A paradise built in hell : the extraordinary communities that arise in disasters / Rebecca Solnit.

Solnit, Rebecca [Browse]
New York, N.Y. : Viking, 2009.
x, 353 p. ; 24 cm.


Summary note
"What most people believe and what actually happens in the aftermath of a disaster are two different things. The movies, the media, and the authorities have too often insisted that we are a chaotic, selfish species and ought to fear each other. Yet in the wake of almost every major disaster a wave of altruistic and brave improvisation saves lives, forms communities, and shapes many survivors' experiences." "The most startling thing about disasters, according to award-winning author Rebecca Solnit in her new book, A Paradise Built in Hell, 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. These spontaneous acts, emotions, and communities suggest that many of the utopian ideals of the past century are not only possible, but latent in everyday life. A disaster can be a moment when the forces that keep these ideals from flowering, those desires from being realized, fall away. Solnit's book points to a new vision of what society could become - one that is less authoritarian and fearful, more collaborative and local." "A Paradise Built in Hell travels through five major North American disasters, from the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco and the 1917 explosion that tore up Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, New York's 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and reveals little-known but well-documented patterns of institutional failure, destructive beliefs, and extraordinary human achievement. In passing, the book also visits the London Blitz, Argentina's 2001 economic upheaval, Nicaragua's politically profound 1971 earthquake, other forms of social disruption - from carnivals to revolutions - and Hollywood's comically problematic take on disaster and heroism."--BOOK JACKET.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references (p. [321]-345) and index.
  • 9780670021079 :
  • 0670021075
  • 9780143118077
  • 0143118072
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