Edward Abbey: Wikis

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Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire. Writer Larry McMurtry referred to Abbey as the "Thoreau of the American West".

Contents

Biography

Abbey was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Home, Pennsylvania, where there is a Pennsylvania state historical marker in his honor.[1] This Appalachian upbringing remained an influence on him throughout his life, and he addressed it at various points in his writing, most extensively in The Fool's Progress and Appalachian Wilderness. In the summer of 1944 he headed west, and fell in love with the desert country of the Four Corners region. He wrote, "For the first time, I felt I was getting close to the West of my deepest imaginings, the place where the tangible and the mythical became the same." He received a Master's Degree in philosophy from the University of New Mexico and also studied at the University of Edinburgh. In the late 1950s Abbey worked as a seasonal ranger for the United States National Park Service at Arches National Monument (now a national park), near the town of Moab, Utah, which was not then known for extreme sports but for its desolation and uranium mines. It was there that he penned the journals that would become one of his most famous works, 1968's Desert Solitaire, which Abbey described as "...not a travel guide, but an elegy."

Desert Solitaire is regarded as one of the finest nature narratives in American literature, and has been compared to Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and Thoreau's Walden. In it, Abbey vividly describes the physical landscapes of Southern Utah and delights in his isolation as a backcountry park ranger, recounting adventures in the nearby canyon country and mountains. He also attacks what he terms the "industrial tourism" and resulting development in the national parks ("national parking lots"), rails against the Glen Canyon Dam, and comments on various other subjects.

Abbey died in 1989 at the age of 62 at his home in Tucson, Arizona. He is survived by two daughters, Susannah and Becky; and three sons, Joshua, Aaron and Benjamin.

Controversy

Abbey's abrasiveness, opposition to anthropocentrism, and outspoken writings made him the object of much controversy. Conventional environmentalists from mainstream groups disliked his more radical "Keep America Beautiful...Burn a Billboard" style. Based on his writings and statements—and in a few cases, his actions—many believe that Abbey did advocate ecotage or sabotage on behalf of ecology. The controversy intensified with the publication of Abbey's most famous work of fiction, The Monkey Wrench Gang. The novel centers on a small group of eco-warriors who travel the American West attempting to put the brakes on uncontrolled human expansion by committing acts of sabotage against industrial development projects. Abbey claimed the novel was written merely to "entertain and amuse," and was intended as symbolic satire. Others saw it as a how-to guide to non-violent ecotage, as the main characters attack things, such as road-building equipment, and not people. The novel inspired environmentalists frustrated with mainstream environmentalist groups and what they saw as unacceptable compromises. Earth First! was formed as a result in 1980, advocating eco-sabotage or "monkeywrenching." Although Abbey never officially joined the group, he became associated with many of its members, and occasionally wrote for the organization.

Sometimes called the "desert anarchist," Abbey was known to anger people of all political stripes, including environmentalists. In his essays the narrator describes throwing beer cans out of his car, claiming the highway had already littered the landscape. Abbey even had an FBI file opened on him in 1947,[2] after he posted a letter while in college urging people to rid themselves of their draft cards. He differed from the stereotype of environmentalist as politically-correct leftist by disclaiming the counterculture and the "trendy campus people", saying he didn't want them as his primary fans, and by supporting some conservative causes such as immigration reduction and the National Rifle Association. He devoted one chapter in his book Hayduke Lives to poking fun at left-green leader Murray Bookchin. However, he reserved his harshest criticism for the military-industrial complex, "welfare ranchers," energy companies, land developers and "Chambers of Commerce," all of which he believed were destroying the West's great landscapes.

Death and burial

Edward Abbey died on March 14, 1989 of complications from surgery; he suffered four days of esophageal hemorrhaging, due to esophageal varices, a recurrent problem with one group of veins. Showing his sense of humor, he left a message for anyone who asked about his final words: "No comment." Abbey also left instructions on what to do with his remains. These instructions were described in an Outside magazine article written by David Quammen in June 1989:

He wanted his body transported in the bed of a pickup truck. He wanted to be buried as soon as possible. He wanted no undertakers. No embalming, for Godsake! No coffin. Just an old sleeping bag... Disregard all state laws concerning burial. "I want my body to help fertilize the growth of a cactus or cliff rose or sagebrush or tree." said the message.

