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Document Type

Review

Abstract

Donald Worster’s A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir is a magisterial biography. It is the place to begin for understanding John Muir (1838-1914), the Scottish immigrant and popular U.S. Gilded Age and Progressive Era naturalist most famous as the self-appointed spokesperson for Yosemite Valley, the founder of the Sierra Club, and the most outspoken opponent of the damming of Hetch Hetchy Valley by the City of San Francisco. Worster explores Muir’s tensions and contradictions. He also astutely analyzes Muir’s religiously-inflected “passion for nature.” He clarifies that Muir was not a neo-Transcendentalist, let alone a Buddhist, but rather an evangelist for nature (creation) who never fully left behind the biblicist, anti-creedal, and anti-institutional sensibilities of the Campbellite Protestantism of his father.

About the Author

Dr. Anderson specializes in the history of the American West and American religious history. He earned a doctorate in the latter subject and spent a year studying at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

He is co-author of Pilgrim Progression: The Protestant Experience in California, and his articles and book reviews have been published in Western Historical Quarterly, Religion and American Culture, and Fides et Historia, as well as in encyclopedias of the Great Plains and American West.

He has also teamed with other religion scholars on a comprehensive and comparative study of the impact regions have on religion's role in American public life, which resulted in eight geographically based books.

In 2014, Dr. Anderson co-authored a history of Orange City, Iowa, the town where Northwestern College is located. Part of the "Images of America" series by Arcadia Publishing, Orange City traces the development of the town from its founding in 1869 through the present.

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