Sunday, February 27, 2000

The Monkey Wrench Gang

by Edward Abbey

Four ecologically-minded misfits – a jack Mormon, a surgeon, a nurse and a crazed Vietnam vet Green Beret – form a group dedicated to the destruction of the system that pollutes and destroys their environs, the West. As their attacks on deserted bulldozers and trains continue, the law’s net closes in. Written with erudition, flair and down-home wit, the book’s descriptions ring true (Abbey made the West his home and practiced wilderness survival).

It’s an enjoyable, funny morality tale disguised as high adventure. Interestingly, the Gang in some ways bore little resemblance to what I think of as eco-fanatics – they eat lots of red meat, drink beer and litter the roadside with cans, drive big cars, etc. Also, Abbey’s politics are not “bleeding heart,” as he calls it, attacking Indians as well as whites for their consumerism, taking jibes at the Sierra Club, etc.

four stars