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The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Perseverance and Hope in Troubled Times
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The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Perseverance and Hope in Troubled Times

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  532 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
What keeps us going when times get tough? How do we keep on working for a more humane world, no matter how hard it sometimes seems? In a time when our involvement has never been needed more, this anthology of political hope will help readers with the essential work of healing our communities, our nation, our planet—despite all odds.

Paperback, 496 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Basic Books (first published August 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,405)
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Apr 21, 2009 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This was one of my textbooks in college that not only stretched my mind, but gave me something enjoyable to read over and over again for years to come. It's a collection of works by so many of the people who have inspired me with their words, actions, and thoughts. Anywhere that you can find Maya Angelou, Howard Zinn, Alice Walker, Desmond Tutu, Tony Kushner, Pablo Neruda, Nelson Mandela, and Jonathan Kozol among others all hanging out in a around 400 pages is a place I want to be. Hope you all ...more
Aug 21, 2013 KC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took a lot of time to finish this, so that I could have time to digest the essays before starting another. Powerful essays with life and world changing potential, truly prophetic.
Ethan Casey
Aug 26, 2014 Ethan Casey rated it it was amazing
I spent this summer building a patio, something I had never done before. I had to imagine it, then haul out a lot of dirt, then build a retaining wall and haul in crushed rock and sand. I couldn't have done it without my friend Pete, who has experience and tools that I lack. The surface is 2,000 reclaimed bricks: assorted antique pieces of Seattle history (some from the original harbor steps dating to the 1880s).

I could get run over by a bus tomorrow, or an earthquake like the one that just hit
Paul Strohm
Nov 15, 2014 Paul Strohm rated it really liked it
While the sky may indeed seem to be falling, the subtitle of this book of essays is "A citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear," which it is.

The editor, Paul Rogat Loeb, author of "Soul of a Citizen," has assembled a collection of 44 essays from the likes of Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Cornel West, Jim Wallace and Desmond Tutu... that provide more than a glimmer of hope that we can, in fact, turn the world around, right the wrongs, and create a global community where we'd be proud to live.

Feb 18, 2013 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book! It will hold a prominent place on my shelf, so I will remember to pull it down and read a chapter or two for inspiration whenever I need it.

The book is a collection of 49 essays and poems, curated by Loeb into 9 subthemes. The pervading message (as you might guess from the subtext of the title) is the continued relevance of, and necessity for, hope. Sounds cheesy, no? Like a bunch of mush?

What makes it not so is that each of the contributing writers are people who have every re
Victoria Gaile
I picked this up not long after it first came out in 20o4; I understand there was a revised edition published in 2014.

For me, this was a good coffeetable book, though not in the traditional sense. I left it out on my coffeetable, and when the news was getting me down, I'd pick it up, leaf through it, and read part or all of a chapter that appealed to me.

It's a book for when you wonder why, let alone how, to keep working for change in the world, because nothing you do seems to be making any diff
Ariel Lynn
Mar 05, 2015 Ariel Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book, with multiple points of view from famous & not-so-famous authors alike, dealing with the many issues & thoughts that come with social activism. It encourages hope, discusses how to avoid despair &/ burning out, & shares the words & worlds of some of the most dedicated activists of our time.

It is a must read, even if you're not personally involved with any sort of activism (yet!). The essays are neatly divided into similar sections, with a succinct in
Ðøminick Richård
Nov 02, 2014 Ðøminick Richård rated it it was amazing
I do not need to find reasons to hope, believe in a better future or simply help others as it is already a part of me. However, this book has greatly captured not only my attention but my heart. It is a reminder of where we should stand and most importantly, what we should not fear. To be united we first need to have individuality and that starts by having firm beliefs and values. This book will charm you into recognizing that burning fire that lies within your soul and make you want to stand up ...more
Jun 25, 2015 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I spent a great deal of time pouring over this collection of stories and essays and found myself attached to and comforted by this book as if it were a dear, wise friend.

