Postcards from Ed

Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast
“Edward Abbey’s books remain an indispensable solace.” —WENDELL BERRY
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“But hell, I do like to write letters. Much easier than writing books.”

And write letters Edward Abbey—“the Thoreau of the American West” (Washington Post)—did. At once incendiary and insightful, cantankerous and profoundly perceptive, Abbey was a singular American writer and cult hero, as famous for books like Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang as he was infamous for the persona of “Cactus Ed.” A true iconoclast with a rich sense of humor, his polemics and salvos—Wallace Stegner once likened Abbey to the “stinger of a scorpion”—were not limited to any one arena.

Abbey’s postcards and letters, legendary during his lifetime, convey the fullness of the man and reveal, along with his wisdom and savage wit, a tender side seldom seen before. For readers new to Abbey, this collection is an awe-inspiring introduction to the man and his works. And for devoted fans, the letters chronicle his evolution as an authentic American voice in the wilderness.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.875 in
15.4 oz

Praise and Prizes

  • “This is a book of thorns. As a correspondent, Edward Abbey was impulsive, unsparing, irascible, epigrammatic and, by turns, wonderfully long-winded or gruffly economical.”

    New York Times
  • Postcards from Ed is insanely readable, hilarious, and irritating, and will occasionally raise a rash. For the many who lament his passing, and for the many who celebrate it, this book is the gadfly’s return. Here he is people: Pure Ed. Uncooked and full of fiber. Mr. Abbey, welcome back.”

    Luis Alberto Urrea
    author of The House of Broken Angels
  • “The vibrant and audacious letters collected here confirm what his readers have long known. Even in the comfort of his eternal desert solitaire, Edward Abbey remains a true American Cassandra. And at a time when there are not enough of them, his wound-up, barb-edged, coyote-howl signal is worth tuning into.”

    Kansas City Star
  • “An essential addition to American literature.”

    *starred review*
  • “The real value here is the revelation of a fuller Edward Abbey… . A keen eye and a sharp wit, stilled seventeen years ago, come back in this collection.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • “Edward Abbey never failed to provoke a response. Love him or hate him, it was impossible—it remains impossible—to read him with indifference.”

  • “When he wasn’t writing novels, exploring the wilderness, or conspiring to blow up dams, Edward Abbey was firing off letters. At least that’s what we’ve concluded after an indulgent afternoon spent with Postcards from Ed.”