Young John Muir by Steven J. Holmes
An Environmental Biography

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"Exciting, original, and highly readable. . . . This is a rich, challenging, original and beautifully written account of Muir's inner development as an environmental thinker." -John A. Tallmadge, president of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment

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.

For the first time placing the development of Muir's environmental consciousness in the context of his human relationships, this major reinterpretation of the early life of John Muir emphasizes Muir's childhood and youth rather than adulthood. Holmes shows how Muir's youthful experiences and influences caused him to perceive his natural surroundings as a religiously- charged "home," continuous with the emotional and cultural meanings of his actual home.


About Steven J. Holmes

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Published January 1, 1999 by Univ of Wisconsin Pr. 309 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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The life and writings of early environmentalist John Muir (1838-1914) taught Americans to appreciate the Yosemite Valley, the redwood, the glacier and the beauty of California. This scholarly and inte

Apr 05 1999 | Read Full Review of Young John Muir: An Environme...

Publishers Weekly

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He places Muir's stories of his own boyhood in ""the wilderness/coming-of-age tradition"" exemplified by Faulkner's ""The Bear."" He reads and rereads the emotional implications of Muir's correspondence with Emily Pelton and Jeanne Carr, and connects Muir's walks through Georgia's fauna and flora...

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