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Michael Gannon (historian)

Michael V. Gannon (April 12, 1927 – April 10, 2017) was an American military historian, academic, and former priest and war correspondent. He was born in Oklahoma into a military family. Following the death of his father in 1939, his family moved to Florida from Washington, D.C.[1] He attended St. Joseph Academy in St. Augustine, Florida and worked at WFOY-Radio, hosting a call-in show and reading ads, among other duties. Later, he had a summer job as an announcer at Marineland when it was a SeaWorld-style attraction south of St. Augustine.[2][3] He spent most of his career in Florida and died in 2017.[4]

Michael V. Gannon
BornApril 12, 1927
Fort Sill, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedApril 10, 2017 (aged 89)
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
NationalityUnited States
Alma materCatholic University of America
University of Louvain
University of Florida
Scientific career
FieldsAmerican History
InstitutionsUniversity of Florida



During World War II, Gannon was a member of the American Field Service, in the 1950s he wrote on European military topics. Gannon earned both his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Catholic University of America[5] and later studied theology at the University of Louvain in Belgium. He became a priest in 1959, and received his PhD in history from the University of Florida in 1962.[6]

In 1968, he was a war correspondent in Vietnam for the Catholic magazine America. He taught at the University of Florida since 1974 with a teaching career spanning 38 years. He left the priesthood in 1976 and later married Genevieve Haugen.[7] He taught about the history of World War II, and became Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History.[8]

One well known work by Gannon is Operation Drumbeat (1990), sub-titled The dramatic true story of Germany's first u-boat attacks along the American coast in World War II.[citation needed] Although written, in large parts, as a dramatic story, Gannon had researched the subject extensively, travelling to Europe to view sites and interview surviving participants. Official documents, on both sides of the Atlantic, were obtained to provide further information and the work is supported by significant notations.[citation needed] It chronicles the u-boat cruise of U-123 in January 1942 under Reinhard Hardegen to the American east coast and analyses the factors behind a major naval defeat for the United States which could have upset the western allies' war strategy.[citation needed]


Gannon was known for his study of Spanish colonial history. Among numerous awards and honours, he was a Knight Commander of the Order of Isabel the Catholic, granted by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.


Gannon died on April 11, 2017, two weeks before his 90th birthday.[2]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Pearl Harbor Betrayed: The True Story of a Man and a Nation under Attack Hardcover. Holt, 2001. ISBN 0805066985/ISBN 978-0805066982
  • Black May. New York: HarperCollins. 1998. ISBN 0060178191. OCLC 39128840.
  • Operation Drumbeat: The Dramatic True Story of Germany's First U-boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II. New York: Harper & Row. 1990. ISBN 0060161558. OCLC 21117890.
  • Florida: A Short History. University Press of Florida, 2003. ISBN 0813026806/ISBN 978-0813026800
  • The Cross in the Sand: The Early Catholic Church in Florida, 1513-1870. University Press of Florida, 1965. ISBN 0813007763/ISBN 978-0813007762
  • Secret Missions. Harpercollins, 1994. ISBN 0060177330/ISBN 978-0060177331
  • Rebel Bishop: Augustin Verot, Florida's Civil War Prelate. University Press of Florida, 1997. ISBN 0813015227/ISBN 978-0813015224


  1. ^ Unger, Julie (March 24, 2010). "Gannon to receive Florida literary award". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Obituary,, April 11, 2017; accessed April 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Official profile
  4. ^ Swirko, Cindy (April 11, 2017). "UF's Michael Gannon, who made history lively, dies at 89". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Geller, Brian (July 27, 2004). "Michael Gannon, author". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  6. ^ Profile[permanent dead link],; accessed April 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Klinkenberg, Jeff (May 28, 2010). "The remarkable Michael Gannon: His history is Florida's history". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on May 16, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  8. ^ Carpenter, Daryl (1991). "Operation Drumbeat (footnote)". Book Reviews. Retrieved 2008-01-17.

External linksEdit