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SVC alumnus who authored “Masters of the Air” explains backstory of his book and the Apple TV+ series

by Public Relations | February 06, 2024

LATROBE, PA — Author, historian, and Saint Vincent College alumnus Donald L. Miller C’66, HD’93 recently appeared on two podcasts to discuss the Apple TV+ series “Masters of the Air.” The nine-part series is adapted from Miller’s nonfiction book “Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany.”Donald Miller

Miller and executive producer Tom Hanks were interviewed on the Making Masters of the Air podcast, which is produced by National World War II Museum. Miller also appeared on the HistoryExtra podcast, which is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine and BBC History Revealed.

Miller’s book was published in 2007. The television series was in production for a decade and the first episode was released two weeks ago. It tells the story of the 100th Bomb Group, a B-17 Flying Fortress bombing unit in the Eighth Air Force that was nicknamed “The Bloody 100th,” during World War II. “It wasn’t a happy designation because it refers to the [high] number of losses that they took,” Miller explained on the HistoryExtra podcast.

The American airmen arrived in England in spring 1943, when the German Luftwaffe controlled the skies over Europe. The 100th and other Allied crews were in a race against time to establish air superiority before the D-Day invasion in June 1944. “In one year, they had to clear the skies over the Normandy beaches, or there could be no landing,” Miller said. “That was probably the greatest accomplishment of the Eighth Air Force, allowing the invasion to go forward.”

Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History Emeritus at Lafayette College. He has written 10 books and has hosted, coproduced, or served as historical consultant for more than 30 television documentaries.

The executive producers of “Masters of the Air” are Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Miller previously worked with Spielberg and Hanks on a pair of HBO miniseries: 2001’s “Band of Brothers” (which was based on Miller’s book of the same name) and 2010’s “The Pacific” (for which Miller was a historical consultant).



PHOTO: Donald L. Miller