1975: The Monkey Wrench Gang & Ecotopia
Author/Editor: Edward Abbey, & Ernest Callenbach
For 1975, we found two nominees that address very similar concerns but take quite different approaches—The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey, and Ecotopia, by Ernest Callenbach.
Both address the question of human ecological destruction, and both inspired the growing environmental movement, but each follows a radically different path thereafter.
Ecotopia describes an ecological utopian society, consisting of northern California, Oregon, and Washington, which broke from the rest of the United States and successfully arranged a utopian society that functioned economically and ecologically. At the end of the book, the epistolary narrator is convinced to stay in Ecotopia.
The Monkey Wrench Gang looked at ecological destruction, and wondered what would happen if a small group of citizens took matters into their own hands and attempt to destroy the destroyers. By the end of the book, it’s implied, three of the four central characters may be on probation and at least apparently living law-abiding lives…but the fourth is out there, growing a bigger network of eco-revolutionaries.