Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke has returned from war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development. Joining with Bronx exile and feminist saboteur Bonnie Abzug, wilderness guide and outcast Mormon Seldom Seen Smith, and libertarian billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, M.D., Hayduke is ready to fight the power—taking on the strip miners, clear-cutters, and the highway, dam, and bridge builders who are threatening the natural habitat. The Monkey Wrench Gang is on the move—and peaceful coexistence be damned!
About the Author
Edward Abbey spent most of his life in the American Southwest. He was the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the celebrated Desert Solitaire, which decried the waste of America’s wilderness, and the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, the title of which is still in use today to describe groups that purposefully sabotage projects and entities that degrade the environment. Abbey was also one of the country’s foremost defenders of the natural environment. He died in 1989.
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Origins I: A. K. Sarvis, M.D.
Dr. Sarvis with his bald mottled dome and savage visage, grim and noble as Sibelius, was out night-riding on a routine neighborhood beautification project, burning billboards along the highway — U.S. 66, later to be devoured by the superstate's interstate autobahn. His procedure was simple, surgically deft. With a five-gallon can of gasoline he sloshed about the legs and support members of the selected target, then applied a match. Everyone should have a hobby.
In the lurid glare which followed he could be seen shambling back to the Lincoln Continental Mark IV parked nearby, empty gas can banging on his insouciant shanks. A tall and ponderous man, shaggy as a bear, he cast a most impressive shadow in the light of the flames, across the arid scene of broken whiskey bottles, prickly pear and buckhorn cholla, worn-out tires and strips of retread. In the fire's glare his little red eyes burned with a fierce red fire of their own, matching the candescent coal of the cigar in his teeth — three smoldering and fanatic red bulbs glowing through the dark. He paused to admire his work:
HOWDY PARDNER WELCOME TO ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO HUB OF THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT
Headlights swept across him from the passing traffic. Derisive horns bellowed as sallow pimply youths with undescended testicles drove by in stripped-down zonked-up Mustangs, Impalas, Stringrays and Beetles, each with a lush-lashed truelove wedged hard overlapping-pelvis-style on the driver's lap, so that seen from the back through the rear window in silhouette against oncoming headlights the car appeared to be "operated" by a single occupant with — anomaly — two heads; other lovers screamed past jammed butt to groin on the buddy seats of 880-cc chopped Kawasaki motorbikes with cherry-bomb exhaust tubes — like hara-kiri, kamikaze, karate and the creeping kudzu vine, a gift from the friendly people who gave us (remember?) Pearl Harbor — which, blasting sparks and chips of cylinder wall, roared shattering like spastic technical demons through the once-wide stillness of Southwestern night.
No one ever stopped. Except the Highway Patrol arriving promptly fifteen minutes late, radioing the report of an inexplicable billboard fire to a casually scornful dispatcher at headquarters, then ejecting self from vehicle, extinguisher in gloved hand, to ply the flames for a while with little limp gushes of liquid sodium hydrochloride ("wetter than water" because it adheres better, like soapsuds) to the pyre. Futile if gallant efforts. Dehydrated by months, sometimes years of desert winds and thirsty desert air, the pine and paper of the noblest most magnificent of billboards yearned in every molecule for quick combustion, wrapped itself in fire with the mad lust, the rapt intensity, of lovers fecundating. All- cleansing fire, all-purifying flame, before which the asbestos- hearted plutonic pyromaniac can only genuflect and pray.
Doc Sarvis by this time had descended the crumbly bank of the roadside under a billowing glare from his handiwork, dumped his gas can into trunk of car, slammed the lid — where a bright and silver caduceus glisters in the firelight — and slumped down in the front seat beside his driver.
"Next?" she says.
He flipped away his cigar butt, out the open window into the ditch — the trace of burning arc remains for a moment in the night, a retinal afterglow with rainbow-style trajectory, its terminal spatter of sparks the pot of gold — and unwrapped another Marsh-Wheeling, his famous surgeon's hand revealing not a twitch or tremor.
