“I do not know how things will be by the time you read it, but this book goes to press at a grim moment.”
Best known for books such as King Leopold’s Ghost, To End All Wars, Spain in Our Hearts, and many others, Adam Hochschild’s life and career has been dedicated to sharing the stories of people who took a stand against despotism, spoke out against unjust wars and government surveillance, and dared to dream of a better and more just world. In the introduction of Lessons From a Dark Time and Other Essays, Hochschild writes:
“After spending much of my life writing either about forms of tyranny that we’ve seen vanish, like apartheid in South Africa or communism in the Soviet Union, or that belonged to earlier centuries, like colonialism or slavery, it is a shock to feel the ruthless mood of such times suddenly no longer so far away. As I write, much of Europe is awash in a bitter stew of revived nationalism, anti-Semitism, and hostility toward Muslims and refugees. Around the world, many a country that was once a democracy, or seemed on the path to being so, has turned repressive. From Poland to the Philippines, Hungary to India, Turkey to Russia, autocrats with little tolerance for dissent are riding high.
“Worse yet is that we Americans have elected a president who makes no secret of his enthusiasm for such strongmen and, with nothing but mockery for his critics and contempt for the constitutional separation of powers, would clearly like to be one himself.
“. . . We have some tough years ahead of us. The title piece of this collection, about America’s early twentieth-century red scare, could just as well be called “Lessons for a Dark Time.” But when times are dark, we need moral ancestors, and I hope the pieces here will be reminders that others have fought and won battles against injustice in the past, including some against racism, anti-immigrant hysteria, and more.”
Adam will be on tour this Fall, visiting the following cities. Join him at:
Thursday, October 25, Berkeley at 7:30pm: KPFA Lecture
Thursday, November 1, San Francisco at 7:00pm: City Lights
Tuesday, November 13, Seattle at 7:30pm: Town Hall Seattle
Wednesday, November 14, Berkeley at 6:00pm: UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center at the School of Law
Wednesday, November 28, Washington, D.C. at 7:00pm: Politics & Prose
Wednesday, December 5 , Mill Valley: Commonwealth Club Marin with San Francisco Chronicle Books Editor John McMurtrie