As for his funeral: He wanted gunfire, and a little music. "No formal speeches desired, though the deceased will not interfere if someone feels the urge. But keep it all simple and brief." And then a big happy raucous wake. He wanted more music, gay and lively music. He wanted bagpipes. "And a flood of beer and booze! Lots of singing, dancing, talking, hollering, laughing, and lovemaking." said the message. And meat! Beans and chilis! And corn on the cob. Only a man deeply in love with life and hopelessly soft on humanity would specify, from beyond the grave, that his mourners receive corn on the cob.

A 2003 Outside article described how his friends honored his request:

"The last time Ed smiled was when I told him where he was going to be buried," says Doug Peacock, an environmental crusader in Edward Abbey's inner circle. On March 14, 1989, the day Abbey died from esophageal bleeding at 62, Peacock, along with his friend Jack Loeffler, his father-in-law Tom Cartwright, and his brother-in-law Steve Prescott, wrapped Abbey's body in his blue sleeping bag, packed it with dry ice, and loaded Cactus Ed into Loeffler's Chevy pickup. After stopping at a liquor store in Tucson for five cases of beer, and some whiskey to pour on the grave, they drove off into the desert. The men searched for the right spot the entire next day and finally turned down a long rutted road, drove to the end, and began digging. That night they buried Ed and toasted the life of America's prickliest and most outspoken environmentalist.

Abbey's body was buried in the Cabeza Prieta Desert in Pima County, Arizona, where "you'll never find it." The friends carved a marker on a nearby stone, reading:

EDWARD PAUL ABBEY
1927—1989
No Comment

In late March, about 200 friends of Abbey's gathered near the Saguaro National Monument near Tucson and held the wake he requested. A second, much larger wake was held in May, just outside his beloved Arches National Park, with such notables as Terry Tempest Williams and Wendell Berry speaking.

In the late summer of 1988, an interview with Abbey appeared in "Western Winds Magazine," a newsletter for an outdoor company called Western Mountaineering. The interview, written by Paul Bousquet with some help from editor Fred Lifton, contained two quotes that were especially poignant coming so soon before his death:

ww: According to my calculations you turned 60 this year. How did this affect you?
Abbey: Haven't given it much thought. It's one of those things that happen when you keep hanging around. I expect my life to become an easy downhill slide from here on. My father is 86 and still working—alone—out in the Appalachian woods every day, cutting down trees and hauling them down to the sawmill. Barring accidents internal or external, I'll probably end up doing something like that. Longevity, like intelligence or good looks, is largely a matter of heredity: choose your parents with care. Also, it helps to have a mean, rancorous, rotten disposition; us mean and ugly types are hard to kill.

ww: Have you ever come close to death? Tell us about it.
Abbey: In my youth I did fool things on rock, on snow, on mountainsides and deep down in slickrock canyons, but never suffered more than the usual thrill of utter terror. Rode motorcycles for a few years. Got on a few horses I didn't understand. And again never lost anything but some skin. About five years ago some medical doctors gave me six months to live, saying I had pancreatic cancer. But they were wrong, their machines had deceived them: the dark blob on the X-ray screens and CAT-scans turned out to be some kind of portal vein thrombosis, which means that I may die at any moment of a massive internal hemorrhage. But in the meantime I feel fine and carry on as usual, having no particularly appealing alternative, and am ready for whatever happens so long as it's quick, violent and economical. And if it's not, I'll do my best to make it so. Like everyone, I've lived close to death all of my life.

