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Walden : An Annotated Edition Hardcover – September 19, 1995
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From School Library Journal
YA An unintended effect of the cultural diversity curriculum is that we lose touch with seminal works such as Walden. Written for an audience thoroughly versed in Western tradition, many of Thoreau's metaphors and references are unrecognizable to today's students. Though some references were intended to prove his erudition, one is chagrined at the number of necessary explications of standard classical concepts. Though some annotations are noisy comments upon Thoreau's life, most are informative and enhance the work. Many YAs will view Thoreau's natural essays as he intended, thanks to Harding's efforts. A must for libraries.?Hugh McAloon, Prince William County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Walden's original publisher releases an annotated edition to celebrate the book's 150th anniversary.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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.