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Whose Story Is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters 4.5 starsI love that Haymarket is publishing Solnit s essays each year, and this collection is a bumper crop She s at her best when discussing gender and MeToo is a big theme here, as well as how movements for change get started, and how the affect that change over time.Many of these essays resonated with me personally How the stories of the marginalized need to be not only heard, but believed How women and men who believe women in media helped expose serial abusers How the current US pre 4.5 starsI love that Haymarket is publishing Solnit s essays each year, and this collection is a bumper crop She s at her best when discussing gender and MeToo is a big theme here, as well as how movements for change get started, and how the affect that change over time.Many of these essays resonated with me personally How the stories of the marginalized need to be not only heard, but believed How women and men who believe women in media helped expose serial abusers How the current US president is gaslighting the country, and how that gaslighting affects us as a culture as well as as individuals How necessary change can seem daunting and impossible, but seemingly small movements can do much of the work, sometimes in unexpected ways.While the experiences of LGBTQIA folx and people of color are gestured at I would have liked to see a bitintersectionalism I m looking forward to reading reviews by folks of color in particular because I am sure there are racial dimensions both Solnit and I missed Whose Story Is This stretched my thinking, filled my notebook with notable passages, and gave me hope that we can work our way out of some big, scary problems we re facing as a country and a society It s right up there with Men Explain Things to Me as my favorite Solnit collection Thanks to Haymarket Books for providing a review copy. New Feminist Essays For The MeToo Era From The International Best Selling Author Of Men Explain Things To MeWho Gets To Shape The Narrative Of Our Times The Current Moment Is A Battle Royale Over That Foundational Power, One In Which Women, People Of Color, Non Straight People Are Telling Other Versions, And White People And Men And Particularly White Men Are Trying To Hang Onto The Old Versions And Their Own Centrality In Whose Story Is This Rebecca Solnit Appraises What S Emerging And Why It Matters And What The Obstacles Are My first encounter with Solnit was her acclaimed feminist essay collection Men Explain Things to Me, the titular piece contained therein being in famous for having coined the word mansplaining I haven t kept up with her work since, although her later collections are all on my virtual to be read pile so thank you to the publisher for providing me with this eARC of her new collection of fifteen essays, to be published on September 3rd These were the perfect bite sized pieces to occupy my time My first encounter with Solnit was her acclaimed feminist essay collection Men Explain Things to Me, the titular piece contained therein being in famous for having coined the word mansplaining I haven t kept up with her work since, although her later collections are all on my virtual to be read pile so thank you to the publisher for providing me with this eARC of her new collection of fifteen essays, to be published on September 3rd These were the perfect bite sized pieces to occupy my time on my daily commute I usually like to read light fare on the bus, but I found these essays to be perfectly suitable as well, something I couldn t say of other feminist works Some cite it as one of Solnit s detractors, but she has a rather peculiar take on feminist discourse an optimistic one And by that I don t mean that it s the sort of white feminism that doesn t touch on intersectional issues, pretending they don t exist, but rather the fact that she chooses to focus on the progress already made, and how that will impact the challenges still ahead, rather than writing from a grim, confrontational place as so many others do It s refreshing, and I think that s why she s so popular it s a hopeful and palatable sort of feminism that doesn t offend because it doesn t directly call for action and doesn t offer clear cut solutions, but rather appraises what s already happened, or is happening, and why it matters She makes her points in such a simple, rational way that most people who are in any way left leaning will wholeheartedly agree As far as feminist writing goes, this is as light as it gets, which doesn t mean that it isn t worthwhile or good just not groundbreaking But there is something to be said about writing so agreeable that people who otherwise wouldn t think about certain issues will still read it, and perhaps think about it With its simplicity and hopefulness, it has the potential to be a catalyst for change, thanks to its mass market appeal.This collection felt muchcohesive than the other one I ve read as the title suggests, it concerns itself with who shapes the political, social, historical, etc narratives who wields the power to shape what reality we live in, whose side of the story is believed, and what sort of past is remembered The most recurring themes in Whose Story Is Thisare MeToo, climate change, and the power of group movements to cause slow but steady shifts in perspective over long periods small cultural changes that pave the way for watershed moments like the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same sex marriage in all US states Those aren t the sort of dramatic and inspirational stories about individual heroes people generally like to hear about, and no one will ever make a blockbuster Hollywood movie about them, but these many unnamed and unsung heroes are the ones with the power to lay the groundwork for significant change, because any movement isthan the sum of its partsIf you think you re