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The Monkey Wrench Gang
Edward Abbey
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The Monkey Wrench Gang (Monkey Wrench Gang #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  16,364 Ratings  ·  1,091 Reviews

"And just what the hell are they planning next?"

The bridge, bedecked with bunting, steamers and Day-Glo banners, was ready. the throng prepared to unloose a cheer or two. Suddenly the center of the bridge rose up and broke in two along a jagged zigzag line. A sheet of read flame streamed skyward...

"This is their last stunt, Governor. We're on their tail, sir. We have a

Audio Cassette, 17 pages
Published May 1st 1988 by Books on Tape, Inc. (first published 1975)
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(showing 1-30)
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This tale of four "goldamn envirn-meddlers" is one of the least compelling stories I've ever read. I put off picking up the book until just before bedtime, and that one or two paragraphs I managed to read sure did wonders for lulling me into unconsciousness. The parts I did stay awake for only served to piss me off. The hypocrisy of these eco-terrorists is laughable. They motor up and down the very highways they rage against, burning massive amounts of fossil fuels in the commission of their pro ...more
May 22, 2007 Abby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: environmentalists, disillusioned activists
Shelves: fiction
Yes, it's an iconic work of anarchy and environmentalism, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth the read. This book is hilarious. Like most other American nature writers, Abbey was a bit of a self-important pig (I can't stand Farley Mowat, though maybe he's Canadian); unlike most other American nature writers, he has a sense of humor about it.

The characters are grizzled and absurd, their actions are grandiose and delusional, and I felt a strong sense of solidarity and sympathy the whole way that
Jonathan Ashleigh
Nov 04, 2015 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent
I had a tough time getting through this book. Every character had basically the same personality and the story just rambles and rambles. People seem to love Edward Abbey for his out-there ideas, but they don’t do much for me at this time.
Mar 30, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In recent times, Al Gore has credited Rachel Carson (The Silent Spring) for introducing environmental concerns into his nascent consciousness, but it is a work of fiction not fact, Edward Abbey's "Monkey Wrench Gang", published first in 1975, which is regarded as having inspired a new generation of angry young environmental activists to the practice of extreme sabotage, sometimes called terrorism, for the sake of protecting the earth. For this reason, I recently reread this novel. I was interest ...more
Mar 07, 2007 meredith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I blame reading this book at an inappropriately young age (9 or 10?) for the violent gag reflex that occurs whenever I smell patchouli, as well as the involuntary "NOOOOOOO" that I surprise myself with every time a ratty college do-gooder accosts me with a clipboard and a jaunty, "do you have a minute for the environment?"

Also, the surfeit of clunky, unshaven, back-of-the-VW-with-a-dog-looking-on-from-the-front-seat sex that occurs every second or third chapter couldn't have been good for my ove
Jun 18, 2007 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Giving this book 5 stars would probably put me on some sort of a list, but let's be honest: I'm already on that list. If you're at all concerned about the environment, this is a pretty good book to read. It was the inspiration for Earth First! (The exclamation point is part of the name of the organization, the real end of the sentence follows this parenthetical). But the great part about this book is that it isn't a boring didactic screed. Instead, it's a hilarious comedy/adventure novel. To giv ...more
Apr 08, 2011 Mykle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel has all the same elements that make Edward Abbey's non-fiction so compelling: the depth of his knowledge and emotions about the desert landscapes of Utah and Colorado, his poetic descriptions of same, and his eloquent condemnation of the loss of this wilderness for the sake of city-dwelling, industrial man.

This book has all of that on display in droves, but also it highlights some of his weaknesses: smart-assey movie dialogue, rampant sexism and a love of bad puns. His four protagonis
Oct 01, 2009 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 c ...more
A modern day classic and still capable of stirring up people on both sides of the issue. Provocative,descriptive,sarcastic, humorous, engrossing and angry are just a few of the words that come to mind when describing Edward Abbey's most well known book. I do not consider myself a radical or hardcore environmentalist. I'm too much a product of the modern era for that. I ,and those I love, have benefited from the modern world and "evil" technology (modern medicine, computers and so on). However I ...more
Jun 10, 2008 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK I'll try not to say what other reviewers have said. First of all, I loved the drama, the ideas, the characters, but I didn't buy the ending at all so I deducted a star. The other star was deducted because of the at times clunky writing and I think the character's histories merited further discussion.