"Let's work the west side," he says.
The big car glided forward with murmurous motor, wheels crunching tin cans and plastic picnic plates on the berm, packed bearings sliding in the servile grease, the pistons, bathed in oil, slipping up and down in the firm but gentle grasp of cylinders, connecting rods to crankshaft, crankshaft to drive shaft through differential's scrotal housing via axle, all power to the wheels.
They progressed. That is to say, they advanced, in thoughtful silence, toward the jittery neon, the spastic anapestic rock, the apoplectic roll of Saturday night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (To be an American for one Saturday night downtown you'd sell your immortal soul.) Down Glassy Gulch they drove toward the twenty-story towers of finance burning like blocks of radium under the illuminated smog.
"I love you, Abbzug."
"I know, Doc."
Past a lit-up funeral parlor in territorial burnt-adobe brick: Strong-Thorne Mortuary — "Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting?" Dive! Beneath the overpass of the Sante Fe (Holy Faith) Railroad — "Go Santa Fe All the Way."
"Ah," sighed the doctor, "I like this. I like this. ..."
"Yeah, but it interferes with my driving if you don't mind."
"El Mano Negro strikes again."
"Yeah, Doc, okay, but you're gonna get us in a wreck and my mother will sue."
"True," he says, "but it's worth it."
Beyond the prewar motels of stucco and Spanish tile at the city's western fringe, they drove out on a long low bridge.
She stopped the car. Doc Sarvis gazed down at the river, the Rio Grande, great river of New Mexico, its dark and complicated waters shining with cloud-reflected city light.
"My river," he says.
"Let's take that river trip."
"Soon, soon." He held up a finger. "Listen. ..."
They listened. The river was mumbling something down below, something like a message: Come flow with me, Doctor, through the deserts of New Mexico, down through the canyons of Big Bend and on to the sea the Gulf the Caribbean, down where those young sirens weave their seaweed garlands for your hairless head, O Doc. Are you there? Doc?
"Drive on, Bonnie. This river aggravates my melancholia."
"Not to mention your self-pity."
"My sense of déjà vu."
"Your Welt-schmaltz. You love it."
"Well. ..." He pulled out the lighter. "As to that, who can say?"
"Oh, Doc." Watching the river, driving on, watching the road, she patted his knee. "Don't think about all that anymore."
Doc nodded, holding the red coil to his cigar. The glow of the lighter, the soft lights of the instrument panel, gave to his large and bony, bald but bearded head a hard-worn dignity. He looked like Jean Sibelius with eyebrows and whiskers, in the full vigor of his fruitful forties. Sibelius lived for ninety-two years. Doc had forty-two and a half to go.
Abbzug loved him. Not much, perhaps, but enough. She was a tough piece out of the Bronx but could be sweet as apfelstrudel when necessary. That classic Abbzug voice might rasp on the nerves at times, when her mood was querulous, but kisses or candy or con could usually mellow the harshest of her urban tones. Her tongue though adder- sharp was sweet (he thought) as Mogen David all the same.
His mother also loved him. Of course his mother had no choice. That's what she was paid for.
His wife had loved him, more than he deserved, more than realism required. Given sufficient time she might have outgrown it. The children were all grown up and a continent away.
Doc's nicer patients liked him but didn't always pay their bills. He had a few friends, some poker-playing cronies on the Democratic County Committee, some drinking companions from the Medical Arts Clinic, a couple of neighbors in the Heights. No one close. His few close friends were always sent away, it seemed, returning rarely, the bonds of their affection no stronger than the web of correspondence, which frays and fades.
He was therefore proud and grateful to have a nurse and buddy like Ms. Bonnie Abbzug at his side, this night, as the black automobile rose westward under the rosy smog-glow of the city's personal atmosphere, beyond the last of the Texaco, Arco and Gulf stations, past the final Wagon Wheel Bar, into the open desert. High on the western mesa near burnt-out volcanoes, under the blazing, dazzling, starry sky, they stopped among the undefended billboards at the highway's side. Time to choose another target.
