Roland Perry (born 11 October 1946) is a Melbourne-based author best known for his books on history, especially Australia in the two world wars. His Monash: The Outsider Who Won The War, won the Fellowship of Australian Writers' 'Melbourne University Publishing Award' in 2004. The judges described it as 'a model of the biographer's art.' In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 2011, Perry was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia 'for services to literature as an author.' In October 2011, Monash University awarded Perry a Fellowship for 'high achievement as a writer, author, film producer and journalist.' His sports books include biographies of Sir Donald Bradman, Steve Waugh, Keith Miller and Shane Warne. Perry has written on espionage, specialising in the British Cambridge Five ring of Russian agents. He has also published three works of fiction and produced more than 20 documentary films. Perry has been a member of the National Archives of Australia Advisory Council since 2006. In late 2012 Perry accepted an adjunct appointment at Monash University as a Professor, with the title ‘Writer-in-Residence’ in the University’s Arts Faculty.
Perry, as a freelance journalist, covered three US presidential elections (1976, 1980, 1984), writing for leading newspapers in the UK. He has also contributed to all major papers in Australia over more than 40 years. His work as a political writer for Penthouse Magazine UK led to a documentary on the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980: The Programming of the President.
In 1991, Perry was commissioned by the Weekend Australian Magazine to write a feature about an Australian syndicate attempting to raise the treasure from a sunken galleon off the coast of Guam. He returned there with a film crew to make a documentary entitled The Raising of a Galleon’s Ghost.
Perry worked for three years part-time on his first book, a fictional thriller, Program for a Puppet, which was first published in the UK by W. H. Allen in May 1979 and then Crown in US in 1980. Newgate Callendar in The New York Times called it ‘altogether an exciting story ...an exciting panorama.’ Publishers Weekly (US) said: ‘In a slick, convincing manner, Perry welds high-tech with espionage.’ 
In an interview on Sydney radio a decade after the publication of Program for a Puppet, Perry spoke about learning more from the negative reviews for his first fiction book than the good reviews: ‘Some were a bit cranky; some were patronising,’ he said, ‘but they were all in some way instructive. One thought the writing was “too high mileage.” Another spoke of a “staccato” style. I recall another mentioning that it was, at times, like a film script. One reviewer thought I had two good thrillers in one, which had merit. I did meld two big themes that may have been better separated. But you don’t really know what you are doing on a first fiction. I did all the heavy research, “forty ways to pick a lock,” that sort of thing.’
The author’s second novel, Blood is a Stranger was set in Australia's Arnhem Land and Indonesia. This covered the ‘issue’ of the misuse of uranium mining and dangers of nuclear weapons, a theme in Perry’s early writing and documentary film-making. Stephen Knight in the Sydney Morning Herald wrote: Blood is a Stranger is a skilful and thoughtful thriller... with a busy plot and some interesting, unnerving speculations about what might be going on in the world of lasers, yellowcake (uranium mining and manufacture) and Asian politics—things that most people prefer to ignore in favour of more simple and familiar puzzles.’ 
Roland Perry returned to fiction and a pet theme—the evils of nuclear weapons—in his third novel Faces in the Rain (1990). Set mainly in Melbourne and Paris, he used the first person to expose the nefarious activities of the French in testing and developing nuclear weapons in the Pacific.
The author’s second book followed up on a factual theme in Program for a Puppet—the way the American public was manipulated into voting for candidates by slick computer-based campaigns. Entitled Hidden Power: The Programming of the President it concentrated on the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The book explained how advertising techniques had been superseded in elections by more sophisticated methods, including marketing and computer analysis. It was published in 1984. The book, as much narrative as analysis, told how the two key campaign ‘pollsters’ steered their candidates. It was not critical of president Ronald Reagan, but was seen by the Republican campaign as hostile to him.
In the UK, the book received wide coverage. The Economist opined that it had a ‘frightening message: the pollsters with their state-of-the-art computers, which keep a finger on the pulse of the electorate, hope they can manipulate almost any election and have ambitions to control what the people’s choice can do in office.’ Oliver Pritchett in the London Sunday Telegraph thought the book’s main concept was ‘an alarming idea, and the author... plainly intends to give us the shivers.’ 
