In 2016 he travelled through North Korea from the Yalu River on the Manchurian border to the demilitarised zone in the south. His research has taken him to Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Washington DC and Cambridge. In 2017 he was appointed as a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.
Pembroke’s last book, the historical biography Arthur Phillip – Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy (2013) was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and runner-up in the National Maritime Museum history award. Simon Winchester described it as
His first book, Trees of History and Romance (2009), explored the relationship between twenty-one iconic tree species and the poetry, history, literature and folklore inspired by them. It is now also the subject of a television series proposal.
Pembroke was educated at the Universities of Sydney and Cambridge. He is the son and the father of army officers and has lived and travelled extensively throughout the world, including in East Asia. At university, he studied History, French and Government intending to become a diplomat but instead turned to the law. His father was an infantry platoon commander in Korea who was awarded the Military Cross for his role in a battle described as ‘one of the finest infantry battalion attacks in British history’. Pembroke was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2010 and will retire in early 2020.Michael Pembroke photograph