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Historical and Literary Analyses


Anthologies Film and Video
Audio Historical and Literary Analyses
Biographies Internet Resources
Book Chapters Featuring John Muir The John Muir Library Series from Sierra Club Books
Bookmarks Live Presentations and Enactments
Books by John Muir Music
Children's Books Periodicals and Notable Recent Articles from Periodicals
For Educators and Youth Group Leaders Photography and Gift Books
Fiction Research Tools


Note: Items shown in boldface are believed to be available for purchase at the time this bibliography was last revised. No attempt has been made to include entries from encyclopedias or similar reference works.


Historical and Literary Analyses [up to table of contents]

Austin, Richard Cartright, Baptized into Wilderness: A Christian Perspective on John Muir (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1987).
This outstanding, yet brief, book by a Presbyterian minister explores Muir's religious expression in his commitment to wilderness, and leads the author to propose an environmental theology that relates Christian faith to environmental concerns. Does better justice to Muir in a scant 94 pages than many other works. Highly recommended.

Badè, William F., Life and Letters of John Muir (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924) (2 Vols.). Reprint of 1924 edition, $65.00. (New York: AMS Pr.). Reprinted in Gifford, Terry, (Editor) John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings. (Seattle: Mountaineers Books, and London: Baton Wicks, 1996). $38.00.
The Life and Letters of John Muir is included here, as well as under biographies, because this work by Muir's literary executor, William Frederic Badè's work is comprised of extensive extracts from Muir's unfinished autobiography and extensive excerpts of Muir's letters. This book is now accessible to a new generation of readers in Terry Gifford's new collection, John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings (see full annotation under Anthologies).
A book jacket summary is available.

Boone, "Ramblin" Ron, John Muir's "Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf" "Revisited". (Washington, PA: "Ramblin" Ron Boone, 2006). ISBN No. 0910042969. 87 pp.; Illustrated, Preface, Endnotes, Index.
This self-published book relates the author's physical re-tracing of Muir's approximate waking route via a mini-camper. Each chapter includes brief excerpts from Muir identifying the various towns he passed through; Boone then elaborates on the history of each geographic area, both before and after Muir's 1867 journey. Includes a line-drawn map, and 14 sketches of various buildings seen along the route. While not really a scholarly work, the endnotes include references to many reference books which elucidate the history of the places Muir visited on his famous walk. Available from online bookstores such as Amazon.com.

Carrol, Theresa, John Muir Sings: A Collection of Scottish Airs Sung by the Naturalist. Illustrated by Nancy Carrol. (1978.) This out-of-print booklet contains a general introduction about Muir's love for the Scottish language and music, and individual introductions to each of ten traditional Scottish songs showing their relationship to Muir, along with the complete lyrics and musical notation. The traditional Scottish songs featured include "Gilderoy," "The Cuckoo," "Oh! Why Left I My Hame?," "Highland Mary," "Thou Bonnie Wood of Craigie Len," "The Banks o' Doon," "the Lass o' Gowrie," "O'er the Water to Charlie," "Old Hundredth," and "For A' That An' A' That."

Christensen, Daryl, and McGwin, Kathleen, Muir is Still Here: A Marquette County Journal of Discovery, 136 pages, 4 color maps, color photographs, bibliography, softbound. Prepared for the "Year of John Muir" - Montello Historic Preservation Society, P.O. Box 473, 55 West Montello St., Montello, WI 53949. www.kathleenmcgwin.com/montello-historic-preservation-society. © 2010.
Muir is Still Here brings to life in real, tangible form, the influences in John Muir's young life in Marquette County, Wisconsin that helped shape this great man's wilderness philosophy. Not strictly focused on history, this book is part travel guide, with 4 color maps guiding you to four categories of phenomena of special interest to Muir buffs: Geology & Geography; Early Settler Sites; Birding Locations; and Wilderness Areas of Marquette County. Part scrapbook, you will encounter historical and contemporary photographs, toll road & ferry rates, cemetery epitaphs, copies of family letters, bird lists, tree lists, wildflower lists, even recipes of some of Muir's favorite boyhood treats! There's plenty of history here too, but the focus is on the physical and spiritual geography of the landscape that Muir loved. Climb Observatory Hill with the author, as Muir did as a boy, and discover a new world! Highly recommended for anyone interested in celebrating the value of a sense of place - anywhere. We have a book jacket summary of this book.

Cohen, Michael P., The Pathless Way: John Muir and American Wilderness (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press 1984).
This well-written, thoughtful and scholarly study is focused on Muir's character revealed through his writings.
A book jacket summary of this book is available.

