The Story of My Boyhood and Youth: On Coming of Age, Invention and Ecology

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9781499126532: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth: On Coming of Age, Invention and Ecology

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” -John Muir

“No reader of John Muir’s account of his boyhood and youth can have closed the book without wishing for a sequel.” The Dial

“Given with an enthusiasm that makes the volume a diverting bit of reading. His childhood days in Scotland his boyhood days in the American wilderness, his exploits as a boy inventor and his college days at the University of Wisconsin, all yield interesting descriptions and episodes wherever one may happen to open the volume.” -Quarterly Bulletin of the Providence Public Library

'A superbly told, moving and challenging story. For anybody remotely interested in the environment, Scottish culture, American history, the art of biography or the art of life, this book is essential.” - Scotland on Sunday

In a lifetime of exploration, writing, and passionate political activism, John Muir made himself America's most eloquent spokesman for the mystery and majesty of the wilderness, a master of natural description who evoked and celebrated with unique power and intimacy the untrammeled landscapes of Alaska and the American West.

In The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, Muir recounts in vivid detail the three worlds of his early life: his first eleven years in Scotland; the years 1849–1860 in the central Wisconsin wilderness; and two-and-a-half most inventive years at the University of Wisconsin during that institution’s infancy.

Contents

I. A BOYHOOD IN SCOTLAND Earliest Recollections--The "Dandy Doctor" Terror--Deeds of Daring--The Savagery of Boys--School and Fighting--Birds'-nesting.

II. A NEW WORLD Stories of America--Glorious News--Crossing the Atlantic--The New Home--A Baptism in Nature--New Birds--The Adventures of Watch--Scotch Correction--Marauding Indians.

III. LIFE ON A WISCONSIN FARM Humanity in Oxen--Jack, the Pony--Learning to Ride--Nob and Nell--Snakes--Mosquitoes and their Kin--Fish and Fishing--Considering the Lilies--Learning to Swim--A Narrow Escape from Drowning and a Victory--Accidents to Animals.

IV. A PARADISE OF BIRDS Bird Favorites--The Prairie Chickens--Water-Fowl--A Loon on the Defensive--Passenger Pigeons.

V. YOUNG HUNTERS American Head-Hunters--Deer--A Resurrected Woodpecker--Muskrats--Foxes and Badgers--A Pet Coon--Bathing--Squirrels--Gophers--A Burglarious Shrike.

VI. THE PLOUGHBOY The Crops--Doing Chores--The Sights and Sounds of Winter--Road-making--The Spirit-rapping Craze--Tuberculosis among the Settlers--A Cruel Brother--The Rights of the Indians--Put to the Plough at the Age of Twelve--In the Harvest-Field--Over-Industry among the Settlers--Running the Breaking-Plough--Digging a Well--Choke-Damp--Lining Bees.

VII. KNOWLEDGE AND INVENTIONS Hungry for Knowledge--Borrowing Books--Paternal Opposition--Snatched Moments--Early Rising proves a Way out of Difficulties--The Cellar Workshop--Inventions--An Early-Rising Machine--Novel Clocks--Hygrometers, etc.--A Neighbor's Advice.

VIII. THE WORLD AND THE UNIVERSITY Leaving Home--Creating a Sensation in Pardeeville--A Ride on a Locomotive--At the State Fair in Madison--Employment in a Machine-Shop at Prairie du Chien--Back to Madison--Entering the University--Teaching School--First Lesson in Botany--More Inventions--The University of the Wilderness.

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From the Back Cover:

The Story of My boyhood and Youth is a series of essays on the three worlds of the young John Muir: his first eleven years in an old town in Scotland, the years 1849-1860 in the central Wisconsin wilderness, during the time the area was being settled, and four years at the University of Wisconsin.

About the Author:

John Muir (1838-1914) was born and raised in Dunbar, East Lothian. When his family emigrated to Wisconsin in 1849, young John was bought up to hard labor on his father's homestead. A natural inventor, he first discovered the joys of walking, and writing, after an industrial accident nearly blinded him. His journals, articles and lectures helped to develop international awareness of the need to preserve and protect the environment, and led to the foundation of the General Grant, Sequoia and Yosemite national parks in the US, as well as important conservation areas in his native East Lothian. John Muir has been honored ever since as the father of the modern environment movement.

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Muir, John
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