Books: Sick-Dog Blues

THE FOOL'S PROGRESS

by Edward Abbey

Henry Holt; 485 pages; $19.95

"Upon publication," the publicity blurb wretchedly announces, "Edward Abbey will tour the following cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco . . . New York and Washington." Why wretchedly? Because Abbey loyalists don't like to imagine their prophet -- that grand old desert solitary, that North American champion of the ideological beer-can toss -- getting anywhere near Los Angeles, New York or those other evil megaburbs. Somebody might package his crankiness for distribution in health-food stores, or subject him to relentless understanding on public TV.

A few decades ago, the author began...

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