David James Duncan and Rick Bass, two Montana authors who are practically royalty for their contributions to the Northwest canon, have teamed up with photographer Frederic Ohringer to publish an advocacy book in the mold of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans. The Heart of the Monster: Why the Pacific Northwest & Northern Rockies Must Not Become an ExxonMobil Conduit to the Alberta Tar Sands will be released next week and will be available to brick-and-mortar indie stores only. Proceeds from the book will go to All Against the Haul, a group that works to prevent the construction of a permanent industrial corridor on rural roads in the Northwest and Northern Rockies, stretching to the Tar Sands of Alberta, Canada. The New York Times reported over the weekend that both Duncan and Bass have each set aside a novel to work on the book. Annick Smith, another author whose life and work is rooted in Montana, is involved in the opposition and is quoted in the Times story. She and her companion, William Kittredge, helped Norman Maclean turn A River Runs Through It into a film script and the Blackfoot River into a legend. Smith says the trafficking of megaloads of oil processing equipment along the planned path would “defile” the famed river.
Editors note: We heard from Duncan and Bass yesterday after this post was published. Duncan thanked us “67.8 million times over.” He says that’s the amount Exxon “claims to be paying to terminally screw up three of the most beautiful
highways and five of the most beautiful rivers in the world.”