Longman-History Today Awards 2005: The Winners

Peter Furtado announces the winners of the 2005 Longman-History Today Awards.

Peter Furtado | Published in History Today


History Today Trustees award for the promotion of history in 2004. This award, and others for Book of the Year, New Generation Book, Undergraduate Dissertation, and Picture Researcher were announced on January 6th, at the Royal Geographical Society.

The Trust was set up to commemorate the long relationship between History Today and Longman publishers, and it prizes the creation and popular dissemination of serious history in all its forms. The Book of the Year award, which this year was shared between two authors, the modern German historian Nikolaus Wachsmann and medievalist Joanna Laynesmith, is intended to encourage new writers and is given for an author’s first or second book only.

Other prizes were awarded to Ruth Brocklehurst forVictorians, a picture book published by Usborne for secondary school children; Sally Nicholls and Suzanne Bosman for their picture research; and, in an award made jointly by the magazine and the Royal Historical Society, Andrew Arsan of Cambridge for his undergraduate dissertation on Lebanese and Syrian politics in the early twentieth century. The prizes are described in more detail below.

Trustees Award

This is given to an individual or organization that has done outstanding work to promote history. The publication of the vast, and vastly useful, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography was undoubtedly the outstanding event in history in 2004, with its famous 62 million words, 60 volumes, and 15,000 contributors covering 55,000 subjects.

Book of the Year Prize

For an author’s first or second book in English, published October 2003-September 2004.

Judges: Jeremy Black (University of Exeter), Julian Jackson (Queen Mary, London), Miri Rubin (Queen Mary, London).

Joint winners:

Nikolaus Wachsmann  
Hitler’s Prisons: Legal Terror in Nazi Germany  (Yale University Press)

J. L. Laynesmith
The Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445-1503  (Oxford University Press)

Proxime Accessit:

Rana Mitter 
A Bitter Revolution: China’s Struggle with the Modern World (Oxford University Press)


  • Peter Harrison Castles of God: Fortified Religious Buildings of the World (Boydell & Brewer)

  • Glynis Ridley Clara’s Grand Tour: Travels with a Rhinoceros in Eighteenth-Century Europe (Atlantic Books)

  • Stuart Semmel Napoleon and the British  (Yale University Press)

Picture Researcher of the Year

This prize acknowledges the often unsung work of historical picture researchers.

The joint winners are Sally Nicholls for her massive work on The Seventy Great Inventions of the Ancient World, (Thames & Hudson) which has 550 images assembled from across the globe and comes over as fresh, immaculate and highly authoritative; and Suzanne Bosman, whose work on Land Marks: Impressions of England’s National Nature Reserves, published by English Nature, ranges from historic prints and paintings to modern location shots, engravings of plants, portraits and so on, and is a joy to look at on every page.

Also highly commended is Sinead McCoole whose work on No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years 1900-23 (The O’Brien Press) began as an exhibition, and eventually turned into the book which she also wrote, and who has discovered a huge numbers of previously unpublished photographs.

New Generation Book of the Year

For a book that inspires enthusiasm for and involvement in history among secondary school students.

Judges: Chris Wrigley (University of Nottingham), Sean Lang (Historical Association), Don Henson (Council for British Archaeology).


Ruth Brocklehurst
Victorians (Usborne)

Highly Commended:

  • Andrew Billen, Who Was Sam Johnson?: The Wonderful Word Doctor  (Short Books)

  • David Carpenter, Dockland Apprentice (Bears Hide Publishing)

  • Katie Daynes, Usborne Famous Lives: Cleopatra (Usborne Publishing)

  • David Waldstreicher, Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution (Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

  • Abigail Wheatley and Struan Reid, Usborne Introduction to Archaeology [Internet-Linked]
    (Usborne Publishing)

Undergraduate Dissertation of the Year

For the best dissertation presented by a final-year undergraduate at a British university.


Andrew Arsan (Cambridge University)

Shukri Ghanem and the Ottoman Empire 1908-1914

An extraordinarily sophisticated and elegant analysis of the complex political universe of Lebanon and Syria in the early twentieth century, seen through the work of a journalist in exile in France.

Proxime accessit:

Sebastian Walsh (University of Durham)
‘Most trusty and beloved’: Friendship, trust and experience in the exercise of informal power within the early Elizabethan polity – the case of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton.
An extremely competent appraisal of the career of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the early Elizabethan diplomat and courtier whom Walsh rescues from relative obscurity and resoundingly places as a major player in the early politics of Elizabeth’s reign.

Highly commended:

Thomas Neuhaus (Essex University)
‘Sing me a swing song and let me dance’: The Swing Youth and cultural dissent in the Third Reich.
Neuhaus teased out a fascinating account from extremely limited sources, on the equivalent of the beat generation of Nazi Germany.