Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays)

5 CDs. Tantor. Sept. 2018. 6 hrs. ISBN 9781977313324. $32.99. digital download. sOc SCI
Solnit does it again. In her follow-up to The Mother of All Questions, she presents culturally and politically relevant essays that dive below the surface of such topics as misogyny, voter suppression, civil rights, gentrification, and climate change. "The recent event on the surface," Solnit writes, "is often merely the hood ornament on the mighty social engine that is a story driving the culture." That concept is best illustrated in her essays about Alex Nieto, a 28-year-old man who was killed by police in San Francisco in 2014, and Jarvis Masters, a Buddhist author who has spent the past 25 years on death row in San Quentin for a crime he says he didn't commit. Cassandra Campbell's narration captures that sense of hope that serves as the undercurrent in these pieces. Her voice is steady and measured, providing the quiet strength and defiance that builds to the author's final message: "This work will only matter if it's sustained. To sustain it, people have to believe that the myriad small, incremental actions matter…even when the consequences aren't immediate or obvious."
VERDICT If recent events have got you down, Solnit's latest essays will lift you up.—Gladys Alcedo, Wallingford CT
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