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A disturbing exposé of how today's alt-right men's groups use ancient sources to promote a new brand of toxic masculinity online. A virulent strain of antifeminism is thriving online that treats women's empowerment as a mortal threat to men and to the integrity of Western civilization. Its proponents cite ancient Greek and Latin texts to support their claims--arguing that t A disturbing exposé of how today's alt-right men's groups use ancient sources to promote a new brand of toxic masculinity online. A virulent strain of antifeminism is thriving online that treats women's empowerment as a mortal threat to men and to the integrity of Western civilization. Its proponents cite ancient Greek and Latin texts to support their claims--arguing that they articulate a model of masculinity that sustained generations but is now under siege. Donna Zuckerberg dives deep into the virtual communities of the far right, where men lament their loss of power and privilege, and strategize about how to reclaim them. She finds, mixed in with weightlifting tips and misogynistic vitriol, the words of the Stoics deployed to support an ideal vision of masculine life. On other sites, pickup artists quote Ovid's Ars Amatoria to justify ignoring women's boundaries. By appropriating the Classics, these men lend a veneer of intellectual authority and ancient wisdom to their project of patriarchal white supremacy. In defense or retaliation, feminists have also taken up the Classics online, to counter the sanctioning of violence against women. Not All Dead White Men reveals that some of the most controversial and consequential debates about the legacy of the ancients are raging not in universities but online.


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A disturbing exposé of how today's alt-right men's groups use ancient sources to promote a new brand of toxic masculinity online. A virulent strain of antifeminism is thriving online that treats women's empowerment as a mortal threat to men and to the integrity of Western civilization. Its proponents cite ancient Greek and Latin texts to support their claims--arguing that t A disturbing exposé of how today's alt-right men's groups use ancient sources to promote a new brand of toxic masculinity online. A virulent strain of antifeminism is thriving online that treats women's empowerment as a mortal threat to men and to the integrity of Western civilization. Its proponents cite ancient Greek and Latin texts to support their claims--arguing that they articulate a model of masculinity that sustained generations but is now under siege. Donna Zuckerberg dives deep into the virtual communities of the far right, where men lament their loss of power and privilege, and strategize about how to reclaim them. She finds, mixed in with weightlifting tips and misogynistic vitriol, the words of the Stoics deployed to support an ideal vision of masculine life. On other sites, pickup artists quote Ovid's Ars Amatoria to justify ignoring women's boundaries. By appropriating the Classics, these men lend a veneer of intellectual authority and ancient wisdom to their project of patriarchal white supremacy. In defense or retaliation, feminists have also taken up the Classics online, to counter the sanctioning of violence against women. Not All Dead White Men reveals that some of the most controversial and consequential debates about the legacy of the ancients are raging not in universities but online.

30 review for Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age

  1. 5 out of 5

    Myke Cole

    First class analysis of the “Red Pill” (alt-right misogynist) community and how it misappropriates the classics to achieve its propagandistic ends. Zuckerberg not only hits the topic dispassionately (which isn’t easy for a feminist to do. I was red-faced angry reading this book) and eviscerates with unimpeachable analysis, she also highlights the real danger of this kind of thinking - illustrating how it underpins the propagation of disregard for women's consent, promotes sexual violence, and is First class analysis of the “Red Pill” (alt-right misogynist) community and how it misappropriates the classics to achieve its propagandistic ends. Zuckerberg not only hits the topic dispassionately (which isn’t easy for a feminist to do. I was red-faced angry reading this book) and eviscerates with unimpeachable analysis, she also highlights the real danger of this kind of thinking - illustrating how it underpins the propagation of disregard for women's consent, promotes sexual violence, and is actively threatening to move our society backward in time. A critical contribution to any student of classics or ancient history living in the Age of Trump.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    A highly disturbing read about white men who appropriate Classics - stoicism, Ovid, and the myth of Phaedra - to prove that we live in a gynocentric society biased against men and that autonomous women will be the downfall of Western civilization. These assertions justify their vitriolic attacks against women online and their manipulation or sexual assault of women in person. Although many feminists are aware of the Red Pill and Pick-up Artist communities, many may not be aware of the misuse of A highly disturbing read about white men who appropriate Classics - stoicism, Ovid, and the myth of Phaedra - to prove that we live in a gynocentric society biased against men and that autonomous women will be the downfall of Western civilization. These assertions justify their vitriolic attacks against women online and their manipulation or sexual assault of women in person. Although many feminists are aware of the Red Pill and Pick-up Artist communities, many may not be aware of the misuse of antiquities. Yet Zuckerberg suggests that the political left may inadvertently allow this abuse to occur insofar as the so-called "Western canon" is criticized for its overabundance of rape and gender inequity. Zuckerberg concludes that "Both sides of that debate agree that the study of ancient literature perpetuates white male supremacy; they differ only on the question of whether that is a consequence that should be celebrated" (p. 187). Her Conclusion also discusses how the Red Pill community lashed out at her and this raises many interesting questions about feminist engagement with the Classics, whether there is value in them and how we make sense of them from the present.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    3.5 stars -- This book earnestly tries to examine and document how alt-right men's movements (Red Pillers, MGTOWers, The Game followers, etc.) co-opt ancient texts to promote specific ideas about "the west," gender, and race, and I think insofar as that is the aim, this is an interesting book that meets that project's goals. That said, I wish this had grappled a little bit more with basically reader-response theory... there's a lot of energy devoted to determining how faithful or good of a readi 3.5 stars -- This book earnestly tries to examine and document how alt-right men's movements (Red Pillers, MGTOWers, The Game followers, etc.) co-opt ancient texts to promote specific ideas about "the west," gender, and race, and I think insofar as that is the aim, this is an interesting book that meets that project's goals. That said, I wish this had grappled a little bit more with basically reader-response theory... there's a lot of energy devoted to determining how faithful or good of a reading of ancient texts these movements have, and to some degree, that's kind of besides the point. It more matters how these groups use the texts, rather than the author/philosopher's intent, which is acknowledged, but does make the overall arguments here a little less impactful. Still, a thought provoking look at both the modern and ancient movements in question

