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A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir

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A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir Cover

 

Review-A-Day

Given John Muir's status as the iconic representative of the preservationist wing of the modern environmental movement — not to mention his influential work as a writer, amateur scientist and founder of the Sierra Club — it is remarkable that a comprehensive account of his life has been so long in coming. But Muir's life story is complex, and an accurate telling of it has required nearly a century of the kind of scholarly sifting and sorting that Donald Worster does so expertly in A Passion for Nature. Michael P. Branch, American Scientist (read the entire American Scientist review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"I am hopelessly and forever a mountaineer," John Muir wrote. Civilization and fever and all the morbidness that has been hooted at me has not dimmed my glacial eye, and I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature's loveliness. My own special self is nothing.

In Donald Worster's magisterial biography, John Muir's special self is fully explored as is his extraordinary ability, then and now, to get others to see the sacred beauty of the natural world. A Passion for Nature is the most complete account of the great conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club ever written. It is the first to be based on Muir's full private correspondence and to meet modern scholarly standards. Yet it is also full of rich detail and personal anecdote, uncovering the complex inner life behind the legend of the solitary mountain man. It traces Muir from his boyhood in Scotland and frontier Wisconsin to his adult life in California right after the Civil War up to his death on the eve of World War I. It explores his marriage and family life, his relationship with his abusive father, his many friendships with the humble and famous (including Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson), and his role in founding the modern American conservation movement. Inspired by Muir's passion for the wilderness, Americans created a long and stunning list of national parks and wilderness areas, Yosemite most prominent among them. Yet the book also describes a Muir who was a successful fruit-grower, a talented scientist and world-traveler, a doting father and husband, a self-made man of wealth and political influence. A man for whom mountaineering was a pathway to revelation and worship.

For anyone wishing to more fully understand America's first great environmentalist, and the enormous influence he still exerts today, Donald Worster's biography offers a wealth of insight into the passionate nature of a man whose passion for nature remains unsurpassed.

Review:

John Muir (1838-1914) is revered as the founder of the modern American conservation movement. Anyone who knew him as a young man, however, would have pegged him as a budding inventor. After emigrating from Scotland with his family at 10, he grew up in small-town Wisconsin, where his religious-fanatic father made the boy work long, debilitating hours on their farm. According to historian and biographer... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"John Muir's battles to preserve the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite Park, his founding of the Sierra Club, his final, bitter, unsuccessful effort to save Hetch Hetchy Valley, his pioneering insights into the geology of the glacial age, and his late Victorian combination of religion and pantheism have been extensively chronicled. What is unique about A Passion for Nature is the skill with which Worster places Muir in a political context. Worster helps us understand how the love of nature is related to other social movements for equality, that human indifference to the natural world is morally an example of the oppressive hierarchies that mar our history." Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club

Review:

"A towering biography of a towering figure! John Muir is one of those very few Americans who reshaped the way we saw the world. This volume, from one of our most eminent historians, makes clear both the sources and the meaning of Muir's great and wild epiphany." Bill McKibben, author of The Bill McKibben Reader

About the Author

David Worster is Hall Distinguished Professor of American History, University of Kansas and the author of many books, including A River Running West; The Wealth of Nature: Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination; and Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195166828
Author:
Worster, Donald
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Donald
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
United States - State & Local - West
Subject:
Naturalists, Gardeners, Environmentalists
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
Naturalists
Subject:
Conservationists
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Naturalists -- United States.
Subject:
Conservationists -- United States.
Subject:
History, Other | Environmental History
Subject:
Biography-Gardeners and Naturalists
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20081031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 halftones and 5 maps
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
6.2 x 9.4 x 1.9 in 1.994 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Natural History » General

A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir New Hardcover
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$34.95 In Stock
Product details 544 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195166828 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , Given John Muir's status as the iconic representative of the preservationist wing of the modern environmental movement — not to mention his influential work as a writer, amateur scientist and founder of the Sierra Club — it is remarkable that a comprehensive account of his life has been so long in coming. But Muir's life story is complex, and an accurate telling of it has required nearly a century of the kind of scholarly sifting and sorting that Donald Worster does so expertly in A Passion for Nature. (read the entire American Scientist review)
"Review" by , "John Muir's battles to preserve the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite Park, his founding of the Sierra Club, his final, bitter, unsuccessful effort to save Hetch Hetchy Valley, his pioneering insights into the geology of the glacial age, and his late Victorian combination of religion and pantheism have been extensively chronicled. What is unique about A Passion for Nature is the skill with which Worster places Muir in a political context. Worster helps us understand how the love of nature is related to other social movements for equality, that human indifference to the natural world is morally an example of the oppressive hierarchies that mar our history."
"Review" by , "A towering biography of a towering figure! John Muir is one of those very few Americans who reshaped the way we saw the world. This volume, from one of our most eminent historians, makes clear both the sources and the meaning of Muir's great and wild epiphany."
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