Dr. Donald L. Miller

Dr. Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College and an expert on World War II, among other topics in American history. Three of his eight books are on WWII: D-Days in the Pacific (2005), the story of the American re-conquest of the Pacific from Imperial Japan; Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany (2006); and The Story of World War II (2001), all published by Simon & Schuster.

Miller is an historical consultant for The Pacific, a 10-hour miniseries on World War II in the Pacific, which is debuting on HBO in March 2010. He is serving as historical consultant, writer, and on-camera historian for the documentary film material and Internet site that will accompany the film, which is produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman, the creative team behind the Emmy-winning 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.

Miller was writer and chief historical consultant for WWII in HD, a 10-hour series that aired on the History Channel in November (2009), and was the network’s most watched program of the fall season. Narrated by Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise, the series was inspired by Miller’s book, The Story of World War II.

Miller also appeared as an on-camera expert on PBS’ American Experience program The Bombing of Germany. The one-hour documentary premiered in February 2010, and was based in part on Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. Miller served as the production’s principal consultant.

The chapters on the Pacific War from his book The Story of World War II were adopted for an award-winning American Experience television documentary, Victory in the Pacific, which aired in May 2005. This film was nominated for three Emmy Awards: Outstanding Historical Programming-Long Form; Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing; and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Research.

His book,D-Days in the Pacific, was named one of the Outstanding Books on Military History in 2006 by both The Washington Post and World War II Magazine. It was the companion volume for the History Channel Series with the same title, which aired in August 2006.

Miller’s book Masters of the Air was selected by three major book clubs: Book of the Month, History Book Club, and Military History Book Club. The book was added to the reading list of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Professional Reading Program.

Miller was the lead scholar, writer, and host of the 26-part PBS series, A Biography of America. The series has been adopted for course use by over 200 colleges and universities and won several national television awards. He has also appeared in numerous other PBS programs in the American Experience series, as well as in programs on the History Channel.

Miller has been an historical advisor, commentator, scriptwriter, or host for over 40 television productions, including the History Channel’s Movies in Time, and the national television productions Ulysses Grant;Abe and Mary Lincoln; April, 1865: The Month that Saved America; The Rockefellers; The Great Chicago Fire; Marshall Field: American Merchant Prince; The Hidden History of Chicago; Night of the Long Knives; andAmerica, 1900, winner of the prestigious Peabody Prize. He served as an on-camera expert for a documentary on the Chicago World Fair of 1893, which appeared on the National Geographic Channel.

Miller’s best-selling, City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America received the Great Lakes Book Award for non-fiction in 1996, and was made into a seven-hour documentary film series for PBS’s The American Experience. In a front page review in Book World, The Washington Post described the book as “sweeping and beautifully written.” Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times hailed it as “a wonderfully readable account of Chicago’s…history.” And John Barron of the Chicago Sun Times wrote that “Miller has written what will be judged as the great Chicago history.”

Among Miller’s other books are Lewis Mumford, A Life, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and nominated for seven literary awards. “With this large, large spirited life of Lewis Mumford, Donald L. Miller takes his place in the first rank of contemporary American biographers,” writes biographer and historian David McCullough, who has also called Miller “one of our ablest historians.”

Mumford’s biography was re-republished by Grove Press as part of its series, Grove Great Lives, a collection of “classic twentieth-century biographies.”

Henry Steele Commager and Norman Cousins have hailed Miller’s other book on Mumford, The Lewis Mumford Reader as a “superb” introduction “to one of the most celebrated minds of the twentieth century….[Miller’s] book,” writes Cousins, “is a treasure-house for all those who think that the human mind can make a difference in the human situation.”

With co-author Richard Sharpless, Miller wrote The Kingdom of Coal: Work, Enterprise, and Ethnic Communities in the Mine Fields. The book was cited as the “the first comprehensive history of the industry and the culture that it spawned” and one of the best books ever published on “a giant American industry.” It was nominated for over a half dozen prizes, including the Francis Parkman Prize and the Bancroft Prize. A seven-part National Public Radio series by Miller based on the book won first prize in the Excellence in Broadcasting Competition in 1989.

Miller also wrote the introduction to Metropolis 2020, a master plan for the city of Chicago that was published by the University of Chicago Press. He has lectured in this country and Europe on architecture and city design.

Miller’s articles have appeared in national publications, among them The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. He is a contributing editor of American Heritage Magazine.

In May 2004, Miller was chosen by the Smithsonian Institution to give the kick-off event of its D-Day celebrations on the Washington Mall–a series of lectures at the Smithsonian on the history of World War II.

Miller has won six awards for excellence in teaching, five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a number of prestigious book awards. He was a resident scholar at All Souls College, Oxford, and was also named the Crayenborgh Lecturer at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

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 School of the University of Pennsylvania, 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.

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 the Katrina Hurricane, 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 by bombing of the World War II cities of Japan and Germany.

Miller has been the keynote speaker at events sponsored by professional, business, and academic audiences. Among the organizations he has spoken to are: IBM, AT&T, the Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago), The Chicago Historical Society, the Aspen Institute, the Television Critics Association, Russell Reynolds Associates, the New York State Assembly, the American Architectural Association, the Smithsonian Institution, the National D-Day Museum, the Municipal Arts Society, New York, the American Historical Association, the Annenberg Foundation, the World Trade Center Chicago, the Embassy of the United States, London, Churchill College, Cambridge, and the National Press Club.


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