Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (1968)

edward-abbey.jpgThere are a lot of suspicious-looking, bearded coots hanging around Moab, Utah.

One of them — though only in spirit since he passed on in 1989 — is Edward Abbey.

He’s the poet laureate of the Colorado Plateau. The environmental conscience of the red rock lands. An “eloquent and passionate advocate”.

Essential reading for anyone coming to the Canyon Country of Four Corners, USA:

Centered around the author’s activities as a park ranger at Arches National Monument (now National Park), Abbey is part storyteller, part anarchist philosopher, part liberal humanist, part crank.

The book is often compared to Thoreau’s Walden. The book is a series of vignettes about various aspects of his work as a park ranger in the desert southwest, ranging from a polemic against development and excessive tourism in the National Parks, to a story of working with a search and rescue team to pull a dead body out of the desert, to stories of river running, his view of Mormonism, the social life in and around Moab, Utah, and more.

Although it is a memoir, it is filled with many interesting, somewhat fictional stories.

Desert Solitaire – Wikipedia

I loved the book, it’s message and humour.

Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire

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. …

His comic novel The Monkey Wrench Gang helped inspire a whole generation of environmental activism. A writer in the mold of Twain and Thoreau, Abbey was a larger-than-life figure as big as the West itself. …

In a career spanning four decades, he wrote passionately in defense of the Southwest and its inhabitants, often mocking the mindless bureaucratic forces hell-bent on destroying it.

“Resist much, obey little”, from Walt Whitman, was this warrior’s motto.

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