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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 environmentalism, every organization has its niche, each fulfilling an important role. Another disappointment stems from the author’s apparent lack of humor in his tone; after all, he is focusing on activists whose greatest successes—such as the unfurling of a huge, plastic “crack” on the Glen Canyon Dam—have been “jokes” at the expense of the powers that be. In its most engaging moments, Green Rage narrates the playful deeds of a diverse assortment of folks committed to protecting the environment. This history continues to be played out, with increasing vigor. It will not be long before Manes has to provide us with a subsequent volume. SEAN O’GRADY University of California, Davis Midnight Wilderness: Journeys in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. By Debbie S. Miller. (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1990. 227 pages, $19.95.) In the summer of 1975 Debbie Miller and her husband Dennis arrived in Arctic Village, Alaska, an Athabaskan village located on the southern border of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For the next thirteen years she and Dennis explored this vast wild area, which is approximately the size of Maine. Midnight Wilderness gathers together eleven essays derived from those experi­ ences. The book is divided into four sections: “Northern Birthplace,” “Into 76 Western American Literature the Brooks Range,” “Along the Divide,” and “Oil Versus Wilderness: The Future.” Each of these essays weaves together personal narrative, factual reportage, and political argument. As might be expected, Debbie Miller is an advocate of environmental conservation with respect to the issue of oil development in the Arctic Refuge. “What we take out of the ground,” she writes, “we can’t put back. What wilderness we alter or destroy, we can’t re-create. If we industrialize the wildest corner of America for temporary economic gains, we are robbing from future generations of mankind and wildlife.” Midnight Wilderness is an eloquent argument for preservation; the author’s love for this austere but beautiful realm is apparent on every page. A favorite chapter of this reviewer—“A Mystery Solved”—relates a startling discovery Debbie Miller made while backpacking in the remote Philip Smith Mountains. As the party hiked up a trailless drainage, searching for a pass over the rugged mountain, they came upon the wreckage of a plane. A quick search revealed the old flight logs. It was later determined that Miller had solved one of Alaska’s most mysterious aircraft disappearances, for this was the plane on which Clarence Rhode, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director, was lost in 1958. Miller later recounts the emotional experi­ ence of leading members of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 75-76
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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