Cover of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / essays

Edgar Allan Poe

ne wonders if the name recognition John Muir still enjoys as a principal author of our modern ideas of nature has so far outstripped his reputation as an author of actual books that the wilderness icon is destined to be forever more worshipped than read. This would be a shame.

The spiritual father of the national park system and literal founder of the Sierra Club was an irrepressible advocate for the power and value of time spent outside, yes. But anyone who finds communion in those ideas but has never dipped into his still-very-readable, infectiously romantic writings is denying themselves a special pleasure. If ever anyone deserved a Library of America treatment, it must be the nation’s most eloquent tramp: his words literally changed the American landscape.

Muir is no exception to the a ongoing reckoning with the complicated legacy of the sainted figures of progressive causes. His work can survive this overdue contextualization, and encountering his thoughtful, ecstatically expressed sentiments on the page is itself a corrective to successive generations of uncritical hagiography. Alongside Thoreau, Leopold and Carson, this is the most essential writing about nature, period. It is also just plain enjoyable. You’ll want to take a loaf of crusty bread up to a mountain meadow and read it under a tree.

Book Info

Library of America (1997), 946 pages
ISBN/EAN Product Code
Publisher Description

Known as the “Father of the National Parks,” John Muir wrote about the American West with unmatched passion and eloquence—as seen in this stunning, one-volume collection 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 creation of our national parks system and a far-seeing prophet of environmental awareness who founded the Sierra Club in 1892, he was also a master of natural description who evoked with unique power and intimacy the untrammeled landscapes of the American West. Nature Writings collects Muir’s most significant and best-loved works in a single volume, including: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913), My First Summer in the Sierra (1911), The Mountains of California (1894) and Stickeen (1909). 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 “Save the Redwoods”—that highlight 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 1879. LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries. (Publisher’s Description)

On this shelf:
The Landmarks of Landmarks