Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Good News by Edward Abbey: A Book Review...

Written in 1980 how bout this quote from Page 2:

The fragile webs of a planetary economy frayed apart in an ever-intensifying struggle for the resources to support a worldwide industrial system. One breakdown in a small Mideastern nation led to massive dislocations, anger and panic in great nations thousands of miles away. War became continuous, limited in scale but never ceasing, breaking out in a new locality as it subsided into chaos and civil war in another.

Reading that I was reminded again why I love Abbey.

While I'm not a Luddite agrarian anarchist (and neither was Abbey in whole) Abbey's works speak to the modern world--particularly the modern American West the way no other writer I have come across has.  He was and is, remarkably ahead of his time in terms of themes and accurate prognostication.

While Good News is one of his lesser known works it continues typical Abbey themes inclusive of the encroachment of government upon individual liberty, the wanton destruction of the environment by modern man and the need to fight against such forces with more than just sit-ins and parades.

Occurring in a post-modern, post-industrial, post centralized government Arizona and pitting the remaining military forces holed up in a downtown tower vs. anarchist students, hard scrabble cowboys and a shamanistic Indian, Abbey presents an incredibly entertaining story and infuses it with his enviro-radical views--and it works.

Yes, parts of it feel incomplete and less than wholly fleshed out--but that's part of what I enjoy here.  Abbey is not one to dwell on details so long as the broad stroke images get across.  Abbey spares no one, skewering all institutions--government, religion, miltary, industrial, etc.  Its like a violent, bloody, testosterone filled, post-apocalyptic, obscene comic book in novel form and it's wonderful.

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