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Ecotopia [Paperback]

Ernest Callenbach
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 9.03 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 1990
"Ecotopia was founded when northern California, Oregon, and Washington seceded from the Union to create a "stable-state" ecosystem: the perfect balance between human beings and the environment. Now, twenty years later, the isolated, mysterious Ecotopia welcomes its first officially sanctioned American visitor: "New York Times-Post reporter Will Weston. Like a modern Gulliver, the skeptical Weston is by turns impressed, horrified, and overwhelmed by Ecotopia's strange practices: employee ownership of farms and businesses, the twenty-hour work week, the fanatical elimination of pollution, "mini-cities" that defeat overcrowding, devotion to trees bordering on worship, a woman-dominated government - and bloody, ritual war games.
Bombarded by innovative, unsettling ideas, set afire by a relationship with a sexually forthright Ecotopian woman, Weston's conflict of values intensifies-and leads to a startling climax.

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Ecotopia + A Modern Utopia (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam USA; Bantam Trade Ed edition (1 Mar 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553348477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553348477
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 469,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The Times-Post is at last able to announce that William Weston, our top international affairs reporter, will spend six weeks in Ecotopia, beginning next week. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not wonderful 20 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Ecotopia is a book that is definitely worth reading, in that it describes a nation that is desperately striving to save its own environment and the health of the Earth as a whole. As an environmental novel this is undoubtedly a ground-breaking work. However, there were several areas where I thought that it could use considerable improvement. Firstly, the nation of Ecotopia is ridiculously fertile and well-off - many of the problems that would occur in any real implementation of an environmental state are simply brushed off. Population control is easy because these states are already close to zero-growth; finding money for maglev trains is even easier because Boeing just happens to be in the country; workers' control of factories and land reform is easy because people are all nice; there is no large-scale opposition; and so on. When considering past revolutions which also attempted to create Utopian states, this sort of doo dee doo optimism is somewhat disconcerting. Here, it seems that the book comes dangerously close to the line between vision and fantasy. Secondly, the book's storyline is somewhat trite, and character development is not really present. Thus, it would be stretching it a bit to call Ecotopia a work of literature. Nevertheless, though, Ecotopia is an imaginative work, and should be read if only for the sake of seeing what one possible environmental state might be like.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I read this book ten years ago, and at least once or twice a year since then. I take it with me when I travel, and I have given it to everyone I know. Ernest Callenbachs vison of what life could be, and should be like is inspiring and has made me think twice about everything I do. I find myself thinking about the message of this book at least once a week. Although it is a novel with some unimportant sub-plots, I enjoyed and savored every word of it. A must for everyone who cares about the country and the planet.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ECOTOPIA is a realistic goal & an inspiration 26 April 1999
By A Customer
My first experience with ECOTOPIA was with my 11th grade English class in Anchorage, Alaska. We were each given a copy of it to read, discuss, and write about. That was back in April of 1990, when Earth Day was 'big'. Now Earth Day doesn't get much mention at all, just a few seconds in the news on April 22. It is sad to see that the environmental enthusiasm has lost its momentum with my lost and now markedly apathetic generation: Generation X (as the media marketers labeled it to sell things). ECOTOPIA is an inspiration, a must read for everyone... It is possible to achieve a world of balance and health like ECOTOPIA if we break our addiction to non-renewable resources and cynicism: There WAS life before corporations and more connectedness, too. This book shows what we can achieve when we DOUBT the lies of the consumerism culture that have us believing that using most of the world's resources is good & the 'American way.' The Native Americans were very wise and had it right when they said to Respect the Earth. It is the Earth who has sustained us for countless millennia, What have we given back to the Earth besides pollution and greed? :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ecotopia is such a visionary piece of writing, miles ahead of its time. It tells the story of life in an Ecology State long before the term had been developed by modern day Ecology Separatists. It is written in the first person, from the viewpoint of a reporter from the USA, entering a country in the Pacific Northwest which has declared itself independent and decided to build a steady-state sustainable society which exists in harmony with nature. It has uncanny parallels with those in the US and Canada calling for a green-inspired Republic of Cascadia today.

The book has everything. Stimulating ideas, drama, suspense, intrigue, violence, even sex, and leaves you thinking the way we live today is simply a disaster waiting to happen but offers hope of a way to make things right.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
While I found this novel engaging, and hard to put down, there were many problems with the piece itself. One of the main criticisms that can be heard about this book is the lack of characterization. The protagonist is woefully under-defined. I almost felt as if his ecotopian lover was more interesting than he was. As well, many of the protagonist's friends in the novel are without development. Second, everything in the novel fell in to place far too easily. Everything bordered on a pleasant fantasy, instead of something that could actually happen. The idea is intriguing, and this novel certainly could be seen as a manifesto for a 'stable-state', the lack of realism turned me off. And finally, I was dissapointed in the climax and resolution of the work. I knew by about half-way through the book the exact outcome of the ending. All in all though, it was interesting. I would recommend it as a good read, but not without criticisms.
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