SUBJECT: Antidotes to despair: The Impossible Will Take a Little While and Soul of a Citizen
“Might possibly be the most important collection of stories and essays you will ever read." —American Book Association & History Channel
"A much needed salvo against despair." —Psychology Today
"Hopeful, inspiring and motivating...May well be required reading for us all." —Sierra Club Magazine
"The most powerful book in my 45-year career teaching about social change"—Dan Garvey, president emeritus, Prescott College
How do we break through America’s pervasive political cynicism and keep going despite all the setbacks? How have the leaders and unsung heroes of world-changing movements persevered in the face of doubt, fear, and seemingly overwhelming odds? In The Impossible Will Take a Little While, they tell us in their own words, in an updated edition with 110,000 copies in print. This classic collection of voices, edited by Soul of a Citizen author Paul Loeb, they explore what it’s like to go up against Goliath and keep on in the face of everything that tempts us to stop. These stories don't sugarcoat the obstacles. But they inspire hope by showing what keeps us keeping on.
The Impossible creates a conversation among some of the most visionary and eloquent voices of our times--or any time: Contributors include Maya Angelou, Diane Ackerman, Marian Wright Edelman, Wael Ghonim, Václav Havel, Paul Hawken, Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Kozol, Tony Kushner, Audre Lorde, Nelson Mandela, Bill McKibben, Bill Moyers, Pablo Neruda, Mary Pipher, Arundhati Roy, Dan Savage, Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Cornel West, Terry Tempest Williams, and Howard Zinn. See www.theimpossible.org or buy the book here.
The Impossible brings together the voices of these eloquent writers and activists to talk about how we replenish the wells of commitment, exploring what keeps us going as we work for a more humane world. Loeb explores the historical, political, ecological, and spiritual frameworks that help us to persist—with concrete examples of how people have faced despair and overcome it. Some address our current political time, from memoirs of the Arab Spring to dispatches from the frontlines of the battle to stop global warming. Others examine how people persisted in past struggles that could easily have been deemed unwinnable: what it was like to confront South African apartheid, Eastern European dictatorships, Mississippi’s entrenched segregation, the bigotry that kept gays silent and closeted, or the economic greed that America’s populists and progressives challenged a hundred years ago and showed us how to challenge today.
Buy the book as a gift of hope for yourself or for friends (19.99 paperback) in bulk for reading groups and organizations (both The Impossible and Soul of a Citizen are great for motivating staff and volunteers to keep on with their critical work), and forward this email wherever possible. Visit Paul’s website to find excerpts, reviews, reading group questions, information on classroom use, and multiple ways to pass the word. Susan Sontag called Loeb “A national treasure.” And Kurt Vonnegut wrote “A lot of smart people who have some influence on the course of history will read and admire you—and learn from you.”
You might also find Paul Loeb’s Soul of a Citizen very helpful. It’s his classic handbook for budding activists, veteran organizers, and anyone who wants to make their voices heard and actions count. Also recently updated with 170,000 copies in print, Soul explores how ordinary citizens can act and keep on acting even when we wonder whether our actions really matter. It explores what it means to leave a life of commitment: how we can get involved and get others involved in critical causes; how to get past the obstacles and help others overcome them; what we can learn from citizen movements of the past; and how to maintain our engagement for the long haul and avoid burning out in exhaustion or frustration. It’s inspired thousands of citizens as a guide to involvement and an antidote to powerlessness and despair.
“When my daughter asked from college how to be an effective grassroots citizen, I gave her Paul's books.”—Josette Sheeran, former Executive Director, United Nations World Food Program
"The voices Loeb finds demonstrate that courage can be another name for love."—Alice Walker
“Should be mandatory reading for anyone over the age of 12—especially every woman or man who has traded ‘I give a damn’ for ‘I give up.’”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A passionate but reasoned call for Americans to become involved in issues that matter.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Soul is an essential book for anyone who wants to work for change. It will inspire people new to activism, and deals with cynicism and burnout in a good way for movement veterans. Altogether, a wonderful job, rich with specific experience.”—Howard Zinn
"An anthology of some of the most powerful voices of our time."—Boston Globe, on The Impossible
“Paul Loeb brings hope for a better world in a time when we so urgently need it.”—Millard Fuller, founder, Habitat for Humanity
Buy Paul’s books here. To sign up for Paul’s email list or Facebook page click here.
Please pass this flier to friends, colleagues, and anyone whose spirits could use renewal.