Documentary Linked to HBO Series Band of Brothers and The Pacific to be Screened at Daemen September 20

Presented by Don Miller, Ph.D., Associate Producer, Consultant to the Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg Production


U.S. Army Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk (Ret), Veteran of General George S. Patton’s Third Army, Will Also Speak

August 30, 2012

Mike AndreiDirector-College Relations
Daemen College
(716) 839-8472

Pacific DVD CoverDon Miller, Ph.D., John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College and an expert on World War II, will visit Daemen College September 20, to screen “He Has Seen War,” the hour-long documentary that followed the HBO WWII mini-series “The Pacific.” The documentary will be shown 7 p.m, September 20, in Alumni Lounge in Wick Center on the Daemen campus, 4380 Main Street, in Amherst. It is free and open to the public.

The film has had a single previous public screening, at the World War II Museum, in New Orleans, in November, 2011.

An expert on a number of areas of American history, Miller served as writer and consultant for  historical and documentary material accompanying the mini-series Band of Brothers, and The Pacific, produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman. The Pacific premiered on HBO March 14, 2010, and featured Miller as lead historian.

A discussion and question-and-answer period will follow the documentary. U.S. Army Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk (Ret) will be present to provide his first-person insights into the experience of fighting in WWII. General Irzyk served in the European theater as a 27-year old tank battalion commander in General George S. Patton’s Third Army.

A number of WWII veterans from both theaters of war are interviewed in “He Has Seen War” to share their memories in the 59-minute documentary, narrated by Tom Hanks.

“Doing this brief documentary, focusing on the post-war lives of survivors of both the European and Pacific Theaters and their families was Tom Hanks’ idea,” said Miller. “We began examining what these men and their sons, daughters, and wives went through with them once they returned home, and found unbelievably difficult stories.

“The marriage rate shot up immediately after World War II, but so did the divorce rate. Jobs were initially hard to find. There were many, many stories of severe emotional physiological difficulties – what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and the government basically buried it. Psychiatry, social work counseling, those things weren’t done back then. A lot of these men and their families suffered tremendously, and there was very little they could do about it. There were positive stories too, of course. The documentary reveals both struggle and triumph.”

Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk (Ret)

Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk (Ret)General Irzyk fought as a commander in the famed 4th Armored Division, which spearheaded Patton’s Third Army all across Europe. Wounded twice, he received two Purple Hearts. General Irzyk also commanded the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment along the Iron Curtain at maximum alert during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.

Among his decorations for valor, he holds four Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars, and the Distinguished Service Cross. General Irzyk has authored five books and numerous articles. A Warrior’s Quilt of Personal Military History is his most recent book.

More on Don Miller

Don Miller was also the chief historical consultant and writer for the HBO website that accompanied “The Pacific,” composing 10 original essays for the website, editing all historical material, and helping to produce nine interactive maps. The dramatic series was shot in Australia and is based on the stories of three U.S. Marines—Robert Leckie, Eugene Sledge, and John Basilone—who fought in the war’s Pacific theater.

Miller received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and joined the Lafayette College faculty in 1978. 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 in 2005, 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.

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 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.

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 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; and America, 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.

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.”

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