Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / Essays

Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / Essays❰Reading❯ ➺ Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / Essays Author John Muir – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk 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 creat In a lifetime of exploration, writing, The Story PDF/EPUB » 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 Nature Writings: eBook Ó founded the Sierra Club in , he was also a master of natural description who evoked with unique power and intimacy the untrammeled landscapes of the American West The Library of America s Nature Writings collects his most significant and best loved works in a single volumeThe Writings: The Story PDF/EPUB Â Story of My Boyhood and Youthis Muir s memoir of growing up by the sea in Scotland, of coming to America with his family at age eleven, and of his early fascination with the natural world My First Summer in the Sierrais his famous account of the spiritual awakening he experienced when, in , he first encountered the mountains and valleys of central California, of which he wrote Bathed in such beauty, watching the expressions ever varying on the faces of the mountains, watching the stars, which here have a glory that the lowlander never dreams of, watching the circling seasons, listening to the songs of the waters and winds and birds, would be endless pleasure No other place has ever so overwhelmingly attracted me as this hospitable, Godful wilderness The natural history classic The Mountains of Californiadraws on half a lifetime of exploration of the High Sierra country to celebrate and evoke the region s lakes, forests, flowers, and animals, its glaciers, storms, floods, and geological formations, in a masterpiece of observation and poetic description After ten years spent in the heart of it it still seems to me above all others the Range of Light, the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen Stickeen, Muir s most popular book, is the affectionate story of his adventure with a dog in Alaska 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 the late appeal Save the Redwoods highlighting 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. Essential in every respect Instead of vacation bible schools where we indoctrinate kids with writings and contradictory practices built upon a foundation of supernatural codswallop there should be vacation John Muir schools Our species would advance farther and quicker over time than ever before. I read this before I went backpacking in the Minarets and rock climbing in Yosemite in 1999 Great book Took big to put in the backpack though How did he function on less than 4 hours of sleep a night And he d go hiking with some bread and cheese, and that s all I looked at my 70 lb backpack with all my modern, technical gear He was oil cloth and wool and he was fine What was wrong with me He didn t need ropes and pro when climbing mountains Why did I need it How things have changed I read this before I went backpacking in the Minarets and rock climbing in Yosemite in 1999 Great book Took big to put in the backpack though How did he function on less than 4 hours of sleep a night And he d go hiking with some bread and cheese, and that s all I looked at my 70 lb backpack with all my modern, technical gear He was oil cloth and wool and he was fine What was wrong with me He didn t need ropes and pro when climbing mountains Why did I need it How things have changed since J Muir was alive If you enjoy Thoreau you are in for a real delight as Muir describes the sublime Sierra Mountain range, dwelling lovingly on his surroundings There s much to digest in his writings, many thoughtful ideas about the relationships between man and nature, man and religion, and religion and nature These books are a feast for spring and summer days Unfortunately, I withhold the full adoration that some reviewers have placed on him Muir holds a view about nature that I dislike, which is that it exi If you enjoy Thoreau you are in for a real delight as Muir describes the sublime Sierra Mountain range, dwelling lovingly on his surroundings There s much to digest in his writings, many thoughtful ideas about the relationships between man and nature, man and religion, and religion and nature These books are a feast for spring and summer days Unfortunately, I withhold the full adoration that some reviewers have placed on him Muir holds a view about nature that I dislike, which is that it exists to be his playground backdrop to get in touch with himself He revels in the beauty around him and his heart tells him he was uniquely meant to stand there, as anyone s heart would at the top of Yosemite Falls, but this comes at a cost He mentions several interactions with local Indian tribes, uses their trails otherwise I never would have found my way trades with them when he s low on supplies, etc and yet he does not connect that he is in someone s home To him, the wilderness around him is pure, untouched, and virgin said waytimes than necessary.It s not the first time an adventurer loves a beautiful place while being dismissive of the locals, but I found his attitude off putting Occasionally a good countenance may be seen among the Mono Indians, but these, the first specimens I had seen, were mostly ugly, and some of them altogether hideous Somehow they seemed to have no right place in the landscape, and I was glad to see them fading out of sight down the pass 