The National Parks- America's Best Idea - An Illustrated History by Dayton Duncans and Ken Burn book coverDuncan, Dayton, The National Parks: America's Best Idea: An Illustrated History (Based on a film by Ken Burns). (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009). Hardcover Book, 403 pages, 11" x 9.25" x 1.25". Illustrated, Bibliography, Index, tear-out Map of the National Parks and Yosemite photo with Muir quote; Preface by Ken Burns. ISBN: 978-0-307-26896-9.
This is the companion book to the acclaimed 6-part Ken Burns film documentary, allowing in-depth study of the pictures, quotations, and stories introduced in the film. Many will prefer this book to the film since it allows such in-depth examination. Dozens of contemporary photos from the film and archival historical pictures are included. The opening page, with an illustration of lava flows on Hawaii' Volcanoes National Park, includes a selection of several of Muir's most famous quotes. The author masterfully relates the adventures and intense political battles behind the creation and protection of the national parks. John Muir is one of the more famous persons featured who have been transformed by these special places and committed themselves to saving them from destruction so that the rest of us could be transformed as well. Many, though by no means all, of the persons who have worked to protect our national parks have been inspired by John Muir's example. As Ken Burns states in the preface, "Muir's "new creed of nature" was expressed in writings "so transcendent that millions of Americans are still beguiled and inspired by the rapture flowing from his words." Terry Tempest Williams, featured in numerous interviews in the film, is quoted in this book as saying "John Muir saw the spirituality inherent in granite. His view as a scientist and his view as a deeply religious man were the same view. And I think it was this integrity of life that inspired him, fueled him toward a cause greater than himself." This book's author, Dayton Duncan, sums of Muir's role this way in the After word: "John Muir is not lonely either. He has lots of company - artists, housewives and scientists, descendents of slaves and sea captains and sodbusters who felt the same 'natural beauty-hunger' and satisfied that appetite in a national park. It's just that no one seems to have done so with quite the same burning intensity as Muir." Extensive quotations of many of the historical figures featured in the film are included, and Muir is no exception. This book, like the film series, does not emphasize the geology or natural history of the national parks, but rather the story of the people who fought to preserve the parks.

Fleck, Richard F., Henry Thoreau and John Muir Among the Indians (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1985).
The author, a professor of English at the University of Denver, devotes considerable space in this small book about John Muir among the Digger, Thlinkit, and Eskimoan People. Fleck believes that the Indians of California and Alaska confirmed Muir's belief in the need for a harmonious relationship with nature. Includes a fascinating appendix of Thoreau and Muir's unpublished manuscripts on primal cultures of the American Wilderness.
A book jacket summary of this book is available.

Fox, Stephen, John Muir and His Legacy: The American Conservation Movement (Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1981).
The book begins with a biography of Muir, making use of previously unavailable materials, and concludes with an outstanding history of the American conservation movement, focusing on the movement's volunteers. Highly recommended. A book jacket summary of this book is available.

Gisel, Bonnie Johanna, editor, Kindred and Related Spirits: The Letters of John Muir and Jeanne C. Carr
Foreword by Ronald H. Limbaugh (The University of Utah Press, 2001)

Superb collection of the 30-year correspondence between John Muir and his mentor, Jeanne C. Carr, who influenced Muir in his career, travels, and writing, and in introducing him to notable people like Ralph Waldo Emerson. In addition to correcting errors in the historical record, Gisel provides illuminating chapter notes to the letters explaining and amplifying their content. More than fifty photographs and illustrations, including many never-before published botanical drawings by Carr, complement the text.
A publisher's press release of this book is available.

Gisel, Bonnie Johanna, Nature’s Beloved Son, Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy, with images by Stephen J. Joseph (Berkeley, Heyday Books, forthcoming November, 2008).
Publisher's Catalog summary
See a preview photo gallery of close-ups of John Muir's botanical collections from the book, at John Muir's Botany, with photographs by Stephen Joseph.

Good, Cherry On the Trail of John Muir (Edinburgh: Luath Press Ltd. 2000) This is not just another biography. Each stage of Muir's life and development is set within the context of the places that were special, magical to him - the Canadian forests, the glaciers of Alaska, Arizona's Grand Canyon, and most important of all, the High Sierra of California, where the John Muir Trail now runs for over two hundred miles from Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney. By following the directions and maps included in this book readers are able to participate in Muir's adventures on both sides of the Atlantic, to gain some geographically-based insight into Muir's world.
Also available:

Holmes, Steven J. The Young John Muir : An Environmental Biography
336 pages (April 1999) University of Wisconsin Press; ISBN: 0299161544 $55.00 hardcover; $22.95 paperback.

A scholarly analysis of John Muir's Youth, from age three in Scotland, to his early years in Yosemite in his early thirties. The author, a lecturer in history and literature at Harvard University, draws upon psychoanalysis, environmental psychology, cultural history, and religious studies to inform this work.

