When I was coming of age in the American Southwest in the 1990s, two very different books accompanied my conversion from teenage nihilist to bushy-haired tree-hugger: Edward Abbey’s 1975 best-selling eco-sabotage novel The Monkey Wrench Gang and The End of Nature by Bill McKibben.

It’s not surprising that the testosterone-fuelled radicalism that stomps across the pages of The Monkey Wrench Gang – spiking trees, snipping bulldozer brake cables, setting billboards on fire – appealed to an unhinged 17-year-old like me. Beer-swilling hero George Hayduke cooks up plans to blow up a dam to liberate ...


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