373, emphasis mine Muir sees nature as his personal escape from impure civilization, and it continues to unsettle him when he interacts with Indians in their ordinary day to day activities There s a disconnect he can t envision the mountains as someone s home and as an already lived in and modified environment This awkward reality spoils his visions of purification and renewal, and so he ignores it.I don t want to be too hard on these books, because the writing really is beautiful I can tell he labored over these manuscripts to get them just right But our contemporary understandings of nature and conservation were shaped by men like John Muir, who was influential in creating the national parks, but who also contributed to the expulsion of many tribes from their homelands by refusing to accept that people already lived in the places he was protecting Because he was influential in his time, his attitude and claims ought to be treated with scrutiny So, I would take this book on a paragraph by paragraph basis, enjoying his descriptions but not getting too carried away with his romanticism Notes the extraordinary shaking loose of conventional prose and movement toward a freer expression when Muir begins to write of what birdsong means to him Muir the whimsical inventor of hand chiseled mechanisms on the retention of innocence, the ability to be joyful, to be freshly delighted again and again Muir the supplicant to wilderness constant disappointment in humanity Muir spending the night on top of a mossy flood boulder set in the middle of the stream like an altar, overhung with Notes the extraordinary shaking loose of conventional prose and movement toward a freer expression when Muir begins to write of what birdsong means to him Muir the whimsical inventor of hand chiseled mechanisms on the retention of innocence, the ability to be joyful, to be freshly delighted again and again Muir the supplicant to wilderness constant disappointment in humanity Muir spending the night on top of a mossy flood boulder set in the middle of the stream like an altar, overhung with dogwood and alder and sprayed by the falls nearby My First Summer in the Sierra A truly remarkable story, well told, often in elegiac prose A incredibly monastic mountaineer, a combination of his closest friends in the wilderness, the Douglas squirrel, the water ouzel and the mountain sheep His climbing a very tall silver fir in the middle of a winter gale epitomized his love of nature and his zest for life Amazing that he did not perish from cold, hunger, an avalanche or fire Physically and mentally tough, certainly in part the result of overcoming the cruelty of his f A truly remarkable story, well told, often in elegiac prose A incredibly monastic mountaineer, a combination of his closest friends in the wilderness, the Douglas squirrel, the water ouzel and the mountain sheep His climbing a very tall silver fir in the middle of a winter gale epitomized his love of nature and his zest for life Amazing that he did not perish from cold, hunger, an avalanche or fire Physically and mentally tough, certainly in part the result of overcoming the cruelty of his father who treated him like slave labour as boy on their Wisconsin farm An apparently happy loner, yet some of his most memorable writings are about his infrequent encounters with his fellow man observed with wry, but caustic wit Except for his deep respect for Emerson for whom he guided in Yosemite Plus his memorable story about his canine sidekick Stikeen His descriptions of clouds in the high Sierra and their intimate relationship with the mountains was uniquely insightful An environmental trailblazer, not a fan of hoofed locusts sheep , miners, settlers or sawmills Admiration for the First Nations people he met in his wandering, largely free of racism A shame that camera technology was in its infancy as to have photos to accompany his writing would have been magical Something Ansel Adams did much to correct, inspired by Muir A highly intelligent, deeply read, profoundly curious person who reminded me of Isaacson s characterization of da Vinci Evidently shy, married late in life but happily and a devoted father who struggled between parenting and the call of the wild A long read, but worth it I love John Muir s breathtaking experiences of the Divine in Nature He discovered that, going out was really going in rough paraphrase Reading Muir is like discovering a whole new prayer book one that immediately engages you in real world experience seeing yourself as part of one huge, magical, web of life. John Muir, first president of the Sierra Club, towers over environmentalism like a dominant peak in his beloved Sierra Nevada range If, to many of us, he has become a remote and lofty monument, this 824 page anthology entitled Nature Writings, and originally published in this form in 1997 by The Library of America should breathe vitality and insight into his legacy Beginning with a memoir of childhood in Scotland and Wisconsin the family s home after emigration, the selected accounts herei John Muir, first president of the Sierra Club, towers over environmentalism like a dominant peak in his beloved Sierra Nevada range If, to many of us, he has become a remote and lofty monument, this 824 page anthology entitled Nature Writings, and originally published in this form in 1997 by The Library of America should breathe vitality and insight into his legacy Beginning with a memoir of childhood in Scotland and Wisconsin the family s