Join us for a virtual Live Talks Los Angeles event:
Sunday, April 25, 2021
3:00pm PT/ 6pm ET
in conversation with Walter Isaacson
discussing his book,
“The Bomber Mafia: A Dream,
a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War“
This event premieres on April 25 at 3pm PT/6pm ET
includes the audio book
(Tickets open to international orders. Your audio book will be e-delivered on pub day, April 27)
Malcolm Gladwell’s exploration of how technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war.
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of six New York Times bestsellers including Talking to Strangers, David and Goliath, Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point. He is the cofounder and president of Pushkin Industries, an audiobook and podcast production company which produces the podcasts Revisionist History; Broken Record, a music interview show; and Solvable, in which Gladwell interviews innovative thinkers with solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The Bomber Mafia began as episodes Revisionist History, and the production team behind that show also produced the audiobook edition. Gladwell appeared at Live Talks Los Angeles for Talking to Strangers (video) and David and Goliath, and previously also interviewed Michael Lewis (video) on our stage.
Walter Isaacson, a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race; Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He previously appeared at Live Talks Los Angeles in conversation with Michael Lewis for his book on da Vinci (video).
In The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War, Malcolm Gladwell weaves together the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in central Alabama, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard to examine one of the greatest moral challenges in modern American history.
Most military thinkers in the years leading up to World War II saw the airplane as an afterthought. But a small band of idealistic strategists had a different view. This “Bomber Mafia” asked: What if precision bombing could, just by taking out critical choke points — industrial or transportation hubs – cripple the enemy and make war far less lethal?
In Revisionist History, Gladwell re-examines moments from the past and asks whether we got it right the first time. In The Bomber Mafia, he steps back from the bombing of Tokyo, the deadliest night of the war, and asks, “Was it worth it?” The attack was the brainchild of General Curtis LeMay, whose brutal pragmatism and scorched-earth tactics in Japan cost thousands of civilian lives but may have spared more by averting a planned US invasion.
Things might have gone differently had LeMay’s predecessor, General Haywood Hansell, remained in charge. As a key member of the Bomber Mafia, Haywood’s theories of precision bombing had been foiled by bad weather, enemy jet fighters, and human error. When he and Curtis LeMay squared off for a leadership handover in the jungles of Guam, LeMay emerged victorious, leading to the darkest night of World War II.
The Bomber Mafia is a riveting tale of persistence, innovation, and the incalculable wages of war.
8pm (Reception: 6:30-7:30pm)
in conversation with Michael Lewis
Leonardo da Vinci
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
$50 General Admission Seat + book
$60 Reserved Section Seat +book
$95 Reception (6:30-7:30pm) + Reserved Section Seat + Book
Walter Isaacson, professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men:Six Friends and the World They Made.
Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects the art produced by history’s most creative genius to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s work was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.
“When you write biographies, whether it’s about Ben Franklin or Einstein, you discover something amazing: They are human.”
— Walter Isaacson on Book TV (Feb. 1, 2015)
— Walter Isaacson on Michael Lewis in the New York Times (Dec. 29, 2016)
Leonardo produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. With characteristic mastery, Isaacson explains how Leonardo’s life should remind us of the importance of imagination, questioning what we learn, and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.
We welcome Michael Lewis back to our stage. His bestsellers include The Undoing Project, Flash Boys, The Big Short, The Blind Side, Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, Boomerang, The New New Thing and Panic, among others. Michael Lewis previously appeared with Malcolm Gladwell at Live Talks Los Angeles discussing his book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. Watch the video. We also hosted him for his most recent book, The Undoing Project where he was interviewed by Mindy Kaling.