JOHN MUIR                                            MARY COLWELL

An in-depth portrait of John Muir, the founder of the U.S. National Parks and the founder and first president of the Sierra Club

John Muir was the founder of the U.S. National Parks and a towering figure in the history of that country's involvement with ecology. Born into a harsh home in Dunbar, Scotland, he would often escape to revel in the birds and wildlife of the area. When his father suddenly uprooted the family and moved to the United States, the oppression he associated with his childhood continued—and so did his involvement with the natural world. Despite the difficulty of his formative years Muir grew up to be a man of great joy—first an inventor and then an explorer, he found his haven in the mountains of Sierra Nevada. He was a fascinating character: on the one hand a recluse, who sought solitude, and on the other a passionate activist, determined to save the places he loved. A strong believer in both God and the essential goodness of humanity, he was the founder and first president of the Sierra Club. This wonderful memoir pays tribute to a giant of ecology and is essential reading for lovers of natural history.


This was a book that got my attention because as a teen I hiked several trails of the John Muir trail. Doing so I really did not know that much about him. This book goes into his life from Scotland, to the family move to the U.S. settling in Wisconsin. Then his life there and I must say it was not easy at all. His father was strict and had a set of rules that must have been followed by the book. John as he got older did not always agree with his father, but made do. His time spent alone even though he was with family made for an easier time when he was exploring around the mountains of California later in life. Also goes into his travels of Yosemite and his work of making that and the Sequoias National parks. I will say there were times when I thought the book dragged some but maybe that is the way it is with some biographies. For me not a bad story, was well written. I got this book from netgalley. I give this 3 stars.  Follow us at

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