For this week’s round of nonfiction new-releases, we’re going to focus on some pretty impressive women. Ranging in topic from toxic-masculinity, to dealing with trauma, and to self-realization, this list provides insight from just a few highly-intelligent and strong-willed women.
Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women by Kate Manne
Kate Manne, an associate professor of philosophy at Cornell and former fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows writes this cunning investigation of men’s entitlement, Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women. By weaving various stories into her book, such as the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the atrocities of Harvey Weinstein, Manne is able to clearly present to her readers why male privilege is responsible for much of the misfortunes women deal with throughout their careers and beyond. Manne explains how all of us have added fuel to this fire over the years (obviously some way more than others), whether it be by allowing these things to go on or by actually being one of the aggressors. However, she does not do this without giving us the most important tool to combat this phenomenon – our voice.
Miracle Country: A Memoir by Kendra Atleework
For our second memoir of the week, we turn to Kendra Atleework. Atleework writes of her experience with losing her mother, who was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease when Atleework was six and then passing away ten years later. According to Atleework, her family could not deal with the loss of her mother, which caused the family to fall apart entirely. Therefore, Atleework left the desert which had been her home since birth and relocated to Los Angeles, followed by Minneapolis. She was running away from dealing with this pain for years before she would finally decide to move back home, back to the incredibly difficult landscape of the desert, back to where her heart truly belonged. Read about her incredible journey in Miracle Country: A Memoir.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
Isabel Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize Winner and New York Times’ bestseller, writes of “an American Hierarchy that goes far beyond the confines of race, class, or gender.” She, like Kate Manne, utilizes a number of stories in order to build her case and explain the eight pillars which she says make up the hidden caste system within America. Her writing is extremely tactful as she connects America to India and Nazi Germany, two other highly-impactful historical hierarchies. She explains that the driving factor behind these systems is not actually about anybody’s feelings, but their thirst for power, instead. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents was also selected to be the Summer 2020 pick for Ophrah’s Book Club.
For our next piece of must-read nonfiction, we arrive at Amy Stanley’s Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World. Stanley is an associate professor at Northwestern University and a historian of early modern and modern Japan. Stanley’s book follows the life of a woman named Tsuneno, who was born to a Buddhist priest in the village of Echigo, Japan. She had three arranged marriages, each lasting less time than the previous one, before she would decide to take her life into her own hands. Tsuneno leaves her village and moves to Edo, the city which would become Tokyo. Taking place in the 19th century, this is a rare look at Japanese culture of the time, and an even rarer look at an extraordinary woman forging her own path at a time least-expected.
Notes on A Silencing: A Memoir by Lacy Crawford
Last, but certainly not least, there is Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir by Lacy Crawford. Crawford laid it all out on the table for us through her book, as she writes of her struggle to deal with her sexual assault, which happened when she was fifteen years old as a student at St. Paul’s School. Crawford said “What happened to me at St. Paul’s happens everywhere. I got lucky because I saw behind the curtain. I saw the notes; I got the medical records; I saw what the school did to me and the breathtaking entitlement that men had in simply making a statutory crime disappear.” In the process of learning more about her own assault, Crawford dives deep into the trauma that many girls and women deal with, as well as provides a heartbreaking yet excellent example as for why so many assaults go unreported.