Huber, J. Parker, A Wanderer All My Days: John Muir in New England
357 pages, paperback. (Green Frigate Books, April, 2007). ISBN 978-0-9717468-4-8.

Traces the footsteps of John Muir on his five trips to Boston and other parts of New England, including Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, from 1893 to 1912. Huber meticulously uncovers the places Muir stayed, the important people he met, the lectures he gave, and the routes he took in the mountains of Maine and along the streets of Cambridge.
A book jacket summary of this book is available.

Hunt, James B. Restless Fires: Young John Muir's Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf in 1867-68
(Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2012). Hardcover. Includes 14 images from John Muir's journal, Notes, Selected Bibliography, and Index, 235 pages. ISBN-10: 0881463922.

Provides a detailed rendering of Muir's thousand-mile walk based on both manuscript and published accounts. Hunt particularly examines the development of Muir's environmental thought as a young adult. Includes 14 photographic reproductions of pages from Muir's journal containing Muir's often whimsical drawings; three period photographs; and 1 modern (2011) map of Muir's route. As part of his research for the book, Hunt traveled Muir's route from Louisville, Kentucky, to Cedar Key, Florida beginning on September 1, 2007, discovering major and minor libraries and research institutions all along the route which aided in providing maps, diaries, newspapers,local histories, and other historical material relevant to the social, political, and economic contexts of the communities through which Muir passed in 1867. This is one of the first books on John Muir s thousand-mile walk that places his journey in the context of the Civil War and Reconstruction, to which Muir gave only passing witness. Through these experiences and reflections, Muir came to radical views regarding humankind s relationship to nature, death, and faith.
A book jacket summary of this book is available. See also Re-Tracing John Muir's Famous Walks.

Limbaugh, Ronald H., John Muir's "Stickeen" and the Lessons of Nature (Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press 1996). Black and White illustrations; Index. Appendix: "Notes on 'Stickeen' in John Muir's Library." 185 pp.
This book-length study of Muir's famous dog story "Stickeen" is more than the narrow focus the title suggests: the book uses "Stickeen" to show how Muir's literary creativity grew, and how it was influenced by major turn-of-the-century ideas and events. Moreover, Limbaugh notes that "Stickeen" is the only literary product from Muir's pen that can be directly and extensively linked to ideas formulated from the books of his personal library. Accordingly, "Studying its origin and evolution is essential to understanding Muir's development as a writer and as an advocate for the moral equality of all species."
A book jacket summary of this book is available.

Lyon, Thomas J., John Muir (Boise, ID: Boise St. University 1972). 48 pp.
A concise description of Muir and his writings from the Boise State College Western Writers Series.

John Muir: Life and Work book coverMiller, Sally R., Editor, John Muir: Life and Work (Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 1993).
A collection of essays derived from the third John Muir Conference at the University of the Pacific, in 1990. Explores Muir relationship with his family, religious and literary influences on his philosophy, the development of his concept of ecology, his contributions to geology and botany, and his travels in the Sierra, Yellowstone, and Australasia.
A publisher's press release is available.

Miller, Sally R., Editor, John Muir in Historical Perspective (New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 1999)
Features the best presentations made at the California History Institute conference on John Muir at the University of the Pacific in 1996, the fourth Muir conference held in 16 years. Four chapters cover some of Muir's friends and traveling companions, including the Strentzel family, Jeanne C. Carr, John Swett, and C.D. Robinson. Three chapters feature literary themes, including Muir's religious environmentalism, his role in the American Romantic movement, and his views on Ruskin. Four chapters focus on the theme of Environment, including Muir's first summer in Yosemite, his views on the geological formation of the Sierra, his influence on pioneer conservationists in the Pacific Northwest, and his travels to South America and southern Africa. An epilogue relates the re-discovery of Muir's "Twenty-Hill Hollow." A scholarly work with valuable footnotes, the book includes a useful index.
Also available:

John Muir: Family, Friends, and Adventures book coverMiller, Sally M. and Morrison, Daryl, Editors, John Muir: Family, Friends and Adventures (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005)
A collection of essays derived from the fifth John Muir Conference hosted by the John Muir Center at the University of the Pacific, held in 2001 at the Feather River Inn. Includes an Introduction by the conference director, Bonnie Johanna Gisel. Topics cover Muir's relationship with contemporaries Jeanne Carr, William Keith, Gifford Pinchot, John Swett, and with his own family and children. Other essays cover Muir's adventures, including his travels to Africa and South America, and the importance of his advocacy for preserving the wilderness to our culture. This book includes more photographs than previous editions in the series, some 28 images in total.
The publisher's press release is also available.

The Pacific Historian, The World of John Muir (Stockton: Holt-Atherton Pacific Center for Western Studies, University of the Pacific, 1981).
A fine collection of scholarly essays with historical photos and sketches, by several notable Muir experts. An illustrated book jacket summary (from the book's front matter), including the table of contents and author biographies is available.

