Hope in the Dark

Hope in the Dark

Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Paperback - 2016
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"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

"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'sMen Explain Things to Me, herHope in the Darkwas 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 activistRebecca 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
Characteristics: xxvi, 152 pages ; 19 cm


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Jun 15, 2020

Offering examples of movements that have succeeded despite overwhelming odds, Solnit drives home the point of her book: It's darkest just before dawn.

May 28, 2017

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."

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.

Sep 07, 2014

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


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Jun 15, 2020

In HOPE IN THE DARK: UNTOLD HISTORIES, WILD POSSIBILITIES (Nation Books, $12.95), Rebecca Solnit shares stories of movements that have risen to success in their darkest hour. Success, she reminds us, is sweet, but never so sweet than success against overwhelming odds.


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Jun 15, 2020

It's darkest just before dawn.


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