At its 116th annual meeting in January, the American Historical Association (AHA) presented Kennedy School of Government Professor Ernest Richard May, the Charles Warren Professor of American History, the Award for Scholarly Distinction.
The AHA commended May for having “shaped the study and practice of international history … for more than four decades,” citing his innovative research and writings ranging from “The World War and American Isolation, 1914-1917” (Harvard University Press, 1959) to “Strange Victory: Hitler’s Conquest of France” (Hill and Wang, 2000).
May’s other writing credits include “Careers for Humanists” (Academic Press, 1982); “Knowing One’s Enemies: Intelligence Assessment Before the Two World Wars” (Princeton University Press, 1985); “Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers” (Free Press, 1986); “The Making of the Monroe Doctrine” (Harvard University Press, 1992); “American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68” (Bedford Books, 1993); and “The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis” (Belknap Press, 1997), with Philip D. Zelikow.
May has led a distinguished academic career, having served as dean of Harvard College, associate dean at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, director of the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, and chair of the Department of History. At the Kennedy School he teaches courses on reasoning from history and on assessing other governments. He also directs a research and teaching program on intelligence and policy. At various times throughout his career, May also served as consultant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and other agencies.
The AHA, founded in 1884, is the oldest professional historical organization in the United States. Its 15,000 members include university and college faculty, graduate students, and historians at venues across the country.