In addition to working in elections administration, I was daily newspaper reporter in the days of hot type, the managing editor of Occupational Health and Safety Magazine, a leader in environmental health journalism since 1932, and a social worker in programs for the aged. I was even a firefighter--way, way back. I was lousy at the job, but I admire the men and women who serve in that wonderful profession. Bless them for having the mechanical aptitude and just good common sense that eluded me at the age of twenty-one.
I now write full articles and op-eds regularly for the History News Network and other sites and publications. Recently, since the Fall of 2011, I have been working with editorial assistants and a Ph.D. statistician on a book called A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs. The book is now available. It is the most concrete manifestation of a longstanding interest in higher education, especially the programs and accomplishments of students in public universities. My own time at the University of Texas at Austin was such a transformational experience that I have continued to be fascinated by the impact and potential of higher education, beyond the usual advantages of career preparation and, usually, higher lifetime income. My recent focus on public honors programs has led to rewarding discoveries and many reaffirmations that our public universities are centers of excellence that deserve and need our support.
I grew up, or at least I was born and raised in, Waco, Texas--yes that Waco, Texas, a place that got a really bum rap for being the location of a horrifying event that occurred about twenty miles out of town in a little place called Elk. This is not to deny that Waco is home to an atypically large quantity of eccentrics. I now divide my time between the wonderful cities of Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas, the latter my home for many years.
I am the author of a novel entitled The Edge of Freedom, A Fact-Based Novel of the Texas Revolution. The novel is mainly about the Goliad campaign in the Revolution, especially the attempts of the Texan commander, James Fannin, and the Mexican General Urrea to save Fannin's men from execution. The novel reflects my interest in memory studies, and Texas history is the mecca for creative and academic work in that area. The Edge of Freedom was published in collaboration with Inkwater Press on February 9, 2011. Please see the reviews of the book on this site, especially the most recent review in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. An article of mine on early Texas history appeared in the former Texana Quarterly, and I am a contributor to the Handbook of Texas History. Many years ago, my short fiction appeared in the Southwest Review, the literary quarterly of Southern Methodist University Press.
Bachelor of Arts with Honors, major in history/English, The University of Texas at Austin
Master of Arts in history (American religious/intellectual history), minor in history of education and journalism, The University of Texas at Austin
Outstanding Graduate Student, American Social History, University of Texas at Austin, by vote of fellow students