Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear” as Want to Read:
The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  487 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In a difficult time, our most eloquent writers offer words of inspiration and hope
ebook, 432 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published August 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Impossible Will Take a Little While, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Impossible Will Take a Little While

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,245)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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.

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
Ariel Lynn
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Short essays that inspire action and hope
Ron Christiansen
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
I finally got around to reading a book they gave us in school.
This is a little weird to read since the book focuses mainly on advocates and my job is to work with individual people.
They were all well-written, but Sherman Alexie's piece about his son and the therapist working with the town near Chernobyl imprinted themselves on my brain.
This collection includes writings by Jonathan Kozol, Nelson Mandela, Marion Wright Edelman, Alice Walker, and many more. The theme is "hope" and while some of the details in the stories are heavy, it's definitely inspiring. Especially if you are bent toward public service or social justice, that sort of thing.
Anne-Marie P
Incredibly moving tales about a variety of people and the impact what they do, has on their community, their fellow citizens, and the world. The author reminds us that, even if what you do doesn't result in a large crowd or a sweeping policy change for instance, it makes a huge difference.
Becca Stroebel
Aug 07, 2007 Becca Stroebel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone in need of a little inspiration.
Shelves: non-fiction
One of my all-time favorites. This book contains an impressive array of essays dealing with hope by authors such as Marian Wright Edelman, Parker Palmer, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Vaclav Havel, and Diane Ackerman. This book has influenced my reading and my thinking over the last year.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 41 42 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Food Fight : The Citizen's Guide to a Food and Farm Bill
  • The Better World Handbook: Small Changes That Make a Big Difference
  • Better Together: Restoring the American Community
  • Hope Beneath Our Feet: Restoring Our Place in the Natural World
  • A Simpler Way
  • Writing to Change the World
  • A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflict
  • In the Presence of Fear
  • We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change
  • Small Acts of Resistance: How Courage, Tenacity, and Ingenuity Can Change the World
  • Community: The Structure of Belonging
  • Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings
  • Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power
  • Education for Critical Consciousness (Impacts)
  • Stuff
  • Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy
  • Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back
  • The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia
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...

Share This Book

“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. ” 136 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
More quotes…