Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monkey Wrench Gang - Wrapup

Thus ends our discussion of The Monkey Wrench Gang. Thank goodness.

It's no great secret that Abbey and I don't think alike. I disliked the book and I disliked the characters. However, there are a lot of books out there that are not my favorites, but are very entertainingly discussable. This was one of those.

When I get a greatly discussable book, I learn a lot. I learned a lot researching this book. With topics ranging from the Glen Canyon Dam (which my ecologist friend just hates), to the American Indian Movement (about which my Native American friend - surprisingly - knows nothing at all), I had a lot of fun.

One of the most amazing events came when I was writing about the Vietnam POWs. I found a picture of "my" POW's name on the Wall. It wasn't my picture, so I needed to ask permission to post it. Doc Bernie Duff wrote back almost instantly, graciously granting permission. It turns out he'd grown up with "Jimmy" Klimo, and had swung swings with him.

As I was checking further into Doc's website, the Orange Carers, and it turns out he's in Vietnam right now. He, his wife, and other friends have been doing "Agent Orange" walks in Vietnam. I knew about the effects of Agent Orange on our returning soldiers. It just never occurred to me - I feel so dumb - that the Vietnamese, who actually live there, would be even more affected. Doc and his group do the walks to raise money and awareness of the problem. His website, and cause, are so great. I spent hours on his site, after I heard back from him.

Those are the sorts of incredible experiences I have when I'm researching the topics for the books. I hope you all have as much fun with them as I do! (And check out Doc's website - it's amazing!)

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