The Young John Muir: An Environmental Biography

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Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 309 pages
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As a founder of the Sierra Club and promoter of the national parks, as a passionate nature writer and as a principal figure of the environmental movement, John Muir stands as a powerful symbol of connection with the natural world. But how did Muir's own relationship with nature begin? In this pioneering book, Steven J. Holmes offers a dramatically new interpretation of Muir's formative years, one that reveals the agony as well as the elation of his earliest experiences of nature.
    From his childhood in Scotland and Wisconsin through his young adulthood in the Midwest and Canada, Muir struggled--often without success--to find a place for himself both in nature and in society. Far from granting comfort, the natural world confronted the young Muir with a full range of practical, emotional, and religious conflicts. Only with the help of his family, his religion, and the extraordinary power of nature itself could Muir in his late twenties find a welcoming vision of nature as home--a vision that would shape his lifelong environmental experience, most immediately in his transformative travels through the South and to the Yosemite Valley.
    More than a biography, The Young John Muir is a remarkable exploration of the human relationship with wilderness. Accessible and engaging, the book will appeal to anyone interested in the individual struggle to come to terms with the power of nature.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Three
75
Sundial of Muirs invention Madison Wisconsin
93
Four
115
The Trout Home Meaford Ontario
134
Fountain Lake and the garden meadow Wisconsin
151
Five
171
Muir and cabbage palmetto Florida
175
Muir and a black family in the woods Florida
180
Cascade and pool on North Fork Merced River California
204
Glacier meadow California
230
Appendix
253
Appendix
261
Works Cited
289
Source Acknowledgments
299
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Steven J. Holmes is lecturer in history and literature at Harvard University. He is currently at work on a book about environmental autobiography and plans to continue his study of John Muir.

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