Free to Be Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Story of Women and Law

By Teri Kanefield

Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.



What I love about Ruth Bader Ginsburg is her participation in her own life. She was present at all times to what needs to be done both for herself and for the society in which she lived. She is worthy of immense admiration. One can only hope to be a good imitator of this life."Readers will emerge with a great deal of respect for a fiercely independent woman who battled sexism to reach the pinnacle of her profession" (Publishers Weekly). Before taking her place as the second woman on the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg quietly led a revolution and forever changed life in America for both men and women. Reserved and quiet, "Readers will emerge with a great deal of respect for a fiercely independent woman who battled sexism to reach the pinnacle of her profession" (Publishers Weekly).Hundreds of years of legal precedent, a line of devastating Supreme Court cases, and countless statutes depriving women of equal citizenship and keeping them from full participation in the legal and political process.

Mixing social and legal history with a moving and intimate biography, award-winning author Teri Kanefield captures a turbulent era and tells the story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg defied expectations to become one of the most influential and powerful women in America. "We hear many voices in this wonderfully engaging biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and come away with a far richer understanding of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and of what the rise of feminism has meant for all of us, whatever our gender, whatever our politics". -Kathleen Vanden Heuvel, Law Library Director, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law "An absorbing personal biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg that is also equal parts legal history and political philosophy. Like Ginsburg herself, Kanefield's narrative is precise, candid, logical, yet filled with humor and irony. She shows the reader the warmth and humility behind a serious legal mind. Free to Be Ruth Bader Ginsburg will appeal to a wide range of readers and is a valuable addition to all types of libraries".

-Suzy Szasz Palmer, Past President, Virginia Library Association "An engrossing biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg that doubles as a primer on how America's champions for gender equality pressed their cause in the courts. Recommended for every law student, lawyer, and lay reader looking for an authoritative yet readable treatment of how the law shapes women's lives, and vice-versa". -Kathleen Morris, Associate Professor of Law, Golden Gate Law School "Free to Be is a richly detailed biography offering fascinating insights into the groundbreaking career of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and at the same time charting for readers a thorough and engaging history of the law of sex discrimination and equal protection jurisprudence that she helped to shape.

Kanefield's book is a must read, not only for fans of RBG but for anyone interested in a more complete understanding of the evolution of women's rights and legal status in the U.S". -Sharmilla Lodhia, Associate Professor, Women's and Gender Studies, Santa Clara University "Free to Be is a must read for those who love history, want to know more about the women's rights movement, or have an interest in modern politics and culture. I highly recommend it!" -Kristi Jensen, Librarian, University of Minnesota.

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