Quotations

  • On absurdities: "As for the "solitary confinement of the mind," my theory is that solipsism, like other absurdities of the professional philosopher, is a product of too much time wasted in library stacks between the covers of a book, in smoke-filled coffeehouses (bad for brains) and conversation-clogged seminars. To refute the solipsist or the metaphysical idealist all that you have to do is take him out and throw a rock at his head: if he ducks he's a liar. His logic may be airtight but his argument, far from revealing the delusions of living experience, only exposes the limitations of logic." (Desert Solitaire, pp. 121–122).
  • On industry: "In the Soviet Union, government controls industry. In the United States, industry controls government. That is the principal structural difference between the two great oligarchies of our time."[3]
  • On Anarchism: "Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners."[3]
  • On terrorism: "The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws."[3]
  • On off-road vehicles: "The fat pink slobs who go roaring over the landscape in these over-sized over-priced over-advertised mechanical mastodons are people too lazy to walk, too ignorant to saddle a horse, too cheap and clumsy to paddle a canoe. Like cattle or sheep, they travel in herds, scared to death of going anywhere alone, and they leave their sign and spoor all over the back country: Coors beer cans, Styrofoam cups, plastic spoons, balls of Kleenex, wads of toilet paper, spent cartridge shells, crushed gopher snakes, smashed sagebrush, broken trees, dead chipmunks, wounded deer, eroded trails, bullet-riddled petroglyphs, spray-painted signatures, vandalized Indian ruins, fouled-up waterholes, polluted springs and smoldering campfires piled with incombustible tinfoil, filter tips, broken bottles. Etc." (Postcards from Ed, pp. 66–67).
  • On sport hunting: "Whenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and aesthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one."[3]
  • On firearms: "The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an "equalizer." Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed—but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny." (Abbey's Road)
  • On reason: "Reason has seldom failed us because it has seldom been tried."[3]
  • On the wisdom of crowds: One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork." (Seldom Seen Smith, in The Monkey Wrench Gang)
  • On war: "The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other—instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals."[4]
  • On patriotism: "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."[5]
  • On highways: "Of course I litter the public highway. Every chance I get. After all, it's not the beer cans that are ugly; it's the highway that is ugly." ("The Second Rape of the West," The Journey Home, 1977)
  • On growth: "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." (The Journey Home, 1977)
  • On government: "Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top."[6]
  • On civilization and culture: "To make the distinction unmistakably clear: Civilization is the vital force in human history; culture is that inert mass of institutions and organizations which accumulate around and tend to drag down the advance of life; Civilization is Giordano Bruno facing death by fire; culture is the Cardinal Bellarmino, after ten years of inquisition, sending Bruno to the stake in the Campo di Fiori; Civilization is Sartre; culture Cocteau; Civilization is mutual aid and self-defense; culture is the judge, the lawbook and the forces of Law & Ordure (sic); Civilization is uprising, insurrection, revolution; culture is the war of state against state, or of machines against people, as in Hungary and Vietnam; Civilization is tolerance, detachment and humor, or passion, anger, revenge; culture is the entrance examination, the gas chamber, the doctoral dissertation and the electric chair; Civilization is the Ukrainian peasant Nestor Makhno fighting the Germans, then the Reds, then the Whites, then the Reds again; culture is Stalin and the Fatherland; Civilization is Jesus turning water into wine; culture is Christ walking on the waves; Civilization is a youth with a Molotov cocktail in his hand; culture is the Soviet tank or the L.A. cop that guns him down; Civilization is the wild river; culture, 592,000 tons of cement; Civilization flows; culture thickens and coagulates, like tired, sick, stifled blood." (Desert Solitaire, p. 246)

Critical comments

  • About The Monkey Wrench Gang, the National Observer wrote, "A sad, hilarious, exuberant, vulgar fairy tale... It'll make you want to go out and blow up a dam."
  • The New York Times wrote, "Since the publication of The Monkey Wrench Gang, Mr. Abbey has become an underground cult hero."

Bibliography

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Fiction

Non-fiction

  • Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (1968) (ISBN 0-8165-1057-1)
  • Appalachian Wilderness (1970)
  • Slickrock (1971) (ISBN 0-87156-051-8)
  • Cactus Country (1973)
  • The Journey Home (1977) (ISBN 0-525-13753-X)
  • The Hidden Canyon (1977)
  • Abbey's Road (1979) (ISBN 0-525-05006-X)
  • Desert Images (1979)
  • Down the River (with Henry Thoreau & Other Friends) (1982) (ISBN 0-525-09524-1)
  • In Praise of Mountain Lions (1984)
  • Beyond the Wall (1984) (ISBN 0-03-069299-7)
  • One Life at a Time, Please (1988) (ISBN 0-8050-0602-8)
  • A Voice Crying in the Wilderness: Notes from a Secret Journal (1989)
  • Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951–1989 (1994) (ISBN 0-316-00415-4)

Letters

  • Cactus Chronicles published by Orion Magazine, Jul–Aug 2006 (no longer active,)
  • Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast (2006) (ISBN 1-57131-284-6)

Anthologies

  • Slumgullion Stew: An Edward Abbey Reader (1984)
  • The Best of Edward Abbey (1984)
  • The Serpents of Paradise: A Reader (1995)

See also

  • Ecodefense: A Field Guide To Monkeywrenching [book]

Notes

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Edward Paul Abbey (1927-01-291989-03-14) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies.

