Niamh Gallagher’s Ireland and the Great War wins the Royal Historical Society’s 2020 Whitfield Prize
Dr Niamh Gallagher, a lecturer in Modern British and Irish History at the Faculty of History and a Fellow of St Catharine’s College, has won the 2020 Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize for her book, Ireland and the Great War: A Social and Political History, published by Bloomsbury Academic Press.
Dr Gallagher’s book is the first work of Irish history to win the prize since it was established by the Society in 1976 at the bequest of Professor Archibald Stenton Whitfield. The winner was announced from a shortlist of six during a virtual ceremony to celebrate the Royal Historical Society’s annual Publication, Teaching and Fellowship Awards.
The prize committee declared: “This is a bold and indeed audacious intervention in the historiography of Irish Catholic involvement in British and Allied action during the Great War. Niamh Gallagher’s sophisticated interpretation of the Home Front in towns across Ireland enables us to appreciate the ways in which individuals, families, businesses, civic and political leaders, and their supporters, understood Allied war aims and the reasons for contributing and remembering. Richly detailed and illustrated throughout, this is an unusually substantial contribution to the social and political history of Ireland and Irish communities abroad.”
Dr Gallagher added, “When I discovered that I had won the Whitfield Prize, I had to read the email several times to ensure that my eyes were not deceiving me. I am over the moon! It was a strong field, so I am especially flattered that the judges chose my book. It is an honour to know that Ireland and the Great War is the first work of modern Irish history to win the prize and hopefully it won’t be the last.”
The Whitfield Book Prize has become one of the most sought after book prizes for early career historians. It was established by the Royal Historical Society in 1976 at the bequest of Professor Archibald Stenton Whitfield, who was a Fellow of the Society from June 1916 until his death in 1974. Previous winners include Diarmaid MacCulloch, Kathleen Wilson, Amanda Vickery and Ryan Hanley. The prize offers an annual award of £1,000 for a work on British or Irish history that is the author’s first sole book publication.
Dr Gallagher was a postgraduate student at the Faculty from 2009 to 2015. She returned to the Faculty as a Lecturer in 2018.
For further information about the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize and the 2020 nominations, visit the RHS website.
About 'Ireland and the Great War: A Social and Political History'
The book draws upon a formidable array of original research to offer a radical new reading of Irish involvement in the world's first total war. For many years, it was thought that Irish nationalists were not particularly supportive of the Allied war effort due to the rise of a radical nationalist movement that demanded independence from Britain. 'Ireland and the Great War: A Social and Political History' demonstrates that substantial support for the Allied war effort continued largely unabated not only until November 1918, but afterwards as well, and reveals a surprising degree of cross-confessional cooperation throughout the duration of the conflict, which has gone virtually unnoticed in existing scholarly accounts.
Visit the Bloomsbury website to find out more.