Call Them by Their True Names

Rebecca Solnit

Book cover

I love Rebecca Solnit and would happily read anything she writes. I try to keep up regularly with what she writes on LitHub, with the result that I had already read a couple of the essays in this new collection (“The Loneliness of Donald Trump” and “Eight Million Ways to Belong”), although oddly I didn’t see anywhere where previous publication was noted for specific essays. But happily, nearly all of the content was still new to me.

All of the classic Solnit elements are here–the combination of relevance to current events and timelessness, the willingness to speak truth to power, the deep humanism and ardent feminism. My favorite essays in this collection were: “Twenty Million Missing Storytellers” (zooming out for a broader perspective on the #MeToo movement); “Preaching to the Choir” (on the value of motivating and deepening connections with allies as opposed to converting enemies or undecideds); “Death by Gentrification: The Killing of Alex Nieto and the Savaging of San Francisco” (a troubling and compelling entry in the conversation on gentrification), and “In Praise of Indirect Consequences” (looking at the subtle but real impacts of seemingly failed social movements).

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars