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Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
Nazi history scoops book prize
Adolf Hitler at a Nazi dinner
The winning book charts the rise of Hitler's Third Reich
A book about the rise of Nazi Germany has won Britain's richest non-fiction literary prize.

Described as a work of "authentic historical genius", Michael Burleigh's The Third Reich: A New History was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize, worth 30,000.

Judges, chaired by the BBC's political editor Andrew Marr, called the contest a "very close race".

Michael Burleigh
Burleigh took five years to write his book
This single volume work is a radical re-examination of the Third Reich, which charts the rise of Nazi Germany, recreating life under a totalitarian dictatorship.

Mr Burleigh is Distinguished Research Professor in Modern History at Cardiff University.

'Magisterial'

He is the author of six books including The Racial State, Death and Deliverance: Euthanasia in Nazi Germany and Ethics and Extermination.

Marr said: "In a very close race we felt in the end that here was something both urgent and magisterial and a book that as judges we wanted to read and recommend.

"It is a work of authentic historical genius."

The other five shortlisted authors are awarded 2,500 each.
The Third Reich: A New History
The book recreates life under a dictatorship

They included Richard Fortey for Trilobite; Graham Robb for Rimbaud and Simon Sebag Montefiore's The Life of Potemkin.

The Samuel Johnson prize is sponsored by an anonymous retired businessman and philanthropist.

It is open to books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.

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