Edward Abbey – American environmentalist
Edward Abbey is a famous American writer, a prominent philosopher, and one of the most controversial, influential and radical environmentalists.
Edward Paul Abbey was born on January 29, 1929 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. The years of the Great Depression forced the family to move frequently from place to place in search of work. His father was a real estate agent and was fond of left-wing political ideas, and his mother was a teacher. Edward wrote comic articles for the school newspaper. In 1945 he was drafted into the army and sent to Italy. After demobilization in 1947, he entered the University of New Mexico to study philosophy and English. After graduation in 1951, Abbey constantly changed jobs. He worked as an editor, a factory worker and a social worker.
In 1954 he wrote his first novel Jonathan Troy.
In 1956, Abbey became a ranger in the National Park Service. In the same year he published his second novel The Brave Cowboy: An Old Tale in a New Time. The book was filmed in 1962.
In 1968, he published his new novel Desert Solitaire rich in ecological philosophy. Abbey expressed an amusing idea: “Patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” He believed that without the wildlife people would not be able to preserve their freedom.
However, the most important book, which brought him international fame, is considered The Monkey Wrench Gang, published in 1975. Abbey’s work inspired some radical environmentalists, including Dave Foreman and other members of Earth First!
Abbey’s novel, Fire on the Mountain (1962), was made into a motion picture in 1981.
In the 80s Abbey had serious health problems.
Edward Abbey died from esophageal bleeding on March 14, 1989 in Tucson, Arizona. He didn’t want to be buried in a coffin and wished his body to become the fertilizer for cacti and trees. Friends put his body into a sleeping bag and buried in the prairies of Arizona without any tombstones.
He is the author of 21 books, numerous periodical articles, and several introductions to others’ books.
Abbey is the subject of a one-hour video documentary, Edward Abbey: A Voice in the Wilderness (1993), by Eric Temple.
On October 16, 1965 Abbey married Judy Pepper who died of leukemia on July 11, 1970.
In 1973, Abbey married Renee Downing. However, they divorced after four years of marriage.
In 1982, he married Clarke Cartwright.
Abbey was a father of five children.