- “Smith’s ingenious, omnivorous readings find evidence of what she terms ‘compromise aesthetics’ throughout the culture—from Barack Obama to autofiction.”—The New Yorker
Smith’s arguments are complex and yet have a simplicity to them, as she writes in a concise, cogent style that is eminently readable. By weaving examples drawn from literature, music, and other art forms with political theory and first-person anecdotes, she shows the problems of compromise in action. And even as Smith demonstrates the many ways that late capitalism demands individual compromise, she also holds out hope for the possibility of lasting change through collective action. Closing with a piercing discussion of the uncompromising nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and how global protests against racism and police brutality after the murder of George Floyd point to a new future, On Compromise is a necessary and vital book for our time.
- “Ranging widely in art, literature, popular culture, philosophy, and politics, Smith mounts an impassioned critique of compromising. . . . A thoughtful, defiant polemic that should provoke heated discussions.”—Kirkus Reviews
- “Greenwald Smith takes a commendably expansive view of the idea and practice of compromise, creating a nuanced look at a thorny subject. The result is a work of criticism as thoughtful as it is relevant.”—Publishers Weekly
- “Intoxicating. . . . On Compromise reminds us that illiberalism is not inherently restrictive; liberalism provides cover for much degradation and injustice. . . . Forget compromise: with this book, Smith has crafted a win-win proposition.”—Australian Book Review
“Rachel Greenwald Smith is the cool, funny, intellectual older sister you never had. . . . This is a nuanced and thought-provoking book for our times.”—Chloe Caldwell, author of I'll Tell You in Person and Women