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Epitaph For A Desert Anarchist: The Life And Legacy Of Edward Abbey
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Epitaph For A Desert Anarchist: The Life And Legacy Of Edward Abbey

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  134 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Through Abbey's own writings and personal papers, as well as interviews with friends and acquaintances, Bishop gives us a penetrating, compelling, no-holds-barred view of tile life and accomplishments of this controversial figure.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Touchstone (first published 1994)
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Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read many books by Edward Abbey but this is the first biography of him I've read. The author is James Bishop, who coincidentally lives in the same town I do. This book is well written and covers Abbey's life from birth to death...keeping you entertained and interested from beginning to end. But I must admit, I'm biased...Abbey is a hero of mine, who I've come to honor and respect and feel a kinship with ever since I moved to the southwest. So I devour and learn all I can about him. I feel t ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
While still not perfect, this is the best of the three Abbey bios I've read.

It's the most honest about some of his problems such as perceived (and often actual) racism and sexism. It's also the most honest about his inconsistencies. And, some were big enough that the reverse or them was not a foolish consistency.

Bishop also works to nuance Abbey's version of anarchism, and looks a bit at some of his longer-term friends.

At the same time, like the other two bios, I think Bishop misses the biggie.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ed Abbey is one of my heroes. I first discovered his writing when I moved to Utah in the late 70s and read Desert Solitaire, his essays on his time as a seasonal ranger in Arches. It is hard to believe it is over 20 years now since his death. And in the time since Monkey Wrench Gang, Desert Solitaire and other early works were published, much of what he wrote has now been embraced and his predictions realized as this book takes pains to point out. Often labeled a nature or environmental writer, ...more
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is the first biography I ever read. It happens to be about an American author, Edward Abbey, whom I've never read. While it seems somewhat backwards to me to first read a biography about a person you know nothing else about, in a way, it proved to be an intriguing introduction to his work. I would like to read some Edward Abbey now, primarily Desert Solitaire, and the infamous Monkey Wrench Gang.

What I responded to most, in his biography, was the depiction of Abbey as a true American i
May 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
While there have been a number of books and biographiies about Ed Abbey, despite the comments of some critics I found this treatment of the man and the myth to be the most engaging. The criticism has largely come from the fact of several glaring inconsistencies most notably Biship's claim that Abbey died at home whereas he died somewhere in the Cabeza Prieta wilderness of southern Arizona according to his close friend and confidante Doug Peacock who should know as he was among those who carried ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Ed Abbey's iconoclastic voice and views. He looks at nature and humanity with a Darwinian objectivity tinted with a love for the American landscape and the lone hero facing the prospect of the disappearing wilderness. Bishop does a nice job of flushing out Abbey's inconsistencies as well as his strong, near-militant opinions about nature, government, and humanity's relationship with both. Bishop includes balanced and detailed reviews of all of Abbey's writing and provides numerous ...more
Georgia Roybal
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed understanding Edward Abbey better. He sounds like a most unique character. I especially enjoyed it because one of Abbey's best friends (Jack Loeffler) is a friend of mine also. After reading this book, I understood some of Abbey's impact, but especially his uniqueness.
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: nonfiction
Very good perspective on an author I have enjoyed learning about in this biography of the man and his works.
It inspired me to read three of Edward Abbey's works. He seems like a man I would want to go hang out with and chat about whatever comes to mind.
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Only negative thing: cheap binding melted in the sun.
Ender W
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A biography that gives you Abbey's philosophies without having to read his books. Well crafted.
I'm obsessed. I get it. It's fine.
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