Sierra Club: Red Blood: One (Mostly) White Guy's Encounters with the Native World

Robert Hunter, Author Sierra Club Books for Children $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-57805-048-2
Where does an aging ex-environmental activist like Hunter go when depression hits? To the forest to lie down naked, put a gun to his head and wait for a bullet or a vision. Lucky for both Hunter and his readers, the vision arrived first, in the form of a huge, eardrum-splitting Boeing 747. This is only one of many rollicking good tales found in this zany memoir by the co-founder of Greenpeace, who's also the man behind the ecological Rainbow Warrior theme. Early in the environmental movement of the 1970s, Hunter aligned himself with dispossessed Native Americans, and only learned later of his great-grandmother's Cree blood. No New Age wannabe, the author is a sometimes sober eco-journalist burdened with a nonviolent philosophy, an active conscience, a clear eye and a devilish sense of humor. When Spain sends off three ships in 1992 to commemorate Columbus's voyage, Hunter joins a group of British Columbian Indians in an effort to intercept the vessels and extract an apology for what many Native Americans view as the destruction of their indigenous culture. What follows is an exhilarating romp through the Caribbean, with his stoically seasick Native companions and a fearless captain known for ramming boats, that ends in a white-knuckled game of chicken with a heavily armed Spanish frigate. In his final chapters, Hunter takes a more serious and introspective look at the violent side of political activism, and doesn't like what he sees. This is gonzo journalism at its best, conveying the wonder, horror and weirdness of life, and suffused with appealing, self-deprecating humor. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!