Talk:Edward Abbey

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I came to this page sure I would learn something about Abbey's life in Tucson, since I live there. I learn that he died in Tucson at age 62. My involvement in this "straight-facts" exercise called Wikipedia is limited, since I believe the "straight facts" approach to life to be limited, but isn't this a stub? Moabalan —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:23, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

I just edited the description of The Monkey Wrench Gang. Previous edit inflated the importance of the Glen Canyon Dam sequences, and incorrectly ascribed a "desire to blow up" the dam to all the characters.

That is true, Seldom Seen Smith walked out on to the dam and got on his knees and asked the Christian gods (presumably Mormon since Smith himself was a "Jack Mormon") for a "precision type Earthquake" which would remove "the god damned plug," however in Hayduke Lives and in later "Postcards from Ed" (,shop.product_details/flypage,shop.flypage/product_id,844/category_id,17/option,com_phpshop/Itemid,8/ ) there was discussion about utilizing houseboats crammed packed with explosives, floated on Lake Meade, and sunk at the base of the dam to remove the dam.
The drowning of the town of Hite was the last straw that motivated Heyduke, Smith, and Bonnie, and removing the dam was the one and only way to bring Hite back to the world -- in addition to uncovering anasazi artifacts that the daming of the river covered. NotSoOldHippy (talk) 03:57, 28 August 2010 (UTC)


I have yet to find any evidence that the FBI "opened a file" on Abbey because of MWG, but did find an FOIA URL that suggests it opened a file much earlier than that: (I haven't seen the PDF's, it's a government server, the URL is not working today. Just like the government!).

The blurb at the URL simply says: "Author Edward Paul Abbey was investigated by the FBI for sedition. While attending school in Pennsylvania, he publicly proposed destruction of draft cards. Abbey served in the U.S. military from 1945 to1947. A Loyalty of Government Employee investigation was conducted while Abbey worked for the National Forest Service." Twang 20:45, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

The book Desert Solitare covers some of his early part-time jobs working for "the establishment," including as a employee at Arches Canyonlands living in a hot trailor with a single tree and a cot to lay upon outside in the shade.
He was also a fire spotter on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and supposedly carried a handgun which he would use during lightening strikes upon the watch tower that he was stationed, "shooting back," as Abbey called it.
Freedom of Information Act requests from the FBI for their file on Edward Abbey does return a few things however they're not startleing or even interesting.
What is interesting is that under the Bush regime numerous "national security letters" were issued by the regime to numerous public libraries to find out (among many other things) who was reading "The Monkey Wrench Gang." (Some commentary exists; see for an example.) However public libraries all supposedly refused these requests since they were violations of Constitutional Rights and the Library Association of America ( ) issued a statement condemning the Bush regime's efforts. NotSoOldHippy (talk) 03:57, 28 August 2010 (UTC)


In regards to his earlier life, I believe he was in the military during WWII, U.S. Army I believe he is hot!!! LOL :)!!! ha ha ha ! -- Unattributed?

Civilization and Culture[edit]

I was intrigued by this article until the crap about civilization and culture. If the quotes are correct he has it entirely backwards. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:06, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

In what way? Abbey's life certainly exposed him to the artifacts of civilization and exposed him to numerous cultures, many of which no longer exists as such any more thanks to the relentless "Westernization" of the surviving Native American Indians.
Abbey's detailed writings on the consequences of the white European invasion of North America upon the Native Americans were and remain spot on accurate -- more to the pity of the cultures that Europeans destroyed after Spain, Columbus, and the Conquistadors had their centuries of invasion of North America.
I can find nothing in Abbey's writings that are even remotely inaccurate when he covers civilization or cultures. To be sure, I have not read everything that Abbey wrote but I have read nearly everything, including his previously unpublished "Postcards from Ed/" NotSoOldHippy (talk) 03:57, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Incomplete article[edit]

It's a shame that this article on Edward Abbey is so incomplete. It barely touches upon his literary accomplishments or his supposed life -- which admittedly is probably as much myth as fact at this point.

At minimum the biography should include an enumeration of all of his writings as well as articles which break out each of his books and newspaper articles. NotSoOldHippy (talk) 03:57, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Sourcing story of wake at Arches NP[edit]

A book of a collection of readings from Abbey, Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951-1989 by Edward Abbey, David Petersen (Big Earth Publishing 2003), contains the story of the late May 1987 wake and memorial for Abbey featuring Terry Tempest Williams and Wendell Berry. It's in the "Postscript" section of the book, page 381. Edarrell (talk) 17:36, 14 March 2013 (UTC)


I have moved many quotes to Wikiquote. Some quotes do not appear to be properly sourced since they com from user-submitted sites. They can be added to Wikiquote if there is decent sourcing. I have also moved the quotes by others into the Controversy section.Cptnono (talk) 05:23, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Removal of sources from further reading section[edit]


This article is terrible, especially in regards to sourcing. I have recently added several high-quality reliable sources from which people can write a proper encyclopedia article. These were removed due to some unspecified "violation" of MOS/ELNO.

First off, I don't see in what way a bunch of informative, on-topic, scholarly books that aren't even in the external links section could be in violation of ELNO.

