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A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf Paperback – August 26, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
When John Muir made his "Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf" the U.S. was not as heavily populated as it is today, although much had changed from the time when European settlers first moved through the area he explored -- a path that stretched from Indianapolis Indiana to the Gulf just north of what is Tampa Florida today.
Muir moved South in the aftermath of the Civil War, so he encountered much unrest, unhappiness, and destruction along the way. He describes not only the flora and fauna he found but the condition of humans as they struggled to rebuild their lives.
He says, "My plan was to simply to push on in a general southward direction by the wildest leafiest, and least trodden way I could find, promising the greatest extent of virgin forest." To a great extent, he was able to do that, however, he could not escape some of the realities of the world around him. For example, in Georgia, he encountered the graves of the dead, whom he says lay under a "common single roof, supported on four posts as the cover of a well, as if rain and sunshine were not regarded as blessings." A bit further he says, "I wandered wearily from dune to dune sinking ankle deep in the sand, searching for a place to sleep beneath the tall flowers, free from the insects and snakes, and above all my fellow man."
Muir wonders at the teachings of those who call themselves God's emissaries, who fail to ask about God's intentions for nature.Read more ›
This is a snapshot of the south right after the war and the contrast between Muir's beautiful nature writing and the devastation of war are just as striking today as they must have been for the many people who encountered this unusual walker in the woods. Muir's writing is under-stated - the book was published posthumously and is more a diary than a finished book, which gives it a truthfulness and matter of factness. Fundamentally a Romanticist world-view - the power of nature and mans relation to it - Muir delights in finding, sampling and discussing plants, animals and geography. The genre is best compared with Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes and Thoreau's The Maine Woods.
While his time in the Sierras is what he is most famous for, and the mountains more rugged and inspiring, this pre-Jenkins "Walk Across America" is a tamer warm-up for reading his journals from Yosemite days. I highly recommend it as it gives the reader a bit of botany and a lot of background on Muir himself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a big fan of Muir. I've spent several of the summer's of my youth backpacking in the back country of Yosemite His love of the outdoors is infectious. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Case Nelson
This is one of John Muir's early books. In this book he travels through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida examining the flora and making sketches and saving samples. Read morePublished 1 month ago by jlj
Havent quite finished the book yet, but it is great so far. It is amazing to see the difference between his time and my time. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dr SpaceMan
Makes the legend come alive and shows his roots in Wisconsin and botanizing. He is not that great a poet or even prose stylist, but he was a very early worshipper of U.S. Read morePublished 5 months ago by ibn rushd
What a beautiful journey and I felt like I was walking it mile by mile with John. His ability to describe his surroundings is almost poetic and I simply could not put the book down... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Earl Eubanks
Good book about nature and travels of John Muir. His writings are interesting and easy to read. Love the history!Published 9 months ago by AvidReader