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Academic shortlisted for major history award

University of Exeter historian Dr James Mark’s book: The Unfinished Revolution: Making Sense of the Communist Past has been shortlisted for the prestigious Longman History Today prize

The book was published last year by Yale University Press and examines how new democratic societies in central-eastern Europe are still divided by the past.

The shortlist reflects both the quality and the breadth of history books published this year.  Five titles have been shortlisted, and The Unfinished Revolution sits alongside books about the Great Famine in Ireland, Tudor England, the English Bible and the biography of the Ordnance Survey.

Dr Mark is a senior lecturer in History and the majority of his research addresses the social and cultural history of Communism, transnational history, or the politics of memory.

His Unfinished Revolution is the first study of the post-Communist world to have explored the phenomenon of dictatorship and memory across the region.  It is a nuanced political, social and cultural history of Communist and post-Communist Eastern Europe, which touches on many crucial political issues and deep emotional questions of responsibility and complicity. The book also explores how the West has repeatedly been sold images of a victorious people’s revolution in 1989, whereas the idea that dictatorship has been truly overcome is foreign to many in the former Communist bloc, according to Dr Mark’s research.

Professor Henry French, Head of History at the University of Exeter said: “The entire department is delighted about this recognition for James Mark's highly original and stimulating research.  His work has been rated consistently highly among subject specialists, and we welcome this award as a sign that it crosses over to engage and impress a wider public audience. James' work reflects Exeter's strengths in 20th-century history and in innovative subjects and methodologies”.

The winner of the £2,000 prize will be announced at a ceremony at the Museum of the Order of St John, 11th January 2012.  It will be awarded to the best history book published in the preceding 12 months.

Date: 16 December 2011

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