Communist journalist, Australian Wilfred Burchett died in Bulgaria late 1983, and Perry wrote a book about him in 1988. Perry based the book on Australia’s biggest defamation trial, when Burchett in 1974 sued Jack Kane of the Democratic Labor Party for calling him a KGB agent.
The Fifth Man
For his seventh book, published in 1994, Perry set out to discover the identity of the ‘Fifth Man’ in the "Cambridge Five" Cambridge University spy ring. All members of the Ring worked for the Soviet Union’s KGB and were run by Russian Master Spy Yuri Ivanovitch Modin. He claimed to have a strong base of contacts within British intelligence, especially MI6, members of which he claimed had assisted him on detail for his first novel and information for articles on espionage.
After initial research he presented a 20,000-word evidentiary statement to Sedgwick & Jackson UK’s William Armstrong, who had published various books on espionage, notably by British journalist Chapman Pincher. Armstrong had been caught up in circumstances surrounding the MI5 agent Peter Wright, who published Spycatcher. The Fifth Man was published in 1994, during an avalanche of spy book collaborations. Knightley instead edited a book The Philby Files by Genrikh Borovik.
The book named Lord (Victor) Rothschild, the Third Baron, as the fifth key member of the KGB-controlled Ring. The other four were Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Kim Philby, and Sir Anthony Blunt, the Queen’s art curator. The media and press were split between positive and negative reaction to The Fifth Man. The Irish Times reviewer Kieran Fagan said: ‘This book by an Australian journalist is very unusual... Few writers on espionage achieve the page-turning fluency of Roland Perry.’  The Weekend Australian reviewer Richard Hall said ‘it only takes a couple of phone calls to establish that the Rothschild operation had been pretty small beer for a long time.’ In contrast, Norman Abjorensen in The Sunday Canberra Times wrote: Perry makes a plausible case that the Fifth Man was... Rothschild... even from the most critical viewpoint it has to be conceded that the circumstantial evidence pointing to Rothschild is compelling.’ 
After covering the Western Front through the biography of Monash in WW1, Roland Perry turned to the Eastern Front for his 23rd book. It covered the dual part-biographies of Australian General Sir Harry Chauvel and T E Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’), which are the vehicles for his tome: The Australian Light Horse, published in late September 2009. The book reached number one in the bestsellers list for the categories of ‘Military’ and ‘History’ in November 2009, and remained in that position for six months. Reviews for The Australian Light Horse were consistently strong and positive. Paul Ham in The Australian wrote: "Perry’s work must be rated the first great read about the victories of the Australian cavalry in Arabia."  The Age made the book a ‘Pick of Week’ and noted the author "emphasises the significance of the Light Horse achievement... it’s briskly written, well-researched popular history." Rod Moran in The West Australian called the book "an example of popular history at its best, with a compelling overview of the Australian Light Horse Regiments’ exploits... what they achieved was quite remarkable. The Australian Light Horse is a history book that deserves a place in every suburban-home library. It tells the story of an extraordinary generation of Australians who created an enduring legend while changing the course of history." John Hamilton reviewing in the Herald Sun said: "Perry conjures up the romantic image of the Light Horse that endures to this day." 
The Courier-Mail saw the book as "a colourful and rattling good yarn." Good Reading magazine similarly found it "an enthralling and absorbing tale. [the author] gives a well-balanced view of Chauvel and the ALF’s achievements and he ties the importance of their deeds to Australia’s emergent nationhood."
Roland Perry’s 24th book is The Changi Brownlow. Publisher Hachette dubbed this non-fiction book "an inspiration story of the Aussie team spirit – mateship and sacrifice, courage and endurance." The story is set in Changi prison and on the notorious Thai-Burma Railway in WW2. It features Peter Chitty, a non-combatant ambulance driver whose exceptional mental and physical fortitude cause him to be an inspiration to all POWs. It was published in August 2010 and reached Australia’s top ten best-seller list, and, similar to The Australian Light Horse was number one in the categories ‘Military and History’ for six months
In October 2012 Perry’s 25th book, Pacific 360: Australia's Fight For Survival in World War II, was published by Hachette Australia. His 26th book, a faction-based fiction or 'faction', Bill the Bastard: Australia's Greatest War Horse, was published by Allen & Unwin.
