Michael Pembroke was born in Sydney in 1955 and educated at the universities of Sydney and Cambridge. His first book was Trees of History & Romance (2009); his second, Arthur Phillip - Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy (2013), was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards; his third book Korea - Where the American Century Began (2018) was short-listed for the Queensland Literary Awards and the NSW Premier’s History Awards. Pembroke’s most recent book, a polemic about American leadership entitled Play By the Rules (2020), was published in the United States as America in Retreat (2021).
He has written for Time Magazine, Al Jazeera, the South China Morning Post and many Australian news publications. He studied French and Mughal history at university but succumbed to a career in the law. For 35 years, he and his wife developed a much loved garden at the cool climate hamlet of Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains on Sydney’s western fringe.
As a child, Pembroke lived in England, Singapore and Australia and attended his first school at Sandhurst, UK. He has continued to travel extensively including many times to India, as well as to East and Southern Africa, China, North Korea and the Russian Federation and to the five great capes that were signposts for the early navigators in the Southern Hemisphere – Cape Agulhas, Cape Leeuwin, South East Cape (Tasmania), South Cape (Stewart Island) and Cape Horn.