John Christensen, with Richard White and others leads a great program called the Spatial History Project at Stanford. All historians of nature, take a listen to this conversation on KQED about Donal Worster’s new book on John Muir. Fantastic stuff.–ed.
Donald Worster and Richard White with Jon Christensen
Thursday, May 7, 2009 | 7:30–9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium
In Donald Worster’s new biography, John Muir’s “special self” is fully explored as is his extraordinary ability, then and now, to get others to see the sacred beauty of the natural world. A Passion for Nature is the most complete account of the great conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club ever written. Rich in detail and personal anecdote, it traces Muir from his boyhood in Scotland and frontier Wisconsin to his adult life in California right after the Civil War up to his death on the eve of World War I. It explores his marriage and family life, his relationship with his abusive father, his many friendships with the humble and famous (including Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson), and his role in founding the modern American conservation movement. Inspired by Muir’s passion for the wilderness, Americans created a long and stunning list of national parks and wilderness areas, Yosemite most prominent among them. Yet the book also describes a Muir who was a successful fruit-grower, a talented scientist and world-traveler, a doting father and husband, a self-made man of wealth and political influence, and a man for whom mountaineering was “a pathway to revelation and worship.”