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Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization Paperback – June 6, 2006


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Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization + Endgame, Vol. 2: Resistance + A Language Older Than Words
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (June 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158322730X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583227305
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Mondor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Derrick Jensen is the prize-winning author of A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, Listening to the Land, Strangely Like War, Welcome to the Machine, and Walking on Water. He was one of two finalists for the 2003 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, which cited The Culture of Make Believe as "a passionate and provocative meditation on the nexus of racism, genocide, environmental destruction and corporate malfeasance, where civilization meets its discontents." He is an environmental activist and lives on the coast of northern California.

Derrick Jensen's Tour Schedule

Customer Reviews

Derrick Jensen is one of those authors that people love or hate.
J.W.K
Premise 6 that the culture will never undergo voluntary transformation to a sustainable way of living.
Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
His Apriori arguments that form (sort of)) the basis of his book.
Allan Stellar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 89 people found the following review helpful By J.W.K on February 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Derrick Jensen is one of those authors that people love or hate. As for myself, I have mixed feelings about the guy and his message. Despite these mixed feelings, though, I never fail to read his books when they come out - and Endgame was by far an away the most anticipated and climactic one yet due to its highly controversial subject: taking down civilization. That's right, taking down civilization.

But why would anyone want to take down civilization, you might ask? At this point, I should say that if you have not already had the pleasure of receiving a formal introduction to the man and his work, you might want to start with one of his earlier publications, such as Listening to the Land, A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, Strangely Like War and Welcome or the Machine. In fact, I would recommend reading them all. They lay the groundwork from which Endgame both springs and builds upon: specifically, that civilization is F-U-B-A-R and doomed to collapse in the near but not too distant future, if not from climate change, then from resource depletion, soil erosion, toxic buildup or any other of the common environmental factors outlined in Jared Diamond's Collapse or the Worldwatch Institute's annual State of the World reports.

Or you might want to just dive right in, since in Volume I of Endgame Jensen outlines many of the fundamental flaws of our cherished civilization. And although each page reads with the power and relevance of an anarcho-primitiveist manifesto, Endgame, the two-volume summation of Jensen's writing career, amounts to nearly 1,000 pages in total - a lot of lumber for a strident call to arms. In fact, under the right circumstances, the book itself is large enough to be used as a blunt instrument to aid the deconstruction of civilization.
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109 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Scott Meredith on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a great book. Read it and think and then "do" something if you feel the urge.

But just one thing I really would like to understand better (even if attempts to understand things, as opposed to blowing them up, are just so much mental masturbation) is how phrases like "crash of civilization" and "civilization has to go" and such are thrown about with abandon.

I want to know what would constitute truly uncivilized (and therefore presumably preferable) conditions. Not by genuflection to the idyllic American Indian past, but with reference to our own future when, by hypothesis, civilization will either have crashed on its own or will have been elbowed off the pavement by readers of this book.

I would like specifics about what level or rate or manner of technology, mobility, consumption, and reproduction would qualify as "uncivilized" and pass muster with Derrick? I am not trying to be trollish here, I really want to know. Because if we don't know, we'll just start the whole thing up again unconsciously.

Is it that all food I eat should originate less than N miles from where I eat it or what? What is that number of miles? What kinds of tools, if any, are sufficiently uncivilized? Is any division of labor acceptable? And so on. I know, I know, the answer would be something like "Why ask me? Those answers will be organically emergent from the community, will define themselves aright, once civilization is gone for good! Single-source-point answers are just playing the civlizers' own game!" Yet still I wonder...
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Vagabond on November 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you are new to Jensen, this book and its companion volume make for an excellent place to start. In these two books, Jenses rehashes the (I feel) very convincing arguments he made about the corrupt and destructive nature of modern western civilization in his older works like A Language Older than Words, and Culture of Make Believe.

If you are simply a Jensen junkie, and love his voice and his ideas, then of course you won't be disappointed by these books. More of what you've come to expect from DJ. No disrespect intended, because this was why I bought them. To this crowd, I recommend these books without reservation.

If you liked what you read in his older books, and are contemplating a purchase of these works, hoping for a further development of his ideas, you may be disappointed. Much of what is said here has been said in his other books. Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization condenses the material from both Language and Culture, and adds some new anecdotal evidence. It's done well, of course, but offers very little genuinely new material for thought, I'm afraid. Volume 2: Resistance, is horribly mistitled. It offers absolutely no ideas or suggestions about how to resist. It merely says we must. It's essentially the same as all the other books, with a touch more pleading tacked on.

Jensen is, in my opinion, among the very small handful of most important writers working today. His is a voice of sanity in an insane world. For that, you really owe it to yourself to at least pick him up and read SOMETHING that he's written. However, I have trouble recommending these books simply for their own independent value. If you already know Jensen's message, these will feel eerily like reruns.
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