John Burroughs was one of the earliest and most articulate pioneers of the United States conservation movement, publishing twenty-eight books on the natural world during the height of the Industrial Revolution. As an author, teacher, and poet, he wrote with intimacy and feeling, illustrating verbal landscapes and providing philosophical insights about the environment. People by the hundreds of thousands relished his writings. His friends included Walt Whitman, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and John Muir. Burroughs was dedicated to studying the world and making nature come to life on the written page,
In the last decades of the 19th century, his prolific nature essays helped spawn the Nature Study movement and made him an international celebrity.
As early as 1871, when his first book of nature essays was published, Burroughs was acclaimed as an American Gilbert White, the pioneering British naturalist and author of The Natural History of Selborne. In 1875 Henry James praised his "real genius" for natural history and called him a "more humorous, more available, and more sociable Thoreau. Readers were charmed by Burroughs's enthusiastic accounts of ordinary walks made extraordinary by keen observation. By the late 1880s, when his first collection of nature essays for children was published, he was one of America's most popular interpreters of the natural world. He kept writing until 1921, when he died at the age of 84.
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