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Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Written by Rebecca Solnit

Narrated by Tanya Eby


Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Written by Rebecca Solnit

Narrated by Tanya Eby

ratings:
4/5 (26 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 17, 2017
ISBN:
9781541470545
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

With Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit 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.

Originally published in 2004, now with a new foreword and afterword, Solnit's influential book shines a light into the darkness of our time in an unforgettable new edition.
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 17, 2017
ISBN:
9781541470545
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit is the author of fifteen books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. They include the critically acclaimed memoir The Faraway Nearby; Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster; Storming the Gates of Paradise; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art; and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, for which she received a Guggenheim fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award. Solnit has worked with climate change, Native American land rights, antinuclear, human rights, and antiwar issues as an activist and journalist. She is a contributing editor to Harper’s and a frequent contributor to the political site Tomdispatch.com and has made her living as an independent writer since 1988.

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Reviews

What people think about Hope in the Dark

4.2
26 ratings / 9 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Another short book of essays centering on the theme of being hopeful, not because victory is guaranteed but because the future is dark and thus much is possible.
  • (5/5)
    This was a lovely and wonderful and needed book. A meditation on hope -- why it's important, how to nurture it, and what it has accomplished. A large portion of this book is dedicated to victories of the past progressive movements -- as reminders that we can create change, even when victories aren't always complete, perfect, or permanent. Even when they sometimes don't feel like victories at all.

    My favorite bit: "We inhabit, in ordinary daylight, a future that was unimaginably dark a few decades ago, when people found the end of the world easier to envision than the impending changes in everyday roles, thoughts, practices that not even the wildest science fiction anticipated. Perhaps we should not have adjusted to it so easily. It would be better if we were astonished every day."

    This quote sums up so much about both my frustrations with and my love of science fiction. It's perfect.
  • (5/5)
    The book focused on hope in the face of many wrongs as a necessary ingredient to propel social activism. That being the case, it pointed out the many successful changes brought about and noted that there are no final victories since perfection is not possible. The success of activism is, in part, in the effort.
  • (5/5)
    This is an incredible little book, about the stories we tell ourselves about change, and a guide for changing the stories we tell ourselves. I got this from Haymarket Books in the days after the 2016 election, when they were giving it away for free, and I'm convinced now that that was the best thing anyone could have done. I'm susceptible to pessimistic politics myself, but Solnit doesn't shame you for that tendency, only admits that it's easy and offers another way forward.
  • (4/5)
    Very enlightening and inspiring for such a short book. I like how it talked about activism as a process with no true victory or defeat. However, I felt that, for my job, this was also a downside of the book. Sometimes there are deadlines that require a more pragmatic activism approach. For example, if there's an election coming up, you can't be content just to educate everyone about the issues and say you won because you changed a few peoples' minds. You need to identify whose minds can be changed or who are undecided because they aren't informed about the issue and do heavy persuasion on them. Then, when you "win," you can take as much time as you need to educate opponents. (Yes, I do political work, so I find this relevant.)Mandatory hippie joke: The publishers should run a promotion: free Birkenstocks with purchase.
  • (3/5)
    I listened to this as an audiobook and for some reason was unable to fully concentrate. At times I felt the book was too much fixed on the Bush asdministration politics, but at times it really showed how history sometimes just keeps on repeating itself. Mostly US oriented and talks about hope and activism but now looking backwards with the knowledge of the current situation just makes this book seem somewhat naive. There is no hope.
  • (4/5)
    Despairing about the world? Read this! Change does happen. We need to look at the changes that have happened and remember that things we might take for granted now had to change once. We need to celebrate the good things, and recognise that even though they're not perfect, they are good and we can celebrate them. We also need to get involved with climate activism
  • (3/5)
    For centuries people have revolted over the control that the state or other powerful individuals have tried to exert over the people. People can only be told what to do so much. I Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit concentrates on the past five decades of activism against the state about all manner of issues. Sonit acknowledges the huge political thinkers who have shaped some of the politics that happen today.

    It is an interesting polemic against the vested interests and the present economic system and is written with a clarity that I have come to expect from Solnit. It is a bit dated now, but sadly almost all of the salient points that Solnit makes are still valid. The message though is still clear; never, never give up hope. The smallest actions being carried out by you can be multiplied up into the tens of hundreds of people doing the same thing does have an effect. The rise of website and action groups like 38 Degrees and Avaaz are the testimony to this; exerting pressure on corporations and governments does get through, it is an irritant that they ignore at their peril. I particularly liked the way that think global, act local, can be turned on its head; by thinking local acting global is the replication of the same protest all around our planet. I would love to see a re-write of this to know exactly what she thinks about Trump, can't imagine it will be complimentary…
  • (3/5)
    Meh.

    Actually that's not quite fair. I wish I'd read this when it first came out, because it would have saved me several years in getting a sense of what the nebulous-sounding global social justice movements that spawned things like the Seattle WTO protests were about. But reading it in 2018 I found myself too often reacting with either "how did you not see that [e.g.] Chavez was a problem?", or "yes, that's nice in itself, but we're so manifestly losing this battle". There are some useful rays of light in it, and Solnit's a great writer, but on balance I think this book left me feeling more hopeless and depressed.