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Men Explain Things To Me
A landmark essay that went viral, inspired the word “mansplaining,” and prompted fierce arguments.

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

"The antidote to mansplaining."—The Stranger

"Feminist, frequently funny, unflinchingly honest and often scathing in its conclusions."—Salon

"Solnit tackles big themes of gender and power in these accessible essays. Honest and full of wit, this is an integral read that furthers the conversation on feminism and contemporary society."—San Francisco Chronicle Top Shelf

"Solnit [is] the perfect writer to tackle the subject: her prose style is so clear and cool."—The New Republic

"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

In her comic, scathing essay, "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.

This updated edition with two new essays of this national bestseller book features that now-classic essay as well as "#YesAllWomen," an essay written in response to 2014 Isla Vista killings and the grassroots movement that arose with it to end violence against women and misogyny, and the essay "Cassandra Syndrome." This book is also available in hardcover.

Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of eighteen or so books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including the books Men Explain Things to Me and Hope in the Dark, both also with Haymarket; a trilogy of atlases of American cities; The Faraway Nearby; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in DisasterA Field Guide to Getting LostWanderlust: 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 and a regular contributor to the Guardian.

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

    "[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

    "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."
    —Salon

    "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."
    —FlavorWire

    "Sharp-witted and bold... quintessential Solnit."
    —Publishers Weekly, "Things We Like This Week" Blog

    "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

    "I can’t place this book as anything less than a brilliant, varied, and thoroughly enjoyable read—and definitely an addition to my list of feminist faves. With that, I urge you to get to your favorite bookshop or library and snag a copy of Men Explain Things to Me. Pull up a chair, brew something tasty, and venture into the wilderness of what a changed world might look like." —Lip

Related blog posts View all related posts

Other books by Rebecca Solnit

  • City of Women Poster

    This 20" x 20" map, created by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro and originally featured in their New York atlas Nonstop Metropolis, reimagines New York City’s subway stations named after great women.
  • City of Women Poster (10-pack)

    10-pack of the City of Women poster

    This 20” x 20” map, created by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro and originally featured in their New York atlas Nonstop Metropolis, reimagines New York City’s subway stations named after great women.

  • Hope in the Dark

    Bestselling author Rebecca Solnit reminds us that activism has changed the world in remarkable ways.
  • The Mother of All Questions

    Rebecca Solnit’s timely follow-up to her national bestseller Men Explain Things to Me offers a refreshing take on contemporary feminism.
  • Whose Story Is This?

    New feminist essays for the #MeToo era from the international best-selling author of Men Explain Things to Me.

  • Men Explain Things To Me

    A landmark essay that went viral, inspired the word “mansplaining,” and prompted fierce arguments.
  • Cinderella Liberator

    Rebecca Solnit reimagines a classic fairytale with a fresh, feminist Cinderella and new plot twists that will inspire young readers to change the world.

  • Call Them by Their True Names

    Rebecca Solnit unearths the roots of our contemporary crises, countering the despair of our age with a dose of solidarity, creativity, and hope.
  • Los Hombres Me Explican Cosas

    A landmark essay that went viral, inspired the word “mansplaining,” and prompted fierce arguments.

Other books of interest

  • Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

    Activist, teacher, author and icon of the Black Power movement Angela Davis talks Ferguson, Palestine, and prison abolition.
  • Undivided Rights

    Undivided Rights captures the evolving and largely unknown activist history of women of color organizing for reproductive justice.
  • How We Get Free

    "If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free." —Combahee River Collective Statement
  • No Is Not Enough

    “This year's most immediately useful political book.” Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017

  • Feminist Freedom Warriors

    A collection of compelling narratives highlighting the struggles of feminist warriors whose voices are too often marginalized.