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Whose Story Is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,475 ratings  ·  220 reviews
New feminist essays for the #MeToo era from the international best-selling author of Men Explain Things to Me.

Who 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
Paperback, 182 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Haymarket Books
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Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another strong essay collection from prolific feminist writer, Rebecca Solnit. In Whose Story Is This?, she tackles an array of topics including voter suppression, climate change, and the ways in which we valorize and mourn for white men while ignoring the women they have harmed and abused. The most central theme of this collection includes the idea of story and narrative, how power shapes who gets to tell their story and whose stories are listened to and respected. As always, I appreciate Solni ...more
Julie Christine
If I could wave a magic wand over myself, I would create a sparkly ability to orate masterfully, with zinging wit, unshakeable confidence, and an at-my-fingertips command of facts.

As it is, my tongue gets wrapped around my emotions, my skin flushes with frustration, and my belly bottoms out, taking with it all the words and opinions I hold as my truth. Hours— or days —after a debate or dispute, I am finally able to put together all that I really meant to say.

If I could wriggle my nose to improv
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
4.5 stars

I 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
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rounded up

Rebecca Solnit's latest essay collection is perhaps best surmised by the author herself in the acknowledgements:

This book is, in a sense, transcripts of my side of some conversations with the society around me as it undergoes tumultuous changes, with the changemakers winning some remarkable battles against the forces trying to protect the most malevolent parts of the status quo as it crumbles away. It's a book that comes out of the seismic activity in feminism, racial injustice, cl
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Meh. I really wanted and tried to like this... but I didn't.

Too one-sided and extreme for me. The examples given seem like she chose them specifically to support her opinions and very rarely ever showed another perspective. I agree with some of the points but felt myself pulling away even on topics I agreed with the author on simply due to how extreme she is.

I would have given this one star but the final essay at the very end is brilliant. Wish I only read that one (the last three pages) rather
Alyssa Foll
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another autumn, another collection of essays by Rebecca Solnit. I could get used to this rhythm!
Solnit's collection of essays in "Whose Story Is This" focuses on women, immigrants, and the earth (think climate change) -- stories that we usually discount or people that some may move off-stage.
I thought her essays were as compelling as ever, but the theme was not as clear in this collection. I'm not sure that she did a lot of revising or writing a preface that would more closely link the essays
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think Rebecca Solnit is one of the great and necessary voices in America, and I want everyone to read her. These essays fill me with both rage and hope, and I guess we need both to survive this country.
Katie Bruell
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mpl-kindle
This book made me hopeful, made me furious, made me think, and made me laugh. Rebecca Solnit is so brilliant.
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can honestly say that I'm a better person for reading this book. Read this book, gift this book, make the world a better place. Special thanks to the wonderful woman who lent it to me!
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Full review at :

𝐖𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐈𝐬 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬? 𝐛𝐲 𝐑𝐞𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐜𝐚 𝐒𝐨𝐥𝐧𝐢𝐭

𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 ... if you care about equal rights (I would like to think is everyone, but, well...), non fiction lovers,

𝘕𝘦𝘸 𝘧𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵 𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 #𝘔𝘦𝘛𝘰𝘰 𝘦𝘳𝘢 - 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘸𝘩𝘺 𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘣𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦. Who 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
I got this book because I just read The Mother of All Questions and I wanted the author’s take on some of the more recent events. I surely got it here, though I suppose her thoughts on events since the pandemic started will come in a future book.

I’ve definitely enjoyed this one, and some of the previous ones, because she puts brilliantly into words things I’ve been thinking for a long time. I really love Solnit’s optimism. I’m an optimistic person myself, so that really resonated with me. I also
chantel nouseforaname
Rebecca Solnit is an inspiration to me. She takes everyday things like urban geography and exposes the shit for exactly what it is. You want to know what is up, turn to Rebecca Solnit.

One of my favourite moments in this book is the All the Rage segment under The shouters and the silenced, exposing how much of a human safety issue male rage is. Her points and references are crystal clear and there's really no disputing her. More men, and the "not all men" men should really read her work.

