Common Read

common read

The Common Read Program at Rocky Mountain College is based principally on a shared reading experience. Through this shared reading and associated events, we seek to develop community, encourage intellectual engagement, and promote connections among disciplines.

This year's Common Read is Ben Stewart's Don't Trust Don't Fear Don't Beg - The Extraordinary Story of the Arctic 30. This narrative nonfiction is about the 30 Greenpeace activists (the crew of Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise) thrown into Russia’s vicious prison system—and the fight to get them out. 

2017 Common Read Schedule of Events

Common Read Film

  • Where:  Losekamp Auditorium on the RMC campus
  • When: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., Monday, October 2, 2017

Common Read Keynote

Author Ben Stewart will give a keynote address as part of RMC's 2017 Common Read. 

  • Where: First Presbyterian Church - 2420 13th St W, Billings, MT 59102
  • When: 7:00 p.m., Monday, November 6, 2017
  • Admission: The event is free and open to the public. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee seating for everyone. 
  • Questions:  Contact Steve Germic ( ).

About the Book

"Melting ice, a military arms race, the rush to exploit resources at any cost—the Arctic is now the stage on which our future will be decided. And as temperatures rise and the ice retreats, Vladimir Putin orders Russia’s oil rigs to move north. But one early September morning in 2013 thirty men and women from eighteen countries—the crew of Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise—decide to draw a line in the ice and protest the drilling in the Arctic.

Thrown together by a common cause, they are determined to stop Putin and the oligarchs. But their protest is met with brutal force as Putin’s commandos seize the Arctic Sunrise. Held under armed guard by masked men, they are charged with piracy and face fifteen years in Russia’s nightmarish prison system.

Ben Stewart—who spearheaded the campaign to release the Arctic 30—tells an astonishing tale of passion, courage, brutality, and survival. With wit, verve, and candor, he chronicles the extraordinary friendships the activists made with their often murderous cellmates, their battle to outwit the prison guards, and the struggle to stay true to the cause that brought them there." - The New Press

About the Author

Ben Stewart is a former Guardian Student Journalist of the Year and is now head of media at Greenpeace. He was one of the six protesters cleared of criminal damage to Kingsnorth power station in a groundbreaking trial whose verdict the New York Times described as one of the seminal moments of 2008. He is the author of Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg: The Extraordinary Story of the Arctic 30 (The New Press). He lives in London.

Editorial Reviews

“A fascinating tale of bravery in the face of totalitarian cruelty. A true page-turner and an important book for our times.”
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story
“Reads with the heart-racing pace of a sensational action-adventure story. . . . Paints a vivid picture of the plight of each activist, thrusting readers directly into the action. This riveting account will excite and inspire and provides a thrilling read.”
Library Journal (starred review)
“A riveting adventure story, with real-life heroes and planet-sized stakes.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
“A gripping story of tremendous courage that reads like a thriller. By putting their bodies on the line to stop the drilling, the Arctic 30 became global symbols for a resurgent climate movement, one willing to do whatever it takes to close down new fossil fuel frontiers. This is real heroism, and Stewart’s excellent account will surely inspire many others to join the fight for a humane and livable planet.”
—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine
“The Arctic is in grave danger. This terrific book illuminates, with thriller-like pace and crackling humor, the story of thirty people who risked their freedom for its protection. Anyone who admires direct action, wants to know what to do about the peril we are all in, or who cares about the future of their children should read it now.”
—Emma Thompson
“The story you are about to read is extraordinary. It is one of fear, hope, despair and humanity. But we still don’t know how it ends. That is up to all of us. Including you. Please encourage your friends to help bring a hopeful conclusion to this moving story.”
—Paul McCartney