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Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists, and Visionaries Changed the World Hardcover – September 23, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With its blend of a participant's firsthand insight, a journalist's concern for facts and a novelist's spirited style, this inside story of the early years of Greenpeace is an engaging, brisk and at times emotional read. Weyler (Blood of the Land) was active in the organization almost from its first days, when a disparate group of Quakers, journalists, ecologists and displaced Vietnam-era war resisters coalesced in Vancouver in 1969–1970. "Green" came first, as activists focused on oil spills, pulp mills and other environmental concerns, but "peace" quickly followed, with news of U.S. plans to detonate a one-megaton nuclear bomb on Amchitka Island, 4,000 miles northwest of Vancouver. That plan galvanized the group into renting a fishing boat to confront the American bomb tests, and thus was born the Greenpeace tactic of "bearing witness": observing, recording and attempting to disrupt environmentally destructive acts, from nuclear testing to whale harpooning, from clubbing baby seals to indiscriminate logging. By 1979, the blend of passion, whimsy, mysticism and media savvy of the original Greenpeace Foundation had evolved—with no dearth of personality clashes and bruised egos—into the more pragmatic, businesslike Greenpeace International, which Weyler cofounded. And that's where Weyler ends his riveting account of an organization that has matured into a worldwide direct-action group. Despite its growth and its age, Greenpeace adheres to the principles Weyler describes so vibrantly: as recently as August, two dozen antilogging Greenpeace protestors were arrested in Alaska's Tongass National Forest.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A handful of pacifists and antinuclear activists came together in Vancouver to protest atmospheric atomic bomb tests and in 1970 transformed themselves into the fledgling environmental movement's gutsiest and most galvanizing protest group. Greenpeace rapidly evolved into an international association that made ecology a household word, brought the "save the whales" effort to world headlines, and outed the ocean dumping of radioactive and toxic waste, among many other revolutionary accomplishments. Journalist Weyler, who emigrated to Canada to protest the Vietnam War, was one of the founders, and now presents a gripping insider's chronicle of Greenpeace's daring high-seas protests of illegal whaling operations, exposure of the brutal hunting of baby harp seals, and paradigm-altering success in disseminating a vision of the sanctity of life. Weyler also charts painful conflicts among a remarkable group of intense individuals, whom he divides into the "mystics and the mechanics," including Greenpeace's impassioned and spiritual first leader, the newspaper columnist Robert Hunter, whose courage, "unorthodox shrewdness," and brilliant use of the media made Greenpeace a force to be reckoned with. Weyler's capacious, affecting history is stirring testimony to the power of committed citizens. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Edition edition (October 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594861064
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594861062
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David Abram on October 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a dazzling feat of impassioned storytelling. Weyler conjures the feel of an entire era -- sketching the disparate ideas, the hair-raising events, and the motley crew of inspired eccentrics who precipitated a wild metamorphosis in the collective mindscape. Indeed, his evocation of the visionary fire of these activists -- recounting their personal confusions along with their crazy courage on behalf of a more-than-human world -- may serve as a wake-up jolt to an environmental movement that has today become painfully complacent. And it's a damn good yarn, to boot."
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kylie on June 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! The pace never dropped into a boggy, dry account but integrated the adventure of being on board a ship chasing whalers with the political history of the group. The issues are explained, in case you missed out on the 1940 to 1980 time period, as I did. Very educational, but never boring. Wonderful!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Skip08 on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book if you're looking for some insight and information of the formative years of the organization today known as Greenpeace. You get a great look at the first famous campaigns against nuclear testing, soviet whaling and the seal slaughter in Canada. It's a great read to also learn about the founders and other individuals (Robert Hunter, Rod Marining, Paul Watson, Rex Weyler, others) and those who had the influence on this organization in its infancy, in many ways that are still quite visible in the organization today. This book is long, and detailed, but at the same time you can't help but feel the excitement present during those first ground breaking campaigns. A great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey on January 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a great telling of the founding and development of Greenpeace. You are left in awe at the actions and protests these guys carried out and have your heart wrenched when you read about the whale and seal hunts. It describes the politics of the groups founding and how it grew, as well as some more organic stories of the members spiritual ideas and beliefs. This is extremely well written and a great read. Over 500 pages fly by in the blink of an eye. Fantastic!

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