Extinction Rebellion: Insights from the Inside

Essays by Rupert Read, edited by Samuel Alexander

This book is a collection of essays, articles, and interviews by Rupert Read, a leading voice in Extinction Rebellion, edited and with an extended postscript by Samuel Alexander. The anthology presents an insider’s perspective of the movement from its inception up until the Covid pandemic. It offers both a fascinating historical account of this emerging movement and a critical engagement with urgent questions of strategy and framing going forward.

To maximise availability and access, the pdf version of the book is available on a ‘pay what you can’ basis (including for free). Rupert will be donating profits from this book to Extinction Rebellion (as Samuel is doing for this book).

Advance praise for Extinction Rebellion: Insights from the Inside

‘From his well-known action of refusing to be platformed with climate deniers, to early versions of “telling the truth” with his students, from his embracing of XR as soon as he heard of our plans, to his significant interventions in the coronavirus crisis, Dr Rupert Read is an academic who is willing to take personal risks to innovate. Motivated by the deepest heartfelt desire for change, Rupert here shares his journey and insights into the Extinction Rebellion movement. Whilst I might not agree with all of his perspectives (I largely do), I have deep respect for Rupert, and the honour of walking this path together. Enjoy this book; a recounting of history as it was being made!’

– Gail Bradbrook, co-founder, XR

‘Rupert Read and Samuel Alexander take us deep inside the debates, tactics, and passion that have bound XR together from its founding days, bringing us radical reflections from the frontlines of rebellion. If you want to understand the movement that is finally waking us up, read this book.’

– Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

‘From the eruption of XR in our lives in late 2018, Rupert Read has been closely involved in the organisation as an advisor, influencer, spokesperson and occasional critic. These fascinating essays read like dispatches from the front line, crackling with urgency, tempered by timely reflections, and reminding us of the scale of the challenge ahead as we rebuild our shattered, post-coronavirus economies.’

– Jonathon Porritt, former Director of the UK Sustainable Development Commission and of Friends of the Earth

‘Invaluable reflections and next-step ideas right from the heart of arguably the most inspiring and important movement of the twenty first century’. 

– Mike Berners-Lee, author of There is no planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years


‘Everyone should read this book. It is short, and impassioned, but full of important information: above all an honest and practical plea for us to seize the moment for change urgently. It is inspirational. Please, for all our sakes, read it, and take its timely words to heart.’

– Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

‘The ecological emergency is the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced, and Extinction Rebellion may be our last best chance to address it. Read this inside story of the most important social movement of our time.’

– David Loy, author of Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis 

‘Activist-philosopher Rupert Read, a key thinker of Extinction Rebellion, has collected a treasure trove of foundational essays, documenting the transformational XR UK experience, that will be immensely valuable for activists around the world trying to replicate that achievement. ‘Extinction Rebellion: Insights From the Inside’ is a keen look at what worked, and what didn’t, in the U.K., combining on-the-spot observations, and public documents from the two years since XR was launched, with fresh analysis of how the global movement for ecological sanity may respond in this new COVID-19 world. The book is incisive, pertinent, self-critical, well-written, and, in the XR way, occasionally cheeky. Anyone concerned with combating the broader wave of ecological collapse — that led to the pandemic and that is rising behind it — should read Read.’

– Ken Ward, The Reluctant Radical

 ‘In a world-changing movement that has been careful not to allow itself to get captured by any ego-driven individual ‘leaders’, there is a vital role to be played by those exercising wise thought-leadership in the service of the collective. One of those is Rupert Read. He believes that this civilisation is finished and that the only way that we can end it without violence and without collapse is through the kind of transformation that XR calls for and pre-figures. This eco-philosophy has been vital for ‘XR 1.0’. This book is a great document of that journey, and of how XR 2.0 will need to be if we are going to make it together to a better future. Can XR – can we – deliver on that promise? The human future may hang on the answer.’

 Carne Ross, author of The Leaderless Revolution and former diplomat

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