The editor-in-chief of the prize-winning online Classics magazine Eidolon explores—and seeks to debunk—the way Alt-Right men's groups have deployed superficial readings of ancient texts to justify a misogynist and white supremacist worldview.
Zuckerberg's book is a clear and convincing deep-dive into the message boards, online forums, self-published books, and blogs where the alt-right congregates. It's also a powerful defense of the humanities ... Zuckerberg is an expert at reading the contradictory worldbuilding Red Pill [online Alt-Right] 'thinkers' engage in when they rally, for example, the writing of a Stoic philosopher like Marcus Aurelius...to perform their supposed superior rationality and emotionlessness (compared to emotional, less-rational women), and advocate white supremacy ... Zuckerberg politicizes the Classics, puts them center stage in the ongoing cultural battle for justice and equality. As a work of scholarship, albeit written in intelligible prose for a broad audience (sometimes bordering on college-freshman-essay simple), Not All Dead White Men is also a call to action for Classicists to take an ethical stand in their research and pedagogy ... Zuckerberg teaches us a great deal about white supremacy ... It reminds us that Not All Dead White Men should not be the last book of its kind; if it is, we have already lost the war against what Zuckerberg exposes to be the alt-right's quite cavernous and extraordinarily virulent ignorance.
... in shedding light on how the Internet’s 'manosphere' abused ancient texts, her book might expand how scholars of the classics study contemporary uses of the ancient world in lesser-known realms ... The result is a clear explanation of the machinations of the red pill community ... The shortcomings of social media, how forums have allowed hate groups to flourish online, isn’t the focus of Not All Dead White Men, but there are moments when Zuckerberg explicitly, if tactfully, critiques the tech companies who also make their home in Silicon Valley ... While the book doesn’t offer structural solutions to the problems of tech, Not All Dead White Men offers some sense of how individuals with an interest in progressive politics might respond to not only the abuse of ancient works, but also to the works themselves. In dissecting the far right’s misuse of these texts, Zuckerberg opens the door to a reconsideration of what is and isn’t the 'foundation of Western Civilization.'
Ultimately, though Zuckerberg’s profile of the red pill community is uncomplimentary and potentially alarmist, her detailed analysis and reasoned tone inadvertently give some credence to the red pillers’ textual analyses, being thoughtful and balanced (including in an admission that 'Misogyny appears early in Greek literature') where her opponents are facile and extreme. This work may be of more interest to those concerned about the manosphere than those seeking feminist readings of classical texts.