Finding Abbey The search for Edward Abbey and his hidden desert grave

Sean Prentiss

Book - 2015

When the great environmental writer Edward Abbey died in 1989, four of his friends buried him secretly in a hidden desert spot that no one would ever find. The final resting place of the Thoreau of the American West remains unknown and has become part of American folklore. In this book a young writer who went looking for Abbey's grave combines an account of his quest with a creative biography of Abbey.

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BIOGRAPHY/Abbey, Edward
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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press 2015.
©2015
Language
English
Physical Description
ix, 230 pages ; 20 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9780826355911
0826355919
Main Author
Sean Prentiss (-)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Prentiss (creative writing, Norwich Univ.) traces the life of the great environmental writer Edward Abbey (1927–89), who has a devoted following, somewhat more than a cult; his masterpiece is Desert Solitaire, with The Monkey Wrench Gang, about sabotage in the cause of environmental extremism, a close second. Prentiss interviews people Abbey knew and visits places he lived, creating a book that is full of humor and insight, musings and philosophy. The author describes his adventures searching for his subject's secret grave somewhere in the Southwestern deserts that were the fond focus of his voluminous writings. Prentiss also describes how the uncompromising Abbey was a complex, difficult person: full professor, Fulbright scholar, womanizer, heavy drinker, anarchist, and wilderness advocate. The inspirational renegade was also often solitary, shy, and withdrawn. In Prentiss's journey to know Abbey, he discourses engagingly on the significance of mystery, quests, travel, personalities, the desert, and humankind's relationship to nature. VERDICT A worthy contribution to the Abbey canon on the heels of David Gessner's All the Wild That Remains. Highly recommended for all interested in the American Southwest, environmentalism, and modern literature.—Henry T. Armistead, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia [Page 109]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Prentiss details his search for the hidden grave of writer Edward Abbey in twenty-seven short, juicy chapters. After a short introduction to the source of his fascination with the gravesite, the book takes the form of a dated and located journal wandering from the author’s home in Pennsylvania to ever more specific parts of the West and Southwest as he talks politics, passion, ecology, and other subjects with a variety of folks he hopes will lead him to Abbey. His story intersects with novel personalities and cultures up to the point of his destination, leading to a climax and epilogue in which he wrestles with the personal meaning of his search and discovery. A chronology of Edward Abbey and bibliography of his publications are inserted before the list of other cited works. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When the great environmental writer Edward Abbey died in 1989, four of his friends buried him secretly in a hidden desert spot that no one would ever find. The final resting place of the Thoreau of the American West remains unknown and has become part of American folklore. In this book a young writer who went looking for Abbey's grave combines an account of his quest with a creative biography of Abbey.Sean Prentiss takes readers across the country as he gathers clues from his research, travel, and interviews with some of Abbey's closest friends--including Jack Loeffler, Ken "Seldom Seen" Sleight, David Petersen, and Doug Peacock. Along the way, Prentiss examines his own sense of rootlessness as he attempts to unravel Abbey's complicated legacy, raising larger questions about the meaning of place and home.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Prentiss reveals the power of Ed Abbey's lasting call to action, not just as a Monkey Wrencher, but also as an ethicist who lives by Ed's own motto, 'Follow the truth no matter where it leads.'"--Jack Loeffler, author of Adventures with Ed: A Portrait of Abbey