I marked up the pages. I noted powerful sections. I found myself constantly wanting to share and discuss this book. I bought two copies to give to friends. Then I bought three more to give as a thank you to keynote speakers at a workshop I had organized.

The intention of this book is the encouragement of social change locally, na
Oct 27, 2007 Malbadeen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of lovely people like Jonathan Kozol, Desmund Tutu, Wendell Barry, Pablo Neradu, etc, etc, etc,
The problem is that it was presented to me in a class full of people that said things like,
"for me grace is the slow small strokes a swan takes to cross the pond"
"grace is the movements of a young couples dance of love"
no kidding that's for real! Those are actual quotes from classmates and if invoking that kind of drivel isn't reason enough to turn one off this book forever, t
Oct 21, 2007 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was in Australia a few years back. I had no money, no ticket home, no work permit and no hopes for under the table work. Needless to say I was feeling a little down. I opened up the paper one day enjoying my weekly treat of a 30cent ice cream cone from McDonalds and saw a cartoon strip. An ant was walking in the first panel minding his own business, in the second panel a large "PLOP" the third was a big pile of crap where the ant was walking, and in the fourth and final panel a thought bubble ...more
Fran Darling
Feb 25, 2015 Fran Darling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pleasure
I am still reading at this time, but recommended it to our ed program head of our city library and then loaned it to my sister.

Recommended by daughter, Jill, who is using this in her Creative Writing class at U of M Dearborn this fall. So glad to hear of it, I bought my own copy. The selections are above the norm for thoughtful, accessible well-written pieces. The selections also give insight and encouragement to paths of hope and progressive choices.

Contact Paul Rogat Loeb - for speaking at le
Meaghan Casey
Aug 08, 2015 Meaghan Casey rated it liked it
this was a textbook for one of my writing classes and it contains many many stories about perseverance and hope and I really have to say I enjoyed it. there were a lot of stories that really made me feel good. But some stories I got bored with so I can't say I loved all of it.
Jan 23, 2016 LJ rated it it was amazing
This is a motivating book to stay on the track for what I am trying to do in my business. The stories sometimes challenge my beliefs and make me think. I enjoy the short story format so I can just read in chunks.
Dec 03, 2009 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lsu-book-club
A study in hope and the power of perseverance. The selections were sometimes too short, although in a few cases, the shortness of the essays made them more palatable and easier to get through. A few articles seemed to be composed entirely of quotes from other inspirational authors, making me wonder why those works being quoted weren't included instead. My favorite essay was an examination of what exactly Christ meant by "turning the other cheek," "going the extra mile," and giving both the cloak ...more
May 19, 2010 Corey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, like most anthologies, is hit and miss. Maybe one out of every five of these pieces is something worth your time, but each of the ones that are definitely make up for it.

My favorite essays/poems:

- Jesus and Alinsky by Walter Wink
- Do Not Go Gentle by Sherman Alexie
- Imagine the Angels of Bread by Martin Espada
- Come September by Arundhati Roy
- Letter from Birmingham Jail by MLK
- From Hope to Hopelessness by Margaret Wheatley
- Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

