Michael GannonMichael Gannon
Michael Gannon is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Florida. Born in Oklahoma, he attended high school in St. Augustine, Florida. He holds graduate degrees from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., the Universite de Louvain in Belgium, and the University of Florida. Dr. Gannon has had a long interest in the Spanish colonial history of Florida, about which he has written extensively. Two of his books, Rebel Bishop (1964, reprinted 1997) and The Cross in the Sand (1965, reprinted 1999) treat of the early history of the Catholic Church in the state. He is co-author of two other books and a contributor to numerous others on the region, including Spanish Influence in the Caribbean, Florida and Louisiana, 1500-1800, published at Madrid, Spain, and The Hispanic Experience in North America, published by the Ohio State University.

In the area of naval and military history, HarperCollins in New York published Dr. Gannon's 1990 book, Operation Drumbeat, a history of Germany's first U-boat operations along the American coast in World War II. The book became a national best seller and the subject of a National Geographic Explorer program which won an Emmy as the Best Historical Program of 1992. Foreign language editions were published in Germany and Japan.

His Florida: A Short History was published in 1993 by the University Press of Florida, and a revised and updated edition was published in 2003. In 1994 HarperCollins published his Secret Missions, a Florida-based historical novel set in World War II, which was chosen by Readers Digest Condensed Books. In 1996 he edited and contributed to The New History of Florida, the first comprehensive history of the state in a quarter of a century.

In May 1998 HarperCollins published Dr. Gannon's book, Black May, about the Allies' defeat of the German U-boat fleet in May 1943. It became a Main Selection of the History Book Club and an Alternate Selection of the Book of the Month Club. Foreign publication rights were purchased in the United Kingdom, Germany, and China.

In 1997 he was featured as a commentator on the history of German U-boat warfare on the three-hour television documentary, "The U-Boat War," produced by ITN in London and shown in this country on the Discovery Channel.

In 2009 and 2010, respectively, his U-boat books Operation Drumbeat and Black May were reprinted by the U.S. Naval Institute at Annapolis, MD.

In 2001 Henry Holt and Company published his latest book on military history, Pearl Harbor Betrayed, which has been called "the most authoritatively researched and documented book yet written" on the Japanese attack of December 7, 1941.

Dr. Gannon's two-act stage play, "Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on Trial," had its premiere performance at the Theater Center in DeLand, Florida in 1997.

Numerous of his articles on history, religion, military affairs, and ethics have appeared in national journals and magazines. In the summer of 1968 he served in Vietnam as a war correspondent for the journal America and the National Catholic News Service. He is the author of the historical article on "The Catholic Church in the United States" that appears in the Encyclopedia Americana and of another article under the same title that appears in the Encyclopedia of Southern History. He wrote the article on the history of the State of Florida that appears in the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. He has lectured widely in this country, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. And he speaks regularly to government, leadership, history, literary and library groups throughout the state of Florida.

From 1975 to 1987 he conducted a weekly half-hour PBS television program, "Conversation," on which he interviewed distinguished professors and notable visitors to the Florida campus.

In 1972 he was honored as Gainesville’s "Citizen of the Year" (Community Service Award) in recognition of his mediation of student-administration-police conflicts in 1970, 1971and 1972. The Florida Historical Society awarded him the first Arthur W. Thompson Prize in Florida History. In 1978 he was named "Teacher of the Year" in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 1979 the University of Florida National Alumni Association awarded him its first Distinguished Alumni Professorship in recognition of "the impact that he has had on students' lives and careers."

In a 36-year teaching career at UF he taught over 16,000 students.

In June 1990 the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, conferred on him the highest academic award of that country, Knight Commander of the Order of Isabel la Catolica.

In 2000 he was named by The Gainesville Sun one of the 50 most "notable citizens" of Gainesville and north central Florida during the 20th century.

In 2004 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Florida Historical Society.

In 2005 the steel and concrete bridge at Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine was dedicated as Michael Gannon Bridge.

His most recent books are a history of the Catholic Church in Florida, entitled, The Florida Catholic Historical Trail and Michael Gannon’s History of Florida in Forty Minutes, the latter published in both print and audio formats by the University Press of Florida.

In 2007 Michael Gannon was awarded the highest decoration of the City of St. Augustine, the Order of La Florida.

In 2009 Rollins College conferred on him its first Alfred J. Hanna Award in recognition of his academic achievements. In the same year the Florida Heritage Book Festival at Ponte Vedra named him a “Florida Literary Legend.”

In a feature article appearing in its January 2010 issue Florida Trend business magazine named him a “Florida Icon.”

In 2010, at Tallahassee, Governor Charlie Crist awarded him the first Florida Literary Lifetime Achievement Award. In the same year, at Sanibel Island, Leadership Florida presented him with the Le Roy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award for leadership.