Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist: The Life and Legacy of Edward Abbey

Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist: The Life and Legacy of Edward Abbey

by James Bishop
     
 

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Through Abbey's own writings and personal papers, as well as interviews with friends and acquaintances, Bishop gives us a penetrating, compelling, no-holds-barred view of tile life and accomplishments of this controversial figure.

Overview

Through Abbey's own writings and personal papers, as well as interviews with friends and acquaintances, Bishop gives us a penetrating, compelling, no-holds-barred view of tile life and accomplishments of this controversial figure.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bishop, a freelance writer, here offers a lengthy eulogy of the iconoclastic author Edward Abbey (1927-1989), who was noted for both fiction ( The Monkey Wrench Gang ) and nonfiction ( Desert Solitaire ) that raged against the technological forces threatening to destroy the natural world. Formerly a park ranger, Abbey explored his beloved Southwest wilderness many times and vehemently protested the building of Glen Canyon Dam and the strip-mining of Hopi land. Abrasive and outspoken, he engendered controversy by his sexist remarks, his support for legal handguns and his fervent opposition to the immigration of Latinos, whose culture he denigrated in print. Although Bishop acknowledges Abbey's negative qualities, his unbridled admiration for his subject and the inclusion of lengthy quotes from Abbey devotees wears thin. (June)
Library Journal
When Edward Abbey died in 1989 at the age of 62, it seemed that everyone had a strong opinion of him. Novelist, naturalist, and social critic, Abbey loved his country but hated the industrial system degrading the countryside. In attempting to examine the impact of his work, Bishop, a writer and editor with access to Abbey's private papers, concludes that he was a difficult romantic who wished to be remembered for his fiction and ultimately inspired a generation. Highlights include a chapter on the memorial service attended by his peers and a too-brief epilog by writer Charles Bowden. Occasionally, the writing seems a bit disjointed, but on the whole this work gives valuable insight into a legendary and controversial American writer. Recommended for nature collections; essential where Abbey is in demand.-Tim Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, Wash.
John Mort
A portrait of Ed Abbey, the late, maverick "environmentalist." Bishop merely touches upon Abbey's impoverished childhood and draws many of his anecdotes from Abbey's autobiographical writings; on the other hand, he provides an intriguing account of how "Lonely Are the Brave", based on Abbey's second novel "The Brave Cowboy" (1956), came into Kirk Douglas' hands, and why the movie dropped from sight even though it was probably Douglas' best performance. Bishop seems to understand the contradictory, difficult Abbey as well as anyone could, ably describing Abbey as he was, rather than as environmental ideologues thought he should be. He points out that the stands Abbey took for which he was the most vilified (castigating ranchers as welfare cheats because of their special access to public lands; advocating, in "The Monkey Wrench Gang" [1975] and elsewhere, the destruction of the Glen Canyon Dam; and suggesting that further immigration from Mexico be blocked at the border) have since all been taken up as reasonable causes. Bishop is a defender of Abbey, warts and all, but his version of "Cactus Ed" should stand in well until a full biography emerges.
Dave Foreman
Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist: The Life and Legacy of Edward Abbey is that rare book, true to it's title and honest in its inetent and execution. Los Angeles Times
Brad Knickerbocker
A well written analysis of an American original who's likely to become more popular.
The Christian Science Monitor

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689121951
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
05/25/1994
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 8.55(h) x 1.05(d)

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