Contents

Sourced

  • One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothing can beat teamwork.
    • Seldom Seen Smith in The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), p. 313
  • Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now.
    • Abbey's Road (1979)
  • We're all undesirable elements from somebody's point of view.
    • Abbey's Road (1979)
  • May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
    • Earth Apples: The Poetry of Edward Abbey (1994)
  • Without courage, all other virtues are useless.
    • Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951-1989 (1994)
  • We know this apodictic rock beneath our feet. That dogmatic sun above our heads. The world of dreams, the agony of love and the foresight of death. That is all we know. And all we need to know? Challenge that statement.
    • The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975)
  • One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.
    • From a speech to environmentalists in Missoula, Montana in 1978 and in Colorado, which was published in High Country News in the 1970s or early 1980s under the title "Joy, Shipmates, Joy.", as quoted in Saving Nature's Legacy : Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity (1994) by Reed F. Noss, Allen Y. Cooperrider, and Rodger Schlickeisen, p. 338 ISBN 1559632488

Desert Solitaire (1968)

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (1968) ISBN 0671695886
  • This is the most beautiful place on earth.
    There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even, possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio, or Rome — there's no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.
    • "The First Morning" (p. 1)
  • I'd sooner exchange ideas with the birds on earth than learn to carry on intergalactic communications with some obscure race of humanoids on a satellite planet from the world of Betelgeuse.
    • "The First Morning" (p. 7)
  • I'm a humanist; I'd rather kill a man than a snake.
    • "Serpents of Paradise" (p. 18)
  • All living things on earth are kindred.
    • "Serpents of Paradise" (p. 22)
  • I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. (Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!)
    • "Clifforse and Bayonets" (p. 25)
  • Love flowers best in openness and freedom.
    • "Clifforse and Bayonets" (p. 26)
  • Each thing in its way, when true to its own character, is equally beautiful.
    • "Clifforse and Bayonets" (p. 37)
  • A great thirst is a great joy when quenched in time.
    • "Water" (p. 104)
  • Has joy any survival value in the operations of evolution? I suspect that it does; I suspect that the morose and fearful are doomed to quick extinction. Where there is no joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are useless.
    • "Water" (p. 113)
  • Growth for the sake of growth is a cancerous madness.
    • "Water" (p. 114)
  • We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may not ever need to go there.
    • "The Heart of Noon" (p. 116)
  • To die alone, on rock under sun at the brink of the unknown, like a wolf, like a great bird, seems to me very good fortune indeed.
    • "The Dead Man at Grandview Point" (p. 186)
  • Balance, that's the secret. Moderate extremism.
    • "Bedrock and Paradox" (p. 233)

The Journey Home (1991)

The Journey Home : Some Words in Defense of the American West (1991) ISBN 0452265622
  • Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
    • "The Second Rape of the West" (p. 183)
  • There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who's always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.
    • "Walking" (p. 205)
  • Knowing now what we have learned, unless the need were urgent, I could no more sink the blade of an ax into the tissues of a living tree than I could drive it into the flesh of a fellow human.
    • "The Crooked Wood" (p. 208)
  • The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.
    • "Shadows from the Big Woods" (p. 223)

Down the River (1982)

Down the River (1982) ISBN 0525484086
  • The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see.
  • When I write 'paradise' I mean not only apple trees and golden women but also scorpions and tarantulas and flies, rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, sandstorms, volcanoes and earthquakes, bacteria and bear, cactus, yucca, bladderweed, ocotillo and mesquite, flash floods and quicksand, and yes — disease and death and the rotting of flesh.
  • Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
  • I am not an atheist but an earthiest.
  • Our culture runs on coffee and gasoline, the first often tasting like the second. (p. 81)
  • Love can defeat that nameless terror. Loving one another, we take the sting from death. Loving our mysterious blue planet, we resolve riddles and dissolve all enigmas in contingent bliss.
  • I would give ten years off the beginning of my life to see, only once, Tyrannosaurus rex come rearing up from the elms of Central Park, a Morgan police horse screaming in its jaws. We can never have enough of nature.

