John Ferling is a leading authority on late 18th and early 19th century American history. He is the author of many books, including Independence, The Ascent of George Washington, Almost a Miracle, Setting the World Ablaze, and A Leap in the Dark. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Below is a brief autobiography statement the author wrote for this website.
My parents were from the same small town in West Virginia. My mom graduated from West Liberty State College and taught elementary school from 1929-1935, when she was forced to quit as West Virginia state law in those days prohibited a married woman from teaching in a public school.
My dad began college at West Liberty on a baseball scholarship in 1928, but when the scholarships were terminated during the Great Depression, he left school without graduating. In 1934 he went to work with Union Carbide Chemical Corporation in Charleston, West Virginia, and continued to work for the company for 40 years until his retirement in 1974.
I was born in 1940 when they were still living in Charleston. I was their only child. In 1941 my father was transferred to Texas City, Texas, across Galveston Bay from the city of Galveston, and that is where I grew up.
I graduated from Sam Houston State University with a BA degree in history in 1961. In the preface to my book Setting the World Ablaze, I explain how I became a history major and made the decision to pursue graduate studies with the hope of teaching in college and enjoying the opportunity to write. I received an MA degree in history from Baylor University in 1962.
I completed a Ph.D. degree in history at West Virginia University in 1971. Over the years, I have taught at Morehead State University in Kentucky and West Chester State University in Pennsylvania, but most of my teaching career was spent at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.
I retired from teaching in 2004 after having spent 39 years in the classroom. My wife and I live near Atlanta.