Wild Country: Remembering Edward Abbey

Longreads

The author and environmental activist Edward Abbey, who passed away in 1989, would have been 88 today. Abbey—who Larry McMurtry dubbed “the Thoreau of the American West”—was known for his searing love of wilderness, particularly the deserts of the Southwest, and his progressive views. An excerpt from Desert Solitaire, his most famous non-fiction work, can be found here.

According to the historian Douglas Brinkley, “Abbey’s motto came from Walt Whitman—’resist much, obey little’–and he was delighted that everyone from the FBI to the Sierra Club derided him as a ‘Desert Anarchist.'” Below is an excerpt from a 2004 Outside magazine piece titled “Chasing Abbey,” written by Abbey’s close friend and fellow author and outdoorsman Doug Peacock:

By the time Ed died at age 62, he was renowned, the author of 20 books, including Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang, whose protagonist, George Washington Hayduke, was a former Green…

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