The World of John Burroughs

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9780810939707: The World of John Burroughs

John Burroughs - naturalist, ornithologist, author, poet, and teacher - is perhaps best remembered today as one of the earliest and most articulate pioneers of what is now known as the conservation movement in the United States. Burroughs published twenty-eight books between 1867 and 1922, writing about literature as well as nature, and earning a popularity in his time as great as that of his contemporaries and kindred spirits, Henry David Thoreau and John Muir. Many of his writings are still in print.
Born in 1837 in the Catskill Mountains of New York State and a longtime resident of the Hudson River Valley, Burroughs spent his life studying the natural world around him - from birds and bees to flowers and trees - and putting his thoughts on paper. His powerful verbal landscapes and philosophical insights into the natural world during the height of the Industrial Revolution were read by hundreds of thousands of people - from powerful industrialists to countless schoolchildren. He counted among his friends the poet Walt Whitman, the pioneering preservation President, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Andrew Carnegie. Henry Ford, whose own farmland upbringing Burroughs's writing recalled, not only gave the writer a Model T car and went camping with him, but also purchased his boyhood homestead, which Burroughs and other relatives were having trouble maintaining, and deeded it to his friend.
Author Ed Kanze, himself a naturalist, writer, and photographer, sheds new light on Burroughs's enormous contribution to how we think about our environment. His biographical text is enhanced by many quotations from Burroughs's essays and poems and, uniquely, by conversations with Burroughs's granddaughter, who contributed numerous affectionate recollections of her grandfather as well as many archival photographs of him, his farm and woodland writing studio, "Slabsides," and family and friends - including Muir, Roosevelt, Ford, Edison, and others. The text is further enlivened with crisp color photographs by Ed Kanze that evoke the landscapes Burroughs knew and loved and the many birds, animals, and plants that he wrote about with such intimacy and feeling. Burroughs's world truly comes alive again in the words and pictures of this book.

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Review:

Friend of Walt Whitman, companion to Theodore Roosevelt, and friendly rival of John Muir, John Burroughs is seldom read today. But in the last decades of the 19th century, his prolific nature essays helped spawn the Nature Study movement and made him an international celebrity. In 1875 Henry James praised his "real genius" for natural history and called him a "more humorous, more available, and more sociable Thoreau." In this illustrated biography, Edward Kanze sketches the trajectory of Burroughs's long career, from his childhood on a farm in the Catskills to his decades in retirement along the Hudson River.

As early as 1871, when his first book of nature essays was published, Burroughs was acclaimed as an American Gilbert White, the pioneering British naturalist and author of The Natural History of Selborne. Readers were charmed by Burroughs's enthusiastic accounts of ordinary walks made extraordinary by keen observation. By the late 1880s, when his first collection of nature essays for children was published, he was one of America's most popular interpreters of the natural world. He kept writing until 1921, when he died at the age of 84.

Edward Kanze, a naturalist and writer, has written an engaging narrative that nevertheless leaves the reader hungry for more information. The photographs, though pleasant, are sometimes tangential: "mourning doves reminded Burroughs of their extinct relations, the passenger pigeons," reads one caption. The biography may succeed as an introduction to Burroughs's life, but in the end one wishes for more of the master's own prose and a better sense of its social context. --Pete Holloran

From the Inside Flap:

John Burroughs was one of the earliest and most articulate pioneers of the United States conservation movement, publishing twenty-eight books on the natural world during the height of the Industrial Revolution. As an author, teacher, and poet, he wrote with intimacy and feeling, illustrating verbal landscapes and providing philosophical insights about the environment. People by the hundreds of thousands relished his writings. The World of John Burroughs focuses not only on his work, but also on Burroughs's personal life. His friends included Walt Whitman, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and John Muir. The text is enhanced by Burroughs's essays and poems, and, uniquely, by endearing recollections of his granddaughter. With engaging narrative and illuminating photographs by author Edward Kanze, The World of John Burroughs celebrates Burroughs's dedication to studying the world and making nature come to life on the written page.

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Book Description Harry N Abrams Inc, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 1993. Hard Cover Clothbound. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New [Mylar protected]. Kanze, Edward (illustrator). First Edition. [160 pp] . FIRST EDITION HARDCOVER [4to] - NEW in NEW Mylar-protected DJ. 117 illustrations included 54 in high-resolution color. John Burroughs--naturalist, ornithologist, author, poet, and teacher--is perhaps best remembered today as one of the most articulate pioneers of what is now known as the conservation movement in the U.S. Flawless copy. PRISTINE GIFT QUALITY COLLECTIBLE. Bookseller Inventory # 05628

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