Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke has returned from war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development. Joining with Bronx exile and feminist saboteur Bonnie Abzug, wilderness guide and outcast Mormon Seldom Seen Smith, and libertarian billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, M.D., Hayduke is ready to fight the power - taking on the strip miners, clear-cutters, and the highway, dam, and bridge builders who are threatening the natural habitat. The Monkey Wrench Gang is on the move - and peaceful coexistence be damned!
©1975 Edward Abbey, renewed 2003 by Clarke Abbey (P)2012 Tantor
"Mixes comedy and chaos with enough chase sequences to leave you hungering for more." (San Francisco Chronicle)
this is an excellent fun caper very much in the vein of Westlake and his comic crime novels. the tone and voice is very much Westlake. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has a very topical theme with the environmentalist sabotage but the novel is well written with sly asides and jabs and there are many intelligent allusions to literature and conventions along the way.
another reason I enjoyed it is Kramer's narration. he has been a favorite of mine since i first ran across him listening to Westlake titles he narrated for Books on Tape. I hope those recordings will some day be available on Audible also as they are excellent. he narrated most of the Dortmunder series which is great as well as other Westlakes. his voice coupled with this story threw me into a state of deja vu and nostalgia for those titles. he is a narrator that is perfect for this style of fun sly fiction and i hope this means he will show up in many other titles.
I have loved this book since it was first published. I was in college in Colorado, and my friends and I used to go regularly to Utah to jeep and backpack in Canyonlands, Arches, etc. and also to Arizona. I have read it quite a few times, the first few times during trips to the canyon country, where we would do our best to trace the footsteps of the Gang. If you love the desert and have any anarchistic tendencies, The Monkey Wrench Gang is for you!
The audiobook is pretty good. The narrator was OK but nothing special. He pronounced "pinyon" (a word that occurs many, many times) as "pin-YOWN". I think this might be one of the acceptable pronunciations, but I have never heard anyone in the Southwest say anything other than "PIN-yuhn" so I found it distracting. Maybe I'm being unfair, but I found it distracting. Hayduke never would have pronounced it that way, and I doubt that Ed Abbey would have either.
Eco-terrorism Reigns Dear
George Hayduke is too obvious. I enjoyed Bonnie Abzug balancing the attentions of two men simultaneously while bringing her female perspective to every escapade.
You eventually accept his personal characterizations of the player's voices.
Knew of this book for forty years but hadn't read it. As a younger man, it could have inspired eco-anarchy in me .
Edward Abbey is particularly adept at describing the southwest landscape. I live in Tucson, Arizona. During the late 1970's and into the 1980's bumper stickers that said "Hayduke LIves!" were common in the area.
One can occasionally find one... even today.
I spend 90+ minutes a day in my car, Audible makes it enjoyable regardless of what's happening in traffic. My taste varies from endurance fitness to economics and from to combat stories and romance novels.
I remember reading this book almost 20 years ago and falling in love with the characters. Abbey's writing style is one in a million and his experiences in the desert southwest make his works priceless if you've ever hiked in Utah or Arizona. Abbey develops characters with so much texture and grit that it gets stuck between your teeth like desert sand. The Monkey Wrench Gang has you cheering for the bad guys and hoping the good guys go veering off the road into the great abyss.
I only hope that Audible follows up one of these days and makes Hayduke Lives available on audiobook.
You know I just didn't think it was very well written. I didn't like or believe the characters much. I wonder if part of it was due to the narrator? I liked Abbey's Desert Solitaire quite a bit better.
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