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30 review for Our National Parks (Legacy Edition): Historic Explorations Of Priceless American Treasures (The Doublebit John Muir Collection)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gina Johnson

    This is my first Muir book and it shan’t be my past! He is such a talented writer and so passionate about his subject. There were a few times when I got a bit bogged down in his lists of measurements and even some of his seemingly endless lists of different types of flowers or trees. Those could easily be skimmed if you also get bogged down by them, but the majority of the book is delightful! “The regular trips — from 3 to 5 days – are too short. Nothing can be done well at a speed of 40 miles a This is my first Muir book and it shan’t be my past! He is such a talented writer and so passionate about his subject. There were a few times when I got a bit bogged down in his lists of measurements and even some of his seemingly endless lists of different types of flowers or trees. Those could easily be skimmed if you also get bogged down by them, but the majority of the book is delightful! “The regular trips — from 3 to 5 days – are too short. Nothing can be done well at a speed of 40 miles a day. The multitude of mixed, novel impressions rapidly piled on one another make only a dreamy, bewildering, swirling blur, most of which is unredeemable. Far more time should be taken. Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the Mountaineer. Camp out among the grass and gentians of the glacier Meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as the sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Janis

    Our National Parks is a collection of essays that John Muir wrote for The Atlantic. I agree with many reviewers who have described Muir as "verbose." However, hidden among the pages of botanical descriptions are delightful stories about his encounters with bears, hermits, earthquakes, avalanches, and even a tired mule. My favorite story, when Muir tried to convince Ralph Waldo Emerson to camp with him in Yosemite, is the source of his famous quote, "The mountains are calling." Anyone who has vis Our National Parks is a collection of essays that John Muir wrote for The Atlantic. I agree with many reviewers who have described Muir as "verbose." However, hidden among the pages of botanical descriptions are delightful stories about his encounters with bears, hermits, earthquakes, avalanches, and even a tired mule. My favorite story, when Muir tried to convince Ralph Waldo Emerson to camp with him in Yosemite, is the source of his famous quote, "The mountains are calling." Anyone who has visited---or plans to visit---Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, or Sequoia would enjoy reading these essays.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Schill

    A collection of essays for The Atlantic that has lots of evocative description of the Western parks. One is constantly reminded that Muir was above a ll a botanist, with essentially lists of all the flora. The writing comes more to life when he describes his actual travels and encounters with other living animals, people included.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    John Muir is one of my heroes and a prolific writer. He's also incredibly verbose. I did enjoy this series of essays in book form though, very much so. His insights from 100+ years ago, his visions for the future, and his laments still ring true today. Something he says at the end really resonated - "in the long run the world does not move backward." He's right, while sometimes the world may seem hopeless, overall we are far more ecologically conscious than we were 100 years ago. National parks John Muir is one of my heroes and a prolific writer. He's also incredibly verbose. I did enjoy this series of essays in book form though, very much so. His insights from 100+ years ago, his visions for the future, and his laments still ring true today. Something he says at the end really resonated - "in the long run the world does not move backward." He's right, while sometimes the world may seem hopeless, overall we are far more ecologically conscious than we were 100 years ago. National parks and forests he advocated for and desired now exist. As land managers we're smarter, more advanced, more aware, and more prepared. I'm thankful for John Muir's experience, insight, adventures, expeditions, and resulting writings to educate us!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tanner Wallace

    I chose this book based on my interest in the outdoors. It gave me a whole new aspect of the importance of our national parks.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    A gem. Only have known Muir as a figure, and have never studied him in depth or read his writings. His writing is stirring and has a quality that cuts right through to the soul and guides the mind. I understand why he was so effective at the important work he did.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allan

