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Whose Story Is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters


4.33  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  46 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 tryi
Paperback, 150 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Haymarket Books
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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
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
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/>This
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, arc, feminism
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
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 tw
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 tran
Katie Bruell
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book made me hopeful, made me furious, made me think, and made me laugh. Rebecca Solnit is so brilliant.
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
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 and more. I 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 #AR
Nick Klagge
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Solnit and will pretty much read anything she publishes, but when reading her collections I have the strong feeling that going cover-to-cover is the wrong approach. I usually see her LitHub essays when they come out (including some in this collection), and feel that that is a much preferable format to read her in--better to space them out over time and give yourself time to digest, because she packs many ideas into an essay and I think they reward rumination. However, I like her writing s ...more
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist
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 ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist, arcs
** 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 b
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.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Educational and motivating essays!
Prashanth Nuggehalli Srinivas
Lovely read. Solnit writes in a rather simple language about profound concepts that draw both from history and social action. The book is a collection of her published essays but a strong connecting thread can be seen: that slowly and steadily newer (and earlier suppressed/oppressed) ideas, people, values, narratives emerge and begin to negotiate, if not openly supplant the dominant narrative. Rich with hyper-local US city history could be both interesting as well as a barrier for global engagem ...more
Rebecca Hughes
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We don’t have enough art to make us see and prize these human murmurations, even when they are all around us, even when they are going the most important t work on Earth.
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Thank you to the publisher and to Edelweiss+ for this Advanced Reader Copy!

Get excited, y’all! Rebecca Solnit is back with yet another collection of essays that speak to our current cultural and political moment with grace, eloquence, long-sighted wisdom, and hope. Climate change, feminism, the patriarchy, the current pool of Democratic candidates in the U.S., violence, and the long arc of social and cultural change (that bends toward justice and a better world) are all covered in th
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: october
"This country has room for everybody who believes that there's room for everybody. For those who don't-well, that's why there's a battle about whose story it is to tell."

"It is an old truism that knowledge is power. The inverse and opposite possibility-that power is often ignorance-is rarely aired. The powerful swathe themselves in obliviousness in order to avoid the pain of others and their own relationship to that pain. It is they from whom much is hidden, and they who are removed
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, 2019-read
Review to come!

I received an ARC of Whose Story is This? from the publisher at BookExpo.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
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 edi
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another work which should be read by everyone, not only those who agree with Solnit's stance.

This work is incredibly relevant, citing events as recently as March of this year.

The question of "Whose Story Is This?" is an important one. White culture is diminishing and is predicted by 2044 to be the minority in this country. Evangelicalism is on the downturn - citing the lowest amount of people participating in religion as soon as 2024.

Times are a-changin' and that means e
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent collection about who controls the narrative in our culture. (Spoiler: Cishet white Christian men.) The only essay that didn't fit seamlessly into this collection was "Crossing Over," which was meant to accompany an art exhibit. Lacking the context of the exhibition visuals, it was hard to make sense of it, and it seemed scattered. The topic was important, but I wish it had been rewritten to be more cohesive without the exhibition information. The people who most need to read this (a ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
collection of essays, mostly brief. I know I've sed this about other collections, so it's on me that i keep ignoring the advice, but probably better read one at a time, interspersing with other books. Read consecutively they are too similar. Even though the ostensible topic of each is slightly different, they roll back around to somewhat predictable views -- pro-feminist, pro-Black lives matter, anti-Trump, anti-sexism, pro green new deal, anti-fossil fuels, anti-white privilege, and so on.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This book contains a series of essays around the feminist movement.

With eloquence, urgency and compassion, Solnit appraises the voices of women, people of color and non-straight people that are emerging, why they matter, and the obstacles they face in making themselves heard.

"Today, you are what is 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. Today you are standing up for peo
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of recent essays concerning the need for changes in the power structure of our society as a moral, practical, and inevitable imperative. She covers the voice that women, people of color, and the young are finding for themselves and for the planet. There is nothing in these well written essays with which I disagree. My lament is that those who will read them are like me, and we’re not the ones who need our eyes opened.
Daniel Kukwa
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A few of the entries made me mutter "too many words", and one or two made me angry because they were too short (and I was just getting into them). However, those minor irritants don't spoil the overall quality of this excellent reflection on current issues. There are one or two ideas in here (to say nothing of one or two turns of phrase) that are ideal for my history and civics classes, so it's always nice to find new and relevant material for discussion.
Morgan Schulman
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reader-s-copy
Thanks to edelweiss for the advanced reader’s copy

A summary and synthesis of some of the best feminist ideas of the Trump era. Solnit is one of our times’ great intellectuals, and her voice is needed. Few people could lay out all of this misery that we have lived under for the past few years so calmly and articulately, so like a factual horrorshow that no argument against can be created. Definitely required reading.
Michelle Grady
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
hmmm, this is the first time I’ve really felt that some of her essays missed the mark. Especially in the one about unconscious bias, she mentions how many white men voted for Trump and how many black women voted for Clinton, but left out entirely that 52% of white women voted Republican. Also, I think her commentary on gender now needs to be clarified with “cis” men. Anyway, didn’t get the biggest intersectional vibe from some of the essays.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Solnit's writing is poetic and pointed. Most of the essays are about women's issues, but there are other issues related. Two were especially interesting: "Unconscious Bias Elected the President" (I no longer have the book in hand--that isn't the exact title.) And the essay about abusive men controlling a woman's vote.
Howard Bryant
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Rebecca Solnit. She’s one one the clearest, cleanest writers. Her perspective is fierce, which centers her writing. She doesn’t attempt to be all things, answer all questions. She has a point to make, while still being energized by a future that can seem desperate. Her faith in movements does not bend.
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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 Hope in  ...more

Other books in the series

Essays (5 books)
  • Men Explain Things to Me
  • Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays)
  • The Mother of All Questions
  • Hope in the Dark
“What are human murmurations, I wondered? They are, speaking of choruses, in Horton Hears a Who, the tiny Whos of Whoville, who find that if every last one of them raises their voice, they become loud enough to save their home. They are a million-and-a-half young people across the globe, on March 15, 2019, protesting climate change; coalitions led by First Nations people, holding back fossil fuel pipelines across Canada; the lawyers and others who converged on airports all over the US on January 29, 2017, to protest the Muslim ban.” 1 likes
“The unexamined life is not worth living, as the aphorism goes, but perhaps an honorable and informed life requires examining others’ lives, not just one’s own. Perhaps we do not know ourselves unless we know others. And if we do, we know that nobody is nobody.” 0 likes
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