The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West

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9780525037002: The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West
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The Journey Home ranges from the surreal cityscapes of Hoboken and Manhattan to the solitary splendor of the deserts and mountains of the Southwest. It is alive with ranchers, dam builders, kissing bugs, and mountain lions. In a voice edged with chagrin, Edward Abbey offers a portrait of the American West that we’ll not soon forget, offering us the observations of a man who left the urban world behind to think about the natural world and the myths buried therein.
 
Abbey, our foremost “ecological philosopher,” has a voice like no other. He can be wildly funny, ferociously acerbic, and unexpectedly moving as he ardently champions our natural wilderness and castigates those who would ravish it for the perverse pleasure of profit.

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Review:

"I am not a naturalist. I never was and never will be a naturalist." So Ed Abbey opens The Journey Home, a collection of essays that turns every page or two to some aspect of the natural history of the desert West. Abbey had recently been compared to Henry Thoreau as a writer who had made a home both literary and real in the wild, and he was having none of it: he wanted to be thought of as a novelist and environmental activist, not as the author of gentle essays on self-sufficiency and the turn of the seasons. The Journey Home is thus full of politically charged, often enraged essays on such matters as urban growth ("The Blob Comes to Arizona"), the gentrification of the small-town West ("Telluride Blues--A Hatchet Job"), and wilderness preservation ("Let Us Now Praise Mountain Lions"). He raised a few hackles with this book, but he also found many devoted readers, fans who wanted and got an update of and rejoinder to Abbey's Desert Solitaire. Agree with him or not, you can't fault Abbey for his honest self-assessment: "I am--really am--an extremist," he wrote, "one who lives and loves by choice far out on the very verge of things, on the edge of the abyss, where this world falls into the depths of the other. That's the way I like it." --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Edward Abbey, a self-proclaimed “agrarian anarchist,” was hailed as the “Thoreau of the American West.” Known nationally as a champion of the individual and one of this country’s foremost defenders of the natural environment, he was the author of twenty books, both fiction and nonfiction, including Desert Solitaire, The Monkey Wrench Gang, and The Journey Home. In 1989, at the age of sixty-two, Edward Abbey died in Oracle, Arizona.

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