'Butts: A Backstory' by Heather Radke '19 Available for Preorder
Rebecca Pinwei Tseng
May 24, 2022
Avid Reader Press will be publishing Butts: A Backstory by Alumna Heather Radke '19 on November 22, 2022. The book is now available for pre-order.
Butts: A Backstory explores the scientific and vivid cultural history of the female butt. Radke blends reportage of topics ranging from the performance halls of 19th-century Londo to the aerobics studios of the 1980s to the music video set of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" with her own personal narratives. "Butts is an entertaining, illuminating, and thoughtful examination of why certain silhouettes come in and out of fashion—and how larger ideas about race, control, liberation, and power affect our most private feelings about ourselves and others," the publisher stated.
Author and Professor Leslie Jamison writes, “Butts: A Backstory is rigorous, generous, and utterly compelling…With humor, intelligence, outrage, and compassion, Radke excavates the social and historical forces that haunt our most ordinary moments."
Author Lulu Miller also praised the book: “Juicy and scholarly, Butts is a heck of a ride… From the discovery of the first hominid butt, to the creation of the frightening statues Norm and Norma, to the gruesome tale behind the bustle, these gripping stories work together to elucidate the crushing web of cultural, commercial, and pseudoscientific forces shaping our very private senses of discomfort, envy, and belonging. But Radke doesn’t stop at the dreary power of hegemony. Her book is teeming with rebels—drag queens and fat activists and twerkers—who flip supremacy the bird and offer another path through…Come for the cheekiness, stay for the awe.”
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. Before becoming a writer, Heather worked as a curator at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago.