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Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times
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Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,084 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Radical Hope is a collection of letters—to ancestors, to children five generations from now, to strangers in grocery lines, to any and all who feel weary and discouraged--written by award-winning novelists, poets, political thinkers, and activists. Provocative and inspiring, Radical Hope offers readers a kaleidoscopic view of the love and courage needed to navigate this ti ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Vintage
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  1,084 ratings  ·  206 reviews

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Diane S ☔
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like many, author Carolina de Robertis was overcome with fear, a new President had been elected. Worried about the civil rights of many, people of color, different sexual orientation , different religions, she put in a call for action. She reached out to fellow writers, asking for love letters, letters written for what she believes will be a turbulent time. Some of our most well known authors and some I wasn't familiar with did what they do best, put pen to paper. Most of these letters are simpl ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is amazing. I learned a lot. And many of the letters pointed me in the direction of other books, both by the letter-writers, and people they quoted. I HIGHLY recommend this!!
Mrs. Europaea
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you read only one book this year please, please make it Radical Hope by Carolina De Robertis. Radical Hope is composed of individual letters written in a variety of tones: tender, analytical, impassioned, hopeful, deeply personal, and much more. The collection of these love letters are written by various writers discussing their personal reactions in the days and weeks proceeding the November 8th, 2016 election. The letters are addressed to historical figures like Harriett Tubman, to sons and ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was attracted to Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times because of the outstanding contributors, including Junot Díaz, Lisa See, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Jane Smiley, and Celeste Ng. A firm believer that writers are the key to maintaining society's highest aspirations, I hoped to find inspiration and affirmation in these pages.

The letters are written to leaders of the past, to real and and to imagined future children, to strangers and to the known. Each contributor speaks of t
Jenny (Reading Envy)
These letters are written in the months directly after Trump's election. Some are to historical figures, some are to future beings (grandchildren who are babies, etc.) They help each writer specify their beliefs in the context of the person they are addressing.

Something about the letter format with this directive, however, comes across to me as overly didactic. I may just be weary of protests while the political climate grows increasingly harmful. I also doubt anyone outside of the radical left
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Im only about halfway done, and I REALLY wish I could appreciate this but its just so repetitive....

maybe something will wow me and I'll change my mind when I'm done. Maybe I'm just in a horrible mood. I know I should be more interested in politics but honestly I am so bored right now.
Hannah (jellicoereads)
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I’m not American, but I did follow the electoral goings-on with a mixture of horror and dismay. And dramatic political upheavals are not limited to the US of A – a brief glance at the news will reveal that bigotry and corruption have gotten a stranglehold in countries across the globe.

So when I saw this book up for request on Edelweiss, I didn’t hesitate to click. I think we’re all in need of some mental encouragement, some restorative for the soul in these rather trying times. (I’m not one to b
To be quite honest, when I read the introduction and understood the seed for this book - That fateful election day in November 2016 when everyone sane lamented the brief death of sanity and reason in this world - I judged it a bit. Yes, we live in trying times, but it surely is not apocalyptic. It is very entertaining, in fact, and very sad, to see some basic rights being questioned, but it is not the end of the world.
Then I asked myself if I was being honest really. No, I was not. How could I
Kristen Lemaster
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
Forever keeping this in my office. A book full of love, hope, and a call to action - read this if you need a reminder that people can still fight to be good and true. (junot diaz and celeste ng's letters are perfect, as usual) ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found it be to incredibly repetitive. We get it, Trump isn’t the president you wanted and SOMEHOW it’s white peoples fault? Just a no.
This is a collection of letters/essays all written within the first few months of the election of 2016. Some essays I might give three or 3.5 stars and some I would give 4.5 or 5 stars. Averaging that out, the book gets 4 stars from me. I think this collection would be best appreciated a little at a time. Like any good anthology of short stories or essays, you can't absorb everything at once. Ideas and thoughts, opinions and perspectives all blend together if you read everything too closely toge ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Touching, informative, radical: this collection of essays is to be read over and over again! Some of the best writers of our time have poured out their hearts, in many ways, to advance thought and action about the status of the USA following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president. Letters to historical figures, letters to future generations, letters to the reader--all intended to bring a new perspective on where we are as Americans in a time of unrest, uncertainty, and downright fear ...more
Shirleen R
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
full review - to come

I'd recommend. I foresee myself reading Radical Hope when I'm depressed about our current political climate in the U.S.. Favorite contributions: Mona Eltahawy, Karen Joy Fowler, Francisco Goldman, Kate Schatz. Aya De Leon, Jeff Chang,
Question for anyone who read this book: Thoughts about the unifying device - each writer addresses their letter to their children? 95% of the writers wrote to actual children. Cristina Garcia' wrote to a child she imagined 7 generations from n
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truly thankful for the amazing compilation of letters from progressive authors of our time. Definitely timely and perfect for giving us a much-needed dose of hope. My favorites include: "America" by Parnaz Foroutan, "Human Rights is the Handhold, Pass it On" by Mkhja Kahf, "A Time to Demand the Impossible" by Viet Thanh Nguyen, "The Fear and The Resistance" by Jedf Chang, Claire Messud’s letter to her daughter, “The Most Important Act of Resistance” by Meredith Russo, and Celeste Ng’s “Stay Open ...more
Mugren Ohaly
Aug 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
How dare you compare this trash to the work of Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Baldwin?!

