A Private Life: Fragments, Memories, Friends

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Allen & Unwin, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 216 pages
1 Review
'a reflective, generous and eloquent book.' - Sydney Morning Herald

' [A] gracious memoir...' - Weekend Australian

'Michael Kirby writes with great humour and extraordinary warmth...' - Canberra Times

'[A] charming and oddly moving collection of autobiographical excursions.' - Saturday Age

Michael Kirby is one of Australia's most admired public figures. At a time of spin and obfuscation, he speaks out passionately and straightforwardly on the issues that are important to him. Even those who disagree with him have been moved by the courage required of him to come out as a high-profile gay man, which at times has caused him to be subjected to the most outrageous assaults on his character.

This is a collection of reminiscences in which we can discover the private Michael Kirby. It allows the public figure to speak in his own voice, without any intermediary. He opens up as never before about his early life, about being gay, about his forty-three-year relationship with Johan van Vloten, about his religious beliefs and even about his youthful infatuation with James Dean.

Beautifully written, reflective and generous, in that warm and gently self-deprecating voice that is so characteristic of him, this is a memoir that Michael Kirby's many admirers have been waiting for.

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User Review  - amme_mr - LibraryThing

I received this book as a gift (a signed copy by Michael Kirby himself). As one of the most notable high court judges in Australia throughout history, and being a law graduate myself, reading his ... Read full review


1 Of freckles crowns and canes my early teachers
2 After Wolfenden how science and law came to the rescue
3 My friend Jimmy Dean a nostalgic journey
4 Johan lessons in love
5 Riverview a modern morality tale
6 Out in Africa of judges aids and truths
7 The Salvos a surprising visit to the citadel
8 The prince in dangerous times
9 Bugger the roses reflections on relativities
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About the author (2012)

When he retired from the High Court of Australia in February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia's longest serving judge. In addition to his judicial duties, he has served on three university governing bodies, being elected Chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney (1984-93). He has also served on many national and international bodies, including the World Health Organization's Global Commission on AIDS, the International Commission of Jurists, the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee, the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights, and the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law. He is a truly great Australian.

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