N. previous biography of John Muir captures the spirit of the man or the flavor of his life as effectively as this Charles Norman's (Messner, 1957) and William Douglas' (Houghton Mifflin, 1961) quote liberally from Muir's own writings, but Miss Swift's articles and letters creates an extremely well integrated portrait not of a strange hermit communicating with nature in seclusion, -- but of a vital human being, more genuinely a part of humanity because of his union with nature. Something of his life on a Wisconsin farm under the stern aegis of a father explain in part, the sense of freedom he felt when he took to the road. The thwarted throughout his life, suddenly overwhelmed him and led to a view of the only sensory but objective and intellectual. His track through the his trips to Alaska, the formation of his glacial theory and his efforts to archieve conservation legislation unfold in firm and exciting prose. At a time when the question of again comes to the fore, Muir's story is timely as well as historical.