Perry’s biography of Sir Donald Bradman, The Don, went to the top of the best-seller lists in Australia and had the most positive run of ‘notices’ of all his books in Australia and the UK. Wrote renowned cricket writer, E. W. Swanton in the UK Cricket Magazine: ‘The Don is an unsurpassable record of a phenomenal figure, from Lord’s to the moment of writing, has been, if any man ever has, a victim of his fame.’
The Melbourne Herald Sun wrote: ‘The Don is a sterling biography... it gives a riveting account of many of Bradman’s innings, and one can almost feel the excitement that gripped cricket fans when he strode out to bat.’  Australian Cricket Magazine’s Ken Piesse found the book was ‘a riveting and engrossing account of the life and times of cricket’s mega hero... In a 645-page book, Bradmanlike in research and presentation, Perry provides far more biographical and character detail on The Don and his life than previously published.’ The Sydney Sunday Telegraph’s Peter Lalor said: ‘Perry keeps a compelling pace in the work... The Don always let his cricket do the talking and so does the author. Perry brings to life the various innings with colourful and detailed descriptions of the shots, bowling and fielding... a good read and a handy bench-mark for all the modern hysteria [in 1995] about Brian Lara and Steve Waugh, two fine players whose averages and performances are but a shadow of The Don’s.’
The Sydney Morning Herald critique by Philip Derriman said that the book was ‘well researched, well illustrated and well written... anyone who looks into the book for an informed, readable account of the life of an extraordinary individual who also happened to be a fantastically successful sportsman will be well satisfied.’ He also said: ‘Perry’s book does include a personal detail about Sir Donald Bradman, which, as far as I know, has not previously appeared in print—namely that he is a former Freemason. Perry states the fact without comment, although many readers, having heard the stories of friction between Catholics and Mason in Australian cricket in the 1930s and 1940s, are sure to wonder if it was a factor in the lifelong personal rift between Bradman and his Catholic team-mates, Bill O’Reilly and Jack Fingleton.’
UK reviews for The Don were similar to those in Australia. The Blackpool Evening Gazette noted: ‘Perry’s momentous new book on Bradman will become an established classic.’  The Birmingham Post reviewer said: ‘Perry has provided an entertaining, breezily-written book that has drama and pace...(The Don)...is a book which should be in every cricket library and has some superb photographs and many memorable quotes.’ Total Sports Magazine UK wrote: ‘The Don is a magnificent book. Bradman’s story is wonderfully related by Perry—a monument both to his research and his writing... Perry’s joy in relating his greatest innings is infectious.’ 
Perry wrote a biography of Shane Warne: Bold Warnie, after his story on the leg-spin bowler’s dominance of the 1993 Ashes. Bold Warnie was published by Random House in 1998. This was followed by Waugh’s Way: Steve Waugh—learner, leader, legend (Random House 2000); and Captain Australia, A History of the Celebrated Captains of Australian Test Cricket (Random House, 2000).
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2001 said of the Waugh biography: ‘Roland Perry is gloriously readable, always thoughtful. His account embraces all the major controversies, but there is never any question whose side he is on. Perry shows Waugh’s evolution as a cricketer and a captain with solid admiration, but shrewdness too.’ 
Captain Australia covered every Australian skipper (except for Ricky Ponting) since Test cricket began. Each chapter carried a mini-biography of the 41 leaders. Each reviewer seemed to have a chapter that stood out for them. For The Age, Melbourne ‘the most interesting’ was on the 34th captain, Ian Chappell, entitled Larrikin Leader, which notes cultural and political connections between Chappell, Bob Hawke, the advertising guru John Singleton, 1970s ‘ockerism,’ and the promotion of WSC (World Series Cricket, sponsored by Kerry Packer.) The Herald Sun Melbourne noted: ‘There are some good stories in Captain Australia...The chapter on Greg Chappell [35: ‘All Class and Substance’] gives wonderful insight into the genius of Sir Donald Bradman.’ Cricket magazine Inside Edge wrote: 'The appeal of Captain Australia...will be the detail on captains most of us never saw such as Murdoch, Blackham, Armstrong, Woodfull and Richardson…It’s a valuable addition to our cricketing canon.’  Robin Marlar wrote in The Cricketer International: ‘Perry is a prolific, stylish writer... What lifted this book for me was the 24-page prologue on a fascinating character, Charles Lawrence, the immigrant from England who took on the embryonic Australian establishment and brought the first, if not quite the only team of Aboriginals to England in 1868.’ 
