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OUP title wins Wolfson History Prize 2020
23 June 2020
For the second year in a row, an OUP title has been awarded the Wolfson Prize for History, with Professor David Abulafia receiving the £40,000 grand prize for his work The Boundless Sea.
The Wolfson History Prize is the UK’s premier history prize, recognizing works that combine meticulous scholarly research with an eye for the general readership. This years’ judges praised the ‘immense and impeccable research’ that went into the ‘remarkable book’ that offers a sweeping global survey from the earliest seafaring societies to the giant container ships of today.
The Boundless Sea has already won multiple plaudits and appeared in Christmas Book of the Year roundups in the Spectator, the Times, BBC History Magazine, the Financial Times, Mosaic, the History News Network, and the Sunday Times.
A range of fellow historians gave the work positive reviews, with David Armiage of the Times Literary Supplement describing it as: ‘An unparalleled synthesis of human engagement with the oceans. It will be a benchmark—or perhaps the Plimsoll line—against which all future histories of planet Ocean will be judged.’
Publicist Tim Thomas added that he was ‘equal parts thrilled and nervous to work on The Boundless Sea—thrilled because even the navy blue galley emanated the phrase magnum opus, and nervous because the galley also looked like it could devour the four other books on my desk. Our pitches always opened with The Boundless Sea; how its grand scope and magisterial scholarship promised to re-contextualize humankind’s relationship to the sea.’