While reading these essays, I often found myself nodding along with quiet agreement punctuated with an occasional enthusiastic explosion of "Yes!" or a vigorous and effusive "Exactly!" (and a furtive quick glance around to make sure no one was looking). For this, I am actually thankful. Essays are, of course, not bound by rules of dispassionate argumentation, nor bound by pretensions to possessing a cold (and faux) objectivity. Rebecca Solnit doesn't even pretend. And that's just fine by me, because in hard times such as those we are living through now, pat-on-the-back encouragement and like-mindedness are a welcomed relief from the polemical knife-fights in which we otherwise often find ourselves engaged. Although her opinions are strongly stated, Solnit nevertheless possesses a soothingly calm voice, and these essays act as an effective intellectual balm. Let's face it, sometimes we need someone to point out that the arguments that lie ahead are not to be made couched in disinterested rhetoric, and that our opinions can be conveyed effectively with passionate insistence and not, was we might otherwise be inclined, through reptilian disinterest. This is precisely what is needed to face our possibly grim future with eyes wide open.— Conrad Silverberg
"Rebecca Solnit is essential feminist reading." --The New Republic
"Solnit's exquisite essays move between the political and the personal, the intellectual and the earthy." --Elle
Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books, including the international bestseller Men Explain Things to Me. Called "the voice of the resistance" by the New York Times, she has emerged as an essential guide to our times, through her incisive commentary on feminism, violence, ecology, hope, and everything in between.
In this powerful and wide-ranging collection, Solnit turns her attention to battles over meaning, place, language, and belonging at the heart of the defining crises of our time. She explores the way emotions shape political life, electoral politics, police shootings and gentrification, the life of an extraordinary man on death row, the pipeline protest at Standing Rock, and the existential threat posed by climate change.
The work of changing the world sometimes requires changing the story, the names, and inventing or popularizing new names and terms and phrases. Calling things by their true names can also cut through the lies that excuse, disguise, avoid, or encourage inaction, indifference, obliviousness in the face of injustice and violence.
About the Author
Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of twenty books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including a trilogy of atlases and the books The Mother of All Questions, Hope in the Dark, Men Explain Things to Me; The Faraway Nearby; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at Harper's.