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The Wilderness World of John Muir

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  743 ratings  ·  70 reviews
John Muir's extraordinary vision of America comes to life in these fascinating selections from his personal journals. 

As a conservationist, John Muir traveled through most of the American wilderness alone and on foot, without a gun or a sleeping bag. In 1903, while on a three-day camping trip with President Theodore Roosevelt, he convinced the president of the importance o
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 20th 2001 by Mariner Books (first published 1954)
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4.31  · 
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 ·  743 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite quotes is from John Muir.

"The mountains are calling and I must go."

This is on a sticker that is on my hiking water bottle and it is the clarion call that rallies us for our annual vacation in Colorado. And though I love the quote, I had never read anything by Muir. This book was my introduction, it did not disappoint.

A few thoughts on Muir. First, he was a very good story teller and a great thinker. My favorite story from this collection was "Stickeen," the tale of Muir, a li
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-lit
For Muir's early life, see my review of Thousand Mile Walk, say his Scottish father refusing to pay for Muir's university training (Wisconsin), so he drops out and walks to the Gulf, sleeping outside, especially in cemeteries. A bit of that first book's in this collection.
Muir liked reading Emerson, whom I often aloudread in my birdbook talks (particularly his verses, "The Titmouse," about a Chickadee's bravery in a winter storm, saying like Caesar, "Ve-ni vi-di vi-c(h)i." Years later in the Si
Steve Bradshaw
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books of all time. Muir is a tour de force. His casual easy-going writing style and his zest for life and all things natural are captivating in and of themselves but the true value of this book is the close-up view it provides of Muir's humble beginnings and unlikely rise to prominence. He faced considerably more obstacles than most of us, being pulled out of school early to work on the family farm for an ungrateful father and heading out into the world with virtually no mone ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it liked it
"I have a low opinion of books; they are but piles of stones set up to show coming travelers where other minds have been, or at best signal smokes to call attention. . . No amount of word-making will ever make a single soul to know these mountains. As well seek to warm the naked and frostbitten by lectures on caloric and pictures of flame. One day's exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books. See how willingly Nature poses herself upon photographers' plates. No earthly chemicals are ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking to finish this book after hearing today that Yosemite burns.

The man can turn a phrase! From lovely alliteration, “...groans and tears, mingled with morbid exultation; burial companies, black in cloth and countenance; and, last of all, a black box burial in an ill-omened place, haunted by imaginary glooms and ghosts of every degree,” to poetry-in-prose, “Like the bluebirds they dared every danger in defense of home, and we often wondered that birds so gentle could be so bold and tha
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No book and no man has so enriched my already deep love of nature like Muir. He makes me crave to learn more, and appreciate more, the beauty in our world.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love John Muir for his brilliant mind, his deep respect and awe of God's creations, and his beautiful words. What a truly special and talented and spiritual man. I would have loved to hang out with him in Yosemite back in the day. I loved this book, loved getting to know him. I'm a superfan and will stand in line to meet him in heaven.

