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Abbey, Edward

Entry updated 30 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1927-1989) US author, known equally for his controversial nonfiction studies of the ruining of the American West, and for the novels, written late in his career, jeremiads about the future of our planet that – at times melodramatically – advocate a form of armed resistance against the corporate buy-out of the world. The most famous of these late books, all of which may be thought of as Westerns, is The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975; rev 1985), which Terry Bisson's Time-Travel novella Dear Abbey (2003) and Percival Everett's Alternate History Western Grand Canyon, Inc (2001) both honour for its advocacy of the industrial sabotage depicted: the destruction of the notorious Glen Canyon Dam, which created the enormous Lake Powell, and whose effect on the Colorado River from 1963 has been disastrous; by 2023 Lake Powell itself had shrunken drastically, due to drought and overuse. Hayduke Lives! (1990) repeats the message less vividly. It has been suggested that the scenes of industrial sabotage featured in these tales have been understood all too literally by protesters.

Good News (fixup 1980) is set in a balkanized post-Disaster America after nuclear fallout has helped destroy civilization; an Indian shaman, along with other characters similar to those encountered in The Monkey Wrench Gang, fights back against tyranny. [JC]

Edward Abbey

born Indiana, Pennsylvania: 29 January 1927

died ?Tucson, Arizona: 14 March 1989


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