Review of Endgame by Aric McBay

Review: Endgame by Derrick Jensen

Endgame is a two volume set consisting of Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization and Volume 2: Resistance.
Price: US$19.99 per volume.
Length: Vol 1: 512 p., Vol 2: 432 p.
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Rating: Essential reading

I first read Endgame three years ago, as a partial draft under a different title. Tomorrow is the official launch of the full published version of Endgame and I now have the finished version in book form in front of me. It’s been worth the wait. This book is a masterpiece.

Derrick’s previous books have brilliantly dissected what the dominant culture is and what is wrong with it. Here, he takes it a big step further. Endgame is a book about what civilization is and how it functions, but more crucially about why it needs to be taken down and what taking it down might mean.

The first volume, The Problem of Civilization, makes clear the fundamental unsustainability of civilization and civilization’s basis in forcible and violent exploitation. (Read Endgame‘s premises.) The second volume, Resistance, is an absolutely vital discussion of tactics and strategy relating to civilization and collapse. It includes an excellent critique of symbolic action and of pacifism in general which is urgently needed.

I think that Ward Churchill put it well when he wrote "that Endgame embodies Jensen’s finest work to date says all that needs saying about why it simply MUST be read."

These days I find inspiring writing pretty hard to come by. Maybe that’s because so many political writers don’t want to take risks, or because they are entangled by the internal contradictions and limitations of the dominant political paradigms. Not so for Derrick Jensen. He cuts through the bullshit and says things that we know need saying but that too many people are afraid to say. He lays out his premises clearly and explicitly, and then supports them with the keen, intelligent, and accessible writing we’ve grown to expect from him.

This is a book that truly deserves to be called inspiring — as well as being thought-provoking, brilliant, profoundly moving and at times heart-wrenching. Like Derrick’s other work, it moved me to tears more than once.

Weighing in at almost a thousand pages Endgame is not a quick Sunday afternoon read. Reading a thousand pages of anything is a big investment of time, but Derrick’s prose is as engaging and readable as ever. I couldn’t put it down. Time spent reading this book is time well spent. The issues raised are so important, and so often ignored or unconsidered, that discussing and considering them is simply crucial whether you agree with every point or not.

This is essential reading for those interested in collapse and a critique of civilization. Take the time to read it and you’ll be doing yourself, your community, and your landbase a big favour.

–Aric McBay

Read excerpts and order the book at the Endgame website

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