Henry Thoreau and John Muir Among the Indians

by Richard F. Fleck


( from the book's dust jacket )


Henry Thoreau and John Muir Among the Indians
by Richard F. Fleck
1985
Archon Books. Hamden, Connecticut

Republished in 2015 with the title Henry Thoreau and John Muir Among the Native Americans by WestWinds Press, an imprint of Graphic Arts Books, Portland, Oregon.

No two persons in the United States have written with as much passion and power about the bond between human beings and the natural world as Thoreau of Walden and Muir of Mountains of California. For both, Native Americans best exemplified the innate need of the human spirit to merge with the primal wilderness. This is the first book to treat together and in depth these two great students of our natural America.

Muir read Thoreau carefully, as his annotated copies of Thoreau's works show. The latter had spent much time with the Penobscot Indians, whose way of life was even then being constantly disrupted by commercial interests. Later he wrote Walden and The Maine Woods . Muir lived among the Indians of California, particularly the Digger, Thlinkit, and Eskimoan people and talked extensively about them in Our National Parks , The Cruise of the Corwin, Travels in Alaska, and The Mountains of California . Native Americans not only confirmed Muir's belief in the need for a harmonious relationship with nature, but also inspired him to a greater awareness of the intricacies of this relationship.

Previously unpublished selections from Thoreau's "Indian Notebooks" and from Muir's notes on Indians of the western United States bring alive their fascinations. In a larger sense, this book shows the Indian influence on the development not only of their -- but America's -- natural philosophies and environmental awareness.


About the Author

(From the 2015 Westwinds Press edition)

Richard F. Fleck is the author of Desert Rims to Mountains High, and also the foreword writer for the WestWinds Press Literary Naturalist Series. A professor of American literature for some fifty years, Fleck earned a PhD from the University of New Mexico (1970), and taught at the University of Wyoming, Osaka University, Japan, as well as Prescott College, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Bologna, Italy. Now in his seventies, he remains active by climbing mountains and guiding Sierra Club hikes in Colorado and Wyoming, and he has taught occasional classes for Colorado Heights University.

 


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