Sir Zelman was Vice-Chancellor of two universities, including the University of Queensland during times of turbulent student protest, and was appointed Governor-General of Australia in 1977.An outstanding scholar and constitutional lawyer, Sir Zelman Cowen 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, he has stimulated debate on many issues, and has always been a vigorous voice for reason and humane values.These are his absorbing memoirs. They are a personal recollection of an outstanding career, as well as a reflection of twentieth-century history - both Australian and international - as seen through the eyes of a man at the forefront of Australian public life for more than fifty years.As a vice-chancellor, Sir Zelman weathered times of turbulent student dissent in the university system during the 1970s.
He was appointed Governor-General of Australia in 1977, and in this role brought 'a touch of healing' to a nation bitterly divided over the actions of his predecessor, Sir John Kerr. Sir Zelman went on to serve as head of his old Oxford college, Oriel, and as chair of the British Press Council."A Public Life" is his lucid, vivid and engaging account of a remarkable career.