Notorious RBG

  • by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik
  • Narrated by Andi Arndt
  • 5 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Irin Carmon: I heard you can do 20 push-ups.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Yes, but we do 10 at a time. And then I breathe for a bit and do the second set.
Nearly a half century into being a feminist and legal pioneer, something funny happened to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The octogenarian won the Internet. Across America, people who weren't even born when Ginsburg made her name are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute. In a class of its own, and much to Ginsburg's own amusement, is the Notorious RBG Tumblr, which juxtaposes the diminutive but fierce Jewish grandmother with the 350-pound rapper featuring original artwork submitted from around the world.
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers a rich, intimate, unprecedented look at the justice and how she changed the world. From Ginsburg's refusal to let the slammed doors of sexism stop her to her innovative legal work, from her before-its-time feminist marriage to her perch on the nation's highest court - with the fierce dissents to match - get to know RBG as never before. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.

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Audible Editor Reviews

"Narrator Andi Arndt's bright, authoritative voice fits the book's reverent tone. She uses a conversational style to humanize Ginsburg and moves the story along efficiently. Arndt adds excellent diction and comfortable pacing to make this audiobook a satisfying experience." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

"The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield"

The Audible version of "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg" (2015) made me a kid at Christmas, surreptitiously opening presents under the tree because I couldn't wait for the Big Day. I've asked for a copy of the actual, hold in the hand, feel the smooth heavy paper, actually see the pictures I've heard about on paper, not on pixels, book. "Notorious RBG" kept showing up on my Audible recommendations (ah, Audible algorithms, you know me so well) and I gave in.

I've seen RBG in person and in action at oral arguments in the US Supreme Court. At the time - after Sandra Day O'Connor retired and before President Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor to replace David Souter - she was the only woman on the Supreme Court. RBG was and is - physically dwarfed by every other Justice and even her own chair, but she's an intellectual and moral giant. "Notorious RBG" is a brief look at her life, from being "Kiki" of Flatbush, Brooklyn, to - as her official biography on Supreme Court dot gov says - "launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union" and then serving as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on its National Board of Directors from 1974–1980, and then onto the judiciary and the Supreme Court.

"Notorious RBG" shows how RBG strategized to change discrimination against women by arguing before the then all male Supreme Court that it hurt men, too. She had a case that let women who hired caretakers for elderly parents take tax breaks, but not men - the presumption was that men were not caregivers and wouldn't need the write off for hiring help. Yes, if you're middle aged like I am, you've actually been alive for a tax code based partly on gender. RBG's strategy was brilliant. The tax code - now that's something conservatives can relate to.


The Audible version of "Notorious RBG" refers to an "Enhanced Audio Portion." That's a pdf file that downloads along with the Audible file. It's got some expanded case law, but sadly, none of the pictures that are in the print version. That pushed me into a Tumblr account, where I've happily been reading posts about RBG all morning.

Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik have done a great job at showing simply and entertainingly why RBG is the feminist icon she is. Yes, I'm glad I listened to the book, and it's an easy listen. An inspirational listen, actually - but I am still hoping for the print version at Christmas (hint, hint, family).

The title of the review is from RBG's dissent in Burwell v Hobby Lobby (2014) 134 S.Ct. 2751.

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- Cynthia "Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always.""

Great story about a fascinating person, however...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would, if only for the story about a fascinating woman who championed women's rights and has experienced so many of the challenges women faced in a time where they lacked the same standing as men. However, I would give them the caveat that they have to PAY ATTENTION. The story jumps around so much that it's difficult to put together the timeline in your head. In one chapter, RBG is coping with her husband's death and in the next she is in a fight with him over some issue. It's also difficult to get a true feel for her opinions based on someone's reading of them.


If you’ve listened to books by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik before, how does this one compare?

I haven't listed to books by Irin Carmon nor Shana Knizhnik so I have no comparison.


What about Andi Arndt’s performance did you like?

Andi Arndt's performance was ok; it kept me interested. However, this may not have been the best showcase of a reader's potential talent.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

One moment I found particularly moving was the description of Sotomayor trying to get RBG to salsa dance shortly after her husband died, despite RBG's reluctance. It really shows the support the women of the SCOTUS give one another.


Any additional comments?

Definitely the kind of woman you want to read about and should read about.

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- Jessica

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-27-2015
  • Publisher: HarperAudio