A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir

Donald Worster, Author Oxford University Press, USA $34.95 (535p) ISBN 978-0-19-516682-8
Environmental writer and professor Worster (Dust Bowl, Nature's Economy) presents the inspiring story of John Muir, who rebelled against orthodoxy and became one of the founders of modern environmentalism. Born in 1838 in Scotland, Muir's family emigrated to Wisconsin when he was ten. For the next 12 years, he labored on his family's farm, then left home to become a machinist and enroll in a University of Wisconsin botany course. His main interest, however, was exploring the remaining wilderness of the U.S. Finally settling in California, Muir mastered botany on his own, and by 1871 was providing the Smithsonian with regular reports of his findings. While continuing his travels, including several trips to Alaska, Muir wrote articles for local and national journals urging conservation, and was elected the first president of the Sierra Club in 1892, a position he would hold for the rest of his life. Worster's thorough, involving biography sets Muir's adventurous story against the technical and scientific culture of the day, featuring some of the period's leading thinkers and doers-including Ralph Waldo Emerson and President Theodore Roosevelt-taking on environmental issues that resonate now more than ever.
Reviewed on: 10/20/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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