Second, these aren't websites. They're books. These books happen to be on Google Books, in addition to being in print. If I removed the links, and just cited the books, would that no longer be in "violation" of ELNO? I'll assume you can see that they couldn't be in violation of ELNO if they didn't have links. So I'll ask you: What makes these books worthy of removal, simply because I've linked to an online version of them, in addition to citing them? (Good luck with this one)

Finally, even if you can manage to cobble together a case for how I'm in violation of guidelines, I think this is a perfect case of where we should apply WP:IAR -- why would you not want to have these sources there so that people can improve the article? Removing them is only going to prevent progress from being made in improving it. That's where IAR comes in (assuming there is even a guideline that's being violated). Please be more specific when you remove things about why you are doing so. -- Mesoderm (talk) 07:20, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

You can use books as sources. WP:ELNO point 1: "Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article." So use them as citations for specific lines instead of bloating an equivalent to an external links section. Also check out Wikipedia:Manual of Style (layout). Good luck.Cptnono (talk) 07:26, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm adding high-quality sources from which people can improve the article. There is nothing wrong with having a Further Reading section for this article, any more than there is for the many Featured Articles, such as Tower of London that have such sections. Could you please explain to me how you think removing these books is not going to cause more harm than good? -- Mesoderm (talk) 07:31, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
You are not adding "sources". You are adding an unreasonable amount of unique resources. The article needs references, not more external links. Use those books to expand the article and don't kick off an edit war.Cptnono (talk) 07:33, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Providing easily accessible, high-quality sources will make it more likely that people will use them, instead of the crap (or no sources at all) that they are currently using. The Further Reading section is, at this point, more informative than the article itself (which is almost entirely unsourced). Again, Further Reading sections are in many Featured Articles, and I doubt you'd meet up with much success if you went over to them and started complaining about it.
I plan to do a lot of work on this article, and will integrate almost all of these into the body of the articles as sources. Until I've done so it's going to be more helpful for the readers to have access to them than not. I'll ask again -- besides petty quibbles over ELNO (which doesn't even apply to these sources, since they ARE the type of sources that would be kept in a Featured Article) how do you feel that removing these sources is going to be more helpful than having them in here for people to use as they rewrite the article? -- Mesoderm (talk) 07:40, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

All have now been removed. For future reference in actually improving the prose:

Further reading

Cptnono (talk) 07:35, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

MoS is important. Adding multiple links does not improve readability. It builds the web but there is no streamline to the best resources in the manner that ti was in. The sources are right above for someone who actually wants to improve the article. Maybe it will be you. Maybe it will be me. It doesn't matter as long as it happens sooner or later. If you don;t like it, please go change the MoS.Cptnono (talk) 07:43, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Can you tell me where MoS says we can't have a Further Reading section? And after you find that for me, will you help me go and remove all of them from all of the Featured/Good articles that have them? -- Mesoderm (talk) 07:45, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh, yes -- and if you could answer the bold question above, that would be nice. I'd really like to understand why you think that having these would not help the reader find more information about the topic of this article. -- Mesoderm (talk) 07:46, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

I support Mesoderm's view regarding this issue. The "further reading" looks great on the page, and good luck to all with improving the article. I would only suggest less jargon for these Talk page arguments, as some like me have very limited interest in learning 3 dozen WP acronyms. Regards, Jack B108 (talk) 17:26, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

"Conservative causes"[edit]

I think we can say that he wasn't a party-line lefty but I think that we have to be careful here. He may have supported the same policies as some conservatives but for different reasons. In this case, I'm guessing since he was an environmentalist, the opposition to illegal immigration was because he was opposed to explosive population growth in general. And the gun control thing might be "conservative" but it's also "anarchist", so I think, since he's been identified as such, we ought rightly to refer to it as an anarchist cause. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Please take a look at WP:V. Our job here is to objectively state what reliable sources say, even if we don't think it is correct. If our sources say "conservative", then we should. If our sources say "anarchist", then we should. ~ Mesoderm (talk) 20:43, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Possible Edits[edit]

I have recently been conducting research on Edward Abbey and I believe that more could be said in the Literature section. A huge part of Abbey's contributions to society came from his writings, and I plan on adding a few sentences describing his style of writing and the general content of his subject matter. Also, I noticed that no mention is made of his fourth wife, Renee Downing, so I was going to add a sentence on her as well. I have read a biography of Edward Abbey which I will use to cite this information and also several reference encyclopedias.

Molly Bencomo (talk) 19:45, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Quote updated, "genetically"[edit]

The recently added "(sic)" was removed and I corrected the quote which now accuractly uses the word "genetically." One link to a suitable reference (in addition to One Life At A Time Please to which the text is cited) is: Abbey in America: A Philosopher's Legacy in a New Century though the extant article has used the word "generically" for many years. The correct wording shows up on numerous Google searches, including The Serpents of Paradise: A Reader Damotclese (talk) 16:17, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Hep C proposal by SeventhGoldenEagle[edit]

Apparently what Abbey died from was properly diagnosed and in fact he underwent the available medical treatments for what started in and cascaded from his throat, not his liver. I can find no references or citations which might suggest that the disease was anything but what the medical doctors reported. Damotclese (talk) 16:49, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

Anti illegal immigration activist category removed[edit]

An editor suggested adding the category "anti-illegal immigration activist" which I reverted for lack of any SR. Abbey wrote rarely about immigration in to the United States and Australia, famously noting that Australia's population should be "no more than 30,000 aborigines," however he was not an "anti-illegal immigration activist" by any sense of the term. Damotclese (talk) 17:46, 8 December 2015 (UTC)