Men Explain Things to Me


Rebecca Solnit
Men Explain Things to Me
(Haymarket Books, April 2014)

National Bestseller

Solnit’s Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities was published in ten languages and was an invitation to think differently about popular history and political power. Solnit now delivers Men Explain Things to Me, a book about how to think differently about women and ideas.

The title essay spawned the term “mansplaining,” a New York Times word of the year in 2010, which describes when a man speaks to a woman with the assumption that she knows less than he does about the topic being discussed.

“This slim book — seven essays, punctuated by enigmatic, haunting paintings by Ana Teresa Fernandez — hums with power and wit.”
Boston Globe

“Where opponents would argue that feminism is humorless and superfluous, Men Explain Things to Me is a compelling argument for the movement’s necessary presence in contemporary society. It approaches the subject with candor and openness, furthering the conversation and opening a new Pandora’s box that’s apt to change the way we talk about women’s rights.”
Shelf Awareness

“It is feminist, frequently funny, unflinchingly honest and often scathing in its conclusions.”

“A necessary read in these fraught times. Starting with the title essay, which went viral and inspired the ever-useful term “mansplaining,” Solnit writes powerfully about the ways in which power is wielded in today’s society, and brings awareness to the staggering inequalities that we wrestle with on a daily basis.”

“Ultimately Solnit’s interdisciplinary, patchwork narratives are drawn together by a single theme: hope.”
The Baffler

“[Solnit’s] ability to make a landscape into a text is present in every piece of writing she’s ever done, and especially here. Solnit understands that our minds are also landscapes, that they are uncharted territory and we must constantly have something left to discover within ourselves. When men explain things to me, personally, it’s like feeling someone else draw up the borders of my brain. When “men explaining things” becomes a concept, we react so strongly because it’s a map that we can use to bring us back to ourselves. The terrain has always felt familiar, but Men Explain Things To Me is a tool that we all need in order to find something that was almost lost.”
National Post

“Sharp-witted and bold… quintessential Solnit.”
Publishers Weekly

“Sharp narratives that illuminate and challenge the status quo of women’s roles in the world. Slim in scope, but yet another good book by Solnit.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Solnit is an environmentalist, a feminist and a brilliant essayist. Some of these essays make for uncomfortable reading, but they are really important and often funny. This is a highly enjoyable and thought-provoking read.”
Booksellers’ Choice

“Slim but trenchant collection of essays… As a collection it is an eloquent reminder that we still have some way to go when it comes to speaking of the issues she raises. She writes forcefully about the case of Domonique Strauss-Kahn. And yet this is not a gloomy book.”
Financial Times

“In stark and powerful prose she lists many of the heinous crimes committed against our sex. Solnit is a compelling writer with a glorious turn of phrase who never wastes a word. When I finished the book, I was left hoping Solnit would explain some more.”
Evening Standard

“This is a book review, not a call to arms, and what has always impressed me in Solnit’s writing is the simple cadence and timbre of a sentence, a paragraph, the way a whole essay lilts and skips. She is not one of the most important female essayists of her generation. She is one of the most important essayists of her generation. This pamphlet-esque book has all the qualities of a great pamphlet – it is incendiary, it is indignant, and it is true.”
Scotland on Sunday

“Exceptional… The feminist debate has once again exploded into the mainstream over the last few years, and this collection marks Solnit out as among the most thoughtful of many energetic writers leading it.”

“Essential reading for anyone – feminist or not, male or female – who want to fight for equality across all fronts.”
Gazette, Western Mail, Swindon Advertiser and Leicester Mercury

“The essays fiercely confront crime against women…. Solnit has a voice of fearless and provocative asperity; she launches a quiverful of aphoristic arrows.”

“Essential reading for anyone — feminist or not, male or female.”
Irish Examiner

The New YorkerMen Explain Things to Me essay “Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicable”

Lena Dunham names Men Explain Things to Me as her favorite book of 2014 in the Wall Street Journal

Buzzfeed names Men Explain Things to Me as a Buzzfeed Best Nonfiction Book of 2014