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). My latest book, Mussolini and the eclipse of Italian Fascism was due out with Yale University Press in the summer of 2020 but, because of coronavirus' interference with the publishing process, is delayed until March 2021. I have started work on a study of the curious father and son story of Giovanni and Giorgio Amendola, who might be viewed the epitome of Italian history 1900-1980 in its lights and shadows. I have also been honoured with membership of the editorial board of Nuova Rivista Storica, which has claims to be Italy's oldest modern history journal. 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.