James Mark’s comprehensive book The Unfinished Revolution has been shortlisted for the prestigious Longman-History Today ‘Book of the Year’ Award.
Last month we announced that three Yale titles had been longlisted for the £2,000 Longman-History Today ‘Book of the Year’ Award. This week, the shortlist was unveiled, and we are delighted to see that The Unfinished Revolution: Making Sense of the Communist Past in Central-eastern Europe has made the cut.
In his wide-ranging and comprehensive book, Mark, who is a senior lecturer in history at Exeter University, examines how new democratic societies are still divided by the past. While the West has repeatedly been sold images of a victorious people’s revolution in 1989, the idea that dictatorship has been truly overcome is foreign to many in the former Communist bloc. While some view 1989 as a betrayal and defeat, and continue an ‘unfinished struggle’ against the former regime, others seek to heal the divisions of history, and ex-Communists proclaim themselves to be the real liberators from dictatorship.
The Unfinished Revolution presents the voices of ordinary people who lived through Communism to uncover the variety of ways in which they now come to terms with their choices and experiences. Drawing on a broad range of themes and sources – speeches, public ritual, protest, international disputes, museums, memorials, forensic archaeology, secret police archives, and interviews – this is the first work to integrate the study of politics, culture, and social memory across east-central Europe.
The Longman-History Today prize is awarded to the best first or second history book published in the last year. Yale have had great success with history titles at previous awards, with Demobbed: Coming Home After the Second World War by Alan Allport winning last year’s prize, alongside Pashas: Traders and Travellers in the Islamic World by James Mather, which was named the runner up (read the full story). Discussing this year’s awards, History Today magazine said:
‘The shortlist reflects both the quality and the breadth of history books published this year. It was a challenge to sift through and judge so many excellent examples of the historian’s craft. But as readers of these wonderful and very different books will realise, all talk of a crisis in history appears to be wildly exaggerated. The discipline is in rude health.’
The winner of the award will be announced at a ceremony at the Museum of the Order of St John, London on January 11th, 2012. To see the full shortlist visit the History Today website.
The Unfinished Revolution: Making Sense of the Communist Past in Central-eastern Europe is available now from Yale University Press.