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Edward Abbey
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Beyond The Wall: Essays from the Outside

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4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  458 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
In this beautiful book about landscapes of the desert and the mind, Edward Abbey guides us beyond the wall of the city and asphalt belting of superhighways to special pockets of wilderness that stretch from the interior of Alaska to the dry lands of Mexico.

No passports are needed, no examinations to undergo, no special equipment required, no experience necessary. A journey
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Audio Cassette, 8 pages
Published September 1st 1988 by Books on Tape, Inc. (first published 1971)
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(showing 1-30 of 850)
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John
May 01, 2011 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding fare from one of the modern age's greatest scribes on the American West. I snuck a peak at Wikipedia and agree with Larry McMurty's depiction of him as the "Thoreau of the American West". Having read Abbey's earlier pro-environmental novels ("The Monkey Wrench Gang", "Hayduke Lives") and travelogues on national parks and the Colorado River ("Desert Solitaire", "Down the River" some years back, I found this gem in the bargain bin at a library sale. Abbey is always dependendable. He wi ...more
WM Rine
Sep 29, 2012 WM Rine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've devoured most of Abbey's books over the years, but this is the one I return to most often. The first two pieces in this collection provide the best introduction to his work I can think of. "A Walk in the Desert Hills" describes a 115-mile walk across the Sonoran Desert, in search of adventure, wisdom, and water. "How It Was" describes his first incursions into the Four Corners and Glen Canyon area, before the pavement came. "How It Was" will make you understand what got Abbey intoxicated wi ...more
Eric North
As always, Edward Abbey is incredibly passionate and observant toward the wild, whether it's the desert Southwest (most often) or the frigid Alaskan wilderness. His honesty and gun-point criticisms of "civilized" society are always refreshing, and consistently over the top; they are not entirely reasonable or gracious, but always hilarious, and somehow resonant within the heart of any thoughtful lover of nature. Apart from the few sections where he meticulously describes the characteristics of o ...more
Sean A.
abbey is a great fuckin writer and if his ideas are taken seriously, a very dangerous writer. are his ideas taken seriously enough, judging by the undeniably sorry state of the environment//world at large i would guess not.
still there is a lot of serious joy and frollick to be taken from his descriptions and natural insight.
great read.
Sharon
Feb 21, 2013 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A man grows up with the desert and knows it well: its plants, its rocks, its water, its animals. He walks or drives--more often walks--through solitary places. In parts, the book reads like poetry. In other parts, the arrogance of the author pushes me away. But Abbey knows the desert and he shows the reader extrordianry images.
Kevin Spicer
Not my favorite Abbey, but there were moments of greatness; kind of hit and miss, I'd say. These are essays about undeveloped landscapes in the American Southwest, how it feels to be a part of it, though only for a short time, how it feels to be outnumbered, or helpless to those who would rather see it tamed, made useful and "accessible."

My favorites were when I could feel his pleasure as he hiked through dangerous and difficult stretches of desert. I liked his meditations on the monstrous and
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jeremy
Aug 16, 2009 jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
the last of abbey's books i had yet to read (with the exception of the out-of-print jonathan troy, forsaken even by the author himself), beyond the wall: essays from the outside is mostly a collection of pieces ed had previously published elsewhere (including national geographic, outside, and those often overpriced time-life books). beyond the wall is not as thematically or geographically coherent as his other works, as in this book he writes about locations as disparate as the guadalupe mountai ...more
Thomas Bowers
Jun 27, 2014 Thomas Bowers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The essays of Mr. Abbey portray individualism in pursuit of simple living and simple enjoyment of the nature of the southwest deserts, the Colorado river, and above Alaska's Arctic Circle. His colorful and descriptive language lead one to a feeling of being present at the location and even drawing one in to the need to be part of such an adventure. He does so inspire the individual spirt and romanticism of individual exploration.
Christopher
Edward Abbey is the environmentalist's apostle. His writings are epistles that invite you to go out and save all that's worth saving from the hands of evil tyrants who seek to "reclaim" the natural world for the betterment of Man. Abbey persuades us that we should really leave Nature alone and let it takes its course. Every word is a treasure.
Arthur
May 27, 2011 Arthur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Abby in this less-than-characteristically pugnacious collection of essays casts an introspective eye on the soul of the West and the hearts that long to love it. A trenchant commentary on the decay that cleverly markets itself as our moral society it remain as timely and topical a social critique as it was when it first printed decades ago.

