Michael Kirby: Law, Love and Life

Daryl Dellora

Michael Kirby: Law, Love and Life
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Michael Kirby: Law, Love and Life

Daryl Dellora

For most of his life, Michael Kirby has been a man on a tightrope. A person of strong views working in a world governed by objectivity, he has had to balance the potent, sometimes contradictory impulses of passion and duty, honesty and discretion, advocacy and neutrality. He had to hide his real self from the world for decades, while being the public voice of countless human-rights and legal issues. And his thirty-five years as a federal judge afforded him tremendous authority and power, but often demanded silence and impartiality on matters closest to his heart. This intimate biography takes us behind the bench to explore the personal, moral and spiritual convictions of one of our most beloved and brilliant citizens, a man who made the law accessible, humane and interesting, a man who was never blown along by the prevailing political winds. It draws on a wealth of previously unavailable letters and papers, as well as interviews with Kirby, his family, friends and - for the first time - Johan van Vloten, his partner of more than forty years. Michael Kirby: Law, Love and Life looks back on a controversial career of dedication and success, and a private life of great love, secrecy and, finally, openness.

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