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'My People'
Edward Abbey's Appalachian Roots in Indiana County, Pennsylvania

by James M. Cahalan

The late Edward Abbey was a prolific writer whose 1968 book Desert Solitaire vaulted him to national prominence as an environmentalist voice for America's West. Abbey, center, pictured in 1986 with parents Paul and Mildred, grew up in Indiana County northeast of Pittsburgh. James Cahalan's two-part article describes Abbey's Western Pennsylvania experience.

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James M Cahalan is professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he directed the doctoral program in literature from 1987 to 1991. An authority on Irish literature and a recipient of IUP's Distinguished Faculty Award for Research (1990), Cahalan is the author of numerous articles and five books including, most recently, Edward Abbey: A Life (2001) and Modern Irish Literature and Culture: A Chronology (1993). His article "Edward Abbey, Appalachian Easterner" appeared in November 1996 in Western American Literature.
"'My People': Edward Abbey's Appalachian Roots in Indiana County, Pennsylvania" won the 1996 Solon J. Buck Award for Western Pennsylvanian History, as the best article of the year in Pittsburgh History, from the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania.

This article was originally published in Pittsburgh History, Fall 1996 (vol. 79, no. 3: 92-107) and Winter 1996/97 (vol. 79, no. 4: 160-78), and appears here with the kind permission of its editor, Paul Roberts. To receive those two issues of the magazine (including Abbey cover photos and numerous other photos, maps and articles), send $13 to Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania (attention Darlene Vargo), 1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or call (412) 454-6405. You can print out this form and fill in the details.

This article is copyright 1996 by Pittsburgh History and James M. Cahalan.
The adaptation of this article to the WWW is copyright 1997 by
Christer Lindh.

All photographs and maps are protected by copyright and deserve credit, as listed on the Credits page..

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