Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the Redwoods, and the End of Earth First

Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the Redwoods, and the End of Earth First

by Kate Coleman
     
 

In l990, a car bomb in Oakland almost killed radical Earth First! leader Judi Bari and her passenger, a co-leader and onetime lover, Darryl Cherney. The FBI accused the pair of transporting the explosive device knowingly as part of a violent campaign of "ecotage." From her hospital bed, Bari charged that the timber interests of Northern California and the FBI had

Overview


In l990, a car bomb in Oakland almost killed radical Earth First! leader Judi Bari and her passenger, a co-leader and onetime lover, Darryl Cherney. The FBI accused the pair of transporting the explosive device knowingly as part of a violent campaign of "ecotage." From her hospital bed, Bari charged that the timber interests of Northern California and the FBI had tried to kill her. The car bomb and the competing conspiracy theories about who was responsible made Bari a national figure; but she had long been a legendary figure among California activists. A veteran of the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s who moved to militant feminism and environmentalism after the war ended, Bari was involved in the radical eco-organization Earth First! by the mid-1980s and leading the fight against the logging companies on the Northern California coast. Not long before the attempt on her life, she had summoned young people from all over the country to join her in a crusade to save the remaining redwood forests of the Pacific Coast in a "Redwood Summer" based on the Mississippi Summer of the civil rights movement a quarter-century earlier. The Secret Wars of Judi Bari traces Bari's rise from college activist to a would-be Mother Jones of the Redwoods. Drawing on extensive interviews with Bari's friends, comrades and critics, Kate Coleman describes Bari's long struggle for selfhood against her communist parents and her husband (himself a former member of violent political groups); against those in her movement who felt that she was not radical enough; and ultimately against the FBI and the State of California. Judi Bari's wars continued until her death from cancer five years after the explosion that changed her life forever. In creating a dramatic portrait of a unique American life, Coleman takes the reader inside the radical politics that outlived the 1960s, and into the Earth First! movement and the back-to-nature counterculture of the North Coast of California. This is a world that Coleman has lived in herself and spent her career documenting as a writer. In The Secret Wars of Judi Bari she has produced a book that is at once a crime story, a social history, and a compelling biography of a woman at war with her world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781893554740
Publisher:
Encounter Books
Publication date:
12/28/2004
Pages:
247
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.44(h) x 0.98(d)

What People are saying about this

Robert Bazell
Because Kate Coleman has made a journey of her own from committed activism to eloquent journalism, she is better able than anyone else to demystify the convoluted history of California's left-wing fringe. In this wonderfully written book she charts Judi Bari's transformation after her car-bombing from fiery activist and abused wife to environmentalist hero and feminist martyr. It is an amazing story, and Coleman tells it with grace, wit, and compassion.
—Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News
Cynthia Moss
Kate Coleman’s fascinating, well-written and fast-paced book tells a quintessential American story about a woman passionately driven by causes and the contradictions, heartache and outright danger that her beliefs and actions bring about. There is no sentiment here, no adulation, just an excellent portrait of a woman who played a key role in the more radical wing of the environmental movement. I highly recommend it, especially for any of us fighting our own causes.
—Cynthia Moss, author of Elephant Memories
Darryl Cherney
Today there are few progressive heroes left. But even the ones who have died must be killed again by literary assassins like Kate Coleman.
—Darryl Cherney, Earth First! colleague of Judi Bari

Meet the Author

Kate Coleman is a veteran investigative reporter who has covered the Black Panther Party, the counter culture and California politics for The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Salon, Mother Jones and other publications.

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