Many of Britain's leading historians gathered for our annual celebration of excellence in history.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, the historian and broadcaster whose recent BBC Television series A History of Christianity won widespread critical acclaim, was awarded the Longman-History Today Trustees Award in January at a party held at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly, London.
The Trustees Award recognises a person or organisation that has done most to promote history. Presenting the award, Paul Lay, the editor of History Today, described MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College, as someone who embodies all the values that History Today seeks to promote: scholarship of the highest standard, originality and insight combined with a remarkable ability to communicate to a wide audience. His series A History of Christianity demonstrates that the BBC can still produce television history of quality, at one with the Reithian holy trinity: to inform, to educate and to entertain.
Though now a public figure, MacCulloch's academic career is a long and distinguished one. His first major volume, Suffolk and the Tudors: Politics and Religion in an English County 1500-1600 (Oxford University Press, 1986), is an intriguing study of the East Anglian county at a time of political and religious upheaval. MacCulloch was himself raised in Suffolk. His outstanding biography of Thomas Cranmer (Yale, 1996) gained a trio of major awards, while his vast and provocative Reformation: Europe's House Divided (Allen Lane, 2003) won the Wolfson History Prize. He is also the author of Edward VI: Tudor Church Militant (Allen Lane, 1999), a startlingly original, revisionist account of the precocious boy-king's reign and The Later Reformation in England 1547-1603 (Macmillan, 1990).
The Longman-History Today Book of the Year, with a prize of 2,000 [pounds sterling], went to Louise Foxcroft for her Hot Flushes and Cold Science: A History of the Modem Menopause (Granta), an accessible and passionate study that opens up a whole new line of historical enquiry.
There were two runners up in the book prize. Martin Francis's The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force (Oxford University Press) was described as a 'wonderfully fresh attempt to explore the culture of the RAF during the Second World War'.
Also runner-up was Amira K. …