The Power of Friendships With NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg

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You are invited to an intimate conversation with Nina Totenberg as she talks about her nearly 50-year friendship with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her book "Dinners With Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships."

Four years before Nina Totenberg was hired at NPR, where she cemented her legacy as a prizewinning reporter, and nearly 22 years before Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court, Nina called Ruth. A reporter for The National Observer, Nina was curious about Ruth’s legal brief, asking the Supreme Court to do something to declare 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 name, Ruth patiently explained her argument. That call launched a remarkable, nearly 50-year friendship. 

"Dinners With Ruth" is an extraordinary account of two women who paved the way for future generations by tearing down professional and legal barriers. It is also an intimate memoir of the power of friendships as women began to pry open career doors and transform the workplace. Ruth and Nina saw each other not only through personal joys, but also illness, loss and widowhood. During the devastating illness and eventual death of Nina’s first husband, Ruth drew her out of grief; 12 years later, Nina would reciprocate when Ruth’s beloved husband died. They shared not only a love of opera, but also of shopping, as they instinctively understood that clothes were armor for women who wanted to be taken seriously in a workplace dominated by men. During Ruth’s last year, they shared so many small dinners that Saturdays were “reserved for Ruth” in Nina’s house. "Dinners With Ruth" also weaves together compelling, personal portraits of other fascinating women and men from Nina’s life, including her cherished NPR colleagues Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer; her beloved husbands; her friendships with multiple Supreme Court Justices, including Lewis Powell, William Brennan and Antonin Scalia, and Nina’s own family — her father, the legendary violinist Roman Totenberg, and her “best friends,” her sisters. 

Celebrated NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg delivers an extraordinary memoir of her personal successes, struggles and life-affirming relationships. Inspiring and revelatory, "Dinners With Ruth" is a moving story of the joy and true meaning of friendship. 

About the Author: Nina Totenberg is NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent. She appears on NPR’s critically acclaimed news magazines "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition" and "Weekend Edition," and on NPR podcasts, including "The NPR Politics Podcast" and its series, “The Docket.” Totenberg’s Supreme Court and legal coverage has won her every major journalism award in broadcasting. Recognized seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting, she has received more than two dozen honorary degrees. A frequent TV contributor, she writes for major newspapers, magazines and law reviews.