From Publishers Weekly
The author, who in earlier books like The Culture of Make Believe
discussed his experience of violence and abuse as a child, calls now for determined and even violent resistance to environmental degradation. Jensen comes across in volume I as a provocative but personable philosopher-activist who in lyrical and witty writing bemoans species extinction, sullied air quality, shrinking icecaps, expanding deserts and vanishing forests wrought by humans. But Jensen believes "this culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living." Civilization, he says in volume II, is killing the planet, so "[c]ivilization needs to be brought down now." Jensen dwells through several chapters on the need to destroy tens of thousands of river dams, whether with pickax-wielding citizen armies or through the use of well-placed explosive charges; other chapters consider how simple it would be to paralyze the American capitalist system if small activist cells were to disrupt railway, highway, pipeline and other elements of commercial infrastructure. Jensen clearly feels a close connection to nature, writes movingly about the hoped-for return of the salmon, the trees, the grizzly bears. But he has become so disgusted with what he calls "civiluzation" that he has more compassion for the salmon than for his fellow humans. (June)
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Jensen, author of A Language Older than Words
(2000) and The Culture of Make Believe
(2002), has a deserved reputation as a writer of consequence and conscience who has pursued an environmentalist message with great fervor. In his latest work, however, a two-volume manifesto, he argues for the necessary destruction of civilization to save the world. Jensen posits his case against industrial development through discussion of everything from dams to the use of torture by the U.S. military. Endgame
touches on numerous valid and necessary subjects, but Jensen's strident tone and heavy reliance on sources that fully support his message weaken his presentation. And when he offers solutions for the problems we face, he preaches violence. Clearly he is passionate, but apparently the success of his earlier books has led to his writing only for those who already agree with him, rather than crafting a balanced discussion that allows readers to come to their own conclusions. Jensen has become an extremist, and he may have done his cause the worst possible service by alienating the readers he most needs to inspire. Colleen MondorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved