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Listen to this in-depth, 30-minute, interview by

Otis Gibbs with Ken Sanders, about Ken's friendship

and experiences with Edward Abbey.


In addition to the MWG book,

in stock at Ken Sanders Rare Books are the very popular  Monkey Wrench Gang t-shirts.

The new line is 100% cotton.

Through Ken Sanders Rare Books you can purchase the very popular publication of Edward Abbey's Wonkey Wrench Gang, illustrated by R. Crumb.

     The late author Edward Abbey published his first three novels in the span of eight years, from 1954-1962.  His fourth book, a work of nonfiction essays, was published six years later in 1968.  By 1975, his 4th novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, came out.  Both Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang have gone on to become classics in their field, a term Ed always dreaded, and have gone on to sell millions of copies.  I had devoured them both and would go on to meet their author at my old Cosmic Aeroplane bookstore in SLC, not long after the publication of MWG.  Abbey was still living in Moab at the time and happened to wander into the backroom of the Cosmic.  I led him into my back room, my rare book room, and asked him to sign copies of first editions of his books, all the while lecturing him on the atrocious (to my mind) habit of Hayduke and Co., in MWG, of littering beer cans up and down western highways.  In spite of this, shall we say, awkward, clueless beginning, Ed Abbey and I became friends and would have many adventures together in what would become the last decade and a half of his life.
     By 1980, I was bugging Ed about publishing projects.  I had founded my publishing company, Dream Garden Press, that same year and was eager to do an Edward Abbey publishing project.  In the spring of 1981, Ed called me on the telephone and invited me to what he referred to as some kind of “spring rites” down at Glen Canyon Dam (n), at a place called Lone Rock on the shores of Lake (reservoir) Powell.  He said we could talk about my ”silly” calendar, if I wished.  The “silly calendar” Ed referenced came from an idea to publish a literary calendar devoted to Abbey’s works.  It evolved into a lavish, full-color photographic calendar with Abbey quotations, The Edward Abbey Western Wilderness Calendar, which I would go on to publish for the next ten years.

     In the spring of 1981 I had been planning a backpack into the heart of the Maze, in Canyonlands National Park, and thought, what the hell, ”spring rites” aside, I would journey down to the (then-unknown to me) Lone Rock Campground at Lake Powell, so I could convince Ed to let me go ahead with my publishing schemes.  These included what would become The (aforementioned) Edward Abbey Western Wilderness Calendar and the R. Crumb illustrated edition of The Monkey Wrench Gang in hardbound, which would come out a few years later, in 1985.


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