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Author Information: Edward Abbey

 
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"When Edward Abbey died in 1989 at the age of sixty-two, the American West lost one of its most eloquent and passionate advocates. Through his novels, essays, letters and speeches, Edward Abbey consistently voiced the belief that the West was in danger of being developed to death, and that the only solution lay in the preservation of wilderness. Abbey authored twenty-one books in his lifetime, including Desert Solitaire, The Monkey Wrench Gang, The Brave Cowboy, and The Fool's Progress. His comic novel The Monkey Wrench Gang helped inspire a whole generation of environmental activism. A writer in the mold of Twain and Thoreau, Abbey was a larger-than-life figure as big as the West itself."
-- cover text from the Edward Abbey Video

Meet Edward Paul Abbey, twentieth-century polemicist and desert anarchist, a character of elaborate contradictions and eccentricities whose words either infuriated or delighted his readers.

In a career spanning four decades, he wrote passionately in defense of the Southwest and its inhabitants, often mocking the mindless bureaucratic forces hell-bent on destroying it. "Resist much, obey little," from Walt Withman, was this warrior's motto.

While he was alive, attempts to label him in conventional terms nearly always fell short because he was neither left-wing nor right-wing, nor was he an outlaw. Abbey was a genuine rebel who simply did not believe in the moderns industrial way of life. He wrote against the grain, always choosing the path of the greatest resistance. Beginning in the 1950s, he depicted the Southwest not as a virgin utopia peopled by rugged individualists, but as a region under siege because of government and corporate greed, its people at risk of being cut off from the primary wellspring of their spiritual strength - the wild places. He's been dead for a while now, but the legend keeps in growing.
-- cover text from "Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist"

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