Best of History 2006
The ‘voice of history’ was heard loud and clear when the Historical Association, was awarded the prestigious Longman History Today Trustees Award early in January at a party hosted by History Today at the National Army Museum. Adam Tooze of Jesus College, Cambridge, won the Book of the Year Award for his wide-ranging economic history of the Nazi years in Germany, The Wages of Destruction at the same event.
The Trustees award normally goes to a person or organization that has done most to promote history over the last year or years. But the Historical Association (HA), which calls itself the ‘voice of history’, celebrated its centenary in 2006, and is still particularly active in British schools, both in making sure that history teaching is innovative, intellectually exciting and meaningful to all students, while also ensuring that the curriculum remains under sustained scrutiny, balancing the regular media storms with the needs of teachers, students and universities.
On accepting the award, HA President Barry Coward said, ‘A few months ago the HA was awarded a royal charter. There’s no doubt in my mind which of these two awards I value most.’
He added, ‘The award is a really fitting recognition of the important work that the HA has been doing since its foundation in May 1906.
Through all that time, it has promoted history by consistently acting as a bridge between the academic/educational world of history and the world of popular, “public” history. Secondly it has aimed to hammer home the point that the study of history is central to the functioning of civilized societies; that history matters. Thirdly, the HA has emphasized that history should have a central place in the school curriculum.’
The prize went to Wendy Gay for two books, The Seventy Great Journeys in History, edited by Robin Hanbury-Tenison, and Gay Life and Culture: A World History edited by Robert Aldrich, both published by Thames & Hudson. Both rely hugely on their fascinating, appropriate and surprising section of images, and the obvious engagement of the researcher with the topic.