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December 17, 2007

Tomdispatch: Rebecca Solnit on Hopeful Books


The Secret Library of Hope
12 Books to Stiffen Your Resolve

By Rebecca Solnit

Hope is an orientation, a way of scanning the wall for cracks -- or building ladders -- rather than staring at its obdurate expanse. It's a worldview, but one informed by experience and the knowledge that people have power; that the power people possess matters; that change has been made by populist movements and dedicated individuals in the past; and that it will be again.

Dissent in this country has become largely a culture of diagnosis rather than prescription, of describing what is wrong with them, rather than what is possible for us. But even in English, a robust minority tradition can be found. There are a handful of books that I think of as "the secret library of hope." None of them deny the awful things going on, but they approach them as if the future is still open to intervention rather than an inevitability. In describing how the world actually gets changed, they give us the tools to change it again.

Here, then, are some of the regulars in my secret political library of hope, along with some new candidates:

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at December 17, 2007 05:59 PM

good news often comes in the form of a way to manage bad news

Posted by: hapa at December 17, 2007 09:10 PM

YOU see what an ignorant wretch I am. YOU have a library and ALL I have is word---IMPEACH--- and a phonenumber---1-202-225-0100

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 17, 2007 09:48 PM

If you're lazy like me, here are the recommendations without the Amazon kickback. The Schell book is absolutely fantastic.

Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People;
Aung San Suu Kyi, The Voice of Hope;
Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves;
Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations;
Richard Walker, The Country in the City: The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area;
Alan Weisman, The World Without Us
William Morris, News from Nowhere;
News from Nowhere Collective, We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism;
Marina Sitrin, Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina;
Subcommandante Insurgente Marcos, The Speed of Dreams: Selected Writings 2001-2007;
Peter Linebaugh, The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All;
Jonathan Isham and Sissel Waage, editors (introduction Bill McKibben), Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement.

Posted by: abp at December 18, 2007 07:01 PM