    As this is the centennial of the National Park Service, I have made a point to pick up several of the published works from its many founding fathers this year. John Muir is certainly one of these. For a book written in 1901, it is remarkable how many of the issues he depicts at the dawn of the environmental movement; from deforestation to loss of species; still resonate today. A great book from a giant.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Wonderful book to help us appreciate what God has created for us. His writing is poetic.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Although it dragged at times, Our National Parks eventually won me over. John Muir's prose can be verbose and lists of the Latin names of flora and fauna made me tune out at times, but you can't help but be caught up in Muir's enthusiasm for our national parks. I've been to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks but his descriptions of them made me long to go back! The sights...the sounds...the smells...I vividly remember them. This description of Yellowstone was spot on: "These valleys at the head Although it dragged at times, Our National Parks eventually won me over. John Muir's prose can be verbose and lists of the Latin names of flora and fauna made me tune out at times, but you can't help but be caught up in Muir's enthusiasm for our national parks. I've been to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks but his descriptions of them made me long to go back! The sights...the sounds...the smells...I vividly remember them. This description of Yellowstone was spot on: "These valleys at the heads of the great rivers may be regarded as laboratories and kitchens, in which, amid a thousand retorts and pots, we may see Nature at work as chemist or cook, cunningly compounding an infinite variety of mineral messes; cooking whole mountains; boiling and steaming flinty rocks to smooth paste and mush,--yellow, brown, red, pink, lavender, gray, and creamy white,--making the most beautiful mud in the world; and distilling the most ethereal essences." Can't you just picture Nature as a chemist, mixing up her compounds in test tubes and flasks and then dumping the colorful contents into the pots and cauldrons of Yellowstone? Picture this experience of a mountaineer waking up in the morning in Yosemite: "...imagine the show on calm dewy mornings, when there is a radiant globe in the throat of every flower, and smaller gems on the needle-shaped leaves, the sunbeams pouring thr0ugh them." Muir also has many of the same complaints we have today. He contrasts park rangers with politicians: "In pleasing contrast to the noisy, ever changing management, or mismanagement, of blundering, plundering, money-making vote-sellers who receive their places from boss politicians as purchased goods, the soldiers do their duty so quietly that the traveler is scarce aware of their presence." Muir must be turning over in his grave, witnessing the destruction of our wilderness by Trump and the Republican Party. I've personally been asked why I would want to hike or camp, with all the "dangerous" animals out there, such as bears and rattlesnakes. Muir was faced with the same question: "...again and again...the question comes up, "What are rattlesnakes good for? As if nothing that does not obviously make for the benefit of man had any right to exist..." But Muir also has a great sense of humor. When talking about the ubiquitous chaparral in Yosemite, he says, "Even bears take pains to go around the stoutest patches if possible, and when compelled to force a passage leave tufts of hair and broken branches to mark their way, while less skillful mountaineers under like circumstances sometimes lose most of their clothing and all of their temper." I love his exasperation with visitors to Yosemite: "Travelers in the Sierra forest usually complain of the want of life. "The trees, they say, "are fine but the empty stillness is deadly; there are no animals to be seen, no birds. We have not heard a song in all the woods." And no wonder! They go in large parties with mules and horses; they make a great noise; they are dressed in outlandish unnatural colors; every animal shuns them. Even the frightened pines would run away if they could." The last chapter is probably my favorite. It's John Muir's plea for the preservation of our unique and spectacular national parks. Remember, he wrote this in the late 1800s: "The United States government has always been proud of the welcome it has extended to good men of every nation, seeking freedom and homes and bread. Let them be welcomed still as nature welcomes them...Every place is made better by them." (Yes, he's talking about immigrants, Trump.) And, in a warning about the destruction of the beautiful, ancient trees in our National Parks: "...God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods, but he cannot save them from fools--only Uncle Sam can do that." Trump and the Republicans would do well do heed this warning, but I don't hold out much hope. Trump can't even pronounce Yosemite correctly.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth

    As a huge hiker and outdoor enthusiast, this book is a must. One can not help but wonder about the surroundings of their "first summer of the sierra". This book does that and more. It gives the scientific names for wildflowers, animals, birds and trees of Yosemite. Most of the book is on the beloved Yosemite, but a few chapters focus on Yellowstone and Sequoia National Parks. The most challenging part is getting through Muir's plethora of knowledge of flora, particularly in the Yosemite region. As a huge hiker and outdoor enthusiast, this book is a must. One can not help but wonder about the surroundings of their "first summer of the sierra". This book does that and more. It gives the scientific names for wildflowers, animals, birds and trees of Yosemite. Most of the book is on the beloved Yosemite, but a few chapters focus on Yellowstone and Sequoia National Parks. The most challenging part is getting through Muir's plethora of knowledge of flora, particularly in the Yosemite region. At the time of writing the essays from this book, there were only a handful of national parks in the United States. He recommends the protections of what was soon to become the Grand Canyon and Redwood National Parks. His call to action for the protection of the forests in the U.S during times of corporate greed and very little regulation were unprecedented and hopefully raised eyebrows to the Federal Government to protect more land. Hopefully more people will follow Muir's example to appreciate the vital forests of America's land.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I adore John Muir. I think if I could go back in time I'd head for the Sierras and try to meet the man, and marry him. He did so much for our country, and the world -- sparking the creation of our national parks. But his writing? Not so much. Partially it's the time he's writing in, partially it's his enthusiasm that gushes forth and all over every page. And partially his his obsessive completeness: lists and lists and lists of every conceivable quantifiable object -- flowers, trees, animals, roc I adore John Muir. I think if I could go back in time I'd head for the Sierras and try to meet the man, and marry him. He did so much for our country, and the world -- sparking the creation of our national parks. But his writing? Not so much. Partially it's the time he's writing in, partially it's his enthusiasm that gushes forth and all over every page. And partially his his obsessive completeness: lists and lists and lists of every conceivable quantifiable object -- flowers, trees, animals, rocks & rills, etc. So much as I adore the man, this is the third book of his I've tried to read and I just couldn't go it any more, not with 800+ other books waiting to be read. It's just not worth it to trudge through.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Silve

