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John Muir’s First Life

In response to:

The Ecstasy of John Muir from the March 12, 2009 issue

To the Editors:

“The Ecstasy of John Muir” by Robert Pogue Harrison [ NYR, March 12] was a fine summary of an important naturalist, but Harrison is incorrect in claiming that the biography under review, A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster, is the only comprehensive evaluation in print. Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir is a Pulitzer Prize–winning portrait by Linnie Marsh Wolfe, first published in 1945 by the University of Wisconsin Press; it was reissued by Wisconsin in 2003 and remains in print. It covers the full span of Muir’s life in very readable and well-informed prose, aided by access to Muir’s surviving family and friends, many of whom provided first-person interviews. True, the book is now over sixty years old, but it carries its age well and deserves to be recognized.

Nora Rawn
New York City