- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press; New edition edition (December 17, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807014230
- ISBN-13: 978-0807014233
- Package Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1,299 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,254,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Walden: Lessons for the New Millennium Paperback – December 17, 1997
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-Henry David Thoreau's classic, first published in 1854 and reporting on his experiences at the eponymous site where he lived in physical and social independence during the mid-1840's, receives refreshing treatment here. William Hope reads leisurely but with feeling, offering listeners the illusion that the author is speaking directly to them. The abridgements are not substantive, so listeners will feel that they have become acquainted with the complexities of a text that is both orderly and sprinkled with irony and other literary devices. The chapters are tastefully set off by musical interludes that complement Thoreau's own rhythms. Not only is this an excellent alternative for students assigned to read the text that is often offered in tiny print without benefit of margins, but it is also possible to suggest this to thoughtful teens who are seeking an intellectually engaging listening experience for their personal enjoyment. Hope's pacing invites readers with minimal skills to accompany their print foray with his narration. The careful editing here assures that they will not become lost between page and sound.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 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.
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The two central themes of Mr. Thoreau's discontent is slavery and the American War. Mr. Thoreau states that the person has an obligation to stand up and resist when the state is acting improperly. It is not enough simply to complain. Some action is required. Mr. Thoreau seems to focus mostly on not paying taxes and being jailed if necessary. If I understood him correctly, Mr. Thoreau suggests that paying taxes to the government, under some circumstances, is the same as supporting slavery and the Mexican American War.
Among other things, Mr. Thoreau describes a brief stay in jail for refusing to pay a tax. I believe he refused to pay the tax in protest of slavery and the Mexican American War. If I am not mistaken, there were many, including Abraham Lincoln, who were opposed to that war.
I am not in any way a radical. However I read a wide range of literature. The reason I state that is that Saul Alinsky refers to this essay in his work, "Rules For Radicals". If a reader is interested in this essay, one might wish to consider reading "Ruke For Radicals" for purposes of compare and contrasting.
This essay provides one with an abundance of fuel for thought. There is also some material for further study. As an example Mr. Thoreau refers to "Paley". He is referring to William Paley. He quotes a poem by Charles Wolfe. These are both individuals who are worthy of further study should a reader be so inclined.
I am very glad I read this essay. Thank You...
In a quest to “suck out all the marrow of life”, Thoreau lived alone in the woods for 2 years and wrote this powerful book during his time there. Thoreau preaches to simplify our lives to free ourselves from the chains of our material possessions (the more stuff we have, the more we need to work to pay for it), allowing us the free time to truly enjoy life. He lived by a set of moral values and refused to compromise them, leading him to develop the concept of civil disobedience, which later inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He ate a mostly vegan diet and believed that "it is the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals." He preached taking the time to genuinely appreciate the beauty of nature (the earth is “living poetry”). He also encouraged reading the classics (we may be able to “scale heaven” with the great works of the past), taking time to get to know ourselves (“be the Lewis and Clarke of your own streams and oceans”), avoiding newspapers (“I never read any memorable news in a newspaper”), and ensuring that new technologies truly add value before we adopt them (“our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things…they are an improved means to an unimproved end”).
It’s a bit ironic that I’m boasting about Thoreau on Amazon.com from my relatively large home -- two things that he may not have approved of. Not sure if I used the word “ironic” correctly -- Alanis Morissette and I throw that word around recklessly.
However, the audio version (by Alec Sand) felt lifeless, rushed speech followed by odd uneven pauses, and at times was difficult to understand.