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Walden and Civil Disobedience Mass Market Paperback – July 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Economy. Where I Lived, And What I lived For. Reading. Sounds. Solitude. Visitors. The Bean-Field. The Village. The Ponds. Baker Farm. Higher Laws. Brute Neighbors. House-Warming. Former Inhabitants; And Winter Visitors. Winter Animals. The Pond in Winter. Spring. Conclusion. --Online --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

In 1845 Henry David Thoreau left his pencil-manufacturing business and began building a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. This lyrical yet practical-minded book is at once a record of the 26 months Thoreau spent in withdrawal from society -- an account of the daily minutiae of building, planting, hunting, cooking, and, always, observing nature -- and a declaration of independence from the oppressive mores of the world he left behind. Elegant, witty, and quietly searching, Walden remains the most persuasive American argument for simplicity of life clarity of conscience.

For the first time, the authoritative editions of works by major American novelists, poets, scholars, and essayists collected in the hardcover volumes of The Library of America are being published singly in a series of handsome paperback books. A distinguished writer has contributed an introduction for each volume, which also includes a chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the text, and notes.


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451532163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451532169
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (755 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nancy Wisser on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Walden, what is it? Is it a book on nature, a book on ecology, a book on human nature, a prescient description of the struggle between modern civilization and the land that nurtured it, a critique of mankind, a string of quotable gems, an account of a mind, or, like Star Wars, a way of slipping a deep and human spirituality into someone else's mind without their recognizing it? It depends on who is doing the reading and when. Read it for any of these purposes, and it will not disappoint. If you've never read it, read it. If you read it for class years ago and hated it, read it again. This may be the most subtle, multi-layered and carefully worked piece of literature you'll ever find. By keeping the down-to-earth tone (no doubt in reaction to the high-flying prose of his friend, R.W. Emerson) Thoreau pulls a Columbo, and fools us into thinking he's writing simply about observing nature, living in a cabin, or sounding a pond. Somehow by the end of Walden, however, you may find it is your self he has sounded. People have accused Thoreau of despising mankind, but read deeper and you will discover he loved people well enough to chide us, show us our faults (admitting he's as bad as the worst of us), and give to all of us this wonderful gift, a book you could base your life on. There is more day to dawn, he reminds us at the end: the sun is but a morning star.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most influential books in American history. I picked it up for the first time in thirty years only to realize that Throreau's philosophy had long ago permeated my being. I remember being blown away by my first reading more than half a century ago, but with each immersion new depths are achieved.

Thoreau sought both authenticity and simplicity in his life. He never abandoned Concord and the real world but merely sought refuge at Walden to plumb the depths of his being. Serious introspection and brilliant writing show each of us the the way to our own core. Can we stand the examination? That is for each of us to determine.

The Transcendentalists may never have been able to define their philosphy, but what remains of it more than a century after the movement's passing can be summed up in Thoreau's always upbeat outlook of "...if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet success unexpected in common hours."

One cannot read Walden without gaining confidence in one's ability to change direction in life and optimism about the future. We do not have to live lives of conformity and quiet desparation. "In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high."

There has never been a book that better expresses American optimism, and there is no reason for us to lose confidence now. Simplify and be as close to authentic as you can be and all will turn out well. Oh, and while you're at it question authority.

If there could be a six star book, this would be my candidate.
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Format: Paperback
As a professor of philosophy, I at one time regularly took classes of first year college students to Concord for a week-long intensive seminar on Emerson and Thoreau. I eventually abandoned the seminar, because I discovered that each class was progressively more hostile to what these two wonderful persons stood for. The ..... reviews written by young people of this edition of _Walden_ are, then, disconcertingly familiar to me. I obviously disagree with their evaluations of the book and of Thoreau's character. But what's interesting is why they have such a negative reaction to a book written, as Thoreau says, for young people who haven't yet been corrupted by society. What is it about the culture in which we live that encourages such hostility to his eloquent plea for simplicity? It's too facile to suggest that the backlash is motivated only by resentful pique at what's seen as Thoreau's condemnation of contemporary lifestyles, although I suspect this is part of the explanation. I'd be interested in reading the thoughts here of other readers who are likewise puzzled and disturbed by "Generation Y's" negative response to Thoreau.
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Format: Hardcover
WALDEN has rarely been out-of-print since its first publication in 1854. Copies come in all sizes, shapes and price ranges. Today's Thoreauvians have three ANNOTATED versions of WALDEN to choose from. Each one provides same-page explanatory notes that help the reader interpret the sometimes esoteric references in Henry David Thoreau's original text. The three books are "The Annotated Walden" (edited by Philip Van Doren Stern, 1970), "Walden: An Annotated Edition" (edited by Walter Harding, 1995), and "Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition" (edited by Jeffrey S. Cramer, 2004). Each one has at least one map of Concord and/or Walden Pond. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Each one has appeal for a devoted audience.

"Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition" by Jeffrey S. Cramer was released in August 2004, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the original publication date. Cramer is the curator of collections for The Thoreau Institute and therefore has access to some of the best primary and secondary source material available -- including Walter Harding's notes. In addition to the text of WALDEN, this volume includes a few "extras": an introduction to Thoreau's life but only as it applies to his cabin stay and WALDEN writing; a bibliography; notes on the text; and a detailed index. The explanatory notes -- the essence of an annotated edition -- are quite extensive. They are set off from the WALDEN text with page-within-a-page graphic detailing and are easy to read. Cramer did not merely merge Van Doren Stern's and Harding's previous notes with those from David Gorman Rohman's dissertation. His analysis at times echoes that of Harding, but when it does, Cramer often goes one step further with a definition or citation.
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