Butts: A Backstory


Product Details

$28.99  $26.96
Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.5 X 1.2 inches | 0.97 pounds

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About the Author

Heather Radke is an essayist, journalist, and contributing editor and reporter at Radiolab, the Peabody Award­-winning program from WNYC. She has written for publications including The Believer, Longreads, and The Paris Review, and she teaches at Columbia University's creative writing MFA Program. Before becoming a writer, Heather worked as a curator at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago.


"Butts: A Backstory traces a complicated fascination from Empire-era spectacle to MTV. . . A contoured yet amply scaled study."-- "Vanity Fair"
"An ambitious mash-up of pop culture, science, and history, this breakout debut from Radiolab reporter Radke tracks the evolution of attitudes toward women's butts from the "Hottentot Venus" to Miley Cyrus. Along the way, Radke delves into eugenics, hip-hop aesthetics, the physiology of posteriors, and more. It adds up to one of the year's most ingenious and eye-opening cultural studies."-- "Publishers Weekly, Best Books of 2022"
"It is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. I could go on and on and on about it. . . . It's astounding to me, the stuff that I learned."-- "All the Books Podcast, BookRiot"
"Fascinating and frank... [with] top- notch reportage, assured and respectful voice and invitation to butt-centric contemplation... [Radke] guides readers on an impressively well-researched tour of butts throughout history, beginning with a functional analysis (hominids and horses take center stage) and ultimately alighting in the present (twerking, social media and celebrity butts)."-- "BookPage (starred review)"
"Radke thoughtfully, and without judgment, addresses the complexities and contradictions that this body part evokes and delves into some surprising topics that may spark further curiosity in readers. Her captivating writing and witty approach to a taboo topic will appeal to a variety of nonfiction readers, particularly those interested in cultural history and gender studies. . . A fun, fascinating, and surprisingly empowering exploration of the history and cultural significance of the butt."-- "Library Journal (starred review)"
"Heather Radke's social history of female butts promises to be a deeply researched and thoroughly fascinating look (ogle?) at a body part that has long captured the cultural imagination. Radke talks to evolutionary biologists, models, and fitness gurus, and dives into the history of the racist objectification of women like Sarah Baartmann and Josephine Baker in an effort to understand our complex relationship with the butt."-- "LitHub, Most Anticipated Books of 2022"
"Engaging, personal. . . . don't be fooled by the cheeky peach emoji." -- "The New York Times Book Review"
"This crackling cultural history melds scholarship and pop culture to arrive at a comprehensive taxonomy of the female bottom. ... Radke leaves no stone unturned... Lively and thorough, Butts is the best kind of nonfiction--the kind that forces you to see something ordinary through completely new eyes."-- "Esquire, Best Books of 2022"
"Deeply reported and wildly entertaining... Radke takes readers through an absorbing cultural history that asks how this human body part came to be on the receiving end of so much attention."-- "TIME, 100 Must-Read Books of 2022"