Donald L. Miller (born 1944) is a biographer and historian. He is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. He is also a New York Times bestselling author of seven books, and one of the most respected authorities on World War II and U.S history. He has been nominated for and won a variety of awards. He is a frequent consultant and adviser to historical productions, including those for PBS and HBO.
Education and career
Miller received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and joined the Lafayette College faculty in 1978. He has also taught at Cornell University’s School for Industrial and Labor Relations, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and Oxford University. He is the recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Vincent College and Outstanding Alumni awards from the University of Maryland and Ohio University.
Miller has also served as a writer and historical consultant for many productions, including WWII in HD (History Channel, 2009); American Experience: The Bombing of Germany (PBS, 2010); American Experience: Victory in the Pacific (PBS, 2005); A Biography of America (PBS); and several other programs on the History Channel.
In addition to his teaching and writing responsibilities, he was co-chair of the Planning Committee for the National D-Day Museum’s International Conference on World War II, and is on the Board of Trustees Planning Committee for St. Vincent College. Following Hurricane Katrina, he appeared on CNN and National Public Radio and was quoted by a number of national publications, including The New York Times, for his writings on American and European urban disasters, including the Great Chicago Fire and the destruction of cities in Japan and Germany during World War II.
Miller has been the keynote speaker at events sponsored by professional, business, and academic audiences. Among the organizations he has spoken to include: IBM, AT&T, the Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago), The Chicago Historical Society, the Aspen Institute, the Television Critics Association, the New York State Assembly, and the World Trade Center, Chicago among others.
World War II books
Masters of the Air
Miller is widely acclaimed for his books on World War II, most notably the bestselling Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany (Simon and Schuster, 2007). Drawn from interviews, oral histories, and other archives, Masters of the Air is an authoritative account of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler's doorstep as well as of life in wartime England and in the German prison camps, where tens of thousands of airmen spent part of the war.
Apple TV+ Miniseries
In 2013, HBO confirmed it was developing a miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks based upon Masters of the Air and focusing on the Eighth Air Force. Miller previously worked with Spielberg and Hanks as a historical consultant for the 10-part HBO series, The Pacific. He was also the on-camera historian, writer, and chief consultant for the series’ accompanying documentary. Little news about the series has emerged since HBO confirmed it in 2013; an alleged teaser trailer was posted on YouTube in 2014, however project writer John Orloff said in a podcast that this teaser is not related to the upcoming miniseries. NME reported in March 2017 that production was progressing under the working title The Mighty Eighth and writers were scouting filming locations in England. In 2019, it was confirmed that Apple TV+ will produce the seriesand that it will focus on the 100th Bombardment Group of the Eighth Air Force.
D-Days in the Pacific
D-Days in the Pacific (Simon and Schuster, 2004): The largest D-Day attack was the invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945, which brought together the biggest invasion fleet ever assembled, far larger than that engaged in the Normandy invasion. D-Days in the Pacific tells the story of the campaign waged by American forces to win back the Pacific islands from Japan. Based on eyewitness accounts by the combatants, it covers the entire Pacific struggle from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Miller's research was used in a miniseries by HBO called The Pacific and won two Emmys for Outstanding Television Series and Outstanding Casting in 2010.
The Story of World War II
The Story of World War II with Henry Steele Commager (Simon and Schuster, 2001): Drawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, Miller covers the horror and heroism of World War II in the words of the men who fought it, the journalists who covered it, and the civilians who were caught in its fury.
Miller has won six awards for excellence in teaching, five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other awards including the Great Lakes National Book Award for Outstanding Book (2009), WWII Magazine; Victorian Society's Book of the Year, and the Van Artsdalen Award for Outstanding research. He was a resident scholar at All Souls College, Oxford, and was also named the Crayenborgh Lecturer at Leiden University, Netherlands.