By Harry SarlesApril 17, 2018
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Dr. Richard S. (Shawn) Faulkner, history professor at the Command and General Staff College, was named the 2018 Richard W. Leopold Prize winner by the Organization of American Historians during their annual meeting in Sacramento, Calif., April 13, for his book Pershing's Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I.
"I am truly humbled to receive this award," said Faulkner. "What the award means the most to me is the recognition that it gives the CGSC Department of Military History as a place devoted to serious scholarship and the teaching of the study of war in all its facets."
The Leopold Prize is awarded by the Organization of American Historians every two years for the best book on foreign policy, military affairs, historical activities of the federal government, documentary histories, or biography written by a U.S. government historian or federal contract historian.
According to the OAH's press release, Faulkner's work "tells the story of the 4.2 million Americans who were mobilized for service in the American Expeditionary Forces during the First World War. Clearly organized, meticulously researched, and engagingly written, it provides an authoritative account of the social and cultural world of the doughboy, on and off the battlefield. Published, appropriately enough, in 2017--on the one-hundredth anniversary of the U S. entry into the war--it explores in a clear, well-organized way an encyclopedic range of topics that include what soldiers ate, where they lived, how they worshipped, what kinds of treatment they could expect if they were injured, who they fraternized with, and how they navigated the very different cultures of England and France."
"Though the battlefield is not neglected, this is far more than a typical military history," the release said. "The research upon which Pershing's Crusaders is based is truly prodigious and includes, in addition to the official U.S. government records, thousands of soldiers' letters and diaries. Certain to have a long shelf life, Pershing's Crusaders belongs not only in the classroom but also in the public library, the mass-market bookstore, and the book club."
Faulkner said, "The greatest challenge in attempting to tell the story of the 4.2 million American soldiers who served in the First World War was the fact that each of those service members had their own unique experiences and perceptions of their time in uniform." He continued, "I tried to generalize the "average" soldier's daily life in training, combat, and duty behind the lines by focusing on the commonalities that I found while reading thousands of the doughboys' letters, diaries, and memoirs and the voluminous reports that the Army generated during the war. Although the doughboys served in one of the most revolutionary periods of change in military history, they had much more in common with the soldiers of today than there are major differences."
Founded in 1907, the OAH is the world's largest professional association dedicated to American history scholarship. With more than 7,500 members from the U.S. and abroad, OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, encouraging wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of history practitioners. It publishes the quarterly Journal of American History, and The American Historian magazine.