Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Originally published in 2004, with a new foreword and afterword, Solnit’s influential book shines a light into the darkness of our time. Bill McKibben says: “Literary and progressive America is in a Solnit moment.”

Using historical examples for perspective, Solnit weaves a sometimes metaphorical tale which reinforces the reader’s commitment to bring about change.

Here are a few choice quotations:

“It’s always too soon to go home.  And it’s always too soon to calculate effect.”

“Cause-and-effect assumes history marches forward, but history is not an army.  It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension.”

In the chapter, “A History of Shadows,” Solnit asks us to “imagine the world as a theater.  The acts of the powerful and the official occupy center stage,” but in the dark spaces outside the limelight, “ordinary people have the power to change the world. You can see the baffled, upset faces of the actors on stage when the streets become a stage or the unofficial appear among them to disrupt the planned program.”

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