Young academic author of the year - Richard Toye, College lecturer

November 26, 2007

Homerton College, Cambridge. Richard Toye "has done something very difficult, especially for a younger scholar: he has taken a subject about which a lot has been written and written it afresh. He has made it his own", said Alex Danchev, professor at the School of Politics and International Relations at Nottingham University, who helped judge this award.

In his book Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness, Toye, 34, managed "adroitly" to weave a good story out of what, Danchev said, might have seemed "a well-worn theme, or rather several good stories - not only the relationship between the two men, but also their own image of the relationship and their deliberate manipulation of it".

The work outlines how the two political giants were united in many key political developments and analyses the hostility, as well as admiration, these collaborations earned them. Toye contrasts the characters, arguing that Lloyd George was a notorious philanderer who sold honours to raise money for party funds but was a wonderful listener, speaker and organiser. Churchill was, by comparison, irreproachable in his private life but lacked Lloyd George's gift of empathy. Toye then challenges the predominant sentimental view of David and Winston, the inseparable friends who never felt personal bitterness, however much they might have differed on policy.

Danchev's colleague on the judging panel, June Purvis, professor of women's and gender history at Portsmouth University, said: "This is an extremely readable, lively book that explores the complex personal and political relationship between two great male politicians who helped to shape 20th-century Britain. The changing shades and hues of their relationship are documented in fascinating detail."

Ziyad Marat, deputy managing director and publisher of sponsors SAGE, said: "We are delighted to be the first publishing company to reward the achievements of the higher education sector by sponsoring this Award for Young Academic Author of the Year."

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