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Down the River (Plume) Paperback – January 30, 1991
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From the Publisher
About the Author
Edward Abbey spent most of his life in the American Southwest. He was the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the celebrated Desert Solitaire, which decried the waste of America s wilderness, and the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, the title of which is still in use today to describe groups that purposefully sabotage projects and entities that degrade the environment. Abbey was also one of the country s foremost defenders of the natural environment. He died in 1989.
Top Customer Reviews
Abbey's a rebel, defending the West from the industrialists and profiteers. He makes no apologies for being passionate about his cause, and why should he. His passion may not be "fashionable," but Abbey is a true American original, and the kind of person we need more of. His writing is edgy, beautiful, makes you want to grab a raft and head down the Colorado. Nature is where he finds himself-- as harsh and uncompromising as it is, it's real.
I also love Abbey's sense of humor. I wonder if he ever met Hunter Thompson-- that would have been a great conversation. One of the funniest essays I've ever read is in this book: "The Legend of Josiah Gregg." Watching Abbey debunk a book about the life of this supposed great frontiersman had me on the floor. Probably the funniest part was Abbey's interpretation of his memoirs: the way thunderstorms appeared over his head bellowing at him in a purposeful way, the way his campfire got out of control and he fled from it across the plains. His assessment of the Great Plains as a "barren wasteland devoid of life." In Abbey's eyes, Gregg is the Inspector Clouseau of the frontier.
All in all, a great read. Spending time with Abbey is a pleasure.
Nevertheless, the first essay in this book, "Down the River with Henry Thoreau" is one of my favorite of Abbey's writing. It weaves a river rafting journey with a review of Thoreau's life and work, the format is quite original (although I suspect it had been used before) and refreshing. Other essays in this book are not nearly as impressive.
A side note: this book does not include an essay about "rafting Glen Canyon before it was dammed". That is the essay "Down the River" (which is itself a beautiful piece) in Desert Solitaire, don't get them confused. Also, "The Damnation of a Canyon" in "Beyond the Wall" touches on the topic as well.
The book includes good examinations of the issue of silt in Lake Powell and a decent look at the Colorado River hermit Bert Loper.
It's a great book to read on river, or in the desert, and Abbey's salty character comes through in every page--though the book does drag a little toward its end.
As in all of the "essay books" of Abbey's, the first piece in the book is the best. "Down the River with Henri Thoreau" is the sort of piece most of us wish we could write. I know that during every backpacking and floating venure I take, a book is brought along. Very often it is Thoreau. Abbey did the same thing, but manages to pull off not only a decent exploration of Thoreau's ideas, but also a wonderful travelogue of a river trip.
Read Abbey. In this age of Ipods, Ipads, Iphones, Ithis, Ithat, technopornography---reading Abbey is like being re-introduced to what being a Human Being is all about: We are creatures. Read Abbey because he is The Best Essay Writer America Has Thus Far Produced.
If you love Abbey, this should definitely be included in your collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No body tells the story of the Colorado River like Abbey. He knew the land, knew the river and his voice speaks of it's melody, rage and beauty.Published 18 months ago by Barbara Mitchell
I just simply admire Edward Abbey's philosophy. His writing encourages me to appreciate the land, no matter where it is.Published 23 months ago by Lynn C. Duff
i like abbey's work and find his storys and the people who populate his real and unreal worlds enjoyable and quite like my own.Published on June 6, 2014 by will crow
A friend of mine suggested I read Abbey As I have waded through his writings I have yet to find a story that wasn't completely captivating and Down the river is no exception!Published on January 18, 2014 by Layne T. Oliver
crazy guy great book
protect our environment
keep our rivers free
conserve resources for future generations
climate change is real
Anything that Ed Abbey writes is worth reading. I have read nearly a dozen of his books and love every one of them.Published on March 18, 2013 by Craig Lafferty