Wolfson History Prize

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The Wolfson History Prize
Awarded forto promote and encourage standards of excellence in the writing of history for the general public
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented by Wolfson Foundation
Formerly calledWolfson Literary Awards
First awarded1972;51 years ago (1972)
Website www.wolfsonhistoryprize.org.uk

The Wolfson History Prizes are literary awards given annually in the United Kingdom to promote and encourage standards of excellence in the writing of history for the general public. Prizes are given annually for two or three exceptional works published during the year, with an occasional oeuvre prize (a general award for an individual's distinguished contribution to the writing of history). They are awarded and administered by the Wolfson Foundation, with winning books being chosen by a panel of judges composed of eminent historians.


In order to qualify for consideration, a book must be published in the United Kingdom and the author must be a British subject at the time the award is made and normally resident in the UK. Books should be readable and scholarly and be accessible to the lay reader. Prizes are awarded in the summer following the year of the books' publication; however, until 1987 prizes were awarded at the end of the competition year.

Established in 1972 by the Wolfson Foundation, a UK charitable foundation, they were originally known as the Wolfson Literary Awards. [1] [2]



Wolfson History Prize honourees (1970s–1979)
1972 Michael Howard The Grand Strategy: August 1942 – September 1943 Her Majesty's Stationery Office
Keith Thomas Religion and the Decline of Magic Weidenfeld & Nicolson
1973 W. L. Warren Henry II Eyre & Spottiswoode
Frances Yates The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Routledge & Keegan Paul
1974 Moses Finley The Ancient Economy Chatto & Windus
Theodore Zeldin France, 1848–1945: Ambition, Love and Politics Oxford University Press
1975 Frances Donaldson Edward VIII Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Olwen Hufton The Poor of Eighteenth-century France 1750–1789 Oxford University Press
1976 Nikolaus Pevsner A History of Building Types Thames & Hudson
Norman Stone The Eastern Front: 1914–17 Hodder & Stoughton
1977 Simon Schama Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813 Collins
Denis Mack Smith Mussolini's Roman Empire Longman & Co
1978 Alistair Horne A Savage War of Peace: Algeria, 1954–1962 Macmillan
1979 Richard Cobb Death in Paris: The Records of the Basse-Geôle de la Seine, October 1795 – September 1801, Vendémiaire Year IV-Fructidor Year IX Oxford University Press
Quentin Skinner The Foundations of Modern Political Thought Cambridge University Press
Mary Soames Clementine Churchill: The Biography of a Marriage Cassell


Wolfson History Prize honourees (1980–1989)
1980 F. S. L. Lyons Culture and Anarchy in Ireland, 1890–1939 Oxford University Press
Robert Evans The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1550–1700: An Interpretation Oxford University Press
1981 John Wyon Burrow A Liberal Descent: Victorian Historians and the English Past Cambridge University Press
1982 John McManners Death and the Enlightenment: Changing Attitudes to Death Among Christians and Unbelievers in Eighteenth-Century France Oxford University Press
1983 Martin Gilbert Winston S. Churchill: Finest Hour, 1939–1941 Heinemann
Kenneth Rose George V Weidenfeld & Nicolson
1984 Antonia Fraser The Weaker Vessel Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Maurice Keen Chivalry Yale University Press
1985 John Grigg Lloyd George, From Peace To War 1912–1916 Methuen
Richard Davenport-Hines Dudley Docker: The Life and Times of a Trade Warrior Cambridge University Press
1986 J. H. Elliott The Count-Duke of Olivares: The Statesman in an Age of Decline Yale University Press
Jonathan Israel European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550–1750 Oxford University Press
1987 R. R. Davies Conquest, Coexistence, and Change: Wales, 1063–1415 Oxford University Press
John Pemble The Mediterranean Passion: Victorians And Edwardians in the South Oxford University Press
1988No award [lower-alpha 1]
1989 Paul Kennedy The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 To 2000 Unwin Hyman
Richard J. Evans Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years, 1830–1910 Oxford University Press


Wolfson History Prize honourees (1990–1999)
1990 Richard A. Fletcher The Quest for El Cid Huchinson
Donald Cameron Watt How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938–1939 William Heinemann
1991 Colin Platt The Architecture of Medieval Britain: A Social History Yale University Press
1992 John Bossy Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair Yale University Press
Alan Bullock Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives HarperCollins
1993 Linda Colley Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 Yale University Press
Robert Skidelsky John Maynard Keynes: The Economist as Saviour, 1920–1937 Pan Macmillan
1994 Robert Bartlett The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950–1350 Viking
Barbara Harvey Living and Dying in England, 1100–1540: The Monastic Experience Oxford University Press
1995 Fiona MacCarthy William Morris: A Life for Our Time Faber and Faber
John C. G. Rohl The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany Cambridge University Press
1996 H. C. G. Matthew Gladstone 1875–1898 Oxford University Press
1997 Orlando Figes A People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution Jonathan Cape
1998John BrewerPleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century HarperCollins
Patricia Hollis Jennie Lee: A Life Oxford University Press
1999 Antony Beevor Stalingrad Viking
Amanda Vickery The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England Yale University Press


