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Paul Rogat Loeb

The Impossible Will Take a Little While

Soul of a Citizen


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"Paul Loeb brings hope for a better world in a time when we so urgently need it."
Millard Fuller, founder, Habitat for Humanity


"The voices Loeb finds demonstrate that courage can be another name for love."
Alice Walker


Read more about Soul of a Citizen   Read more about The Impossible...


"You are part of what's good about this world and I admire your work very much."
Bill Moyers


“When my daughter asked from college how to be an effective grassroots citizen, I gave her Paul's books.”

Josette Sheeran, former Executive Director, United Nations World Food Program



"Paul Loeb has been doing wonderfully patient work, exploring the American conscience from the inside. I regard Loeb as something of a national treasure."
Susan Sontag


"A lot of smart people who have some influence on the course of history will read and admire you--and learn from you."

Kurt Vonnegut

"I stayed up half the night reading Soul of a Citizen, finding it a beautiful and morally transcendent work that speaks in gentle words directly to the heart. The new edition is magnificent. "
— Jonathan Kozol



Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of Soul Of a Citizen: Living With Conviction In Challenging Times. With over 165,000 copies in print through updated editions, Soul has become a classic handbook for budding social activists, veteran organizers, and anyone who wants to make a difference—large or small. An antidote to powerlessness and despair, it has inspired thousands of citizens to make their voices heard and actions count—and then stay involved for the long haul. Soul explores what leads some people to get involved in larger community issues while others feel overwhelmed or uncertain; what it takes to maintain commitment for the long haul; and how community involvement and citizen activism can give back a powerful sense of connection and purpose. It speaks particularly to how to keep engaged despite dashed hopes and disilusionment. Click here for Soul's description, sample sections, and wonderful reviews, as well as information on classroom use.


Loeb's global anthology of political hope, The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Perseverance and Hope in Troubled Times, has its own wholly updated edition released by Basic Books in May 2014 wiith over 100,000 copies in print. The Impossible creates a conversation among some of the most visionary and eloquent voices of our time: Think Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Bill Moyers, Arundhati Roy, Tony Kushner,Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken, Pablo Neruda and Vaclav Havel. Alice Walker, Mary Pipher, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ackerman, and Marian Wright Edelman. Cornel West, Terry Tempest Williams, Dan Savage, Desmond Tutu, and Howard Zinn. These essays, poems, and stories, along with Loeb's extended introductions, teach us how to keep on working for a more humane world, replenish the wellsprings of our commitment, and continue no matter how hard it sometimes seems. Loeb has included pieces that explore the historical, political, ecological and spiritual frameworks that help us to persist— with concrete examples of how people have faced despair and overcome it. They examine what it was like to confront South African apartheid, the Egyptian and Eastern European dictatorships, Mississippi's entrenched segregation, the corporations driving global climate change, or the Robber Barons of 100 years ago. The stories don't sugarcoat the obstacles. But they inspire hope by showing what keeps us keeping on--even when the odds seem overwhelming. They replenish the wellsprings of our commitment. The Impossible is a BookSense independent bookstores bestseller and, like Soul, won the Nautilus Award for the best social change book of its year. Click here for a description, excerpts, rave reviews, and information on The Impossible's wonderful classroom responses .



Paul is also the founder of the Campus Election Engagement Project, a national nonpartisan project that helps America's colleges and universities motivate their 20 million students  to register, volunteer in campaigns, educate themselves, and turn out at the polls. We focus on how administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders can help engage students. We worked with 300 campuses in 2016 and had aving partner organizations distribute our materials to over 700 more. We're now engaging students for 2017-2018.


If you're not already receiving Paul's monthly articles, sign up to receive them. Paul continues to lecture widely on both Soul and The Impossible. Click here to see if he's coming to your community or to bring him in, and here to pass the word on his books. 




"A passionate but reasoned call for Americans to become involved in issues that matter."
Chicago Sun-Times

"Soul of a Citizen has inspired countless students, faculty, and other readers since its publication a decade ago. Amazing as that book was, this new version is even wiser, deeper, and more inspiring. Loeb has given even more soul to his wonderful work."
Thomas Ehrlich, former president Indiana University
and Dean of Stanford Law School

"Brims with stirring stories of everyday heroes who saw something wrong, heeded the voice of their conscience, gathered support and, acting in concert with others, changed things and made a difference."
Philadelphia Inquirer


"Soul has been a powerful inspiration to citizens acting for environmental sanity, showing how they can take committed stands, even if they don’t know every last answer. The new edition is even more inspirational."
Bill McKibben

"Rich, engaging, clearly written. An essential book for anyone who wants to work for change. It will inspire people new to activism, and deals with cynicism and burn­out in a good way for movement veterans. Altogether, a wonderful job, rich with specific experience."
Howard Zinn

"Soul of a Citizen helps us find the faith we need to act on our deepest beliefs — and keep on."
 Marian Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund





"Deeply moving and motivating…a plethora of commentary from those dedicated to the concept of a better world"

—Baltimore Sun


"This might possibly be the most important collection of stories and essays you will ever read."

from American Book Association and History Channel listing of top ten 2004 political books

"Hopeful, inspiring, and motivating...May well be required reading for us all.”

Sierra Club magazine


"[This] magnificent anthology celebrates hope, guts, and the power of taking action.
Pam Houston, The Oprah Magazine, lead review

"A much needed salvo against despair."

Psychology Today


"An anthology of some of the most powerful voices of our time."                    
Boston Globe

"For anyone worn down, The Impossible Will Take a Little While is a bracing double cappuccino!"
 Barbara Ehrenreich

PAUL ROGAT LOEB is the author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in Challenging Times (St Martin's Press now with over 150,000 copies in print), The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear (Basic Books, 2004, and named the #3 political book of that year by the History Channel and the American Book Association, now with over 100,000 copies in print), Generation at the Crossroads: Apathy and Action on the American Campus (Rutgers University Press, 1994), Nuclear Culture, and Hope in Hard Times. Both The Impossible and Soul won the Nautilus Award for best social change books of their respective publication years. Paul has written on social involvement for The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, AARP Bulletin, Boston Globe, Psychology Today, Utne Reader, Redbook, Parents magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, Salon, the Village Voice, National Catholic Reporter, Chronicle of Higher Education, and the International Herald Tribune. He's been interviewed on CNN, NPR, PBS, C-SPAN, NBC TV, the BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, American Urban Radio, Voice of America, and national German and Australian radio. He's lectured on 500 college campuses and at numerous national and international conferences. In 2008 Loeb founded the Campus Election Engagement Project, a national nonpartisan student engagement effort that helps colleges and universities engage their students in the election, workign with 280 campuses by 2014, with a total enrollment of 3.2 million students. Loeb also participated in the Department of Education's 2011 roundtable on higher education and civic engagement and blogs regularly at HuffingtonPost. When Georgia's Kennesaw State University made Soul of a Citizen their common first-yearreading, it inspired students to get involved in projects from literacy programs to a gay rights effort and an NRA-backed concealed weapons initiative. Loeb was the first speaker chosen for a New School lecture series called Engaged Lives, "in which exceptional graduates of our programs will share their stories." Loeb is also a featured commentator in the film Every Three Seconds, by Oscar shortlisted documentarian Daniel Karslake, which premiered October 2014.

Click here for a longer bio.



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