10 books like Make It a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism

By Frank Zelko,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Make It a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Encounters with the Archdruid

By John McPhee,

Book cover of Encounters with the Archdruid

The “archdruid” in John McPhee’s 1971 narrative nonfiction book Encounters with the Archdruid is David Brower, the ardent, at times militant conservationist who spent the latter half of the 20th century fighting to protect wilderness and wild places from commercial exploitation. McPhee profiles Brower with characteristic depth and detail by bringing him together with three foes: a mineral engineer set on mining in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in the Cascade mountains of Washington; a real estate developer who hoped to build homes on what is now Cumberland Island National Seashore, and the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which, despite opposition from Brower and others, dammed the spectacular Glen Canyon on the Colorado River to create Lake Powell in northern Arizona and southern Utah.

McPhee arranges for Brower and the commissioner, Floyd Dominy, to take a rafting trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon and later a boat…

Encounters with the Archdruid

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Encounters with the Archdruid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The narratives in this book are of journeys made in three wildernesses - on a coastal island, in a Western mountain range, and on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The four men portrayed here have different relationships to their environment, and they encounter each other on mountain trails, in forests and rapids, sometimes with reserve, sometimes with friendliness, sometimes fighting hard across a philosophical divide.


To Save the Land and People

By Chad Montrie,

Book cover of To Save the Land and People: A History of Opposition to Surface Coal Mining in Appalachia

Chad Montrie has written a series of books exploring the unsung corners of environmentalism. Actually, that’s not fair. He’s explored the center of environmentalism – the activism of the poor, the working class, the average people who have fought to protect their families, their homes, their health. In To Save the Land and People, Montrie takes us into the hollows of Appalachia, where disempowered people did everything they could – even to the point of destroying bulldozers and threatening violence – to protect their communities. Montrie’s work reminds us of the struggles in Cleveland’s disempowered neighborhoods, where efforts to improve the environment often go unnoticed and lead to few successes. 

To Save the Land and People

By Chad Montrie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Save the Land and People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Surface coal mining has had a dramatic impact on the Appalachian economy and ecology since World War II, exacerbating the region's chronic unemployment and destroying much of its natural environment. Here, Chad Montrie examines the twentieth-century movement to outlaw surface mining in Appalachia, tracing popular opposition to the industry from its inception through the growth of a militant movement that engaged in acts of civil disobedience and industrial sabotage. Both comprehensive and comparative, To Save the Land and People chronicles the story of surface mining opposition in the whole region, from Pennsylvania to Alabama. Though many accounts of environmental activism…


The Meadowlands

By Robert Sullivan,

Book cover of The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City

The subtitle to Robert Sullivan’s The Meadowlands is Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City, and it’s Sullivan’s adventures exploring the vast New Jersey wetlands that make the book so entertaining. But Sullivan is right to use the word “wilderness” to describe the 32 square miles of swamp, landfills, and rusting industrial debris along the Hackensack River where it flows into Newark Bay just five miles from the Empire State Building in New York City. Like the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, the Meadowlands have been abused and degraded for centuries but also show the resilience of nature and how people’s attitudes toward it have changed. “Now it is a good place to see a black-crowned night heron or a pied-bill grebe or eighteen species of ladybugs,” Sullivan writes, “even if some of the waters these creatures fly over can oftentimes be the color of antifreeze.” Sullivan’s loving description…

The Meadowlands

By Robert Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Meadowlands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imagine a grungy north Jersey version of John McPhee's classic The Pine Barrens and you'll get some idea of the idiosyncratic, fact-filled, and highly original work that is Robert Sullivan's The Meadowlands.  Just five miles west of New York City, this vilified, half-developed, half-untamed, much dumped-on, and sometimes odiferous tract of swampland is home to rare birds and missing bodies, tranquil marshes and a major sports arena, burning garbage dumps and corporate headquarters, the remains of the original Penn Station--and maybe, just ,maybe, of the late Jimmy Hoffa.  Robert Sullivan proves himself to be this fragile yet amazingly resilient region's…


