Review:

My Own Words - Wendy W. Williams, Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Before you start throwing things at me for giving this book such a low rating, let me make one thing very clear: The two stars are no reflection on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s writings or thoughts. If there was any reason I devoured this book, it is because I quickly became a fan of RBG when reading about her broad-mindedness and her passion for equality and her efforts to bring both into the shaping US jurisprudence. I would love to read more about her and her legal opinions, but not in this book.

This book, My Own Words, not exactly what the title promised. My Own Words was not as I expected a book written by RBG, but was merely a collection of articles about her, speeches by her, and some legal options that were superficially annotated by two other authors. This resulted in a hodge-podge of pieces that at times had no train of thought -especially the beginning of the book.

It took about 80 pages to get to a part of the book that presented RBG’s involvement in matters of law, which is the part I was most interested in reading about. Yet, even once the book got going (so to speak), the structure of the book would not allow to develop a point or to give enough information to fully understand what was being commented on in the excerpts of RBG’s speeches or opinions.

Especially in the instances where the book presented RBG’s opinions on judgments, the book was disappointing in that the annotation tried to summarise cases but often failed to present the legal arguments that were being debated. So, when the book presented RBG’s words on the matter, it often read like an opinion that had no relevance because it seemed to be an answer to which there was no question.

I had to research some of the cases to fill in the missing background, and this is something that I would have expected that the book would provide. I am no stranger to reading case law, some of which can be convoluted, but I would rather read the actual judgments and corresponding law reports than this book.

 

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