Wolfson Prize for History

I went to the prizegiving for the Wolfson Prize for History tonight, which I have been going to nearly every year for the last twenty.   I like to go in order to find out what historians have been writing, at least the good ones;  and as a mark of respect to Leonard Wolfson, who was an extraordinarily knowledgeable and enthusiastic reader of twentieth-century history.   I once walked him round the twentieth-century gallery of the National Portrait Gallery.   He knew gigantically much more about every single sitter, particularly the politicians and generals, than I did.  I enjoy the dryness of the occasion, the presumption that no-one in London ever bothers to read a book.   This year the prize went to two books, The Red Fortress by Catherine Merridale, about the Kremlin, and a book about the archaeology of the Mediterranean, The Making of the Mediterranean Sea by Cyprian Broodbank.

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