Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 earns $75,000
prize, largest international prize for work on history
MONTREAL, Nov. 21, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - A fascinating account of the
raising of the Iron Curtain in post-WWII Europe has captured the
world's most lucrative prize for historical literature.
Author Anne Applebaum is the winner of the 2013 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature at
McGill University for her book, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. The announcement was made at a gala dinner held last night in Toronto. At $75,000 (US), the Cundill Prize is the largest international literary
prize for a work on history.
Applebaum's winning book describes the circumstances under which Stalin
was able to convert a dozen countries to a Communist system of
government following the Second World War, and chronicles what daily
life was like for citizens once these changes had occurred.
"Every year, it gives me enormous pleasure to see the calibre of
submissions that pass before the Cundill selection committee," says
Prof. Christopher Manfredi, Dean of McGill University's Faculty of
Arts, who administers the prize, with the McGill Institute for the
Study of Canada (MISC). "I can truly say that Anne Applebaum is a deserving winner, chosen from amongst a field of high-quality
"I've been fascinated by the history of communism ever since, as a
student, I spent a month studying Russian in Leningrad. To go to the
Soviet Union at that time, before glasnost, felt like walking into a
mirror: everything was backwards. Even the colors had vanished,
replaced by black and white," says Applebaum. "Two decades later, I
began to ask myself: if it was so absurd, how did it get built in the
first place? How did the grim Russia I saw in the 1980s come to be? How
did it spread its system into the heart of central Europe? What was the
appeal of Soviet-style communism, if any? That line of thinking led me
to the research which led to this book." Applebaum is Director of
Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London.
The two other finalists, Christopher Clark— The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went To War In 1914 (HarperCollins / Allen Lane - Penguin Books), and Fredrik Logevall—Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam (Random House), were awarded "Recognition of Excellence" prizes of
$10,000 (US) each. The finalists were chosen from 116 eligible
submissions, representing publishing houses from around the world.
The three finalists were introduced at the awards ceremony by Jeffrey
Simpson, The Globe and Mail's national affairs columnist. This year's Cundill Jury included Garvin
Brown, Brown-Forman Board Chairman, Anthony Cary, Executive Director of the Queen's-Blyth Educational
Programs, Sergio Luzzatto, Modern History Professor, University of
Turin and 2011 Cundill Prize winner, Marla R. Miller, Professor &
Director, Public History Program and Graduate Program Director,
University of Massachusetts, and Thomas H. B. Symons, Founding
President of Trent University and Vanier Professor Emeritus.
The Cundill Prize in Historical Literature is the world's largest
international historical literature prize, with a grand prize of
$75,000 (USD) and two 'recognition of excellence' prizes of $10,000
(USD). The prize was established in 2008 by McGill alumnus F. Peter
Cundill, who passed away in January 2011, and is administered by McGill
University's Dean of Arts, with the help of the McGill Institute for
the Study of Canada (MISC).
To read more about the winner, Anne Applebaum:
To read more about the Cundill Prize, visit www.cundillprize.com
Photos available upon request
SOURCE: McGill University
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