Hugh Thomas: British historian wins Italian prize for 'enthralling narratives'





The jury of a prestigious Italian literary prize run by an Italian grappa distillery has named the historian Hugh Thomas, Baron Thomas of Swynnerton, winner of this year’s award as a “master of our time” for his lifetime’s achievement.

The jury of the Nonino prize, chaired by the writer V. S. Naipaul, said that Thomas, noted for his histories of the Spanish Civil War and the conquest of Mexico, had crowned this achievement with The Slave Trade, an “immense work” which told a painful story with “a magical and humane touch”. He was “a great historian, at ease in many cultures, who has gone among the records and brought back an enthralling narrative”.

Thomas, 77, won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1962 for The Spanish Civil War, followed in 1967 by The Suez Affair, in 1971 by Cuba, or the Pursuit of Freedom (still banned in Cuba itself) and in 1986 by Armed Truce on the origins of the Cold War. Then came Conquest: Montezuma, Cortés and the Fall of Old Mexico in 1994, The Slave Trade in 1997 and Rivers of Gold in 2003, the first volume in a history of the Spanish Empire.



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