“A landmark book that gives impassioned challenge to the social meaning of disasters” (The New York Times Book Review) from the author of Orwell’s Roses
“Solnit argues that disasters are opportunities as well as oppressions, each one a summons to rediscover the powerful engagement and joy of genuine altruism, civic life, grassroots community, and meaningful work.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Chosen as a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New Yorker, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune
The most startling thing about disasters, according to award-winning author Rebecca Solnit, is not merely that so many people rise to the occasion, but that they do so with joy. That joy reveals an ordinarily unmet yearning for community, purposefulness, and meaningful work that disaster often provides. A Paradise Built in Hell is an investigation of the moments of altruism, resourcefulness, and generosity that arise amid disaster’s grief and disruption and considers their implications for everyday life. It points to a new vision of what society could become-one that is less authoritarian and fearful, more collaborative and local.