woke, it s because someone woke you up, so thank the human alarm clocks It s easy now to assume that one s perspective on race, gender, orientation, and the rest are signs of inherent virtue, but a lot of ideas currently in circulation are gifts that arrived recently, through the labor of othersAll my book reviews can be found here Buy on BookDepository I see this as a 150 page long analytical monograph about sexism before, during, and after metoo During my reading I took notes I d made exactly 150 notes when I finished, which says something about how this book engaged, horrified, and enthralled me.Solnit s writing style is quite closely connected to those of Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn the subject matter may seem scary and dire, but they manage to wring optimism and point out critical things that make you think twice, even a I see this as a 150 page long analytical monograph about sexism before, during, and after metoo During my reading I took notes I d made exactly 150 notes when I finished, which says something about how this book engaged, horrified, and enthralled me.Solnit s writing style is quite closely connected to those of Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn the subject matter may seem scary and dire, but they manage to wring optimism and point out critical things that make you think twice, even a third time around.Solnit writes tersely and yet conversationally one can easily inject most of the sentences that she ends paragraphs with into any conversation and come out sounding like Oscar Wilde.One measure of how much power these voices and stories have is how frantically others try to stop them.Comfort is often a code word for the right to be unaware, the right to have no twinges of one s conscience, no reminders of suffering, the right to be a we whose benefits are not limited by the needs and rights of any them Perhaps the actual problem is that white, Christian, suburban, small town, and rural America includes too many people who want to live in a bubble and think they re entitled to, and that all of us who are not like them are considered menaces and intruders who need to be cleared out of the way.One of Solnit s key benefits is how she calls out people for what they have done In this sense, one could call her a historian that won t allow history to be written by the hamfisted majority.Newspapers and magazines have often been the attack base against women and other assailed parties, and she won t let them rest Just see these two examples on the Atlantic and the New York Times, respectively One way we know whose story it is has been demonstrated by who gets excused for hatred and attacks, literal or physical Early in 2018, the Atlantic tried out hiring a writer, Kevin Williamson, who said women who have abortions should be hanged, and then unhired him under public pressure from people who don t like the idea that a quarter of American women should be executed for exercising jurisdiction over their own bodies The New York Times has hired a few conservatives akin to Williamson, including climate waffler Bret Stephens Stephens devoted a column to sympathy on Williamson s behalf and indignation that anyone might oppose him.This misdistribution of sympathy is epidemic The New York Times called the man with a domestic violence history who, in 2015, shot up the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, killing three parents of young children, a gentle loner And then when the serial bomber who had been terrorizing Austin, Texas, was finally caught in March 2018, too many journalists interviewed his family and friends and let their positive descriptions of the man stand, as though they werevalid than what we already knew he was an extremist and a terrorist who set out to kill and terrorize Black people in a particularly vicious and cowardly way He was a quiet, nerdy young man who came from a tight knit, godly family, the Times let us know in a tweet, while the Washington Post s headline noted that he was frustrated with his life, which is true of millions of young people around the world who don t get a pity party and also don t become terrorists.The Daily Beast got it right with a subhead about a recent right wing terrorist, the one who blew himself up in his home full of bomb making materials Friends and family say Ben Morrow was a Bible toting lab worker Investigators say he was a bomb building white supremacist Like other exceptional writers, for example, Chavisa Woods and Susan Faludi, Solnit displays shining talent and craft for providing sobering text And then there are the MeToo and TimesUp movements We ve heard from hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women about assaults, threats, harassment, humiliation, coercion, of campaigns that ended careers, pushed them to the brink of suicide Many men s response to this is to express sympathy for men The film director Terry Gilliam was the voice of the old ways when he said, I feel sorry for someone like Matt Damon, who is a decent human being He came out and said all men are not rapists, and he got beaten to death Come on, this is crazy Matt Damon has not actually been beaten to death He is one of the most highly paid actors on earth, which is a significantly different experience than being beaten to death The actor Chris Evans did much better with this shift in perspective, saying, The hardest thing to reconcile is that just because you have good intentions doesn t mean it s your time to have a voice But the follow up story to the MeToo upheaval has too often been How do the consequences of men hideously mistreating women affect men s comfort Are men okay with what s happening There have been too many stories about men feeling less comfortable, too few about how women might be feelingsecure in offices where harassing coworkers may have been removed or are at least a bit less sure about their right to grope and harass Men are insisting