Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Monday, January 23, 2017


Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities
Rebecca Solnit, 2004, 2015

Premise: A case for hope despite adversity, describing several progressive movements of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

I thought at times while reading it that this was an odd book to read now, even though it was lauded and spread around in the immediate wake of the 2016 election. Somewhat ironically and somewhat logically, I found the chapters about principles and ideas more solid than the chapters which detailed the events that ostensibly supported those principles.

Although additional material was added in 2014 and 2015, the book was originally written during the second Bush administration and is often focused on news that was current at that time. I am either not fully familiar with or not fully convinced by the results of some of the movements and protests that she cites as evidence. This means that her argument -- said movements created more change than is immediately apparent -- doesn't fully land for me.

I don't actually think she's wrong -- I do think that we fail to see the subtle progress and pressure that leads up to victories, I'm just not sold on all her choices for supporting evidence. I might be if I had more background or did more research on some of them, and I do completely understand how it would land for others.

I did really like a lot of the writing, particularly about avoiding a kind of navel-gazing despair that many liberals are prone to. Some of her proposals have satisfying poetry and grace -- combine determination with joy, seek a mindset where you can celebrate and fight at the same time.

3 Stars - A Good Book with Some Awesome Passages

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