I was expecting the letters to cover a variety of dangerous times, rather than just 'Oh, no! Trump is now president'.

This is basically a book full of letters from 30 writers who have lived with blinders on in a world supposedly full of rainbows and fairies. Trump being elected president shouldn't be such a surprise for so many people, and the world can't get better if people don't wake up and realize that!

The only
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Short stories from various authors, primarily centering around issues of immigration and intersectionality post-election. I liked it more than a 3, I think I'm just a little jaded re-hashing all the post-election feelings. Would have been much more useful 7 months ago! ...more
Ceillie Simkiss
You want this anthology.
Read the full review here!
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This collection of letters written in the months immediately following the 2016 election is structured into 3 sections -- letters to our ancestors (I particularly liked the one written to Harriet Tubman), letters to present day people or communities, and letters to children or future generations. As with any collection, some resonated with me more than others. My two favorite are probably two near the end - one by Celeste Ng, the other by Peter Orner. What was equally interesting to reading this ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a difficult book to review; there is so much to say about each and every incredible contribution. It’s a sprawling ambitious project that one senses has helped the writers come to terms with the election results, as much as it is designed to console and instigate hope, courage and the desire to continue the battle in its readers. Written between the time between the 2017 USA Presidential election and the actual inauguration of President Trump the book whirls around thirty-one letters wri ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Carolina de Robertis has curated a really magical and interesting body of work. In RADICAL HOPE: LETTERS OF LOVE AND DISSENT IN DANGEROUS TIMES, she has amassed essays from over 30 authors, writing about how American society has changed since the 45th President took office, and how we can not give up hope. Among the disastrous normalizing of racism, sexism, homophobia, scapegoating, stereotyping, etc., there are still places where love and hope exist...and the authors dive into these places whil ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Four essays I read twice:

What I Mean: Kate Schatz
"Nothing changes if we just feel shitty about being white. And nothing changes if we refuse to talk about it. The opposite of white pride does not have to be white shame. We can't push it away and pretend it's not us. We are not color blind, we are not post-race, we do not get to reject our whiteness because it makes us feel bad."
(Note to self, look up the Grimke sisters, Lucretia Mott, Julia Ward Howe, Emma Goldman, Jane Addams, Viola Liuzzo, Jes
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
There are many wonder, even powerful, letters and essays in this book. Unfortunately, I didn't connect with the entire collection as much as I assume I would have in late 2016, early 2017. I still think the election of DJT was a calamitous, sickening affront to our country. In fact, it's no longer guess work - he has proved this repeatedly. But the raw, "were all doomed" feeling has morphed into other - some more concrete, some more vague - emotions. This book was written as a salve for those ra ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A collection of letters from various authors written in the weeks and months after the 2016 presidential election. This was for the most part hit or miss, but to me, the standout here is Aya de León's Dear Millenials. It really hit on something I have been feeling but have found difficult to put into words.

"In progressive communities, taking action or leadership or generating new ideas happens under the threat of harsh reads, under fears of humiliation and excommunication. We unwittingly gave y
Rachel A.  Dawson
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this one. It’s exactly the words I needed in this political season in America that often leaves me feeling discouraged and hopeless. These letters written by so many diverse and brilliant authors are wildly different from one another, collectively pointing to hope, beauty, bravery, and a better tomorrow. They are rich, moving, heartfelt, striking, and convicting. They opened my eyes and broke my heart and encouraged me so much. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked some authors' letters more than others. iO Tillett Wright's letter was my favorite, because to me it seemed to address the problems of Trump's election in the most creative and personal way. Most of the letters seemed to be written in disbelief about how Trump was elected to this country, which became repetitive when you're reading that same message over and over. I expected more of the letters to take on more of a short story-like quality (like Wright's), especially since most of these ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a true gem of a book. The writing is beautiful (though at times difficult and sad). I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels hopeless and frustrated with our current president and his administration. The collection is full of powerful stories of love and hope - especially during this time of uncertainty.

I would like to thank NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Emma Gerts
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This collection of epistolary essays is a delightful counter to a world that seems to have gone mad. This diverse collection of writers speak to their anscestors, their contemporaries, their children and future generations of hope, resilience, grief and disappointment and how to turn those feelings into action. Written as a reaction to the 2016 election of Trump, these essays are still, sadly, just as revelent today as they were in the moments after the election.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
While this book had a few redeeming essays, I agree with those who found it an echo chamber. The pro-Bernie and anti-Hillary anti-Democrat letters were continually divisive in a time where the Left needs to unite. The editor chose not to include even one pro-Hillary letter. Redundant, dull, biased. I skimmed to the end in hopes it would get better.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cried so many times while reading this book I made strangers in multiple countries worry about me. Possibly I shouldn't have been reading it in public. But it's beautiful, joyful, painful and I'm so glad it exists. Read it. It will make your next step a little easier. ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like any collection I liked some of these entries more than others but I appreciated the sentiments all the authors shared. This was a great sipping collection. Read one at a time as a pick-me-up is needed.
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Carolina De Robertis is the author of Perla and The Invisible Mountain, which was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, the recipient of Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize, and a Best Book of 2009 according to the San Francisco Chronicle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and BookList. She is the translator of Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai, which was just made into a feature film, and Roberto A ...more

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