Steven Howes's Reviews > The Monkey Wrench Gang

The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
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Jun 07, 12

Read in June, 2012

Supposedly, this book provided inspiration for Earth First! and other eco-terrorist groups. While I don't condone the kinds of destructive activities carried out by this band of four misfits, I found myself rooting for them as they wreaked havoc on construction equipment, bridges, dams, buildings and railroads; and tried to avoid detection and capture. The "Gang" consists of four persons - a former Viet Nam green beret, a physician, his assistant (with a degree in classic French Lierature), and a Mormon farmer, river guide and polygamist. While they intend to protect or reclaim wilderness values through acts of eco-terrorism, they are anything but modern-day John Muirs or Henry David Thereaus. They drive gas guzzling vehicles, throw beer cans out of car windows, use the products of the structures they attempt to destroy (water, electricity, produce), and often pine for such amenities when they can't have them. Once caught, they use the tools of modern society and the justice system to help reduce their punishments. The book has a somewhat predictable ending but I enjoyed the book even though it touched on a rather unpleasant subject (especially for those of us involved in natural resource management). Even if the plot of this book may be disturbing to some, the author buries some truly beautiful descriptions of the desert southwest in the text. Anyone who likes to blow things up will really enjoy this book and perhaps find some useful tips.
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