I was already a hater before I read this book, but even though it didn't tell me anything particularly "new," I loved it. For the first time since Goo...moreI was already a hater before I read this book, but even though it didn't tell me anything particularly "new," I loved it. For the first time since Goosebumps books in elementary school, I read a book in just a day (although spread across a few sittings). I thought that Quinn did an excellent job of putting me, the reader, in the place of the narrator, and it kind of felt like Ishmael was _my_ teacher, not just his.
Of course, there were new things I learned, and questions answered, as well. The book is informative and does a good job of spelling out (basically) what is wrong with our society.
Overall opinion: Excellent and highly recommended. I wanted to buy a copy for everyone I knew after reading it, even though I don't even own the book.(less)
Great book. All of it being good, a few passages stuck out at me. The first was an explanation of where the dinners of he and a friend came from, goin...moreGreat book. All of it being good, a few passages stuck out at me. The first was an explanation of where the dinners of he and a friend came from, going from origin to the plate. The second was a good part of the chapter "A Time of Sleeping," which helped me out by providing something to go to to point out why I want nothing to do with the wage economy.
The whole book, more than anything else, also echoes something I've tried to keep in mind for a long time: to overcome the present predicament will require more than simple policy changes, more than a little activism here and there. What is needed is an awakening of consciousness, a rebirth of sorts. Nothing else will do it. We have thousands of years worth of damage to the collective human psyche, and nothing less than a healing of the psyche will amount to any change that's worth a shit.
Overall: Read it. You might feel like killing yourself half-way through like I did, but he cheered me up, as I was promised he would.(less)
In many ways better than Ishmael. It is more specific in regards to a great many things, which I personally find important. It is not as fast of a rea...moreIn many ways better than Ishmael. It is more specific in regards to a great many things, which I personally find important. It is not as fast of a read as Ishmael thanks to the increased level of specificness and also the extra length, but this is not a bad thing. It is not as dense or hard to understand as a science textbook, although I can see why people have trouble taking in all of the information immediately. There are more passages I want to sit people down to read. This book takes a more evolutionary approach.
As you might expect, there is also some overlap with the material covered in Ishmael. I say this to point it out, but I also want to point out that this is not a bad thing. As it is pointed out within the book, people often require the repetition of ideas to fully understand them, and paired with Ishmael a reader should leave with a good foundation for further idea building. I do think that Ishmael should be read before The Story of B if one is entirely alien to the primitivist/animist/anti-civ ideas, although it could do just fine as a stand-alone book as well, obviously.
The story is a little shaky, but the story is really just a front anyway; the ideas are what are important in this book, not the (less than) revolutionary literary genius. And the ideas are solid, ideas that should be known to all.
In some ways I feel like Endgame will be remembered as Derrick Jensen's magnum opus, and therefore I get the feeling that his later works have been an...moreIn some ways I feel like Endgame will be remembered as Derrick Jensen's magnum opus, and therefore I get the feeling that his later works have been and will continue to be (although this might be an unfair assumption, since I haven't read any of his newer books) rehashes of everything he's covered in Endgame. I guess that's beside the point and not important in judging whether or not it's a good book.
Even though I, personally, wasn't presented with anything particularly "new" (except for specifics, as always), I enjoyed this book just as I've enjoyed everything else I've read by Derrick Jensen, even though he is prone to a few things I don't like. One could say he has an insistence on moralizing things, and for presenting what you could call appeals to emotion(s), but then I guess you could call some of the same arguments appeals to common sense and be just as correct. And always using the Nazis as examples for things is unoriginal, but whatever.... Anyway, I enjoy his style on top of his ideas, so even though his books aren't as eye-opening or life-changing for me as they are for some people, I still feel enriched having read them. He's a great writer and I like all of the books I've read a lot. So, I guess this is to say: I like it, and you should read it.
But back to the magnum opus thing for a second. The reason that I feel like everything after Endgame might be rehashing is this: this is the first book in which he makes his boldest of assertions, and because of that, nothing can ever be the way it once was.
The first sentence in this book is "Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization," and everything—everything—else in the book is clarification and window-dressing. That one sentence is why a lot of people will simply refuse to like this book and will call Derrick Jensen crazy.
And with that, I leave the rest of this review to review of some of the negative reviews on this page. REVIEW.
The review written by Facebook User under the No, It's a Flop section is a review I don't think could have been written by someone who understood everything in this book (or maybe didn't even read the whole thing). I don't mean for this to come across as pure ad hominem, but I don't think anyone who accepts and understands, and pays attention long enough to allow the author to prove his point, the very first premise of this book can make claims such as the ones made in Facebook User's review. Is Derrick an extremist? By most accounts, certainly. But ask yourself this: why is this necessarily bad? Saying this book just depends on "nobel [sic] savage nonsense" is in itself nonsense. Very early in the book Derrick mentions the Aztecs—a "savage" people who were every bit as civilized as Europeans, and therefore living a life every bit as unsustainable. One of the later chapters, "Should we fight back?", is essentially a compilation of quotes from Indians about exterminating the White so the red-man can once again have his land to himself. If anything, this is a chapter that someone could go to, grab a quote, and go "Ha! I told you these savages were violent!" (I'm getting side-tracked.) The cliched 35-year life expectancy criticism of pre-civilized people is *actually* more descriptive of civilization 100 years ago. No anthropologist for 50 years has believed "primitive" people lived (and continue to live) miserable lives of poverty—or that they all died prematurely or were plagued by constant sickness.
Cure: Remove head from ass, and then read long enough to and with a clear enough mind to actually understand the truth of the premise rather than reject it prematurely.
Another user says that Derrick hates people with diabetes, but doesn't really back it up. Strip away the moral baggage. Pointing out that modern medicine keeps people alive who would otherwise die *in no way says anything hateful about diabetics or anyone else who would otherwise die*. It states a fact, and the reaction to that fact is actually telling: "Derrick Jensen thinks I should die because he's pointing out things that are true and I DON'T LIKE THAT THEY ARE TRUE." Again, this user either didn't read much further beyond that or just clung to preconceived notions. Right after Derrick says anything about diabetes, he mentions that he has Chron's disease, which causes him incredible pain, and so he needs modern medicines too. With that all out of the way he continues, however, and, get this, makes his point.