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Mishap

    First, I have little interest in Greek or Roman authors, thought, history, and only a passing knowledge of their myths. That said, I was way into this book as she lifts up the internet rock these toxic grubs have been hiding under and exposes not only their venality and misogyny, but there misuse of ancient texts and schools of thought to justify their loathsome beliefs and behavior. Whew! That was a long sentence. You should go read this.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Denson

    This book is part of a larger movement among classicists in recent years to combat the misappropriation of classics and ancient works by the alt-right. It catalogs and responds to some of the ways that the misogynistic ‘red pill’ online forums misinterpret and twist ancient concepts and ideas to try to legitimize their own ideas. Zuckerberg particularly focuses on the way the different factions of the alt-right has appealed to Stoicism and Ovid’s Ars Amatoria. She convincingly shows that what th This book is part of a larger movement among classicists in recent years to combat the misappropriation of classics and ancient works by the alt-right. It catalogs and responds to some of the ways that the misogynistic ‘red pill’ online forums misinterpret and twist ancient concepts and ideas to try to legitimize their own ideas. Zuckerberg particularly focuses on the way the different factions of the alt-right has appealed to Stoicism and Ovid’s Ars Amatoria. She convincingly shows that what these groups are actually appealing to are merely shallow imitations of classical ideas, which bear only a tenous connection, especially with Stoicism, to actual beliefs in the ancient world. Zuckerberg also argues for a more inclusive and progressive form of classics that departs from the traditionally conservative nature of the field. Overall, it is an interesting read that highlights some of the ways classics has been abused to justify hateful ideologies and, more generally, some of the ways that ancient texts are occasionally misread by those without a thorough background in classics. Zuckerberg’s book also shows the need to respond and denounce other types of misuse of classics, such as being used in an attempt to support xenophobic, white nationalist, or Eurocentric ideologies.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Donna Zuckerberg has provided us with a succinct look at the ways the Red Pill community uses the works of Stoic philosophers to justify their worldview. The book is accessible - I had no issue understanding anything, and I came to the book without any knowledge of Stoic philosophy - and Zuckerberg is an insightful guide. She skillfully illustrates the contradictions of Red Pill arguments, that they use little more than the intellectual brand-name recognition of Marcus Aurelius, Ovid, and others Donna Zuckerberg has provided us with a succinct look at the ways the Red Pill community uses the works of Stoic philosophers to justify their worldview. The book is accessible - I had no issue understanding anything, and I came to the book without any knowledge of Stoic philosophy - and Zuckerberg is an insightful guide. She skillfully illustrates the contradictions of Red Pill arguments, that they use little more than the intellectual brand-name recognition of Marcus Aurelius, Ovid, and others to provide cover for their concepts of masculinity and gender roles. Long enough to be academically rigorous and informative, but short enough that the relatively dry subject matter and writing don't get wearing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maddie

    I was excited by the description of this book, which explores the relationship between some works in the classic canon and misogynists on the internet. Sadly, this book is a 200 page slog that simultaneously takes on too many topics, but doesn't pause enough at any of them to make compelling arguments. There are 3 major ideas explored here. Zuckerberg links first the work of the stoics to the general Red Pill community. Then she examines Ovid's Ars Amatoria and how it connects to pick up artist I was excited by the description of this book, which explores the relationship between some works in the classic canon and misogynists on the internet. Sadly, this book is a 200 page slog that simultaneously takes on too many topics, but doesn't pause enough at any of them to make compelling arguments. There are 3 major ideas explored here. Zuckerberg links first the work of the stoics to the general Red Pill community. Then she examines Ovid's Ars Amatoria and how it connects to pick up artist manuals. Finally, she looks at the story of Phaedra and Hippolytus and examines how it relates to the way men's rights activists claim that false rape allegations are a major problem in society today. My biggest problem with these sections is that Zuckerberg picked living human strawmen to frame her debate. Sadly, I can't say these men represent the worst of the the Red Pill community, since I, too, have been on reddit and know there are far stupider men out there. But instead of jousting against semi-legitimate scholars, she liberally quotes bloggers who clearly have very little context for the work that they are claiming is a screed for men's rights and pick up artists. It's infuriating to read about this section of the internet, but it's like shooting fish in a barrel for a scholar of her caliber to point out the flaws in their analysis of Ovid. I was never going to agree with bloggers who post about how they should be in charge of making decisions for all of their female relatives, or who claim that they already raped the author with their mind. They are terrible people and you can read anything they write with no critical analysis surrounding it and come to the same conclusion. I would have found this book more interesting if she had engaged with slightly less idiotic misogynists. Maybe a dissection of a Jordan Peterson type would have done it for me a little more. In addition, the author glancingly refers to far too many topics, but does few of them justice, all while managing to be pretty repetitive for such a short book. Someone interested in her arguments could probably get a lot out of mining the endnotes for further reading. To be clear, I really wanted to like this book, and I am closely aligned with the author's politics. It just wasn't enjoyable to read. It did make me want to read some of the (classic) books mentioned though.

