Grandfather 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 hom into a conner, he'll come out fighting.
Ed Abbey called The Monkey Wrench Gang, his 1975 novel, a "comic extravaganza." Some readers have remarked that the book is more a comic book than a real novel, and it's true that reading this incendiary call to protect the American wilderness requires more than a little of the old willing suspension of disbelief. 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.
First published in 1968, Desert Solitaire is one of Edward Abbey’s most critically acclaimed works and marks his first foray into the world of nonfiction writing. Written while Abbey was working as a ranger at Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah, Desert Solitaire is a rare view of one man’s quest to experience nature in its purest form.
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.
Here is the only collection of writings compiled by Abbey himself, who writes in his own words, "to present what I think is both the best and most representative of my writing--so far." Included in this collection are generous selections of his best novels, such as The Brave Cowboy, Black Sun, and his classic The Monkey Wrench Gang, as well as many of his other, more expressive and acerbic essays.
To add further interest, Abbey’s own sketches are scattered throughout the text. This rich offering of fiction and prose is a testament to a singular American author, and offers an opportunity to become better acquainted with his abundant body of work.
Jack Burns is a cowboy and a man out of time. He has a steadfast refusal to accept the what he perceives as the tyranny of the twentieth century world he lives in and instead, Burns opts to ride his feisty chestnut mare across the New West--what was once a beautiful, unblemished land but that is now tarnished by airstrips and superhighways. He rejects contemporary society, refuses to register for the draft, and cuts down any and all fences he encounters.
It is this personal code of ethics and way of being that get Jack into trouble with the law, and soon enough he finds himself running from the very thing that could break his spirit--a fight for his freedom which, if caught, he may have to swap for the confinement of a grubby jail cell. The novel was adapted into the 1962 film Lonely Are the Brave starring Kirk Douglas.
The Fool's Progress, the "fat masterpiece" as Edward Abbey labeled it, is his most important piece of writing: it reveals the complete Ed Abbey, from the green grass of his memory as a child in Appalachia to his approaching death in Tuscon at age sixty two.
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
George Washington Hayduke III was last seen clinging to a rock face in the wilds of Utah as an armed posse hunted him down for his eco-radicalist crimes. Now he is back with a fiery need for vengeance.
In this sequel to the enormously popular and entertaining The Monkey Wrench Gang, Hayduke teams up with his old pals Doc Sarvis, Seldom Seen Smith, and Bonnie Abbzug in a battle against the world’s biggest earth-moving machine. Fundamentalist preacher Dudley Love, the mastermind behind "G O L I A T H," wants to turn the Grand Canyon into a uranium mine, but not if eco-warrior Hayduke and his group of committed environmentalist friends have anything to say about it.
Hayduke Lives! is full of noisy politics and seemingly improbable situations (yet all too real) that showcase Abbey’s energetic prose and his infectious comic genius as a writer.