In the preface, John Stewart calls his book a ""dramatized biography."" It is, perhaps, this aspect which most detracts from his life of the man who was to become known as the ""Father of our National Parks."" And even though Stewart's account of Muir's early years in Scotland and youth on a Wisconsin homestead is, in effect, excerpted from Muir's own Autobiography, it sometimes becomes distorted in the retelling. His picture of Muir's father is harsher perhaps than the man deserved; his picture of Muir is more idealized. (It is hard, for example, to imagine Stewart's youthful Muir as capable of such a prank as attaching a snapping turtle to the ear of his dog.) The liberal quotations from John Muir do more than Stewart's dialogue to convey the image of the man who felt a compulsion to conserve and live at one with Nature. But better yet, wait for the Douglas or Silverberg biographies, or even Muir's own accounts.