STAFF PICK: Josh
From the jacket: "At a time when it seems everyone is going green, most people are unaware that the FBI is using anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists and animal rights activists. The courts are being used to push conventional boundaries of what constitutes "terrorism" and to hit nonviolent activists with disproportionate sentences. Some have faced terrorism charges for simply chalking slogans on the sidewalk."
This book is a gripping account of how the government has cracked down on animal and environmental activists. It's also a beautifully written account of social justice movements, warts and all. Will Potter gives us an insider's view of FBI harassment, corporations ability to craft and push legislation, activist's passion in the face of it all, and situates it all in a historical context which I found both comforting (our struggle is in the good company of folks like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and frustrating at the same time (how does the FBI keep getting away with this stuff?)
This book brings it all back to one central question for me, and offers a sad but helpful answer. The question is how can non-violent activism be considered (and prosecuted as) "terrorism?" And how can non-violent activists end up in the same prison cells as people convicted of providing material support to Al Qaeda? The answer is an unsavory storm of self-interested federal prosecutors looking to make their careers in post 9/11 America, corporate lobbyists buying legislator support, the media (and everybody else) attaching the word "terrorism" to pretty much anything, and our government tossing out the 1st Amendment to protect corporate profits.
Heavy stuff that will piss you off. But in the course of all this Will Potter has also written a real page turner full of drama and excitement and hope. Potter expertly weaves his own personal involvement into these events, and the lives of other activists in a way that will have you, if you're like me, staying up way past your bed time, unable to stop reading.