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The Story of My Boyhood
 
by
John Muir
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The Story of My Boyhood

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  203 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The Story of My boyhood and Youth is a series of essays on the three worlds of the young John Muir: his first eleven years in an old town in Scotland, the years 1849-1860 in the central Wisconsin wilderness, during the time the area was being settled, and four years at the University of Wisconsin.
Hardcover, 143 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by North Books (first published January 1st 1913)
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(showing 1-30 of 436)
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Linda
This is a book I re-read, this time for a book group, where each student read a different book by a naturalist. They’ve been studying nature writing and the teacher wanted to take them deeper into how the writers were changed by their own environment, thus the group and talk about how we also might be changed by both our reading and our personal experiences. For example, in Muir’s book, I loved the deeply detailed descriptions of all the birds observed in his new home in Wisconsin (he was born i...more
David S.
John Muir: naturalist, humanitarian, inventor, great lover? I know so. John Muir was a fantastic lover; gentle, but a real power house when he needed to be. I remember the first time I visited him at his Northern Wisconsin farm in the peak of summer…
Rivers twisted by, heated all day by the scorching late summer sun. Sometimes, the water laid long and wide across the country, other times, it became forced to pour, chortling, vigorously over mossy boulders. Walking through a patch of Balsam Firs...more
Kenny
I thought this was a wonderful! I truly admire how well John Muir respected nature, and what a thinker he was! He really was an amazing person! I can't believe he invented so many things as a child/teenager.
Ben
Dec 06, 2008 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Ben by: Sequoia National Forest giftshop
Shelves: travel
John Muir founded the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club headquarters is on the 2nd floor of the building I work in (85 Second Street), so I get to see all of their published books whenever someone too lazy to walk to the second floor gets on the elevator. Sometimes, when I walk up to the 7th, I hope to see someone there to talk to them about other books like this.

The Story of My Boyhood and Youth was one of the last books John Muir wrote. It was a recollection of his youth back to 5 or 6 years old in...more
Jessica

John Muir is familiar to me as an old-time conservationist and old man wandering in the woods. But this is what he wrote about his childhood growing up in Scotland and Wisconsin during the pioneer days. I really enjoyed it. It had a touch of the "Little House on the Prairie" with all the interesting descriptions of everyday life. His father was a real jerk and made him dig a well by chipping through stone for 17 hours a day with poison gas, among other things. But the coolest thing that I didn'...more
Dana
I read this several years ago and came across a little bit about Muir exploring the Amazon in the book I'm currently reading, "The River of Doubt." What I remember most about this book was his enthusiasm for nature - which I share! The story I most remember is about the passenger pigeons. I found that this book is part of The Project Gutenberg" and found where he talks about these incredible birds and the human acts that led to their extinction.

Not less exciting and memorable was Audubon's wonde...more
Barry Cunningham
Actually, the Project Gutenberg edition on Stanza on my iPhone.

I read Muir's The Yosemite last year and found that book and him utterly amazing. Decided to read some more of his works, and this seemed like the logical place to start.

His origins may not have been that unusual for his time, but where he went from there in his late youth and early manhood seem entirely unexpected.

His early life and his narrative fall into three parts: his early youth in Scotland, his emigration to America and adole...more
Darius
I chose this book to get a glimpse into frontier life, not knowing that John Muir went on to form the Sierra Club and to become a hero to some environmentalists. This book was a pleasant read about his boyhood years.

Muir's father immigrated from Scotland to Wisconsin, when John was just 11 years old. While the book provides a feel of frontier life, my guess is that there are better alternatives. Much of this book tells of the birds and animals that Muir delighted in learning about around his far...more
Bradley
It’s a fabulous book, hilarious at times, deeply thoughtful, and beautifully, beautifully written. He lived in Scotland until he was about 11, then immigrated to rural Minnesota with his super-strict father. Honestly, it’s a wonder he survived his exquisitely rambunctious early childhood and the ridiculously extreme farm labor of his early teens. He also invented incredible things like working clocks–hand-carved out of hickory–having never seen the inside of a clock before! I haven’t found this...more
Doug
This book is a little gem and worth reading.

I never knew John Muir had such mechanical genius. Had he not become a naturalist, he might have been another Edison.

This book makes it abundantly clear that Muir was a lover of nature--and particularly birds--at an early age. Some might tire of the lengthy descriptions of birds, but even if your not an ornithologist you should stick it out and enjoy the little sentimental anecdotes of frontier life found throughout this book.