  8. 5 out of 5

    isabella

    [warning: nerdy classicist review comin up] highly recommend this for my classicist and non classicist friends alike! it’s a great study of how to (and why we should!) navigate feminism in classical studies & actually, for those who are interested in the classical world but don’t know where to start, i think this is more worth a read than a mary beard book or an ‘introduction to the ancient greeks’ type of book because it’s politically relevant to today and is a perfect example of how we can use [warning: nerdy classicist review comin up] highly recommend this for my classicist and non classicist friends alike! it’s a great study of how to (and why we should!) navigate feminism in classical studies & actually, for those who are interested in the classical world but don’t know where to start, i think this is more worth a read than a mary beard book or an ‘introduction to the ancient greeks’ type of book because it’s politically relevant to today and is a perfect example of how we can use the greek & roman worlds to further our understanding of the modern world !!! recommend if you have the stomach to read 200 pages of analysis about misogynists (some of the views of the men that zuckerberg quotes are really disturbing). (also sidenote how is this woman the sister of mark zuckerberg i cannot comprehend this)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Prescient and thorough exploration of how the alt right / MRA movements co-opt and reduce classics to serve their own warped ideas about gender and sexuality.

  10. 4 out of 5

    K

    It's hard to believe that in the late 2010s Harvard University press decided to publish something about the "manosphere" and how they can't read Seneca or Ovid, but here we are. The simulation is breaking down. The "manosphere", as it is called, is a loose affiliation of anti-feminists who gather on Reddit, 4chan, and other smaller forums. Chapter 1 divides them roughly into three groups - Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), or 'separatists', Pick-Up Artists (PUA) who try to seduce women, and the ' It's hard to believe that in the late 2010s Harvard University press decided to publish something about the "manosphere" and how they can't read Seneca or Ovid, but here we are. The simulation is breaking down. The "manosphere", as it is called, is a loose affiliation of anti-feminists who gather on Reddit, 4chan, and other smaller forums. Chapter 1 divides them roughly into three groups - Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), or 'separatists', Pick-Up Artists (PUA) who try to seduce women, and the 'Men's Rights Movement', which is against what they view as womens' systemic supremacy in society - this is mostly centered on custody trials and false rape accusations. Zuckerberg, a classicist, notes their citation of classics, and wrote this book to people who have a passing interest in classics and who understand how bad women have it on the internet - in short, basically all women on the internet. Chapter 2 focuses on the Stoics, and how the Manosphere reads Stoicism as an outlet for suppressing emotion. Chapter 3 is a reading of Ovid's Ars Armoria and a reading of it without context as 'seduction manual'. It would be easy enough to show that these people can't really read books and their beliefs are hateful and disgusting. Zuckerberg does that. But what she also does is recognize that these people are drawn to classics because women really are marginalized, and they draw their crude caricatures all over these manuscripts because they view this society as an ideal, and often as white as excavated statues. They identify The Classics with all of Western civilization, and it is the worst impulses and thoughts within Western civilization that they value. But of course Classics isn't the only field that is subject to distortion from the far right. But Zuckerberg, as a classicist, sees a responsibility to combat these feelings, and to better understand what 'informs' them so experts can respond better. Best of luck.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    This book examines the Red Pill communities online (with a helpful chapter distinguishing differences in the numerous factions of antifeminists) and their use of classics to justify their opinions. The three major sections of the book deal with different issues -- broadly: rationality and emotions, the objectification of women, and sexual assault -- which are each connected to different classic texts by Red Pill members. Definitely worth a read to understand what arguments and tactics these comm This book examines the Red Pill communities online (with a helpful chapter distinguishing differences in the numerous factions of antifeminists) and their use of classics to justify their opinions. The three major sections of the book deal with different issues -- broadly: rationality and emotions, the objectification of women, and sexual assault -- which are each connected to different classic texts by Red Pill members. Definitely worth a read to understand what arguments and tactics these communities make and to contemplate how we confront classic texts given our modern culture. A word of note: it was very well researched and cited, so there is a lot of despicable and disturbing rhetoric from Red Pill writers included in the book -- it can get tough to read at some points.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Skye

    I absolutely loved and sorely needed this book. As a woman classicist, I've seen first-hand the disgusting misogyny Zuckerberg documents in the field. It was so helpful to understand what the online conversations look like and how ancient authors are weaponized to affirm white supremacists online. Yuck! It's a book to read with your nose pinched, but so well written and essential reading for anyone in the field. My only concern with it is that it's too awful to be believed, so I worry people wil I absolutely loved and sorely needed this book. As a woman classicist, I've seen first-hand the disgusting misogyny Zuckerberg documents in the field. It was so helpful to understand what the online conversations look like and how ancient authors are weaponized to affirm white supremacists online. Yuck! It's a book to read with your nose pinched, but so well written and essential reading for anyone in the field. My only concern with it is that it's too awful to be believed, so I worry people will dismiss it. I can honestly say, having been trolled for running a women's Latin reading group (horror of horrors), it is all too true.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kitty Jay

