Everybody: Book summary and reviews of Everybody by Olivia Laing

Everybody

A Book about Freedom

by Olivia Laing

Everybody by Olivia Laing X
Everybody by Olivia Laing
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

"Astute and consistently surprising critic" (NPR) Olivia Laing investigates the body and its discontents through the great freedom movements of the twentieth century.

The body is a source of pleasure and of pain, at once hopelessly vulnerable and radiant with power. In her ambitious, brilliant sixth book, Olivia Laing charts an electrifying course through the long struggle for bodily freedom, using the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to explore gay rights and sexual liberation, feminism, and the civil rights movement.

Drawing on her own experiences in protest and alternative medicine, and traveling 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, Christopher Isherwood, Andrea Dworkin, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag, and Malcolm X.

Despite its many burdens, the body remains a source of power, even in an era as technologized and automated as our own. Arriving at a moment in which basic bodily rights are once again imperiled, Everybody is an investigation into the forces arranged against freedom and a celebration of how ordinary human bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world.


About the Author
Olivia Laing is the author of three acclaimed works of nonfiction, To the River (2011), The Trip to Echo Spring (2013), and The Lonely City (2016), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and has been translated into seventeen languages. Her first novel, Crudo, was a New York Times Notable Book and won the 2019 James Tait Black Prize. She writes for the Guardian, New York Times, and frieze, among many other publications. Her collected writing on art, Funny Weather, was published in 2020. The recipient of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize in nonfiction, Laing lives in Suffolk, UK.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"This is an astonishing project, written with equal parts stirring passion and capable intellect. Laing puts into words experiences I had never before seen in print, and the world is better for it. I love this book." - Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias

"Everybody is a riveting and fascinating innovative historiography of twentieth century Euro-American radical thought…Brainy, open-hearted, and bold." - Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict Is Not Abuse and Let the Record Show

"A freewheeling and joyful exploration of the works and lives of a range of artists and thinkers who brought libidinal and creative energy together with spectacular results. Laing's particular gift lies in her unique ability to line up unlikely juxtapositions―of artists, ideas, and works―and then draw clear and illuminating insights from such constellations. What her earlier work did for loneliness, this book does for liberation." - Jack Halberstam, author of Gaga Feminism

"Reading Everybody felt like hanging out with my absolute smartest friend having, somehow, the precise conversation I need to have in this historical moment. Olivia Laing's mind is a thrill to watch, and the connections she draws between the body, sex, art, and freedom made the world around me buzz with new depth and possibility, connections revealed and illuminated. Rare is the book that makes you feel more alive just in reading it, but Everybody does just that." - Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body

"A provocative inquiry into the body's power and vulnerability, Everybody combines deep research, historical gossip, unsung queer lives, and deliciously readable prose. Laing reckons with her own gender and embodiment alongside major and minor theorists, artists, and activists, casting fresh light on the unending struggles for freedom and autonomy." - Jenn Shapland, author of National Book Award finalist My Autobiography of Carson McCullers

"Laing's Everybody animates flesh with the incandescent force of histories both individual and collective. Through her incisive lens, the body―that knot of mind, matter, culture, and society that we dwell inescapably within―becomes almost impossibly fascinating." - Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

This information about Everybody shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

More Information

"Everybody is a riveting and fascinating innovative historiography of twentieth century Euro-American radical thought…Brainy, open-hearted, and bold." - Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict Is Not Abuse and Let the Record Show

Those assigned this book will receive a print copy by mail.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more history, science & current affairs...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Yolk
    Yolk
    by Mary Choi
    Mary H.K. Choi's young adult offering Yolk deftly maintains several plotlines running through the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Blizzard Party
    The Blizzard Party
    by Jack Livings
    It is 1978 and the place is New York City. A massive bacchanalian party is taking place at an Upper ...
  • Book Jacket: The Light of Days
    The Light of Days
    by Judy Batalion
    Renia, Sarah, Zivia, Frumka, Hantze, Tosia, Vladka, Chajka, Gusta, Hela, Bela, Lonka, Tema, Chasia, ...
  • Book Jacket: Hummingbird Salamander
    Hummingbird Salamander
    by Jeff VanderMeer
    In Hummingbird Salamander, Jeff VanderMeer weaves cybersecurity, bioterrorism, wildlife trafficking ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Widow Queen
    by Elzbieta Cherezinska

    The epic story of an 11th century Polish queen whose life and name were all but forgotten until now.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    by Julietta Henderson

    A charming, uplifting debut about a mother and her 12-year-old son, an aspiring comedian.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Miss Austen
by Gill Hornby
A witty, poignant novel about Cassandra Austen and her famous sister, Jane.
Win This Book!
Win The Beauty of Your Face

A New York Times Notable Book of 2020

"Stunning.… A timely family saga with faith and forgiveness at its core."
Marie Claire

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

It's N S O M N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.