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Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin

Biography / Memoir
The first-ever biography of Murray Bookchin, a pioneer environmental thinker of the twentieth century
Written by Janet Biehl, Bookchin's personal copyeditor and collaborator for nearly twenty years
Discusses Bookchin's role in a variety of environmental and social movements

By: Janet Biehl (Author)

344 pages, 35 b/w photos

Oxford University Press USA

Hardback | Oct 2015 | #209050 | ISBN-13: 9780199342488
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £22.99 $28/€26 approx

About this book

Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) was one of the most significant and influential environmental philosophers of the twentieth century. The founder of the social ecology movement, Bookchin was presenting and publishing foundational ideas about issues like air and water pollution, nuclear radiation, and the dangers of fossil fuels. He was a genuinely original and prescient thinker who was grappling with problems that we still face today-and proposing solutions for them-before most people realized those problems existed. In addition to his work in ecology, Bookchin was also a noted leftist, and he worked to create an authentic, indigenous American Left.

Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin is the first-ever biography of Murray Bookchin, written by his personal collaborator and copyeditor, Janet Biehl. From 1987-2006, Biehl edited every word that Bookchin wrote, and worked with him on numerous articles and books. She tells the story of Bookchin's life from a perspective that no one else could, providing a comprehensive biography that examines this pioneer environmentalist's life on both personal and professional levels. She uses her access to Bookchin's papers as well as extensive archival research, and draws upon nearly two decades' worth of a personal relationship with Bookchin. Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin discusses the variety of philosophies and movements that Bookchin helped lead, including social ecology, assembly democracy, and even, in certain instances, anarchism. Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin is the definitive biography of Murray Bookchin, written by the person who knew him best.


1. Young Bolshevik
2. Trotskyist Labor Organizer
3. Rethinker
4. Eco-Decentralist
5. Eco-Anarchist
6. Counterculture Elder
7. Man of the Moment
8. Social Ecologist
9. Antinuclear Activist
10. Municipalist
11. Green Politico
12. Assembly Democrat
13. Historian


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Janet Biehl was Murray Bookchin's copyeditor throughout most of Bookchin's professional life. Biehl collaborated with him on many written works, both books and articles. She is currently a freelance copyeditor for Viking Penguin, Alfred A. Knopf, Pantheon, Crown, Doubleday, and many other publishing houses.

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