Bachelor, University British Columbia.
He has also written a popular biography of the 18th-century politician John Wilkes, who was influential in developing ideas concerning civil liberties in England and the United States. The book, titled John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty, was one of three finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for biography. He retired from the State University of New York at New Paltz as one of only a handful of faculty with the title of Distinguished Professor.
Before that he taught at the University of Colorado, the University of New Mexico, and Colorado State University.
Starting off as a stage actor, he joined the 108th General Hospital at the beginning of American involvement in the Second World War. He enrolled at the University of Chicago on the G.I. Bill, and completed his graduate education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Columbia University.
Served with Royal Canadian Air Force, 1942-1945.
Married Peggy Hassard. Children: Douglas, Jennifer.