- Paperback: 26 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 19, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1449518583
- ISBN-13: 978-1449518585
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,248 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,092,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From the Back Cover
Philosopher, naturalist, poet and rugged individualist, Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) has inspired generations of readers to think for themselves, to follow the dictates of their own conscience and to make an art of their lives. This representative sampling of his thought includes five of his most frequently cited and read essays: 'Civil Disobedience, ' his most powerful and influential political essay, exalts the law of conscience over civil law. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American transcendentalist, essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, surveyor, and historian. Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It touches upon the true role of the individual within a society and the manner in which a government should view the individual which, Hayek reference in his Road to Serfdom another book worth the time of anyone who has read Civil Disobedience.
The one shock for me though was upon reaching the final page of the book with the recommendations for further reading to find Marx who in truth stand on the opposite footing of Thoreau with his collectivism were as Thoreau was a true believer and support of the individuals ability to chose how they relate to the state. I believe we as citizens should be given the choice of which taxes to support and which to not have to pay. Case in point I pay property taxes through the money that I give to my landlord for the schools in my area but yet I have no children those in a community should be given the option to say no to a portion of their property taxes if they do not have children in school and also those that chose to send their children to private school should be given the same option. The state needs to realize that the money they use is our money and as the governed if we chose to revoke our mandate they will receive nothing.
This book is Henry Thoreau's theory on the citizen's role in the society of America, particularly if that citizen does not agree with the status quo. It doesn't teach upright insurrection, just what one person can do to show their dissatisfaction with their government and society. Written in the time of slavery, Henry Thoreau wrote this book as a response to how he felt about the injusitce of enforced labor. Many of the lessons apply today; and while I won't say that some of his reasoning (i.e., his theory about how it is the moral responsibility to be imprisoned if one does not agree with their government [you'll have to read the book for an expanded explination]), it does show what we Americans can do to show our dissatisfaction with a government that more and more cares less and less about it's citizens ... a stance both Republicans and Democrats can agree with!
The get the fullest out of this book, the reader will have to know the context in which it was written. While most Americans should know the background of slavery, what will be less known is the role of slavery in the white American society; the society that Thoreau is writing about. Taken in the context of a man who disagreed with slavery, but had little power to do anything about it, this essay is Thoreau's response to feeling powerless to right an inequity.
It's a hard read; written in a style (and with language) that isn't common today. As an English major in college, it was still rough in areas. While full of great quotes (one liners and paragraphs), a lot of filler comes across as ranting if you are not fully engaged in the book. It's not a simply "pick up and put down" ... if you aren't in the mood for a lecture on the role of a citizen in society, it's probably not one you'll read off and on while sitting on the john.
Again, I do recommend this for most high schoolers, saying that in an age where some can't understand Shakespeare ... this is no Shakespeare, but possibly should become as popular in history class as Romeo and Juliet is in English class.
Republicans will agree with how much he hates paying taxes, though few would stick to their guns as much as Thoreau did. "When I meet a government which says to me, 'Your money of your life,' why should I be in haste to give it my money?"
Democrats will agree with how he wants the government to help people even when they talk more than act. "He who gives himself entirely to his fellow men appears to them useless and selfish; but he who gives himself partially to them is pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist."
through my many readings of WALDEN. Every time is like a first time, but with a greater bundle of observations and thoughts to touch into
my thinking and living.