Who are public intellectuals? Why do they matter? What is the difference between an academic and an intellectual? Prehistory to politics explores these issues by examining the life and work of John Mulvaney, one of Australia’s foremost prehistorians, who has not only changed our understanding of the past but who has made a major contribution to public debate and public policy concerned with world heritage, archaeological and conservation practice, the function and operation of museums and the relevance of the humanities. This is both a history of ideas and a book about their implementation.