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A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto): Notes from a Secret Journal

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  454 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
For the first time in softcover, Edward Abbey’s last book, a collection of unforgettable barbs of wisdom from the best-selling author of The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Notes from a Secret Journal

Edward Abbey on:

Government—“Terrorism: deadly violence against humans and other living things, usually conducted by a government against its own people.”

Sex—“How to Avoid Pleurisy: Never m
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 15th 1991 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published August 15th 1989)
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The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le GuinAnarchism and Other Essays by Emma GoldmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreOn Anarchism by Noam ChomskyHomage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Anarchist books
267th out of 290 books — 216 voters
Desert Solitaire by Edward AbbeyThe Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward AbbeyDeath Comes for the Archbishop by Willa CatherSkinwalkers by Tony HillermanThe Milagro Beanfield War by John     Nichols
Four Corners Country
134th out of 228 books — 97 voters

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Community Reviews

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Nov 25, 2007 jeremy rated it it was amazing
one of the most ingenious, discerning, singular american thinkers of the twentieth century. simply brilliant...

"i hate intellectual discussion. when i hear the words phenomenology or structuralism, i reach for my buck knife."

"belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination."

"better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion."

"there has got to be a god; the world could not have become so fucked up by chance alone."

"is there a god? who knows? is there an angry unicorn on the dark s
Pat Muccigrosso
May 22, 2015 Pat Muccigrosso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly prescient, Edward Abbey wrote this book just before he died (1989) but it's about precisely what is happening in our society, with our economy and politically, right now. I love his humor and his pithiness. Abbey wastes no words as he wasted no time on idiots, self-aggrandizers and the "important."

This small but powerful book is divided into sections like Nature, Life and Death and All That, Music, Money, and Government and Politics. And his words cut right through the meat and to the
Jul 10, 2014 Josh rated it really liked it
"Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues."

"Belief in God? An afterlife? I believe in rock: this apodictic rock beneath my feet."

"From the point of view of a tapeworm, man was created by God to serve the appetite of the tapeworm."

"Proverbs save us the trouble of thinking. What we call folk wisdom is often no more than a kind of expedient stupidity."

"Appearance versus reality? Appearance is reality, God damn it!"

"Fantastic doctrines (lik
Aug 01, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it
Utah's greatest Park Ranger...we don't even know where he's buried, in that great, vast oasis of space. Great favorite is, "Whenever I hear the word culture I reach for my checkbook." Don't mis-understand at your own peril and glean a perceptive fella without pretensions...oddly he was a mixture of St. Andrew's, redneck proclivities and much needed common sense wisdom.
May 31, 2008 B rated it it was amazing
This is the last Abbey I read. I think, maybe, the last he wrote. Can't remember. A compilation of shorts that are, each and every one, a treasure. I love the writer who can put it down clearly, and in short while still being at the top of his/her entertainment game.
Mar 09, 2008 Christine rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Having had the honor to read Abbey's private journals, finding this book was an amazing experience of seeing his words, and his thoughts translated into pithy sayings. A little bit of bumpersticker mentality but well worth it for the truths it reveals.
Jan 23, 2008 KatieSuzanne rated it it was amazing
Little quotes from books, journals, and who knows where else because it doesn't really say. Some are funny and some are just plain good but not a lot that are crude. If you like Edward Abbey than you'll really like this little book.
Lynn Miller
Aug 04, 2013 Lynn Miller rated it it was amazing
A collection of great stories. Vox Clamantis on Deserto!
Apr 01, 2013 Kent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quotes drawn from Ed's journals and writing.
Jun 28, 2016 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a collection of quotes and witticisms from an anarchist tree-hugger. I was expecting it to have this gem, but it did not: “WEALTH AND HOW TO ACHIEVE IT: Let us define the wealthy man as he who has everything he desires. How to reach that happy condition? Two ways...
(1) Through money: Work, sweat, scheme, grovel, cheat, lie betray to acquire it. But there's no guarantee you'll succeed. Ninety-nine chances out of a hundred, you'll fail. Or...
(2) Do without: Reduce your needs to the minim
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
I've never read another book by Edward Abbey and I'm not in a big hurry to go find more to read, but I do enjoy his frank opinions and ideas :-) I found this at the library looking for something easy to read, light and amusing. I really liked some of Abbey's thoughts and others were blah to me. This volume was sent to the publisher just two weeks before the author died in 1989.

