Peter Stanley is one of Australia's most active military-social historians. He has published 28 books, mainly in the field of Australian military history (such as Tarakan: an Australian Tragedy or Quinn's Post, Anzac, Gallipoli or Invading Australia), but also in medical history (For Fear of Pain: British Surgery 1790-1850), British India (White Mutiny: British Military Culture in India 1825-75), British military history (Commando to Colditz) and bushfires (Black Saturday at Steels Creek). He wrote the first book on battlefield research and Australia, A Stout Pair of Boots, the novel for children, Simpson's Donkey and the adult novel The Cunning Man.
Peter worked at the Australian War Memorial from 1980 to 2007, where he was its senior historian from 1987, and there curated or contributed to many exhibitions, such as Gallipoli, Soldiers of the Queen, Echoes of the Guns and the Second World War galleries. In 2007 he became the inaugural head of the Centre for Historical Research at the National Museum of Australia.
He has been part of many television histories, including consulting, appearing in or presenting programs such as Australians at War, Revealing Gallipoli, Monash the Forgotten Anzac, and In Their Footsteps. Peter is a frequent and forthright contributor to public debate on Australia and war. His book, Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Murder, Mutiny and the Australian Imperial Force, jointly won the Prime Minister's Prize for Australian history in 2011.
In February 2013 Peter joined UNSW, Canberra, as a Research Professor in the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society. He has completed the social history chapters of one of the multi-volume Oxford Centenary History of Australia in the Great War and the first book on Indians and Gallipoli, to be published in 2015. He is working on books on the National Library's Great War collections, on Australia and the Armenian massacres and on the Australian memory of the Great War.