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How a Group of Ecologists, Journalist, and Visionaries Changed the World 

Posted August 18, 2004

By: Rex Weyler

1-59486-106-4) US $25.95

”World changers aren't planners. The planners come later, with critics and social philosophers to mop up and win awards… World changers are the mother's weary of seeing their children abused and fathers who have had enough of petty tyrants. Rosa Parks, the seamstress who refused to sit in the back of the bus. Jesus. Buddha.” 

Add to this list of world changers the ragtag group who founded Greenpeace in perhaps the least likely of settings: a quiet neighborhood dubbed “the Shire” in Vancouver, Canada. Follow this group of musicians, journalists, attorneys, teachers, sailors, and scientists as they attempt and often succeed - to disrupt American nuclear bomb tests in the Aleutian Islands and French tests in the South Pacific, interfere with Japanese and Russian whale ships, halt Norwegian harp seal hunters in Newfoundland, and pressure the American government to comply with international peace-keeping and environmental efforts - all against overwhelming odds. 

Like any good novel, Rex Weyler's tale tells of cloak-and-dagger espionage, unlawful searches and seizures, police brutality and faulty arrests, high-seas piracy, and more than a few good old-fashioned miracles. Except, this isn't a novel; it's an emotionally charged, detailed history of Greenpeace's coming of age in the 1970s. Witness the organization’s transformation from an effective but decidedly underground, international heckler into an organized and mobilized global cultural celebrity. 

The events of Weyler's tale resonate today. Humanity still has much to do. And, as one of the players in Greenpeace points out, “The sooner we get on with it the better.”

”Ecology? Look it up! You're involved.”

With this slogan, posted guerrilla style on billboards in 1969 the group that would become Greenpeace launched its first campaign…and sparked a mind-shift that literally changed how we think about the world around us. In the decade that followed, Greenpeace evolved from a loosely organized protest group who formed sit-ins and road blockades in and around Vancouver, Canada, into an international phenomenon that went head-to-head against corporations and governments, attracting the support of ordinary citizens alongside celebrities, politicians, writers, musicians, and the visionaries. 

Greenpeace is the definitive record of this journey, indelibly portrayed by someone who witnessed the events firsthand. With a historians insight and a novelist's style, Rex Weyler introduces us to the characters and events that shaped a “Eco Navy”- from the first voyage into the Pacific to stop the Atomic Bomb, to the risky mission to save the whales, to struggles with money and ideology. Greenpeace is a remarkable achievement: a gripping story; a snapshot of mid-twentieth century politics; a fascinating study of media manipulation; an uncompromising look at the internal struggles of activist organizations; and above all, and inspiring call to arms that deepens our understanding of what it means to be politically engaged. 

Praise for

  • ”Rex Weyler 's Greenpeace is a gripping yarn about brave people in small boats - but this time story is true. These people changed the world.” Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation and Practical Ethics

  • ”This book is not only a great Chronicle of Greenpeace, but of the era that put peace and ecology on society's agenda. It shows the enormous power of speaking truth with courage and imagination.” Bonnie Raitt, nine-time Grammy Award winner

  • ”A masterpiece.” Robert Hunter, first president of Greenpeace

About the Author

Rex Weyler 's photographs and essays have appeared in numerous magazines including The New York Times, The Smithsonian, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic. Weyler is the author of the Native American history Blood of the Land for which he received a Pulitzer Prize nomination, and co-author of the best seller Chop Wood, Carry Water. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. 


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