Lucy Noakes wins Book Prize

The Social History Society Book Prize is awarded by an independent panel of judges who look for the best original work of social and cultural history. The award is now in its fifth year and has become an established part of our calendar.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s prize has been awarded to Professor Lucy Noakes for her thought-provoking book Dying for the Nation. Death, Grief and Bereavement in Second World War Britain (Manchester University Press, 2020).

The book explores experiences of death and grief from a range of perspectives. These span from personal experiences of loss to state policies for mass burial.

The judges, chaired by our Honorary President Professor Pat Thane, summarised the book as ‘An innovative, at times intimate, account of an important, neglect aspect of the social and cultural history of British people in the Second World War’. They also described it as ‘richly detailed’ and ‘beautifully written’.

Professor Lucy Noakes told us that she was delighted her book had been chosen. She explained:

It wasn’t always an easy book to research and write. It is important that we do all that we can to have empathy with those who suffer in war and conflict today, and I hope that history can help us to develop this through an understanding of the lives, and deaths, of those who experienced past wars.”

Professor Naomi Tadmor, chair of the Social History Society, said:

This year the judges award the prize to Lucy Noakes’s important book, Dying for the Nation. I am delighted to see one of our long-standing and active members rewarded for her outstanding work”.

We look forward to presenting Lucy with her prize in person at this year’s annual conference at Lancaster University.

Past winners of the prize include Professor Lucy Bland, Professor Khaled Fahmy, Professor Hannah Barker and Professor Sasha Handley, who now sits on the judging panel. The other judges are Professor Penny Summerfield and Professor Phillipp Schofield.