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Edward Abbey - book author

Edward Paul Abbey (1927–1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views.

Abbey attended college in New Mexico and then worked as a park ranger and fire lookout for the National Park Service in the Southwest. It was during this time that he developed the relationship with the area’s environment that influenced his writing. During his service, he was in close proximity to the ruins of ancient Native American cultures and saw the expansion and destruction of modern civilization.

His love for nature and extreme distrust of the industrial world influenced much of his work and helped garner a cult following.

Abbey died on March 14, 1989, due to complications from surgery. He was buried as he had requested: in a sleeping bag—no embalming fluid, no casket. His body was secretly interred in an unmarked grave in southern Arizona.

Edward Abbey is the author of books: Desert Solitaire, The Monkey Wrench Gang (Monkey Wrench Gang, #1), The Fool's Progress, The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West, Hayduke Lives! (Monkey Wrench Gang, #2), Down the River, Fire on the Mountain, Black Sun, The Brave Cowboy: An Old Tale in a New Time, Abbey's Road

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01
First published in 1968, Desert Solitaire is one of Edward Abbey’s most critically acclaimed works and marks his first foray into the world of nonfiction writing. Written while Abbey was working as a ranger at Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah, Desert Solitaire is a rare view of one man’s quest to experience nature in its purest form.

Through prose that is by turns passionate and poetic, Abbey reflects on the condition of our remaining wilderness and the future of a civilization that cannot reconcile itself to living in the natural world as well as his own internal struggle with morality. As the world continues its rapid development, Abbey’s cry to maintain the natural beauty of the West remains just as relevant today as when this book was written.
02
Ed Abbey called The Monkey Wrench Gang, his 1975 novel, a "comic extravaganza." Some readers have remarked that the book is more a comic book than a real novel, and it's true that reading this incendiary call to protect the American wilderness requires more than a little of the old willing suspension of disbelief.

The story centers on Vietnam veteran George Washington Hayduke III, who returns to the desert to find his beloved canyons and rivers threatened by industrial development. On a rafting trip down the Colorado River, Hayduke joins forces with feminist saboteur Bonnie Abbzug, wilderness guide Seldom Seen Smith, and billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, M.D., and together they wander off to wage war on the big yellow machines, on dam builders and road builders and strip miners. As they do, his characters voice Abbey's concerns about wilderness preservation ("Hell of a place to lose a cow," Smith thinks to himself while roaming through the canyonlands of southern Utah. "Hell of a place to lose your heart. Hell of a place... to lose. Period").

Moving from one improbable situation to the next, packing more adventure into the space of a few weeks than most real people do in a lifetime, the motley gang puts fear into the hearts of their enemies, laughing all the while. It's comic, yes, and required reading for anyone who has come to love the desert.
03
The Fool's Progress, the "fat masterpiece" as Edward Abbey labeled it, is his most important piece of writing: it reveals the complete Ed Abbey, from the green grass of his memory as a child in Appalachia to his approaching death in Tuscon at age sixty two.

When his third wife abandons him in Tucson, boozing, misanthropic anarchist Henry Holyoak Lightcap shoots his refrigerator and sets off in a battered pick-up truck for his ancestral home in West Virginia. Accompanied only by his dying dog and his memories, the irascible warhorse (a stand-in for the "real" Abbey) begins a bizarre cross-country odyssey--determined to make peace with his past--and to wage one last war against the ravages of "progress."

"A profane, wildly funny, brash, overbearing, exquisite tour de force." -- The Chicago Tribune
04
The Journey Home ranges from the surreal cityscapes of Hoboken and Manhattan to the solitary splendor of the deserts and mountains of the Southwest. It is alive with ranchers, dam builders, kissing bugs, and mountain lions. In a voice edged with chagrin, Edward Abbey offers a portrait of the American West that we'll not soon forget, offering us the observations of a man who left the urban world behind to think about the natural world and the myths buried therein.

Abbey, our foremost "ecological philosopher," has a voice like no other. He can be wildly funny, ferociously acerbic, and unexpectedly moving as he ardently champions our natural wilderness and castigates those who would ravish it for the perverse pleasure of profit.
05
The sequel to The Monkey Wrench Gang featuring the ex-Green Beret George Washington Hayduke who was thought dead, but lives to fight again. The author has also written Desert Solitaire and Fool's Progress.
06
"Be of good cheer," the war-horse Edward Abbey advises, "the military-industrial state will soon collapse." This sparkling book, which takes us up and down rivers and across mountains and deserts, is the perfect antidote to despair.

Along the way, Abbey makes time for Thoreau while he takes a hard look at the MX missile system, slated for the American West. "For 23 years now I've been floating rivers. Always downstream, the easy and natural way. The way Huck Finn and Jim did it, LaSalle and Marquette, the mountain men, and Major Powell."
07
Edward Abbey was a hero to environmentalists and rebels of every stripe. With Fire on the Mountain, this literary giant of the New West gave readers a powerful, moving, and enduring tale that gloriously celebrates the undying spirit of American individualism. This fiftieth anniversary edition, with an introduction by historian Douglas Brinkley, reminds readers of Abbey's powerful conviction that "a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."

John Vogelin's land is his life--a barren stretch of New Mexican wilderness mercifully bypassed by civilization. Then the government moves in. And suddenly the elderly, mule-stubborn rancher is confronting the combined land-grabbing greed of the county sheriff, the Department of the Interior, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the U.S. Air Force. But a tough old man is like a mountain lion: if you back him into a corner, he'll come out fighting.
08
Now in a Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition, the timeless novel that chronicles a reckless romance in the wilderness, from Edward Abbey, one of America’s foremost defenders of the natural environment.

Black Sun is a bittersweet love story involving an iconoclastic forest ranger and a freckle-faced “American princess” half his age. Like Lady Chatterley’s lover, he initiates her into the rites of sex and the stark, secret harmonies of his wilderness kingdom. She, in turn, awakens in him the pleasure of love. Then she mysteriously disappears, plunging him into desolation.

Black Sun is a singular novel in Abbey’s repertoire, a romantic story of a solitary man’s passion for the outdoors and for a woman who is his wilderness muse.

“Like most honest novels, Black Sun is partly autobiographical, mostly invention, and entirely true. The voice that speaks in this book is the passionate voice of the forest,” Abbey writes, “the madness of desire, and the joy of love, and the anguish of final loss.”
09
Jack Burnes is a loner at odds with modern civilization. A man out of time, he rides a feisty chestnut mare across the New West — a once beautiful land smothered beneanth airstrips and superhighways. And he lives by a personal code of ethics that sets him on a collision course with the keepers of law and order. Now he has stepped over the line by breaking one too many of society's rules. The hounds of justice are hot in his trail. But Burnes would rather die than spend even a single night behind bars. And they have to catch him first.
10
You are about to visit some of the most exciting places on earth. Not the sort of excitement that makes morning headlines or the nightly news. Instead it is the excitement that comes from experiencing the natural world as it always has been and should be, and seeing human beings living in tune with its subtlest rhythms. In Australian cattle country and in the primitive outback. On a desert island off Mexico and in the Sierra Madres. On the Rio Grande and in the great Southwest. On Lake Powell in Utah and in the living American desert. It is adventure. It is enlightenment. It is vintage Abbey.