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Coyotes and Town Dogs: Earth First! and the Environmental Movement

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  12 reviews
From tree-spiking old-growth forests to "cracking" desert dams, Earth First! redefined environmentalism in America. Susan Zakin's fast-paced tale of these scruffy radicals and their suit-and-tie counterparts in Washington, D.C., has been described as an unholy marriage of Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. The hipster cowboys who founded Earth First! were the first people t ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by University of Arizona Press (first published 1993)
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Emily
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Susan Zakin really got to know the key players in the early EF! movment, and tells us about their lives in great detail--sometimes too much, as it can be hard to remember all the names involved through the decades that this book covers. It inspires me to get more active in the movement and gives some good monkeywrenching ideas. There's a long chapter on Ed Abbey, in which I learned about his sexist tendencies, but through it all he's still an utterly likeable person. Hoping for an EF! resurgence ...more
Michael
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pull up some survey stakes, drink a beer, and read this book.

Zakin spins an entertaining story of the rise and ultimate fall from grace of one of the most influential environmental organizations of our time. The book emphasis is clearly on Foreman and his cronies and their hard-drinking, take-no-prisoner stand on protecting wilderness. If you're interested in a detailed look inside the personalities that created and shaped Earth First!, then this is your book.
...more
Jeff Garrison
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Susan Zakin should be commended for tackling this project. For most organizations, writing a corporate history is fairly straightforward. But Earth First! wasn’t just any organization, it was a movement with roots in anarchism, creating a nearly impossible task for the historian. The challenge is to capture on paper the events of a loose group of people who defied stereotypes, despised structure, and were spread over half of the continental United States. Zakin achieves this by producing a col ...more
Amber
Sep 30, 2020 added it
DNF. This book is so thick with minutiae I just cannot continue.
Cwn_annwn_13
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very good history of Earth First! before they got taken over by politically correct left coast weenies. Earth First! was very cool back in the day and they got things done without compromise when mainstream conservation groups couldn't or wouldn't. Lots of interesting stuff on Dave Foreman and other well known Earth Firsters as well as other environmental groups and activists, plus info on the Judi Barr bombing as well as the FBI's methods of infiltration when they targetted Dave Foreman in thei ...more
Elizabeth
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am really enjoying this book about Earth First! and the history of legislative action and renegade action in the US in the late 60s, 70s, and 80s. This is very recent history that has huge ramifications for what is even still happening in public lands and just around them...Canyonlands and oil drilling for example today. Highly recommended book, it may be over 400 pages, but the prose and stories jump right along. It's fresh, vigorous writing that mirrors the Buckaroos of the movement. ...more
Lindsey
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Out of all the inspiring literature that exists for environmentalists, this is one that I consider the best. Susan Zakin's account of the genesis of the Earthfirst movement is thorough and even handed without being dogmatic. Her writing is engaging, funny, and fits well with the feel of the movement. The focus of the book is 1970s-1980s EarthFirst before it became a totally lame skeleton of what it once was. Definite must read for anyone who cares about preserving wild America. ...more
Harper
Apr 10, 2008 rated it liked it
dropped this one too when i went away from the summer. it's a very good history of how the American environmental movement formed in the last half of the 20th century. it addresses the role of enviornmentalists in affecting environmental policy. I hope to finish it sometime but my room mate just moved and took it with him. ...more
Eric
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, natural-history
the writing crackles but the subject gets depressing as everybody gets bogged down by personal politics and the effort becomes ineffectual.
Dave Cozzens
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it

Interesting expose on the drug and alcohol driven environmental movement and its flawed heroes.
Shawn
Jan 05, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a good account of some of the main characters involved in the Earth First! movement see Dave Foreman. ...more
Scott
Jun 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Entertaining and illuminating about the dynamics of the environmental movement of the 1980s. The book does suffer a bit from the selective research and clear biases of the author.
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