The Tree Where Man Was Born

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A timeless and majestic portrait of Africa by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014), author of the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard and the new novel In Paradise

A finalist for the National Book Award when it was released in 1972, this vivid portrait of East Africa remains as fresh and revelatory now as on the day it was first published. Peter Matthiessen exquisitely combines nature and travel writing to portray the sights, scenes, and people he observed firsthand in several trips over the course of a dozen years. From the daily lives of wild herdsmen and the drama of predator kills to the field biologists investigating wild creatures and the anthropologists seeking humanity's origins in the rift valley, The Tree Where Man Was Born is a classic of journalistic observation. This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by groundbreaking British primatologist Jane Goodall.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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About the author

Peter Matthiessen was the cofounder of The Paris Review and is the author of numerous works of nonfiction, including In the Spirit of Crazy HorseIndian Country, and The Snow Leopard, winner of the National Book Award.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Aug 31, 2010
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781101663196
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Essays
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"I am now writing up some notes, but when they will be ready for publication I do not know... It will be a long time before anything is arranged in book form." These words of John Muir, written in June 1912 to a friend, proved prophetic. The journals and notes to which the great naturalist and environmental figure was referring have languished, unpublished and virtually untouched, for nearly a century. Until now. Here edited and published for the first time, John Muir's travel journals from 1911-12, along with his associated correspondence, finally allow us to read in his own words the remarkable story of John Muir's last great journey.

Leaving from Brooklyn, New York, in August 1911, John Muir, at the age of seventy-three and traveling alone, embarked on an eight-month, 40,000-mile voyage to South America and Africa. The 1911-12 journals and correspondence reproduced in this volume allow us to travel with him up the great Amazon, into the jungles of southern Brazil, to snowline in the Andes, through southern and central Africa to the headwaters of the Nile, and across six oceans and seas in order to reach the rare forests he had so long wished to study. Although this epic journey has received almost no attention from the many commentators on Muir's work, Muir himself considered it among the most important of his life and the fulfillment of a decades-long dream.

John Muir's Last Journey provides a rare glimpse of a Muir whose interests as a naturalist, traveler, and conservationist extended well beyond the mountains of California. It also helps us to see John Muir as a different kind of hero, one whose endurance and intellectual curiosity carried him into far fields of adventure even as he aged, and as a private person and family man with genuine affections, ambitions, and fears, not just an iconic representative of American wilderness.

With an introduction that sets Muir's trip in the context of his life and work, along with chapter introductions and a wealth of explanatory notes, the book adds important dimensions to our appreciation of one of America's greatest environmentalists. John Muir's Last Journey is a must reading for students and scholars of environmental history, American literature, natural history, and related fields, as well as for naturalists and armchair travelers everywhere.

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER •  “Altogether gripping, shocking, and brilliantly told, not just a tour de force in its stylistic range, but a great American novel, as powerful a reading experience as nearly any in our literature.”—Michael Dirda, The New York Review of Books

Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man’s River, and Bone by Bone—Peter Matthiessen’s great American epic about Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century—were originally conceived as one vast, mysterious novel. Now, in this bold new rendering, Matthiessen has marvelously distilled a monumental work while deepening the insights and motivations of his characters with brilliant rewriting throughout. 

Praise for Shadow Country

“Magnificent . . . breathtaking . . . Finally now we have [this three-part saga] welded like a bell, and with Watson’s song the last sound, all the elements fuse and resonate.”—Los Angeles Times

“Peter Matthiessen has done great things with the Watson trilogy. It’s the story of our continent, both land and people, and his writing does every justice to the blood fury of his themes.”—Don DeLillo

 “The fiction of Peter Ma­­tthiessen is the reason a lot of people in my generation decided to be writers. No doubt about it. Shadow Country lives up to anyone’s highest expectations for great writing.” —Richard Ford 

“Shadow Country, Matthiessen’s distillation of the earlier Watson saga, represents his original vision. It is the quintessence of his lifelong concerns, and a great legacy.”—W. S. Merwin 

“[An] epic masterpiece . . . a great American novel.”—The Miami Herald
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