MUIR AMONG THE ANIMALS: The Wildlife Writings of John Muir by John Muir

MUIR AMONG THE ANIMALS: The Wildlife Writings of John Muir

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of fragments of essays, written by the founder of the Sierra Club, dealing with the animal world. Muir was a naturalist of the highest order. His love of animals was not reserved for the lovable alone. He relished also the predator, for whom he had great respect and admiration. Mighetto, a naturalist in her own right, whose essays have appeared in Sierra, Alaska Journal, and Pacific Historical Review, has selected many never-before-published pieces that demonstrate that Muir was about a century ahead of his time in advocating ""animal rights."" She breaks down the essays into sections on herbivores, birds, domestic animals, insects, and predators. But it is the latter section that provides the greatest insight into Muir's philosophy of ecological balance. He argues bitterly against ranchers who killed all visible coyotes, snakes, and eagles as pests, only to find a concomitant increase in the rodent population, which had to be then addressed via cruel hunts. All the essays reveal Muir's belief in the equality of man and beast. ""From the dust of the earth, from the common elementary fund, the Creator has made Homo sapiens. From the same material, he has made every other creature, however noxious and insignificant to us. They are earthborn companions and our fellow mortals."" One-sided though the presentation might be (one notes that Man's predation of animals by wile, wit, or artifice might only be our own part in Nature's plan), it is a beauteous rendering of the extremist animal-rights position. A naturalist's delight, which only lacks a solid biographical introduction.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 1986
Publisher: Sierra Club--dist. by Random House