Non-Fiction at a Glance

Making Waves: The origins and future of Greenpeace

Making Waves: The Origins And Future Of Greenpeace
Jim Bohlen

Black Rose Books
$19.99
paper
178pp
1-55164-166-6

Jim Bohlen was well on the way to a comfortable career as an engineer when something in him snapped. Asked by the American army to participate in the development of an anti-personnel shoulder-fired rocket, he quit in disgust and emigrated to Vancouver. It wasn’t too long before he was on a rickety boat with a few friends and media churning up the Inner Passage intending to disrupt an American nuclear bomb test on the Alaskan island of Amchitka. It was the start of what we all know as Greenpeace.

Bohlen’s book works best not as a definitive history of the world’s best known environmental activist organization but as a record of one man’s awakening to the need for action. The writing is pedestrian at best, the editing isn’t the greatest, some of the stories (like the sketchy account of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior) are strangely incomplete, but you’ll still be glad you read Making Waves. It serves as a timely reminder that the best movements are those that arise not out of some abstract ideology but from the conviction and principled actions of a few individuals. mRb

Ian McGillis is books columnist for the Montreal Gazette and author of the novel A Tourist’s Guide to Glengarry. His memoir Higher Ground will be published by Biblioasis in 2017.

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