I loved
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rebecca Solnit is a wonderful essayist and her collections are always beautifully presented as elegant objects. Although I found this one as insightful and beautifully expressed as ever, I think I'd previously read a number of them online. So each piece was quite short and not all new, with a fairly specific (albeit vitally important) set of themes: MeToo, America's resurgent white nationalism, and all their many intersections. I particularly liked 'Unconscious Bias is Running for President' and ...more
The Artisan Geek
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

First book of the year! And what a stunner it was! :) I read this and Solnit's children's book Cinderella Liberator for Emma Watson's feminist book club Our Shared Shelf. Both were incredibly insightful and I will be making a video about it soon - stay tuned! :)

You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminist
Cool so I'm a big fan Rebecca Solnit now. This was a really outstanding book of essays that addressed some recent issues such as the #MeToo movement and Trump's America. It was fascinating and, although very America-centric, I found many resonated with me massively. There were a few that seemed too short to really nail the point but on the whole, great book.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Solnit is a balm for my world-weary soul. I read her Letter to the March 15, 2019 Climate Strikers on September 27, 2019, a climate strike Friday, which is a lot about Greta Thunberg.

"Today you are what's happening. Today, your power will be felt. Today, your action matters. Today, in your individual action, you may stand with a few people or with hundreds, but you stand with billions around the world. Today, you are standing up for people not yet born, and those ghostly billions are with you t
Niklas Pivic
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
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book really can be summed up by the fact that, when just one chapter in, I went and bought the rest of Solnits books.

Focusing primarily on gender, this examination of whose voices are amplified and whose silenced is informed, compelling, and invited me to deeply consider these issues in ways I hadn’t previously.

To look the threats and setback to gender equality so squarely in the face and still produce a collection overflowing with hope for the future is an incredible achievement and a salv
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most of these essays have appeared in other places. I have read some of them in those places. But it is really great to have them all collected together. Solnit is such a keen observer and thinker. The essays talk to each other and together create a bigger picture than they do on their own. Important reading and analysis on current issues from immigration and the climate emergency to #MeToo, white supremacy, far right politics, and capitalism.
Leah Rachel von Essen
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 much more—non-white non-male anger, how metaphor is transgressive, h
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I am giving up, Rebecca Solnit just isn't for me - not because of the content but because of how it is presented. The essays have overall topics but are mostly just a weakly argued connection of facts, anecdotes and stories. Yes, many things are right and true, but it's just not enough for me. The conversational tone are disrupted by exaggerated statements that are meant to shock readers and make them act on issues such as feminism, climate change, etc. But it's not working for me, I find it hig ...more
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism

Much of what Solnit comments on are items that are pretty well-known and discussed. This may be because I'm reading a lot of feminist literature and stories as they progress in this current day and age.

But nothing here was really controversial nor did I think were really chewed on the subject material. These essays for the most part are not personal, and therefore come off more educational then revolutionary or nuanced with details or insights previously unexplored. It felt like she was
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Educational and motivating essays!
Lauren Anna
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In comparison to “Men Explain Things To Me”, this collection is an extreme improvement. I love how Solnit seems to have seriously reflected on some of the problematic elements of that work and wrote a killer of a feminist powerhouse with this one!
Nathan Shuherk
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Easily my favorite collection of essays I’ve read from Solnit so far. It’ll be on my top of the year list for sure
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This book really highlights the transformative time that is today. Rebecca addresses timely topics like sexual harassment and discrimination of women including voter suppression and the #MeToo movement, Native American rights, the anti-gun movement, white nationalism, Black Lives Matter, and climate change. We are reminded of whose voices have always been heard and validated and whose voices are silenced. We are reminded of how far we have come when it comes to positive social change but also ho
Mel Auffredou
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Would have been a four star if I had not found multiple spelling/grammatical errors. I'm looking forward to reading more from Solnit.
Hannah (Hannah’s Library)
I loved this new collection of essays by Rebecca Solnit. Five stars, easily, just like her previous essay collections. This, and her other works, should all be required reading. If you only get to read one of these essays, I would recommend the title essay "Whose Story (and Country) is This? On the Myth of a 'Real' America" which is incredibly insightful.

My full review is here:
Daniel Teehan
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
How unpleasant, to so agree with what's written, yet so dislike the writing.
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Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering  and walking, hope and disaster, including  Call Them By Their True Names (Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction),  Cinderella Liberator,  Men Explain Things to Me, The Mother of All Questions,  and  Ho ...more

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“We are, as a culture, moving to a future with more people and more voices and more possibilities. Some people are being left behind, not because the future is intolerant of them but because they are intolerant of this future.” 4 likes
“Positive social change results mostly from connecting more deeply to the people around you than rising above them, from coordinated rather than solo action. Among the virtues that matter are those traditionally considered feminine rather than masculine, more nerd than jock: listening, respect, patience, negotiation, strategic planning, storytelling. 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 heros" is a line of Bertolt Brecht's I've gone to dozens of times, but now I'm more inclined to think, pity the land that thinks it needs a hero, or doesn't know it has lots and what they look like.” 3 likes
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