Below are some thoughts that stood out to me-

Chapter 1:Philosophy, Religion, and So Forth

"The more fantastic an ideology
May 07, 2012 Mark rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Aristotle said (or I've heard he said), "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

Edward Abbey may not himself have been an environmental terrorist, but apparently his works are important to environmental terror groups. I'm a big fan of protecting the environment, conserving the natural beauty of the earth and generally not trying to screw over the planet that keeps us alive. But, I don't agree with the more extreme measures proposed by many to d
Carl Nelson
Oct 23, 2014 Carl Nelson rated it liked it
Shelves: outdoors-memoir
3.5 stars. A nicely curmudgeonly tone, with a penchant for sarcasm and wit. I found that Abbey's quotes were strongest when talking about things he loved, like nature and freedom, and weaker on things that he felt superior to, which is most of mankind. I appreciated his acerbic barbs for the most part, even when I disagreed with him; in general I liked his libertarian bent. A quick read with a lot of payoff, but not for the easily offended.
Feb 04, 2014 Marlène rated it really liked it
Voici une petite collection d'aphorismes croustillants sur tout et tout le monde. Une montagne d'humour et de cynisme joliment emballés dans une forêt de provocation. Tout le monde en prend mais surtout l'auteur lui-même. Un véritable plaisir pour ponctuer des journées ennuyeuses et trop chargées de routine.
Une voix dans le désert qui appelle à visiter d'autres mots d'Edward Abbey.
Matt Carpenter
Mar 23, 2015 Matt Carpenter rated it it was ok
There are some good quotes in this book, but when the author is a materialist and an anarchist, you will get quotes that display this philosophy. I can appreciate when a man speaks without fear of being politically incorrect, but besides that, I didn't enjoy this book.
Don Gubler
Jun 19, 2015 Don Gubler rated it really liked it
Nice book of quotes in the Abbey way of life.
I'm still too angry about this book to write another review apart from my anti-review I posted to Medium.
Jun 02, 2009 Jailynn rated it really liked it
another snag from Katie
I can see the beginnings of a great Love/Hate relationship starting here, I either really love and agree with what he is saying or I totally want to go cause him some pain and call him a jerk, maybe kick him in the shins and tell him to go take a hike....and then ask if I can come along with him.
Josh Stride
Dec 19, 2007 Josh Stride rated it really liked it
A self-consciously pretentious collection of snippets of wisdom from Edward Abbey some of which, he admits, "have appeared, in altered form, in previous books of mine, floating along in a flood of earnest prose. Others may be unconscious plagiarism of the great and dead."
Jan 24, 2009 Charles rated it liked it
All great stuff...a collection of quotes and bits of wisdom that's probably worthy of 5 stars, but that'd be like putting a "greatest hits" album on the list of "best albums of all time" or something like that. The original collection is always best.
May 28, 2010 Sandra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
A book of interesting quotes. Some are good and some are not written from the author's perspective on life.

A good example is from page 13:
"I believe in nothing that I cannot touch, kiss, embrace...The rest is only hearsay."

jackalope Mack
Apr 19, 2007 jackalope Mack rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People with short attention spans
Shelves: edwardabbey
I don't know who has my copy of this book, but I wish they'd return it. Since I haven't seen it in over ten years, I ain't a-holdin' my breath. Selected sayings from my philosophical grandpa. God I miss him.
Sep 25, 2009 carolyn rated it liked it
not a story at all but a collection of Abbey quotes some sharp as knives and funny as hell some dull and flat. It's a mixed bag and certainly not what I was expecting. I prefer stories
Feb 12, 2009 Ben rated it it was amazing
This great little book is full of quotations (and nothing else) by Abbey. Organized loosely into topic, they are great for finding the perfect quote to end a rant.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I adore Ed Abbey, and this is nice because it's just pithy little quotes pulled from his books and organized by topic.
Dec 10, 2010 Kristin rated it liked it
Shelves: books-of-2010
A good book is a kind of paper club, serving to rouse the slumbrous and to silence the obtuse. (pg. 55)
Clifford Novey
A great and compact collection of quotes and notes and short stories by the man himself.
Aug 02, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing little piece of groupings
Jul 22, 2009 Chris rated it liked it
another great Abbey compilation.
Apr 25, 2013 Robin rated it really liked it
A great set of thoughts and mantras.
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Abbey attended college in New Mexico, and then worked as a park ranger and fire lookout for the National Park Service in the Southwest. It was during this time that he developed the relationship with the area's environment that influenced his writing. During his service, he was in close proximity to the ruins of ancient Native American cultures and saw the expansion and destruction of modern civil ...more
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“Music clouds the intellect but clarifies the heart.” 21 likes
“From the point of view of a tapeworm, man was created by God to serve the appetite of the tapeworm.” 17 likes
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