    Ooh, with a title like that, who could resist? Not All Dead White Men takes a look at how the manosphere, particularly the Red Pill-ers use classic philosophy and literature rhetorically to legitimize their claims. The book is divided into distinct parts: a bastardized version of Stoic philosophy meant to establish men as the more rational, logical gender; Ovid's Ars Amatoria being praised as the original pick-up artist; and finally, how these groups view the heavily patriarchal society of the G Ooh, with a title like that, who could resist? Not All Dead White Men takes a look at how the manosphere, particularly the Red Pill-ers use classic philosophy and literature rhetorically to legitimize their claims. The book is divided into distinct parts: a bastardized version of Stoic philosophy meant to establish men as the more rational, logical gender; Ovid's Ars Amatoria being praised as the original pick-up artist; and finally, how these groups view the heavily patriarchal society of the Greeks and Romans as an aspirational ideal, rather than antiquated - literally and figuratively - civilizations that are interesting to study. Zuckerberg's work is extensive and fluidly written; I have read some criticism regarding her translations, so that's something to keep in mind when reading, but I really don't think her argument rests enough on the translations to spoil her entire thesis. Instead, it's more analyzing the rhetorical sophistry of these groups in relation to the classics. And that she does exceedingly well. (As an aside, I once read an article about how the use of the (sic) tag was inherently classist; that might be so, but it's a privilege to witness when it is used to its full effect, against those who so richly deserve it). The only problem I can note is that while Zuckerberg does a devastating job of showing the interplay between the manosphere and the classics, she falters a bit when making explicit some of the strategies they use to legitimize and bolster their claims. There were a few instances when she pointed them out, certainly, but didn't go into detail in how exactly those strategies worked, or how to combat those, or indeed, if we should try to combat them at all. And while she explicitly mentions that she won't be pointing out the "howlers", as one cited professor said, I can't help but think that would have added something to the book. She does take some look at the misinterpretations - particularly in the Stoic chapter, and partially in the Phaedra section - but more would have been appreciated. For instance, I can't help but think it would have added a richness to her argument when considering how many of these men would react to the full picture of Greek and Roman society. Of course, the point is that these men do not want the actual society, they only want the control they perceive comes with it, whether that's to the benefit of males and/or whites, but it still would have helped to hold a candle to their arguments and let the light shining through the holes speak for themselves. A thoroughly enjoyable read, with plenty to offer for any lover of classics who hate to see them used and abused. (As a note: two of my old professors were cited in this book, which I found amusing, particularly as one of them was rumored to be a raging misogynist, and I can imagine that being cited in a feminist tome would be anathema to him).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    This is a carefully written, thoroughly researched look into how ideas are disseminated (and around them communities formed) on social media. Zuckerberg discusses a specific—though hardly harmonious—community: the manosphere. Many subgroups fall under this umbrella: men’s rights activists (MRAs), pickup artists (PUAs), Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), incels, the Alt-Right, etc. Within in the manosphere there is much overlap, but also much conflict. Zuckerberg argues that the strongest commonali This is a carefully written, thoroughly researched look into how ideas are disseminated (and around them communities formed) on social media. Zuckerberg discusses a specific—though hardly harmonious—community: the manosphere. Many subgroups fall under this umbrella: men’s rights activists (MRAs), pickup artists (PUAs), Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), incels, the Alt-Right, etc. Within in the manosphere there is much overlap, but also much conflict. Zuckerberg argues that the strongest commonality is antifeminism. Not All Dead White Men looks at how members of the manosphere invoke ancient Greece and Rome to justify their worldview. The contradictions fracturing the manosphere really interested me. The manosphere men hate women and especially feminism, but sometimes they get in their own way trying to do both at once. For example, most adopt an essentialist view of gender. They argue women have certain innate traits, and those traits cause societal ills. But they also argue that social progressivism and especially feminism are responsible for societal ills. Which is it? Does feminism turn women bad, or are women irrevocably bad? In a sense, it doesn’t really matter, because their solution in either case is to disempower women. And I think that's a central takeaway: the manosphere can fiddle with framing and cherry pick ancient texts all they want, but ultimately, they aspire and feel entitled to control women. When they don't get to control women (for example, if a woman rejects their advances), they get angry. But they draw on warped Stoicism to reclassify that anger as rationality, and in fact, rationality of a caliber exclusive to their demographic. It's a horrifying cocktail. As a whole, Not All Dead White Men is equal parts fascinating and disturbing. Zuckerberg draws attention to a salient contemporary issue, and does so with a lot of context and nuance. However, it’s pretty dense, so getting through it wasn’t exactly a blast. I would read this if you have prior interest in and knowledge about the topic. It’s not an accessible primer on feminism, antifeminism, communication in the digital age, or any combination of the three.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brigid

    This book is pure brilliance. Zuckerberg tears down misconceptions of the classics by the alt-right manosphere. The author tears down their supposed intelligible interpretations of the classics by providing the evidence all the while humiliating them in the process. I'll be honest. This is a hard one to read, especially if you're a woman. Be prepared for discussions about rape and discrimination against women and POC. She really gets deep into the alt-right. It's a necessary read, though. I lear This book is pure brilliance. Zuckerberg tears down misconceptions of the classics by the alt-right manosphere. The author tears down their supposed intelligible interpretations of the classics by providing the evidence all the while humiliating them in the process. I'll be honest. This is a hard one to read, especially if you're a woman. Be prepared for discussions about rape and discrimination against women and POC. She really gets deep into the alt-right. It's a necessary read, though. I learned a lot about how the minds of the alt-right works and how important it is to understand how their interpretations of the classics don't match up to the reality. She makes it known that it is important to learn the classics. That doesn't mean the classics don't have racism and sexism. Those things should still be learned because it is important to understand the past, especially when the alt-right chooses these texts as aspirational. What makes this book so brilliant is Zuckerberg places importance on stripping the alt-right of their self-professed superior interpretations of classics by helping us understand what is so laughably wrong with their interpretations. In the midst of all this, she doesn't hide from the problems within scholarship. Scholars and the general public need to face the Classics from a feminist perspective. This includes facing the romanticism the alt-right forces onto the classics. The impact of that is the very real influence the alt-right has on men, and the stereotypes they feed off of.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Phi Beta Kappa Authors