PS I don't necessarily recommend this book. You have to want to read this. The descriptions are lengthy and if you aren't swept up in it, you would probably wan
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, 2018
Sometimes his book read like a 3 when he was describing bird or tree species, and other times it read like a 5 when when describing his growing up, his inventions, the first time he saw Yosemite valley, or some of his other adventures. Regardless he was an extraordinary man who led an extraordinary life and seemed to connect with the wild like no other.
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
I didn't know much about John Muir before I read this, just that he had something to do with the Sierra Club, and so must've been an outdoorsman. What an fascinating guy! As a young man, he was an inventor. Among other things, he made an alarm clock that tilted his bed and dumped him on the floor! He walked from Wisconsin to Florida, he regularly camped with almost no supplies--certainly not the things we think of as necessary for survival today. He was an amazing observer of wildlife--Jane Good ...more
Kevin McCarthy
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Muir's almost shocking commitment to the wilderness is incredible to read. Nowadays, we would probably call someone like him crazy; but in reading his thoughts and observations from years in the woods, it's hard not to wonder if we're the crazy ones for living so much of our lives in ignorance of nature. If nothing else, reading John Muir will tempt you with the call to get out into the wild: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows int ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
John Muir's writing is exquisite. His descriptions of Nature and natural phenomena are so passionate that you can't help but take more notice of the world around you and go out to enjoy what Nature has to offer.
Marjorie Ploeger
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Putting my reaction to this book into words that give it justice is difficult when it contains so many of my feelings toward our society's lost connection with nature. As humans we are connected and affected by mother nature more than we may realize, and need her therapeutic care to deal with the vicissitudes of life. Additionally, as a society we have become so indoctrinated with the idea only individuals that leave a mark in this world live purposeful lives, that we have lost sight of the powe ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
John Muir hated the time he had to spend locked inside to laboriously write. He hated it. Apparently he struggled sentence by sentence. Giving this book a bad rating feels like the worst blasphemy known to man, because he is a hero in the capital-letters- BOLDest-font-available definition of HERO. After being forced to stay inside writing once in Oakland for 10 months, he almost died by falling off a cliff, and then punished himself by sleeping not on the fragrant forest floor with pine needles ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: could-not-finish
John Muir's writing is lovely, very poetic AND he was long-winded. I consider him the Charles Dickens of nature writers. I got bored reading page after page of excruciating details about trees and birds. I finally skimmed the book and read the writings that most appealed to me based on the chapter introductions. My favorites were his story about Stickeen the dog as well as his general conservation philosophies included in the end.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked the short story format of this book. I was really struck by all of the high risk adventures that JM did in his days. There were also a handful of questionable decisions he made with others lives at risk that was concerning. His observations and ability to describe nature took me outdoors every-time I cracked open this book.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. All the Adventures that he went through was exciting to read about. I wonder if he ever had the thoughts of giving up on any of them. Or if he ever got scared that he was going to die. I really like this book.
Sam DeLeon
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book that tells the story of John Muir and how he grew a love for the great outdoors. Though this book you get a grasp of how Muir lived his life and an understanding of how he perceives the world and it’s mysteries.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Looooved this book. It makes me want to hike all the trails and walk about in storms.
Paused reading this book for a while, but finished yesterday! I would love to have a cup of tea with Mr. Muir
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
These are the writings that inspired Theodore Roosevelt to start the national park system. An important collection that will have you looking at nature - and man's mishandling of it - in a new way.
Bruce Deming
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the most interesting Biography I ever read. John Muir was fascinating.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4 1/2 stars. It was a thrill (and a little dismaying) to see our formerly pristine wilderness through his eyes and his words. I especially enjoyed reading about his childhood.
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
just a delightful read
Meera Srinivasan
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Hard to relate and language used is somewhat different.
Diana Caraza-Bauman
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent compilation of the written work of John Muir. It will leave you yearning to explore the mountains of Yosemite.
Scott Reighard
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
So far, I am really enjoying this insight and look into a fascinating character. John Muir was/is an inspirational man. The stories of his childhood are nothing short of amazing or at the very least, most interesting.

Something I found very interesting was how much of an inventor Muir was. I don't want to give anything away, but his clock creation is not only amazing, but there are humorous anecdotes attached to his story. Also, it doesn't seem to matter the age/time parents are always making th
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My grandfather was fond of saying that wherever you go in the world you will always find a Scotsman there. Well, apart from the fact that I am present wherever I go, there is a good deal of truth to his saying. For some reason we are a wandering tribe of people. While I knew of John Muir, I didn't 'meet' him until a recent visit to Yosemite. His influence on the park casts as long a shadow as any of the great rock formations that tower above the beautiful valley.
Ironically, he is quoted in this
Sue Silverman
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
John Muir is a maniac and I could not put the book down during a few of his stories of derring-do, especially the final one exploring the glaciers of Alaska with his little dog by his side. But otherwise I wouldn't exactly call this a page turner and it did take me a while to get through it. Most of it comprises of detailed descriptions of squirrels and trees and such. But it is hard to resist his enthusiasm and appreciation for nature and I even enjoyed these chapters, if only because it made m ...more
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't know if I can ever get enough of John Muir. Though I was a little suspicious of a collection of his work (why not just read the original Muir instead of some random person's perception of what parts of it are good?), Edwin Way Teale did an excellent job of picking lovely pieces and introducing them in a way that made me want to learn more and more and more. The (short) biographical information he includes at the beginning of each chapter is awesome.

And seriously. How can I not fall in l
John Brown
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
muir's writing can sometimes be a little cheesy. he sometimes sounds like he is trying to sound like emerson too much. the impressive thing about muir is how he felt and what he did. emerson, thoreau, london, kerouac, or any of those boys look like candy-asses in comparison. we are all candy-asses in comparison. i read this book while hiking his namesake trail, except i had a sleeping bag and bit more variation of diet than bread crumbs and tea. he was supposedly a much more gifted orator than w ...more
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John Muir (1838 – 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 and other wilderness areas. The S ...more
“There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.” 100 likes
“Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings.” 59 likes
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