Doc Sarvis and Bonnie Abbzug looked them over. So many, all so innocent and vulnerable, ranged along the roadway in serried ranks, clamoring for the eye. Hard to choose. Should it be the military?
THE MARINE CORPS BUILDS MEN
Why don't it build women? Bonnie asked. Or how about the truckers' editorial?
IF TRUCKS STOP AMERICA STOPS
Don't threaten me, you sons of bitches. He checked out the political:
WHAT'S WRONG WITH BEING RIGHT? JOIN THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY!
But preferred the apolitical:
HAVE A NICE DAY WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
Dr. Sarvis loved them all, but sensed a certain futility in his hobby. He carried on these days more from habit than conviction. There was a higher destiny calling to him and Ms. Abbzug. That beckoning finger in his dreams.
"What do you say?"
"You might as well knock over one more, Doc. We drove all this way. You won't be happy if you don't."
"Good girl. Which one shall it be?"
Bonnie pointed. "I like that one."
Doc said, "Exactly." He climbed out of the car and stumbled to the back, through the tin-can tumbleweed community of the roadside ecology. He opened the trunk lid and removed, from among the golf clubs, the spare tire, the chain saw, the case of spray paint, the tire tools, the empty gas can, another gasoline can, full. Doc closed the lid. Across the length of his rear bumper a luminous sticker proclaimed in glowing red, white and blue, I AM PROUD TO BE AN ARMENIAN!
Doc's car carried other hex signs — he was indeed a decalcomaniac — to ward off evil: the M.D.'s caduceus, American flag decals in each corner of the rear window, a gold-fringed flag dangling from the radio aerial, in one corner of the windshield a sticker which read "Member of A.B.L.E. — Americans for Better Law Enforcement," and in the other corner the blue eagle of the National Rifle Association with the traditional adage, "Register Communists, Not Guns."
Taking no chances, looking both ways, severe and sober as a judge, carrying his matches and his can of gasoline, Dr. Sarvis marched through the weeds, the broken bottles, the rags and beer cans of the ditch, all that tragic and abandoned trivia of the American road, and climbed the cutbank toward the object of his fierymania:
WONDER ENRICHED BREAD HELPS BUILD STRONG BODIES 12 WAYS
While down below his Bonnie waited at the wheel of the Lincoln, her engines running, ready for getaway. The trucks and cars howled by on the highway and their lights shone briefly on the girl's face, her violet eyes, her smile, and on Doc's other bumper sticker, the one that confronted the future: GOD BLESS AMERICA, LET'S SAVE SOME OF IT.CHAPTER 2
Origins II: George W. Hayduke
George Washington Hayduke, Vietnam, Special Forces, had a grudge. After two years in the jungle delivering Montagnard babies and dodging helicopters (for those boys up there fired their tumbling dumdums at thirty rounds per second at anything that moved: chickens, water buffalo, rice farmers, newspaper reporters, lost Americans, Green Beret medics — whatever breathed) and another year as a prisoner of the Vietcong, he returned to the American Southwest he had been remembering only to find it no longer what he remembered, no longer the clear and classical desert, the pellucid sky he roamed in dreams. Someone or something was changing things.
The city of Tucson from which he came, to which he returned, was ringed now with a circle of Titan ICBM bases. The open desert was being scraped bare of all vegetation, all life, by giant D-9 bulldozers reminding him of the Rome plows leveling Vietnam. These machine-made wastes grew up in tumbleweed and real-estate development, a squalid plague of future slums constructed of green two-by-fours, dry-wall fiberboard and prefab roofs that blew off in the first good wind. This in the home of free creatures: horned toads, desert rats, Gila monsters and coyotes. Even the sky, that dome of delirious blue which he once had thought was out of reach, was becoming a dump for the gaseous garbage of the copper smelters, the filth that Kennecott, Anaconda, Phelps- Dodge and American Smelting & Re-fining Co. were pumping through stacks into the public sky. A smudge of poisoned air overhung his homeland.
