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

by Edward Abbey

ISBN 0525037004 / 9780525037002 / 0-525-03700-4
Publisher E. P. Dutton
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

"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 [via]