The Story of One of Britain's Greatest Wartime Authors

Join us at IWM London as we welcome two titles by acclaimed author Alexander Baron to the Imperial War Museum Wartime Classics series. A special In Conversation With: event featuring curators, authors and Alexander Baron's son, Nick. They will discuss his life and work, particularly his wartime trilogy, From the City, From the Plough; There's No Home and The Human Kind, which all draw heavily on his own wartime experiences.

Finish your evening with after-hours entry to IWM's Second World War Galleries, where you can learn more about the historical context of Baron's novels.

About Alexander Baron

Portrait of Alexander Baron

Alexander Baron, born in 1917 into a working-class Jewish family in London's East End, was a soldier and author renowned for his evocative depiction of wartime experiences. His early life unfolded against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the ominous rise of fascism in Europe. Enlisting in the British Army during the Second World War, Baron served with the Pioneer Corps in Sicily, Italy and France. 

His first-hand encounters during the war profoundly influenced his literary creations, shown in his novels From the City, From the Plough; The Human Kind and There's No Home.

Additionally, he explored the gritty reality of London's East End in novels such as The Lowlife and King Dido. Following his death in 1999, Baron's works experienced a resurgence in both audience and critical acclaim.

About the Books

  • The front cover of 'From The City, From the Plough' by Alexander Baron, showing a patrol of British soldiers walking along a misty road.
    © IWM
    From The City, From The Plough

    June 1944, the south coast of England. The Fifth Battalion, Wessex Regiment wait patiently and nervously for the order to embark. There is boredom and fear, comedy and pathos as the men - all drawn from different walks of life - await the order to move

    From The City, From The Plough is a vivid and moving account of the fate of these men as they set off for Normandy and advance into France.

    From The City, From The Plough is available to buy from IWM's Online Shop.

  • The front cover of There's No Home by Alexander Baron, depicting British soldiers marching down an Italian street during the Second World War.
    © IWM
    There's No Home

    First published in 1950, There's No Home vividly illuminates the experiences of the Eighth Army in Italy during the Second World War. Taking place during a lull in combat, There's No Home focuses on the emotional turmoil which affected both the soldiers and the Italian civilians living in the warzone. 

    Drawing from his own first-hand encounters as a soldier, Baron skilfully depicts an authentic experience of war. 

  • The front cover of The Human Kind by Alexander Baron, an illustration depicts British soldiers wading through the sea to shore, while a town burns in the distance.
    © IWM
    The Human Kind 

    In The Human Kind Baron shifts his focus back to North-West Europe. A series of short stories, they each offer a comprehensive exploration of the impact of war on society. 

    Baron's keen observations and insightful reflections on the human condition shine through as he captures the complexities of wartime relationships and the resilience of individuals confronting the harsh realities of conflict. 

    The Human Kind was the source material for the classic 1963 film, The Victors.

About the Speakers

Black and white headshot of Iain Macgregor
© Iain Macgregor
Iain MacGregor

The author of Checkpoint Charlie, US Civil War – Battle by Battle and The Lighthouse of Stalingrad, Iain is a successful editor of nonfiction for major publishing houses, as well as publishing tie-ins with archives and podcasts including Imperial War Museums and BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time series with Melvyn Bragg. 

He is also a writer and public speaker on modern history, with pieces in the GuardianBBC History Magazine, the Spectator and the Washington Post. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Headshot of IWM curator, Stephen Walton
© Stephen Walton
Stephen Walton

Stephen Walton is a Senior Curator in the IWM’s Second World War and Mid-20th Century Team. He has written the introductions to the IWM Wartime Classics editions of There’s No Home and The Human Kind.

Headshot of Nick Baron
© Nick Baron
Nick Baron

Nick is the son of Alexander Baron and an Associate Professor in History at the University of Nottingham where his research focuses on 20th century Russian, Soviet and East European history. 

A published author himself, Nick and the historian Colin Holmes have co-edited his father’s Chapters of Accidents: A Writers Memoir, which vividly recounts the experiences of Baron’s youth that shaped him as a writer and provided subject matter for many of his novels. Other work has seen him co-curate an exhibition on post-1945 Displaced Persons in Europe, and he has acted as a consultant to three major British Library exhibitions.

Headshot of author Andrew Whitehead.
© Andrew Whitehead
Andrew Whitehead

Andrew Whitehead is a co-editor, with Susie Thomas and Ken Worpole, of So We Live: the novels of Alexander Baron. He is an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham and an associate editor of History Workshop Journal

His career has been in news journalism, and he was for six years the Editor of BBC World Service News. His latest book, A Devilish Kind of Courage: Anarchists, Aliens and the Siege of Sidney Street, has just been published by Reaktion Books. 

Event Timetable

Swipe for more
Doors open at 6.10pm 6:30pm 7:30pm 7:45pm 8:30pm

Plan your evening

In Conversation With: event begins
Followed by live Q&A

Book Sale
Purchase Alexander Baron's war trilogy.

       

Your chance to explore IWM London's Second World War Galleries
Enjoy an exclusive after-hours viewing.

Event concludes


About Your Ticket

The audience at an 'IWM in Conversation With' event.
© IWM

As a charity, your IWM In Conversation With: ticket purchase helps IWM continue to tell stories for future generations.

Tickets cost just £20 per person (including IWM members) and include:

  • A series of talks within the impressive surroundings of IWM London
  • A special Q&A with the speakers, ask your own questions and join the conversation
  • Then enjoy exclusive after-hours entry to IWM's Second World War Galleries.

In addition to your ticket booking, if you can, please purchase your copies of Alexander Baron's war trilogy from our IWM pop up shop on the evening. Every purchase you make supports the work we do.

Spring 2024 Events

Booking for IWM's Spring 2024 events at IWM London and Churchill War Rooms is now open.

You May Also like

Headshot of Dr Tessa Dunlop
Talks and Tours

IWM In Conversation With: Dr Tessa Dunlop

Churchill War Rooms
4 June 2024

Author and historian Clare Mulley
After Hours, Talks and Tours

IWM In Conversation With: Clare Mulley

IWM London
15 May 2024

Headshot of writer and photographer Lewis Bush
After Hours, Talks and Tours

IWM In Conversation With: Lewis Bush

IWM London
21 May 2024