Cover image for Hope in the dark : untold histories, wild possibilities
Hope in the dark : untold histories, wild possibilities
Solnit, Rebecca.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Nation Books : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2004]

Physical Description:
150 pages ; 20 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HN18 .S653 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Throwing out the crippling assumptions with which many activists proceed, award-winning author Solnit proposes a new vision of how change happens.

Author Notes

Rebecca Solnit writes extensively on photography and landscape. She is a contributing editor to Art Issues and Creative Camera and is the author of three books. She has contributed essays to several museum catalogues including Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach and the Whitney Museum's Beat Culture and the New America. She was a 1993 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

An inspired observer and passionate historian, Solnit, whose River of Shadows (2003) won a National Book Critics Circle Award, is one of the most creative, penetrating, and eloquent cultural critics writing today. In her most personal critique to date, she reflects on the crucial, often underrated accomplishments of grassroots activists. Solnit contemplates such well-studied revolutions as the American civil rights movement and the fall of the Berlin Wall, but more significantly she reflects on such recent events as successful protests against nuclear testing in Nevada, the Zapatista uprising, the anti-corporate globalization movement, the unprecedented global wave of protest against the war in Iraq, and such hopeful ecological successes as the return of wolves to Yellowstone and the restoration of the Los Angeles River. Solnit's rousing celebration of people who work tirelessly behind the scenes and courageously on the streets for justice and environmental health harmonizes beautifully with Studs Terkel's Hope Dies Last BKL S 1 03, and helps readers understand more clearly where we stand as individuals, as Americans, and as citizens of the world. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This slim volume, to quote the author's own reflections on the quincentennial of Columbus's discovery of America, is "a zigzag trail of encounters, reactions, and realizations." Solnit, recent winner of an NBCC award for criticism for River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, rambles from place to place and topic to topic in a discursive examination of the current state of leftist protest and activism. Unwilling to accept the bleak, almost apocalyptic worldview of many of her progressive counterparts, Solnit celebrates the hope and optimism that recent episodes reveal. She points to the resurrection of indigenous causes represented by Zapatismo, the WTO protests in Seattle and Cancun and the worldwide protests against the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and other smaller, more marginal protests. Solnit argues persuasively that engaged, thoughtful dissent is far healthier today than many believe. Activists, who operate by nature on the fringes of hierarchies of economy and power, often fail to recognize the power of activity that seems inconsequential. Her goal, in essence, is "to throw out the crippling assumptions with which many activists proceed." While Solnit's goal is admirable and her prose graceful, this book suffers from the same confusion and disorganization she recognizes as necessarily inherent to activism itself. Her examples are diverse yet disjointed; she is overly reliant on the words of others; and she often wanders into spiritual mumbo-jumbo and platitudes. While these tendencies hamper the clarity of her argument, fans of Solnit and progressives may find much to admire here. Agent, Bonnie Nadell. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

1 Looking into Darknessp. 1
2 Other Ways of Tellingp. 7
3 Despair and Discontent, or the Wall and the Doorp. 13
4 What We Wonp. 21
5 The Millennium Arrives: November 9, 1989p. 27
6 The Millennium Arrives: January 1, 1994p. 33
7 The Millennium Arrives: November 30, 1999p. 41
8 The Millennium Arrives: September 11, 2001p. 49
9 The Millennium Arrives: February 15, 2003p. 53
10 Changing the Imagination of Changep. 57
11 On the Indirectness of Direct Actionp. 63
12 The Angel of Alternate Historyp. 73
13 Viagra for Cariboup. 77
14 Getting the Hell Out of Paradisep. 81
15 Across the Great Dividep. 91
16 After Ideologyp. 103
17 The Global Localp. 109
18 Interruption: The World Catches Firep. 117
19 A Dream Three Times the Size of Texasp. 125
20 Doubtp. 133
21 Journey to the Center of the Worldp. 139
Acknowledgmentsp. 144
Notesp. 145