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto) (1990)

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis en Deserto) : Notes from a Secret Journal (1990) ISBN 0312064888
  • Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.
  • From the point of view of a tapeworm, man was created by God to serve the appetite of the tapeworm.
  • According to the current doctrines of mysticoscientism, we human animals are really and actually nothing but 'organic patterns of nodular energy composed of collocations of infinitesimal points oscillating on the multi-dimensional coordinates of the space-time continuum'. I'll have to think about that. Sometime. Meantime, I'm going to gnaw on this sparerib, drink my Blatz beer, and contemplate the a posteriori coordinates of that young blonde over yonder, the one in the tennis skirt, tying her shoelaces.
  • Orthodoxy is a relaxation of the mind accompanied by a stiffening of the heart.
  • Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.
  • The distrust of wit is the beginning of tyranny.
  • No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets.
  • A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.
  • Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.
  • Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.
  • In a nation of sheep, one brave man forms a majority.
  • The more corrupt a society, the more numerous its laws.
  • Freedom begins between the ears.
  • The "Terror" of the French Revolution lasted for ten years. The terror that preceded and led to it lasted for a thousand years.
  • Counterpart to the knee-jerk liberal is the new knee-pad conservative, always groveling before the rich and powerful.
  • What's the difference between a whore and a congressman? A congressman makes more money.
  • When the situation is hopeless, there's nothing to worry about.
  • Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
  • An empty man is full of himself.
  • I come more and more to the conclusion that wilderness, in America or anywhere else, is the only thing left that is worth saving.
  • If wilderness is outlawed, only outlaws can save wilderness.
  • The only thing worse than a knee-jerk liberal is a knee-pad conservative.
  • God is a sound people make when they're too tired to think anymore.
  • Hierarchical institutions are like giant bulldozers — obedient to the whim of any fool who takes the controls.
  • We know this apodictic rock beneath our feet. That dogmatic sun above our heads. The world of dreams, the agony of love and the foresight of death. That is all we know. And all we need to know? Challenge that statement.
  • If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a Juniper tree or the wings of a vulture-that is immortality enough for me. And as much as anyone deserves.

Unsourced

  • Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while, then a layer of scum floats to the top.
  • Abolition of a woman's right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Edward Abbey was a writer. He was born in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States in 1927. He grew up in Pennsylvania, in a small town in the mountains near the city of Pittsburgh. He later moved to the American Southwest and wrote several books. He spent most of his adult life in the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Most of his books are about the Southwest. He died in 1989.

During World War II, he was in high school. He took a trip hitchhiking to see the American West. During his trip through Arizona and New Mexico, he fell in love with the Southwest. He enlisted near the end of World War II and was stationed in Italy as a military policeman. When he came back to the United States, he moved to New Mexico and got a college degree. Then he started writing books.

His first book was called Jonathan Troy. It did not sell well and Edward Abbey did not like it very much, and it was taken out of print. His second book was The Brave Cowboy. This book sold better and made him known as a writer of western fiction. It was also made into a movie called Lonely are the Brave. Fire on the Mountain was his third book. The Brave Cowboy and Fire on the Mountain are about cowboys who loved the old American West and did not like it becoming modernized.

He moved to New Jersey for a short time but did not like it, and moved back to the Southwest. He took a job as a park ranger in Utah. He wrote about his job as a park ranger in his fourth book, Desert Solitaire. Desert Solitaire became a bestseller and made him a popular nature writer. He also took other jobs in the Southwest. He worked as a fire lookout at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and as a park ranger in other National Parks.

After Desert Solitaire became a bestseller, he wrote several books of nature essays. Some of these include The Journey Home, Abbey's Road, Down the River, Beyond the Wall, and One Life At a Time, Please. He also kept writing novels. His next novel was Black Sun, which is about a fire lookout at the Grand Canyon falling in love but then seeing his girlfriend disappear. His next novel after that was The Monkey Wrench Gang. This was his most controversial novel because it was about four people using sabotage to stop development in the Southwest. He also wrote a science fiction novel called Good News.

His last two novels were The Fool's Progress and Hayduke Lives. The Fool's Progress is a long novel that is based on Edward Abbey's own life. Hayduke Lives is a sequel to The Monkey Wrench Gang.

He died in 1989 and was buried in the desert in Arizona.

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