Hayduke smelled something foul in all this. A smoldering bitterness warmed his heart and nerves; the slow fires of anger kept his cockles warm, his hackles rising. Hayduke burned. And he was not a patient man.
After a month with his parents, he raced off to a girl at Laguna Beach. Found, fought and lost her. He returned to the desert, heading north by east for the canyon country, the Arizona Strip and the wild lands beyond. There was one place he had to see and brood upon awhile before he could know what he had to do.
He had in mind Lee's Ferry, the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon.
Hayduke rumbled up the asphalt trail in his new secondhand jeep, one eye on the road and the other itching with hay fever; he was allergic to tumbleweed, that exotic vegetable from the steppes of Mongolia. He had bought the jeep, a sandstorm-blasted sun-bleached blue, in San Diego from a team of car dealers named Square Deal Andy and Top Dollar Johnny. The fuel pump had given out first, near Brawley, and at Yuma, limping off the freeway with a flat, he discovered that Square Deal had sold him (for only $2795, it's true) a jeep without a jack. Small problems: he liked this machine; he was pleased with the handy extras — roll bars, auxiliary gas tank, mag rims and wide-tread tires, the Warn hubs and the Warn winch with 150-foot cable, the gimbal-mounted beer-can holder screwed to the dash, the free and natural paint job.
The desert eased his vague anger. Near the dirt road which turned off the highway and led east for ten miles to the volcanic ramparts of the Kofa Mountains, he stopped, well away from the traffic, and made himself a picnic lunch. He sat on warm rock in the blazing spring sun, eating pickle and cheese and ham in onion roll, washing it down with beer, and opened himself through pore and nerve ends to the sweet stillness of the Arizona desert. He gazed about and found that he still remembered most of the scrubby little trees: the mesquite (great fuel for cooking and heating, beans for hard times, shade for survival), the green-barked paloverde with its leafless stems (the chlorophyll is in the bark), the subtle smoke tree floating like a mirage down in the sandy wash.
Hayduke proceeded. The hot fury of the wind at 65 mph whistled past his open window, strummed his sleeve, kissed his ear as he drove on and on, northeast toward the high country, the good country, God's country, Hayduke's country, by God. And it better stay that way. Or by God there'll be trouble.
* * *
Twenty-five years old, Hayduke is a short, broad, burly fellow, well-muscled, built like a wrestler. The face is hairy, very hairy, with a wide mouth and good teeth, big cheekbones and a thick shock of blue-black hair. A bit of Shawnee blood back in there, maybe, somewhere, way back in the gene pool. His hands are large and powerful, pale white under the black hair; he's been in the jungle and then in the hospital for a long time.
He drank another beer as he drove along. Two and a half six-packs to Lee's Ferry. Out there in the open Southwest, he and his friends measured highway distances in per-capita six-packs of beer. L.A. to Phoenix, four six-packs; Tucson to Flagstaff, three six-packs; Phoenix to New York, thirty-five six-packs. (Time is relative, said Heraclitus a long time ago, and distance a function of velocity. Since the ultimate goal of transport technology is the annihilation of space, the compression of all Being into one pure point, it follows that six-packs help. Speed is the ultimate drug and rockets run on alcohol. Hayduke had formulated this theory all by himself.)
He felt and shared in the exhilaration of the sun, the rush of alcohol through the bloodstream, the satisfaction in his jeep running full and cool and properly, tooling up the pike toward the red cliffs of the canyon country, the purple mesas, the cliff-rose and the blue birds. All the readings of his complicated nervous system indicated trouble. But then they always did. He was happy.
