My First Summer in the Sierra (Classic, Nature, Penguin)

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9780140255706: My First Summer in the Sierra (Classic, Nature, Penguin)
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For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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John Muir, a young Scottish immigrant, had not yet become the famed conservationist whom he liked to call "John o' the Mountains" when he first trekked into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada not long after the end of the Civil War. Having caught a glimpse of such magical places as Tuolumne Meadows and El Capitan, Muir ached to return, and in the summer of 1869 he signed on with a crew of shepherds and drove a flock of 2,500 woolly critters toward the headwaters of the Merced River.

The diary he kept while tending sheep forms the heart of My First Summer in the Sierra; published in 1911, it enticed thousands of Americans to visit the Yosemite country. The book is full of the concerns Muir would later voice as America's foremost preservationist and wildlands advocate, which would bear fruit in the creation of several national parks and monuments. And it resounds with Muir's nearly pantheistic regard for the natural world: with celebrations of the Sierra's lizards that "dart about on the hot rocks, swift as dragonflies," its mountain lions and tall trees and fierce thunderstorms and bears; with Muir's overarching awe for places that civilization had yet to tame. Though perhaps a little purple by modern standards, Muir's book continues to inspire readers to seek out such places for themselves and make them their own--and as such it stands among the enduring classics of environmental literature. --Gregory McNamee

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"The richness of Muir's writing roots deeper into the terrain than any other wilderness writer known to me." Los Angeles Times

The name John Muir has come to stand for the protection of wild land and wilderness in both America and Britain. Born in Dunbar in 1838, Muir is famed as a pioneer of conservation, and his passion, discipline and vision are still inspirational today.

Combining acute observation with a sense of inner discovery, Muir's description of the summer he spent in what would become Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada mountains raises an awareness of nature to a spiritual dimension. His journal provides a unique weaving of natural history, lyrical prose and amusing anecdote, retaining a freshness, intensity and honesty which will amaze the modern reader.

"As more and more of us grow aghast at what we have done to the world we started with, Muir's reverence and devotion will seem keenly germane, and our regret may be transmuted into a fight for the future." Edward Hoagland

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