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
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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.”