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Operation Bite Back: Rod Coronado's War to Save American Wilderness Hardcover – June 23, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596914580
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596914582
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,227,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kuipers (Burning Rainbow Farm) reports on eco-tage or eco-sabotage, groups via the story of Rob Coronado, one of the movementÖs most active members. After an early victory sinking whaling ships in Iceland, Coronado mounted a series of actions over the years, breaking into fur farms and animal-testing laboratories, destroying cages and research documents, and often committing arson. The book provides an exhaustive account of RodÖs path through the fringe environmental movement, his evolving political philosophy and his deepening identification with his Yaqui ancestral beliefs, which embrace the environment as an integral element of human life. Simultaneously, it traces how Coronado became isolated and paranoid as the FBI intensified its manhunt and eventually arrested the man they characterized as a terrorist. KuipersÖs fascination for his subject veers dangerously close to awe at times, but he is generally fair in his depiction of the moral ambiguities at the heart of eco-tage and presents the voices of people negatively affected by Coronado. Anyone interested in the extreme edges of the environmental movement will be well served by this account, which throws a light on its often misunderstood philosophy. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"[A] fast and furious trip into the underground of North America's environmental and animal-rights wars... Operation Bite Back is a bracing corrective to the official story, and a fascinating look at the crosscurrents of power, belief, extremism, liberty and opposing views of virtue."  —Oregonian

“Kuipers delivers a searing narrative on the fringe animal-activist movement. Despite his decades of experience covering the radical environmental movement, the author is careful to remain an objective narrator, presenting much contextual detail and allowing Coronado and his peers’ brimming passion to tell the story.  A provocative and careful testament to the ever-changing definition of activism.”   —Kirkus, starred review

"Coronado’s outlaw adventures for the cause are electrifying, from his covert videotaping of crimes against animals to his fiery destruction of fur farms and research labs, and his spiritual and moral struggles are equally compelling and genuinely instructive. As Kuipers meticulously tracks Coronado’s intense commitment to animals and eventual rejection of violence, he illuminates the tenets of deep ecology and animal rights and provides an invaluable history of radical environmentalism, a force that may gain momentum as mainstream society fails to respond to looming crises." —Booklist, starred review

"Regardless of how one views Coronado’s deeds or crimes, his legend remains intact and it is this rich terrain – as fascinating as it is disturbing – that journalist Dean Kuipers traverses in his new book... In many ways, this book is a breakthrough, for it offers a glimpse into the workings of the ALF and what Kuipers calls “its punk-anarchist sibling,” the ELF. The narrative is certainly provocative in this post-9/11 era when society and law enforcement officials have arrived at a different definition of what constitutes domestic terror."  —Christian Science Monitor
"It has the drama of an adventure story, but Kuipers’s tale about the Animal Liberation Front is deadly serious and has serious implications for both animal and human rights. An important book that will appeal to readers interested in environmental and social issues." - Library Journal

Customer Reviews

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See all 12 customer reviews
This alone makes it worth reading.
Jan Smitowicz, Author
This book tells the story of Rod Coronado, a legend in the Animal Rights Movement, who worked with the Animal Liberation Front, other organizations and independently.
Buddha Baby
For those somewhere in between, this book will leave you with more questions than answers, which is always the sign off a good book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By For the animals on September 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As many other authors have stated, I too have problems with the title of this book.

I do think that there are holes in this book also, but I'm not sure that Ron would let anyone write a book that exposes everything. So, again, as a previous poster wrote, we know more than we did perhaps, but not all.

The reason that I think this book is a must-read is because now we have the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) hanging over the head of any activist in this country.
We now have animal and environmental people being arrested because they sent a fax. And once arrested, they are put in secret prisons, with no chance to communicate to anyone like they could have in a regular prison, ie phone calls, visits, etc. Interestingly, so-called Arab terrorists are in the same type prisons.

This Act, which will be overturned with help from the ACLU and others as it violates freedom of speech, etc., now has led to an animal rights activist being put on the 10 most wanted posters, his face next to Bin-Laden sympathizers, as he is labelled "vegan" as if that was a dirty word.

Shame on Obama for not fixing the mess up Bush left in Homeland Security.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jd103 on July 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The topics of this book are all of high interest to me, including radical environmentalism, animal ethics issues, one man's attempt to live by his values and fight for what he believes to be right, alternative ways of life, and the insanity of current law with regard to "terrorism".

The author, like me, seems generally sympathetic with Coronado's values if not all of his actions so I expected to love this book but it seemed a little off to me, and it started right on the cover. While Coronado certainly cares about the wilderness mentioned, the actions of Operation Bite Back in the early 90s were not about wilderness but about fur farms and animals being used for research. It's an inaccurate subtitle.

The book runs through Coronado's life in an episodic style, hitting the highlights of his early life and involvement with Sea Shepherd and Earth First!. The most detail comes in the time period of the title, describing his double life as prospective fur farmer and anti-fur activist, methods of entry to buildings and how he burned them, some close calls both of capture and possible injury to others. During this period the many characters in the book referred to as we'll call him Joe or let's call her Amy, while understandable, get a little tiring. We read about where Coronado lived while a suspect and then with a warrant out for his arrest (seemingly as often right out in the open as in remote locations).

As the book goes on, there's more about Coronado's growing interest in Native American history and lifestyle which I suspect will be of less interest to most readers but is necessary in following his life. Not at all necessary are a couple events from the author's life which don't involve Coronado.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Dean Nichols on August 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a well researched even handed biography of Rod Coronado and the Animal Liberation Front. There is also some information on activities of the Earth Liberation Front. Dean Kuipers has reported on Coronado and other environmental activists for 18 years and that shows. His access to this movement over a long period of time gives him insights that many biographers lack. Kuipers does not present Coronado as any kind of saint. He reports the actions and emotions of both Coronado and of people who whose property was damaged by his vandalism and arson. The book has a real ring of truth to it.

I must admit I wonder why the sub-title is "Rod Coronado's War to Save American Wilderness." While Kuipers reports that Coronado cared about wilderness, nearly all of Coronado's criminal acts, which are the core of the book, were focused on saving the lives of captive animals--not on preserving wilderness.
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Format: Paperback
Operation Bite Back by Dean Kuipers is a biography of longtime Sea Shepherd, ALF and Earth First! activist Rod Coronado. More specifically, it is a detailed description of his campaign to cripple the United States fur industry, and the radical environmental and animal rights culture out of which it arose. Many of us know the generalities of what occurred during that time period. But OBB gives us a whole new dimension of detail and flavor. This alone makes it worth reading.
In it, we get to experience a level of complexity of emotion, as well as context, that is largely unavailable anywhere else. I have read Memories of Freedom, the zine written if not exclusively by Rod, then with the assistance of other ALF comrades, and his own zine written during his four-year prison sentence, Strong Hearts, a number of times. So I was already quite familiar with many of the events as described by the actual participant(s). Even so, these descriptions had to necessarily leave out a lot. So instead of the near-fearless bravado of communiques and zines, we see the full anxiety and trepidation experienced by those activists. We find out about how the passion and fury and intimate knowledge that drove Rod to commit these audacious acts also drove him to bouts of recklessness, bouts that could have and sometimes did contribute to his eventual capture by the state.
That’s right. Even the great Rod Coronado, one of the most successful and revered direct action activists of the 20th century, committed serious breaches of security culture. OBB, then, is required reading for anyone interested in using direct action, or in being an ally to those who do. We can all learn a lot from it.
That is not to say Kuipers’ work is not without some serious problems.
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