My First Summer in the Sierra

By: John Muir
Narrated by: Brett Barry
Length: 6 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (412 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It was June of 1869 when John Muir reluctantly accepted a job herding sheep from the central valley of California to the headwaters of the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers, high into the Sierra Nevadas and deep into the Yosemite region. He felt ill equipped for the work, and yet the opportunity thrilled his adventurous spirit. With a notebook tied to his belt, he set out for a summer he would never forget.

My First Summer in the Sierra is Muir’s classic account of that extraordinary journey. It was not published until 1911, by which time he had become well known for his work as a naturalist and conservationist. One hundred years later, we can still experience Muir’s transcendent joy, as he climbed the mountains, explored the lakes and streams, and studied the region’s flowers and trees. His words have since beckoned countless travelers to Yosemite National Park.

©1911 John Muir (P)2011 Silver Hollow Audio

What listeners say about My First Summer in the Sierra

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    4 out of 5 stars

Almost every line is quotable

Would you listen to My First Summer in the Sierra again? Why?

I read this after returning from a backpacking trip in the Sierras, and it was great to hear what was different for a traveler in Muir's time compared to now (not to mention how different it must have been for a risk-taker like Muir compared to me). Muir's writing style is so old-timey and reverent, the story almost sounds like a religious text.

The author refers to plant and animal species, as well as geographic locations, very specifically.

9 people found this helpful

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Terrific Listen!

I think anyone listening to this has some clue about John Muir. It is certainly worth listening to and a really enjoyable story. It gives some wonderful details about California geography. The narrator was very clear and pleasant. I have listened to hundreds of audio books and think this is one of the best deals I have come across in terms of story, narration and price.

6 people found this helpful

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My first summer in Shanghai

Listening to this audiobook took me to a different world from my day to day life in Shanghai. The author's passion and enthusiasm for the natural world comes through in his detailed descriptions of his surrounds and the reader puts in a solid performance (although I felt at times I needed a picture book to match with the Latin names). This book definitely made me want to return to California!

3 people found this helpful

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A classic

A classic everyone should read, the narrator was exceptional, made it good to listen to

2 people found this helpful

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Scattered Rare Gems

The narrator, Brett Barry, spoke clearly and paused at the right time to indicate section breaks. Amazingly, he pronounced the place names correctly, and as far as I know, the scientific names too. It was easy to imagine it was John Muir reading his journal out loud.

Some of the gems come from Muir's detailed observations, such as how differently two types of squirrels get the seeds out of pine cones.

Other gems come from his description of God's design and care shown in the Sierras. It's a perspective that you don't find much in literature or every day life - which is what makes it interesting. He offers different ways to see and experience nature.

His enthusiasm seems over the top at times, but I just took it as having someone read their journal out loud. You get their story - and you get their personality at the same time.

5 people found this helpful

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Pure poetry brings dreams of CA wilderness

For anyone whose soul sings to the rhythms of nature, listening to John Muir's prose is pure joy.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ty
  • 06-07-19

altogether wonderful

great narrator. relaxing.takes you on a wonderful journey. it is so good to hear and understand the heart of John Muir.

1 person found this helpful

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Trail runner

Being trapped in a desert for months on end in service to a country that mostly disrespects the grandeur of nature and slowly leads to the destruction of the beauty that we enjoy. This book is an oasis to this semi-solitude of no trees, no water, no mountains. The vividness of his book, specifically on audio book, made my long treadmill runs drift away into the high sierras. I felt as if it were me climbing the trees and smelling the fresh cones and flowers. I could even pretend my sweat was making the same grand rumble of the high falls. I can't wait to be home and to hit the trails to fill my lungs with the mountain air and be amongst the greatest of Gods creations, nature. I recommend this book for those trapped by work, concrete jungles, deserts and adulthood. Read and run.

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Hurried Robot

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The book itself is great. Full of wonderful details of the flora and fauna of the Sierras. You can tell that this adventure sets the stage for his future as a naturalist.

My real complaint is the narration. With a book of such detailing about this new world John Muir is discovering, the feeling of the adventure is lost in the hurried, robot feel of the narrator. He hurries through the book as if he’s sitting in front of a timer with time running out. At times, I almost feel as the book is being dictated by computerized system.

As audio books go, the narration can make or break a good story and if feel this one is broken.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Yes

1 person found this helpful

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Inspiring!

A beautiful chance to reflect and such a poetic telling of Muir's time as a Shepard. A truly connected man in his element, can't be beat!

1 person found this helpful