January 29, 1927 - March 14, 1989
His writings, mostly about or set in the Western deserts, ranged from intensely detailed descriptions of the natural world to angry and satirical commentaries on effects of modern civilization on American wild-lands. Abbey held anarchist convictions, and he viewed government and industry as collaborators in the destruction of the natural environment. Desert Solitaire and Abbey's comic novel The Monkey Wrench Gang achieved success, granting Abbey a strong following among members of the counterculture of the 1970's and beyond. The overarching emphasis of Abbey's writing, however, was personal and philosophical; like the 19th-century New England essayist Henry David Thoreau, to whom he has been compared, Abbey viewed the natural world in almost mystical terms.
"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
"The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders."
"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view."
- He was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1947, he used the stipends he received as a result of the G.I. Bill to attend college, first at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, and then at the University of New Mexico, where he graduated with a philosophy degree in 1951.
- He received a master's degree in philosophy at the University of New Mexico in 1959.
- He worked as a park ranger and fire lookout for the National Park Service between books.
- Fire on the Mountain (1962)
- The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975)
- Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (1968)
- The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West (1977)
- Abbey's Road: Take the Other (1979)
- Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey (1951-1989, 1994)
- Earth Apples: The Poetry of Edward Abbey (1994)
- He was a Fulbright Fellow from 1951 to 1952, as well as a Guggenheim Fellow in 1975.
- His novel Fire on the Mountain won him the Western Heritage Award for Best Novel in 1963.
- In 1987 he was granted the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, an honor that he declined due to plans to run a river in Idaho the week of the ceremony.