    Donna Zuckerberg ΦBK, University of Chicago, 2007 Author From the publisher: A disturbing exposé of how today's alt-right men's groups use ancient sources to promote a new brand of toxic masculinity online. A virulent strain of antifeminism is thriving online that treats women's empowerment as a mortal threat to men and to the integrity of Western civilization. Its proponents cite ancient Greek and Latin texts to support their claims--arguing that they articulate a model of masculinity that sustaine Donna Zuckerberg ΦBK, University of Chicago, 2007 Author From the publisher: A disturbing exposé of how today's alt-right men's groups use ancient sources to promote a new brand of toxic masculinity online. A virulent strain of antifeminism is thriving online that treats women's empowerment as a mortal threat to men and to the integrity of Western civilization. Its proponents cite ancient Greek and Latin texts to support their claims--arguing that they articulate a model of masculinity that sustained generations but is now under siege. Donna Zuckerberg dives deep into the virtual communities of the far right, where men lament their loss of power and privilege, and strategize about how to reclaim them. She finds, mixed in with weightlifting tips and misogynistic vitriol, the words of the Stoics deployed to support an ideal vision of masculine life. On other sites, pickup artists quote Ovid's Ars Amatoria to justify ignoring women's boundaries. By appropriating the Classics, these men lend a veneer of intellectual authority and ancient wisdom to their project of patriarchal white supremacy. In defense or retaliation, feminists have also taken up the Classics online, to counter the sanctioning of violence against women. Not All Dead White Men reveals that some of the most controversial and consequential debates about the legacy of the ancients are raging not in universities but online.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    A rather difficult four stars. Certainly I wish more than most--as a young AFAB classicist, and a reception theorist, at that--that I could give this important and groundbreaking work five stars. It is undeniable that the recently-resurgent fascist far right, and the misogynist hangers-on that typically share the same online spaces and the same ideologies, find authority and validation in classical texts and the classical world. That is a dangerous situation indeed. In Not All Dead White Men, Zu A rather difficult four stars. Certainly I wish more than most--as a young AFAB classicist, and a reception theorist, at that--that I could give this important and groundbreaking work five stars. It is undeniable that the recently-resurgent fascist far right, and the misogynist hangers-on that typically share the same online spaces and the same ideologies, find authority and validation in classical texts and the classical world. That is a dangerous situation indeed. In Not All Dead White Men, Zuckerberg explores the latter group's received images of the classics. Classics as a field has been slow to mobilize against the threat these factions present; what Zuckerberg does here is lay the necessary groundwork for the battle ahead. This is a foundational text, and I suspect classicists will view it as such. But in laying these foundations, and in seeking to make the work accessible both to the layperson and the professional classicist--who has, perhaps, operated unaware of the wider 'culture wars'--Zuckerberg must sacrifice some academic rigour on the altar of readability. It is a fair enough decision to make. I do not envy her; it must also have been a difficult decision. She is a talented and engaging writer who has written an absolutely critical text. Yet it is an introductory text. More work must be done on this, the cutting edge of reception theory: and without that work, I cannot grant five stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Edvald

    Not All Dead White Men is an interesting, well written, and most of all, accessible book about classics and the Red Pill community. Zuckerberg always gives the reader enough information to follow her argument without overwhelming the reader with details, while at the same time elaborating in the footnotes for those who want to go more in-depth. She manages to present the diversity of opinion in Classics and feminist scholarship without giving the reader a sense that the uncertainty is too great Not All Dead White Men is an interesting, well written, and most of all, accessible book about classics and the Red Pill community. Zuckerberg always gives the reader enough information to follow her argument without overwhelming the reader with details, while at the same time elaborating in the footnotes for those who want to go more in-depth. She manages to present the diversity of opinion in Classics and feminist scholarship without giving the reader a sense that the uncertainty is too great in a way few writers I’ve read are able to do. Zuckerberg is at her best when she draws together her observations to suggest where Classics should head from now on – the conclusion to her chapter on Stoicism, when she talks about the potential Stoicism has in our time, is one of the book’s highlights. Something I would like to point out is that the book is very much centered on America. This is not really a drawback – Zuckerberg never claims that it isn’t – but I do find it striking how hegemonic America is in academia. This is not something I’m altogether happy about, but I warmly recommend this book regardless!

  19. 5 out of 5

    kirabobeera

    An in-depth examination of how members of the "Red Pill" (also termed "meninist") community appropriate and misinterpret classical ancient literature (namely of Greek and Roman origin) to support their own misogynistic beliefs. Pointing out various logical errors and rhetorical tactics, Donna Zuckerberg dismantles the ideology and belief system of these Alt-Right communities through rational, insightful investigation. It's honestly a horrifying read in the sense that it includes some of the most An in-depth examination of how members of the "Red Pill" (also termed "meninist") community appropriate and misinterpret classical ancient literature (namely of Greek and Roman origin) to support their own misogynistic beliefs. Pointing out various logical errors and rhetorical tactics, Donna Zuckerberg dismantles the ideology and belief system of these Alt-Right communities through rational, insightful investigation. It's honestly a horrifying read in the sense that it includes some of the most disgusting comments made by leaders of these "manosphere" sects. From so-called "seduction guides" to facing ancient society onto our own modern one, Zuckerberg illustrates how the men of the community have misunderstood and misrepresented classical literature. This is a very text-heavy book and it reads like an academic thesis. It can be a bit of a chore to push through lengthy paragraph after lengthy paragraph (especially when the topic is about whether or not women should have any rights, as question posed by the Red Pill,) but it's worthwhile in understanding how these texts are being misused and abused for selfish (and restrictive) purposes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    My one criticism of this book is that it struggles to find the middle ground between scholarly and popular tone, so that it is, perhaps, a hair too intellectually-structured for a general audience and, most certainly, too pitched to a general audience for academic purposes. That said, it is a book that everyone working in premodern studies and modern receptions of the classics, and every woman in America regardless of their political affiliations, ought to read, if only to be aware of the pseudo My one criticism of this book is that it struggles to find the middle ground between scholarly and popular tone, so that it is, perhaps, a hair too intellectually-structured for a general audience and, most certainly, too pitched to a general audience for academic purposes. That said, it is a book that everyone working in premodern studies and modern receptions of the classics, and every woman in America regardless of their political affiliations, ought to read, if only to be aware of the pseudo-intellectual underpinnings of modern misogyny and the at-times genuinely bizarre philosophies extrapolated from Classical literature that guide a not-insignificant number of men's beliefs concerning the place of women in their lives.

