Donald L. Miller, John Henry MacCracken Professor of History, is screenwriter and historical consultant for the History channel’s latest installment of its Emmy award-winning series WWII in HD. Inspired by Miller’s book Masters of Air (2006), The Air War will premiere at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10.
Narrated by actor Rob Lowe, the two-hour special tells the story of the American 8th Air Force’s bloody battle to defeat the German Luftwaffe in the months leading up to D-Day. First person accounts of three American airmen and Stars & Stripes reporter and retired 60 Minutes correspondent Andy Rooney are voiced by actors Casey Affleck, Sean Astin, Chris O’Donnell, and Elijah Wood.
Produced by Lou Reda Productions in Easton, The Air War uses color footage, much of which has never been aired before, drawn from thousands of hours of World War II film unearthed from archives and private collections across the globe. A team of Lafayette students worked on the project as interns conducting historical research and assisting with archiving film and video footage. As head of the history department internship program, Miller helped the students secure the internships with the documentary filmmaking company.
Miller will also host a discussion and private screening of the film during the Members Appreciation Weekend Friday, Nov. 12, at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
An award-winning author and expert on WWII, Miller was also writer and chief historical consultant for the original WWII in HD, a 10-hour series that aired on the History Channel in November 2009. Narrated by Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise, the series was inspired by Miller’s book The Story of World War II (2001).
Miller is chief historical consultant and writer for The Pacific’s ambitious web site and is historical consultant and on-camera expert on the DVD and Blu-Ray components of the series. The 10-hour World War II miniseries, which debuted March 14 on HBO, received eight Emmy Awards, including outstanding miniseries, during the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards Aug. 29. The show’s executive producers are Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman, the creative team behind the Emmy-winning 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.
He also appeared as an on-camera expert on PBS’ American Experience program The Bombing of Germany. The one-hour documentary premiered in February and was based in part on Masters of the Air. Miller served as the production’s principal consultant.
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.