The Best of Edward Abbey: A Collection of Essays, Articles, and Excerpts from His Novels

1. Introduction

The Best of Edward Abbey is a book that includes some of the best known works by the American author Edward Abbey. The book was first published in 1984 and includes essays, articles, and excerpts from Abbey’s novels. The book is divided into seven sections, each of which deals with a different aspect of Abbey’s work.

The first section, “Themes and Motifs in Abbey’s Writing”, looks at the recurring themes in Abbey’s work, such as the environment, freedom, and solitude. The second section, “Abbey’s Literary Legacy”, looks at how Abbey’s work has influenced other writers. The third section, “Abbey and Nature”, looks at Abbey’s love of nature and the environment. The fourth section, “Abbey and His Critics”, looks at the criticism that has been directed at Abbey over the years. The fifth section, “Abbey and His admirers”, looks at the people who have praised Abbey’s work. The sixth section, “Abbey’s Work in Context”, looks at how Abbey’s work fits into the American literary tradition. The seventh and final section, “Bibliography”, lists some of the most important works about Abbey and his work.

2. The Best of Edward Abbey

The Best of Edward Abbey includes some of Abbey’s most famous essays, such as “Desert Solitaire”, “The Monkey Wrench Gang”, and “Black Sun”. These essays are among the most important works of environmental writing ever published. In them, Abbey argues for the need to protect wilderness areas from development and pollution. He also calls for a change in our attitude towards the natural world.

Abbeys love for nature is evident in all of his writing. In “Desert Solitaire”, he describes the beauty of the Utah desert; in “The Monkey Wrench Gang”, he celebrates the wilderness of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park; and in “Black Sun”, he mourns the destruction of the Colorado River ecosystem by dams and water diversions. In all of these essays, Abbey makes a powerful case for the need to protect our natural heritage.

3. The Author and His Work

Edward Abbey was born on January 29, 1927, in Pennsylvania. He grew up in a small town in New Jersey and later moved to Arizona. After serving in the military during World War II, he attended college on the G.I. Bill. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in philosophy in 1951.

After college, Abbey worked as a park ranger in Utah’s Arches National Park. It was during this time that he wrote his first book, Desert Solitaire (1968). This book is based on his experiences as a park ranger and is considered one of the most important works of environmental writing ever published.

In 1975, Abbey wrote what is probably his best-known novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975). This novel is set in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park and tells the story of a group of eco-terrorists who fight against development in wilderness areas. The novel was made into a movie in 1982 starring Ed Harris and Bette Midler.

Throughout his career, Abbey wrote many other books about environmentalism, wilderness protection, and social issues. He also wrote several novels, including Fire on the Mountain (1979) and The Fool’s Progress (1988). Abbey died on January 14, 1989, in Tucson, Arizona.

4. Abbey’s Environmentalism

Abbey was an ardent environmentalist. He believed that humans were destroying the natural world and that we needed to protect wilderness areas. In his essays, he argued that development and pollution were the biggest threats to the environment. He also criticized the way that humans treated animals and the natural world.

Abbey’s environmentalism was radical in its day. In the 1960s and 1970s, most Americans believed that development was good for the economy and that pollution was not a serious problem. Abbey’s views were seen as radical and extreme by many people. However, over time, his views have become more mainstream. Today, there is widespread agreement that we need to protect our environment and that pollution is a serious problem.

5. Abbey’s Radicalism

In addition to being an environmentalist, Abbey was also a radical. He believed in direct action and civil disobedience. He was critical of the government and its policies towards the environment. He also believed that humans were destroying the planet and that we needed to make radical changes to our way of life.

Abbey’s radicalism can be seen in his novel The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975). In this novel, a group of eco-terrorists fight against development in wilderness areas. They use sabotage and other forms of direct action to stop construction projects. The novel is seen as a call to arms by many environmentalists. It has been credited with inspiring acts of eco-terrorism, such as the destruction of power lines and the sabotage of logging equipment.

6. Abbey’s Satire

Abbey was a master of satire. His writing is often funny and irreverent. He used satire to criticize the government, corporations, and individuals who he felt were harming the environment. He also used satire to point out the absurdity of our attitudes towards Nature.

One of Abbey’s most famous satires is “The Sermon on the Mount”, which is included in The Best of Edward Abbey. In this essay, Abbey parodies the Sermon on the Mount from the Bible. He replaces Jesus’ teachings about love and compassion with a call for humans to live in harmony with nature. This essay is a brilliant criticism of our mistreatment of the natural world.

7. Conclusion

The Best of Edward Abbey is a collection of some of Abbey’s best known essays, articles, and excerpts from his novels. The book provides insights into Abbey’s thoughts on environmentalism, radicalism, and satire. It also gives readers a glimpse into his love of nature and his concern for the future of our planet.


My favorite essay in the collection is "The Great American Desert." I love Abbey's descriptions of the desert landscape and his meditations on our relationship to nature.

Abbey is considered one of the most important environmental writers of the 20th century because he was one of the first to bring attention to the issue of human impact on the natural world. His writing challenged traditional ideas about our relationship to nature and showed how progress often comes at the expense of the environment.

Abbey challenges traditional ideas about nature by showing how humans have impacted it in negative ways. He also argues that progress is often detrimental to the natural world, as it can lead to pollution and habitat destruction.

I agree with Abbey's view that progress is often detrimental to the natural world, as it can lead to things like pollution and habitat destruction. I think his writing style contributes to this overall message by painting a picture of how humans have negatively impacted nature, and how this has had consequences for both people and animals alike.

I don't have any personal connections to any of the essays in the collection, but I think they're all very well-written and thought-provoking nonetheless.

I really enjoy the essay "Erebus." I like how Abbey writes about his experience in a very personal way, and I think it does a great job of conveying the feeling of being in Antarctica.