Gideon Haigh, who himself co-authored a book on the Australian captains, wrote Perry had '...a disquieting tendency to, quite casually, mangle information for no particular reason,’ and ‘...there are assertions who origins are, at least, somewhat elusive.’ 
Sir Donald Bradman divulged to Perry his world’s best cricket team selection from all cricketers who had played the game since Tests began in 1877 to the end of 2000. The book, Bradman’s Best (Random House) was published simultaneously in Australia and the UK on 12 August 2001 to much fanfare. The UK Observer’s Norman Harris noted in his column that the book ‘containing the 11 precious names will be guarded like gold bars.’ However, Warwick Franks wrote: "Perry's reverential approach turns the process into Moses bringing down the tablets from Mount Sinai. To Perry, Bradman is without spot or stain so that much of his writing, as in the earlier biography, takes on the air of hagiography. As a selector, Bradman is presented as sagacious, prescient and fearless, but his work is never subjected to any critical scrutiny." Franks also said that the book contained many factual errors.
Perry’s follow up book with summary chapters on Bradman’s selections of his best Ashes teams, Bradman’s Best Ashes Teams—was also published by Random House as was Miller’s Luck, a biography of Australian all-rounder, Keith Miller. The book was published in the UK by Aurum Press, with the title, Keith Miller.
Cricket historian J Neville Turner said: ‘Miller’s Luck is up there with the great cricket biographies. The sensitive areas are handled with integrity and discretion.’  Ron Reed, leading Australian sports writer, in a syndicated piece for all News Corporation tabloids including the Melbourne Herald Sun wrote: ‘Miller’s Luck is an excellent biography. It’s an honest portrayal of the imperfect human being behind the heroic legend.’  AAP’s Jim Morton wrote: ‘Keith Miller is an enlightening biography of the test all-rounder, who was a cool and carefree match-winner on the field and a playboy philanderer off it.’  Jim Rosenthal in the UK Daily Mail ranked the book as the number one sports book of 2006. The UK Cricket Society named it as the cricket biography of the year and it was short-listed for the Cricket Writers’ book of the Year. Archie Mac on Cricket Web’s book review wrote: ‘This is Roland Perry’s eighth book on cricket, and for my money his best…the result is not just a great cricketing book, but also a complete portrait of a fascinating life.’ 
But David Frith, writing in The Cricketer, said: "Unfortunately, Roland Perry’s work here is anything but confidence-inspiring. He is an opportunistic author, Don Bradman, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh being among his previous subjects, together with a book on Australia's captains which gave the world nothing that the painstaking Ray Robinson had not already dealt with, apart from the update...the book is strewn with errors that undermine confidence in the work as a whole." And Martin Williamson, writing on Cricinfo, labelled this book as one of the two worst books of the year, saying it ‘polluted 2006.’ He said that its 'lack of attention to detail made its unsavoury dredging of Miller’s private life even less palable.'
ABC TV’s Australia Story interviewed Perry extensively for a two-part series on Miller, which borrowed heavily from Miller’s Luck. It was broadcast over two nights, 20 and 27 April 2009, and was a ratings success, attracting 1.3 million and 1.8 million viewers respectively. Apart from the author, the documentary featured Jan Beames (the subject’s niece), Miller’s four sons, Bill, Peter, Denis and Bob, and his friends Michael Parkinson and Ian Chappell.
Perry’s 20th book was The Ashes: A Celebration. The Melbourne Age’s Steven Carroll wrote: ‘Having written voluminously before on cricket and cricketers... his knowledge on the game is formidable... he’s an authoritative observer, not shy... and a very entertaining read.’  Kit Galer in the Melbourne Herald Sun wrote: ‘This book serves as an excellent primer for those whose interest in the game was aroused by Australia’s defeat last year .’
