I was born in Melbourne and schooled in Melbourne and Sydney. I completed my undergraduate degree at Monash in the mid 1970s and returned to the university in the early 1980s to pursue postgraduate work. In 1982 I was awarded the inaugural C.W. Bean Postgraduate Scholarship from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to undertake doctoral research on Australian war writing. The completed dissertation was revised for publication as Big-noting: The Heroic Theme in Australian War Writing (Melbourne University Press, 1987), and won The Age ‘Book of the Year’ in 1988. I have taught at Monash since 1986, with a stint as Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo from 1996 to 1998. I have written or edited seven books, including Travels in Atomic Sunshine: Australia and the Occupation of Japan (Scribe, 2008), which won the NSW Premiers’ Australian History Prize.