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Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir by Linnie Marsh Wolfe (140,000 words, 45 illustrations)

First published in 1945, this biography won the Pulitzer Prize in 1946. Its author worked for twenty-two years on John Muir, including as secretary of the John Muir Association and as editor of Muir’s unpublished papers. She interviewed many family members and people who knew and worked with John Muir to produce this account of Muir’s life. She recounts Muir’s Scottish origins, his early years in the harsh Wisconsin wilderness, his remarkable mechanical aptitude and interest in botany and geology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he spent two and a half years before traveling to the Canadian wilderness, and then to California where he spent most of his life.

“[A] well-balanced, informative and rewarding biography.” —
Kirkus Reviews

“Into this biography of John Muir, Mrs. Wolfe has packed an amazing amount of factual information which she has illuminated with a sober critical judgment that gives us a convincing portrait of the whole man.” — Francis P. Farquhar,
Pacific Historical Review

“Linnie Marsh Wolfe almost singlehandedly restored John Muir to the respectability and stature he always deserved... [
Son of the Wilderness] should be on the reference shelves of anyone seriously interested in American environmental history.” — John Opie, Environmental History Review

“[A]n interesting personal biography... [Wolfe] creates Muir as a living personality — mystical but athletic, enthusiastic about nature but socially abrupt — a sort of middle-aged Thoreau.” — Alexander Kern,
Journal of American History

“By immersing herself in Muir’s life, for example, by soaking in his correspondence and journals, [Wolfe] was able to craft what amounts to a first-person narrative, the autobiography he never wrote for himself.” — Char Miller,
John Muir Newsletter