And as bit of travel literature for the mind and eye that yearn for the desert Abby slakes our thirst. I picked up this book after walking one of the canyons
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Stasia
Aug 18, 2014 Stasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gosh. Anyone who can translate such a humongous love of nature and a healthy cantankerism (heh--if I can make up that word;) about human activity into such well-written prose is a genius. Every time I read anything by Abbey I want to immediately set out on adventure, and this book is no exception. Awesome.

One of my favorite things:

"The planet is bigger than we ever imagined. The world is colder, more ancient, more strange and more mysterious than we had dreamed. And we puny human creatures wit
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Gillian
Feb 01, 2015 Gillian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A spirited and convicting story teller who immortalized the yet untamed American Desert, Abbey realistically faces the environmental concerns of the country while capturing the purpose of pilgrimage -self-reliance.
Woody
Oct 09, 2014 Woody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great landscape descriptions combine with great adventures taken by Abbey in the American Southwest and Alaska to make this a fascinating read. This is a lesser-known but very good piece of work by the famous and at times acerbic champion of wild spaces.
Bill Reid
Jul 03, 2014 Bill Reid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eds edge

I enjoy the edge balanced with the awesome description of the outdoors Ed brings to us. His work offers us insight to how stupid we are.
KatieSuzanne
Aug 29, 2011 KatieSuzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book took me forever to finish because I savored it. I'd read it on camping trips and road trips, matching the short story I picked with the landscape I was in. I read about his hike through the desert while I was camping out in the hot desert of Nevada and I didn't have to use my imagination at all but instead felt like I was in the story myself. I read about his river runs after my own river runs etc and the southern Utah ones after trips down there as well. I think I actually ended up re ...more
Amanda
Feb 24, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasing compilation of nonfiction stories from none other than grandpa Abbey. I love him more and more with every book I read.
Nick
May 19, 2015 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a random collection of Abbey stuff pulled from all over. No real theme, no total overarching idea. Not his best by a mile. and yet, it's still so damn good.
Kent
Apr 01, 2013 Kent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of great essays including The Damnation of a Canyon and a walk in the Desert Hills. This book is the source of the e-mail signature I've been using since the early 1990's. From the Introduction: "May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God's dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may ...more
Mark Egge
Sep 28, 2014 Mark Egge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Abbey. A fine collection of essays about amazing places.
Irene Lapp Ryan
Feb 06, 2011 Irene Lapp Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God's dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, May the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night" dear Edward Abbey
Rick
Sep 22, 2012 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edward Abbey can penetrate the soul by penetrating to world of outside the walls of civilization. His writing does that as he puts words to adventure and experience. His Thoreauvian attention to detail makes the experience come alive.
Kevin Mcclelion
Nov 01, 2013 Kevin Mcclelion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Edward abbey...several classic lines from this book.... My favorite...."and he makes strong coffee, stout and vigorous, powerful enough to deconstipate a sand-impacted Egyptian."
Roy
Jan 17, 2009 Roy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Travel essays that are, as expected from Abbey, joyfully expressive of his explorations of the 'back country'...
Budd Gilfillen jr
Jun 08, 2014 Budd Gilfillen jr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Excellent set of Essays in keeping with Edward Abbey's writings about the American Southwest.
David
Mar 30, 2008 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The desert is an unforgiving, desolate, harsh, illuminating, miraculous place.
Amy
Aug 02, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are the places of my soul - dry, barren, and teeming with life
Tracy Murphy
May 02, 2012 Tracy Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Ed Abbey. I go back relatively often to reread.
Tutu
May 10, 2008 Tutu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is Abbey...What more do I need to say?
Andrew
Jan 27, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book made me want to go to the desert
Jessica
Sep 27, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't go wrong with cranky old Ed.
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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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“I thought of the wilderness we had left behind us, open to sea and sky, joyous in its plenitude and simplicity, perfect yet vulnerable, unaware of what is coming, defended by nothing, guarded by no one.” 19 likes
“If the life of natural things, millions of years old, does not seem sacred to us, then what can be sacred? Human vanity alone? Contempt for the natural world is contempt for life. The domination of nature leads to the domination of human nature. Anything becomes permissible. We return once more to the nightmare cultures of Hitler, Stalin, King Philip II, Montezuma, Caligula, Heliogabalus, Herod, the Pharaohs; Christ sacrificed himself in vain.” 8 likes
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