Our National Parks
Why this book?
A classic of nature writing thick with patriotic romanticism, Muir’s book is a collection of essays originally published in Atlantic Monthly in 1901. Muir was the dominant voice advocating for wilderness preservation in the Gilded Age, and his book came out on the cusp of a surge in national park creation. After an introduction to the nation’s parks and forest reserves in the West (there were only a handful at that time), Muir takes readers to Yellowstone—“where the air is electric and...the scenery is wild enough to waken the dead”—and then on to Yosemite and Sequoia. You may find yourself yearning, like I do whenever I read Muir’s enthusiastic prose, to climb mountains and “spend the night among the stars.”