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.
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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 SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved