Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Book Review: Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law by Jeffrey Rosen

Right after the sad death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I really wished I knew more about her. I'd seen the movie and I watched the documentary, but I'm a word person (shocker!) and then I remembered this book that came out not too long ago from my own company and I immediately downloaded it. It's so fantastic mostly because you hear Ruth's own words from her own mouth throughout.

Mr. Rosen became friends with Judge Ginsburg a while ago over their shared love of opera. As he's a journalist writing about legal matters, they've discussed the law A LOT over the years. And a few years back he started (with her permission) recording their conversations, These are arranged topically, which might not be how the exact conversations proceeded, but it is helpful for following along. Additionally, there's an intro to each chapter, but I wish those had been shorter, as it then often felt like the conversation was a little repetitive. But it does help a lot with context and the historical overview on particular subject matter. 

I learned a lot. I respect her even more which I didn't know was possible. I know at the time she was appointed, her views on Roe v. Wade were controversial but now that I understand the big picture there, I agree with her. Did you know there has been an opera written about her and Antonin Scalia? This was fascinating, and gave great insight into this diminutive yet towering figure in the public zeitgeist and also in legal circles hopefully for decades to come. If you too are missing RBG, this is a great (and fast) read that will make you feel like she's there with you, on your sofa, talking about the cases she argued in front of the Supreme Court, and the cases she heard as a judge. Amazing.

This book is published by Henry Holt, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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