  21. 4 out of 5

    LT

    Finally finished this book! At roughly 190 pages, this is a pretty short book. However, it took me more than a month to get through (though I have been reading other books). Zuckerberg’s writing reads between blog post and PhD thesis; it is a compelling mixture of analytical and accessible. In her book, Zuckerberg talks about the Red Pill community’s alarming appropriation of the Classics as justification for their belief that society is unfair to men, particularly heterosexual white men, and is Finally finished this book! At roughly 190 pages, this is a pretty short book. However, it took me more than a month to get through (though I have been reading other books). Zuckerberg’s writing reads between blog post and PhD thesis; it is a compelling mixture of analytical and accessible. In her book, Zuckerberg talks about the Red Pill community’s alarming appropriation of the Classics as justification for their belief that society is unfair to men, particularly heterosexual white men, and is designed to favor women. Zuckerberg dissects Stoic ideas, Roman epic poetry, and myths. Through this against-the-grain analysis, she reveals not only the patriarchal misogyny that is often prevalent in, but also the extent to which they have been falsely distorted by the Red Pill community. Even though I am a feminist, there were some moments in the book where I felt that Zuckerberg went too far in her critique of ancient texts. Yet, what I loved the most about this book was that it forced me to be more critical than I had been before. It is easy to enjoy Ovid’s poetry without thinking about the problematic implications it has (esp. the grotesque and violent portrayal of Daphne and Apollo). Our past remains an integral part of the present. Indeed, classical texts remain the bulwark of the cultural legacy of Western civilization. As problematic as their narratives of misogyny, abuse, and sexual assault may have been, it is our duty to reconcile and grapple with them. Zuckerberg ends the book on an optimistic note: “The idea of a vibrant, radical, intersectional feminist Classics - one that uses the ancient roles to enrich conversations about race, gender, and social justice - is anathema to [the Red Pill community]. And that is why feminist Classics today is more exciting and necessary than ever.”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    A flawed but enlightening peek into contemporary American right-wing online bigotry, Classical Greek and Roman texts and thinkers, and the intersection between these themes. The text was a little bothersome to read at times: there are awkward segues, sections that repeat or drag, and there is often the feeling that the balance between lay accessibility and academic rigor is a little off-kilter. I came away with the feeling, too, that the content is more sparse than the (hardback) book's heft sugg A flawed but enlightening peek into contemporary American right-wing online bigotry, Classical Greek and Roman texts and thinkers, and the intersection between these themes. The text was a little bothersome to read at times: there are awkward segues, sections that repeat or drag, and there is often the feeling that the balance between lay accessibility and academic rigor is a little off-kilter. I came away with the feeling, too, that the content is more sparse than the (hardback) book's heft suggested. In the end, the book could have benefited from being more deliberately engaging, and/or more information-dense. It was still worth the read! A decent introduction to the Stoics and Ovid, and to the right-wing trollosphere, combined with notes from the world of the world of classical studies, made this an informative read, and it's easy to get caught up in Zuckerberg's interest in, and vast store of knowledge about, her subject matter. There was a lot here that helped me draw connections between little bits and pieces of knowledge and gain a better birds-eye view of the issues at stake. Also worth noting: this book is definitely a conversation-starter, for better or for worse. The title and the author's name are both attention-grabbers, so if you carry this book in public I recommend having a little introductory spiel worked out beforehand.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeroen

