The Mother of All Questions: Further Reports from the Feminist Revolutions

by Rebecca Solnit

Paperback, 2017


Checked out


Haymarket Books (2017), 192 pages


In this collection of essays, Solnit offers a timely commentary on gender and feminism. Her subjects include women who refuse to be silenced, misogynistic violence, the fragile masculinity of the literary canon, the recent history of rape jokes, and much more.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Citizenjoyce
This book is a series of essays in which Solnit discusses, among other topics, art. In 100 books a woman shouldn't read she shows how, in respected books by male authors, women are shown to be burdens, sex objects or empty evil characters with no heart - this is also the way they're frequently treated by male stand up comics. Of course she finds Tosh's humor vile (wouldn't it be funny if 5 men raped her right now, ha, ha) but oops, she bought the outward feminism of Louis C. K. and Aziz Ansari before she found out, like the rest of us, that their actions didn't mimic their words. This is a good, illuminating look at feminist issues that most of us can't believe are not yet resolved.… (more)
LibraryThing member KendallBall
Though these are feminist essays, the range of subject matter is quite broad. Solnit weaves together musings on literature, contemporary feminist movements, comedy, science, and traditional women and gender studies topics. She really inspired me to reflect on more recent feminist movements, and in that way, she succeeds in her role as a historian.… (more)
LibraryThing member ASKelmore
Best for: People who enjoy Ms. Solnit’s writing.

In a nutshell: Essays on the experiences of women.

Line that sticks with me: “The entitlement to be the one who is heard, believed, and respected has silenced so many women who may never be heard, in so many cases.”

Why I chose it: I’ve enjoyed Ms. Solnit’s writing in the past.

Review: I wish I had more energy to do this review justice. I definitely enjoyed many of the essays in this book, and as always Ms. Solnit has a way with words that any writer would envy. That said - I don’t know. This one didn’t do as much for me as her last book.

I found the second half of the book to be more engaging and interesting to read than the first half, although I did underline and make notes on quite a few passages throughout. Her words on the Isla Vista murders and on rape jokes are especially good, but I can’t really imagine that I’ll be buying this for friends or returning to it often over the years to come.
… (more)
LibraryThing member KimMeyer
I have the same criticism of this book as I did for Men Explain Things to Me: Some essays are exponentially stronger than others, and being a collection of essays on essentially the same topic, some very specific references to events or people appear multiple times within the same book. That said, Solnit is smart and witty and I really like her work.… (more)
LibraryThing member Devil_llama
A series of essays by the woman who coined the term "mansplaining". She celebrates recent advances in working against rape culture, though without noting #MeToo, because this book predates it (though barely). Some of the things must be embarrassing the author right now - how could she have predicted that Louis C. K., a prime feminist comic, would turn out to be one of the men who would be accused of molesting women he encountered in the workplace? In addition, the amazing movement she discusses has, like so many similar movements, turned out to be less amazing than hoped, as women have lost ground in such areas as the Supreme Court (Brett Kavanaugh) and in several prominent cases that appear to be faltering. In the end, not as much has changed as hoped, and women seem to be retreating to lick their wounds. Still, it is not expected that the author would have a functional crystal ball, since so few of us do. This book is a valuable resource in spite of the misplaced optimism; she is a much-needed voice in the growing feminist literature. My one complaint is one that I rarely make: the book was too short. She could have doubled, even tripled, the length, and it likely would not have worn out its welcome.… (more)
LibraryThing member KLmesoftly
A set of essays that are all valuable individually, but as a set rather repetitive and narrowly focused.


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Physical description

192 p.; 5.25 inches


1608467406 / 9781608467402

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