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An account of the author's experiences, observations, and reflections as a seasonal park ranger in southeast Utah
This is the only major collection of Abbey’s writings compiled by the author himself: in his own words, “to present what I think is both the best and most representative of my writing—so far.” It serves up a rich feast of fiction and prose by the singular American writer whom Larry McMurtry called “the Thoreau of the American West.” Devoted Abbey fans along with readers just discovering his work will find a mother lode of treasures here: generous chunks of his best novels, including The Brave Cowboy, Black Sun, and his classic The Monkey Wrench Gang; and more than a score of his evocative, passionate, trenchant essays—a genre in which he produced acknowledged masterpieces such as Desert Solitaire. Scattered throughout are the author’s own petroglyph-style sketches. This new edition adds selections from work that appeared shortly before Abbey’s death: a chapter from Hayduke Lives!, the hilarious sequel to The Monkey Wrench Gang; excerpts from his revealing journals; and examples of his poetry. A new foreword by Doug Peacock—Abbey’s close friend and the model for the flamboyant activist Hayduke—offers a fond appreciation of this larger-than-life figure in American letters.
Abbey's explorations include the familiar territory of the Rio Grande in Texas, Canyonlands National Park, and Lake Powell in Utah. He also takes readers to such varied places as Scotland, the interior of Australia, the Sierra Madre, and Isla de la Sombra in Mexico.
The relationship of wilderness to civilization has been a major preoccupation of poets and novelists from Bryant to Faulkner. The cultural heritage developed out of a great deal of philosophizing, romanticizing and fantasizing about the wilderness. But for all the enthusiasm that accompanied its conquest, we have not necessarily developed an appreciation for the actual phenomenon of wilderness itself - its trees, bogs, snakes, rocks, wolves and dirt.
Warhorse, gadfly, storyteller, naturalist--there is no simple category to contain the vibrant prose voice of Edward Abbey. And this snappy collection of es says displays the author of Desert Solitaire and The Monkey-Wrench Gang at the height of his curmudgeonry.
Essays address such diverse topics as New York City, politics, human perfectability, sex, literature, and the environment

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