Thursday, 23 October 2014

John Muir Reviews

Here are some previews of John Muir - The Scotsman Who Saved America's Wild Places

John Muir changed the world - yet in this country we know almost nothing of him. Perhaps it's true that a prophet is without honour in his own land, but Mary Colwell is seeking to put that right, and she does him justice in this lively and accessible account. I hope it ensures that he now achieves the recognition in his homeland that is long overdue -- George Monbiot 

John Muir is now regarded as the father of the great American national parks, a man who was far ahead of his time when he urged Americans to balance their headlong rush to development with a respect for nature, and especially for their unique wilderness areas. In this book, Mary Colwell, writer and film-maker, presents a clear and engaging account of Muir's harsh upbringing in Scotland, and his later public role in the United States, where he led by example, living off the land in a minimal way, and writing powerfully about his love of Nature -- Professor Mike Benton FRS

This is a most important biography. As environmentalists we may feel that we already know the man and his achievements but Mary Colwell gives us the whole life which is much less familiar. It was complex and not always easy. From harsh beginnings both physical and mental Muir emerged as a great speaker and writer about the natural world with huge influence in the USA and beyond. The most compelling aspect of Muir's character is that, from childhood, he had an intense emotional and spiritual response to nature in all its forms. Colwell emphasises this at every point in her biography and correctly so. This is his key message to us now. We need to love the Earth for only from love can we generate a proper concern without which our species has no long-term future. -- Professor Aubrey Manning OBE 

In his Foreword, Jonathon Porritt says 'John Muir was indeed a quite extraordinary man ... the author eloquently captures what it was that made him so special "as a naturalist, pioneering explorer, botanist, glaciologist, mystic, writer and activist."' -- Jonathon Porritt 

'As this book so beautifully makes clear, John Muir deserves to better known by British naturalists. Read this and meet the man whose writing, commitment and integrity persuaded a president that nature matters.' -- Professor Tim Birkhead FRS

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