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Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast Paperback – August 28, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
He didn't tolerate superficial relationships well -- "Yes, to hell with it. Let's call an end to this inane, pointless, worthless pretense at communication. If you're not bored with it, I certainly am." But he knew the value of a good friendship -- "So, let me know what you [Wendell Berry] think, if you care to trouble yourself about this. I would not want to risk endangering the kind of feelings you've shown me in the past for the sake of mere polemical spleen. Your friendship is far more important to me than striving to win points in a formal debate."
He complained, but with a touch of humor -- "This is a complaint. . . What kind of people are you hiring as rangers these days? Where do you find them? They look and act like cops - not rangers - and the next time one of these armed and uniformed goons bothers me I'm going to try to find out if he knows anything about the history, wildlife, plant life or geology of Saguaro National Monument." And - "Your reviewer . . . gives us a good forthright description of the book's author.Read more ›
I recommend this and Dave Petersen's and Ed Abbey's other books very highly.
The letters are arranged chronologically but fall into a few recurring categories. He writes often to his agents and his publishers, both about money and about his works in progress. You see glimpses of how Ed works through these letters. He also wrote a large number of letters to various newspapers, some under pseudonyms. He wrote, of course, many letters to his friends, and these are surprisingly blunt. I sometimes marveled that he had any friends left. There are surprisingly few letters to his family, even though his oldest children lived some distance from him over the years covered in these letters. His family side does not come across at all well, except for pride in his very young children with fifth wife.
These short letters are, to varying degrees, pithy, insightful, iconoclastic and funny. They show some different sides of Edward Abbey but won't really surprise any fans of his other books.
[Three stars because the book has a pretty narrow audience; it's probably a four star book for hardcore Abbey fans.]
The book is a compilation of selected letters and postcards written by Abbey throughout his life. They deal with, mainly, literature, the environment, and some on his personal life or his friends' personal lives. It's a bit like a 30,000-foot autobiography told in correspondence.
The great thing about it, and in contrast to his journals (the published versions of which I own), is that each letter or note is like a condensed essay. It's not just rambling, like most of the journals, interesting as they are. These short pieces were written for specific audiences with specific purposes in mind; and this is what makes them special. Abbey brought his craft to bear on them, because they mattered to him. If you can use the metaphor of an oil-painting for his novels and say a wood-cut or lithograph for one of his essays and doodles for his journals, I would call these short pieces line drawings. Very enjoyable line drawings, well-executed and with plenty of vigor.
Highly recommended to any fan of Ed Abbey.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm an Abbey fan, and a writer, but wasn't much impressed by this collection. The reason I mention my own writing is that most of what seemed worthwhile, to me, were some of the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Cecil Bothwell
I was expecting this book to be more a collection of private correspondence to friends and relatives. Read morePublished on May 28, 2013 by mbCobb
Obviously, this is only for Edward Abbey fans who have read many of his books. That said, these funny, irrascible, quirky, and amusing letters amplify one's knowledge and... Read morePublished on May 28, 2013 by David Schiff
So many great quotes in this book it is almost impossible to review it. He was truly an amazing author and his influence and insight is greatly missed.Published on May 3, 2013 by Luke Fostvedt
Awesome book, very informative, no Complaints at all!! I can't put it down Great read for anyone looking for more info on the subject.Published on December 28, 2012 by Alexander Silvestri
I couldn't wait for this excellent collection of Cactus Ed's letters and infamous postcards to finally come out, if only because like all of us here I've been missing Ed all these... Read morePublished on February 24, 2008 by Cactus Ed
This is a tought book to review simply because the memory of Edward Abbey (b.1927 d.1989)is still so fresh. Read morePublished on October 23, 2007 by Barbara And Byron Skinner
Published author David Peterson presents Postcards From Ed: Dispatches and Salvos From An American Iconoclast, a gathering of postcards and letters from American writer and cult... Read morePublished on May 11, 2007 by Midwest Book Review