And Other Essays

As featured by The Daily Show, NPR, PBS, CBC, Time, VIBE, Entertainment Weekly, Well-Read Black Girl, and Chris Hayes, “incisive, witty, and provocative essays” (Publishers Weekly) by one of the “most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism of our time” (Rebecca Traister), now in paperback

Thick is sure to become a classic.” —The New York Times Book Review

Named a top book of 2019 by TIME, New York Times Book Review, New York Public Library, Chicago Tribune, and more
Finalist, National Book Award
Winner of the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize

In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work. Thick “transforms narrative moments into analyses of whiteness, black misogyny, and status-signaling as means of survival for black women” (Los Angeles Review of Books) with “writing that is as deft as it is amusing” (Darnell L. Moore).

This “transgressive, provocative, and brilliant” (Roxane Gay) collection cements McMillan Cottom’s position as a public thinker capable of shedding new light on what the “personal essay” can do. She turns her chosen form into a showcase for her critical dexterity, investigating everything from Saturday Night Live, LinkedIn, and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality, and Trump rallies.

Collected in an indispensable volume that speaks to the everywoman and the erudite alike, these unforgettable essays never fail to be “painfully honest and gloriously affirming” and hold “a mirror to your soul and to that of America” (Dorothy Roberts).


“These essays show us the potency of actually existing black feminist analysis and expose the deep structures of racism and inequality that shape most black women’s lives. With biting humor and razor-sharp political clarity, Thick is a crucial contribution to contemporary black thought.”
—Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
“Black women are uniquely attuned to the hydra that bell hooks names the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Publics should trust black women. Thick proves why readers should trust Tressie McMillan Cottom’s black-people-loving writing that is as deft as it is amusing. Her words are a sword. She comes out swinging her blade at the hydra’s head with unmatched courage.”
—Darnell L. Moore, author of No Ashes in the Fire
“Rich with layers of meaning . . . blaaaaaack and southern and country and wise [and] pulsates with wit, self-awareness, and unabashed expertise. For Professional Smart People with sense, her writing is #goals.”
—Soraya McDonald, culture critic at The Undefeated
Thick magically combines personal narrative, humor, candor and research to create the perfect storm of essays.”
Thick is gorgeous, incisive, and hard. Tressie McMillan Cottom is among America’s most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism of our time and she is at her very best here. These essays enlighten and complicate and push conversations further. They are blisteringly smart and beautifully written. They are also, simply, a pleasure to read.”
—Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad and All the Single Ladies
“Reading Thick is like holding a mirror to your soul and to that of America. [S]earingly intimate and astute . . . at once painfully honest and gloriously affirming.”
—Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body
Thick is aptly named, for McMillan Cottom is no intellectual lightweight—she walks heavy, bringing together her singular sociological insights with compelling and relatable storytelling.”
—Brittney Cooper, author of Eloquent Rage

News and Reviews

Literary Hub

Chosen by Lit Hub as one of the 78 Best Book Covers of 2019

New York Public Library

Selected as one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2019


Selected as one of NPR's Best Books of 2019

The New York Times

A New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2019 selection


Books by Tressie McMillan Cottom

Lower Ed
The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy

Tressie McMillan Cottom

Goodreads Reviews