Adam Hochschild
Thursday, November 1, 2018, 7:00 p.m., City Light Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

discussing the subject of his new book

Lessons from a Dark Time and Other Essays

published by University of California Press

In this rich collection, bestselling author Adam Hochschild has selected and updated over two dozen essays and pieces of reporting from his long career. Threaded through them all is his concern for social justice and the people who have fought for it. The articles here range from a California gun show to a Finnish prison, from a Congolese center for rape victims to the ruins of gulag camps in the Soviet Arctic, from a stroll through construction sites with an ecologically pioneering architect in India to a day on the campaign trail with Nelson Mandela. Hochschild also talks about the writers he loves, from Mark Twain to John McPhee, and explores such far-reaching topics as why so much history is badly written, what bookshelves tell us about their owners, and his front-row seat for the shocking revelation in the 1960s that the CIA had been secretly controlling dozens of supposedly independent organizations.

With the skills of a journalist, the knowledge of a historian, and the heart of an activist, Hochschild shares 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.

Adam Hochschild is a journalist and author who has written on issues of human rights and social justice. His books include the bestselling King Leopold's Ghost. He has been a finalist twice for the National Book Critics Circle Award and once for the National Book Award. He has been awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and is a two-time recipient of the Gold Medal of the California Book Awards.

What has been said about the work of Adam Hochschild:

"Adam Hochschild's brilliant and sprawling books on inhumanity and injustice have made him an international treasure. Now, with Lessons from a Dark Time, we have Hochschild in more bite-sized (well, meal-sized) form. His journalism ranges widely, literally around the world, but it's always written with the same careful craft and indignant eloquence that we’ve come to admire so much."—Jeffrey Toobin, author of American Heiress; staff writer, New Yorker; and chief legal analyst, CNN

"This book reveals Adam Hochschild’s journalism in all its glory. His facts are like jewels, luminous in their importance. As a reporter and historian, he turns facts into stories so dynamic and vivid that I couldn’t put the book down. This is important work by a gifted writer at the top of his game."—Elizabeth Farnsworth, author, filmmaker, former chief correspondent, PBS NewsHour

"Lessons From a Dark Time is an elegant collection that showcases all of Adam Hochschild’s singular talents as a master essayist, historian, literary critic, and narrative writer. In search of a fair and humane world, he tackles big issues of social injustice by focusing on particular people, giving us their lives and travails with the grace and nuance of a wise storyteller. These pieces are special and enduring—a chronicle of our time, past and present, told always on an intimate human scale."—Barry Siegel, Pulitzer Prize winner; Director, Literary Journalism Program, University of California, Irvine

Lessons from a Dark Time offers us an inspiring but clear-eyed perspective on what has been—and what can be—accomplished through resistance, persistence, and vision. A wonderful book for our time.”—Eric Stover, Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley and coauthor of Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror

“One wanders through this collection like the proverbial kid in a candy store. All the essential issues of our time are here, from colonialism to surveillance to development to McCarthyism to the life of the revolutionary, all shaped brilliantly into unforgettable stories, all brightly illuminated by Hochschild's bracing intelligence and sparkling prose. Start at Kerala or the Congo and finish in Catalonia or Berkeley. Dip in here and there, or read straight from first page to last. Whatever path you take, Lessons from a Dark Time is a delightful, vital book.”—Mark Danner, author of Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War

“These timely, trenchant essays offer a concentrated sample of Adam Hochschild's unique gift for illuminating the history of present-day moral conflicts. Their range is amazing, from the Congo to Siberia to Berkeley, but they are united by Hochschild's wry, compassionate sensibility and voice.”—Robert Worth, author of A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS