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"No writer has better understood the mix of fear and possibility, peril and exuberance that's marked this new millennium." —Bill McKibben 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 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 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 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.
A passionate, thought provoking exploration of walking as a political and cultural activity, from the author of Men Explain Things to Me Drawing together many histories--of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores--Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking. Arguing that the history of walking includes walking for pleasure as well as for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit focuses on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from philosophers to poets to mountaineers. She profiles some of the most significant walkers in history and fiction--from Wordsworth to Gary Snyder, from Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet to Andre Breton's Nadja--finding a profound relationship between walking and thinking and walking and culture. Solnit argues for the necessity of preserving the time and space in which to walk in our ever more car-dependent and accelerated world.
America’s most inspirational voices, in their own words: “If you’re looking for a reason to act and dream again, you’ll find it in the pages of this book” (Chicago Tribune). Published when Studs Terkel was ninety-one years old, this astonishing oral history tackles one of the famed journalist’s most elusive subjects: Hope. Where does it come from? What are its essential qualities? How do we sustain it in the darkest of times? An alternative, more personal chronicle of the “American century,” Hope Dies Last is a testament to the indefatigable spirit that Studs has always embodied, and an inheritance for those who, by taking a stand, are making concrete the dreams of today. A former death row inmate who served nearly twenty years for a crime he did not commit discusses his never-ending fight for justice. Tom Hayden, author of The Port Huron Statement, contemplates the legacy of 1960s student activism. Liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith reflects on the enduring problem of corporate malfeasance. From a doctor who teaches his young students compassion to the retired brigadier general who flew the Enola Gay over Hiroshima, these interviews tell us much about the power of the American dream and the force of individuals who advocate for a better world. With grace and warmth, Terkel’s subjects express their secret hopes and dreams. Taken together, this collection of interviews tells an inspiring story of optimism and persistence, told in voices that resonate with the eloquence of conviction. “The value of Hope Dies Last lies not in what it teaches readers about its narrow subject, but in the fascinating stories it reveals, and the insight it allows into the vast range of human experience.” —The A.V. Club “Very Terkelesque—by now the man requires an adjective of his own.” —Margaret Atwood, The New York Times Review of Books “An American treasure.” —Cornel West
A startling investigation of what people do in disasters and why it matters 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.
The world as we know it today began in California in the late 1800s, and Eadweard Muybridge had a lot to do with it. This striking assertion is at the heart of Rebecca Solnit’s new book, which weaves together biography, history, and fascinating insights into art and technology to create a boldly original portrait of America on the threshold of modernity. The story of Muybridge—who in 1872 succeeded in capturing high-speed motion photographically—becomes a lens for a larger story about the acceleration and industrialization of everyday life. Solnit shows how the peculiar freedoms and opportunities of post–Civil War California led directly to the two industries—Hollywood and Silicon Valley—that have most powerfully defined contemporary society.
Throwing out the crippling assumptions with which many activists proceed, award-winning author Solnit proposes a new vision of how change happens.
“Rebecca Solnit is essential feminist reading.” —The New Republic “Solnit’s exquisite essays move between the political and the personal, the intellectual and the earthy.” —Elle Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books including the international bestseller Men Explain Things to Me. Called “the voice of the resistance” by the New York Times, she has emerged as an essential guide to our times, through incisive commentary on feminism, violence, ecology, hope, and everything in between. In this powerful and wide-ranging collection of essays, Solnit turns her attention to the war at home. This is a war, she says, “with so many casualties that we should call it by its true name, this war with so many dead by police, by violent ex-husbands and partners and lovers, by people pursuing power and profit at the point of a gun or just shooting first and figuring out who they hit later.” To get to the root of these American crises, she contends that “to acknowledge this state of war is to admit the need for peace,” countering the despair of our age with a dose of solidarity, creativity, and hope.

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