Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life

Knopf. Oct. 2018. 752p. ISBN 9781400040483. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780525521594. BIOG
Fifteen years in the making, this meticulously researched, comprehensive volume is the first full biography of Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg (b. 1933). Based on court decisions and interviews with family and friends as well as conversations with Ginsburg herself, De Hart (emerita, history, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; coauthor, Women's America) outlines the forces that shaped the justice's life and jurisprudence. These include the feminist influence of her mother and the impact of her Jewish heritage. Ginsburg's career is skillfully placed within the context of American social and political history from the 1930s to the present. Detailing each step of Ginsburg's career and providing a sophisticated analysis of the justice's thinking on constitutional change, reproductive rights, gender equality, and affirmative action, the author documents the difficulties women have faced in achieving gender equality, the influence of progressive social movements, and the changing dynamics of the Court. With its discussion of both the 2016 presidential race and the accession of Neil Gorsuch to the Court, the book is especially timely.
VERDICT For informed readers interested in contemporary American politics as well as women's rights and biographies on influential women.

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