Perry’s 22nd book (10th on cricket) was the fourth in a series of five volumes drawn from his years of interviews with Sir Donald Bradman—Bradman’s Invincibles. The Sydney Morning Herald noted: 'This is a wonderful insider’s view of the (1948 Ashes) series... Perry is a good, unpretentious writer and the story he has to tell is one of courage and drama... It is a great Australian yarn.’  Adrian Nesbitt in Sydney’s Sun Herald wrote: ‘Perry paints an excellent background picture of a tour that is remembered by Australians as a triumph over the mother country, often without consideration that England was still bearing the scars of war... Perry creates suspenseful moments, in the dressing-room and on the field... His meticulous approach gives us a great understanding of the subtleties and room for instinct that were Bradman trademarks.’  Teri Louise Kelly in Independent Weekly said, ‘Perry’s work, much like Bradman himself, is head and shoulders above the competition... Bradman’s Invincibles leads the reader into the dusty backrooms, on to windy training pitches and mid-Test; beautifully written and accompanies by excellent photographs.’ David Stanley in Cricket Boundary Magazine commented: ‘Bradman’s Invincibles is required reading for all cricket lovers, particularly those of the younger brigade who may not know much about the players, apart from Bradman, who made up his remarkable team... It is a good read and I recommend it.’  Inside Sport noted: ‘Perry’s prose provides worthwhile insight into the mechanics of Bradman’s mind.’  Neil Harvey, one the Invincibles stars, said: ‘I found it a very entertaining read. It brought memories flooding back.’ 
- Fellowship of Australian Writers, 2004, FAW National Literary Awards 2004, accessed 16 July 2009
- National Archives of Australia, 2011 , accessed 18 July 2011
- Monash University, 2011 , accessed 12 October 2011
- Monash University, National Centre for Australian Studies, School of Journalism, Australian and Indigenous Studies, Faculty of Arts, 2012
- ‘The Crisis Machine’, Penthouse Magazine UK, Volume 19 No 6, June 1984. See Perry’s articles ‘Candidate Reagan’, UK Sunday Times, 29 April 1984 and ‘The Man Who Monitored the World During a Crisis,’ Computing UK, 24 May 1984; ‘Caed Mile Demos’ by Paddy Prendiville, Sunday Tribune, Ireland 29 April 1984; ‘The Programming of the President,’ Andrew Casey, Sydney Sun-Herald, 19 August 1984; ‘Pollsters: ignore them at your peril,’ Business Review Weekly, Australia 3–9 November 1984; ‘Strategists use programs to put politicians in power,’ by Bill Johnston, The Australian, 27 November 1984. The one hour documentary produced by Grossman and Perry was ‘The Programming of the President,’ Program Film Productions, 1984.
- Perry, Roland (1979). Programme for a Puppet. UK: W H Allen. ISBN 0-491-02197-6.; In the US entitled Program for a Puppet. Crown. 1980.
- Newgate Callendar, New York Times, 1 September 1980.
- Publisher’s Weekly, US 18 June 1980.
- Blood is a Stranger, William Heinemann, Australia, 1988; ISBN 0-85561-160-X
- ‘From Mulga Ashtray to Mainstream,’ by Stephen Knight, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 June 1988.
- Faces in the Rain, Mandarin Publishing, Australia, 1990; ISBN 1-86330-076-7
- Computers Maketh the President, by Caroline Wilson, Melbourne Herald, 24 August 1984. Hidden Power, Beaufort US, 1984; The Programming of the President, Aurum Press, UK, 1984; ISBN 0-906053-78-1; Elections Sur Ordinateur, Robert Laffont & Bonnel Editions, France, 1984; ISBN 2-221-01932-6
- The Economist 7 September 1984.
- UK Sunday Telegraph, Oliver Pritchett, 15 July 1984.
- The Exile: Burchett, Reporter of Conflict, William Heinemann, Australia, 1988; ISBN 0-85561-106-5
- The Fifth Man, Sedgwick & Jackson, UK, 1994
- Spies Without Cloaks: The KGB’s Successors; Knight, Amy, Princeton, NJ; Princeton University Press, US, 1996.
- Borovik, Genrikh; The Philby Files; Little, Brown & Co. US, 1994.
