John McManus grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
After receiving his degree in broadcast journalism, he worked for a time in advertising but then decided to pursue graduate studies in history at the University of Missouri.
He received his Master’s in history in 1991 and went to the University of Tennessee in 1992 to pursue his doctorate.
In 1996 he completed his doctorate and married his wife Nancy.
For the last few years he has taught history at the University of Tennessee, St. Louis Community College and the University of Missouri-Rolla.
Previously he served as the executive assistant and assistant director of the Center for the Study of War and Society for seven years.
Currently he lives in St. Louis with his wife Nancy and teaches at the University of Missouri-Rolla and St. Louis Community College.