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74 Western American Literature coverage,” Wilkinson informs his reader in the “Preface.” “The books dis­ cussed here are only those that I have read or made myself familiar with as resource works through my research” (vii). I like Wilkinson’s regional, “conceptual” approach because it necessitates an integrated, multidisciplinary combination of materials focusing on what I too feel are the key issues, creating “a spirited and comprehensive sense of historical developments, personalities, cultures, landscapes, and contemporary events” (8). I also appreciate his frankness. He begins his first chapter quoting Wallace Stegner, to whom the book is dedicated, and who Wilkinson tells us is the “wisest observer of this region” (1). The reader may agree or disagree, but he or she knows where Wilkinson stands—and why: “This book is an attempt to collect some of the writings, fiction as well as nonfiction, that best explain the central forces that have influenced the way of life of the American West. This work also presents a rough organization that, in my view,” Wilkinson writes, “demonstrates a cohesiveness for the whole region and for the many communities within it” (7). Wilkinson feels the “words and ideas” already exist which will allow Westerners to make “wise decisions” about their future, especially if they are read within a “regional” and “conceptual” framework. The 479 books referred to in this very original narrative bibliography are cross-referenced and alphabetized at the end for handy reference. This is a thoughtful work, profitable for the general and professional reader. JOE GORDON Colorado Springs, Colorado Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization. By Christopher Manes. (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990. 291 pages, $18.95.) We knew from the start that the Reagan Administration would be eco­ logically bankrupt. James Watt and Donald Hodel, in their evangelical zeal to sell out and off our public lands, embodied the environmental community’s greatest nightmare. Those were bad times—but not without happy irony: the Reagan years saw the flowering of the radical environmental movement. Groups such as Greenpeace, the Sea Shepherds, and Earth First! began to capture the American imagination. By 1988, the Republican candidate for president felt compelled to market himself as an “environmentalist.” Surely the stories behind this radicalism would make good reading. In Green Rage, Christopher Manes gives us some of them. As a former associate editor of the journal Earth First!, Manes writes with an insider’s authority—and bias. Green Rage supplies a necessary (albeit slanted) update to the history of the conservation movement, by focusing on the radical, and frankly, more colorful figures that have com^ to dominate Reviews 75 environmental politics in the 1990s. Although Manes regales us with highlights of the people and events associated with Earth First!, he roots this history in the context of an emerging global environmental politics. In all honesty, the book gets off to a slow start. The first two chapters are hampered by ideological rant, putting off those readers who don’t agree and putting to sleep those who do. Things finally get interesting in Chapter 3, when Manes starts telling the tale. He opens with Earth Day in 1970 and follows with a synopsis of the ensuing decade’s environmental events, culmi­ nating in the founding of Earth First!. The bulk of the book then recounts, with unabashed pride, the burgeoning of radical environmentalism in the 1980s. Through these pages, the reader also garners a useful overview of the environmental philosophy known as Deep Ecology. The most important—and disturbing—section of the book is Part 3, in which Manes details the responses of the U.S. government and big business to radical environmentalism. FBI infiltrations, the National Forest Drug Enforcement Act, and the military’s further appropriation of public lands for bombing ranges, are just some of the chilling ways in which the people and remaining wild lands of the American West have come under siege. Perhaps democracy ought to be added to the Endangered Species list. The book is, however, disappointing at times. In his partisan celebration of the radicals, he relentlessly attacks the “bureaucratic environmentalism” of mainstream organizations such as the Sierra Club. Certainly, in the great web that is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 74-75
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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