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.
Anderson, Douglas Firth
"Evangelist for a Religion of Nature,"
Northwestern Review: Vol. 1
, Article 13.
Available at: http://nwcommons.nwciowa.edu/northwesternreview/vol1/iss1/13