The University of Wisconsin Press

Biological Sciences / Conservation / Environmental Science - Biography


The American Conservation Movement
John Muir and His Legacy
Stephen Fox

"[An] absorbing history... [Fox] has a welcome ability to expound divergent viewpoints fairly."
The New Yorker

John Muir and His Legacy is at once a biography of this remarkable man—the first work to make unrestricted use of all of Muir's manuscripts and personal papers—and a history of the century-old fight to save the natural environment. Stephen Fox traces the conservation movement's diverse, colorful, and tumultuous history, from the successful campaign to establish Yosemite National Park in 1890 to the movement's present day concerns of nuclear waste and acid rain.

Conservation has run a cyclical course, Fox contends, from its origins in the 1890s when it was the province of amateurs, to its takeover by professionals with quasi-scientific notions, and back, in the 1960s to its original impetus. Since then man's view of himself as "the last endangered species" has sparked an explosion of public interest in environmentalism.

First published in 1981 by Little, Brown, this book was warmly received as both a biography of Muir and a history of the American conservation movement. It is now available in this new Wisconsin paperback edition.

"Historians of the conservation movement usually devote themselves to the battles between villains and heroes —between those who want to use nature for their own purposes and those who want to preserve it for itself. In John Muir and His Legacy, Stephen Fox gives almost equal attention to the wars within the movements, between the good guys and the good guys.... All this gives body and credibility to his book, which is comprehensive, clearly presented, thickly documented and full of both sensible analysis and good anecdote."—The New York Times Book Review

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Photograph of John Muir Standing with President Theodore Roosevelt. Photo is autographed by the president.

February 1986

464 pp.  6 x 9
LC: 85-040761 QH

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Paper $26.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-10634-8
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