A Paradise Built in Hell
The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in DisastersBook - 2009
Why is it that in the aftermath of a disaster? whether manmade or natural?people suddenly become altruistic, resourceful, and brave? What makes the newfound communities and purpose many find in the ruins and crises after disaster so joyous? And what does this joy reveal about ordinarily unmet social desires and possibilities?
In A Paradise Built in Hell , award-winning author Rebecca Solnit explores these phenomena, looking at major calamities from the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco through the 1917 explosion that tore up Halifax, Nova Scotia, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. She examines how disaster throws people into a temporary utopia of changed states of mind and social possibilities, as well as looking at the cost of the widespread myths and rarer real cases of social deterioration during crisis. This is a timely and important book from an acclaimed author whose work consistently locates unseen patterns and meanings in broad cultural histories.
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Rebecca Solnit is enjoying a bit of a renaissance with her latest collection of essays: Men Explain Things to Me. The title essay explores how Solnit and women in general tend to assume that men are more knowledgeable on a subject than they are, even when the woman is the expert. This essay gave rise to the term "mansplaining," which basically means a man expounding on a topic on which he thi… (more)