There are signs in the culture that people are beginning to wonder whether their efforts to bring about social and political change on a national and global level are just futile gestures. Some doubts, fear, emotional burnout, and the phenomenon known as "compassion fatigue" will always eat away at our reserves of hope. Paul Rogat Loeb has put together a soul-stirring anthology of 50 essays which we guarantee will lift the spirits of anyone looking for reasons to carry on in the struggle to create a better world.

The author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time writes: "Think of the following essays as a conversation in which some of the most eloquent, visionary, and provocative people of our age explore the historical, political, and spiritual frameworks that have shaped our lives." In chapters on Seeds of the Possible, Dark Before the Dawn, Everyday Grace, The Flight of Our Dreams, Courage Is Contagious, The Global Stage, Radical Dignity, Beyond Hope, and Only Justice Can Stop A Curse; Loeb presents inspiring essays and excerpts from Nelson Mandela, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Henri Nouwen, Parker Palmer, Walter Wink, Sister Rosalie Bertell, Jim Wallis, Cornel West, Terry Tempest Williams, Desmond Tutu, and many others.

Some of our favorite pieces help us to remember that peril and despair breed hope, not helplessness. We are carried by the energy and enthusiasm of past and present pioneers of this orientation of the heart, as Vaclav Havel called hope. Check out Marion Wright Edelman's passionate plea on behalf of children; savor Howard Zinn's wise thoughts on the optimism of uncertainty; let Scott Russell Sanders enthrall you with his essay on hope across the generations; take in the profundity of Tony Kushner's reflections on despair as a lie we tell ourselves; ponder the power in Arundhati Roy's observations on September 11 and global justice; and savor Paul Rogat Loeb's insights on Rosa Parks as a model of patience and persistence in social change efforts. The Impossible Will Take A Little While is a true hope booster.