home after emigration, the selected accounts herein abruptly transition to Muir s love affair with the mountains of California, his subsequent adventures in Alaska, and even expeditions to Arizona s Grand Canyon and Florida s Cedar Keys.Though I cannot claim expertise in the work of 19th Century naturalists, I find it hard to believe that any writer, then or subsequently, has matched Muir in the delight he showed in every one of Nature s facets From the microcosms of flower petals and ice drops to vast spectacles of storm and landscape, Muir reveled in his surroundings He prized virtually every life form he encounters, referring with anthropomorphic glee to plant people and insect people Be warned, some chapters are so resplendent with botanical and geological detail, it may be best for the casual reader to skip to items ofgeneral interest For instance, there is his celebrated tale of an Alaskan adventure with a dog named Stickeen as a companion Many a pet lover over the years must have tensed at their travails as they negotiated glacial crevasses As his perspective as a writer changes over the years, Muir transitions from memoir to field guide to travelogue With the threat to wilderness from developmentapparent in the early years of the 20th century, Muir becomes a tourism advocate in his campaigning for public lands and a public willingness to support them A major feature in that respect was his famed and failed attempt to prevent the Hetch Hetchy Valley from becoming a reservoir for San Francisco, and predictably he dwells increasingly on desecration for the sake of development.Throughout, one can never stop admiring Muir s encyclopedic knowledge although, as previously noted, I ll leave it to the others to judge the accuracy of his observations What cannot be contested is his dedication to preserving the essence of the areas in which he traveled, and for that matter the eloquence in his writing As a founder of the Sierra Club, his mission continues as does the pressing need for it.For those mystified about how Muir acquired his knowledge, and indeed what took him from Wisconsin to California, the book ends with textual notes and a detailed chronology This timeline is a valuable addition, providing details about his itinerant domestic and international travels, marriage and two daughters, influences on his thinking, celebrity status and meetings with political and cultural figures of note, not to mention his birth in 1838 and death in 1914 A Postscript In reading Muir s account of his first venture into the Sierra Nevada range, I was taken aback to learn that he considered the indigenous people he encountered to be dirty and by inference inferior to civilized beings I must admit that I initially put that to one side in writing this review But recent news that the Sierra Club hierarchy is reflecting negatively on Muir s purported views of racial differences has me re thinking too My opinion, for what its worth, is that the current re calibration of cultural attitudes in general is overdue But I also note that the famous aresusceptible to revisionism, however justified, than those who transgress in anonymity.As far as I recall, Muir s comments about indigenous people are muted in this book and he has no aspersions for other races, even if his friendships apparently suggest otherwise It is tempting to dismiss his errant views as those of a man of his time But we are people of our time, and must re assess accordingly.The point subject to debate is that perhaps his observations of people s appearance were accurate as his observations typically were I believe in the botanical and geological fields Perhaps those indigenous persons he encountered in the Sierras were dirty and gave a bad impression On the other hand, it also prompts the consideration that Muir s words in this case were filtered through prejudice.It should be kept in mind too that not all Muir s impressions of indigenous people, as expressed in these pages, were uncomplimentary On a visit to Arizona s Grand Canyon, later in his life, he regarded its inhabitants as able, erect men, with commanding eyes The golden rule, it seems to me, must be that one bases impressions of personality and habits on the individuals observed rather than the groups to which they appear to belong And in addition, one must consider that norms and standards differ according to tradition and circumstances beyond one s own A person of any race or group may be viewed negatively, and one should be able to express that judgment without being regarded as condemning by association their entire group, religion, nationality or race In hindsight particularly, it s hard to separate observation from prejudice And of course, large as this volume is, there is plenty about John Muir that lies outside its parameters Nature Writings by John Muir is a collection of writings by John Muir From discussing his childhood in Scotland to moving to the United States and being in Wisconsin for a time, Muir was a man enad with the Natural World and its wonders With a keen eye and a skill for drawing, Muir was a founder of the Sierra Club and did his best to introduce others to the beauty of nature So this collection includes The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, My First Summer in the Sierra, The Mountains of Calif Nature Writings by John Muir is a collection of writings by John Muir From discussing his childhood in Scotland to moving to the United States and being in Wisconsin for a time, Muir