Feb 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

First look: Nina Totenberg on RBG

Mike Allen
Nina Totenberg book cover
Cover: Simon & Schuster

Nina Totenberg, NPR's legendary Supreme Court whisperer, will be out Sept. 13 with "Dinners with Ruth," a memoir of her nearly 50-year friendship with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Why it matters: The book is described as "an intimate memoir of the power of friendships as women began to pry open career doors and transform the workplace."

The backstory: In 1971, four years before Nina Totenberg was hired at NPR, and 20+ years before Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court, Simon & Schuster says, "Nina called Ruth."

  • "A reporter for The National Observer, Nina was curious about Ruth’s legal brief, asking the Supreme Court to do something revolutionary: declare a law that discriminated 'on the basis of sex' to be unconstitutional."
  • "In a time when women were fired for becoming pregnant, often could not apply for credit cards or get a mortgage in their own names, Ruth patiently explained her argument. That call launched [their] friendship."

Totenberg, represented by Robert Barnett, also weaves together portraits of cherished NPR colleagues Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer + her friendships with multiple justices, including Lewis Powell, William Brennan and Antonin Scalia.

Go deeper