Ed Abbey’s FBI File

categories: Cocktail Hour


abbey4I have a new essay in Orion, adapted from my forthcoming book, ALL THE WILD THAT REMAINS. (April 2015.)


It includes these sentences:


“As acting editor of the University of New Mexico’s literary magazine, The Thunderbird, Ed Abbey decides to print an issue with a cover emblazoned with the words: ‘Man will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest!’ The quote is from Diderot, but Abbey thinks it funnier to attribute the words to Louisa May Alcott.”


Funny guy, that Abbey.


You can read the whole piece in Orion HERE.

I will start posting more short sections of the book as we get closer to publication. The idea is to get you, yes you, to buy it.


  1. Rahul Dave writes:

    Cant wait for the book!

  2. Daniel writes:

    to Bill and Dave:

    I am working about a book about American camping, and it includes a brief chapter about Edward Abbey (and also an illustration that I’ve made of Mr. Abbey). I am addressing a question in this chapter — why should American campers of the 21st century care about Abbey, what can they learn from him, and how did his experiences in the backcountry, including countless camp-outs, shape his philosophies and his writings? Please let me know if you might have time for a brief phone interview about Edward Abbey’s relevance and impact for today’s backcountry explorers. I can be reached at dwhitescruz@yahoo.com

  3. Tommy writes:

    Interesting that you lump these two environmental stewards together. I’d never considered their lasting legacies could even out, nor there effectiveness against today’s big machines.

    One question, or comparison might be, who affected the most change. I’ll argue the dangerously “indiscreet in his individualism” Abbey was twenty times more influential in raising environmental awareness and political consciousness in others. But maybe that’s because I never read the quieter Stegner. But in the classic tortoise versus hare mentality, I’m just beginning to see Stegner’s relevance.

    Additionally, today’s governmental monitoring, observing, overseeing, and censoring is benign compared to those of the anti-communist fifties, sixties, and seventies. Although Abbey’s advocation of terrorism, would bring the swift and mighty boot of Homeland Security smashing through his front door, confiscating his hard drive today, I think as a society we are much more tolerant, embracing, of free-thinkers!