was a man enad with the Natural World and its wonders With a keen eye and a skill for drawing, Muir was a founder of the Sierra Club and did his best to introduce others to the beauty of nature So this collection includes The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, My First Summer in the Sierra, The Mountains of California, Stickeen, and several Essays With a charming mien and a panoply of visual delights in the form of drawings, this book is quite delightful.Some of the parts read a bit like a travelogue diary I assume he merely published portions of his private diary for these books It really works too I wonder if it is possible to trace his course through the Sierra and other places That might be interesting to do.Since John Muir lived in Wisconsin for a time, I thought it would be interesting to read up on him and I wasn t disappointed The man lived a full life is all I can say We were out in the Sequoia National Park a couple of weeks ago, and maybe it was because we walked in the Muir Woods, and to the Muir Grove, and not far from the John Muir Trail, which crosses the John Muir Wilderness John Muir this, John Muir that, everywhere you go.So I picked up the Library of America anthology of his nature writings, and read the first two books in it, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and My First Summer in the Sierra There s a lot of botany in it he was a botany majo We were out in the Sequoia National Park a couple of weeks ago, and maybe it was because we walked in the Muir Woods, and to the Muir Grove, and not far from the John Muir Trail, which crosses the John Muir Wilderness John Muir this, John Muir that, everywhere you go.So I picked up the Library of America anthology of his nature writings, and read the first two books in it, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and My First Summer in the Sierra There s a lot of botany in it he was a botany major at what became the University of Wisconsin The purple prose and anthropomorphism are a little off putting these days, but there s enough narration to keep it interesting for a reader like me.I m going to put it aside after the summer in the Sierra, and save The Mountains of California for another season Didn t finish, but hope to get back to this More interesting than the nature writings to me was the story of his life Favorite quote of his Hiking I don t like either the word or the thing People ought to saunter in the mountains not hike Do you know the origin of that word saunter It s a beautiful word Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would repl Didn t finish, but hope to get back to this More interesting than the nature writings to me was the story of his life Favorite quote of his Hiking I don t like either the word or the thing People ought to saunter in the mountains not hike Do you know the origin of that word saunter It s a beautiful word Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, A la sainte terre, To the Holy Land And so they became known as sainte terre ers or saunterers Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not hike through them

Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My
    Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My spiritual awakening he experienced when, in , he first encountered the mountains and valleys of central California, of which he wrote Bathed in such beauty, watching the expressions ever varying on the faces of the mountains, watching the stars, which here have a glory that the lowlander never dreams of, watching the circling seasons, listening to the songs of the waters and winds and birds, would be endless pleasure No other place has ever so overwhelmingly attracted me as this hospitable, Godful wilderness The natural history classic The Mountains of Californiadraws on half a lifetime of exploration of the High Sierra country to celebrate and evoke the region s lakes, forests, flowers, and animals, its glaciers, storms, floods, and geological formations, in a masterpiece of observation and poetic description After ten years spent in the heart of it it still seems to me above all others the Range of Light, the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen Stickeen, Muir s most popular book, is the affectionate story of his adventure with a dog in Alaska 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 the late appeal Save the Redwoods highlighting 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. Essential in every respect Instead of vacation bible schools where we indoctrinate kids with writings and contradictory practices built upon a foundation of supernatural codswallop there should be vacation John Muir schools Our species would advance farther and quicker over time than ever before. I read this before I went backpacking in the Minarets and rock climbing in Yosemite in 1999 Great book Took big to put in the backpack though How did he function on less than 4 hours of sleep a night And he d go hiking with some bread and cheese, and that s all I looked at my 70 lb backpack with all my modern, technical gear He was oil cloth and wool and he was fine What was wrong with me He didn t need ropes and pro when climbing mountains Why did I need it How things have changed I read this before I went backpacking in the Minarets and rock climbing in Yosemite in 1999 Great book Took big to put in the backpack though How did he function on less than 4 hours of sleep a night And he d go hiking with some bread and cheese, and