November 12, 2009

A Paradise Built in Hell

The mental images that most people conjure and what actually happens after a disaster are often two very different things. Solnit writes that after nearly every disaster, people show themselves to be brave, altruistic, compassionate, and creative. Lives are saved, communities are created, and the experiences of the survivors, both those who help and those who are helped, are changed in the process. What Solnit emphasizes is that many of those who rise to the support of others during and after disasters do so willingly, enthusiastically, and happily. These spontaneous acts of kindness suggest that many of the utopian ideas of the past are not only still possible, but alive and well in our own societies. This book suggests ways that disasters can be used to harness these good forces in our society and shows us her vision of how our society can become less punitive and authoritarian and more collaborative and focused on local communities.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster
Rebecca Solnit
HV 553 .S59 2009