John Muir: Rediscovering America

John Muir: Rediscovering America

John Muir: Rediscovering America

John Muir: Rediscovering America


In his stirring biography, Frederick Turner, the distinguished writer and cultural historian, captures the legendary scale of the life of an American icon. Immigrant, inventor, botanist, and founder of the conservation movement, John Muir (1838-1914) truly led those of his time -- and now ours -- to rediscover the natural beauty of this land. From his harsh childhood in Scotland and on a Wisconsin pioneer farm, to his rugged, solitary explorations all over America and especially in the Sierras, to his passionate battle, in person and in his writings, to save and celebrate our wilderness, Muir was a heroic figure. Turner's biography is every bit as monumental and inspiring as its subject.


Through the American summer of 1848 Congress thrashed about in the moral wilderness created by the territorial acquisitions from President Polk's Mexican War. the issue the new lands raised into stark view was slavery--its limits and its future--and over the factional forensics in Washington there now loomed the thunderhead of sectional conflict.

During these months another state came into the steadily expanding union: Wisconsin, a free state, was added to balance the newly acquired slave states of Florida and Texas. the acquisition required the swindling of the tribes native to the new state, but this was so minor a matter, judged in the scale of national controversy, that it was generally ignored.

Eighteen forty-eight was also an election year, and in summer's heat conventions were held at Baltimore, Rochester, Philadelphia, and Buffalo. Hysterical and self-congratulatory as these gatherings were, the platforms adopted by the Barnburners, Free-Soilers, Liberty Leaguers, and others prophesied the collapse of a national house increasingly divided against itself.

On August 19, the New York Herald ran a lengthy item on that . . .

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