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

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Novelist, essayist, naturalist, philosopher, and social critic, the late Edward Abbey may have been the most popular writer to take the American Southwest as his subject. In a career that began in the early 1950s and ended only with his death in 1989, he published twenty-one books - among them Desert Solitaire, his account of his seasons as a park ranger at Utah's Arches National Monument, and the bestselling novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which introduced the term ecodefense to the struggle to protect the ...
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1994-06-20 Hardcover New New book and DJ. Deckle edge. DJ has mild rub. Not a remainder. (2)

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1994-06-20 Hardcover First Edition New in Like New jacket New condition first printing, first edition hardcover book, no marks, no wear to book or jacket. MendoPower Employment ... Services will immediately and carefully pack this book in high-quality bubble lined, envelopes. Then we send you a confirmation e-mail. We appreciate your business and welcome any questions. Read more Show Less

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NY1994 0 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Book. 12mo-over 6?-7?" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing).

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

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Overview

Novelist, essayist, naturalist, philosopher, and social critic, the late Edward Abbey may have been the most popular writer to take the American Southwest as his subject. In a career that began in the early 1950s and ended only with his death in 1989, he published twenty-one books - among them Desert Solitaire, his account of his seasons as a park ranger at Utah's Arches National Monument, and the bestselling novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which introduced the term ecodefense to the struggle to protect the environment - and won the praise and admiration of readers and writers alike. (No less an authority than Larry McMurtry called Abbey "the Thoreau of the American West.") Now James Bishop Jr., who has been granted full access to all of Abbey's papers, has fashioned the first complete and most revealing portrait of this singular American author. Born in Appalachian Pennsylvania in time for the Great Depression, Edward Paul Abbey first saw the arid landscape of the Colorado Plateau when he was a teenager riding the rails and seems never to have recovered from the experience. "I love it so much," he said, "that I find it hard to talk about it," but talk and write he did, in defiant celebration and high-spirited defense of America's last wild Eden, engaged as he was in an affair of the heart that, as Bishop says, "caused him to be hailed, jailed, and railed against." For if Abbey now seems like a prophet - he went after ranching, agricultural, mining, and timber enterprises feeding off federally subsidized land, water, and trees three decades ago - throughout much of his life he was vilified as a crackpot, a dangerous radical, and worse. And if he was beloved by his readers and embraced by partisans of various causes, this deliberately provocative, sardonic, and somewhat shy desert rat went through five marriages and countless affairs before, late in life, he began to show any deep tenderness or understanding toward women. In these areas, as elsewhere, Bishop does

Drawing on Edward Abbey's published writings, personal papers, and interviews with friends and acquaintances, Bishop paints a revealing, no-holds-barred portrait of the outspoken and often outrageous man who inspired the environmental movement through his writings and unceasing activism. Photos.

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689121951
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 5/25/1994
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 1.05 (d)

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