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A Voice Crying in the Wilderness: Notes from a Secret Journal (Vox Clamantis in Deserto) Hardcover – 1990


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; Cover Stained edition (1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312041470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312041472
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Dec. 1996
Format: Paperback
After Ed's passing, there were many holes, despite the prolific nature of the self proclaimed bastard. This small book offers a wonderful insight into the man behind the Monkey Wrench. Through his journals, poems and other unpublished work, another ray of desert sunlight falls upon Ed's hulking form. We miss you Abbey, but this eases the emptiness a little!
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Format: Paperback
looking for a book to read about desert wilderness while on holiday in AZ. This is a poor quality small format edition and not worth the money. Did not pay much attention to the content but what I did read was buddhist/hippy rambling not real writing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Abbey gems... quips and thoughts extracted from his journals 9 Mar. 2009
By R S Cobblestone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Edward Abbey kept a journal throughout his adult life. Toward the end of that life, he collated some of the "fragments" from these journals. He wrote the introduction two weeks before he died on March 14th, 1989.

In this introduction he wrote, " An isolate voice, crying from the desert. 'Vox clamantis in deserto' is a role that few care to play, but i find pleasure in it. The voice crying from the desert, with its righteous assumption of enlightenment, tends to grate on the nerves of the multitude. But it is mine" (p. xi).

So whether you find this collection of fragments grating, healing, funny, or inspirational, it is all Ed Abbey.

Below is a sampling of what you can expect.

"Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues" (p. 3).

Christian theology: nothing so grotesque could possibly be true" (p. 3).

"From the point of view of a tapeworm, man was created by God to serve the appetite of the tapeworm" (p. 4).

"Mormonism: Nothing so hilarious could possibly be true. Or all bad" (p. 5).

"Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top" (p. 21).

"In a nation of sheep, one brave man forms a majority" (p. 25).

"Truth is always the enemy of power. And power the enemy of truth" (p. 27).

"There has never been an 'original' sin: each is quite banal" (p. 35).

"I have found through trial and error that I work best under duress. In fact, I work only under duress" (p. 38).

"As a confirmed melancholic, I can testify that the best and maybe only antidote for melancholia is 'action'. However, like most melancholics, I suffer also from sloth" (p. 43).

"If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture - that is immortality enough for me. And as much as anyone deserves" (p. 44).

"I intend to be good for the rest of my natural life - if I live that long" (p. 49).

"I've never yet read a review of one of my own books that I couldn't have written much better myself" (p. 53).

"The best thing about graduating from the university was that I finally had time to sit on a log and read a good book" (p. 54).

"It is always dishonest for a reviewer to review the author instead of the author's book" (p. 60).

"Most of what we call the classics of world literature suggest artifacts in a wax museum. We have to hire and pay professors to get them read and talked about" (p. 64).

"Whenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and esthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one" (p. 69).

"As between the sulking and furtive poacher, who hunts for the sake of meat, and the honest gentleman shooter, who kills for the pleasure of sport, I find the former a higher type of humanity" (p. 69).

"How to Avoid Pleurisy: Never make love to a girl named Candy on the tailgate of a half-ton Ford pickup during a chill rain in April out on Grandview Point in San Juan County, Utah" (p. 79).

"I come more and more to the conclusion that wilderness, in America or anywhere else, is the only thing left that is worth saving" (p. 82).

"If wilderness is outlawed, only outlaws can save wilderness" (p. 85).

"I'm in favor of animal liberation. Why? Because I'm an animal" (p. 85).

"If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies' territory, we must accept the fact that the grizzlies, from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers" (p. 86).

"In all of nature, there is no sound more pleasing than that of a hungry animal at its feed. Unless you are the food" (p. 86).

"One thing more dangerous than getting between a grizzly sow and her cub is getting between a businessman and a dollar bill" (p. 97).

"Why administrators are respected and schoolteachers are not: An administrator is paid a lot for doing very little, while a teacher is paid very little for doing a lot" (p. 101).

"A rancher is a farmer who farms the public lands with a herd of four-legged lawn mowers" (p. 103).

"The rancher strings barbed wire across the range, drills wells and bulldozes stock ponds everywhere, drives off the elk and antelope and bighorn sheep, poisons coyotes and prairie dogs, shoots eagles and bear and cougar on sight, supplants the native bluestem and gramma grass with tumbleweed, cow [manure], cheat grass, snakeweed, anthills, poverty weed, mud and dust and flies - and then leans back and smiles broadly at the Tee Vee cameras and tells us how much he loves the West" (p. 105).

"The highest treason, the meanest treason, is to deny the holiness of this little blue planet on which we journey through the cold void of space" (p. 109).

Want more? Time to get yourself a copy of this book. Enjoy.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Vox et Abbey! Fantastic little book! 1 Dec. 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After Ed's passing, there were many holes, despite the prolific nature of the self proclaimed bastard. This small book offers a wonderful insight into the man behind the Monkey Wrench. Through his journals, poems and other unpublished work, another ray of desert sunlight falls upon Ed's hulking form. We miss you Abbey, but this eases the emptiness a little
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.5 is closer to it. 25 Jun. 2001
By George G. Kiefer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is not Abbey's grand work nor was it intended to be. This is a small collection of one-liners and pithy observations of a highly talented, self-admitted misanthrope. "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell" is a prime example.
Abbey was a truck riding good ole boy and was about as politically correct as a punch to the head. His backpack was not designed by Gucci and his boots were mostly army surplus but he spent a life time outdoors, not behind a desk finding fault. His writings, his actions and his public appearances brought more awareness of nature and its plight to the public than did the combined number of his critics by a factor of 1000.
Borne just before the depression, he did not see all wild game as Bambi or Thumper but, as a child, watched as his father hunted for the table. Abbey may not be for everyone, but, by the same token, neither is Mr. Rogers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Abbey's wit and wisdom... 16 Feb. 2011
By LakeKids - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is a lovely little book full of the wit and wisdom of Edward Abbey. His viewpoints on Politics, Sex, Wilderness, etc. will be familiar if you've already read any of his works, but it's really neat to have a "carry around" volume of the sayings catagorised like this. You can pick this up anytime and read a couple thoughts or read straight through on one subject. Almost each one will provoke discussion. He seems to have such a way of going to the heart of an issue and delivering in a few short words a whole mindful of wisdom. Love it!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
If you have read a lot of Abbey this is a great book. 13 Mar. 2001
By Houston Gray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you have read only a few of Abbey's books these quotes might not mean anything to you. This is not a story but is just a collection of quotes. Although he likes to make broad generalizations like 'all rebels are good' that is part of what makes Abbey so endearing. He doesn't sugar coat his opinions. I may not agree with all he says but I do respect him for at least putting it out there and not backing down. It also gives a lot of insight into his writing and reveals some specfics that you would have to read every book of his carefully in order to understand. It does make for a great reference and is interesting to see him contradict himself. You could very easily write 'Down the River with Abbey' by using this book and it would have much the same feel as his book concerning Thoreau. A great book for just thumbing through or reading out load to friends on a long car trip.
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