There was a special camp of the Special Forces. There was a special sign that hung, along with the Confederate flags, from the entrance gateway to the special camp. The sign said:
If you kill for money you're a mercenary.
If you kill for pleasure you're a sadist.
If you do both you're a Green Beret.
Into the high country. The mountains of Flagstaff loomed ahead, the high peaks dappled with snow. Smoke from the lumber mills drifted gray-blue across the green coniferous haze of the Coconino National Forest, the great green woodland belt of northern Arizona. Through his open window came the chill clear air, the odor of resin, the smell of woodsmoke. The sky above the mountains was untouched by a single cloud, like the dark blue of infinite desire.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Monkey Wrench Gang"
Copyright © 2003 Clarke Abbey.
Excerpted by permission of RosettaBooks.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
PROLOGUE: The Aftermath,
1 Origins I: A. K. Sarvis, M.D.,
2 Origins II: George W. Hayduke,
3 Origins III: Seldom Seen Smith,
4 Origins IV: Ms. B. Abbzug,
5 The Wooden Shoe Conspiracy,
6 The Raid at Comb Wash,
7 Hayduke's Night March,
8 Hayduke and Smith at Play,
9 Search and Rescue on the Job,
10 Doc and Bonnie Go Shopping,
11 Back to Work,
12 The Kraken's Arm,
14 Working on the Railroad,
15 Rest and Relaxation,
16 Saturday Night in America,
17 The American Logging Industry: Plans and Problems,
18 Dr. Sarvis at Home,
19 Strangers in the Night,
20 Return to the Scene of the Crime,
21 Seldom Seen at Home,
22 George and Bonnie Carry On,
23 At the Hidden Splendor,
24 Escape of the Depredator,
25 Rest Stop,
26 Bridgework: Prolegomena to the Final Chase,
27 On Your Feet: The Chase Begins,
28 Into the Heat: The Chase Continues,
29 Land's End: One Man Left,
30 Edge of the Maze: The Chase Concluded,
EPILOGUE: The New Beginning,
What People are Saying About This
"Mixes comedy and chaos with enough chase sequences to leave you hungering for more." -San Francisco Chronicle
This book is mischievous and absolutely funny. Written in a down to earth style that tells the adventures of four people who bring out the spirit of rabble Americans. I choose this book for a read in a college course I am taking and we just happen to have this book on our shelf. I was very pleased with this book it had me consumed in the journeys and the spirit of each character. Abbey really knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat. If you have not read this then you should it offers a much bigger perspective upon this work we do live in, now it¿s your choice if you wish to follow in the foot steps of ole George Hayduke, Doc. Savis, Seldom seen Smith, and Bonnie Abbzug!
A must read for all lovers of nature.
The ¿Monkey Wrench Gang¿ by Edward Abbey is set in, and around the Four Corners in the mid 1970¿s. A retired doctor, an ex green beret, a die-hard environmentalist, and a hearty outdoorsman, four eco-terrorists have joined to prevent the destruction of the land. They all have one mindset destroy any mechanics that hinder natural movement, such as dams and bridges! They don¿t do this in peaceful ways but only in mass destruction. A reader notices that the author is obviously trying to persuade them through the use of the character¿s dialect. The use of dialect between characters shows the reader plot, setting, conflict, and theme. The book shows the author¿s views and try¿s to persuade his audience. It is shows that he has a strong opinion on the Governments authority. He makes the reader think and uses a lot of action to keep them in suspense. The eco-terrorists blow up dams and bridges anything that may destroy natural movement. This shows that the author also has a strong opinion of destruction of natural land. The dialect between the characters shows these feelings well.
