Book One: Our National Parks by John Muir is a brilliant guide and introduction to Yosemite and several other magnificent parks by the man who helped to create them through his advocacy for the preservation of wilderness areas. The author provides detailed observations of the animals, birds, glaciers, streams, fountains, sights, scents, and sounds of Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Rainier, Sequoia, and other forest reservations of the West. The botanical descriptions are enriched by stories about Muir’s encounters and experiences with bears, hermits, avalanches, earthquakes, bears, hermits, and a mule.
Book Two: Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (1858-1919), 26th president of the United States, from 1901 to 1909, was also a conservationist, naturalist, and writer. From 1884 to 1886 he established his ranch in Dakota Territory, which involved much hardship and toil. Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail – published in 1888 - is the account of his labors and adventures as a cowboy, hunter, herder, and even a stint as a deputy sheriff. The narrative comes alive with engaging descriptions of the inhabitants of the Badlands: the buffalo hunters, Indians, cowboys, and mountain men, as well as the changing environment as the area became more populated in that period.
Book Three: Walden is an account of the time Thoreau lived alone in a cabin in Concord, Massachusetts. He built the cabin, grew and sold vegetables, and contemplated consciousness and identity. The theme is simple living in natural surroundings, and in essence, the work may be seen as a declaration of independence, a social experiment, quest of spiritual discovery, and a self-reliance guide.