Synopses & Reviews
Our National Parks
is a guidebook supreme, an exciting introduction to Yosemite and several other magnificent parks by the man who, more than any other person, helped to create them. After this fast-paced trip with Muir, past visitors to the parks will want to revisit them with new insights, and those who have never wandered these trails will not rest until they have done so.
The book, long out of print, was originally published in 1901, its ten essays having previously appeared as articles in the Atlantic Monthly. Muir wrote them with a single purpose—to entice people, by his descriptions, to come to the parks, to see and enjoy them. If enough people did so, reasoned Muir, they would surely love the wilderness as he did, and the parks would be preserved.
Muir carried out his public relations mission with remarkable success. Every page of this book carries his unbridled and irresistible enthusiasm. Our National Parks is part reminiscence, part philosophy, and mostly enticing description. It is all vintage Muir.
Although the book treats Yellowstone, Sequoia, General Grant, and other national parks of the Western U.S., Muir devotes the bulk of the work to his first love—Yosemite, settled into the heart of the Sierra Nevada. Indeed, six of the book’s chapters are devoted to Yosemite, treating the forests, wild gardens, fountains and streams, animals, and birds of the park. The concluding essay is an impassioned plea to save American forests.
All visitors to the great western national parks—and all who will one day visit them—will be captivated by Muir’s descriptions. The grandeur of this wilderness is reflected in the very spirit of John Muir. Both shine through every page of this remarkable book.
About the Author
John Muir (1838–1914) was a naturalist, author, and an advocate of wilderness preservation. He was the founder of the Sierra Club, and was influential in the creation of many national parks, including Yosemite. He has written many books, including Letters from Alaska
, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth
, and The Yosemite
, which were printed by the University of Wisconsin Press.