MLA Gold Award Site

John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire Summary and Reviews

John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire

How a Visionary and the Glaciers of Alaska Changed America

by Kim Heacox

John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Apr 2014
    264 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire takes two of the most compelling elements in the narrative of wild America, John Muir and Alaska, and combines them into a brisk and engaging biography.

John Muir was a fascinating man who was many things: inventor, scientist, revolutionary, druid (a modern day Celtic priest), husband, son, father and friend, and a shining son of the Scottish Enlightenment - both in temperament and intellect.  Kim Heacox, author of The Only Kayak, brings us a story that evolves as Muir's life did, from one of outdoor adventure into one of ecological guardianship. Muir went from impassioned author to leading activist. He would popularize glaciers unlike anybody else, and be to glaciers what Jacques Cousteau would be to the oceans and Carl Sagan to the stars.

The book also offers an environmental caveat on global climate change and the glaciers' retreat alongside a beacon of hope: Muir shows us how one person changed America, helped it embrace its wilderness, and in turn, gave us a better world.

In 2005, Californians had to choose a design for its commemorative quarter. Hundreds of submissions – the iconic Hollywood sign above Hollywood Hills, the 1849 Gold Rush, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. – fell away until one remained: an image of John Muir.  2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of Muir's death. Muir's legacy is that he reordered our priorities and contributed to a new scientific revolution that was picked up a generation later by Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, and is championed today by influential writers like E.O. Wilson and Jared Diamond.

Heacox takes us into how Muir changed our world, advanced the science of glaciology and popularized geology. How he got people out there. How he gave America a new vision of Alaska, and of itself.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"I found John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire to be quite a disappointment. It was too disorganized and incomplete to be a biography; the travel sections were too sketchy for a book about exploration; it contained far too little information on the nature of glaciers for a scientific work; it relayed some information about the history of the conservation movement, but not enough to satisfy someone interested in the subject; and finally it touched upon how Muir shaped North America's natural places and the country's appreciation of nature, but again, without painting anything close to a full picture. Because the author tried to cover so much territory in so few pages, I felt he never fully explored any of the subjects he mentions, with the end result that those interested in the topics presented here will find it lacking critical detail, while those knowing little about them will find the book too dull and haphazard to finish." - Kim Kovacs, BookBrowse

Other Reviews
"Starred Review. Fascinating...A wonderfully personal biography of Muir...The book is an engaging and informative look at Muir and his life's work, as well as a timely call to action." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A gripping biography of 'a gentle rebel, a talkative hermit, an enthusiastic wanderer, a distant son of the Scottish Enlightenment, inspired by ice.'"- Kirkus

"In this compelling narrative, Kim Heacox brings us the man the Tlingits called the 'great ice chief' and shows that Alaska was an equally powerful force in shaping Muir's views and igniting the passion – part religion, part science – that burned so brightly in his soul.'" - Dayton Duncan, author of The National Parks: America's Best Idea

"There couldn't be a more gifted or qualified writer than Kim Heacox to tell the story of John Muir's travels to Alaska and his passion for glaciers ... Muir realized more than one hundred years ago that the planet was warming. Ice never lies, Heacox shows us. If only we would listen." - Debra McKinney, coauthor of Beyond the Bear

"Heacox's storytelling is a delight. His portrait of Muir is indelible. For lovers of the outdoors, his new book is a rare treasure, limned in prose vivid enough to chew and to paint with." - Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole the American Dream?

The information about John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Kim Heacox is the author of several books on biography, history and conservation, plus a novel, Caribou Crossing, about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. His Alaska memoir, The Only Kayak, a PEN USA Literary Award finalist in creative non-fiction, is now in its seventh printing. Kim was a writer-in-residence at Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute in 1998, and in Denali National Park in 2012. He's written feature articles for many national magazines, and opinion-editorials for The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Anchorage Daily News. He lives in Gustavus, Alaksa, near Glacier Bay.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more biographies & memoirs...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Loney
    The Loney
    by Andrew Hurley
    Landscape can be a writer's best friend. Whether it's the mountains of England's lake...
  • Book Jacket: The Mirror Thief
    The Mirror Thief
    by Martin Seay
    It is easy to see why Martin Seay's debut novel, The Mirror Thief, has been compared to David ...
  • Book Jacket: The Association of Small Bombs
    The Association of Small Bombs
    by Karan Mahajan
    The Association of Small Bombs is a fictional story that revolves around an actual 1996 car bombing ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
    by Phaedra Patrick

    In a poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Win this book!
Win The Children

From NYT bestselling author Ann Leary

The captivating story of an unconventional New England family.

Enter

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I A Greek T M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.