Item description for Born Under a Bad Sky: Notes from the Dark Side of the Earth (Counterpunch) by Jeffrey St. Clair...
"Movement reporting on a par with Mailer's Armies of the Night"---Peter Linebaugh, author of Magna Carta Manifesto and The Many-Headed Hydra.
Hold on tight as you open the pages of Born Under a Bad Sky and follow journalist Jeffrey St. Clair as he leads you through a landscape of horrors and wonders, scenery all the more strange because the setting is our own bruised world, in our own fraught era.
Enter a world that is part Bosch and part Bierstadt. This is not only a savage philippic against the foulers of Nature's temple, but---and this is where St. Clair worthily follows in the tracks of Stegner and Abbey---an homage to the planet itself. There is beauty as well as horror here.
These urgent dispatches are from the frontlines of the war on the Earth. Gird yourself for a visit to a glowing nuclear plant in the backwoods of North Carolina, to the heart of Cancer Alley where chemical companies hide their toxic enterprise behind the dark veil of Homeland Security, and to the world's most contaminated place, the old H-bomb factory at Hanford, which is leaking radioactive poison into the mighty Columbia River.
With unflinching prose, St. Clair confronts the White Death in Iraq, the environmental legacy of a war that will keep on killing decades after the bombing raids have ended. He conjures up the environmental villains of our time, from familiar demons like James Watt and Dick Cheney to more surprising figures, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (father of the cancer bond) and the Nobel laureate Al Gore, whose pieties on global warming are sponsored by the nuclear power industry. The mainstream environmental movement doesn't escape indictment. Bloated by grants from big foundations, perched in high-rent office towers, leashed to the neoliberal politics of the Democratic Party, the big green groups have largely acquiesced to the crimes against nature that St. Clair so vividly exposes.
All is not lost. From the wreckage of New Orleans to the imperiled canyons of the Colorado, a new green resistance is taking root. The fate of the grizzly and the ancient forests of Oregon hinge on the courage of these green defenders. This book is also a salute to them.
"This is what the true West looks like. It's not for the faint of heart."---Susan Davis, author Spectacular Nature. "Beautifully written!"---Clancy Sigal, author Going Away, screenwriter Frida "Who else can combine Rachel Carson's wisdom, I.F. Stone's erudition and Edward Abbey's sass?"---Michael Colby, editor of Broadsides. "The Upton Sinclair of Oregon City."---Jeff Baker, The Oregonian "A stunning, passionate book that takes you into the world where nature's beauty is being savaged by the corrupt industrial-political complex."---Kirkpatrick Sale, author After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination "Born Under a Bad Sky provides a sense of hope as an antidote to the despair over what humans have done to the environment."---Paul Krassner, editor The Realist, author One Hand Jerking
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9" Weight: 1.45 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 2007
Publisher AK Press
ISBN 1904859704 ISBN13 9781904859703
Reviews - What do customers think about Born Under a Bad Sky: Notes from the Dark Side of the Earth (Counterpunch)?
Nature is all around us, and depending on where you are, its ecological health can vary greatly. Sep 5, 2008
Nature is all around us, and depending on where you are, its ecological health can vary greatly. "Born Under a Bad Sky" is an anthology of essays looking at the ailing side of nature, where it has been neglected and exploited. From the White Death of Iraq, to the creatures of Arkansas, "Born under a Bad Sky" offers the reader a compelling portrait of the world as a whole. It also touches on the role of politicians, and optimistically, those who are turning governmental environmental policies around. A very strongly recommended addition to personal, professional, academic, and community library Environmental Studies reference collections, "Born Under a Bad Sky" is a must for non-specialist general readers wanting to know the environmental state of the world today.
This Time It's Personal Jul 27, 2008
What has been "Born Under a Bad Sky" is a grassroots environmental movement, and Jeffrey St. Clair, more than any other American writer, has his finger on that movement's "flickering pulse." This movement, he makes clear, was born not in handwringing despair but in love of nature and of places that have moved us.
As for the mainstream environmental movement, St. Clair nails it to the barn door in a single sentence: "disconnected from the people," it has long since "jetted to D.C., where it became what it once despised: a risk-aversive, depersonalized, hyper-analytical, humorless, access-driven, intolerant, centralized, technocratic, deal-making, passionless, direct-mailing, lawyer-laden monolith to mediocrity."
Reading this book will kindle a sense of moral outrage in the reader, but that's the least of its virtues. In a time when too many investigative journalists are content to pile outrage upon outrage and "view with alarm," as if indignation and anxiety were all we need, St. Clair is out to open hearts as well as eyes and minds.
In short, he wants to make this struggle personal for everyone who reads his book. I came away thinking of little-known heroes from my own part of the world -- like Lamar Marshall, who founded Wild South out of a country store in Alabama on the edge of the Bankhead National Forest, and who organized a clean-up of the mess made by illegal dumping in Indian Tomb Hollow, a site held sacred by Native Americans. This book celebrates such people and encourages you, not just to go out and meet them, but to become one of them.
Sublime Jul 2, 2008
Most of the book is made up of hard-hitting articles regarding the destruction of the environment and exposes of those determined to continue that destruction. Many, if not all of them have appeared in print before. The jewel of the book lies in the last 116 pages of narrative. Titled "The Beautiful and the Damned," this section is St. Clair's beautifully rendered tale of a trip down some of the US West's best known rivers. A poetic offering to the river gods and a stinging indictment of those who would defy them, the final section of Born Under a Bad Sky takes the volume far beyond its muckraking beginnings and underpinnings. In doing so, St. Clair has created a classic narrative of writing that simultaneously includes and transcends the best of the travel and nature writing genres. Seemingly inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, Aldo Leopold and the sheer beauty of the natural surroundings it describes, "The Beautiful and the Damned" does more than end Born Under a Bad Sky with a flourish, it conveys it into the genuinely sublime. While the history and events discussed in this book are not pretty (in fact, they are pretty damn depressing at times), St. Clair's writing describes them in a style that he has become known for. Hard-hitting with the occasional humor, he lays out the facts of his subject matter and then reels in the reader with prose that captivates the reader like the best blues narratives. You get the story and you get it with an emotional force and truth you'll rarely find in the New York Times.
Environmental journalism at its best !!! Jun 16, 2008
From the timber wars in the Pacific Northwest to the oil war in Iraq, journalist/activist Jeffrey St. Clair documents the bi-partisan assault on wilderness, wildlife, and people being committed in the name of economic progress. If you are at all concerned about global warming, air pollution, deforestation, oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, child labor, public health, and the fate of grizzly bears, coho salmon, bald eagles, African lions and elephants, then you need to read this book. Fans of Terry Tempest Williams, Brian Tokar, and Derrick Jensen will love this amazing collection of essays. Thank you AK Press and CounterPunch for publishing yet again another timely, informative, and important book!!!
If you like Derrick Jensen, you'll love Jeffrey St. Clair... Jun 9, 2008
Jeffrey St. Clair is a sane voice in a chaotic, cruel world.
The most articulate, passionate writer covering environmental issues in America today, no other author matches St. Clair's deep understanding of our noxious political landscape, nor his unwavering commitment to preserving what's left of the embattled American West. He's been in the muddy trenches for decades, covering the savage forest battles of the Pacific Northwest as editor of Forest Watch and the eminent Wild Forest Review, and his wisdom shines herein.
This latest collection of reports from the frontlines should be atop the reading lists of all who want to understand what it is going to take to push the environmental movement forward, when the fate of our little blue planet seems to be sinking, with the barons of industry drunk at the helm.