on their comfort as a right Dr Larry Nassar, the Michigan State University doctor who molestedthan a hundred young gymnasts, objected, on the grounds that it interfered with his comfort, to having to hear his victims give statements during his criminal trial, describing what he did and how it impacted them These girls and young women had not been silent they had spoken up over and over, but no one with power sometimes not even their own parents would listen and take action, until the Indianapolis Star reported, in 2016, on the assaults by Nassar and many other adult men in gymnastics It was not the women s story until then It seldom is Or was.Solnit also digs deep into journalism and how it s locked into the American politics of late Imagine that we were, decades ago, a society that listened to women, and that the careers of Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Bill Cosby, Les Moonves, Roger Ailes, Bill O Reilly, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Louis C K., and so many others had been stopped in their tracks Hundreds of lives would be better, but also the very news and entertainment world we live in might be different, and better Jill Filipovic noted, in 2017, Many of the male journalists who stand accused of sexual harassment were on the forefront of covering the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump She notes that these particular men hold deep biases against women who seek power instead of sticking to acquiescent sex object status and speculates on how it influenced the election.Feminism and capitalism are at odds, if under the one women are people and under the other they are property Despite half a century of feminist reform and revolution, sex is still often understood through the models capitalism provides Sex is a transaction men s status is enhanced by racking up transactions, as though they were poker chips Basketball star Wilt Chamberlain boasted that he d had sex with 20,000 women in his 1991 memoir prompting some to do the math that would be about 1.4 women per day for 40 years Talk about primitive accumulation The president of the United States is someone who has regularly attempted to enhance his status by association with commodified women, and his denigration of other women for not fitting the Playmate Miss Universe template is also well known This is not marginal it s central to our culture, and now it s espoused by the president of our country.All in all, this is a very needed book Solnit provides the old, the current, and ways to see soberly into the future with all the might and positivity that we can, to topple misogyny and arm ourselves intellectually.One sentence I come back to again and again is James Baldwin s It is the innocence that constitutes the crime He s talking about white people in the early 1960s ignoring the violence and destructiveness of racism, their opting out of seeing it As always, Rebecca Solnit s writing is rich, genius, and gorgeous Whose Story is This Old Conflicts, New Chapters is an incredibly cohesive essay collection about who gets to be part of certain narratives How do power and privilege impact knowledge and the politics of silence Who gets to be credible who is listened to and actually believed How are creativity and motherhood linked or not linked Solnit writes about this and muchnon white non male anger, how metaphor is transgressive, h As always, Rebecca Solnit s writing is rich, genius, and gorgeous Whose Story is This Old Conflicts, New Chapters is an incredibly cohesive essay collection about who gets to be part of certain narratives How do power and privilege impact knowledge and the politics of silence Who gets to be credible who is listened to and actually believed How are creativity and motherhood linked or not linked Solnit writes about this and muchnon white non male anger, how metaphor is transgressive, how we should move away from the individualized hero narrative into acollective framework and unpacks how our world privileges some voices and stifles others.I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review This brilliant book comes out September 3 from Haymarket Books Solnit writes short essays on feminism and current events The theme throughout this collection is the power of being heard and who has it She describes the struggles women have had, in several arenas, to be heard and taken seriously She focuses attention on sexual harassment assault, including the case of Brett Kavanaugh and the treatment of Christine Blasey Ford, the MeToo movement, the Anita Hill case and other examples of how the media and authorities have responded to women coming forward Solnit writes short essays on feminism and current events The theme throughout this collection is the power of being heard and who has it She describes the struggles women have had, in several arenas, to be heard and taken seriously She focuses attention on sexual harassment assault, including the case of Brett Kavanaugh and the treatment of Christine Blasey Ford, the MeToo movement, the Anita Hill case and other examples of how the media and authorities have responded to women coming forward with stories of being harassed abused She also writes of women s anger and suggests that we need to move through our anger, without dismissing or negating it, to take our power I like her writing She is clear and concise, although some people argue that she does not present new information That s OK Sometimes we have to hear the same messages in multiple forms A copy of Whose Story is This was provided by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review Every time I read anything by Solnit, my first thought is I hope I can write this eloquently and beautifully one day With this collection, she s cemented her place as my favourite essayist and non fiction writer Whose Story is This should be compulsory reading for anyone wants to grapple with the realities of the world today pervasive