The Pacific Historian, John Muir: Life and Legacy (Stockton: Holt-Atherton Center for Western Studies, Univ. of the Pacific 1984).
This publications consists of excellent papers read at a major conference held in 1985 at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA.

Pomeroy, Elizabeth, John Muir: A Naturalist in Southern California (Pasadena: Many Moons Press, 2001) 148 pages, soft cover. Illustrated with historic photographs and original drawings by Pasadena artist Joseph Stoddard.
This important book tells the story of Muir's visits to southern California, and his many friends there, including Ezra and Jeanne Carr, Theodore Lukens, Charles Lummis, John and Katherine Hooker; and his hob-nobbing in Pasadena with such notables as Andrew Carnegie, John Burroughs, and Theodore Roosevelt. The text is thorough and engaging, and is further enhanced by the inclusion of correspondence between Muir and his southern California friends, and transcripts of historical newspaper articles about Muir's visits to southern California. A nice final touch is the summary of several places in southern California associated with Muir which are available to visit. This is the expanded, wide-release edition of the next listing.
Also available: Publisher's press release and ordering information.

Pomeroy, Elizabeth, John Muir in Southern California (Pasadena: The Castle Press, 1999)
See listing above for the current edition of this out-of-print book. This edition is a limited edition (500 copies) book of 63 pages, with 23 photographs of Muir and places associated with him, many previously unpublished, and includes detailed notes on sources. Tells the story of Muir's visits to southern California, and his many friends there, including Ezra and Jeanne Carr, Theodore Lukens, Charles Lummis, John and Katherine Hooker; and his hob-nobbing in Pasadena with such notables as Andrew Carnegie, John Burroughs, and Theodore Roosevelt. The final chapter tells of Muir's final days in Daggett, in the Mojave Desert. A final chapter summarizes several places in southern California associated with Muir, such as the long-gone John Muir Lodge in Big Santa Anita Canyon of the San Gabriel Mountains, and newly re-dedicated Muir Peak near Mt. Wilson. This edition has been superseded by the above - listing, which has been expanded and improved with additional illustrations.

Smith, Herbert, John Muir (Twayne U.S. Authors Series) Reprint of 1964 edition. (New York: NCUP, Inc.).
This literary analysis is rather dated, and is largely grounded upon the author's typifying Muir as Transcendentalist.

Stanley, Millie, The Heart of John Muir's World: Wisconsin, Family, and Wilderness Discovery (Madison: Prairie Oaks Press,1995). Paperback, $16.95.
This intimate study of Muir focuses on his life-long close relationships with family members and friends, showing that Muir loved people as much as the Wilderness.
A publisher's press release about this book is available.

Thomas, Peter and Donna, Muir Ramble Route: Walking from San Francisco to Yosemite In the Footsteps of John Muir - A guide for hiking from San Francisco to Yosemite by Peter and Donna Thomas With an account of the original 1868 trip by John Muir . (Madera, CA: Poetic Matrix Press, 2010). Paperback, Hiking Guide $17.00.
This book is really three books in one. It is a guidebook for a walking/cycling route across California that follows John Muir's footsteps from San Francisco to Yosemite via the Pacheco Pass. It is an adventure book, telling the story of Peter and Donna Thomas' 2006 ramble across California to discover that route. And finally it is a history book, presenting in its entirety and for the first time, the complete story of John Muir's first trip to Yosemite. That trip was taken in 1868, the year before Muir's 'First Summer in the Sierra,' and it has never been published before, existing in obscurity, in Muir's various writings, until it was reconstructed by Peter and Donna in preparation for their walk to Yosemite in his footsteps.
A photo of the cover of the book featuring John Muir and a book jacket summary is available.

Turner, Frederick W., John Muir: Rediscovering America originally published as Rediscovering America: John Muir in His Time and Ours (New York: Viking Penguin, and San Francisco: Sierra Club Books 1985). This book has been re-published in September, 2000, by Merloyd Lawrence Book/ Perseus Publishing as ISBN is 0-7382-0375-0..
This modern scholarly biography is especially valuable for its presentation of Muir in the historic context of his times.

A photo of the cover of the book featuring John Muir and a book jacket summary is available.

Vale, Thomas R., and Geraldine R. Vale, Walking With Muir Across Yosemite (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998).
Essays and natural history tracing Muir's travels in Yosemite.

Walker, Franklin, San Francisco's Literary Frontier (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939).
This book covering hundreds of writers has only a brief statement about John Muir. Walker provides a brief biographical sketch of Muir's life and his writing. He sums up Muir's writing thusly: "His style was marked by a flair for unusual metaphors and an intensity which at its worst produced the over florid, at its best the phrase that glowed. In John Muir's work, man and style were indistinguishable."


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