The Monkey Wrench Gang

The Monkey Wrench Gang

Book - 1992
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A group of four individualists, including a mad doctor, a polygamist outdoorsman, a sexy revolutionary, and a burnt-out veteran, join forces in an attempt to stop the so-called progress destroying the natural environment of the American West.
Publisher: New York : Avon, 1992, c1975
ISBN: 9780061129766
0061129763
9780060956448
0060956445
9780380713394
038071339X
Call Number: F ABBEY ED
Characteristics: 346 p. ; 21 cm

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l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

[Polygamist, faux Mormon, Seldom Seen] Smith sighed. ‘Three things my daddy tried to learn me. ‘Son’, he always said, ‘remember these three percepts and you can’t go wrong: One. Never eat [at] a place called Mom’s. Two. Never play cards with a man named Doc.’ He halted. ‘Deal me in.‘ 'That’s only two.’ Bonnie said. ‘I never can recollect the third, and that’s what worries me.’ (p. 308) ...
“Silence. More silence. ‘Now I remember that third precept,’ Smith says, smiling at grim, glum, grimy Hayduke: ‘Never get in bed with a gal that’s got more problems than you have.’” (p. 380)

l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul”, Edward Abbey, xvii

l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

“Doc Sarvis was thinking: All this fantastic effort – giant machines, road networks, strip mines, conveyor belt, pipelines ... loading towers, railway ... train ... coal-burning power plant; ten thousand miles of ... high-voltage power lines; the devastation of the landscape, the destruction of Indian homes, grazing lands, shrines and burial grounds; the poisoning of the ... air ... in the 48 contiguous United States, the exhaustion of precious water supplies – all that ... labor and ... expense and all that ... insult to land and sky and human heart, for what? All that for what? Why, to light ... Phoenix suburbs not yet built, to run the air conditioners of San Diego and Los Angeles, to illuminate shopping-center parking lots at two in the morning … to charge the neon [lights] that makes the meaning (all the meaning there is) of Las Vegas … to keep alive that phosphorescent putrefying glory (all the glory there is left) called Down Town … U.S.A.” (p. 173)

l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

“’I was a [Viet Cong] prisoner,’ Hayduke goes on. ‘14 months in the jungle, always on the move. They’d chain me to a tree at night ... Fed me moldy rice, snakes, rats, ... whatever we could find. ... I was their unit medic … After 14 months they threw me out … Said I ate too much. Said I was homesick. And I was. I sat in that rotting jungle every night ... and all I could think about was home. And I don’t mean Tucson. I had to think about something clean and decent or go crazy, so I thought about the canyons. … I thought about the mountains from Flagstaff up to the Wind Rivers. So they turned me loose. Then came 6 months in Army psycho wards … The Army thought I wasn’t adjusting right for civilian life. Am I crazy, Doc? … Anyhow, when I finally got free of those jail-hospitals and found out they were trying to do the same thing to the West that they did to that little country over there, I got mad all over again.’ Hayduke grins like a lion. ‘So here I am’.” (p. 359-360)

l
LibraryUser53
Aug 17, 2013

When the situation is hopeless, there is nothing to worry about.

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l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

An action-packed, page-turner novel of an anarchist team that reveals its conflicted principles and actions to protect the environment by leaving a trail of aluminum beer cans across Arizona and Utah. It's too bad that Abbey appears to denigrate Native Americans and missed the opportunity to draw one into the novel as a real character. The essay by Bill McKibben, at the back of this edition, speaks of mankind's "implacable indifference" to the natural environment by our 'anthropocentric' attitude, and reminds us of Abbey's prescient caution: 'he predicts our civilization will not last a century more before an environmental crisis will force a return to a higher civilization: scattered human populations ...'. (p. 21) 'But [writing in 1988, McKibben cautions] ... the global temperature climbs with each decade [so] a radical analysis becomes at least a little plausible.' (p. 23) It is ironic that global atmospheric warming may lead to massive flash floods on the Colorado River which may achieve the goal of the four eco-terrorists of destroying the Glen Canyon Dam.

_McGeek_ Dec 17, 2019

I would add this to a classics-must read before you die list. Similar to On the Road by Jack Kerouac, this book inspired and gave direction to a generation of off beat thinkers, only instead of inspiring a simple alternative lifestyle and thrifty travels, this inspired the Eco Terrorist movement, or at least part of it.
This book is criticized (and understandably so, I rolled my eyes a few times) for it's out of date portrayal of women and Indigenous peoples, and the characters are definitely hypocrites, but if you can put aside it's lack of PC-ness and embrace this rough around the edges, rag tag group of misfits then you're in for a good time. I found myself laughing lots, if not occasionally gasping at their page turning adventures.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who isn't easily offended, enjoys reading adventure novels, dark humor, or cult classics.

AnnabelleLee27 May 13, 2019

First read this 30 years ago, and it is still amazing. Only now did I get the possible tie-in with The Brave Cowboy (wow!). As always I wish for a more thoughtful treatment of women and Native Americans (sigh). Still, this is classic Abbey; abrasive, tender, challenging, inspiring, sometimes cringe-worthy, funny, and incredibly prescient.

l
LibraryUser53
Aug 17, 2013

Ecology-minded Doc, Bonnie, Seldom-Seen, and Hayduke don't take kindly to seeing their beloved American Southwest canyon country privatized, subdivided, bulldozed, paved-over, strip mined, overgrazed, or otherwise defiled by land speculators and corporate energy conglomerates. No, no they don't. That much is certain. But what to do about it? Well, let's just say they have their methods. To them, it's a battle between good and evil for the environment. "Somebody has to do it!" says Bonnie. Set in southern Utah, this group of four rag-tagged eco-freaks proceed to do it. Throw a monkey wrench into the works. In a major way. But in the end, will the "Monkey Wrench Gang" or the moneyed interests prevail? Highly recommended.

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l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

Other: Repeated denigrating remarks on American Indians

l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

Violence: A lot of damage to property; and car chases with gun shooting - but no one is killed.

l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

Coarse Language: Uses N-word once; F-word many times

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l
Liber_vermis
Dec 30, 2020

This Harper-Perennial 'Modern Classics' edition provides a helpful Introduction with background on the author and the context for the novel; and at the back: a timeline of major events in Edward Abbey's life (1927-1989); a book review from the New York Times of November 1976; and a prescient essay on "The Desert Anarchist" by Bill McKibben drawn from The New York Review of Books, August 18, 1988.

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