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

Image credit:

reviewed by Bonnie Raitt & Howard Zinn

THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL TAKE A LITTLE WHILE (Basic Books, 2004) lifts the fog of political despair that envelops so many these days. This book creates a conversation among some of the most visionary and eloquent voices of our times: Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Arundhati Roy, Tony Kushner, and Václav Havel. Alice Walker, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ackerman, Susan Griffin, Marian Wright Edelman Cornel West, Terry Tempest Williams, Jim Hightower, and Desmond Tutu.

With this book, editor Paul Rogat Loeb, whom Susan Sontag has called "a national treasure" for his work on courage and conscience, builds on his activist classic, SOUL OF A CITIZEN: LIVING WITH CONVICTION IN A CYNICAL TIME (St. Martin's Griffin, 1999). He explores what it's like to go up against Goliath – whether South African apartheid, the iron fist of Eastern European dictatorship, or Mississippi segregation. These stories don't sugarcoat the obstacles. But they inspire hope by showing what keeps us keeping on – even when the odds seem overwhelming. They replenish the wellsprings of our commitment.

If you care about change in a world where most people are told their voices don't count, think of this book as a gift to yourself – hope for the homestretch in an immensely critical election, bread for the journey to keep on working for justice no matter what happens in November, sustenance to return to again and again at those points when your spirit begins to flag. Find out more by visiting You'll find excerpts from the book, reviews, suggestions for reading groups and classroom questions, and lots more.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You May Also Want to Read

  • Edited by Tripp York and Andy Alexis-Baker (Cascade Books, 2013) Reviewed by Sarah Withrow King When I was pregnant with…

  • Holy Week brings us from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to Resurrection Day, from triumph to tragedy back to triumph.…

Comment policy: ESA represents a wide variety of understandings and practices surrounding our shared Christian faith. The purpose of the ESA blog is to facilitate loving conversation; please know that individual authors do not speak for ESA as a whole. Even if you don\'t see yourself or your experience reflected in something you read here, we invite you to experience it anyway, and see if God can meet you there. What can take away from considering this point of view? What might you add? The comments section below is where you can share the answers to those questions, if you feel so moved. Please express your thoughts in ways that are constructive, purposeful, and respectful. Give those you disagree with the benefit of the doubt, and assume they are neither idiots nor evil. Name-calling, sweeping condemnations, and any other comments that suggest you have forgotten that we are all children of God will be deleted. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.