Desert Solitaire

desert solitaire cover image Desert Solitaire

Edward Abbey
Reflections on Nature
Ballantine Books
Paperback, 352 pages

This book was first published in 1968. It was tumultuous time and the neo-conservationist /environmental movement was just budding. Abbey left New York City and took up lonely residence as a part-time ranger in Utah’s Arches National Park. It is fierce writing (which many dismiss as arrogant) and it is poetic writing (which many find inspiring). The intimacy with which he describes the flora, fauna and landscape of the Moab area, and his experience living in it, is rich and detailed. He was before his time – Earth Day didn’t come until 1970 – and (in his way as a polemicist) is in the tradition of Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson and others of an earlier wave of bold defenders of nature and the wild. He gives no quarter!