Queen Mary historian wins Templer Medal book prize

Professor Dan Todman from Queen Mary’s School of History won the book competition, organised by the Society for Army Historical Research, for his bestselling book on World War II.

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Dan Todman is Professor of Modern History at Queen Mary
Dan Todman is Professor of Modern History at Queen Mary

Professor Todman’s book, Britain’s War: A New World 1943-1947, was published in 2020 to critical acclaim. It is the first book of its kind to bring the military, political, social and economic realities of World War II together in one volume. It builds on his previous book published in 2016, which focused on Britain’s role in the first part of World War II.

A significant contribution

The Templer Medal was established by the Society for Army Historical Research in 1981. It is awarded annually to the author of the book published during that year that has made the most significant contribution to the history of the British Army, as defined in the Templer competition rules.

Professor Dan Todman, Professor of Modern History and Head of the School of History at Queen Mary said: “I am very honoured to receive this award. I have benefited greatly from belonging to a School that sees cutting-edge research, public engagement and excellent teaching as connected parts of a wider mission: improving understandings of the past.

“These books were the product of sustained research and thought over many years, and I’m very grateful to the colleagues who kept me going and the students - undergraduate and postgraduate - who helped me test out new ideas.”

Shedding new light on Britain’s history

Involving two decades of research, including using conventional archives, contemporary newsreels and diaries, state surveillance reports Professor Todman’s book tells the story of how Britain changed during the initial post-war years. 

The work also examined the calls for social justice which became stronger in the aftermath of the war as well as Churchill’s failure to grapple with the reality post-war reconstruction, which resulted in defeat at the 1945 general election. Wider social issues are also confronted including racism, poverty, antisemitism as well as the UK’s alliance with totalitarian USSR. 

Britain’s War: A New World 1943-1947 has been reviewed by The TelegraphWall Street JournalThe TimesThe ExpressThe Spectator and you can also read Professor Todman's piece in The Guardian. Listen to Professor Todman's recent podcast with Al Murray and James Holland

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