    “And a multitude of still, small voices may be heard directing you to look through all this transient, shifting show of things called “substantial” into the truly substantial, spiritual world whose forms flesh and wood, rock and water, air and sunshine, only veil and conceal, and to learn that here is heaven and the dwelling place of the angels”. Muir is powerfully evocative. We should all wish to be as enthusiastic about ANY one good thing as Muir is about communing with the outdoors. “Through in “And a multitude of still, small voices may be heard directing you to look through all this transient, shifting show of things called “substantial” into the truly substantial, spiritual world whose forms flesh and wood, rock and water, air and sunshine, only veil and conceal, and to learn that here is heaven and the dwelling place of the angels”. Muir is powerfully evocative. We should all wish to be as enthusiastic about ANY one good thing as Muir is about communing with the outdoors. “Through interpretation, understanding. Through understand, appreciation. Through appreciation, protection”. Muir works powerfully at this transformative process in everything he writes, particularly in the close of this book. Sit beside the trees, read his words, then sit some more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    John Muir's nature writing is excellent (I was able to identify numerous species of plants and animals that I myself had seen in the Sierras/mountains in SoCal, a hundred or so years later). It can be, admittedly, a little redundant and tedious at times; this is a good collection of essays to be sure, but they have a strong tendency to echo each other at times. It's best read over a few weeks, to allow time between essays. Also, I would like to note that John Muir's environmental advocacy often John Muir's nature writing is excellent (I was able to identify numerous species of plants and animals that I myself had seen in the Sierras/mountains in SoCal, a hundred or so years later). It can be, admittedly, a little redundant and tedious at times; this is a good collection of essays to be sure, but they have a strong tendency to echo each other at times. It's best read over a few weeks, to allow time between essays. Also, I would like to note that John Muir's environmental advocacy often feels just as pertinent now (sadly) as it did back in 1914. Alas.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Annm

    This was more a catalog of flora and fauna than it was a narrative. However, it was a very readable and enjoyable catalog. With one exception. It bothers me no end when outdoors type people complain about all of the other people who don’t take the time and effort to really get to know the parks they so love. Granted. But the men and women who put together their hiking boots in factories and only get two weeks of vacation a year, if that, simply don’t have the opportunity. Instead of castigating t This was more a catalog of flora and fauna than it was a narrative. However, it was a very readable and enjoyable catalog. With one exception. It bothers me no end when outdoors type people complain about all of the other people who don’t take the time and effort to really get to know the parks they so love. Granted. But the men and women who put together their hiking boots in factories and only get two weeks of vacation a year, if that, simply don’t have the opportunity. Instead of castigating those who can’t, those who love the parks should work to give others more opportunity.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Kahlen

    At times I envy the life John Muir had. To be able to roam around the Sierra's before the rest of humanity invaded it sounds like bliss. He is an excellent writer with a gift for detailed description. Sometimes it's a joy to read (when describing encounters with bears, earthquakes, avalanches, and hermits) and sometimes it's a snooze (the minutiae on trees gets old really quick). At times I envy the life John Muir had. To be able to roam around the Sierra's before the rest of humanity invaded it sounds like bliss. He is an excellent writer with a gift for detailed description. Sometimes it's a joy to read (when describing encounters with bears, earthquakes, avalanches, and hermits) and sometimes it's a snooze (the minutiae on trees gets old really quick).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Weston

    This book had some great passages. Wonderful descriptions of the scenery, animals, etc that our national parks have to offer. But, quite a bit of it was just seemingly endless lists of scientific names for the different species. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could, as I really enjoyed the majority of it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lexy

    took me seven fricken months to read this (put it down completely for months, i'm not that slow of a reader) cause man, Muir loooooves to really talk about flora and fauna. But then he hits you with these nuggets about the great outdoors and I remember why I wanted to read this in the first place. *read in 2020, Jan-Aug took me seven fricken months to read this (put it down completely for months, i'm not that slow of a reader) cause man, Muir loooooves to really talk about flora and fauna. But then he hits you with these nuggets about the great outdoors and I remember why I wanted to read this in the first place. *read in 2020, Jan-Aug

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Massey

    A phenomenal primary source on Yellowstone and a heavy focus on Yosemite from one of our first great naturalists. John Muir paints a descriptive and engaging picture of the Parks and makes it evident how much he values nature and how appreciative he is that the National Parks system was established by the time he ventured through there in the mid-19th century.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hild

    Required reading for the amateur naturalist or lover of national parks. Without John Muir, there would be no National Parks. Historically important book in the preservation of America’s natural public resources.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I love John Muir, and I love our National Parks; but this book is pretty dull. It would have been much more interesting to read tales of his wild adventures and encounters in our national parks than his tedious descriptions of their features.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate Seader

    This book often had trouble holding my attention. There would be chapters that just listed descriptions of plants, animals, streams, mountains. While very good at creating a mental image they sometimes blended together due to reused imagery.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abbie Butcher

    A real exploration of beautiful landscapes, real life adventures in the great outdoors, John Muir is an inspiration!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Dreamy and I learned a ton.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Audiobook

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Fisher

    This is the first book by John Muir I’ve read, and I LOVED it. I was literally laughing out loud when I read him trying to scare a bear away to see how it ran. 😂

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Love Muir, but not in a nature mood now.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    My favorite spiritual author.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jon Barton

    A very important book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gary R. Kuske

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tara

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