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John Muir's America

by Dewitt Jones and T.H. Watkins

( From the book's dust jacket. )

John Muir's America
Photographs by Dewitt Jones, Text by T.H. Watkins
Crown Publishers, Inc., New York

An artful blending of forty-eight color photographs with twenty original Muir drawings and 40,000 words of highly readable text, John Muir's America is a luminous portrait of the life and vision of John Muir - naturalist, explorer, mountain climber, writer, farmer, mystic, and political activist - a man whose influence helped revolutionize our perceptions and use of the American land.

Muir's life was a pilgrimage that took him deep into the shape and meaning of wilderness. When he began that pilgrimage, wilderness was seen by most Americans as little more than a commodity, by the time his pilgrimage ended with his death in 1914, Muir's vision had transformed the conception of wilderness into one of resource and experience - and in so doing had preserved an inheritance of wild beauty for the generations that followed him.

That pilgrimage, that vision, and that inheritance are presented in John Muir's America as they have been in no other book before it. First, in a stunning collection of photographs by Dewitt Jones - photographs of such poetic impact that they mirror precisely the joy and strength that Muir himself found in the wildness all around him - from the woods of Wisconsin to the glaciers of Alaska. Second, in the text by T.H. Watkins, not merely the first major biography of Muir to be published in more than thirty years, but a powerful evocation of what this man's life can teach us today of hope and freedom and the meaning of wilderness to both.

John Muir's America, then, is the illumination of a man who gave us one of the greatest of all American legacies, a legacy it is important for us to remember as we begin our third century as a nation - and in the remembering, a legacy to be passed on to our children, our children's children, and all the children lost in the distances beyond our own mortality.

T. H. WATKINS, author of the text for this book, was formerly editor of American West Publishing Company and editorial consultant to the Sierra Club. His more than seventy articles on history, conservation, and personal journalism have appeared in such national magazines as American Heritage, Audubon, and The American West, and such regional publications as Yankee, Empire, Cry California, and Westways. He is the author of twelve books, among which are Mark Twain's Mississippi and California: An Illustrated History, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973.

DEWITT JONES is a young photographer whose diverse talent is already widely acclaimed. Collections of his still photographs have appeared in National Geographic magazine and two of his documentary films were nominated for Academy Awards in 1975. He graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College and holds a master's degree in film-making from UCLA.

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