Linda Hirshman is an acclaimed Supreme Court lawyer, progressive political pundit, and author.
Her 2015 title, Sisters in Law tells the fascinating story of the intertwined lives of Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first and second women to serve as Supreme Court justices. Hirshman’s dual biography includes revealing stories of how these trailblazers fought for their own recognition in a male-dominated profession—battles that would ultimately benefit every American woman. She also makes clear how these two justices have shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, including employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and many other issues crucial to women’s lives. Sisters in Law combines legal detail with warm personal anecdotes that bring these very different women into focus as never before. Meticulously researched and compellingly told, it is an authoritative account of our changing law and culture, and a moving story of a remarkable friendship.
Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution (Harper) details the enthralling and groundbreaking story of the Gay Pride movement, and reveals how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America forever. A fascinating and enlightening lecturer on the topic of gay rights, Hirshman is an ideal speaker for colleges and universities, corporations and law firms with LGBT affinity groups and LGBT organizations.
When the modern struggle for gay rights erupted in the summer of 1969, most religious traditions condemned homosexuality, psychiatric experts called people attracted to others of the same sex "crazy," and forty-nine states outlawed sex between people of the same gender. Less than four decades later, in June of 2011, New York State legalized gay marriage - the most populous state in the country to do so thus far. The armed services stopped enforcing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," ending a law that long discriminated against gay and lesbian members of the armed forces. Successful social movements are always extraordinary, but these advances were something of a miracle.
In her "Victory" talks, Hirshman recounts the long, tangled roads that led to these victories, viewing the Gay Rights movement within the tradition of American freedom as the third great modern social justice movement, alongside the Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Movement. Drawing on rich published and archival material, and hundreds of in-depth interviews, she illustrates how the fight for gay rights has changed the American landscape for all citizens - blurring rigid gender lines, altering the shared culture, and broadening our definitions of family.
A retired labor lawyer, Hirshman is the author of Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World, Hard Bargains: The Politics of Sex, and A Woman's Guide to Law School. She received her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and her PhD in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While practicing law, she appeared in three Supreme Court cases including Garcia v. SAMTA, which defined the line between the federal government and the states. In recent years, she has appeared on 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, various NPR shows, and the Colbert Report. She has also written for publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and Salon.
She lives in Arizona and New York.
Praise for Sisters in Law:
“Linda Hirshman has written a thorough, accurate, and most readable account of the careers of the two first women to serve as Justices of the Supreme Court. Laymen as well as lawyers will learn a great deal, not only about these two special people, but about today’s Court as well.”
-- Justice John Paul Stevens
“This sharply-drawn double portrait of the first and second women on the U.S. Supreme Court and the way their lives and legal philosophies complement and contrast with each other is riveting. Linda Hirshman has the unique ability to think like a law professor and write like a journalist.”
-- Lynn Hecht Schafran, National Judicial Education Program, Legal Momentum
“Linda Hirshman’s joint biography of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is fascinating and informative but is also joyful -- a stirring reminder of how these two pioneers for women’s rights have advanced the cause in their singular but complementary ways.”
-- Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath and The Nine
“A tale of two unfaltering women with steel-trap minds, their unlikely rapport, and the legal landscape they battle to reshape. Smart, startling, and profoundly moving.”
-- Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life
“In addition to its clever title, this book offers an illuminating analysis of the ascent by Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the United States Supreme Court. A lawyer and women’s studies scholar, Hirshman (Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution; A Woman’s Guide to Law School) excels in portraying the enormous obstacles encountered by women attempting to enter the legal field. . . . . VERDICT: This superb book unpacks the remarkable achievements of the first two female Supreme Court justices, “sisters in law,” indeed. Perfect for readers relishing Jeffrey Toobin’s The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.”
-- Library Journal (starred review)
“An intelligent, evenhanded look at a changing society and its legal foundations.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
“Hirshman’s conversational style and deep analysis of several precedent-setting constitutional cases should appeal to both casual and professional readers.”
-- Publishers Weekly
Praise for Victory:
“As popular history, Victory excels. Hirshman is a nimble storyteller with an agile curatorial eye for what matters. . . . Hirshman writes with knowing finesse. . . . Hirshman’s observations land with that tart humor and piquant irony beloved by gay men. . . . Exemplary. . . . I find Victory to be an astute jolt, as remarkable for its emotional punch as for its historical insight.”
-- Rich Benjamin, New York Times Book Review
“Sharp and cogent throughout. . . . Victory is ultimately a deeply moving narrative of a not-quite-finished freedom struggle.”
-- Boston Globe
“Given that the gay rights saga is very much in process, the ending of Hirshman’s book is a cliffhanger, but she does a masterful job of making her readers, whether they’re familiar with the material or not, want to know what happens next.”
-- Los Angeles Times
"That a straight woman has written such an adoring history of the movement is itself a testament to its impact. Hirshman has done a great service in putting the question of morality in this movement on the table. Though important chapters are yet to be written, this book will help the world to see that gay is good - and getting better."
"Victory tells the fascinating inside story of how gay activists changed America for the better, not just for themselves but for everyone. There's inspiration here for everyone who wants a fairer, more equal society - and plenty of hope as well."
-- Katha Pollitt, Nation columnist
"I picked this book up one night and never got to sleep. Victory is an epic account of our movement's progress; a beautifully written and fast moving narrative that is poignant, humorous, and inspiring."
-- Cleve Jones, Founder of The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt
"Linda Hirshman's Victory is the chronicle that the brilliant, unremitting gay movement deserves. Deeply informed with human detail, political theory, and legal analysis alike, it moves fluidly out of the closet to the precincts - Washington, the Pentagon, the courts, the laboratories - where the world has been changed, changed utterly. A genuine, sparkling tour de force."
-- Todd Gitlin, author of Occupy Nation
"Linda Hirshman is at her fiery best as she weaves her controversial argument about how the gay rights movement succeeded where others stalled. A compulsively readable mix of philosophy, social history and journalism, Hirshman provides an invaluable understanding of the people across the years who have worked so passionately to increase liberty and justice in our union."
-- Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don't Cry
"Before he died, gay rights hero Arthur Evans told Linda Hirshman to tell our story. And she does so brilliantly - with insight, passion and the keen eye of a fierce social scientist. And what a story it is! In Victory, we come to discover that the decades-long fight for gay rights is a quintessentially American quest for human dignity, one filled with drama, heartbreak, intrigue, perseverance, and ultimately, triumph. Arthur Evans would be proud."
-- Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History and What If Someone I Know Is Gay?
"Linda Hirshman has written an important and necessary book that should be read in every school and every home in the country."
-- Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire
"An astonishing work that seamlessly weaves together multiple stories into one authoritative volume. Highly recommended for political scientists, civil rights activists, and students of LGBT history."
-- Library Journal (starred review)