She wasn’t the first woman on the Supreme Court, nor was she the first justice to take a stand on controversial issues, but she is the first to acquire a legitimate pop-culture following that has inspired t-shirts, jewelry (dissent collar necklace, anyone?) and memes. You may know Ruth Bader Ginsberg as the scrappy 85 year old whose various illnesses have inspired people to offer to donate their organs to keep her going. You might have seen one of the critically acclaimed movies or documentaries about her life. If you’re a conservative, you may see Ginsberg as an evil force for her championing of abortion. If you’re a liberal, you’re probably one of millions who breathed a collective sigh of relief when the venerable justice returned to work in mid-Februrary, 2019 after surgery to remove lung cancer. Regardless of your political persuasion, Jane Sherron De Hart’s nearly-800-page tome is a good place to start if you wish to form a truly well-informed opinion of the Notorious R.B.G. It is an extensive and lovingly crafted tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and a record of her fight – quiet, classy, reserved, yet persistent – against the sex-based inequalities that marked much of the 20th century.
About the Author
Jane Sherron De Hart teaches history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She researches and writes about feminist legal history, gender issues and cultural and political conflict.