Wolfson History Prize

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]



Awards after 2016 have a winner () and shortlist.

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


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)
John Darwin, After Tamerlane: The Global Story of Empire (Allen Lane)
Rosemary Hill, God’s Architect: Pugin & the Building of Romantic Britain (Allen Lane)
Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (Allen Lane: Penguin Press)
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)
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)
David Reynolds, In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War (Allen Lane: Penguin Press)
Richard Overy, The Dictators: Hitler's Germany; Stalin's Russia (Allen Lane: Penguin Press)
Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490-1700 (Allen Lane: Penguin Press)
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)
Robert Gildea, Marianne in Chains: In Search of the German Occupation (Macmillan)
William Dalrymple, White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-century India (HarperCollins)
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)
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)
Andrew Roberts, Salisbury: Victorian Titan (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Joanna Bourke, An Intimate History of Killing (Granta Books)


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


Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 To 2000 (Unwin Hyman)
Richard Evans, Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years, 1830–1910 (Oxford University Press)
No award [12]
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)
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)
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)
Antonia Fraser, The Weaker Vessel (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Maurice Keen, Chivalry (Yale University Press)
Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Finest Hour, 1939–1941 (Heinemann)
Kenneth Rose, George V (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
John McManners, Death and the Enlightenment: Changing Attitudes to Death Among Christians and Unbelievers in Eighteenth-Century France (Oxford University Press)
John Wyon Burrow, A Liberal Descent: Victorian Historians and the English Past (Cambridge University Press)
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)


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

List of winners of the Oeuvre Prize

See also


  1. "Wolfson History Prize - The Wolfson Foundation". Wolfson.org.uk. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  2. "Wolfson History Prize Winners". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  3. "Mary Fulbrook wins Wolfson History Prize 2019 for revelatory Holocaust study 'Reckonings'". wolfsonhistoryprize.org.uk. 11 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  4. Katherine Cowdrey (5 June 2018). "'Ambitious' account of English Reformation wins Wolfson History Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  5. Campbell, Lisa (16 May 2017). "De Hamel wins £40k Wolfson History Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "Prize Winners - The Wolfson Foundation". Wolfson.org.uk. 2 June 2014. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  9. "The Wolfson History Prize 2014". History Today. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  10. "Serious history books will soon become a rarity, Wolfson History Prize winner says". Telegraph. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  11. "Winners of the Wolfson History Prize Announced". History Today. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  12. 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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