Edward Abbey was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies. Of his more than 20 published books, his best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire.
Abbey’s abrasiveness, opposition to anthropocentrism, and outspoken writings made him the object of much controversy. Environmentalists from mainstream groups disliked his more radical “Keep America Beautiful…Burn a Billboard” style.
Sometimes called the “desert anarchist,” Abbey was known to anger people of all political stripes. He differed from the stereotypical as politically-correct, leftist environmentalist by disclaiming the counterculture and the “trendy campus people”, saying he didn’t want them as his primary fans, and by supporting some conservative causes such as immigration reform and the National Rifle Association. He reserved his harshest criticism for the military-industrial-complex, “welfare ranchers,” energy companies, land developers and “Chambers of Commerce,” all of which he believed were destroying the West’s great landscapes.