Wulf reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), the visionary German scientist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world—and in the process created modern environmentalism. He was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world, racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Wulf examines how Humboldt’s writings inspired other naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth, Goethe, Muir and Thoreau. With this brilliantly researched and compellingly written book, Andrea Wulf shows the fundamental ways in which Humboldt created our understanding of the natural world.