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Image credit: Amanda Marcotte

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20th Century



For what it is, the book is well written, humorous, and delves into what has happened in the US over the past 12 years or so. It's a decent primer into the rise of the alt right and what fueled their growth. Unfortunately, that's the best I can say about this book.

With something as serious as this topic was, the author could have stood to use a bit more professional language, and a bit less slang. On top of that the complete lack of cites means we have to take the word of the author on what happened, which is never good when it comes to discussing politics.

I would expect this kind of writing on reddit. When I'm reading a book, I expect more. And definitely expect such a book to be able to cite their sources; if people editing Wikipedia can do it, I expect an author who has written for newspapers to do so as well.

My suggestion if you want to learn about Troll Nation? Read this book, then pick up something a bit more substantial.
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tebyen | May 27, 2020 |
Not being a teen or twenty-something woman living in the United States, I am not the target audience for this book. I guess my criticisms of the book all come out of that.

Overall, the book was a fun look at all the nonsense spewed out toward those who believe in the radical idea that women are people. Some of Marcotte's ideas were sound, many of them quite humorous, but she often tended toward the sarcastic and in your face approach. As someone who has always tended to be rather sarcastic myself, I have learned as I mature that it's not the best approach for winning people over to your point of view. I was hoping for a little more nuanced approach. I was also most interested in combating the more subtle forms of sexism--the "women have already achieved equality," the "I've never suffered from sexism," the "I'm not a feminist because you can't stick a label on me" crowd.

Still, between some over-the-top comments, and areas that don't influence my world (I don't exactly have to contend with purity balls or the Quiverfull movement), there are some real gems. Although I don't agree with everything Marcotte espouses, there is a lot of good information in this very readable book.

This was one of my favourite bits, maybe because I've longed to do something similar for years. It's under the chapter "Pranks to Pull on Anti-choicers" :

Get dressed in a suit or some other business wear and show up at an abortion clinic protest with a clipboard. Explain to people that you're from the Children's Bureau and you're here to sign all the volunteers up to adopt babies. Make it very clear that since there's already a waiting list for healthy white infants, they're going on the other adoption waiting list, for babies who aren't so easily snatched up by adoptive parents. Be chirpy about it: "the good news is that you won't have to wait for your new baby like the people on the other waiting list!" If people decline to sign, act genuinely confused. "But the Bureau told me you were here to convince women not to have abortions. What other reason would you have for getting into someone else's private business, if not because you want the babies?" If they continue to decline, pull out another clipboard and start filling our a receipt. "Well, we do have a backup plan for the care and feeding of the babies you insist should be born but don't want to raise yourself. How much should I put you down for? Before college tuition, raising one child for eighteen years will probably come in at $250,000. We'll also need to pay the mother for her time and pay the state for handling the baby, so tack on another $50,000. Will that be check or charge?"


Why I Read This Now: I recently read an excellent essay by the author and was interested in what else she had to say.

Recommended for: the target audience---teen and twenty somethings living in the US. Others can get something out of it too, though.

Rating: if I were in the intended audience I'd rate this book higher, but for me it was a 3.5 star read.
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Nickelini | Sep 3, 2011 |


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