that respected individuals and providednthem with a relatively safe and securenplace in which to live, the UnitednStates had devolved into an increasinglynunsafe, unhealthy, and uglified territoryndominated by technocrats rulingnover a neurotic, dependent, and evisceratednpopulace. All of these themesnare explored in Abbey’s first successfulnnovel. The Brave Cowboy (1956),nwhich served as the basis for the filmnLonely Are the Brave (and netting fornEd Abbey all of $7,500), and which isnnow regarded as a classic of Westernnliterature. In this tale a modern cowboy,nJack Burns (who later turns up innHayduke Lives! and Good News), refusesnto bow to the dictates of postwarnAmerica and tries to free a friend whonhas been incarcerated for failing toncarry a draft registration card. Hisnfriend, however, refuses to be rescued,nand the cowboy, after escaping fromnthe county jail, is pursued through thendesert and into the mountains by anposse equipped with walkie-talkies,nmachine guns, and helicopters. Readersnof The Brave Cowboy may benreminded of B. Traven, an authornwhose work — The Death Ship innparticular—Abbey much admired.nDuring the late 1950’s and 60’s,nAbbey spent part of his time working asna seasonal ranger and fire-lookout atnparks throughout the West. This affordednhim the opportunity to explorenthe great landscape and the time tondevelop his thoughts. His next novel.nFire on the Mountain (1962), receivedna measure of critical acclaim and wasnlater turned into a well-received TVnmovie. It is another “serious” Western,nwhich pits an aging rancher, JohnnVogelin, against the U.S. government.nThe Defense Department wants tonseize the family homestead to use it asnan Air Force missile test range. LikenJack Burns, Vogelin fights a losingnbattle against the forces of the NewnAmerica. In Abbey’s novels the goodnguys do not ride triumphantly into thensunset: instead, they are crushed by thenstate, though retaining a measure ofntheir personal dignity.nAbbey’s last serious novel to be setnin the West was Good News (1980). Itnis a futuristic work in which the degradednsurvivors of a once proud andnprosperous nation are reduced to scavengingnfor food and shelter amid thenruins of a metropolis. In this post-nBladerunner world a few men andnwomen try to rebuild a new societynthat honors the values that had beenndiscarded by a people who had embracedn”growth” regardless of the foreseeablencosts.nThe Fool’s Progress (1988) was thenfirst Abbey novel not to have the Westnas the primary scene of its action. It isnthinly disguised autobiography, innwhich Henry Lightcap relates his journeynfrom Tucson back to the familynhome in West Virginia. Through anseries of flashbacks, Lightcap reflectsnon the course his life has taken andncomments aciduously and often uproariouslynon everything from musicn(Abbey loved Beethoven and Bruckner,namong others, and dismissed rocknas the product of an “imitation Afro-nUrban-industrial freeway culture”) tonfeminism and religion (Lightcap scornsnthe effeminate image of “Christ as thenBearded Lady”), Mexican culturalnachievements (“murals, manslaughter,nand beer”), Indians (there are toonmany of them), and Third World immigration:nWhat we really have to worrynabout … are not the Russkiesnbut the Southerners. I meannLatin America, Asia, Africa.nThose people are breeding likenfruit flies. . . . Their boat isnoverloaded, sinking. They arenalready climbing into our boatnby the millions. And they don’tnstop breeding when they getnhere. Soon enough, maybe bynthe year 2000, life in Americanwill be degraded to the level ofnlife in Mexico. Assumingnpresent trends continue. Andnwho, my friend, is making anyneffort to change thesentrends? . . . Our troubles arennot political, they are biological.nIn fact. The Fool’s Progress is less angenuine novel than it is a devicenthrough which the author can delivernspeeches on various issues he had addressedn(often more persuasively) in hisnessays. As much as we may sharenAbbey’s concerns and sympathize withnhis outlook, for those of us who arenalready familiar with some of his othernwork there is something unsatisfactorynabout this nearest approximation tonthe unwritten “fat masterpiece” of thennovelist’s dream.nnnAbbey’s most popular work of fictionnwas The Monkey WrenchnGang (1975). It is a comic novel innwhich The Gang — comprised of DocnSarvis, his Brooklyn-born young mistress,nBonnie Abbzug, their guide SeldomnSeen Smith (seldom seen by hisnthree Mormon wives, that is), andnGeorge Washington Hayduke, a formernGreen Beret — roam thencanyonlands of Utah and Arizona,nburning down billboards, yanking upnsurvey stakes, pouring Karo syrup intonthe fuel tanks of bulldozers, snippingnbarbed wire fences, and dynamiting ancoal train. Before they are able to pullnoff their ultimate caper, the blowing upnof Glen Canyon dam — that monumentnto Development with a capital Dnthat, as has since been confirmed,naccomplished in nature what the firebombingnof the Louvre and the NationalnGallery would accomplish in thenworld of art—Hayduke falls through anfirestorm of bullets into a slickrockncanyon, and the other MonkeynWrenchers are arrested by the Polizei.nHayduke Lives! is the long-awaitednsequel to The Monkey Wrench Gang;nthe author and his wife, Clarke, hadnjust finished correcting the proofs atnthe time of his death. The posthumousnwork apparently was not intended to benthe final installment, but rather “thenfurther adventures of” George Hayduken(who is modeled, like the Gang’snother members, on a living personnwhose identity the author never publiclyndisclosed). In what will be perforcentheir last adventure, the Gang is reassemblednto tackle GOLIATH—thenfirst Giant Earth Mover (G.E.M.) ofnArizona. Standing 67 feet high, weighingn13 and a half thousand tons, andncosting nearly $40 million, GOLIATHnis a dragline excavator designed forndigging open pits the size of LakenTiticaca. Flanked by Gog and Magog,nas the escorting pair of Mitsubishintrucks are dubbed, the Super-G.E.M.nis going to be used to help “develop”nLost Eden Canyon, a pristine patch ofnland along the Utah-Arizona border.nUranium has been found in them tharnmesas. And once “maximum financialnreturn” has been extracted from thenground — as state law requires —ndevelopers envision erecting a complexncomplete with deluxe hotel, championshipngolf course, and a condo villagenfor the 50,000 people who can afford anJUNE 1990/35n