John Rickard worked as an actor and singer before taking up a lectureship in history at Monash University. He has written widely in Australian cultural and political history, with a particular interest in life writing. His books include H.B. Higgins: The Rebel as Judge (1984, Age non-fiction book of the year), Australia: A Cultural History (1988, revised 1996), A Family Romance: The Deakins at Home (1996), and An Assemblage of Decent Men and Women (2008). During 1997 and 1998 he was visiting professor for Australian Studies at Harvard University, and in 2007 Monash visiting fellow in Australian Studies at Copenhagen University. He is currently adjunct professor at Monash University.