Endgame: Volume 1, The Problem of Civilization
by Derrick Jensen
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Publication Date: 2006
Publisher: Seven Stories
Volume No. / Vol. Title: Volume I
Topics: Nature, Social Movements, Sustainable Community, Visioning the Future
Description: Excerpt from 'Endgame':
Having long laid waste our own sanity, and having long forgotten what it feels like to be free, most of us too have no idea what it's like to live in the real world. Seeing four salmon spawn causes me to burst into tears. I have never seen a river full of fish. I have never seen a sky darkened for days by a single flock of birds. (I have, however, seen skies perpetually darkened by smog.) As with freedom, so too the extraordinary beauty and fecundity of the world itself: It's hard to love something you've never known. It's hard to convince yourself to fight for something you may not believe has ever existed.
The long-awaited companion piece to Derrick Jensen's immensely popular and highly acclaimed works 'A Language Older Than Words' and 'The Culture of Make Believe'. Accepting the increasingly widespread belief that industrialized culture inevitably erodes the natural world, 'Endgame' sets out to explore how this relationship impels us towards a revolutionary and as-yet undiscovered shift in strategy. Building on a series of simple but increasingly provocative premises, Jensen leaves us hoping for what may be inevitable: a return to agrarian communal life via the disintegration of civilization itself.
Derrick Jensen - activist, author, small farmer, beekeeper, teacher, philosopher, and widely acclaimed author - was a finalist for the 2003 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. His writing has been described as "breaking and mending the reader's heart," Jensen's speaking engagements in recent years have packed university auditoriums, conferences, and bookstores nationwide. He lives in rural California.
Review(s): Derrick Jensen is a rare and original voice of sanity in a chaotic world. He has wisdom and wit, grace and style, and is a wonderful guide to a good life beautifully lived." - Howard Zinn
"Derrick Jensen is a gifted and lyrical writer on a wide range of critical issues. He is unrelenting in his commitment to the environment and justice." - Winona LaDuke
"The author, who in earlier books like 'The Culture of Make Believe' discussed his experience of violence and abuse as a child, calls now for determined and even violent resistance to environmental degradation. Jensen comes across in Volume I as a provocative but personable philosopher-activist who in lyrical and witty writing bemoans species extinction, sullied air quality, shrinking icecaps, expanding deserts and vanishing forests wrought by humans. But Jensen believes "this culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living." Civilization, he says in Volume II, is killing the planet, so "[c]ivilization needs to be brought down now." Jensen dwells through several chapters on the need to destroy tens of thousands of river dams, whether with pickax-wielding citizen armies or through the use of well-placed explosive charges; other chapters consider how simple it would be to paralyze the American capitalist system if small activist cells were to disrupt railway, highway, pipeline and other elements of commercial infrastructure. Jensen clearly feels a close connection to nature, writes movingly about the hoped-for return of the salmon, the trees, the grizzly bears. But he has become so disgusted with what he calls "civilization" that he has more compassion for the salmon than for his fellow humans." - Publishers Weekly