John Muir

YJM cover 2 adjThe Young John Muir: An Environmental Biography, Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1999

“A landmark in the scholarship about John Muir and the developmental power of wilderness.”—John C. Elder

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Articles and book chapters (see note below*):

“Early California Nature Writers,” in A History of California Literature, ed. Blake Allmendinger, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015     Find in your local library     Read online (access required)     Free PDF of unedited author MS: Holmes – Early CA Nature Writers

“John Muir: Brief Life of a Scottish American Conservationist, 1838-1914,” Harvard Magazine, Nov.–Dec. 2014  Read online (open access)    Free PDF: Harvard Vita

“Muir, John,” entry in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Bron Taylor and Jeffrey Kaplan, general editors, New York: Continuum International, 2005   Find in your local library     Read online (access required)     

Book review: God’s Wilds: John Muir’s Vision of Nature by Dennis C. Williams, in Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society, September 2005   Read at JSTOR (access required )     Free PDF: Williams review

“Why Read Wolfe Today?,” preface to new edition of Linnie Marsh Wolfe, Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir, Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2003     Free PDF: Why Read Wolfe Today

“Rethinking John Muir’s First Summer in Yosemite,” in John Muir in Historical Perspective, ed. Sally M. Miller, New York: Peter Lang, 1999   Find in your local library via WorldCat

“Place Making, Sacred and Erotic: John Muir and a Mountain Meadow,” Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 81, no. 3–4 (fall/winter 1998): 397–412    Read at JSTOR (access required)     Free PDF: JM Mountain Meadow

Book review: John Muir’s “Stickeen” and the Lessons of Nature by Ronald H. Limbaugh, Journal of American History, June 1998: 263–64      Read at JSTOR (access required)     Free PDF: Limbaugh review

“John Muir, Jeanne Carr, and Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Case-study of the Varieties of Transcendental Influence,” Journal of Unitarian Universalist History 23 (1998): 1–25      Read online at HathiTrust     Free PDF: Holmes – Muir Carr Emerson – JUUH 1998


Reviews of The Young John Muir:*

James M. Aton, in The Western Historical Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 2 (Summer, 2000), pp. 232-33   Read on JSTOR (access required)    Free PDF: Aton review

Timothy J. Babalis, in Church History, vol. 71, no. 3 (Sep., 2002), pp. 678-79  Read on JSTOR (access required)    Free PDF: Babalis review

Mark V. Barrow, Jr., in The Quarterly Review of Biology, vol. 76, no. 1 (March 2001), pp. 57-58   Read on JSTOR (access required)    Free PDF: Barrow review

Peggy Champlin, in Isis, vol. 91, no. 3 (Sept. 2000), pp. 605-606    Read in JSTOR (access required)    Free PDF: Champlin review

Thomas K. Dean, in The Annals of Iowa, vol. 60, no. 1, 64-66   Read online (open access)     Free PDF: Dean review

Ronald Eber, in The John Muir Newsletter, vol. 11, no. 2, Spring 2001     Free PDF: Eber review

“I wonder if we are attempting too much with this type of biography. … [J]ust because Muir left us such an incredible record of his life doesn’t mean it has to be micro-analyzed. Can we ever really know why Muir became Muir?”

Michael Edmonds, in The Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 83, no. 4 (Summer, 2000), pp. 285-86      Read at JSTOR (access required)    Free PDF: Edmonds review

“Unfortunately, his prose suffers from many defects common to technical scholarship. Psychoanalytic jargon abounds, and readers unfamiliar with it will find the book off-putting, at best. Holmes’s desire to explicate theoretical subtleties often leads him into seemingly endless, labyrinthine sentences, such as the seventy-six-word leviathan that spans pages 29 through 30. Readers who value clear, concise prose will wade through such quagmires reluctantly. Holmes sometimes reads far too much significance into minor passages in Muir’s writings, allowing his eagerness to demonstrate theoretical sophistication (this was a dissertation, after all) to get the better of his common sense.
“Despite these drawbacks, The Young John Muir is a brave and challenging book.”

Patricia Jasen, in The American Historical Review, vol. 105, no. 3 (June 2000), p. 940  Read on JSTOR (access required)   Free PDF: Jasen review

Ron Limbaugh, in The Pacific Historical Review, vol. 70, no. 1. (Feb. 2001), pp. 133-34    Read on JSTOR (access required)       Free PDF: Limbaugh review

Sally M. Miller, in Environmental History, vol. 4, no. 4 (Oct. 1999), pp. 582-84    Read on JSTOR (access required)       Free PDF: Miller S review

Ian Tyrrell, in The Journal of American History, vol. 88, no. 2. (Sept. 2001), pp. 661-62   Read on JSTOR (access required)        Free PDF: Tyrrell review

For discussion of The Young John Muir in the context of environmental biography as a field, see:

Miller, Char, “An Open Field,” Pacific Historical Review, vol. 70, no. 1 (Feb. 2001), pp. 69-76    Read on JSTOR (access required)     Free PDF: Miller C – An Open Field

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