that s all I looked at my 70 lb backpack with all my modern, technical gear He was oil cloth and wool and he was fine What was wrong with me He didn t need ropes and pro when climbing mountains Why did I need it How things have changed since J Muir was alive If you enjoy Thoreau you are in for a real delight as Muir describes the sublime Sierra Mountain range, dwelling lovingly on his surroundings There s much to digest in his writings, many thoughtful ideas about the relationships between man and nature, man and religion, and religion and nature These books are a feast for spring and summer days Unfortunately, I withhold the full adoration that some reviewers have placed on him Muir holds a view about nature that I dislike, which is that it exi If you enjoy Thoreau you are in for a real delight as Muir describes the sublime Sierra Mountain range, dwelling lovingly on his surroundings There s much to digest in his writings, many thoughtful ideas about the relationships between man and nature, man and religion, and religion and nature These books are a feast for spring and summer days Unfortunately, I withhold the full adoration that some reviewers have placed on him Muir holds a view about nature that I dislike, which is that it exists to be his playground backdrop to get in touch with himself He revels in the beauty around him and his heart tells him he was uniquely meant to stand there, as anyone s heart would at the top of Yosemite Falls, but this comes at a cost He mentions several interactions with local Indian tribes, uses their trails otherwise I never would have found my way trades with them when he s low on supplies, etc and yet he does not connect that he is in someone s home To him, the wilderness around him is pure, untouched, and virgin said waytimes than necessary.It s not the first time an adventurer loves a beautiful place while being dismissive of the locals, but I found his attitude off putting Occasionally a good countenance may be seen among the Mono Indians, but these, the first specimens I had seen, were mostly ugly, and some of them altogether hideous Somehow they seemed to have no right place in the landscape, and I was glad to see them fading out of sight down the pass 373, emphasis mine Muir sees nature as his personal escape from impure civilization, and it continues to unsettle him when he interacts with Indians in their ordinary day to day activities There s a disconnect he can t envision the mountains as someone s home and as an already lived in and modified environment This awkward reality spoils his visions of purification and renewal, and so he ignores it.I don t want to be too hard on these books, because the writing really is beautiful I can tell he labored over these manuscripts to get them just right But our contemporary understandings of nature and conservation were shaped by men like John Muir, who was influential in creating the national parks, but who also contributed to the expulsion of many tribes from their homelands by refusing to accept that people already lived in the places he was protecting Because he was influential in his time, his attitude and claims ought to be treated with scrutiny So, I would take this book on a paragraph by paragraph basis, enjoying his descriptions but not getting too carried away with his romanticism Notes the extraordinary shaking loose of conventional prose and movement toward a freer expression when Muir begins to write of what birdsong means to him Muir the whimsical inventor of hand chiseled mechanisms on the retention of innocence, the ability to be joyful, to be freshly delighted again and again Muir the supplicant to wilderness constant disappointment in humanity Muir spending the night on top of a mossy flood boulder set in the middle of the stream like an altar, overhung with Notes the extraordinary shaking loose of conventional prose and movement toward a freer expression when Muir begins to write of what birdsong means to him Muir the whimsical inventor of hand chiseled mechanisms on the retention of innocence, the ability to be joyful, to be freshly delighted again and again Muir the supplicant to wilderness constant disappointment in humanity Muir spending the night on top of a mossy flood boulder set in the middle of the stream like an altar, overhung with dogwood and alder and sprayed by the falls nearby My First Summer in the Sierra A truly remarkable story, well told, often in elegiac prose A incredibly monastic mountaineer, a combination of his closest friends in the wilderness, the Douglas squirrel, the water ouzel and the mountain sheep His climbing a very tall silver fir in the middle of a winter gale epitomized his love of nature and his zest for life Amazing that he did not perish from cold, hunger, an avalanche or fire Physically and mentally tough, certainly in part the result of overcoming the cruelty of his f A truly remarkable story, well told, often in elegiac prose A incredibly monastic mountaineer, a combination of his closest friends in the wilderness, the Douglas squirrel, the water ouzel and the mountain sheep His climbing a very tall silver fir in the middle of a winter gale epitomized his love of nature and his zest for life Amazing that he did not perish from cold, hunger, an avalanche or fire Physically and mentally tough, certainly in part the result of overcoming the cruelty of his father who treated him like slave labour as boy on their Wisconsin farm An apparently happy loner, yet some of his most memorable