Dan Todman: Young Academic Author of the Year (UK)

Historians in the News

Dr Dan Todman, author of The Great War: Myth and Memory, impressed The Times Higher’s judges with his expert juggling of ‘an enormous body’ of sources.

He delves into literature, films, war comics and television programmes to present his compelling argument about how attitudes towards the First World War have changed.

Today, it may seem a cut-and-dried case: the war was a national disaster, ill-managed and horrifyingly futile. But Todman illustrates that such a view is anachronistic. At the time, he argues, generals were trusted and the public were more interested in patriotic poetry than in the pity of war.

Jon Turney, former commissioning editor at Penguin Press and convener of the MSc in creative non-fiction writing at Imperial College London, said: “He handled all these sources without ever losing control of the material. He latches on to things people remember, form Blackadder to the Pat Barker trilogy of novels. It was a very readable book.”

Turney added: “Along the way, he rather subtly and nicely changes one’s opinion of the whole trajectory of the war – which is, of course, what he set out to do.”

Todman’s PhD at Cambridge University, on representations of the First World War in British popular culture, clearly paved the way for the book which he started immediately after his thesis....

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