My background and interest in History came from an addiction to Military books in the library.
The earliest memory I have is my mum taking me out to see Patton at the drive in, and me getting mad cause the German tanks were modern. Then came a gift from a relative that let the walls break...A Monogram Tiger snap together kit, and a genuine German Helmet. Since that time I have been obsessed with the WWII E.T.O., as well as general Military History. Then came the time spent buying every single book I could get my hands on, as well as collecting WWII German militaria.
When my folks moved to another part of town, I ended up mowing grass for a man who was part of Panzer-Grendaider-Division Grossdeutschland .
Then my first year in my new elementary school I befriended a fellow whose Grandfather was part of the 508th P.I.R. (American Red Devils). I am very lucky in that I have not only collected genuine artifacts of my favorite period of Military History, but also to befriend fellows from many sides of that very conflict. I will go on record saying that as much as I love History books written by professional Historians, it has nothing on hearing that very History in all its bitter sweet glory. As many of you folks can agree, it is a lot of fun to watch the History Channel and find faults with their information, as well as seeing footage that you know you have seen many times over.
As far as formal education in History (military or otherwise) I'm yet to get a degree, but that being said I enjoy every minute of my hobby. I took a long break from building armor and figure kits(thirteen long years). All it took was one trip to the bookstore and spotting a AFV modeling magazine to see just how far our hobby has came, and the bug bit again.
I apologize for the long winded reply to this forum, but it unleashed many a good feeling.
Thanks for such a great topic.
Best regards to all,