cover image Republic of Outsiders: The Power of 
Amateurs, Dreamers, and Rebels

Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers, and Rebels

Alissa Quart. New Press (Perseus, dist.), $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59558-875-3

Veteran journalist Quart (Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child) focuses on individuals who “have created unusual, idiosyncratic identities” to tackle underrepresented issues and accomplish diverse goals. A perceptive, analytical reporter, Quart profiles a wide range of subjects: transgender activists, who “refuse the neat boxes of gender identity”; the “neurodiverse,” who try to redefine how people think about autism and normality in general; independent filmmakers and musicians, who eliminate middlemen by making and distributing their work themselves; animal-rights futurists who are attempting to create a “meat” product from animal cells in a process that harms no animals; “mad priders” and “Icarists,” who emphasize community and peer service over clinical treatment of the mentally ill; and a former Wall Street trader who is trying to create nonpredatory financial networks for the needy. Quart’s profiles are thoroughly researched and admirably evenhanded. She investigates the vast range of subcultures linked and enabled by the Web, showing that the line between insiders and outsiders is rather fluid when we live in a “clever capitalist society that shapes our attempts to resist.” Railing against modern institutions, from too-big-to-fail banks to the superficial, profit-driven entertainment industry, she effectively examines how outsider thinking can supplement, and in some cases supplant, mainstream methods. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency. (Aug.)