Vice-Chancellor of two universities, including the University of Queensland, during times of turbulent student protest, Sir Zelman Cowen was appointed Governor-General of Australia in 1977. An outstanding scholar and constitutional lawyer, Sir Zelman was professor and Dean of Melbourne University's law school by the age of 31. He revolutionised legal education in Australia and became one of the nation's best known 'public intellectuals,' addressing issues such as capital punishment and republicanism.
Keenly aware of social and technological change, Sir Zelman stimulated debate on many issues, and was a vigorous voice for reason and humane values. These are his absorbing memoirs – a personal recollection of an outstanding career, as well as a reflection of twentieth-century history, as seen through the eyes of a man at the forefront of Australian public life for more than 50 years.
A Public Life is a lucid, vivid and engaging account of a remarkable career.