Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

If you don't think "light and funny" when you hear that Bill McKibben has written his first novel, you are in for a big surprise. Radio Free Vermont is an entertaining and hilarious romp through the Green Mountain State that is utterly delightful and very local. It is the story of Vern Barclay who works for a local independent radio station that gets taken over by an out-of-state conglomerate. Vern's a traditional salty Vermonter who values local beer, local music and local economies over big corporations and when he rebels he unwittingly fuels the secessionist movement and finds himself the leader - all while on the run from the authorities.

This novel has some great scenes including bandits kidnapping a Coors Light truck coming into the state and replacing all the beer with Vermont micro brews. But don't worry, they recycle. There is a whole cast of entertaining characters and shenanigans in this story that will keep you reading and laughing while the "local is good" social message rings out. Sprinkled with references from Grace Potter to Montpelier's own Buch Spieler to Mark Johnson, this book couldn't be anymore Vermont-y if Ben and Jerry were sitting on top of Camel's Hump drinking Heady Topper!

— Claire


"I hope no one secedes, but I also hope that Americans figure out creative ways to resist injustice and create communities where everybody counts. We've got a long history of resistance in Vermont and this book is testimony to that fact."
-Bernie Sanders

A book that's also the beginning of a movement, Bill McKibben's debut novel Radio Free Vermont follows a band of Vermont patriots who decide that their state might be better off as its own republic.

As the host of Radio Free Vermont--"underground, underpowered, and underfoot"--seventy-two-year-old Vern Barclay is currently broadcasting from an "undisclosed and double-secret location." With the help of a young computer prodigy named Perry Alterson, Vern uses his radio show to advocate for a simple yet radical idea: an independent Vermont, one where the state secedes from the United States and operates under a free local economy. But for now, he and his radio show must remain untraceable, because in addition to being a lifelong Vermonter and concerned citizen, Vern Barclay is also a fugitive from the law.

In Radio Free Vermont, Bill McKibben entertains and expands upon an idea that's become more popular than ever--seceding from the United States. Along with Vern and Perry, McKibben imagines an eccentric group of activists who carry out their own version of guerilla warfare, which includes dismissing local middle school children early in honor of 'Ethan Allen Day' and hijacking a Coors Light truck and replacing the stock with local brew. Witty, biting, and terrifyingly timely, Radio Free Vermont is Bill McKibben's fictional response to the burgeoning resistance movement.

About the Author

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he's gone on to write a dozen more books, including Eaarth and Oil and Honey. He is a founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement. McKibben lives in Vermont.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780735219861
ISBN-10: 0735219869
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Pages: 240
Language: English