    A very disturbing but brave and well-written book. Zuckerberg's analysis of the alt-right Reddit forums is always lucid, and remarkably patient and calm. If I had to spend hours wading through the thrash these people write, I would have gone starking mad by now. It's a momentous sacrifice on the part of the writer for which she may certainly be commended. She has her small pleasures though, tiny revenges in the forms of all the scattered [sic]'s throughout all the quotes in the book. This must be A very disturbing but brave and well-written book. Zuckerberg's analysis of the alt-right Reddit forums is always lucid, and remarkably patient and calm. If I had to spend hours wading through the thrash these people write, I would have gone starking mad by now. It's a momentous sacrifice on the part of the writer for which she may certainly be commended. She has her small pleasures though, tiny revenges in the forms of all the scattered [sic]'s throughout all the quotes in the book. This must be especially rewarding in the middle of an alpha-male's utterance of masculine superiority:I make these sincere recommendations not out of anger, but under the firm belief that the lives of my female relatives would certainly be better tomorrow if they were required to get my approval before making any decisions. They would not like it, surely, but due to the fact that I'm male and they're not, my analytical decision-making faculty is superior to theirs to [sic] absolutely no fault of their own, meaning that their most sincere attempts to make good decisions will have a failure rate larger than if I was able to make those decisions for them. Zuckerberg focuses in particular on the alt-right's use of stoicism to paint themselves as quietly suffering martyrs in a quote-unquote gynocentric society. Never mind the fact that this belief (that women are advantaged over men) is insane and contradicted by every possible fact: the focus of the book is not to judge but to understand the specific appeal of the classics on this community. Stoicism seems mostly a kind of shield to hide behind, a way of showing their superiority, it is a bunch of men snugly hiding behind the stereotype that men are calm, rational creatures whereas women are emotional and hysterical. Perhaps, though, they need to cling to this stereotype precisely because they notice within themselves that it is not true: if they continuously show one emotion, after all, it is anger. Another chapter takes on the community of so-called pick-up artists, men who share tips among each other to seduce girls. Taking the idea of sex is power to the extreme, these men seem much more keen on proving their intellectual superiority over these women ("targets") than to actually have sex. This should be obvious, because who would actually enjoy the sort of intimacy created after first "negging" a girl the whole evening (insulting her to get her confidence down), then feeding her preconceived lines that you practiced in front of a mirror in your bedroom at home, then getting her blinding drunk to the point where she can barely walk (or consent to anything: yes, this is rape in many countries; Zuckerberg has a whole section on this, arguably the most disturbing stuff in a disturbing book). It is a fake version of the man (who will pretend to be anything in order to get in the girl's pants) sleeping with a girl that has been so toyed with and manipulated and inebriated that she can hardly be claimed to be herself anymore. The ultimate stranger-sex. Fun. Read this if you want to be aware of the new anti-feminist current that is (somehow, bafflingly) gaining momentum across the Western world (and beyond?). It will depress you, but, as Zuckerberg argues, it helps to know what you are dealing with sometimes.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    I've been meaning to read this book for a while., which is written by the editor of one of my favourite online Classics journal, Eidolon (Classics without fragility- I love that slogan). Zuckerberg presents an interesting hybrid of a book- both commentary on Graeco-Roman literature and on contemporary culture. It is a book which is looking at the reception of the Graeco-Roman world and literature. In this case, she is looking at the reception of the Graeco-Roman world in a corner of the internet I've been meaning to read this book for a while., which is written by the editor of one of my favourite online Classics journal, Eidolon (Classics without fragility- I love that slogan). Zuckerberg presents an interesting hybrid of a book- both commentary on Graeco-Roman literature and on contemporary culture. It is a book which is looking at the reception of the Graeco-Roman world and literature. In this case, she is looking at the reception of the Graeco-Roman world in a corner of the internet, frequently called the manosphere. For those of you who haven't become acquainted with this particular sub-zone of the internet, these are sites or bulletin boards or blogs which focus on a joint indignation on what these authors see as the sidelining or worse of men in today's world. They argue that the West has become gynocentric and has begun not only to disadvantage men, but even to discriminate true masculine activity. It is an expression of conservative ethics which sees itself and good Western values under threat from the influences of the left, feminism and such. Zuckerberg analyses the several strands of this movement and, especially, how they use Graeco-Roman texts to buttress their positions. Both the contemporary analysis and the Classical scholarship of this book is impressive. And the melding of the two is insightful and a good demonstration of how to do reception studies. It is also a pretty political piece, which I don't have a problem with, given the profoundly political stance of the "Red Pill' conservatives feature in the contemporary discussion. Zuckerberg doesn't necessarily write this book to condemn these authors. She reads them carefully and, while she states her opinions, she gives the benefit of taking them seriously. Ultimately, she disagrees and isn't shy about saying so, but she doesn't carelessly dismiss them. This is well worth reading, both as contemporary commentary, but also as a good example of what an analysis of reception looks like.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Read this on a whim, thought it might be interesting given my onetime study of Latin and my current hatred of internet misogyny. It's a bit dry and academic at times, but it goes by pretty quick and there are interesting lessons to be learned. At its core, this is an analysis of how the creeps of the "manosphere" use the Classics to give their misogyny a veneer of historical legitimacy. By citing Greek & Roman literature and philosophy, they indicate that they are the heirs of that legacy and pro Read this on a whim, thought it might be interesting given my onetime study of Latin and my current hatred of internet misogyny. It's a bit dry and academic at times, but it goes by pretty quick and there are interesting lessons to be learned. At its core, this is an analysis of how the creeps of the "manosphere" use the Classics to give their misogyny a veneer of historical legitimacy. By citing Greek & Roman literature and philosophy, they indicate that they are the heirs of that legacy and promote the idea that the social (especially gender) norms of 2000+ years ago are natural/immutable and should be restored. Zuckerberg doesn't shy away from recognizing that there's a "there" there – Classical texts were written in an oppressively patriarchal society and reflect that in some heinous ways. It takes subtlety to appreciate the good in these texts without condoning the bad. Her conclusion is that "nuanced, feminist interpretation of the Classics can counteract Red Pill distortions". While there's hope in that, it also seems like a long shot in a world that's not particularly interested in nuance at the moment. And that's especially true if the left concedes the ground entirely: "The men of the Red Pill believe that the Classics are only (or at least especially) meaningful to reactionary white men, and those with progressive politics who seek to upend or replace the Western canon tacitly cede this point." It's an interesting tension, the need for greater representation in the canon versus the need to articulate (in wider society rather than solely in academia) a progressive interpretation of the Classics. No easy answers here, but it's something to chew on.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leah Dooley