Amidst the narrow canyons of the American Southwest, Edward Abbey creates a tale uniting four unlikely companions under one goal: To end the development of the desert southwest and return it to its original state before it was introduced to the punishing work of man. Hayduke, an ex-special forces officer, joins a seasoned raft guide named Seldom Seen Smith who both then meet Bonnie Abbzug and Doc Sarvis on a raft trip. It is on this trip that the foursome chooses to form a gang determined to stop the damaging effects of progress by almost any means. The book follows the crew as they travel from one area to another, destroying construction equipment and other symbols of development as they go. The interaction between characters is hilarious, and their differences only make the book more appealing. Complete with danger and romance, 'The Monkey Wrench Gang' is truly a thorough piece of literature. Countless times Abbey writes of the beauty and bountiful miracles of the desert and each time it is the same area in which the gang is saving from inevitable doom. Abbey describes how the scenery surrounding the characters has a beauty which is difficult to challenge. In an excellent example, Abbey writes, 'The stars looked down. Preliminary premonitions of the old moon already modifying the eastern reaches. There was no wind, no sound but the vast transpiration, thinned to a whisper by distance¿'(90). The setting also offers an incredible background to the intense action going on throughout the book. Whether it is a high-speed chase over narrow roads and along steep canyon walls or a ride down an immense canyon, Abbey always dedicates a beautiful passage to each area in the book. Setting helps to develop the tone of the book as well. By describing, in detail, each region, Abbey gives the sense of true rage and resentment to those who dare to touch this land. The theme is also well-developed due to Abbey's great description of the desert. Those who choose to destroy something beautiful for their personal gain must be challenged, no matter how great the enemy.
I¿m not sure it¿s the best idea to read Edward Abbey in October of an election year. But then again, maybe it is. Direct action instead of indirect action. If you¿ve ever loved a beach, a bay, a gulf, a canyon, a trail, a swamp, a desert, or some other part of the commons and then seen it threatened or destroyed by development or greed, then you¿ve probably felt the way the (anti?)heroes of the Monkey Wrench Gang felt. Most of us don¿t act on those feelings in the way the Gang does; instead we might make our yearly donations to the Sierra Club or NRDC or some other environmental organization (that Abbey also lampoons) or maybe we just try not to think about it and call it progress. This book will definitely make you think next time you see cows on BLM (i.e., public) land or logging trucks or mine tailings in a National (i.e., public) forest.Either way, this book is a good read about people who love their land enough to fight for it any way short of committing violence against other people. Abbey loved the southwest, and his Gang loves it too. I love the Robert Crumb illustrations in the edition I read as well. Very fitting match to the text. For those who prefer their reading less subversive, I would also highly recommend his book Desert Solitaire.
I can see the great writing, which is why it didn't get 1 star. The characters are flat and it reads almost like a manual of how to take down (badly) a system you don't like, though you use, which is a bit ironic. I couldn't force myself to finish reading the entire story, I was so bored.
One of my all-time favorite books.
Perhaps if any book could be called THE Environmental Classic, this book should certainly be in the top contenders for the title. Abbey's gang of lovable misfits sets out to save the world, one fence at a time, and ends up in adventures both amusing and disheartening at the same time. Probably the greatest of all Abbey's novels, and a rollicking tale of the new west.
