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Diana Muir

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Name  Diana Muir
Role  Writer
Parents  Peter Karter

Diana Muir Diana Muir Appelbaum

Books  Reflections in Bullough's Pond
Education  Columbia University, Barnard College

Diana Muir, also known as Diana Muir Appelbaum, is a Newton, Massachusetts writer and historian. Muir is best known for her 2000 book, Reflections in Bullough's Pond, a history of the impact of human activity on the New England ecosystem.


Personal life

Muir was born and raised in the small town of Old Lyme, Conn. She attended Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City. Her parents are Elizabeth and Peter Karter. She is married to Paul S. Appelbaum, a psychiatrist and professor at Columbia University with whom she has co-authored articles. They have three adult children.

Reflections in Bullough's Pond

According to the Daily News Tribune, "Muir's book Reflections in Bullough's Pond reads more like a novel than a history book. In the book, Muir shows the historical relationship between New England's economy and the environment. She expands the relationship into a national and global analysis of America's, and the world's, current environmental and political problems: global warming, ozone depletion, and Middle East oil dependence, to name a few. Muir claims America's oil dependent economy has hit a dead end. Muir argues that Americans can, and must, make economic changes to alleviate their environmental and political problems."

Muir draws on many academic disciplines in her work, as the Boston Globe put it, "She's an economist. Then, again, maybe she's really an ecologist. Although some book critics and readers consider her a New England historian. Actually, Newton author Diana Muir is probably all of the above... Although her book was well received by economic historians who like to look at how industries rise and fall, Muir doesn't call herself a lay economist. 'I'm an historian,' she said. 'And it seems to me that any intelligent person has to enjoy nature and care about the environment, and so those interests all came together.' So, she's a shameless environmentalist, too."


Muir, an environmental historian, is a critic of American choice of "profitability over sustainability." She has been called "Malthusian," and a "shameless environmentalist." She has written a column for the Massachusetts Sierran, the magazine of the Massachusetts Sierra Club.

Children's books

Muir is the author of two picture books. When Giants in the Land was named one of the Yankee Magazine 100 Classic New England Children's Books, Muir told a reporter that "Kids that age are voracious and want to be read to a lot, and there are many wonderful picture books, but this [list] might make it a little easier for people. Librarians know all those books, but aunts and grandparents going to buy a book for a child don't always know where to go after [they've bought] Make Way for Ducklings.'"

Genetics and Identity

Muir has published a number of articles on genetics and ethnicity, defending the position that ethnicity is a matter of language and customs, not genetic descent.

Thanksgiving and The Glorious Fourth

Muir is the author of histories of the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. Amitai Etzioni has called Muir's books key works in the social history of holidays.


Muir has appeared on The History Channel, the BBC, National Public Radio, Voice of America and other news programs, and publishes articles in a range of scholarly and popular journals. She has written for several Jewish publications, including Tablet magazine.


  • Reflections in Bullough's Pond; Economy and Ecosystem in New England
  • Thanksgiving; an American Holiday
  • The Glorious Fourth; An American Holiday
  • Books for children

  • Cocoa Ice
  • Giants in the Land
  • Prizes and awards

    For Reflections in Bullough's Pond (University Press of New England, 2000)

  • Massachusetts Book Award, 2001
  • For Cocoa Ice (Orchard Books 1997)

  • Lupine Award, Maine Library Association, Honor Book, 1997
  • For Giants in the Land (Houghton Mifflin 1993)

  • Booklist, Top of the List, best juvenile nonfiction book for Youth
  • Jefferson Cup – Virginia Library Association 1994 Honor Book
  • Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews
  • School Library Journal Best Book
  • The Bulletin (Blue Ribbon winner)
  • Yankee Magazine, 40 Classic New England Children's Books
  • An ALA Notable Book
  • Articles

  • "Biblical Nationalism and the Sixteenth-Century States", National Identities, 2013 [1]
  • "The Gene Wars", with Paul S. Appelbaum, Azure, Winter 5767 / 2007, No. 27
  • "A Land without a People for a People without a Land", Middle Eastern Quarterly, Spring 2008, Vol. 15, No. 2
  • "The Rootless Roma", The American Interest, March/April 2100
  • "Jewish Identity and Egyptian Revival Architecture", Journal of Jewish Identities, summer 2012
  • References

    Diana Muir Wikipedia