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About John Muir
In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests. He petitioned the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite National Park. The spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas. He is today referred to as the "Father of the National Parks" and the National Park Service has produced a short documentary about his life.
Muir has been considered 'an inspiration to both Scots and Americans'. Muir's biographer, Steven J. Holmes, believes that Muir has become "one of the patron saints of twentieth-century American environmental activity," both political and recreational. As a result, his writings are commonly discussed in books and journals, and he is often quoted by nature photographers such as Ansel Adams. "Muir has profoundly shaped the very categories through which Americans understand and envision their relationships with the natural world," writes Holmes. Muir was noted for being an ecological thinker, political spokesman, and religious prophet, whose writings became a personal guide into nature for countless individuals, making his name "almost ubiquitous" in the modern environmental consciousness. According to author William Anderson, Muir exemplified "the archetype of our oneness with the earth", while biographer Donald Worster says he believed his mission was "...saving the American soul from total surrender to materialism.":403 On April 21, 2013, the first ever John Muir Day was celebrated in Scotland, which marked the 175th anniversary of his birth, paying homage to the conservationist.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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John Muir’s Our National Parks, reissued to encourage, and inspire travelers, campers, and contemporary naturalists, is as profound for readers today as it was in 1901.
Take in John Muir’s detailed observations of the sights, scents, sounds, and textures of Yosemite, Yellowstone, and forest reservations of the West. Be reminded (as Muir sagely puts), “Wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
John Muir’s warmth, humor, and passionate advocacy for these public lands is enough to spur any reader on to plan a National Parks adventure of their own.
John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States, and founder of The Sierra Club. His letters, essays, and books of his adventures in nature have been read by millions.
Part of John Muir's appeal to modern readers is that he not only explored the American West and wrote about its beauties but also fought for their preservation. His successes dot the landscape and are evident in all the natural features that bear his name: forests, lakes, trails, and glaciers. Here collected are some of Muir's finest wilderness essays, ranging in subject matter from Alaska to Yellowstone, from Oregon to the High Sierra.
This book is part of a series that celebrates the tradition of literary naturalists—writers who embrace the natural world as the setting for some of our most euphoric and serious experiences. These books map the intimate connections between the human and the natural world. Literary naturalists transcend political boundaries, social concerns, and historical milieus; they speak for what Henry Beston called the “other nations” of the planet. Their message acquires more weight and urgency as wild places become increasingly scarce.
In a lifetime of exploration, writing, and passionate political activism, John Muir became America's most eloquent spokesman for the mystery and majesty of the wilderness. A crucial figure in the creation of our national parks system and a far-seeing prophet of environmental awareness who founded the Sierra Club in 1892, he was also a master of natural description who evoked with unique power and intimacy the untrammeled landscapes of the American West.
Nature Writings collects Muir's most significant and best-loved works in a single volume, including: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913), My First Summer in the Sierra (1911), The Mountains of California (1894) and Stickeen (1909). Rounding out the volume is a rich selection of essays—including "Yosemite Glaciers," "God's First Temples," "Snow-Storm on Mount Shasta," "The American Forests," and "Save the Redwoods"—that highlight various aspects of his career: his exploration of the Grand Canyon and of what became Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks, his successful crusades to preserve the wilderness, his early walking tour to Florida, and the Alaska journey of 1879.
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” - John Muir
John Muir, one of America’s great environmentalists, has inspired nature lovers for generations with his writings.
A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf by John Muir is the adventure that started it all.
Walk with John from Indiana through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. A story that is sure to inspire your own adventures and love for nature and the off beaten path.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir
With the ship crushed by the pressure of the ice, its captain, George W. De Long, and twenty of its crew never made it back to America.
The federal government called upon her captain, Calvin L. Hooper, to venture northwards and find out what happened to the USS Jeanette and the missing men.
Built out of the finest Oregon fir, fastened with copper, galvanized iron, and locust-tree nails, the Corwin was the perfect ship for Arctic exploration where her sturdy sailing qualities were to prove of the utmost importance.
John Muir, Scottish naturalist and explorer, sensing the possibilities of science and adventure in the exploration of this unknown Arctic land, immediately made himself available for the Corwin’s expedition.
