Why did I love this book?
Edward Abbey was the dean of ranger writing, the ranger’s ranger, a man who inspired countless others to join the ranks of the “pine pigs” and dedicate their lives to protecting what’s left of the nation’s wilderness. Published in 1968, Desert Solitaire chronicles his single season with the National Park Service in Utah’s Arches National Park. Despite his short career, “Cactus Ed” managed to glean profound insight into the workings of the NPS, how Americans used their national parks, and how endangered were the country’s wild places – even a half-century ago. He documented it all in his trademark curmudgeonly fashion, with acerbic wit, humor, and passages that rival the beauty of the natural places they describe. Along with Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, this book showed me, a young punk rocker, that I belonged in the wilderness.