Unlikely Radicals

Unlikely Radicals

The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War

By Charlie Angus


Shop Local


  • Ontario Legislative Assembly Speaker's Book Award, 2013 (Winner)
  • Best Regional Non-Fiction (Canada-East), Independent Publisher Book Awards, 2013 (Runner-up)

For twenty-two years politicians and businessmen pushed for the Adams Mine landfill as a solution to Ontario’s garbage disposal crisis. This plan to dump millions of tonnes of waste into the fractured pits of the Adams Mine prompted five separate civil resistance campaigns by a rural region of 35,000 in Northern Ontario. Unlikely Radicals traces the compelling history of the First Nations people and farmers, environmentalists and miners, retirees and volunteers, Anglophones and Francophones who stood side by side to defend their community with mass demonstrations, blockades, and non-violent resistance.

More by this Author


A Grisham-like political thriller with the feel-good accents of a Frank Capra movie.

– Quill & Quire

The book provides powerful proof that principled action can be guided by basic rules: “the democratic rights of citizens must be rooted in access to fair public process backed up by an compromised public service.”

– Greg Michalenko, Alternatives Journal

This short book gives many gifts: it’s the thrilling story of a community fighting off an environmental assault; a series of delightful sketches of ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things; a cautionary tale of democratic institutions being corrupted by money and shady politics; and an introduction to Charlie’s funny, generous, and tough-minded charm. Most importantly, it is a guide book for anyone who is called upon to stand up for what they believe in.

– Gord Perks, environmental activist, teacher, writer, and Toronto city councillor

Unlikely Radicals is a fast-paced page-turner as Angus leads us through the epic battle between the rich and mighty and a community united by justice. It is also hysterically funny and educational.

– Olivia Chow, MP

Although Unlikely Radicals reads like a piece of fiction with its villains and heroes and backroom political machinations, it is not. Rather, it is the story of a small band of courageous people–stewards of their land and water—–who stood up to some very powerful forces and won, because their cause was right. Charlie Angus was there on the frontline from the beginning and tells a spellbinding story. I loved this book.

– Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians

A timely and important book… . . reads like a political thriller.

– Our Times

One of 11 “Books you have to read this season”

– NOW Magazine

I have practiced and taught community organizing all my life and I love this book. Angus–—a key insider–—tells the story with passion and respect. The detailed account and strategic analysis offered in Unlikely Radicals makes the book essential reading for anyone facing a similar struggle.

– Joan Kuyek, author, Community Organizing: A Holistic Approach

[Angus’} account of the Adams Mine controversy is fascinating and significant, bound to hold any reader with an interest in environmental politics, protest movements, or waste management issues.

– Left History

Everyone loves a good David vs. Goliath story and Unlikely Radicals: The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War by Charlie Angus is as good as it gets.

– rabble.ca


Introduction Unlikely Radicals
Chapter 1 The Set-up, 1989–1991
Chapter 2 Invasion of the Process Snatchers, 1995
Chapter 3 Done Deal, 1996–1999
Chapter 4 Dropping the Gloves, May––August 2000
Chapter 5 The Rising of the Moon, September––October 2000
Chapter 6 Battle on the 401, 2001–2002
Chapter 7 The Sacrifice Zone, 1999–2002
Chapter 8 The Final Reel, 2003––2011
Conclusion Stepping out of the Box