writings are about his infrequent encounters with his fellow man observed with wry, but caustic wit Except for his deep respect for Emerson for whom he guided in Yosemite Plus his memorable story about his canine sidekick Stikeen His descriptions of clouds in the high Sierra and their intimate relationship with the mountains was uniquely insightful An environmental trailblazer, not a fan of hoofed locusts sheep , miners, settlers or sawmills Admiration for the First Nations people he met in his wandering, largely free of racism A shame that camera technology was in its infancy as to have photos to accompany his writing would have been magical Something Ansel Adams did much to correct, inspired by Muir A highly intelligent, deeply read, profoundly curious person who reminded me of Isaacson s characterization of da Vinci Evidently shy, married late in life but happily and a devoted father who struggled between parenting and the call of the wild A long read, but worth it I love John Muir s breathtaking experiences of the Divine in Nature He discovered that, going out was really going in rough paraphrase Reading Muir is like discovering a whole new prayer book one that immediately engages you in real world experience seeing yourself as part of one huge, magical, web of life. John Muir, first president of the Sierra Club, towers over environmentalism like a dominant peak in his beloved Sierra Nevada range If, to many of us, he has become a remote and lofty monument, this 824 page anthology entitled Nature Writings, and originally published in this form in 1997 by The Library of America should breathe vitality and insight into his legacy Beginning with a memoir of childhood in Scotland and Wisconsin the family s home after emigration, the selected accounts herei John Muir, first president of the Sierra Club, towers over environmentalism like a dominant peak in his beloved Sierra Nevada range If, to many of us, he has become a remote and lofty monument, this 824 page anthology entitled Nature Writings, and originally published in this form in 1997 by The Library of America should breathe vitality and insight into his legacy Beginning with a memoir of childhood in Scotland and Wisconsin the family s home after emigration, the selected accounts herein abruptly transition to Muir s love affair with the mountains of California, his subsequent adventures in Alaska, and even expeditions to Arizona s Grand Canyon and Florida s Cedar Keys.Though I cannot claim expertise in the work of 19th Century naturalists, I find it hard to believe that any writer, then or subsequently, has matched Muir in the delight he showed in every one of Nature s facets From the microcosms of flower petals and ice drops to vast spectacles of storm and landscape, Muir reveled in his surroundings He prized virtually every life form he encounters, referring with anthropomorphic glee to plant people and insect people Be warned, some chapters are so resplendent with botanical and geological detail, it may be best for the casual reader to skip to items ofgeneral interest For instance, there is his celebrated tale of an Alaskan adventure with a dog named Stickeen as a companion Many a pet lover over the years must have tensed at their travails as they negotiated glacial crevasses As his perspective as a writer changes over the years, Muir transitions from memoir to field guide to travelogue With the threat to wilderness from developmentapparent in the early years of the 20th century, Muir becomes a tourism advocate in his campaigning for public lands and a public willingness to support them A major feature in that respect was his famed and failed attempt to prevent the Hetch Hetchy Valley from becoming a reservoir for San Francisco, and predictably he dwells increasingly on desecration for the sake of development.Throughout, one can never stop admiring Muir s encyclopedic knowledge although, as previously noted, I ll leave it to the others to judge the accuracy of his observations What cannot be contested is his dedication to preserving the essence of the areas in which he traveled, and for that matter the eloquence in his writing As a founder of the Sierra Club, his mission continues as does the pressing need for it.For those mystified about how Muir acquired his knowledge, and indeed what took him from Wisconsin to California, the book ends with textual notes and a detailed chronology This timeline is a valuable addition, providing details about his itinerant domestic and international travels, marriage and two daughters, influences on his thinking, celebrity status and meetings with political and cultural figures of note, not to mention his birth in 1838 and death in 1914 A Postscript In reading Muir s account of his first venture into the Sierra Nevada range, I was taken aback to learn that he considered the indigenous people he encountered to be dirty and by inference inferior to civilized beings I must admit that I initially put that to one side in writing this review But recent news that the Sierra Club hierarchy is reflecting negatively on Muir s purported views of racial differences has me re thinking too My opinion, for what its worth, is that the current re calibration of cultural attitudes in general is overdue But I also note that the famous aresusceptible to revisionism, however justified, than those who transgress in anonymity.As far as I recall, Muir s comments about indigenous people are muted in this book and he has no aspersions for other races, even