The University of Wisconsin Press

Biography / Environment / Conservation


Son of the Wilderness
The Life of John Muir
Linnie Marsh Wolfe

Foreword by Steven J. Holmes

This Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of John Muir is available once again in an updated paperback edition.

Working closely with Muir's family and with his papers, Wolfe was able to create a full portrait of her subject, not only as America's firebrand conservationist and founder of the national park system, but also as husband, father, and friend. All readers who have admired Muir's ruggedly individualistic lifestyle, and those who wish a greater appreciation for the history of environmental preservation in America, will be enthralled and enlightened by this splendid biography.

The story follows Muir from his ancestral home in Scotland, through his early years in the harsh Wisconsin wilderness, to his history-making pilgrimage to California.

This book, originally published in 1945 and based in large part on Wolfe's personal interviews with people who knew and worked with Muir, is one that could never be written again. It is, and will remain, the standard Muir biography.

Linnie Marsh Wolfe (1881–1945) worked as both a teacher and a public librarian in California. She also edited John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Of Related Interest:
The Story of My Boyhood and Youth
John Muir

cover of Wolfe is old photo of Muir

March 2003

406 pp.   6 x 9   46 illus.   

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Paper $29.95 t
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This edition replaces the 1978 editions, ISBN 978-0-299-07730-3 and ISBN 978-0-299-07734-1, which are out of print.

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Updated 12/15/2014

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