The Serpents of Paradise: A Reader (Paperback)
This book is different from any other Edward Abbey book. It includes essays, travel pieces and fictions to reveal Ed's life directly, in his own words.
The selections gathered here are arranged chronologically by incident, not by date of publication, to offer Edward Abbey's life from the time he was the boy called Ned in Home, Pennsylvania, until his death in Tucson at age 62. A short note introduces each of the four parts of the book and attempts to identify what's happening in the author's life at the time. When relevant, some details of publishing history are provided.
About the Author
Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was born in Home, Pennsylvania. He received graduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of New Mexico, and attended the University of Edinburgh. He worked for a time as a forest ranger and was a committed naturalist and a fierce environmentalist; such was his anger, eloquence, and action on the subject that he has become a heroic, almost mythic figure to a whole host of environmental groups and literally millions of readers. Abbey's career as a writer spanned four decades and encompassed a variety of genres, from essays to novels. One of his early successes was the novel The Brave Cowboy, which was made into the movie Lonely Are the Brave. His 1968 collection of essays, Desert Solitaire, became a necessary text for the new environmentalists, like the group 'Earth First,' and his rambunctious 1975 novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, a picaresque tale of environmental guerillas, which launched a national cult movement and sold over half-a-million copies. Other titles include The Journey Home, Fool's Progress, and the posthumously released Hayduke Lives!
John Macrae edited The Serpents of Paradise from Henry Holt and Co..
“The announcement of a new Abbey book, whether essays or fiction, stirs a personal craving no other current American writer can satisfy.” —Los Angeles Book Review
“Abbey was a true independent, a self-declared extremist and ‘desert mystic,' and a hell of a good writer. . . . John Macrae has wisely chosen to organize these outstanding essays, travel pieces, and works of fiction to parallel events in Abbey's unusual life.” —Booklist
“A record as important and lovely as Muir's and Thoreau's.” —William McKibben, author of The End of Nature
“A splendid summary of his best work. . . . Anyone who doesn't already know his work will find this volume, culled from more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction, an addictive introduction.” —Publishers Weekly
“Abbey was many things as a writer, and his longtime editor, John Macrae, has put together a collection which follows the course of Abbey's life through his own work. It is a clever way to anthologize a talent who is impossible to pigeonhole. . . . A fine introduction to a writer who seems certain to endure and is, undeniably, an American original.” —Geoffrey Norman, American Way
“Abbey's work is a kind of blessed voice in the wilderness any way you take it, and a precious figure in our lethal time.” —W.S. Merwin
“The Serpents of Paradise is without question the best Abbey reader.” —David Petersen, editor of Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951-1989