Award-winning and best-selling author Don Keith was born in 1947 and has lived in the South all his life. He attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where he received his degree in broadcast and film communication with a minor in English and literature. While working as a broadcast journalist, he won awards from the Associated Press and United Press International for news writing and reporting. He was also the first winner of Troy University's Hector Award for innovation in broadcast journalism. As an on-the-air broadcaster, Don won the Billboard Magazine "Radio Personality of the Year" in two formats, country and contemporary. Keith was a broadcast personality for over twenty years in Birmingham and Nashville, and also owned his own consultancy, co-owned a Mobile, Alabama, radio station (WZEW-FM), and hosted and produced several nationally syndicated radio shows.
His first novel, THE FOREVER SEASON, was published by St. Martin's Press in the fall of 1995 to commercial and critical success. It called heavily on Keith's own athletic and academic experiences. Reviewers praised its unique approach and powerful story. The novel won the Alabama Library Association's "Fiction of the Year" award in 1997, joining works likewise honored from Harper Lee and others, and was re-issued in the fall of 2002 by the University of Alabama Press as part of its prestigious Deep South Books series. His second novel, WIZARD OF THE WIND, was based on Keith's years in broadcasting. As was the first book, the second work was published under the imprint of widely praised New York editor Robert Wyatt as A Wyatt Book for St. Martin's Press. Keith next released a series of young adult/mens' adventure novels co-written with Kent Wright. They are set in stock car racing and titled THE ROLLING THUNDER STOCKCAR RACING SERIES. The works were released in paperback by Tor Books, as audiobooks by Durkin-Hayes Publishing, and in hardback by Econo-Clad Books. They are also now available in E-book format.
Don's next novel, a thriller co-written with former nuclear submarine commander George Wallace, FINAL BEARING, was released by Forge Books of New York City in April 2003 and quickly became a national bestseller and received great reviews. Mass-market paperback and e-book editions are now available. A sequel to that novel, FIRING POINT, has been optioned by a major film studio and is currently in pre-production as a major motion picture from Relativity Media. The latest in the series of submarine thrillers, DANGEROUS GROUNDS, is now available.
Keith's first non-fiction work, GALLANT LADY, the true story of a remarkable World War II submarine, the USS Archerfish, was written with the significant help of former Archerfish crewmember Ken Henry. It was published by Forge Books in June 2004. A trade paperback edition was published in 2005 and an audio version was released by Blackstone Audiobooks.
Don's next work of military history, IN THE COURSE OF DUTY, was published by the Caliber imprint of Penguin USA. The book deals with another amazing WWII submarine, the USS Batfish, her heroic efforts in the Pacific and the wonderful story of how she came to rest today high and dry in a former bean field in Muskogee, Oklahoma--the middle of the Dust Bowl and the Cherokee Nation.
In 2006, Don Keith published FINAL PATROL
, another Caliber/Penguin release, which tells the personal, behind-the-scenes stories of each of the 17 WWII submarines that are open to the public around the country as museum ships. Each of the non-fiction submarine books were offered as featured selections of The Military Book Club
Also in 2006, Cumberland House Press released Don's unique series of vignettes about legendary college football coach "Bear" Bryant titled THE BEAR: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF COACH PAUL "BEAR" BRYANT.
Don's next work was THE ICE DIARIES, the untold story of America's first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus, and her historic Cold War trip to the North Pole in 1958. The book was co-written with Captain William R. Anderson, the skipper of Nautilus on that world-changing, top-secret voyage. The book was submitted for consideration for the Pulitzer Prize.
The next work by Don Keith was another true story of a series of events aboard the World War II submarine USS Billfish
. WAR BENEATH THE WAVES
reveals the previously untold story of how a young officer took charge of a submarine during a vicious depth-charge attack and, with the help of a couple of Chief Petty Officers and brave crewmembers, saved the boat. It, too, is pubished by Caliber/Penguin and is also available in an audio-book version. He has also published a collaboration with syndicated radio personalties Rick Burgess and Bill "Bubba" Bussey on the New York Times
bestselling duo's next book, WE BE BIG
, which is now available. He has also co-written a series of inspirational novellas with Edie Hand, titled "The Ride Series."
Another novel, THE SPIN
, tells the story of a man who decides to risk all he has on one spin of the roulette wheel in Las Vegas.
In 2011, Don Keith published another historical work, UNDERSEA WARRIOR, about the life and exploits of Commander Dudley "Mush" Morton, World War II's first submarine "ace" and one of its most inspiring and controversial personalities. The latest biographies include the amazing and inspirational story of a man whose life experiences would make Horatio Alger look like a pessimist. MATTIE C.'s BOY tells the story of Shelley Stewart, who grew up challenged by poverty, family cruelty, brutal racism and more to become one of the country's top radio broadcasting personalities, a successful businessman, and one of the key players in the human rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s. Plus DREAM ON, the true story of Steve Skipper, who was a brutal enforcer for the Crips gang but overcame that life to become one of our most honored artists.
Don's latest non-fiction works include THE SHIP THAT WOULDN'T DIE, the amazing, true story of a ship mistakenly attacked by the Japanese at the Battle of the Coral Sea and how her crew managed to survive four days adrift at sea. And THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN, the inspiring story of World War II hero Captain Dixie Kiefer who led his men through the Coral Sea, Midway, and a brutal kamikaze attack in the China Sea.
Don lives in Indian Springs Village, Alabama, with his wife, Charlene. He is also an active "ham" radio operator (call sign N4KC
) and he has published three books about the hobby, RIDING THE SHORTWAVES, GET ON THE AIR...NOW!,
and THE AMATEUR RADIO DICTIONARY.
He is a member of the Alabama Writers' Forum and actively supports local and statewide literacy efforts. Don's latest volunteer project
is an effort to encourage people to capture and publish oral histories and other material from those who have been eyewitnesses to and experienced historical events.
He and Charlene have three children--Andy, Gary and Erin--and four special grandchildren, Laci, Alexa, Jackson, and Emily.