From Madmen to Oceans: A Conversation with Simon Winchester
The 2013 H. Peter Stern Lecture
The series draws inspiration from the work of Arnold Toynbee, an English historian and philosopher of history, who authored a twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, and the influence of this work on Peter Stern. While at Harvard, Stern read Toynbee’s work and resolved to follow in the historian’s footsteps to see what remained of the world’s great civilizations.
The series allows WMF to invite a speaker to share a vision of civilization’s great places and continue the cycle of inspiration, awakening of intellectual curiosity, and launch of a search that Peter Stern began many years ago. His search culminated in pragmatic activism, a model WMF hopes others will follow.
H. Peter Stern Lecture
The H. Peter Stern Lecture extends the legacy and interests of long-time World Monuments Fund Trustee H. Peter Stern, who became a champion of WMF’s work in 1970. He joined the Board of Trustees two years later and served as Vice Chairman until his retirement in 2011. To honor his legacy of service spanning four decades, World Monuments Fund has established the H. Peter Stern Lecture.
About the Speaker
Simon Winchester, best-selling author, journalist, and broadcaster, has written 21 books, including the best-sellers The Professor and the Madman, an account of the men behind the Oxford English Dictionary, and The Map that Changed the World, about the nineteenth-century geologist William Smith. Known as a masterful and riveting storyteller, his most recent book is The New York Times best-seller The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom, the remarkable story of Joseph Needham, whose work in China unveils the epic story of that fascinating country.
Simon Winchester, best-selling author, journalist, and broadcaster, has worked as a foreign correspondent for most of his career and lectures widely at universities, geological and historical societies, and libraries. His current book is the New York Times best-seller The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom, the remarkable story of Joseph Needham, the eccentric and adventurous scientist who fell in love with China and whose own work there unveils the epic story of that magisterial country.
Winchester’s journalistic work, mainly for The Guardian and The Sunday Times, has landed him in Belfast, Washington, DC, New Delhi, New York, London, and Hong Kong, where he covered such stories as the Ulster crisis, the creation of Bangladesh, the fall of President Marcos, the Watergate scandal, the Jonestown Massacre, the assassination of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat, the death and cremation of Pol Pot, and, the Falklands War. During this conflict he was arrested and spent three months in prison in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, on spying charges. Winchester writes and presents television films on a variety of historical topics and is a frequent contributor to BBC radio.
The author of 21 books, including the best-sellers The Professor and the Madman, an account of the men behind the Oxford English Dictionary, A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906, and The Map that Changed the World, about the nineteenth century geologist William Smith, Winchester specializes in telling the stories of eccentric, obsessive geniuses. He is praised for his skills as a masterful and riveting storyteller both on the page and in lectures.