Radio Wolinsky

Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

Edward Abbey, who died at the age of 62 back in 1989 was a novelist, short story writer and non-fiction essayist who is now known as the father of the radical environmentalist movement and one of the great voices of America’s unfettered west. Through his novels and his essays and journals, He argued in defense of the wilderness and personal freedom against government and corporate forces that would inhibit both.

There are nine novels, a book of poetry, fourteen collections of essays and journals, three omnibus works, and two books of letters. One book became a classic film, Lonely are the Brave, another a less successful TV film.

After having published three novels to little effect, his publisher suggested an essay collection. Thus came, in 1965, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, and modern radical environmentalism was born.

Ten years later came his best known work, The Monkey Wrench Gang, a comic novel that focuses on sabotage in the name of environmentalism. It has obviously never become a film. In 1985, the novel was reissued as a hardback featuring illustrations by R. Crumb. He died four years later at the age of sixty two of complications from surgery.

This program is taken from an interview conducted on his book tour for the Monkey Wrench Gang reissue in July 1985, conducted by Richard Wolinsky and Lawrence Davidson. Edward Abbey insisted the interview occur over lunch at an outdoor café in the B&B where he was staying. Eventually the ambient noise became too great and the interview moved indoors. The poor sound quality is due not only to the original issues but to the state of the budget cassette.

Written, produced and hosted by Richard Wolinsky.

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