Synopses & Reviews
In 1984, the late great Edward Abbey compiled this reader, endeavoring, as he says in his preface, "to present what I think is both the best and most representative of my writing--so far." Two decades later, it remains the only major collection of his work chosen by Abbey himself, a rich feast of fiction and prose by the singular American writer whom Larry McMurtry called "the Thoreau of the American West" and whom Alice Hoffman hailed as "the voice of all that is ornery and honorable."
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. There is even an excerpt from a novel he was working on in 1984, eventually published as The Fool's Progress. Scattered throughout are the author's own petroglyph-style sketches.
Abbey went on publishing new work until his untimely death in 1989 at age sixty, so this new edition includes a selection of later Abbey: a chapter from Hayduke Lives!, the hilarious sequel to The Monkey Wrench Gang; excerpts from his revealing journals; a little-known account of a trip to the Sea of Cortez; 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 largerthan- life figure in American letters.
This book is a collection of thirty-one fiction and nonfiction pieces, selected by one of America's most popular and celebrated authors, including selections from his best-sellers The Monkey Wrench Gang, Desert Solitaire, The Brave Cowboy, Abbey's Road, Down the River, The Journey Home, and others. This gathering, which has the distinction of being both authored and edited by Abbey, provides a unity and consistency not found in any other collections.
Those unfamiliar with Abbey will find this the ideal single-volume introduction to his work, while those who know his writing will treasure this reminder of the range of his talent. Abbey's writing - powerful, idiosyncratic, raunchy, eloquent, passionate, and profoundly honest - made him a unique voice among nature writers and brought him a wide following.
The Best of Edward Abbey is filled with laughter at human foibles, rage at human folly, and abiding love for what Abbey calls "this delicate planet circling around the sun which humankind calls Earth."
"The original fly in the ointment."--Thomas McGuane
"He had about him an authenticity that springs from the page and is beloved by a rising generation of readers."--Edward Hoagland
Table of Contents
[Asterisk * indicates material added to the Second Edition.]
The Author's Preface to His Own Book
From Jonathan Troy (1954)
From The Brave Cowboy (1956)
From Fire on the Mountain (1962)
From Desert Solitaire (1968)
The Moon-Eyed Horse
The Dead Man at Grandview Point
Bedrock and Paradox
From Appalachian Wilderness (1970)
From Black Sun (1971)
From The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975)
Seldom Seen at Home
From The Journey Home (1977)
The Great American Desert
Manhattan Twilight, Hoboken Night
Telluride Blues--A Hatchet Job
From Abbey's Road (1979)
A Desert Isle
Down There in the Rocks
Science with a Human Face
In Defense of the Redneck
The Sorrows of Travel
From Good News (1980)
From Down the River (1982)
Down the River with Henry Thoreau
Watching the Birds: The Windhover
My Friend Debris
From The Rites of Spring (novel in progress)
*From Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside (1984)
Down to the Sea of Cortez
*From The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel (1989)
*From Hayduke Lives! (1990)
*From Earth Apples: The Poetry of Edward Abbey (1994)
Down the River
A Sonnet for Everett Ruess
*From Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals (1994)