Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $36.54

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The most startling thing about disasters, according to award-winning author Rebecca Solnit, is not merely that so many people rise to the occasion, but that they do so with joy. That joy reveals an ordinarily unmet yearning for community, purposefulness, and meaningful work that disaster often provides. A Paradise Built in Hell is an investigation of the moments of altruism, resourcefulness, and generosity that arise amid disaster's grief and disruption and considers their implications for everyday life. It points to a new vision of what society could become - one that is less authoritarian and fearful, more collaborative and local.

©2009 Rebecca Solnit (P)2014 Audible Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The freshest, deepest, most optimistic account of human nature I've come across in years." (Bill McKibben)

What listeners say about A Paradise Built in Hell

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fabulous book

A great book providing insights into community in the non routine. Well researched. Thanks Rebecca

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

A thorough and well researched and insightful book with a biting critique of the New Orleans Disaster.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for D
  • D
  • 07-03-2018

Narration interferes with story

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Narration

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Learning about the criminal behavior of the authorities during the San Francisco earthquake and fires. Fascinating. Other stories were not as cohesive.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I hung in there until The narrator started speaking with an accent when reading quotes translated from the original Spanish. I found it very offensive and distracting as I wondered whether she would use an accent when quoting people from other non-English speaking nations - will she dare to use a Japanese or Chinese accent??!! (Answer- no, she only used a “Spanish” accent). I finally gave up on listening to the rest of the book since I couldn’t focus on the content.

Any additional comments?

Loved Solnics other writings, especially The Faraway Nearby.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for zachery
  • zachery
  • 09-10-2015

Eye opening and thought provoking

The Author shares the truth about how most people respond to disasters, and it is not what you have been taught by media and government. The most good can be accomplished by trusting people to help each other.
I totally disagree with the whole climate change theory but other than that I found the book to be eye opening and thought provoking! Thanks.
I also appreciated the partial dramatic reading as well. Good job

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 28-12-2020

AN idea whose time has (finally) come

After the mess that was 2020 and what we surely face in the years to come this book is a must read. I worked with Food Not Bombs during Occupy and while it wasn't a disaster, suddenly having 1000 people to feed three meals a day when we usually fed 50 1 meal a week certainly caused a community like Ms Solnit describes in this book. We wpuld do well to heed someone in the book's wiords “It's tempting to ask why if you fed your neighbors during the time of the earthquake and fire, you didn't do so before or after.” Another world is waiting for us.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for lolo
  • lolo
  • 30-08-2020

Necessary reading for now.

The first chapter is the gem. The takeaways about the role of beliefs, community and action are not only important but necessary in the Covid-19 reality.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for LAC123
  • LAC123
  • 09-05-2018

Really informative and uplifting

This book was so worth my time. I loved the positivity. How humans respond to each other during disaster is a very interesting topic.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alexandre
  • Alexandre
  • 14-01-2021

Game changer

a great book. in essence people need freedom and agency in crises and catastrophes and those in power or who serve hierarchy wage war against these efforts. a must read for the coming days.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jon B
  • Jon B
  • 06-01-2021

Good Book, Poor Reading

The book has an interesting topic, however I struggled through listening to the reader. Poor pronunciations and halting speech was bad, but the horrendous accents really put the nail in the coffin for me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for C. Galas
  • C. Galas
  • 25-12-2020

A must read

Everyone needs to listen to this book! It is truly an eye opener. Two words.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Craig Grossi
  • Craig Grossi
  • 21-12-2020

Very Important Read

This book will be a constant reference for me and all who consume it. It is tragically poignant.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kit O'Connell
  • Kit O'Connell
  • 07-12-2020

Vital material hampered by distracting production

Unfortunately, the reader does horribly distracting accents throughout this book. That's too bad. This is a very important book that busts myths about how people behave after disasters. It's one of Rebecca Solnit's best books, and she's written a lot of good ones. Learn about the importance of solidarity and improvisation.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gregory Monk
  • Gregory Monk
  • 19-07-2017

Similar to Shock Doctrine but from another angle

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Paradise Built in Hell?

The descriptions of the aftermath of Katrina were shocking to a non-American and something I was surprised to hear. The basic failures of the government during this time was something that I was aware of but the details were grisly and something I won't forget, and nor should I.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The entirety of the book was filled with moving encounters of underrepresented examples of humans at their best in the worst possible scenarios. I certainly recommend it to those who have lost their faith in the people of the modern world.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rebecca Mair
  • Rebecca Mair
  • 19-05-2020

Great book, accents were a bit much.

The book was fantastic and brought together a different and more positive view of the world. The reader was very strong, but I think she got a bit too much with the accents- was a bit embarrassing. Great read though.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Richard
  • Richard
  • 02-04-2020

Boring. Too American.

This is very American centric which makes it a lot less interesting than it could have been. I listened to the first couple of hours and it takes too long to say anything so I shall ask for a refund. The narrator’s performance is dull too.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.