Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside” as Want to Read:
Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  583 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
In this wise and lyrical 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.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 15th 1984 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1971)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beyond the Wall, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Beyond the Wall

A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo LeopoldWalden by Henry David ThoreauA Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonPilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie DillardDesert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Best Nature Books
587 books — 482 voters
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
324 books — 252 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
John
May 01, 2011 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 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
Douglas
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Abbey--who died almost 30 years ago--trudges, climbs, hikes, slips along several desolate landscapes in this collection of essays that describe the American wilderness. He decries waste and pollution. He is cranky.
But his prose is lyrical and direct. His path often meanders through the Southwest terrain he loves. Interestingly, he concludes the book recounting a camping expedition to Alaskas Brooks Range.
Abbey's book made me want to fill up a large canteen with water and strike out for a dista
...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 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.
Edward Nugent
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: international, mexico
A great look at what made Abbey the voice of a new environmental and wilderness movement. The essays run the gamut from lyrical, philosophical, richly descriptive to cranky curmudgeon.
Madhusree
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
He is a writer that appeals as much to my gut as my mind. Best thing about him is that he takes me back to the southwest physically (almost) with him as he writes about it.
Lynda
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the way Edward Abbey takes the reader along with him on his journeys. I really feel like I have experienced walking and sleeping and smelling and feeling the desert. Lovely
jeremy
Jul 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Arthur
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Arthur
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Abbey is, hands down, a master of the language. Exact, even precise, yet poetic and highly evocative. Few authors can make me feel as thirsty as he can. Few authors can create such a desire for wide open spaces as he can. Few authors can make me as sad or as hopeful. It is still there, the wilderness, smaller than it once was but not gone. This is an older book, essays written largely in the time of the anti-wilderness polemics of James Watt sleeping with every corporate power lusting after oil ...more
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
...more
Stasia
Mar 06, 2014 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
...more
KatieSuzanne
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Kent
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Thomas Bowers
Jun 27, 2014 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.
Irene Lapp Ryan
Feb 06, 2011 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
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.
Gillian
Feb 01, 2015 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 03, 2014 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.
Rick
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-account
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.
David
Mar 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The desert is an unforgiving, desolate, harsh, illuminating, miraculous place.
Kevin Mcclelion
Oct 23, 2013 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."
Amy
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are the places of my soul - dry, barren, and teeming with life
Andrew
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
this book made me want to go to the desert
Jessica
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Can't go wrong with cranky old Ed.
Amanda
Feb 24, 2015 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.
Amber
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first few essays transported me to the American southwest.
Tracy Murphy
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Ed Abbey. I go back relatively often to reread.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty
  • Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert
  • The Sound of Mountain Water
  • Crossing Open Ground
  • In Search of the Old Ones
  • Blue Desert
  • Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness
  • The Land of Little Rain
  • The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon
  • The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky
  • Edward Abbey: A Life
  • The Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness
  • The Survival of the Bark Canoe
  • Hey Ranger! True Tales of Humor & Misadventure from America's National Parks
  • The Mountains of California
  • The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons
37218
Edward Paul Abbey (1927–1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views.

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
...more
More about Edward Abbey...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Funny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.24 $1.99
“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.” 27 likes
“Within minutes my 115-mile walk through the desert hills becomes a thing apart, a disjunct reality on the far side of a bottomless abyss, immediately beyond physical recollection.

But it’s all still there in my heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure—they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days to come, like a treasure found and then, voluntarily, surrendered. Returned to the mountains with my blessing. It leaves a golden glowing on the mind.”
14 likes
More quotes…