Jenna Los's Reviews > Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
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Jan 18, 2008

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bookshelves: for-school-mla
Read in November, 2007

Edward Abbey has a wonderful love of the wild and his prose manages to actually do justice to the unique landscape of the West. That said, I don't like him. He contradicts himself quite often in this book - hatred of modern conveniences (but loves his gas stove and refrigerator), outrage at tourists destroying nature (but he steals protected rocks and throws tires off cliffs), animal sympathizer (but he callously kills a rabbit as an "experiment"), etc.

His "Monkey Wrench Gang" also upset me - he feels sabotaging road-building equipment is justified because of the value of the wilderness. However, sabotage puts the lives of the workers (who are usually just doing what they have to to put food on the table) at risk, not to mention corporations will simply replace the broken equipment. This hurts the environment even more - you still have machines ripping up the wilderness, but you also have broken machines decaying and leaking toxic fluid into the earth.
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06/12 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Debocracy Edward Abbey was a loon, and a misogynist, and a misanthrope, and all that other stuff. That said, he was an amazing writer whose work helped me to APPRECIATE the goddess-forsaken places that I have visited and lived in as a daughter of the North American West.

Most creative people are nuts, so take it from there.


Greg Walt Whitman said "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."

I think Abbey embraced the contradictions and that's probably why I find him so interesting. The whole beer cans at the side of the road thing. As Hepworth said in his biography of Abbey, "Only math texts don't contradict themselves."


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