Everybody - A Book About Freedom
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RELEASE DATE - 26 MAY 2022
'Intensely moving, vital and artful' - Guardian
'A free-wheeling and joyful exploration' - Jack Kalberstam
'A dizzying ride . . . both timely and beguiling' Sunday Times
At a moment in which basic rights are once again in danger, Olivia Laing conducts an ambitious investigation into the body and its discontents, using the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to chart a daring course through the long struggle for bodily freedom, from gay rights and sexual liberation to feminism and the civil rights movement.
Drawing on her own experiences in protest and travelling from Weimar Berlin to the prisons of McCarthy-era America, Laing grapples with some of the most significant and complicated figures of the past century, among them Nina Simone, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag and Malcolm X. Everybody is a crucial examination of the forces arranged against freedom and a celebration of how ordinary human bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world.
Longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize
"[Everybody] brims with empathy . . . Laing has written a piercing book. That she has no final answer to the problem of freedom does not detract from her achievement. Indeed, she encourages us all to ask new questions to discover how it feels, and what it means, to be free ― queries that are as vital as they are resistant to any single answer"
Aziz Huq ― Washington Post
"Andrea Dworkin, Sontag, Malcolm X, Freud – they speak to us and come alive again, but we aren’t asked to decide if they are good or bad; we can listen to their thoughts and ideas. It’s a revelation in an age when we seem endlessly to judge and condemn our artists and thinkers"
Chantal Joffe ― Guardian
"Bristles with energy and understanding as it charts the body’s pleasures and pains, its fragilities, and endurance in the long 20th century . . . This really is a book for everybody"
Lisa Appignanesi, author of Mad, Bad and Sad