Much as others have already said Edward Abbey was a remarkable man. There is no doubt that "Desert Solitaire" stands out like a beacon in the desert of the usual literature, now called nature writing, available today. It is the shear life, zest and energy that permeates the work as it does here, although not all the time, in "The Journey Home". Abbey's stories this time are more personal and although still not at all self conscious they are deeper because of this. In this sense they are akin to the great work of Jack Turner, "The Abstract Wild" and Doug Peacock's "Grisly years". At no time do they suggest they are great writers, rather it is their spirit which wakes the reader with its realness. As yet I have only read these two books of his but each of them is different with its own seams to unwind, the first that of the younger man and the second that of the older. Its unfortunately rare to meet people like Abbey nowadays when much of the way the world is drives out this sense of adventure and joy in nature. This is not made easy by people's unfamiliarity with nature and even fear to tread outside their comfort zones, myself included. But if you want that kind of experience and living at the edge as Abbey knows well how to do then you have to jump off that cliff sometime.
This was my first Eddward Abbey book, but it certainly will not be my last. The book allows the reader to view many parts of "the West" from his authentic perspective. From his time in a firetower in Montana to retelling and following John Wesley Powell's story of exploration, Edward Abbey will have you hooked on each subject and adventure that he eperienced on his Journey. I think there is a part in all of us to want to live this type of life, but only a few of us have the courage to follow our heart and dreams the way Abbey did.
How can I describe this book. I found it in the balcony of the renovated Bookstop on Alabama about ten year's ago. When I picked it up, I started reading chapter 3, "No Road, Disorder and Early Sorrow". I was howling. I couldn't regain composure. I had to have it. We reread it out loud every year that we take our pilgrimage to Big Bend at Thanksgiving.