In l990, a car bomb in Oakland almost killed radical Earth First! leader, Judi Bari, and injured her passenger, a co-leader and one-time lover, Darryl Cherney. The FBI accused the pair of transporting the explosive device knowingly as part of a violent campaign of “ecotage.”
A legendary figure among Northern California activists, Judi Bari was a veteran of the Vietnam protests of the 1960s who moved to militant feminism and environmentalism after the war ended. By the mid-1980s, she was involved in the radical eco-organization Earth First! and leading the fight against the timber companies on the Northern California coast.
The Secret Wars of Judi Bari traces Bari’s rise from college activist to a would-be Mother Jones of the Redwoods. Drawing on extensive interviews with her friends, comrades, and critics, Kate Coleman describes Bari’s struggle for selfhood against her husband; against those in her movement who felt that she was not radical enough; and ultimately against the FBI and the state of California. Judi Bari’s wars continued until her death from cancer almost seven years after the explosion that changed her life forever.
In creating a dramatic portrait of a unique American life, Coleman takes the reader inside the often bizarre world of the Earth First! movement and the back-to-nature counter culture of the North Coast of California. The result is an irresistible combination of biography and social history.