Kate Coleman
The Secret Wars of Judi Bari.
Encounter, 261 pages, $25.95

Who was Judi Bari? Ask a certain not-quite-endangered species of North Coast Californian and you’ll get pure hagiography: She was Mother and Protector of the Redwoods, a champion of the radical Earth First! group, martyred (nearly) by the FBI (she claimed) in the mysterious 1990 pipe bombing that destroyed her Subaru. And if you ask Kate Coleman? As Darryl Cherney, one of Bari’s former lovers, recently put it in the Times: “Today there are few progressive heroes left. But even the ones who have died must be killed again by literary assassins like Kate Coleman.”

Or not. Coleman, whose Vast Right Wing Conspiracy-character-assassin credentials include residing in Berkeley and contributing to Mother Jones, has written an account of Bari’s life so agenda-free that it borders...


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