Forget trekking Everest or surviving a Perfect Storm. Try living 180 feet up a tree for two years straight. In 1997, as a last-resort tactic to save "Luna," a 1,000-year-old California redwood, Julia Butterfly Hill climbed it and refused to leave. Her protest lasted until last December, when Pacific Lumber, the company that was clear-cutting the forest surrounding Luna, agreed to leave the tree and its nearest neighbors alone, allowing Hill to return to earth.
During her lofty sojourn, Hill, 25, endured frostbite, 100-mph winds, repeated eviction attempts—even an overnight visit of support from actor and fellow tree-hugger Woody Harrelson, whom Hill describes as "obviously not a morning person." Despite the pressures, she kept strong. "Each time a chain saw cut through those trees, I felt it cut through me as well," writes Hill. "It was like watching my family being killed." Staying out on a limb for her beloved tree was a daily struggle. ("I wanted a shower so badly, I could taste it," she admits.) But by sharing her frustrations along with her convictions, Hill has recounted a story that is both timely and inspiring. (HarperSan Francisco, $25)
Bottom Line: What she did for love—remarkable account of hardships endured for a cause