In Nature's Kindred Spirits James McClintock shows how their mystical experiences with the wild led to dramatic conversions in their thinking and behavior. By embracing the ecstasy of nature, they reject modern alienation and spiritual confusion.
From Aldo Leopold, America’s most important conservationist and author of the classic A Sand County Almanac, to Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Dillard and Gary Snyder and defenders of the desert Joseph Wood Krutch and Edward Abbey, these writers share a common vision that harkens back to Henry David Thoreau and John Muir. To nineteenth-century Romantic ideals, they add the authority of modern ecological science. Collectively they have elevated nature’s importance in American culture, shaping the growth of the environmental movement and influencing American environmental policies.
Widely admired among educated readers but relatively neglected by the literary establishment, these writers unite the experiential with the metaphysical, the ordinary with the sacred, the personal with the public, and the natural with the social. Using ecology as a touchstone, McClintock further draws connections among science, politics, religion, and philosophy to create an enlightening overview of the work of these “kindred spirits.”