First reaction to a book which is subtitled “Chief Justices of South Australia Since Federation” is to assume a fusty tome intended for the sentimental education of the legal profession. The surprise is that it turns out to be a rather lively history book. Emerson wields a light pen. His tight biographies ripple with a sense of the character as well as the life and times of his subjects. Legal careers and political events flow through as absorbing narrative rather than leaden fact. The five chief justices … emerge not only as powerful figures in South Australian history but also as interesting people with human foibles. The accounts are coloured by details of home, health, conflict, controversy and comment – making it a portrait of a city’s evolving social and cultural fabric. – The Adelaide Advertiser, 17 February 2007
[A] very readable and instructive book. It will be much enjoyed by the general reader as well as by legal practitioners, legal academics and historians.
… an indispensable addition to one’s reading list over the Christmas vacation. More importantly, it is a worthwhile contribution to the relative dearth of legal biography in Australia now being remedied by the work of people like Dr Emerson and Dr Bennett. – Bulletin (Law Society of South Australia), Vol 29(1), Feb 2007