Not long after the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit felt a strange, surprising sensation. It was, she writes, "that sense of immersion in the moment and solidarity with others caused by the rupture of everyday life, an emotion graver than happiness but deeply positive." Solnit, whose habit is to produce great books whenever she gets to thinking about things, has been thinking about that emotion ever since. She stayed alert to it during subsequent disasters, and searched for it in studies of previous ones. It's a common feeling, she noticed, yet one for which we have no adequate language. It's like schadenfreude turned inside out, but grander than that and also more intimate. And it's something people often discover in themselves, and in others, by living through disasters. That's why... More >>>