January 28, 2010

Professor Donald Miller Appears on PBS’ American Experience Feb. 8

The Bombing of Germany features him as principal consultant and on-camera expert and is based in part on his book, Masters of the Air

Donald L. Miller, John Henry MacCracken Professor of History, will appear as an on-camera expert on PBS’ American Experience program The Bombing of Germany. The one-hour documentary will premiere at 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, and is based in part on Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany (2006). Miller served as the production’s principal consultant.

The Bombing of Germany examines the defining moments of the U.S. bombing campaign during World War II. Produced and directed by Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer Zvi Dor-Ner, the film weaves together veteran and historian interviews with archival footage of the bombings and their aftermath. It is a haunting reminder of the moral dilemma imposed by war’s strategic imperatives.

Masters of the Air is Miller’s eighth published work and third book on WWII. It examines the social and psychological effects of the war on bomber crews of the American Eighth Air Force, German citizens, and the English people. After its release, the book garnered international attention. It was named Outstanding Book of the Year by World War II magazine and was a bestseller in the U.S. as well as the U.K., where it was published under the title Eighth Air Force: The American Bomber Crews in Britain. The book was reviewed and Miller was interviewed by media outlets around the world including the Daily Telegraph, the London Times, The New York Times, Air and Space Smithsonian, The History Channel, American Heritage, PBS, NPR, C-Span, and many others.

Another of Miller’s upcoming projects is The Pacific, a 10-hour miniseries that will debut on HBO in March. 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 also was writer and chief historical consultant for WWII in HD, a 10-hour series that aired on the History Channel in November, and was the network’s most watched program of the fall season. He worked with Reda Productions of Easton on the full-color, high-definition series, which used footage, much of which has never been seen before, drawn from more than 3,000 hours of World War II film unearthed from archives and private collections across the globe. Narrated by Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise, the series was inspired by Miller’s book, The Story of World War II (2001). The international version of the show premiers this month in Warsaw, Poland.

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. As in many of Miller’s projects, students played a key role in the production of his books, including fact checking, proofreading, and critiquing Masters of the Air and The Story of World War II. Ten Lafayette students worked as interns on WWII in HD, with several staying on after graduation to continue work on the project. All of them worked in close concert with Miller as head of the history department’s internship program.

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