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The Heart of the Monster

Posted by Scott Gast | March 07, 2011

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Some of the world’s largest oil companies are transporting gargantuan mining equipment to the Alberta Tar Sands through wild Idaho and Montana on narrow, avalanche-prone roads that run near iconic trout rivers and the Crown of the Continent wilderness complex. Aside from aesthetic and public safety concerns (the roads and bridges slated for “the haul” were not constructed to support such a use), exploitation of the tar sands is a climate justice issue, as they constitute the world’s most environmentally destructive and inefficient petroleum source.

Resistance is mounting. As the massive mega-load truck convoys began their roll through the Northwest and into Montana, acclaimed authors Rick Bass and David James Duncan set aside other writing projects last fall to coauthor The Heart of the Monster, a vitally important rapid-response book on the topic. In just five weeks, these frequent Orion contributors produced a cogent counter-argument to the oil agenda in two compelling acts: a searing 100+ page essay by Duncan and a lyrical novella from Bass imagining how this particular battle will (and must) be won.

The result is a rare combination: a page-turner focused on a deadly serious topic.

The Heart of the Monster
by Rick Bass and David James Duncan
All Against the Haul, 2010. Paperback, $18.95 retail ($10.80 at Amazon)

More on All Against the Haul (, the grassroots effort to block the northward movement of tar sands drilling equipment.

On March 1st, 2011, Orion held a live web event with Rick Bass and David James Duncan, in which they discussed their book and All Against the Haul. Listen to the audio recording.

Join The Conversation. 2 Comments So Far

1 Sharon Cousins on March 18, 2011

This fabulous emergency response book does an excellent job of covering reasons why an industrial corridor in the proposed ares is so wrong and why the tar sands are so wrong, but it doesn’t stop there.  With a pen sharp as an obsidian scalpel, David James Duncan cuts straight into the heart of why America’s democracy isn’t working well anymore, and what we could do to get it back.

Kudos to everyone on the team that made this amazing book come together so quickly.  I give it my highest recommendation.

2 Albertan on March 18, 2011

If the film maker wants to be accurate, its not tar sands or oil sands, it’s bitumen sands….

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