During the cruise Muir kept a daily record of his experiences and observations, these along with the numerous letters he wrote form the basis of this fascinating account.
As well as describing the day by day events of the Corwin in its search for any survivors of the Jeanette, Muir also recorded his encounters with Alaskan natives, describing how they survived this brutal environment. He drew upon his experience as a naturalist to beautifully capture the flora and fauna of this landscape.
The Cruise of the Corwin: Journal of the Arctic Expedition of 1881 in search of De Long and the Jeannette remains a fascinating read for anyone interested in late nineteenth century exploration, or for anyone wishing to find out more about the world of the Arctic circle.
John Muir’s work is particularly relevant to modern times as it depicts a world that is coming increasingly under threat as the effects of global warming threaten the lands through which he traveled. During his lifetime he was particularly passionate in advocating preservation of wilderness in the United States, and he was instrumental in protecting Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. This book was published in 1917, three years after Muir had died in 1914.
‘All these colours, from the blue sky to the yellow valley smoothly blending as they do in a rainbow, making a wall of light ineffably fine.’
Having spent significant time obsessively exploring and learning about the Sierra, John Muir’s passion for and belief in preserving the wilderness steadily grew. He believed that excessive grazing and logging would result in its eventual destruction, and so campaigned to designate the area as a protected national park.
In 1890, the US Congress passed the National Park Bill, and the Yosemite and Sequoia national parks were established. At the time of writing, Muir’s views on conservation of the wilderness were totally radical; today, environmental activists are too often brushed aside in favour of something faster, easier, and cheaper.
Muir not only educates us in the particulars of the botanicals of this spectacular landscape, but also inadvertently traps us in his web of enthusiasm for the beauty and significance of Mother Nature. The Yosemite gives us the tools to construct a detailed mental map of the Sierra, and leaves us with the resolution to be more compassionate and environmentally mindful.
First published in 1912, and with a new introduction from Muir authority Terry Gifford, the message in The Yosemite is perhaps more pertinent now than it ever was. There is a lot to thank Muir for, not least opening our eyes to the earth beneath our feet.
The Story of my Boyhood and Youth is the affecting memoir of the now internationally renowned John Muir, a Scottish-American boy subject to a most unusual upbringing, his transition into adulthood, and the path that led him to petition for the concept of protected national parks.
Born in East Lothian, Scotland in 1838, Muir was raised by a fanatically strict, religious father with his numerous brothers and sisters and loving mother. From an early age, a shy Muir showed fascination with the natural world, and at aged eleven, his father announced the family were to move to an American wilderness in Wisconsin – Muir had a new playground.
His adolescence is spent labouring on the family’s grassroots farm. Working seventeen-hour days, an exhausted yet inquisitive Muir desperately snatches moments to himself, yearning to explore the environment around him, secretly studying books on topics other than religion, and rising at 1 a.m. to pursue his hobby of inventing intricate time and energy-saving devices – much to his father’s disapproval and everyone else’s admiration.
At age twenty-two, Muir takes it upon himself to apply to university, and does so without financial or moral support from his father. He makes his way to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study chemistry and botany, and though never graduating with a degree, he is satisfied that he had learned all he wanted to there, before completing the rest of his nature education in ‘the university of the wilderness’.
The Story of my Boyhood and Youth includes a new foreword by Terry Gifford, and offers insight into the development of Muir’s spiritual connection with the natural world, and suggests an explanation for his passion for freedom in the wilderness, a stark contrast to the forced rigidity of his early years.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. —John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
The name of John Muir has come to stand for the protection of wild land and wilderness in both America and Britain. Born in Scotland in 1838, Muir is famed as the father of American conservation and the founder of the Sierra Club. This collection, including the rarely seen Stickeen, presents the finest of Muir’s writings, painting a portrait of a man whose generosity, passion, and vision are an inspiration to this day.
Combining acute observation, amusing anecdotes, and a sense of inner discovery, Muir’s writings of his travels though some of the greatest landscapes on Earth, including the Carolinas, Florida, Alaska, and those lands that were to become the great National Parks of Yosemite and the Sierra Valley, raise an awareness of nature to a spiritual dimension.
Includes an introduction by Graham White