• The Monkey Wrench Gang

  • By: Edward Abbey
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 16 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,621 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"Mixes comedy and chaos with enough chase sequences to leave you hungering for more." ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What listeners say about The Monkey Wrench Gang

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A desert classic that will draw you in

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.

13 people found this helpful

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  • MS
  • 03-02-16

Reading and listening

What an incredible book. I found that oscillating between reading the physical book and listening to this audiobook was a pleasant combination. Edward Abbey's extensive vocabulary is best enjoyed printed, allowing the reading opportunities for deeper comprehension and inquiry. This audiobook, with great and dynamic narration, offers the opportunity for the sense of storytelling. I enjoyed the different voices used for each character and was able to refer back to them when picking up the book in between sessions of listening.

8 people found this helpful

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One of my all-time favorites!

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.

12 people found this helpful

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fun, cool, original

Great story. His discription of many wild places and the energy of the moment when experiencing raw moments in nature were perfect. I great story of man vs the often selfish and cruel people who drive industry. I loved the book. Hayduke lives!

4 people found this helpful

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Hayduke Lives!

If you could sum up The Monkey Wrench Gang in three words, what would they be?

Eco-terrorism Reigns Dear

Who was your favorite character and why?

George Hayduke is too obvious. I enjoyed Bonnie Abzug balancing the attentions of two men simultaneously while bringing her female perspective to every escapade.

What about Michael Kramer’s performance did you like?

You eventually accept his personal characterizations of the player's voices.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Knew of this book for forty years but hadn't read it. As a younger man, it could have inspired eco-anarchy in me .

Any additional comments?

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.

4 people found this helpful

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not bad

not bad, but I had higher expectations. The introduction was my favorite part to be honest. Great ending though.

3 people found this helpful

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Mixed Feelings

This was a fun book. Great characters characters. Good story. Beautiful scenery (I must visit some of these places one day). Bail-biting edge of the seat escapes. My problem is with.. the book's ultimate philosophy. As a lover of Sci-Fi, I am a lover of the promise of the future. Sorry George W. Hayduke, but you are fighting the wrong fight.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent Westlake-ian caper

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What about Michael Kramer’s performance did you like?

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • E
  • 08-27-21

I wasn’t sure I would like this one

Wow! This is actually an adventure story with insights into the personalities and dynamics of a very odd team.
The reader is TERRIFIC!

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic book with fantastic narration

Edward Abbey was groundbreaking, God rest his soul. Spectacularly innovative concept laid out in this book, with fantastic detail so that you envision everything being described. Michael Cramer does a fabulous narration, complete with unique and consistent voices for each character. It’s as if there are truly multiple personalities being portrayed in living color. This started the “Radical conservation“ movement of the 70’s. It’s incredibly intriguing and captivating. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful