These eloquent meditations, philosophical musings, and whimsical doodles offer us the clearest window into the soul of this American literary legend.
Few have cared more about American wilderness than the irascible Cactus Ed. Author of eco-classics such as The Monkey Wrench Gang and Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey reveals all his rough-hewn edges and passionate beliefs in this witty, outspoken, maddening, and sometimes brilliant selection of journal entries that takes the writer from his early years as a park ranger and would-be literary author up to his death in 1989. Everything is here: the acute wit, the searing cynicism, and the lyrical, effortless prose. This new edition features an interview with his friend and editor David Petersen in which Abbey speaks candidly about his own work, his approach to writing, and technique. Original sketches made by Abbey himself and a detailed index are also included.
Ending with an entry written 12 days before his 1989 death at age 60, the diaries of the late environmentalist and novelist (The Monkeywrench Gang) are adolescent in spirit, with all the virtues and vices that word implies. Abbey is capable of startling self-righteousness; his fulminations against writers he considers second-rate seem to be motivated as much by jealousy as by genuine bewilderment at his rivals' success. Yet such moments are cut with welcome self-mockery: He calls himself ``E. Abbey, famous unknown author.'' Though he traveled over the world, he finds his spiritual home in the American Southwest, and some of his most moving writing here pays lush homage to the austere landscape or lashes out at those poised to destroy it. Abbey the lover is as vocal as the moralist: exuberantly priapic tributes to one woman after another fill these pages. Petersen, a freelance writer and environmentalist, was a longtime friend of ``Cactus Ed.'' Illustrated with Abbey's drawings.