Toward the end of the Muir...more
Gloria
If there was ever a Little House equivalent for pioneering boys, it would be this. Not that the Little House series is gender specific. I love the Scottish accents Muir employs in his writing. :) Fun trying to read through it. I fail most of the time. Quick read! And very insightful for those curious to learn more about Muir's upbringing and how that clearly shaped him to be the man he later was. Spartan diet began early (loved reading that passage about his daily meals for nourishment. I really...more
Sarah Goodwin
Free on my kindle, I picked this up because I love pioneer stories, especially memoirs.

Anyway, I read this in about two days, and thought it was a struggle to stay interested at times (botany and ornithology not being some of my favourite subjects) there were enough interesting facts and experiences in this book to keep me intereseted. For example, I didn't know before about the pigeon culls - which, wow, very gruesome.

At times the writing style was hard to follow, paragraphs seemed to change...more
Faith
The introduction of this book suggests that the importance of this autobiographical book by Muir is to show how, although the majority of his boyhood was typical, he overcame great hardships or as David Quammen puts it, "climb[ed:] out of hell." Despite the "typical" boyhood John Muir had, it is the way he describes and writes about it that makes this small, easily overlooked book remarkable. He, like his brothers (and, to a lesser extent, his sisters), grows up surrounded by wilderness, but it...more
Brant
A refreshing memoir about growing up on the Wisconsin frontier. In my opinion, this book should be required reading for all sixth graders. Muir extols the virtue of curiosity, celebrates a day's work, and remains optimistic and upbeat! While Muir's writing is full of insights into 19th-century American frontier culture and early frontier traditions (both themes I am largely interested in), his simple stories about his adventures and inventions captured my imagination and reminded me once again o...more
Heather
Muir is very similar to Aldo Leopold, both in writing- and lifestyle! I felt, though, that the author of the introduction was wrong: he mentioned that taking the stories at face value was a waste of time--that the only way to REALLY enjoy the book & get the most out of it was to think of everything in terms of "rising up out of the pit of Hell that was," basically, "a childhood in WI." I feel that someone reading could do either/or, and still have a great time reading Muir's work. A well-don...more
Steve
Considering my idea of Nature is a telephone pole it is kind of odd for me to even be reading this. But I enjoy 19th C autobios, plus his connection to the Midwest makes this interesting reading for me.

Love the story of the loon and the cat. His dad was one mean SOB. The last couple of chapters, where he talks about his inventions and his education, are the most interesting for me.

I have his book on his first visit to the Sierras on order now.
Jared
It seems that ole' John Muir and I had similar childhoods. Different time periods of course. He was more of the pioneer family and I was much more established. However, the hard labor, excessive amounts of outdoor time, and intimate knowledge of a place I think stirred the same kind of thoughts, feelings, and subsequent lifestyle as myself. It was not the most riveting of reads, but it was nice to see what kindred spirits we really are.
Debbie
This was pretty interesting. Learning of a person's childhood can often change one's original perception of the person. Though Muir seems to know his father loves him, his father has a hard time expressing love and empathy. He would've been a tough man to be raised by. Muir's quest for knowledge and his creativeness were insatiable. Learning of the day to day life of this boy from
Scotland was educational and entertaining.
Elaine
I stumbled upon this book at the library and was so pleasantly surprised by it. Muir is an excellent writer. This memoir was fun to read, and his descriptions of his way of life as a child were vivid and fascinating. Muir is thoughtful, opinionated, humorous and humble. I never would have guessed that this book would have been as enjoyable as it was.
Matt
Muir writes with poetic flow, the scenes diving into your heart like a bird. Gets slow after a while.
Lori
I did not realize how smart Muir was. Clear writing and a lot of interesting detail about life in Scotland and America from about 1840-1860, industrialization had impacted but not necessarily improved everyone's lives yet.
Sylvester
Very interesting man. A self-taught inventor, and man curious about everything. This book is obviously just the beginning of the story, and made me want to read more. I recommend this one to nature lovers.
Hanika Cook
I loved the first chapters about his youth, but later on he talked too much about the bird species... So I kinda gave up.
Lauren
I read this book in third grade, it triggered an even more intense love of the mountains Muir and I both roam.
Linda
Lovely little book about this genius boy from scotland, can't wait to read the next about his summer in the Sierras.
Chris
Interesting to read a bit about John Muir growing up. His writing has so much detail to it.
Steven
A wonderful book. I'd write more, but I must now go wander through the woods. :)
Bruce Kissinger
Don't buy this book -- instead get the free version from http://manybooks.net/
Valerie
Jul 18, 2008 Valerie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Valerie by: Dad
Not what I expected when I set out to learn more about John Muir.
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John Muir (/mjʊər/; April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914) was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park a...more
More about John Muir...
My First Summer in the Sierra Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / Essays (Library of America #92) The Mountains of California Travels in Alaska The Wilderness World of John Muir

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