In Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law (Holt, $28), Jeffrey Rosen, president and chief executive offi cer of the National Constitution Center and a law professor at George Washington University, draws on twenty years of his discussions with Ginsburg to give a unique and fascinating portrait of the Justice. The two talk about everything from the future of Roe v. Wade and the #MeToo movement to the newest members of the High Court, and Justice Ginsburg opens up about her favorite dissents—some cases she would have liked to see overruled—and shares her insights on how to lead a life of compassion and equanimity. The mutual respect and admiration that Justice Ginsburg and Rosen feel for one another is apparent from the candid nature of the interviews, which illuminate one of the most important American heroes of our time. This book will bring you closer to Justice Ginsburg and leave you with a greater appreciation for her work and her legacy.
Anyone who has followed the journalism and books of New York Times columnist James B. Stewart over the past few decades is familiar with his skills as an accomplished storyteller and the insight and detail he brings to his reporting of financial scandals, corporate goings-on, and political and legal affairs. In Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law (Penguin Press, $30), he examines the handling of both the 2016 probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the investigation of links between Russia and the Trump campaign. Donald Trump, of course, has repeatedly denigrated the Russia investigation as some sort of sinister conspiracy by the “deep state,” a nebulous network of career bureaucrats, intelligence agents, military officers, and law enforcement officials bent on protecting their own power. Is there anything legitimate about this claim? Or are Trump’s incessant attacks on the investigators simply acts of obstruction meant to cloak his own illegal conduct? Those are among the central questions that Stewart gets at in his lucid and timely book.
Albert Woodfox was held in solitary confi nement for more than 40 years, reportedly longer than any prisoner in our nation’s history. His wise, insightful memoir, Solitary (Grove, $26)—a finalist for the National Book Award—begins with his growing up poor in the Deep South, turning to petty crime to survive, and landing in jail, uneducated, while still in his teens. During a brief escape, he is introduced to the Black Panther Party before being caught and sent to one of Louisiana’s most notorious prisons, Angola. Soon he is framed for the murder of a white prison guard and confi ned to a 6-by-9 foot cell 23 hours a day. His friendship with two fellow Panthers —they become the Angola Three—sustains him through years of physical and emotional torture and legal chicanery. Determined to maintain his dignity, self-respect, and sanity, he transforms his tiny cell into a makeshift meditation room, gym, debate hall, and classroom where he educates himself through works of literature, philosophy, history, and law. Woodfox, finally released in 2016, is a gleaming example of resilience, spirit, and grace. And his story is a vivid chronicle of why our criminal justice system desperately needs fixing.