domestic violence buttressed by patriarcha A copy of Whose Story is This was provided by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review Every time I read anything by Solnit, my first thought is I hope I can write this eloquently and beautifully one day With this collection, she s cemented her place as my favourite essayist and non fiction writer Whose Story is This should be compulsory reading for anyone wants to grapple with the realities of the world today pervasive domestic violence buttressed by patriarchal notions, rising tides of right wing and conservative politics, and the dismantling of one truth Solnit does it again This essay collection is brilliant and insightful She tackles political to personal with such grace.In these essays Solnit writes about our current culture, politics, climate change, social and cultural change andI found her outlook and optimism on large group movements over individual heroes quite interesting All in all she is one smart woman and talented writer Reccomended Reading Out Today Thank You to the publisher for gifting me this ARC opinions are my Solnit does it again This essay collection is brilliant and insightful She tackles political to personal with such grace.In these essays Solnit writes about our current culture, politics, climate change, social and cultural change andI found her outlook and optimism on large group movements over individual heroes quite interesting All in all she is one smart woman and talented writer Reccomended Reading Out Today Thank You to the publisher for gifting me this ARC opinions are my own Forof my book content check out instagram.com bookalong Review to come I received an ARC of Whose Story is This from the publisher at BookExpo. This collection lacks focus The essays bleed into one another, but there s no overarching through line aside from, I guess, Go Feminism She s writing about the storm while standing in the eye of it, which is probably not the best viewpoint I presume this was to coincide with the 2020 election trail in the US, so that she can tour the book as the grassroots rev up Which is totally fine, as a political objective, it just falls flat as a literary device Others try to stop these edifices from a This collection lacks focus The essays bleed into one another, but there s no overarching through line aside from, I guess, Go Feminism She s writing about the storm while standing in the eye of it, which is probably not the best viewpoint I presume this was to coincide with the 2020 election trail in the US, so that she can tour the book as the grassroots rev up Which is totally fine, as a political objective, it just falls flat as a literary device Others try to stop these edifices from arising they succeed better with legislation than with imagination That is, you can prevent women from having access to abortionseasily than you can prevent them from thinking they have the right to an abortion It s easy now to assume that one s perspectives on race, gender, orientation and the rest are signs of inherent virtue, but a lot of ideas currently in circulation are gifts that arrived recently, through the labours of others This is an idea she returns to that probably warrants a researched book of its own the historical background to the current crises to be found in books and in universities, which makes it worth noting that the value of a humanities education is also under attack one of its values is making people thoughtful sifters of data, who are well grounded in history This passage is the best in the book Positive social change results mostly from connectiondeeply to the people around you than rising above them, from coordinated rather than solo action But we like our lone and exceptional heroes, the drama of violence and virtue of muscle, or at least that s what we get, over and over, and from it we don t get much of a picture of how change actually happens and what our role in it might be, or how ordinary people matter Unhappy the land that needs heroes is a line of Bertolt Brecht s I ve gone to dozens of times, but now I minclined to think, pity that land that thinks it needs a hero, or doesn t know it has lots and what they look like


About the Author: Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit is an American author who often writes on the environment, politics, place, and art Her writing has appeared in numerous publications in print and online, including the Guardian newspaper and Harper s Magazine, where she is the first woman to regularly write the Easy Chair column founded in 1851 She is also a regular contributor to the political blog TomDispatch and to LitHub.Solnit has received two NEA fellowships for Literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan literary fellowship, and a 2004 Wired Rave Award for writing on the effects of technology on the arts and humanities In 2010 Utne Reader magazine named Solnit as one of the 25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World Her The Faraway Nearby2013 was nominated for a National Book Award, and shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.ForRiver of Shadows, Solnit was honored with the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and the 2004 Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology, which honors exceptional scholarship that reaches beyond the academy toward a broad audience Solnit was also awarded Harvard s Mark Lynton History Prize in 2004 for River of Shadows In 2003, she received the prestigious Lannan Literary Award She grew up in San Francisco and enrolled in an alternative schooling program and earned a GED instead of a high school diploma At 19 she left for France, then returned to finish her undergraduate studies at San Francisco State University She then earned a master s in journalism from UC Berkeley in 1984.She is credited with the concept behind the term mansplaining.


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