Friday, April 1, 2016

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg



Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik
Dey Street Books, 2015
240 pages
source: library

Summary (from Goodreads):

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer's searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, created by the young lawyer who began the Internet sensation and an award-winning journalist, takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice's life and work. As America struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stays fierce. And if you don't know, now you know.

My thoughts:

With the recent death of Antonin Scalia, a controversial proposal of a new justice (the action not the man, as far as I can tell), and an expected string of 4-4 Supreme Court decisions, Notorious RBG  has become a very timely read. This biography, which covers both RBG's professional and person life, was much more interesting than expected. It is humanizing, and it also increased my respect for this remarkable woman.

A pioneer in many ways, Ginsburg has fought tirelessly for equal treatment under the law for all people. Much of her professional success has come from being a careful, methodical thinker and recognizing that change is incremental. According to RBG "real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time." The mantra in her chambers is "Get it right and keep it tight."

I highly recommend this book, but be sure to look for a print edition. If you must go the ebook route (as I did), use a device which allows you to fully appreciate the great color graphics and photographs. I was much happier after switching from my kindle to an iPad. If you choose to listen to the audiobook, be sure to at least look through a print version at your library or bookstore.


Notorious RBG  reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin several years ago. Since finishing this biography, I have added  Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman to my reading list.

What books about the Supreme Court you have enjoyed?

My rating:


34 comments:

  1. Well, its not often i read a review and think Yes Yes.. this is one i will look for. Sounds great, and something of a challenge for me. Thank you.

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    1. Tamara - Ginsburg is an amazing woman. I am in awe of her drive and intelligence... this book is definitely worth reading.

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  2. Boy, have you made this sound like a must read. It's going on my wish list!

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    1. Kathy - Plus, the whole topic of the Supreme Court is very timely right now. Hope you get a chance to read it

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  3. I really want to read this. I also want to read The Nine.

    I am very interested in politics, current events and government. I also very much admire Ginsberg. As you mention, this is also very timely.

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    1. Brian Joseph - All of those things interest me, too, and I've been fascinated by the Supreme Court for a very long time. The Nine is an excellent book, too.

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  4. None...and I'm not very proud of that. Thanks for the advice on the photos and graphics - I'll be sure to look for the book book.

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    1. Audrey - It seemed strange that my library only had the ebook, especially when there are so many photos and graphics. Hope you can find this one!

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  5. I really have trouble with much nonfiction on e-books or audio. The graphics on ebooks can get really screwed up, and of course on audio there are no pictures at all. And the whole footnote thing - I always consult them: not really possible in non-print formats, at least, not yet for e-books (it seems it wouldn't be too hard to make hypertext links, although I suppose it would cost more!)

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    1. Jill - I much prefer to listen to nonfiction (think I must be an audio learner), but I do love maps, charts, etc. I almost always end up with a read/listen combination... which is fine if I can get at least one of them from the library. This time I didn't even bother with the audio.

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  6. I'm not sure I know enough about the US justice system for this one but then again is that needed. Sounds like more the story of a powerful, independent, woman?

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    1. Emma - I think you'd still be fine even without much background knowledge of the Supreme Court... this is really a story of Ginsburg's life.

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  7. I'm glad for the tip about getting this in print or for a kindle fire. I gave my fire to my son when his broke, and the paperwhite is terrible on graphics!

    My son would enjoy this book too (I guess you could call him a feminist though he is really for every person's rights), since being a law student his whole mind focus is current events, politics, justice, etc.

    He met Sonia Sotomayor last year at a school luncheon, then bought and read her book & recommends that one: My Beloved World. A story of how a poor child, who didn't speak English and grew up in a Bronx housing project, joined the Supreme Court.

    Thanks for a good review!

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    1. Rita - The paperwhite is almost useless for this book. I don't really like reading on the iPad because it's too much like a computer screen, but had to do it this time. I was wondering about My Beloved World... glad to have your son's recommendation.

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  8. Very timely indeed. It will be very interesting to see what happens next with the Supreme Court. This book sounds like a very good case for print vs. e-copy.

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    1. Pat - It will be interesting to see what happens with Court over this year. Print is definitely the way to go with this book!

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  9. I haven't read any books about the Supreme Court. I'm adding this to my list.

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    1. Vicki - I think this is an inspiring book even if you're not a big fan of the Supreme Court. Ginsburg broke so many barriers.

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  10. Hmmm...I haven't read any books about the Supreme Court...I would like to...someday...

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    1. Patty - Ginsburg's story is inspiring even if you're not all that interested in the Supreme Court.

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  11. So good to hear you loved the book! I only have the audiobook, but I will try to look at the print edition at the bookstore. With the recent attempts at overthrowing abortion and LGBTIQ+ bills, the need for judges like RBG and more women on the supreme court becomes even more acute.

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    1. Bina - I think you'll be fine with the audio as long as you can look at the photos and graphics in the print edition at some point. I'm a little nervous about the future of the Court...

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  12. So glad to hear this one lives up to expectations. Can't wait to read it but I'm kind of bummed that it's on my Nook. Oh wait! I can download a Nook app to my iPad, I think. That should work.

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    1. Lisa - That will work! I put the kindle app on my iPad and read it that way.

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  13. I don't read a lot of biographies but this is one I would really like to read!

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    1. Iliana - I'm not a big biography reader either... maybe one or two a year, but this one is very good!

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  14. Wow thanks for the reading list on the Supreme Court. I realize I don't know much about Ginsburg so this biography sounds enticing to me. I guess I'd be interested in reading books by Sandra Day O'Connor and also Sonia Sotomayor's book too.

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    1. Susan - It's an excellent basic biography... not too scholarly and great fun! The Nine is the best book on the Supreme Court in general that I've read. Great on audio, too.

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  15. I've been reading books by and about some of our key women leaders and thoroughly enjoying it. This one's on my request-list at the library. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. You make me eager to get to it.

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    1. Margot - I hope you enjoy it, too. RBG is a very inspiring woman!

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  16. This book has been on my to-read list for a while and your review makes me even more excited to pick it up. Thanks for your advice on which edition to read!

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    1. Doing Dewey- Hope you can find a print copy... this is an inspiring book!

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  17. I am all for reading about women like Ruth who did so much awesome stuff and should be an example to everyone.

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  18. Athira - Then you definitely should not miss this book!

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