First what I liked: The plot is riveting, to the point of agonizing. You just want them to call it quits and save themselves! It can get a little bogged down in technical descriptions. Stylistica
Katrina V.
Sep 01, 2010 Katrina V. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
The summer after I graduated from college I spent a lot of time out west, roaming the country between Salt Lake City, Utah and the beautiful park land nearby; Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, and a personal childhood favorite of mine, Goblin Valley, where the shadows cast by the rocks in the twilight evoke ghoulish figures creeping up on you from all sides. I love these landscapes, so different from the Connecticut hills I grew up in – the colors, smells, and emotions of the American West are somethin ...more
May 24, 2007 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ed Abbey called The Monkey Wrench Gang, his 1975 novel, a "comic extravaganza." Some readers have remarked that the book is more a comic book than a real novel, and it's true that reading this incendiary call to protect the American wilderness requires more than a little of the old willing suspension of disbelief. The story centers on Vietnam veteran George Washington Hayduke III, who returns to the desert to find his beloved canyons and rivers threatened by industrial development. On
Pat Loughery
Jan 23, 2011 Pat Loughery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
There are two ways to review this book.

One, as a novel. Edwards Abbey writes a blazing, funny, madcap zany story of a group of four anarchist friends, hell-bent to stop the development of the southwest wilderness by crushing dams, bridges, power plants and anything else they can. On the run from the local Mormon do-gooder Search&Rescue crew, the FBI, the National Park Service and anybody else they run into, the quartet is likeable, entertaining and extremely enjoyable.

The dialogue is massive
Apr 13, 2010 Elaine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dirty hippies that are rebels to be rebels
Recommended to Elaine by: bookclub
We are reading this in my book club. So far I want to punch myself in the face. Hard. As hard as I possible can. Cartoon-like storyboard, self-important hippies that drive cars that use gas and miss the irony of that act, sexist men, hippies that talk about saving the environment as a "I care about stuff more than you, look at me I am such 'rebel' and everyone who disagrees is the Man" masturbation technique, annoying tense shifts, hippies, 7th grade creative writing descriptions of scenery, and ...more
Virginia Arthur
Jul 15, 2013 Virginia Arthur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great American Classic. It is impossible to fully describe its influence.

I love reading the comments about Abbey. He just pissed off everybody. This was when the so-called "environmental" movement in this country had balls and snark. Now, it's pot-lucks and social events, getting anything done as an afterthought. It's "being professional"=lobotomy.

Ed walked the land and knew the land. He knew the critters like they were his friends. He read the sky. He was about our AMERICAN LAND
Jul 27, 2007 Nadine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of our few remaining natural treasures
Shelves: environment
Edward Abbey was my dad's favorite author. We once stayed at a place near Moab, Utah called Pack Creek Ranch. Our cabin butted up against Abbey's former shack, where he did his writing. Somehow it has taken me 10 years to pick up one of his books, and I'm so glad I did. The Monkey Wrench Gang makes even the most law abiding citizen (such as myself, haha) want to pour sand into the gas tank of a bulldozer. The book revolves around a plot to blow up Glen Canyon Dam, the travesty that drowned the c ...more
Sep 12, 2007 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like action/adventure, and those who normally read non-fiction
Shelves: readit
Genteel Doc Sarvis, solid and faithful (though patently unfaithful in marriage) Seldom Seen Smith, wild George Hayduke and breathtakingly pretty if directionless Bonnie Abbzug make an unlikely band of eco-activists/bandits with questionable motives in this book perhaps loosely based on an actual group of bandits running around blowing up things they thought ecologically unsound in the 1970s.

Despite lots of action-packed sequences, this book really took me forever to get through. I started it in
Sep 13, 2013 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina in a small city notable for its hippies and weirdos and just a hop, skip and jump away from a university where Edward Abbey taught English and raged against machines for a minute or two. My dad was pretty environmentally motivated. And I'm pretty sure "The Monkey Wrench Gang" made its way into dinner conversation several times in my youth. This may have been why I never read it as a teenager* like the rest of my friends did.