Wolfson History Prize honourees (2000–2009)
2000 Joanna Bourke An Intimate History of Killing Granta Books
Andrew Roberts Salisbury: Victorian Titan Weidenfeld & Nicolson
2001 Ian Kershaw Hitler, 1936–1945: Nemesis Allen Lane
Mark Mazower The Balkans Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Roy Porter Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World Allen Lane
2002 Barry Cunliffe Facing the Ocean: The Atlantic and Its Peoples Oxford University Press
Jerry White London in the 20th Century: A City and Its Peoples Viking
2003 William Dalrymple White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-century India HarperCollins
Robert Gildea Marianne in Chains: In Search of the German Occupation Macmillan
2004 Frances Harris Transformations of Love: The Friendship of John Evelyn and Margaret Godolphin Oxford University Press
Julian T. Jackson The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940 Oxford University Press
Diarmaid MacCulloch Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490–1700 Allen Lane, Penguin Press
2005 Richard Overy The Dictators: Hitler's Germany; Stalin's Russia Allen Lane, Penguin Press
David Reynolds In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War Allen Lane, Penguin Press
2006 Evelyn Welch Shopping in the Renaissance Yale University Press
Christopher Wickham Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400–800 Oxford University Press
2007 Christopher Clark Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947 Allen Lane, Penguin Press
Vic Gatrell City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London Atlantic Books
Adam Tooze The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy Allen Lane, Penguin Press
2008 John Darwin After Tamerlane: The Global Story of Empire Allen Lane
Rosemary Hill God's Architect: Pugin & the Building of Romantic Britain Allen Lane
2009 Mary Beard Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town Profile Books
Margaret M. McGowan Dance in the Renaissance: European Fashion, French Obsession Yale University Press


Awards after 2016 have a winner and shortlist of five.

Wolfson History Prize honourees (2010–2019)
2010 Dominic Lieven Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807–1814 Allen Lane, Penguin Press [3]
Jonathan Sumption Divided Houses: The Hundred Years War. Vol. 3 Faber and Faber
2011 Ruth Harris The Man on Devil's Island: The Affair that Divided France Allen Lane, Penguin Press [3]
Nicholas Thomas Islanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire Yale University Press
2012 Susie Harries Nikolaus Pevsner: The Life Chatto & Windus [3] [4]
Alexandra Walsham The Reformation of the Landscape Oxford University Press
2013 Susan Brigden Thomas Wyatt: The Heart's Forest Faber and Faber [3] [5] [6]
Christopher Duggan Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini's ItalyBoydell Press
2014 Cyprian Broodbank The Making of the Middle Sea Thames & Hudson [7] [8] [9]
Catherine Merridale Red Fortress: The Secret Heart of Russia's History Allen Lane, Penguin Books
2015 Richard Vinen National Service: Conscription in Britain, 1945–1963 Allen Lane, Penguin Books [10]
Alexander Watson Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 Allen Lane, Penguin Books
2016 Robin Lane Fox Augustine: Conversions and Confessions Basic Books [11]
Nikolaus Wachsmann KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps Little, Brown and Company
2017 Christopher de Hamel Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World Allen Lane [12] [13]
Daniel Beer The House of The Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsar Penguin Books [14]
Chris Given-Wilson Henry IV Yale University Press
Sasha Handley Sleep in Early Modern England Yale University Press
Lyndal Roper Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet Vintage
Matthew Strickland Henry the Young King, 1155–1183 Yale University Press
2018 Peter Marshall Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation Yale University Press [15] [16]
Robert Bickers Out of China: How the Chinese Ended the Era of Western Domination Penguin Books [17]
Lindsey Fitzharris The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Tim Grady A Deadly Legacy: German Jews and the Great War Yale University Press
Miranda Kaufmann Black Tudors: The Untold Story Oneworld Publications
Jan Ruger Heligoland: Britain, Germany and the Struggle for the North Sea Oxford University Press
2019 Mary Fulbrook Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice Oxford University Press [18] [19]
John Blair Building Anglo-Saxon England Princeton University Press [20]
Margarette Lincoln Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson Yale University Press
Jeremy Mynott Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words Oxford University Press
Matthew Sturgis Oscar: A LifeHead of Zeus
Miles Taylor Empress: Queen Victoria and India Yale University Press


Wolfson History Prize honourees (2020–present)
2020 David Abulafia The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the OceansWinner [21] [22]
Toby Green A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of RevolutionShortlist [23]
John Barton A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths
Hallie Rubenhold The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
Marion Turner Chaucer: A European Life
Prashant Kidambi Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire
2021 Sudhir Hazareesingh Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint LouvertureWinner [24]
Geoffrey Plank Atlantic Wars: From the Fifteenth Century to the Age of RevolutionShortlist [25]
Richard Ovenden Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack
Helen McCarthy Double Lives: A History of Working Motherhood
Judith Herrin Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe
Rebecca Clifford Survivors: Children's Lives After the Holocaust
2022 Clare Jackson Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588–1688Winner [26] [27]
Marc David Baer The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and CaliphsShortlist [28] [29]
Malcolm Gaskill The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World
Alex von Tunzelmann Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History
Francesca Stavrakopoulou God: An Anatomy
Nicholas Orme Going to Church in Medieval England
2023 Hakim Adi African and Caribbean People in Britain: A HistoryShortlist [30] [31]
James Belich The World the Plague Made: The Black Death and the Rise of Europe
Henrietta Harrison The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire
Halik Kochanski Resistance: The Underground War in Europe 1939-1945
Oskar Jensen Vagabonds: Life on the Streets of Nineteenth Century London
Emma Smith Portable Magic: A History of Books and their Readers

List of winners of the Oeuvre Prize

See also


  1. Until 1987, prizes were awarded at the end of the competition year. However, subsequent prizes were awarded in the summer following the year of the books' publication. Accordingly, there is no prize listed for 1988.

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