Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast

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Milkweed Editions, 2006 - Literary Collections - 296 pages
12 Reviews
“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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Review: Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast

User Review  - Kristen - Goodreads

What a fun read and insight into one of the great environmental heroes. Great book to read a bit of every day to remind yourself to speak your mind, stay true to what is important and fight the good fight until you have nothing left. Read full review

Review: Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast

User Review  - Toph White - Goodreads

Very interesting thoughts and reflections. Interesting to see his correspondence and friends. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Edward Abbey was born January 29, 1927 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Home. After military service in Naples, Italy, from 1945-47, he enrolled in Indiana University of Pennsylvania for a year before traveling to the West. He fell in love with the desert Southwest and eventually attended the University of New Mexico, where he obtained both graduate and post-graduate degrees. Abbey was a Fulbright Fellow from 1951-52. Abbey was an anarchist and a radical environmentalist; these positions are reflected in his writings. His novel Fire on the Mountain won the Western Heritage Award for Best Novel in 1963. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, considered by many to be his best work, is nonfiction that reflects Abbey's love for the American Southwest and draws on his experiences as a park ranger. Among his best-known works are The Brave Cowboy (1956), The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), and The Fool's Progress (1988). In 1966 The Brave Cowboy was made into a movie titled Lonely Are the Brave, starring Kirk Douglas. Two collections of essays have been published since his death in 1989: Confessions of a Barbarian in 1994 and The Serpents of Paradise the following year. In 1987, Abbey was offered the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, but he declined. Abbey died in March 1989, near Tucson, Arizona, from complications following surgery. He did not want a traditional burial but rather requested to be buried in the Arizona desert, where he could nourish the earth which had been the subject of so many of his works.

David Petersen, who knew Abbey as a mentor and friend, is the literary editor of the Abbey estate. He lives in Colorado.

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