John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire

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Select media coverage: Kirkus Reviews

Lyons John Muir“The science is fascinating, the prose, poetic, and the story weaves a long-lasting geographic spell.”
ALA Booklist, 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 Reviews, starred review

“Kim Heacox – one of America’s finest outdoor writers – has brought the majestic beauty of Alaska alive in John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire. It’s elegantly written, brilliantly researched, and illuminating in fifty different ways. Highly recommended.” — Douglas Brinkley, author and historian


Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, is proud to announce the release of JOHN MUIR AND THE ICE THAT STARTED A FIRE: How a Visionary and the Glaciers of Alaska Changed America, by Kim Heacox (April 1, 2014, 978-0-7627-9242-9; $24.95 hardcover)—a book that 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. The book is not just an engaging and dramatic profile of Muir, but an expose on glaciers and their importance in the world today—showing us how one person changed America, helped it embrace its wilderness, and in turn, gave us a better world.

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.

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 (Lyons Press), 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.

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