John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

John Muir

Book cover

I’ve seen this book sitting on my mom’s shelves for years, but it’s only recently that I’ve gotten interested in John Muir. So the last time I was at her place, I borrowed it. It’s definitely enjoyable, as I think anything written by Muir is. But it definitely fit my expectation of “unpublished journals.”

Muir edited and published many of his journals during his lifetime, and an executor published some additional near-finished manuscripts shortly after his death. Those are famous as e.g. “Travels in Alaska,” “My First Summer In The Sierra.” The journals in this book are further unpublished journals that were painstakingly collected and collated by the editor. They are hit-and-miss, sometimes containing famous turns of phrase that Muir used in published articles; sometimes disjointed, other times covering long narratives; sometimes interesting, sometimes boring. The real gem though is a very short piece on his countryman Robert Burns near the end. I will definitely be reading this at our next Burns Supper (and it gives me a good motivation to do one this year!).

This is a good book for the Muir enthusiast, but I would much more strongly recommend “My First Summer In The Sierra” to new Muir readers.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars