As Solnit points out: “Who did Greta Thunberg describe as a key influence on her actions? Rosa Parks”. Back to the opening question, then: “Whose story is this?” Thunberg’s? Parks’s? Ford’s? All of them, in a sense – which equally means none of them. The spirit of Solnit’s book lies in sharing, in slinking away from the centre to take your place among the many. Meaning that perhaps the best answer is always: “someone else’s”.
Solnit speaks such considered, quotable sense, it is tempting to see her as an early victor in our ugly culture wars, here producing a first draft of a new sort of history. I am not so sure; the fate of the intersectional movements that Solnit represents and celebrates still depends on the outcome of any number of battles currently being fought around climate, democracy, race and gender. But, at the very least, Solnit’s work alerts us to the all-important task of recording and elucidating the challenges of our age, so that today’s campaigners may not be interred by their most vengeful enemies, and their wisdom, wit and courage lost to future generations.