Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast

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9781571312853: Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast
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But hell, I do like to write letters. Much easier than writing books.” And write letters Ed Abbey did. In his famous or infamous 45-year career, Abbey’s cards and letters became as legendary as his books for their wit, vitriol, and ability to speak truth to power. Published here for the first time, the letters offer a fascinating, often hilarious glimpse into the mind of one of America’s most iconoclastic and beloved authors. No subject was too banal, too arcane, or too deep for Abbey to expound on: sex, cheerleaders, Mormons, Aspen, and the Bond girls are covered as gleefully as Stegner, Dylan, Chomsky, Buddhism, and betrayal. Whether scolding an editor to simplify ( I’ve had to waste hours erasing that storm of fly-shit on the typescript”) or skewering the chicken-hawk proponents of the war in Vietnam, Abbey’s righteous indignation gives hope and inspiration to a generation that desperately needs both.

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From Booklist:

Edward Abbey (1927-89) was contrary, incorrect, ribald, brilliant, prescient, outspoken, and outraged. He wrote ravishing and stinging essays about the glorious and endangered Southwest (Desert Solitaire is now a classic) and wildly satiric novels--most famously The Monkey Wrench Gang--that explode our cherished myths of the frontier and so-called progress. Abbey wrote incessantly when he wasn't hiking, wooing women, playing with his kids, brooding, or torching billboards, and his favorite thing to write was letters to family, friends, fellow writers, and, most entertainingly, editors of various newspapers and magazines. Abbey expert David Petersen has constructed a high-voltage letter collection that covers every facet of Cactus Ed's full-throttle life, prickly personality, and profound insights into the dire consequences of greed, mindless growth, and the "worship of technology." Every thorny issue Abbey raises in his passionate, entertaining, and hilarious missives remains urgent, from his concerns about rivers and national parks to his harsh anti-immigration diatribes and disgust with commercial culture. Whether he's mocking the New York literati or protesting the Vietnam War, Abbey writes with wit, genius, fury, and molten lyricism. Graced with a profoundly moving foreword by Terry Tempest Williams, this volume of volcanic correspondence is an essential addition to American literature and the literature of the environment. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From Publishers Weekly:

Touching on civil rights, the environment, Vietnam, immigration, technology, pop culture, industrialism and nearly anything else that has been a hot-button issue since the mid-20th Century, Abbey's letters, collected here and presented in chronological order, offer not only an intriguing portrait of Abbey the writer and individualist, but of the political state of the nation. By turns lucid and measured, warm and intimate, or bitingly cruel (and wickedly funny), Abbey displays a staggering range of concerns, and Abbey's fans will find these missives no less stinging and eloquent than his best fiction. Knowledge of Abbey's work (The Monkey Wrench Gang; Desert Solitaire, etc.) helps put the letters and their author in perspective, though readers unacquainted with Abbey's career may find this a useful introduction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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