if his friendships apparently suggest otherwise It is tempting to dismiss his errant views as those of a man of his time But we are people of our time, and must re assess accordingly.The point subject to debate is that perhaps his observations of people s appearance were accurate as his observations typically were I believe in the botanical and geological fields Perhaps those indigenous persons he encountered in the Sierras were dirty and gave a bad impression On the other hand, it also prompts the consideration that Muir s words in this case were filtered through prejudice.It should be kept in mind too that not all Muir s impressions of indigenous people, as expressed in these pages, were uncomplimentary On a visit to Arizona s Grand Canyon, later in his life, he regarded its inhabitants as able, erect men, with commanding eyes The golden rule, it seems to me, must be that one bases impressions of personality and habits on the individuals observed rather than the groups to which they appear to belong And in addition, one must consider that norms and standards differ according to tradition and circumstances beyond one s own A person of any race or group may be viewed negatively, and one should be able to express that judgment without being regarded as condemning by association their entire group, religion, nationality or race In hindsight particularly, it s hard to separate observation from prejudice And of course, large as this volume is, there is plenty about John Muir that lies outside its parameters Nature Writings by John Muir is a collection of writings by John Muir From discussing his childhood in Scotland to moving to the United States and being in Wisconsin for a time, Muir was a man enad with the Natural World and its wonders With a keen eye and a skill for drawing, Muir was a founder of the Sierra Club and did his best to introduce others to the beauty of nature So this collection includes The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, My First Summer in the Sierra, The Mountains of Calif Nature Writings by John Muir is a collection of writings by John Muir From discussing his childhood in Scotland to moving to the United States and being in Wisconsin for a time, Muir was a man enad with the Natural World and its wonders With a keen eye and a skill for drawing, Muir was a founder of the Sierra Club and did his best to introduce others to the beauty of nature So this collection includes The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, My First Summer in the Sierra, The Mountains of California, Stickeen, and several Essays With a charming mien and a panoply of visual delights in the form of drawings, this book is quite delightful.Some of the parts read a bit like a travelogue diary I assume he merely published portions of his private diary for these books It really works too I wonder if it is possible to trace his course through the Sierra and other places That might be interesting to do.Since John Muir lived in Wisconsin for a time, I thought it would be interesting to read up on him and I wasn t disappointed The man lived a full life is all I can say We were out in the Sequoia National Park a couple of weeks ago, and maybe it was because we walked in the Muir Woods, and to the Muir Grove, and not far from the John Muir Trail, which crosses the John Muir Wilderness John Muir this, John Muir that, everywhere you go.So I picked up the Library of America anthology of his nature writings, and read the first two books in it, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and My First Summer in the Sierra There s a lot of botany in it he was a botany majo We were out in the Sequoia National Park a couple of weeks ago, and maybe it was because we walked in the Muir Woods, and to the Muir Grove, and not far from the John Muir Trail, which crosses the John Muir Wilderness John Muir this, John Muir that, everywhere you go.So I picked up the Library of America anthology of his nature writings, and read the first two books in it, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and My First Summer in the Sierra There s a lot of botany in it he was a botany major at what became the University of Wisconsin The purple prose and anthropomorphism are a little off putting these days, but there s enough narration to keep it interesting for a reader like me.I m going to put it aside after the summer in the Sierra, and save The Mountains of California for another season Didn t finish, but hope to get back to this More interesting than the nature writings to me was the story of his life Favorite quote of his Hiking I don t like either the word or the thing People ought to saunter in the mountains not hike Do you know the origin of that word saunter It s a beautiful word Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would repl Didn t finish, but hope to get back to this More interesting than the nature writings to me was the story of his life Favorite quote of his Hiking I don t like either the word or the thing People ought to saunter in the mountains not hike Do you know the origin of that word saunter It s a beautiful word Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, A la sainte terre, To the Holy Land And so they became known as sainte terre ers or saunterers Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not hike through them "/>
  • Hardcover
  • 928 pages
  • Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / Essays
  • John Muir
  • English
  • 04 November 2019
  • 1883011248