The Wilderness Journeys

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Canongate Books, Jul 1, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 736 pages
Introduced by Graham White. ‘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 Dunbar in 1838, Muir is famed as the father of American conservation. This collection, including the rarely seen Stickeen, presents the finest of Muir’s writings, and imparts a rounded portrait of a man whose generosity, passion, discipline and vision are an inspiration to this day. Combining acute observation with 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 which were to become the great National Parks of Yosemite and the Sierra Valley, raise an awareness of nature to a spiritual dimension. These journals provide a unique marriage of natural history with lyrical prose and often amusing anecdotes, retaining a freshness, intensity and brutal honesty which will amaze the modern reader.
 

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Contents

A Boyhood in Scotland I
1
A New World
24
Life on a Wisconsin Farm
42
A Paradise of Birds
64
Young Hunters
78
The Ploughboy
92
Knowledge and Inventions
111
The World and the University
121
ro The Tuolumne Camp 134
134
Back to the Lowlands
147
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

The naturalist John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland. When he was 11 years old, he moved to the United States with his family and lived on a Wisconsin farm, where he had to work hard for long hours. He would rise as early as one o'clock in the morning in order to have time to study. At the urging of friends, he took some inventions he had made to a fair in Madison, Wisconsin. This trip resulted in his attending the University of Wisconsin. After four years in school, he began the travels that eventually took him around the world. Muir's inventing career came to an abrupt end in 1867, when he lost an eye in an accident while working on one of his mechanical inventions. Thereafter, he focused his attention on natural history, exploring the American West, especially the Yosemite region of California. Muir traveled primarily on foot carrying only a minimum amount of food and a bedroll. In 1880 Muir married Louie Strentzel, the daughter of an Austrian who began the fruit and wine industry in California. One of the first explorers to postulate the role of glaciers in forming the Yosemite Valley, Muir also discovered a glacier in Alaska that later was named for him. His lively descriptions of many of the natural areas of the United States contributed to the founding of Yosemite National Park in 1890. His urge to preserve these areas for posterity led to his founding of the Sierra Club in 1892.

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