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Encyclopedia > Edward Abbey

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". January 29 is the 29th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 73rd day of the year (74th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In all modern states, some land is held by central or local governments. ... The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey (1927-1989), published in 1975. ... Desert Solitaire is a Literary nonfiction work by Edward Abbey (1927-89), published originally in 1968, and arguably his best book. ... One of McMurtrys bookstores in Archer City, Texas Larry McMurtry (born June 3, 1936 in Wichita Falls, Texas) is a novelist, screenwriter, and essayist. ... Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862; born David Henry Thoreau[1]) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, and philosopher who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

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]. 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 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 "...not [as] a travel guide, but an eulogy." Indiana is a borough in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, United States, part of the Pittsburgh DMA. The population was 14,895 at the 2000 census. ... Home is an unincorporated village located in Rayne Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. ... The Four Corners region is in the red area on this map The Four Corners Monument, placed by the Interior Department at the exact point. ... The University of New Mexico (UNM) is a public university in Albuquerque, New Mexico. ... The University of Edinburgh (Scottish Gaelic: ), founded in 1582,[4] is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... It has been suggested that some sections of this article be split into a new article entitled National Park Ranger (United States). ... The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States government agency that deals with U.S. National Parks and U.S. National Monuments. ... Arches National Park is U.S. National Park located near Moab, Utah noted for its concentration of natural arches—about 2,000 have been located within the park. ... For other instances of Moab, see Moab (disambiguation). ... Extreme sports (now also known as action sports) is a general, somewhat hazily-defined term for a collection of newer sports involving adrenaline-inducing action. ... General Name, Symbol, Number uranium, U, 92 Chemical series actinides Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f Appearance silvery gray metallic; corrodes to a spalling black oxide coat in air Standard atomic weight 238. ...


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. Nature writing is traditionally defined as nonfiction prose writing about the natural environment. ... Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887 - April 21, 1948) was a United States ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Glen Canyon Dam on 19 June 2005. ...


Abbey died in 1989 at the age of 62 at his home near Oracle, Arizona. He is survived by two daughters, Susie and Becky; and three sons, Joshua, Aaron and Benjamin. Oracle is a census-designated place located in Pinal County, Arizona. ...


Controversy

Abbey's abrasiveness, opposition to anthropocentrism (sometimes mischaracterized as misanthropy), 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 apparently in a few cases, actions), many believe that Abbey did advocate ecotage. 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), not people. The novel inspired environmentalists frustrated with conventional methods of activism. 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. Anthropocentrism (Greek άνθρωπος, anthropos, human, κέντρον, kentron, center), or the human-centered principle, refers to the idea that humanity must always remain the central concern for humans. ... Misanthropy is a hatred or distrust of the human race, or a disposition to dislike and/or distrust other people. ... Ecotage is the commission of usually illegal acts of sabotage motivated by environmentalism, including the prevention of ecocide. ... The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey (1927-1989), published in 1975. ... The term eco-warrior is used to describe an environmental activist that adopts a hands-on effort to save or salvage a plot of land, or to advance some ecological ideology. ... “Saboteur” redirects here. ... Ecotage is the commission of usually illegal acts of sabotage motivated by environmentalism, including the prevention of ecocide. ... The symbol of Earth First!: a Monkey wrench and stone hammer Earth First! is a radical environmentalist organization[1] that emerged in the USA, in the great southwestern desert during the spring of 1980. ... Monkeywrenching is economic warfare by sabotage, often by illegal means, used to slow down or halt an undesired government-sanctioned activity. ...


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 has been criticized by some for his comments on immigration and women. He differed from the stereotype of the 'environmentalist as politically-correct leftist', by disclaiming the counterculture and the "trendy campus people" and 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 reserves 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. Abbey refused to be ideologically pigeonholed by the left or the right; above all he was a staunch advocate for wilderness preservation and ecological protection. Abbey thrived on controversy; his popularity has proven to span generations. Abbey even had a FBI file opened on him on account of a 1947 letter he posted while in college urging people rid themselves of their draft cards. [2]. Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of hierarchy and imposed authority. ... Immigration reduction refers to movements active within the United States that advocate a reduction in the amount of immigration allowed into the United States or other countries. ... This article concerns the National Rifle Association of the USA. For the UK organisation, see National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom The National Rifle Association, or NRA, is a non-profit group for the promotion of marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection of hunting and personal protection firearm rights... Hayduke Lives is a sequal to Edward Abbeys extremely popular book The Monkey Wrench Gang. ... Murray Bookchin[1] (born January 14, 1921) is an American libertarian socialist speaker and writer, and founder of the Social Ecology school of anarchist and ecological thought. ... President Dwight Eisenhower famously referred to the military-industrial complex in his farewell address. ... Chambers of commerce are business advocacy groups which are usually not associated with government. ... Colloquial name for a registration document completed by a citizen of a country which enforces conscription. ...