I remember when a b
Ned Mozier
Jul 30, 2014 Ned Mozier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's where my reading practice paid off: By avoiding the hype of what others say and have said about the author, I enjoyed his art in what I can only hope is how he originally had hoped it would hit his readers. Having read Desert Solitaire and a couple of brief interviews with the man, I was still shocked by the skillful quality of literature this book represents. It is not conventional in any way, in fact the four "protagonists" are all deeply flawed in many moral dimensions, including crimi ...more
LeeAnn Heringer
I put this on my reading list because it's ground zero of the Earth First! environmentalist movement, the vandalism as civil disobedience. And I am not an Earth Firster, tree spiker, SUV dealership destructor, rescuer of bunnies from cosmetic labs, kind of girl. But how who doesn't not love virgin stands of redwoods and the wide, wide, endless sky of the American west and the watersheds of the Colorado? There was no doubt that this author loved the American west, knew the plateaus and cliffs, th ...more
May 07, 2009 Erica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kind of disappointing after reading Abbey's 'Desert Solitaire' (a nice piece of nature writing) This book was recommended to me by several friends who are avid cyclists and environmentalists. I thought i would enjoy the tale of these four 'eco-avengers' blowing up bridges and sabotaging construction sites. Instead I was bored by the writing and upset by Abbey's unabashed sexism and racism.
I took this one on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. It was the perfect read for the setting -- or would have been if I'd have been able to read more than 2 - 3 pages each night before the sun set (headlamp batteries must be saved for emergencies). And if I were a guy. And it were still the 70s or maybe 80s. I love Abbey's Desert Solitaire so much, but something about this novel rubbed me the wrong way at times. Mostly the childish, objectified Bonnie. Also, the radical "save the earth by ...more
Brian R. Mcdonald
One of my three favorite books of all time, or at least one of the three that I tend to push on any of my friends who read. It is first and foremost a flat out fun book to read. Though I had little in common with the characters, and wasn't necessarily predisposed toward their political views [I probably share most of their viewpoints and values, but their issues aren't necessarily my priorities:], I liked and identified with them all and became immensely caught up in the plot. In addiion to bein ...more
Pep Bonet
Let me start by stating that I have been hesitating quite a while between granting this book the fourth star or not. Eventually I leave it at three, because I have found it somewhat irritating, tiring, maybe boring. On the other hand it has great qualities. A bit of story: I come to this book thanks to a review of books with ecologists in action only to discover that it was written in 1975 and has served to add a new phrase to the English vocabulary: monkey wrench --just as the French word sabot ...more
Nov 21, 2014 Alicia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
pretty disappointed by this actually. like, the writing was good and I liked the style a lot, and I feel like I should have liked this (environmental vigilantes! exciting chase scenes!) but honestly I couldn't get past the racism and sexism. edward abbey is like the kind of anarchist white dudebro who would unironically say that fight club is their favorite movie.

I think I would have liked this a lot more too if the characters weren't all terrible (and racist). the only girl character was shitt
Stewart Mitchell
Mar 16, 2016 Stewart Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the story of four memorable characters- a foul-mouthed Vietnam vet, a redneck, a doctor, and a nurse (I think?)- who decide to travel the country and blow things up. Specifically, things like bridges, railroads, and dams; anything that they believe to be harmful to nature has to go. So essentially what we have here is Fight Club for hippies, which is exactly what I expected, being that I first heard about this one from Chuck Palahniuk himself in one of his essays. What makes The Mon ...more
Jul 27, 2015 Cora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was fine, not great. the characters are really static and represent extremes of personality mostly, which wasn't very realistic and got a bit annoying by the end. the action throughout the book was always the same since the mission was to basically destroy stuff to help save the environment. i couldn't help but be critical of that approach to "solving" environmental problems since it has no lasting, meaningful effect besides pissing people off. there were some funny/witty parts and abb ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone considering reading this book - be forwarned. the language is rough. very rough. However, it is too well-written and too though-provoking to ignore. I picked this book for a Sustainable Science book club coure I'm teaching this semester. I trust that we will have some very interesting debate and discussion surrounding the themes, characters and times involved in the book and I can't wait for class.
Juan Hidalgo
Jun 07, 2014 Juan Hidalgo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos
La sinopsis de este libro señala que se trata de una hilarante joya cómica, y aunque yo no me atrevería a poner el listón de las risas tan alto, sí es indudable que la historia no deja de provocar constantes sonrisas y que es imposible no simpatizar con sus cuatro alocados y peculiares protagonistas.

Por otro lado, cualquiera que ame la naturaleza y su conservación, deseará unirse de inmediato a la banda de la tenaza :)
Max Nemtsov
Jun 30, 2014 Max Nemtsov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Это не сопротивленье, а война. И все мы прекрасно знаем, кто враг. Не мужчины, не женщины и не дети.
Великолепный, музыкальный, пронзительный роман (и при этом натуральный кинематографичный триллер) о человеческом братстве, об истинном прайде перед отвратительной безликой массой Системы. Абсолютно необходим для жизни.
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where to read 7 86 Dec 08, 2015 02:20PM  
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Edward Paul Abbey (1927 – 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views.

Abbey attended college in New Mexico, and then worked as a park ranger and fire lookout for the National Park Service in the Southwest. It was during this time that he developed the relationship with the area's environm
More about Edward Abbey...

Other Books in the Series

Monkey Wrench Gang (2 books)
  • Hayduke Lives! (Monkey Wrench Gang, #2)

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“Somewhere in the depths of solitude, beyond wilderness and freedom, lay the trap of madness.” 46 likes
“There are some places so beautiful they can make a grown man break down and weep.” 15 likes
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