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Books by John Muir

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Books     [up to table of contents]

Note: All of the books published in John Muir's lifetime, or posthumously, are still in print today. As copyrights expire, a variety of new editions by different publishers are appearing. We have placed these books, which are now in the public domain, on the John Muir Exhibit for your reading online! Just follow the links on each title below to read the book.

This listing does not include any of the numerous compilations of Muir's writings which collect his essays or writings from miscellaneous sources like newspaper and magazine articles, or reprint portions of his earlier books. For those see the Anthologies section of this bibliography. The listing below does include some compilations published after his death which focus on just one story from his life. This listing is chronological by year.

Picturesque California and the Region West of the Rocky Mountains, from Alaska to Mexico (Published in series 1888 - 1890).
This anthology includes 26 chapters by John Muir and others describing the beauties of the American West. Muir authored several chapters. The original publication included spectacular engravings and paintings along with the text. On our online version, we have the complete text of Muir's writings contained within this book.

The Mountains of California (1894)
Muir's first book is noteworthy for its descriptions of adventures the Sierra Nevada and other California mountains, including the first ascent of Mt. Ritter, Muir's classic story of climbing a tree in a wind-storm, as well as fascinating animal biographies of "The Water-Ouzel," the Douglas Squirrel, honey-bees, and wild sheep.

Our National Parks (1901)
This collection of essays recounts the beauty and grandeur of Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone, Glacier, and other parks of the American West. The last chapter, "The American Forests," marks a milestone in the American conservation movement.

Stickeen (1909)
This is the exciting true story of Muir's adventure on an Alaska glacier with a "wee little dog" that taught Muir that such creatures are truly our "horizontal brothers." Don't miss this one!

Edward Henry Harriman (1911)
Muir's tribute to his benefactor whose railroad company helped the effort toward the establishment of America's national parks.

My First Summer in the Sierra (1911)
Here Muir rhapsodizes with transcendent joy about his first immersion into the high country wilderness of the Sierra Nevada. Muirs lyrical expression of nature's beauty, taken from his journal entries around the campfire in the summer of 1869, is today his most popular work.

The Yosemite (1912)
Intended as a travel guide, and more descriptive than evocative than some of his other works, this book is noteworthy for his impassioned defense of Hetch Hetchy Valley, which was dammed by the City of San Francisco for a water-supply despite Muir's efforts to preserve it. Also available in Audio book format.

The Story of My Boyhood & Youth (1913)
Muir's boyhood in Scotland is followed by his growing up on a Wisconsin farm. It was there Muir had his first exposure to the "glorious American Wilderness," where Nature experiences were continually punctuated by conflicts with his father and by his experimental mechanical inventions. To continue Muir's biography, read A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.

Letters to a Friend (1915)
These are letters the young Muir sent to his mentor, Jeanne Carr,the wife of one of his University of Wisconsin professors. You can see Muir's transcendental views evolving in this book, which gives insight into Muir's private life.

Travels in Alaska (1915)
This book recounts a series of Muir's adventures in Alaska, and remains a fascinating portrait of the "Great Land." It is available in audio book format on audio cassette,or on the Internet .

A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf (1916)
Taking up where The Story of My Boyhood and Youth left off, this book, adapted from Muir's journals, tells of his travels through the South after the Civil War, a brief sojourn in Cuba and his arrival in California and his first glimpse of the Sierra Nevada. More than a physical expedition, this book relates some of Muir's spiritual growth at the time in an intimate way.

The Cruise of the Corwin (1917)
The cruise of the Corwin was to search for a missing ship, the Jeannette, but Muir's primary object in joining the Corwin expedition was to look for evidence of glaciation in the Arctic and subarctic regions. In addition to glacial studies, Muir made a significant scientific contribution in studying the flora of the Arctic regions, including the discovery of a new species, named by famed botanist Asa Gray Erigeron Muirii .

Steep Trails (1918)
Two dozen magazine articles and letters in this collection present the natural treasures of an unspoiled land as white settlers found them a century ago: the Great Salt Lake, the San Gabriel Mountains, Mount Rainier, the Grand Canyon. Includes Muir's account of his perilous night caught in a snowstorm on the summit of Mount Shasta, and "A Geologist's Winter Walk" in Yosemite, where Muir found a living glacier with which to prove his controversial theory that glaciers had formed Yosemite Valley.

The Life and Letters of John Muir by William Frederic Badè, Vol. 1 copyright 1923, Vol. 2 copyright 1924. Published in two volumes, this work is a compilation of Muir's letters and fragments of his unfinished autobiography, with introductions and commentary by Muir's literary executor, William Frederic Badè. Volume 1 covers his ancestral background in Scotland, life on a Wisconsin farm, the sojourn in Canada, travels from Indiana to California, and the earlier Yosemite years through 1873. Volume 2 takes up where volume 1 left off in 1973, and continues on through subsequent decades, including travels in Nevada, Alaska, his years as a family man on his Alhambra Valley fruit ranch, and his conservation campaigns to protect the forests, Yosemite Valley, and the Hetch Hetchy Valley, up to Muir's death in1914. A final Chapter by Badè addreses "His Public Service" and includes Muir's impassioned plea written on Muir's 70th birthday, April 21, 1908, to President Theodore Roosevelt to save the Hetch Hethcy Valley. The freshness of Muir's letters to family members, friends, and even the President of the United States, make for some of the best reading of Muir's vast repertoire.
Besides being available online on this website, digital scans posted on, and published in several Kindle or ebook editions, the book was reprinted in a 1996 compilation Baton Wicks Publications, London and The Mountaineers, Seattle, which also incorporated other writings like Studies in the Sierra and Essays from"Picturesque California" with an introduction by Terry Gifford.
In 2022 and 2023, a 100th anniversary edition was published in print, ebook, and audiobook formats by Crazy Wisdom Publishing. Volume 1 Introduction and Preface by Michael Conti and Stephen Hatch. Volume 2 Introduction by Mike Wurtz and Epilogue by Harold W. Wood, Jr.
Learn more and watch video interview introductions of 2023 centennial edition here. (off-site link)

John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir (1938)
Muir always greatly polished his writings for publication. These works, lacking the polish, sparkle with Muir's intense love of Nature, often in a more lively way than his published works.

Studies in the Sierra (1950)
The most scientific of Muir's writings, this book details Muir's proofs of the glacial origin of many features in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Anywhere That is Wild: John Muir's First Walk to Yosemite (Yosemite Conservancy, 2018), edited by Peter & Donna Thomas. Consolidates and organizes 13 different sources from Muir's articles, books, and letters (his 1868 journal is missing) that tell the story of Muir's 1868 walk from San Francisco to Yosemite.



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