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John Muir: Nature's Visionary

by Gretel Ehrlich


John Muir: Nature's Visionary by Gretel Ehrlich ( from the book's dust jacket )

John Muir: Nature's Visionary
By Gretel Ehrlich
(Washington, D.C., National Geographic Society, 2000)

Patron saint of the American wilderness, John Muir was the archetypal free spirit. Following his own call of the wild, he wandered throughout the Appalachians and the Sierra to Alaska, Siberia, South America, and Africa. Both a dreamer and an activist, he was a devoted father, successful farmer, ingenious inventor, gifted writer, passionate lobbyist, and co-founder of the Sierra Club. His eloquent words changed the way Americans saw their mountains, forests, seashores, and deserts.

This engrossing book traces the twisting path of Muir's life, from his austere Scottish childhood to his youthful labors in Wisconsin under his father's dour yoke to his exultant embrace of the natural world. Author Gretel Ehrlich follows Muir in his life-changing transformations -- his thousand-mile walk to he Gulf of Mexico, his almost mystical experiences in the Sierra Nevada, and his explorations of the daunting Cascade peaks and the untracked expanses of Alaska. Blended with ehrlich's evocative writing, Muir's own quoted words echo throughout the pages, infusing them with his inimitable vision.

Filled with stunning modern images of the vistas Muir loved, whimsical sketches from his own restless pen, and period photographs that capture his gaunt charm, this volume chronicles the life of an American original and celebrates the legacy of natural splendors he fought so tirelessly to preserve.


Gretel Ehrlich, a native Californian, shares Muir's love of the raw wilderness. Her award-winning essays in The Solace of Open Spaces explore the wide Wyoming landscape and the people she met while living there. in recent years she has devoted her time to the Inuit of remote northern Greenland, and her experiences with them will appear in an upcoming book. Ehrlich's poetry and fiction have been published in a number of volumes, and her articles have appeared in the New York times, Outside, Audubon, Harper's, and National Geographic Adventure.

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