Hope in the Dark

Hope in the Dark

Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Book - 2016
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"No writer has better understood the mix of fear and possibility, peril and exuberance that's marked this new millennium."
--Bill McKibben

"An elegant reminder that activist victories are easily forgotten, and that they often come in extremely unexpected, roundabout ways."
-- The New Yorker

A book as powerful and influential as Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me , her Hope in the Dark was written to counter the despair of radicals at a moment when they were focused on their losses and had turned their back to the victories behind them--and the unimaginable changes soon to come. In it, she makes a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable. Drawing on her decades of activism and a wide reading of environmental, cultural, and political history, Solnit argued that radicals have a long, neglected history of transformative victories, that the positive consequences of our acts are not always immediately seen, directly knowable, or even measurable, and that pessimism and despair rest on an unwarranted confidence about what is going to happen next. Now, with a moving new introduction explaining how the book came about and a new afterword that helps teach us how to hope and act in our unnerving world, she brings a new illumination to the darkness of 2016 in an unforgettable new edition of this classic book.

Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of eighteen or so books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including the books Men Explain Things to Me and Hope in the Dark , both also with Haymarket; a trilogy of atlases of American cities; The Faraway Nearby ; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster ; A Field Guide to Getting Lost ; Wanderlust: A History of Walking ; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at Harper's and a regular contributor to the Guardian.

Publisher: Chicago, Illinois : Haymarket Books, 2016.
Edition: Third edition, with a new foreword and afterword.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781608465767
1608465764
Branch Call Number: 303.4 SOLNIT
Characteristics: xxvi, 152 pages ; 19 cm

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LPL_ShirleyB Aug 10, 2017

Solnit provides powerful reassurance to have faith in the impact of social and environmental activism—to accept that benefits are not usually obvious or immediate.

Wonderfully uplifting yet clear-eyed and down-to-earth book for people who need a little inspiration to keep going in the face of what often seems to be insurmountable odds. My favorite quote from the intro: "It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It’s also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings."

s
stepha89
Mar 25, 2017

Using historical examples, Solnit asserts that not being where they want to be yet isn't a reason for activists to give up on their movements; instead, they should be heartened by the smaller victories along the way. At times the book felt almost like she was trying to promote progressive activism, but her overall argument was effective.

LPL_DirectorBrad Mar 10, 2017

I am Rebecca Solnit's newest fanboy. Her dissection of the either/or, black/white, this/that mentality that plagues so many of us so much of the time begs that it be read--often and repeatedly like a great hymnal. Solnit helps me keep hope in my heart as we face an uncertain future. She reminds us that we become our best selves when crises or adversity challenge us, and that we must not lose hope and retreat from seemingly unwinnable battles. She helps remind me of what my wife always says, just do the next right thing. Required reading!

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mclarjh
Sep 07, 2014

This is more self promotional advertising material for 'progressive' activism than it is clear headed analysis.

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