In the late 1800s, John Muir made several trips to the pristine, relatively unexplored territory of Alaska, irresistibly drawn to its awe-inspiring glaciers and its wild menagerie of bears, bald eagles, wolves, and whales. Half-poet and half-geologist, he recorded his experiences and reflections in "Travels in Alaska," a work he was in the process of completing at the time of his death in 1914. As Edward Hoagland writes in his Introduction, A century and a quarter later, we are reading Muir s] account because there in the glorious fiords . . . he is at our elbow, nudging us along, prompting us to understand that heaven is on earth is the Earth and rapture is the sensible response wherever a clear line of sight remains. This Modern Library Paperback Classic includes photographs from the original 1915 edition.
About the Author
John Muir (1838-1914) was one of the most influential conservationists and nature writers in American history. Founder of the Sierra Club, and its president until his death, Muir was a spirit so free that all he did to prepare for an expedition was to "throw some tea and bread into an old sack and jump the back fence."
Widely celebrated for his essays on travel and nature, Edward Hoagland has written more than twenty books. Both fiction and nonfiction, his works include "Cat Man" (his first book, which won the 1954 Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship), "Walking the Dead Diamond River" (a 1974 National Book Award nominee), "African Calliope" (a 1980 American Book Award nominee), and "The Tugman's Passage" (a 1982 National Book Critics Circle Award nominee). He worked at the Barnum & Bailey Circus while attending Harvard in the early 1950s and later traveled around the world writing for "Harper's, National Geographic", and other magazines. He received two Guggenheim Fellowships and in 1982 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hoagland was the editor of "The Best American Essays" 1999, and taught at The New School, Rutgers, Sarah Lawrence, CUNY, the University of Iowa, UC Davis, Columbia University, Beloit College, and Brown University. In 2005, he retired from a teaching position at Bennington College in Vermont. He lives in northern Vermont.
“Probably no other man in this country has his enthusiasm for mountains and glaciers . . . united with so rare a literary gift.”—John Burroughs