The University Record, October 3, 1994

FACULTY AWARDS John Shy, Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award

John Shy stands today at the top of his profession as the world’s greatest authority on the military aspects of the American Revolution. He demonstrates unusual breadth through his important work in early American history, the history of war, European history from the second half of the 18th century to the first half of the 19th century, as well as contemporary history.

Perhaps no American scholar has contributed more to emancipating military history from its traditionally narrow focus upon strategy and tactics, and making it instead an essential component of any full understanding of humanity’s past.

His subtle, intelligent, and compassionate writings have enlightened an entire generation of historians. Every now and then a book is published that becomes a classic in the literature of American history; John Shy’s Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming of the American Revolution is such a book, considered essential reading for every student of the American Revolution.

If Professor Shy’s scholarly attainments are extraordinary, they have most certainly not come at the expense of teaching and service. In the area of undergraduate instruction, no member of the History Department more frequently takes on overloads. His course on “War Since the Middle Ages,” as well as those on colonial and revolutionary America, are legendary among students. Shortly after coming to Michigan in 1968, John Shy organized the Military Studies Group, drawing together students and faculty from a variety of disciplines to discuss aspects of the role of the military in the modern world. Today this seminar is so highly respected that it frequently attracts speakers from other universities across the world.

In the area of service to the Univer-sity, Professor Shy is a particularly unselfish citizen. He has been a staunch champion of the University of Michigan Press and an eloquent advocate for the importance of the Clements Library, working to maintain this jewel in the University’s crown as one of the world’s most important archival repositories for early Americana.

As evidence of the gratitude of his students and faculty colleagues, the University, and the community of historians worldwide, we are pleased to honor John Shy with the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award.