Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

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Haymarket Books, May 14, 2016 - Political Science - 188 pages
“[A] landmark book . . . Solnit illustrates how the uprisings that begin on the streets can upend the status quo and topple authoritarian regimes” (Vice).
 
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 activists 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 argues 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 our times in an unforgettable new edition of this classic book.
 
“One of the best books of the 21st century.” —The Guardian
 
“No writer has better understood the mix of fear and possibility, peril and exuberance that’s marked this new millennium.” —Bill McKibben, New York Times–bestselling author of Falter
 
“An elegant reminder that activist victories are easily forgotten, and that they often come in extremely unexpected, roundabout ways.” —The New Yorker
 

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User Review  - rynk - LibraryThing

Meditations are out of fashion as a literary category. When services were in another language, churchgoers needed something prayerful to keep them in the pews. They could tease out meanings from ... Read full review

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User Review  - the.ken.petersen - LibraryThing

The trouble with avant guarde politics is that it is always grumpy. This is not right, that is wrong - and, of course, politics should never sit on its laurels and become self congratulatory. The ... Read full review

Contents

1 Looking Into Darkness
1
2 When We Lost
6
3 What We Won
14
4 False Hope and Easy Despair
19
5 A History of Shadows
25
November 9 1989
35
January 1 1994
40
November 30 1999
46
15 Getting the Hell out of Paradise
77
16 Across the Great Divide
83
17 After Ideology or Alterations in Time
91
18 The Global Local or Alterations in Place
96
19 A Dream Three Times the Size of Texas
101
20 Doubt
107
21 Journey to the Center of the World
111
The Extraordinary Achievements of Ordinary People 2009
115

September 11 2001
54
February 15 2003
57
11 Changing the Imagination of Change
60
12 On the Indirectness of Direct Action
64
13 The Angel of Alternate History
70
14 Viagra for Caribou
73
Everythings Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart 2014
126
An Afterword
137
Acknowledgments
143
Notes
145
About the Author
155
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

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 DisasterA Field Guide to Getting LostWanderlust: 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.

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