Death and burial

Edward Abbey died on March 14, 1989 due to complications from surgery. Abbey died after four days of esophageal hemorrhaging, due to esophageal verices, 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: is the 73rd day of the year (74th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Outside is a magazine focused on the outdoors. ... David Quammen is an award-winning science, nature and travel writer whose writing has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Outside, Harpers, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times Book Review. ...

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 graveside ceremony: 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. Doug Peacock is an American naturalist, outdoorsman, and author. ... is the 73rd day of the year (74th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ...

The article goes on to note that Abbey's body is believed to have been buried in the Cabeza Prieta Desert in Pima County, Arizona, where "you'll never find it". The friends claim to have scratched out a marker on a nearby stone, which read: The Cabeza Prieta Wilderness is located in the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona in the United States. ... Pima County is located in the south central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. ...

EDWARD PAUL ABBEY
1927—1989
No Comment

In late March, about 200 friends of Abbey gathered near the Saguaro National Monument near Tucson and held the wake he requested. Entrance to the Visitors Center, Saguaro National Park, West. ... Nickname: The Old Pueblo Location in Pima County and the state of Arizona Coordinates: Country United States State Arizona Counties Pima Mayor Bob Walkup (R) Area    - City 505. ...


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 effect 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 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."[4]
  • On terrorism: "The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws."[5]
  • 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."[6]
  • On reason: "Reason has seldom failed us because it has seldom been tried."[7]
  • On truth: "Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion."[8]
  • On the Bible: "A knowledge of the true age of the earth and of the fossil record makes it impossible for any balanced intellect to believe in the literal truth of every part of the Bible in the way that fundamentalists do. And if some of the Bible is manifestly wrong, why should any of the rest of it be accepted automatically?"
  • 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)

Critical comments

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
  • 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."

Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is a sister project of Wikipedia, using the same MediaWiki software. ... The National Observer was a weekly national newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company from 1962 until 1977. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ...

Bibliography

Fiction

Jonathan Troy (1954) was the first published novel by Edward Abbey. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Brave Cowboy (1956) was Edward Abbeys second published novel. ... Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Fire on the Mountain is a 1962 novel by Edward Abbey. ... Year 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Simon & Schuster, New York, first published in 1971 Black Sun is a 1971 novel by Edward Abbey about a rugged forest fire lookout who falls in love with an American girl half his age and then becomes wrongly blamed when she mysteriously disappears in the National Park where he works. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey (1927-1989), published in 1975. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Good News is a 1980 novel by Edward Abbey. ... Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar). ... The Fools Progress, Edward Abbey, 1988, 485 pages. ... Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar). ... Hayduke Lives is a sequal to Edward Abbeys extremely popular book The Monkey Wrench Gang. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar). ...

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)

Desert Solitaire is a Literary nonfiction work by Edward Abbey (1927-89), published originally in 1968, and arguably his best book. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the 1968 Gregorian calendar. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the 1973 Gregorian calendar. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... Down the River is a book by Edward Abbey, published in 1982. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar). ...

Letters

  • Cactus Chronicles published by Orion Magazine, Jul-Aug 2006
  • 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)

Year 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Introduction (869 words)
The readers of Abbey's Web have contributed their own works, see these in the section Reflections and if you are interested in discussing with them, join the mailing list.
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 was a genuine rebel who simply did not believe in the moderns industrial way of life.
Ecology Hall of Fame: Edward Abbey (899 words)
Edward Abbey was born January 29, 1927 in the improbably named town of Indiana, Pennsylvania and lived most of his childhood in a nearby town with an almost-equally unusual name, Home.
Abbey based his heros on real, though largely unidentified individuals who were, even then, trying to harass and delay those who were trying to develop the desert out of existence.
Abbey took this as part of the foundation of his philosophy, drawing on his academic studies in anarchism.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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