In the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, or the Loma Prieta Earthquake, author Rebecca Solnit collected hundreds of interviews and spent time in various disaster zones.
What she found is contrary to what the media often reports: in times of crisis, humans have shown themselves to be deeply communitarian, altruistic, brave, and improvisational.
Mary Menzel, our partner from California Center for the Book, interviewed Solnit at the Long Beach Public Library in April 2012. The interview was followed by a reception and conversation about A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster which explores the need for community and common purpose, ideals that are fundamental to democratic, social and political life.
For 2012, the California Reads program is part of our Searching for Democracy initiative. Look for interviews with the other California Reads authors and find out more about the inititative here on our website.