Phil Keith


Phil Keith holds a degree in history from Harvard. After graduating, Phil went into the Navy and served in Vietnam. He was awarded the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Navy Commendation Medal.

After his wartime service, Phil rose to the rank of Commander in the Naval Reserve and is also a licensed US Coast Guard Master’s Mate. As a business executive, he worked for two Fortune 500 firms and is a former assistant professor of business at Long Island University. Since 2007 Phil has been an adjunct instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design, teaching marketing and writing courses.

Phil has authored three novels and five nonfiction books to date. His two Vietnam books are both from St. Martin’s Press: Blackhorse Riders won the 2012 USA Book News award for Best Military Non-Fiction, was a finalist for the 2013 Colby Award and earned a Silver Medal from Military Writers Society of America. His second Vietnam book, Fire Base Illingworth, was released in 2013. Stay the Rising Sun (Quarto Publishing, 2016), is an account of the crucial WW II Battle of the Coral Sea and the loss of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington  in May, 1942. Stay the Rising Sun won a Bronze Medal from The Military Writers Society and was a finalist for the 2016 Morison Award for Naval Literature. Phil is currently working on two new books: Long Hank, a biographic novel on General Henry W. "Long Hank" Lawton, and Love and Glory, the biography of Eugene Bullard, the first African-American fighter pilot (co-written with best-selling author Tom Clavin), under contract to HarperCollins.  

Phil serves on the planning board for the Town of Southampton, writes an award-winning column for the Southampton Press, and is a member of VFW Post 5350, American Legion Post 924, the Disabled American Veterans, and Vietnam Veterans of America. He lives in Southampton with his partner Laura Lyons and son Pierce.