EF! Books

  • Earth First! Direct Action Manual, by the Direct Action Manual Collective. More then 50 not-so-simple things you can do to save the Earth. This is a very practical guide for Earth First!ers, other environmental activists, reclaimers of the streets, and WTO-type protesters who want to learn some great direct action techniques and strategies, all of them field-tested in the ancient forests of Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, and elsewhere. It augments and updates techniques described in an earlier EF! manual, Ecodefense (below).

    If you can't attend workshops from the Ruckus Society, this book is your next best bet. It gives advice and instructions on affinity groups, nonviolence training, road occupations, tree-sits, tripods, ways to lock yourself to all sorts of things, etc. Hours of entertainment!

  • Timber Wars Timber Wars, by Judi Bari. The work of Judi Bari and like-minded Earth First!ers is what inspired me to join the movement; and her writing inspired me to set up these web pages. Bari's writing is daring and inspirational, as insightful as it is inciteful. Early in the book, the stage is set with "Waferboard -- The Final Solution" While just a rough transcription of a short speech, it's the perfect overture for a history of the struggle in the redwood forests.

    Most of what I've got to offer in my EF! pages are articles that she's written, many of which appear in this book. Read them, they're indexed on my EF! page, and get a taste of what's available in the book. Then go buy the book and read the rest!

  • Ecodefense Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching, edited by Dave Foreman and Bill Haywood. This book reflects the start of the Earth First! movement; describing all sorts of monkeywrenching tactics to use in defense of wilderness. It's like a cross between a fieldbook and a non-revolutionary incarnation of Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book. As one might gather from the camo-decorated cover of the book, it's got a macho, commando outlook, but it's also got a strong moral center that includes nonviolence.

    The book starts with extensive advice on tree-spiking. Tree-spiking existed long before EF!, but the two have become syonymous in the minds of many. As Judi Bari writes in Timber Wars, the tactic has mostly succeeded at alienating people from the movement, and I share her conclusion that it is a failed tactic. I recommend reading the tree-spiking section of Ecodefense with that in mind. The rest of the book has many more effective tactics in it.

    Ecodefense is largely concerned with actions done in secrecy, whereas the more recent EF! Direct Action Manual covers actions done out in the open. One might say that one book is for introverts and the other is for extroverts!

    Important Disclaimer: In an appallingly transparent sham of a federal trial, Dave Foreman was convicted of conspiracy for handing copies of Ecodefense to an FBI informant. One would think that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would permit such a thing, but our justice system needs some work. At any rate, let me make it clear that I am not advocating doing anything illegal in Ecodefense or the EF! Direct Action Manual. I'm suggesting that you read the former for educational purposes and the latter for entertainment. Or perhaps the other way around, if that's what you prefer.

  • The Monkeywrench Gang and Hayduke Lives!, by Edward Abbey. These books serve as the movement's mythology. The first novel is said to have inspired the founding of Earth First!, and the second one has some fun descriptons of the EF! movement circa the late 1980s. Abbey had a sour view of society (including some awful racist notions which are thankfully not apparent in these books), so his fiction tends to fall short when it tries to cover human relationships. He does know how to paint a picture, though, and the opening lines of chapter 8 in Hayduke Lives!, "Code of the Eco-Warrior", really resonate for me.

  • Reading these books is all well and good, but the point is to do something. Earth First! is a movement dedicated to action. I recommend these books in order to inspire you to action, and to help those actions be more effective. Books are also a great thing to have when you're doing road occupations, tree-sits, and similar recreational activities. See you out there!

    Another Disclaimer: Only you are responsible for your actions -- and your inactions. If you happen to be, oh, for example, a teenaged son of a police sergeant, and you do something illegal like, oh, say, burning down a Long Island housing development, don't go trying to pin the blame on some web pages. Especially these web pages.

    · To Jym's EF! Page ·      · To Jym's Eco Page ·