The Republican Reversal

By James Morton Turner, Andrew C. Isenberg,

Book cover of The Republican Reversal: Conservatives and the Environment from Nixon to Trump

Of all the changes in environmental politics since the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969, perhaps the most perplexing – and disappointing – is the Republican turn away from environmental protection. From the Reagan Administration through the Trump regime, the Republican Party has staked the claim not just to passivity toward environmental regulation but has engaged in an all-out assault on government protection of the human and nonhuman environment. Turner and Isenberg make sense of this policy turn, emphasizing the roles of libertarian ideologues, multinational corporations with a stake in the status quo, and rural Americans who tired of federal intrusions in their lives and livelihoods. As aspects of the urban crisis have eased, and specific places like the Cuyahoga River have improved, environmental activists would do well to figure out how to make environmental protection bipartisan once again.

The Republican Reversal

By James Morton Turner, Andrew C. Isenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Republican Reversal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Not long ago, Republicans could take pride in their party's tradition of environmental leadership. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the GOP helped to create the Environmental Protection Agency, extend the Clean Air Act, and protect endangered species. Today, as Republicans denounce climate change as a "hoax" and seek to dismantle the environmental regulatory state they worked to build, we are left to wonder: What happened?

In The Republican Reversal, James Morton Turner and Andrew C. Isenberg show that the party's transformation began in the late 1970s, with the emergence of a new alliance of pro-business, libertarian, and anti-federalist…


Psychedelic Chile

By Patrick Barr-Melej,

Book cover of Psychedelic Chile: Youth, Counterculture, and Politics on the Road to Socialism and Dictatorship

Vibrant countercultural scenes grounded in local rock movements transpired across virtually every country in Latin America during the 1960s-70s. There are now several important books that examine various facets of these countercultural movements, and Barr-Melej’s is one of the best in that respect. Focusing on the brief period of Socialist President Salvador Allende (1970-73), his discussion of Chilean jipis and the political battles waged by the Left to contain this so-called foreign import is fascinating. The book falls short in providing an earlier context to the rise of Chile’s countercultural movement and ends abruptly with the rise of dictatorship—a period that transformed rock music into a site of active political protest. But its merits outweigh its shortcomings, especially the lively narration about the Piedra Roja rock festival, Chile’s equivalent of Woodstock. 

I’ve known Barr-Melej for many years and eagerly awaited the publication of this book, which was one of only…

Psychedelic Chile

By Patrick Barr-Melej,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Psychedelic Chile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Patrick Barr-Melej here illuminates modern Chilean history with an unprecedented chronicle and reassessment of the sixties and seventies. During a period of tremendous political and social strife that saw the election of a Marxist president followed by the terror of a military coup in 1973, a youth-driven, transnationally connected counterculture smashed onto the scene. Contributing to a surging historiography of the era's Latin American counterculture, Barr-Melej draws on media and firsthand interviews in documenting the intertwining of youth and counterculture with discourses rooted in class and party politics. Focusing on ""hippismo"" and an esoteric movement called Poder Joven, Barr-Melej challenges…


The Girls

By Emma Cline,

Book cover of The Girls

I love how this book is written. It’s lyrical and deeply felt with a keen eye and luminous prose. Told from her middle-aged perspective, it’s the story of 14-year-old Evie and the summer she dallied, first at the outskirts, and then at dead center of a Charles Manson-like clan. Evie’s a lonely innocent drawn to the sexy and audacious Suzanne who is closest to the leader, Russell. All the women revere Russell, and Evie performs as required: sex, thievery, nighttime home invasions, initially just for fun. The book captures the grunge and the glory of its late-1960s setting, the ragged hope for a better world. Evie longs for connection and would follow Suzanne anywhere, even to murder. I followed along, too, fearing for Evie and wishing her well.

The Girls

By Emma Cline,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gripping and dark fictionalised account of life inside the Manson family from one of the most exciting young voices in fiction.

If you're lost, they'll find you...

Evie Boyd is fourteen and desperate to be noticed.

