Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey

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9781555662875: Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey
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Edward Abbey was an anarchist, activist, philosopher, and the spiritual father of the environmental movement. He was also a passionate journal keeper, a man who filled page after page with notes, philosophical musings, character sketches, illustrations, musical notations, and drawings. His "scribbling," as he called it, began in 1948, when he served as a motorcycle MP in postwar Italy, and continued until his death in 1989, totaling twenty-one volumes.

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Review:

Few have cared more about American wilderness than the irascible Cactus Ed. Author of eco-classics such as The Monkey Wrench Gang and Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey reveals all his rough-hewn edges and passionate beliefs in this witty, outspoken, maddening, and sometimes brilliant selection of journal entries that takes the writer from his early years as a park ranger and would-be literary author up to his death in 1989.

From Booklist:

Beatnik turned major American essayist, ecologist in advance of the modern ecological movement, anarchist "in favor of settling the African problem by violent revolution, if at all possible," and self-proclaimed Communist, Abbey is both compelling and infuriating, more so in his essays than the fiction he considered his serious work. His journals show that he didn't so much find a voice as mature the one he always had. He gradually replaces his schematic ideas for novels, which inundated him, with observations and narratives. He lusts after anything in skirts, marries one woman after another, is ebullient at the birth of his first child, more reserved about the second. He responds insightfully to some of his colleagues--he was the first on his block to praise Allen Ginsberg--invidiously to others: "John Irving on the cover of Time (September '81). That magazine never fails to bestow its blessings on the mediocre." A must for every library with serious holdings in the literature of the Southwest; others may find perhaps too much juvenilia in it. Then again, it's Ed Abbey. Roland Wulbert

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