Abbey’s fourth book and his first book-length non-fiction work, this is essentially autobiographical. Desert Solitaire is now recognized as an iconic work of nature writing and a staple of early environmentalist writing, bringing Abbey critical acclaim and popularity as a writer of environmental, political, and philosophical issues. But when first published in 1968 it was greeted with indifference.
It is written as a series of vignettes about Abbey’s experiences in the Colorado Plateau region of the desert Southwestern United States, ranging from vivid descriptions of the fauna, flora, geology, and human inhabitants of the area, to first-hand accounts of wilderness exploration and river running, to a polemic against development and excessive tourism in the national parks, to stories of the author’s work with a search and rescue team to pull a human corpse out of the desert.
Ballantine Books, 1985 (1968)