A native of Florida, I left as soon as I could after high school swearing I would never return. I worked as a wilderness guide for a company based in Chicago for a number of years after college before finally deciding on a career in history. I received my Ph. D. from Loyola University in Chicago in American History. Ironically, I am currently back in Florida on the faculty at the University of Central Florida, where I am an instructor teaching courses in Florida, Southern and Frontier history.