Academic Background and Research Interests
I did my first undergraduate and Hons. MA at the University of Sydney, then a PhD at Cambridge (St John’s College). I taught at Sydney from 1969 to 1986, the University of Western Australia from 1987 to 2011 and Reading University from 2007-2011 (shared with UWA). I have been a Visiting Fellow at St. John’s College and Clare Hall, Cambridge, Balliol and All Souls Colleges in Oxford. I was also a Visiting Professor at Trento University in Italy. My last three books, all published by Yale University Press, have been Whispering city: Rome and its histories (2011), Venice: an Italian history (2014), and Claretta: Mussolini’s last lover (2017). I am contracted to write Eclipse: the waning of Benito Mussolini 1932-8 also for Yale (submission due 2020). In 2015 I edited with Joe Maiolo of KCL vol II of the Cambridge University Press History of the Second World War (3 vols).
I play golf (very badly) at North Oxford and go to the theatre whenever I can. My daughter is a professor of criminology (St. Cross College) and my two granddaughters progress through the school system in Oxford (and live eight houses down the road). I defect to Italy often.
In 2002, I was accorded the Australian Centenary Medal 'for services to history and the humanities'.
With Felicity Heal and Colin Haydon (and others), I am preparing a History of Jesus College for the 450th anniversary in 2021.