Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Serpents of Paradise

The Serpents of Paradise

A Reader

Edward Abbey; Edited by John Macrae

Holt Paperbacks



This book is different from any other Edward Abbey book. It includes essays, travel pieces and fictions to reveal Ed's life directly, in his own words.

The selections gathered here are arranged chronologically by incident, not by date of publication, to offer Edward Abbey's life from the time he was the boy called Ned in Home, Pennsylvania, until his death in Tucson at age 62. A short note introduces each of the four parts of the book and attempts to identify what's happening in the author's life at the time. When relevant, some details of publishing history are provided.


Praise for The Serpents of Paradise

“The announcement of a new Abbey book, whether essays or fiction, stirs a personal craving no other current American writer can satisfy.” —Los Angeles Book Review

“Abbey was a true independent, a self-declared extremist and ‘desert mystic,' and a hell of a good writer. . . . John Macrae has wisely chosen to organize these outstanding essays, travel pieces, and works of fiction to parallel events in Abbey's unusual life.” —Booklist

“A record as important and lovely as Muir's and Thoreau's.” —William McKibben, author of The End of Nature

“A splendid summary of his best work. . . . Anyone who doesn't already know his work will find this volume, culled from more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction, an addictive introduction.” —Publishers Weekly

“Abbey was many things as a writer, and his longtime editor, John Macrae, has put together a collection which follows the course of Abbey's life through his own work. It is a clever way to anthologize a talent who is impossible to pigeonhole. . . . A fine introduction to a writer who seems certain to endure and is, undeniably, an American original.” —Geoffrey Norman, American Way

“Abbey's work is a kind of blessed voice in the wilderness any way you take it, and a precious figure in our lethal time.” —W.S. Merwin

The Serpents of Paradise is without question the best Abbey reader.” —David Petersen, editor of Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951-1989

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Edward Abbey; Edited by John Macrae

Edward Abbey was born in 1927 in Pennsylvania. He earned graduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of New Mexico. He wrote Desert Solitaire while working as a Park Ranger in Utah. He is also the author of The Monkey Wrench Gang, Abbey's Road, and The Journey Home, among others. He died in March 1989.

Edward Abbey

Edward Abbey

John Macrae

From the Publisher

Holt Paperbacks

Latest on Facebook