Skip to main content

Charles Spicer – Oxford Literary Festival

Exeter College: Marquee, March 25, 2023 4:00 pm

Book Tickets

Author and journalist Sarah Barclay and historian Charles Spicer talk about their recent books and the common themes of lives set against Britain between and during the wars.

Spicer’s Coffee with Hitler: The British Amateurs Who Tried to Civilise the Nazis is about a group of amateur British intelligence agents who wined and dined leading National Socialists between the wars with the hope of civilising them. Nancy’s brother, Ernest Tennant, is among the characters featured in Spicer’s book. Ernest was a merchant banker and made frequent trips to Germany to try to encourage links with the UK. Spicer’s book also sheds light on the early career of Kim Philby, Winston Churchill’s approach to appeasement, the US entry into the war and the Rudolf Hess affair.

Barclay’s Eden’s Keepers: The Lives and Gardens of Humphrey Waterfield and Nancy Tennant is the story of lifelong partners Waterfield and Tennant who created Hill Pasture in Essex, ‘the most beautiful small garden in England’. It is a story of creative vision, unconventional love and the traumatic effects of loss set against the background of World War I and World War II. It also looks at how Waterfield’s pacifism led him to have a worse time than many frontline soldiers during World War II.

Discussions are chaired by former LBC radio host and BBC presenter Matthew Stadlen.

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletters to find out more about our latest books and offers, straight to your inbox.

Select mailing lists