A Paradise Built in Hell

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rebecca Solnit investigates why in the aftermath of a disaster people suddenly become altruistic, resourceful, and brave. In A Paradise Built in Hell, she looks at the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco to 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, among other crises, and describes how disasters can bring about social possibilities rather than leading to social break-down.

Event: Rebecca Solnit will be in conversation with Peter Coyote and will be answering audience questions
Thursday, September 24th, at 7:00 pm
New York Public Library
11 West 40th Street


Rebecca Solnit
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Comments [7]

Henry Shaw from Old Tappan, NJ

Didn't Robin(?) McNeil write a good account of the munitions ship explosion in Canada?

Sep. 24 2009 01:59 PM
Jeffrey Harper from Manhattan

Can you ask her about the reported instances of rape, assault and other crimes in the Astrodome during Katrina?

Sep. 24 2009 12:53 PM
Romanie Baines from Manhatan

Having grown up in post second world war England the guest's premise sounds very familiar to me. As a child I remember hearing my parents and other "grown ups" talk with fond nostalgia about their times during the war, notwithstanding all the hardships and shortages that there were.

Sep. 24 2009 12:53 PM
James from Brooklyn

It's worth noting that, on 9/11, the only successful defense occurred on flight 93. People worked together spontaneously and independently and, while they could not regain the cockpit of the plane, they did stop the plane from reaching its target. Meanwhile, the top-down defense system failed. There was a very interesting essay on this argument by a Harvard scholar.

Sep. 24 2009 12:52 PM
Robots Need 2 Party from NYC

I think the people that believe the natural state of man is evil say more about themselves with that opinion than they do about humanity in general. If the natural state of man were evil it seems unlikely our species would have survived this long.

Sep. 24 2009 12:49 PM
Tony from San Jose, CA

Do you think it's an American thing? I don't think French people would act the same way.

Sep. 24 2009 12:49 PM

I totally agree with your guest's premise. Growing up on Guam I've lived through numerous typhoons that destroy houses and possessions. People are never nicer than immediately after these storms and I've never had a strong attachment to stuff.

Sep. 24 2009 12:41 PM

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