It's the summer of 1969 and restless, empty days stretch ahead of her. Until she sees them. The girls. Hair long and uncombed, jewelry catching the sun. And at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful.

If not for Suzanne, she might not have gone. But, intoxicated by her and the life she promises, Evie follows the girls back to the decaying ranch where…


Trout Fishing In America

By Richard Brautigan,

Book cover of Trout Fishing In America

Popularised as a 1960s counterculture book, its author, Brautigan, playfully breaks all the rules in a modern Dadaistic style of commentary which is a sort of stream of consciousness that verges on playful and purposeful madness. Thoughts of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass come to mind when trying to make any sense of this author’s zany work here. In a word: trout? No trout. This is no commentary about fishing. It’s a mishmash of essay-like commentaries on an ‘on the road’ lifestyle which does occasionally mention fishing.

Trout Fishing In America

By Richard Brautigan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trout Fishing In America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Brautigan's wonderfully zany, hilarious episodic novel set amongst the rural waterways of America.

Here's a journey that begins at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin statue in San Francisco's Washington Square, wanders through the wonders of America's rural waterways and ends, inevitably, with mayonnaise. With pure inventiveness and free-wheeling energy, the counterpoint to all those angry Beatniks, Brautigan tells the story of rural America, and the hunt for a bit of trout fishing. Funny, wild and sweet, Trout Fishing in America is an incomparable guidebook to the delights of exploration - of a country and a mind.


The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

By Tom Wolfe,

Book cover of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

I read Acid Test as a child and it showed me and told me about everything I wanted or thought I wanted—and some of it I actually did. The book took me from a Junior High School dream of being cool and dropped me off at Punk’s front door nearly a decade later.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

By Tom Wolfe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I looked around and people's faces were distorted...lights were flashing everywhere...the screen at the end of the room had three or four different films on it at once, and the strobe light was flashing faster than it had been...the band was playing but I couldn't hear the music...people were dancing...someone came up to me and I shut my eyes and with a machine he projected images on the back of my eye-lids...I sought out a person I trusted and he laughed and told me that the Kool-Aid had been spiked and that I was beginning my first LSD experience...


Little Brother

By Cory Doctorow,

Book cover of Little Brother

Cory Doctorow, the champion of nerds everywhere really hit the nail on the head with his book about the state of current politics and society with Little Brother. This book was released in 2008 but seems truer to life now than ever. His protagonist Marcus, watches appalled as the government begins to strip away citizens' rights under the guise of our protection. This book has been called dystopian young adult fiction, but I disagree. It all feels very familiar to the current climate we live in. It can get a little preachy but regardless of your personal politics it’s a must-read for all.

Little Brother

By Cory Doctorow,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Little Brother as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marcus, a.k.a "w1n5t0n," is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school's intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they're…


Strange Peaches

By Edwin Shrake,

Book cover of Strange Peaches

Bud Shrake’s novel of Dallas at the time of the Kennedy Assassination is an excellent example of what I call “eyewitness fiction.” As a prominent journalist at the rabidly anti-JFK Dallas Morning News, Shrake spent time mingling with the far-right millionaires who refashioned Dallas into a “City of Hate.” Yet the politically liberal, dope-smoking Shrake was also a denizen of Dallas’s underworld and was dating the star stripper at Jack Ruby’s nightclub. From these twin worlds, he fashioned this ferocious, comically subversive portrait of Dallas in the months leading up to the assassination.

Shrake’s writing has less in common with his Texas contemporaries than it does with American novelists Ken Kesey, Charles Portis, and Kurt Vonnegut. This novel blasts off so hard it can be a bit hard for some readers to hang on in the beginning. But if you stay with it, and latch on to Shrake’s Dexedrine-fueled…

Strange Peaches

By Edwin Shrake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strange Peaches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A TV western star quits his successful series and returns to Dallas to make a documentary film that reveals the truth about his home town. His quest forces him to learn if he is capable of using his six-gun for real as he moves from booze and radical politics in oil men's palaces into the infamous Carousel Club and the underworld of arms and dope smuggling in a city ripe for the murder of a President.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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