Monday, November 15, 2010

Cundill Prize

After a few years, the Cundill Prize (a work of history published anywhere in the world, on any subject: $75,000) seems to be learning a bit about promoting itself and its winners -- high profile juries, more media connections, etc. Sunday McGill University, which administers the prize, announced the 2010 winner is Diarmaid McCullough for A History of Christianity.

Apparently there's been a BBC TV series based on the book too.

Looking for some info, I was amused by the "review" in Britain's Telegraph that starts:
First let me say that I don’t think anyone is going to read this book. It’s 1,161 pages long, for goodness sake. If you missed out the “begat” bits, you could read the Bible in less time.
Christianity may be history, but the philistines are eternal. Compare Adam Gopnik from the Cundill announcement:
Though all of the books in the short list seemed to us wonderful works of narrative history – and well written, too -- MacCulloch’s stands out. If any book could truly fulfill the charge of the Cundill Prize – to make first class history more potent to a wide reading public, and above all to remind us that history, even three thousand years worth, matters – this one does.
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