- ‘Victor Ludorum,’ by Kiernan Fagan, The Irish Times; 10 November 1994.
- Richard Hall, The Weekend Australian, 14 January 1995.
- ‘Following the Moscow Line,’ by Norman Abjorensen, The Sunday Times Canberra, 22 January 1995.
- The Australian’s Australian Literary Review, 3 February 2010, p 27.
- The Australian, 7–8 November 2009.
- The Age, 31 October 2009.
- The West Australian, 27 October 2009.
- Herald Sun, 31 October 2009.
- Brisbane Courier Mail, 24 October 2009.
- Good Reading Magazine, February 2010.
- Hachette Australia, 2011 [ www.HachetteAustralia.com.au]
- Australian Literary Review, February 2011.
- Sun Herald Sydney 19 December 2010; Herald Sun Melbourne, 20 December 2010.
- E.W. Swanton, UK Cricket Magazine, March 1976.
- Herald Sun, 18 November 1995.
- Ken Piesse, Australian Cricket Magazine, January 1996.
- Peter Lalor, Sunday Telegraph, 7 January 1996.
- Philip Derriman, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 1995.
- The Blackpool Evening Gazette, 10 May 1996.
- The Birmingham Post, 17 May 1996.
- Total Sport Magazine, May 1996.
- "Cricinfo Magazine". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- Bold Warnie, Random House Australia, 1999, ISBN 0 091 84001 5; Waugh’s Way: Steve Waugh: learner, leader, legend, Random House, Australia 2000; ISBN 1 74051 000 3; Captain Australia, A History of the Celebrated Captains of Australian Test Cricket, Random House, Australia, 2000; ISBN 1 74051 001 1
- Robin Marlar. Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2001.
- The Melbourne Age, 24 December 2000.
- The Melbourne Herald Sun, 5 December 2000.
- Inside Edge Magazine, December 2000.
- Robin Marlar. The Cricketer International, October 2000.
- Gideon Haigh (2004). "No Ball". Game for anything: Writings on Cricket. Melbourne: Black Inc. ISBN 1 86395 309 4
- Norman Harris, London Observer, 7 July 2001; Bradman’s Best, Random House, Australia, 2001; ISBN 0091840511; Bradman’s Best Ashes Teams, Random House, Australia, 2002: ISBN 1 74051 125 5
- Franks, Warwick (December 2002). "Bradman's Best". The Australian Public Intellectual Network. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- J. Neville Turner, speech to the Australian Cricket Society, December 2005.
- Prince Charming, by Ron Reid, Herald Sun, 5 August 2005.
- Keith Miller’s, cricket’s greatest all-round scoundrel, by Jim Morton, Australian Associated Press newswire reports, 9 August 2005.
- Wit and Widsen from the wicket, by Tom Rosenthal, Daily Mail, 24 November 2006.
- 2006 Cricket Biography of the Year, UK Cricket Society.
- UK Cricket Writers’ Book of the Year Award, shortlisted 2006.
- "Miller's Luck. Review by Archie Mac. 26 December 2005.". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- http://www.espncricinfo.com/reviews/content/story/250410.html David Frith, "Fault lines in a hero's tale", The Cricketer, July 2006.
- "Cricinfo Magazine: Books of the Year – 2006. Martin Williamson. 31 December 2006.". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- "Australian Story: The Millers Tale-Part 1. 20 April 2009.". Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "Australian Story: The Millers Tale-Part 2. 27 April 2009.". Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- The Ashes: A Celebration; Random House, Australia 2006, ISBN 174166490X
- Steven Carroll, The Melbourne Age, 29 July 2006.
- The glory of flannelled fools, by Kit Galer, Melbourne Herald Sun, 19 August 2006.
- Bradman’s Invincibles, Hachette, Australia, 2008; ISBN 9780 0 7336 2270 3;
- The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Spectrum, 30 August 2008.
- Adrian Nesbitt, Sydney’s Sun Herald, 24 August 2008.
- Teri Louise Kelly, Independently Weekly, 10 August 2008.
- David Stanley, Cricket Boundary Magazine, Bradman Museum, Volume 20, 2008.
- Inside Sport, Australia, September 2008.
- Cover, Bradman’s Invincibles, Aurum Press, UK, 2009.