    As a self-defined feminist who loves Latin and Shakespeare, this book felt like it was written for me. Zuckerberg does an excellent job explaining not only dangerous online Red Pill communities but also the logic behind their philosophies and behaviors. What I really appreciated is how she goes beyond just correcting their usages of classics. At a certain point, trying to correct their grammar is unhelpful, so instead Zuckerburg dissects how and why the alt-right (and many others) weaponize the As a self-defined feminist who loves Latin and Shakespeare, this book felt like it was written for me. Zuckerberg does an excellent job explaining not only dangerous online Red Pill communities but also the logic behind their philosophies and behaviors. What I really appreciated is how she goes beyond just correcting their usages of classics. At a certain point, trying to correct their grammar is unhelpful, so instead Zuckerburg dissects how and why the alt-right (and many others) weaponize the classics. The quotations and excerpts pulled from these online communities are legitimately frightening. I would highly recommend this book. Some parts may seem shallow for a person familiar with classic philosophy and literature or someone who is Extremely Online but the issue of anti-woman and anti-feminist groups online will only get more serious with time if we continue to ignore these disaffected men. A great read for anyone (like me) who loves old things but wants to live in a just, more humane world. It is pretty weird that her brother is Mark Zuckerberg though. What are their Thanksgiving dinners like?!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Moira Downey

    I truly have no clue why I keep subjecting myself to this kind of reading. While I have no background in Classics and am therefore a poor judge of much of her scholarly analysis, and Zuckerberg's (yes, that Zuckerberg family; boy, there's a lot going on with this book) dispassionate dismantling of the men she adopts as an object of study is an intellectual exercise in shooting misogynist fish in a barrel (the sheer number of [sic]s in this book alone!)[1], I'm definitively pleased to see this par I truly have no clue why I keep subjecting myself to this kind of reading. While I have no background in Classics and am therefore a poor judge of much of her scholarly analysis, and Zuckerberg's (yes, that Zuckerberg family; boy, there's a lot going on with this book) dispassionate dismantling of the men she adopts as an object of study is an intellectual exercise in shooting misogynist fish in a barrel (the sheer number of [sic]s in this book alone!)[1], I'm definitively pleased to see this particularly virulent corner of the internet come under some formal academic scrutiny. [1] Sample, hilarious, footnote: "52. Forney (2013) claims that 'if girls are like gold coins, sending them to college is like dunking them in nitric acid.' Since he uses this metaphor in the context of a section with the subheading 'Going to College Makes Girls Less Attractive,' it seems that he believes that nitric acid dissolves gold. In reality, nitric acid has no effect on pure gold and is sometimes used as a jewelry cleaner."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anne Holst-Dyrnes

    I have to admit, I struggled with getting through this book at times. The topics that Zuckerberg has chosen to focus on in this book are actually quite interesting, but the way the book is written made it a difficult read. The book is quite short, around 200 pages, and Zuckerberg has jammed quite a lot of information into those pages. There are so many terms and definitions to keep track of, that don’t actually end up being used to further the arguments or «story». In addition to this, stuff lik I have to admit, I struggled with getting through this book at times. The topics that Zuckerberg has chosen to focus on in this book are actually quite interesting, but the way the book is written made it a difficult read. The book is quite short, around 200 pages, and Zuckerberg has jammed quite a lot of information into those pages. There are so many terms and definitions to keep track of, that don’t actually end up being used to further the arguments or «story». In addition to this, stuff like extremely long sentences that include (to me) unexpected detours, makes me lose track of where the book is going. «What did I just read?» - me, about fifty times reading this book. Basically, it reads like a master’s thesis that secretly wants to be pop litterature, but doesn’t know how. For such a short book, it is also quite repetetive at times. I suspect one would get just as much out of this book by reading a summary of it. That would be an interesting summary for sure, because the topics are quite interesting, but this book might not be the best way to consume these topics.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael Lever

    This is very good. In content and construction. But it is not at all what I had expected - a critique of misogyny in the academic classic world. Rather it is an unpleasantly informative journey through the muck-heaps of Red Pill and Pick-up-artist thinking, demonstrating their appropriation and implementation of concepts, particularly Stoicism, in their war against feminism. In fact against anything that isn't them. That the classics can be so used is hardly surprising - they are broad enough th This is very good. In content and construction. But it is not at all what I had expected - a critique of misogyny in the academic classic world. Rather it is an unpleasantly informative journey through the muck-heaps of Red Pill and Pick-up-artist thinking, demonstrating their appropriation and implementation of concepts, particularly Stoicism, in their war against feminism. In fact against anything that isn't them. That the classics can be so used is hardly surprising - they are broad enough that like Marx or the Bible one can find a quote to support just about anything. And even though there is a particularly pernicious tradition of appropriating classic for elitist purposes ( think Nazi aesthetics), the same nasty traditions can also be identified for Marx and the Bible. Happily I'm neither a classicist, Marxist or Bible basher. Which means that I should anticipate soon being informed what my heinous unrecognised biases are.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liz Sautter

    I'd recommend this book to anyone who's very interested in the philosophy and psychology of the Alt-Right. Using the shallow interest of these men in the Greco-Roman Classics, Donna Zuckerberg is able to dig into the underlying beliefs, fears, and angers of men who have taken the Red Pill. It's a truly fascinating, albeit sometimes horrifying, read that not only illuminates the thinking behind some of the Alt-Right's most extreme ideals (e.g. a woman's life should controlled by a male guardian, I'd recommend this book to anyone who's very interested in the philosophy and psychology of the Alt-Right. Using the shallow interest of these men in the Greco-Roman Classics, Donna Zuckerberg is able to dig into the underlying beliefs, fears, and angers of men who have taken the Red Pill. It's a truly fascinating, albeit sometimes horrifying, read that not only illuminates the thinking behind some of the Alt-Right's most extreme ideals (e.g. a woman's life should controlled by a male guardian, either her father or her husband), but also educates the reader on the cited Classics and the context in which they were written. Sometimes the writing was a little dry, so I'd really only recommend this book to someone totally interested in the subject matter. It reads very much like an academic paper, which might make getting through it a slog for someone just generally interested in nonfiction.

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