"Hope is definitely not the
Oct 07, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
I would have loved this book, but it was actually less hopeful than I normally feel. I was surprised that there was so much focus on bleakness and depression, especially at the beginning.
Beverly Atkinson
Aug 05, 2012 Beverly Atkinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Parker Palmer referenced this book in his most recent work, "Healing the Heart of Democracy," and I am very glad I read it. Paul Rogat Loeb, editor, selected carefully from the very best authors engaged in the political process, and weaves a rich and vibrant tapestry that illuminates hope, optimism and dignity in times of uncertainty, paralysis, despair, and darkness. What most resonates with me are the stories that show that small acts performed by many individuals in community over time can ac ...more
May 18, 2008 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: need-to-finish
I really love to read anthologies...I think it's because I like variety. This is a very inspiring collection of essays - including Desmond Tutu, Pablo Neruda, Wendell Berry, Maya Angelou - that focus on the eternal hope we have as people to make our lives, our world a better place. The essay I'm reading right now is "The Optimism of Uncertainty" by Howard Zinn in which he writes, "Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession ...more
Dec 03, 2014 Claire rated it really liked it
Short essays that inspire action and hope
Jan 22, 2016 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ron Christiansen
Dec 16, 2014 Ron Christiansen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf
Even for a cynic like me I appreciate the complex view of despair and hope. It's so for the original critiques of society, which grow from a desire to want change, into crippling disdain and defeatism.
Jul 20, 2016 Tara is currently reading it
So far, I'm disappointed in all of the Christian mumbo jumbo. I expected this book to be nonsecular.
Aspen Junge
I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. I started out loving it; but got distracted by vacation and TV and knitting, and when I went back it didn't grab me as it had before. But very worthwhile. Positive social and political change takes time, sometimes generations, and these are essays by activists who know that the causes they have been devoting so much of their lives to may never come to fruition in their lifetimes, but because the cause is worthwhile they find a way to keep wo ...more
Shanda Stefanson
This book is amazing. It found me at a time in my life when despair was quickly overpowering hope and I felt at a loss as to what to do about the many problems I see in the world. Reading this book gave me tools to find hope again and inspired me to take action rather than just lament things I have no control over. I recommend this to anyone who has ever wanted to change the world but has had moments of doubt and despair.
Feb 04, 2009 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A collection of lukewarm essay's by some leftist luminaries. This is the sort of feel good stuff which increasingly has no positive effect on current forms of liberal thought. Supernova's that will destroy the earth and waving a Dildo as a sort of social catharsis/spiritual healing? It just all feels so contrived at times. If its feel good you want, eat lots of chocolate and listen to Vetiver's Things of the Past.
May 14, 2011 Mel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of essays written on various topics related to social justice, activism and a little bit of philosophical motivation behind that. I did not read the whole thing in its entirety, but really enjoyed the selection of essays I did read. I think it does succeed in responding to feelings of apathy people might have about aspiring to change the world for the better, when it seems like such an uphill battle.
Andy Cyca
Apr 20, 2015 Andy Cyca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspiraciones
It took me a long time to read this book, not because it's difficult to read, but because I had to stop and reflect for a bit after every single chapter. There is so much wisdom in this book, I have to take it by the spoonful. Hopefully, wiser and smarter readers than me will digest it faster, but I urge you to write a small note to yourself after every chapter. It's well worth your extra time
May 03, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If ever I need courage and strength for the struggle for justice and peace, I know I can rely on this book. These true stories of peacemakers are inspirational, not only because of their content, but because many of them are from "ordinary" citizens. We can draw our strength directly from the communities in which we live and the acts of intentional kindness all around.
Jul 31, 2014 Chris added it
Excellent writing, including from Paul Rogat Loeb, the curator of the collection. (Full disclosure: Paul and his wife Rebecca are my friends.) Loeb’s passion about this subject is brilliant, although he does go on, never using one example when ten will do. The essays often had a solemnity that depressed me a tiny bit, but they were, indeed, inspiring.
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Paul Rogat Loeb is an American social and political activist, who has strongly fought for issues including social justice, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and civic involvement in American democracy. Loeb is a frequent public speaker and has written five books and numerous newspaper editorials.
More about Paul Rogat Loeb...

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“Those who make us believe that anything’s possible and fire our imagination over the long haul, are often the ones who have survived the bleakest of circumstances. The men and women who have every reason to despair, but don’t, may have the most to teach us, not only about how to hold true to our beliefs, but about how such a life can bring about seemingly impossible social change. ” 137 likes
“Hope isn't an abstract theory about where human aspirations end and the impossible begins; it's a never-ending experiment, continually expanding the boundaries of the possible.” 5 likes
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