Augsburg Fortress

The End of Hope--The Beginning: Narratives of Hope in the Face of Death and Trauma

The End of Hope--The Beginning: Narratives of Hope in the Face of Death and Trauma

Our experiences of hope in the face of difficulties are as varied as our lives, and yet there has been very little examination of the ways we hope.
A skilled and compassionate storyteller, McCarroll introduces readers to five expressions of hope through detailed and poignant case studies. On that foundation she then builds a discussion of the possibilities, limitations, and value of each approach. The result is an engaging and optimistic exploration of hope in difficult times.
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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800699666
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 150
  • Publication Date April 1, 2014


1. A Brief History of Hope in the Modern West
2. Finding Our Way to Hope: The Possibilities of Multivalence, with Helen    Cheung
3. Hope as Fight
4. Hope as Meaning
5. Hope as Survival
6. Hope as Lament
7. Hope as Surrender


"Pamela R. McCarroll’s creative analysis of the highly complex notion of hope invites spiritual care providers and others to wade into the conversation. McCarroll takes seriously the crisis of hope that occurs when we encounter tragedy, grief, and other endings. She shows how hope takes new and unexpected forms: the refusal to give up, the despondency in letting go, the insistence to keep on living, the courage to be vulnerable and angry, and more. The often surprising resilience of the human spirit comes alive in these pages. Each person will recognize her or himself at points in these narratives of hope."
Tracy J. Trothen
Queen’s University

“Pamela R. McCarroll’s central metaphor, 'waiting at the foot of the cross,' jumps off the page and comes to life—that is exactly what chaplains, supervisors, and ministers do when they engage in care with sufferers. Her theological case studies represent one of the best examples in print of an inductive method—the one that chaplains, supervisors, students, and parish ministers actually use in practice. While we have many good books demonstrating the theory of pastoral care and using examples and vignettes in an illustrative manner, we have few that so directly demonstrate pastoral theological method while teaching students method and content of theology that will serve them in their pastoral care-oriented work.”
Pamela D. Couture
Emmanuel College, University of Toronto

"Pamela R. McCarroll explores hope in the face of death and trauma. She provides a vast review of literature on hope that includes social sciences and theology. Most important are her experiences as a chaplain and supervisor in dealing with people who faced death and trauma in seemingly hopeless situations. She offers five themes illustrated in case studies: hope as fight, meaning, survival, lament, and surrender. This book is a worthwhile addition to the research on hope."
Thomas St. James O’Connor
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary at Wilfrid Laurier University

"This is an especially valuable book for pastors hungry for fresh perspectives on ministry in tough times. Through pastoral narrative and some wonderful definitional spadework, Pamela R. McCarroll enters the thicket of human hardship, where all hope seems lost, only to turn the turmoil of life's tragedies over to unearth the hope that redeems them."
Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore
Vanderbilt University