When I was about 12 years old, my dad took my sister and me camping in Southeast Utah. We took my dad's Ford truck with four wheel drive to Canyonlands National Park and went on various roads, back roads, dirt roads, and roads that were barely roads at all. We bumped around the slick rock of Ernies Country, and went up a narrow and twisty dirt road with a sheer cliff on one side. It terrified my sister and I so that we buckled into the middle seat together and sang hymns the whole way down. We camped underneath one of the needles, and slept in sleeping bags under the stars. Before night fell, my dad took us to the edge of the canyon and peered over the edge into The Maze. As we looked at it, he told me the story of the climax in The Monkey Wrench Gang. I knew I would have to read this book. Standing there on the light side of dusk, and in fact that whole trip, hymns and all, is one of my favorite childhood memories.And so it was with a fond recollection of my times in Northern Arizona Southeast Utah I read The Monkey Wrench Gang, a book about the beauty of this unforgiving dessert and the environmental anarchists that love it.The plot is simple - in the mid 70s, 4 characters unlikely to hang out together under normal circumstances - a young new age hippy woman, a liberal doctor/processor, a Vietnam vet turned wildman, and a Mormon polygamous white water river tour operator - have a chance meeting and hatch a plot to disrupt the building of dams and bridges, logging, and other industrial pursuits. Along the way they have various adventures while trying to evade the authorities.The book is very comedic, and I found myself chuckling at various points throughout. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to sympathize with these characters who didn't seem much like me and were involved in destructive illegal activity. And yet I did find myself rooting for them all along the way.The book kept me guessing til the end. Would they get caught or not? Would they evade the police? How would they do it? I wondered if the author would let them get caught to pay for their crimes or not. I found the ending to be very satisfying and it left me with a smile on my face.I'd recommend this book to any person familiar with Southeast Utah. It really brought back some wonderful memories. This book is also for anyone who loves nature or hiking. Even if you would never dream of blowing up a dam, the characters' passion for unspoiled wilderness is contagious.
Violent in writing if not necessarily in the actions described, this book deals brilliantly deals with the difficulty of acting when the political system is seen not to be responsive to the problematic relationship between business and the environment. Humourous, topic and relevant
Love the concept, love the story, love the ideals- but Ed Abbey isn't the greatest of writers. At times he literally just starts listing things and seems to rattle on until he realizes what he's doing and pulls himself back into the story. My only other gripe is with the Hayduke character- although one of the heroes he's very hard to like. I'm a big fan of the "lovable rogue", but Hayduke is more of a "gross, sexist, redneck rogue" than a lovable one. The other three main characters are fantastic though and definitely pick up the slack!
Utter dross. Environmentalists who litter the highway with beer cans? Really? The main character is a self righteous toddler. Don't waste your time.
Tag says it all really. Story of a bunch of ecoteurs travelling around the SW of the USA wrecking stuff. Well told in a kind of sort of ironicish way. Entertaining and inspiring.
Entertaining story & interesting premise with attractive descriptions of the beautful desert country. Four different characters seek to put a monkeywrench in the churning of the western environment for the right reasons.
"Few arguements are more dangerous thant the ones that simply 'feel' right, but can't be justified" -SJ GouldIn a phrase, this sums up my objections to "the monkey wrench gang" philosophy. The book, which is rather well written and an interesting read, I feel inspires entirely the wrong set of ideas about the wrongs of environmentalism as radical culture. The essential underlying theme, spelled out in certain places, is that if you're "fighting the man" you need not think about the consequences of you actions.Essentially the book details the adventures of 4 members of the monkey wrnech gang, their personal environmentalism avenger group, with requisite anarchic yet gentle and peace loving feelings and a love of nature. Their unlikely meeting ends with them inexplicably trusting one another, at which point they decide to wreak havoc on the evil corporations and governments who are despoiling their lands by... get this, destroying "The Man's" heavy machinery and spilling the oil and gasoline into the groundwater. Of course, this involves burning various toxic substances, causing all sorts of destruction, while driving around in their nice, gas guzzling Buicks and Cadillacs.All in all, an interesting read to understand the essential moral bankruptcy of the anarcho-environmentalist movement. Their lack of integrity is only rivaled by, (and a reflection of) their lack of thinking about how to realistically cope with a world not of their own design.
This isn't something I'd normally read, but I ended up really liking it. The characters are funny and larger than life, but the message is one that is very timely. It's one of the few books I've ever convinced my husband to read.
Edward Abbey has the ability to make you laugh while breaking your heart. This tragicomedy about 4 unlikely individuals who decide to stop the onslaught of unbridled development, is a must-read for those of us who would understand why ecoterrorism exists.
Third time reading this story and still find it an awesome read.
Loved this book!
*Climbs to the top of the skyscraper, pulls down the cut-out, stabs it, rips it to shreads, burns it, then spits on the ashes.*