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Ruth Johnston studied philosophy, languages and linguistics at St. John's College (Annapolis, Md.) and at Penn State. She spent most of her adult years as the full-time mother of three sons, while maintaining rigorous programs of independent study. She lives in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa., dividing her time between writing and personal study interests such as history and foreign languages (Anglo-Saxon, French, Russian, Hebrew, and just a little Turkish for fun).
Teaching Advanced Placement English Literature to homeschooled seniors around the world between 1995 and 2003 led her to write A Companion to Beowulf for Greenwood Press in 2005. This book is the only comprehensive guide to the ancient epic poem and its world. She published it as a more affordable paperback with her own imprint, Pannebaker Press, in 2011. It is available through all major book outlets, but you can also learn more about it at www.pannebakerpress.com/books/beowulf/book.html.
Ruth's second book, also for Greenwood Press, picked up with Beowulf's medieval history period, but it focused exclusively on the material culture of the time. All Things Medieval, a two-volume encyclopedia, came out in 2011. She maintains a blog, when she has time and energy, also named All Things Medieval, discussing medieval Europe's material culture and historical developments. The blog's archive can be found at www.ruthjohnston.com/AllThingsMedieval/.
Her third book traced the development of the English language from prehistory to modern times. Excavating English, illustrated by Ellen McHenry, is part of a series of entertaining yet advanced workbook-texts for middle and high school students, published by McHenry. It's enjoyable for adults as light reading (with some puzzle challenges). Excavating English is available through major book outlets.
Re-Modeling the Mind: Personality in Balance is Johnston's fourth book, but her first work that is not primarily about history. It is drawn from unique perspectives and experiences, as her family coped with some unusual challenges and tragedies. It's really the culmination of more than ten years of studying how personality, life stresses and mental illnesses interact in daily life.
Ruth also speaks and writes about the need for mental health treatment reform. In 2013, her son's schizophrenia could not be adequately treated in time to prevent tragedy. Based on this personal experience, she advocates for state and federal legal reforms to give families more rights to mandate treatment for someone disabled by severe mental illness.