Simon Akam | The Changing of the Guard

Simon Akam

Photograph by Dudley Reed

A revelatory, explosive new analysis of the military today. 

Over the first two decades of the twenty-first century the British Army fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, at considerable and financial human cost.  Yet neither war achieved its objectives.  Award-winning journalist Simon Akam questions why and provides challenging but necessary answers.

Composed from assiduous documentary research, field reportage, and hundreds of interviews, this book is a strikingly rich, nuanced portrait of one of our pivotal national institutions in a time of great stress. 

Simon Akam held a Gap Year Commission in the British Army before attending Oxford University.  He won a Fulbright scholarship to study at Columbia Journalism School and in 2010 was one of the winners in The Guardian’s International Development Journalism Competition.  He has worked for the New York Times, Reuters and Newsweek, and his articles have appeared in several publications including, The Economist, GQ, Bloomber Businessweek, The Financial Times, New Statesman, and The Washington Post.  He also co-hosts the writing podcast, Always Take Notes.


Simon will be in conversation with Frank Ledwidge

After several years as a criminal barrister, Frank served as a military intelligence officer in the Balkans and Iraq. He was the first UK ‘Justice Advisor’ in the British mission in Helmand, Afghanistan and worked in a similar role in Benghazi and Tripoliduring the Libya war in 2011-12. He is the author of the bestselling ‘Losing Small Wars, British Military Failure in the 9/11 Wars’ (Yale 2011/2018) Most recently -‘Aerial Warfare, a Very Short Introduction’ (OUP 2020). Frank is currently a senior lecturer at Portsmouth University, working at Halton where he teaches contemporary strategy and conflict to RAF personnel.

Thursday 14th October | 8pm​

Players Theatre, Thame, Oxfordshire

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