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Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – 1 Aug 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; New edition edition (1 Aug. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486284956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486284958
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By pw on 9 Dec. 1999
Format: Paperback
Recounting Thoreau's time spent in Walden woods, this text will force you to redefine your world view completely. It is a homage to the power of the self, emphasising what we can be if we were not tied down to external superfluities. In the consumer culture of the modern age, the book is made all the more powerful. The most important text I have ever read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lost John TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Jan. 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Thoreau died, aged 44, in 1862. Walden: or, Life in the Woods, based on his experiment in subsistence living between 1845 and 1847, was one of only two books published in his lifetime. Neither was a commercial success. His `time' came later, and could plausibly be said to be still continuing. By the end of the nineteenth century a vast amount of his writing was in print, including much taken from the 39 notebooks of daily jottings that constituted his Journal. Each generation since has warmed to one or another facet of his writing - his philosophy, observation of nature, simple living, and refusal to pay taxes to a government that supported slavery and waged the Mexican-American War.

For purists, it is all too easy to pick holes. Thoreau's philosophy was far from rigorous in an academic sense; many of his observations from nature were not scientifically robust; building his log cabin only one and a half miles from his parents' home and continuing to buy essentials in Concord (he was on his way to the shoe-menders when arrested for non-payment of taxes), he cannot credibly be said to have cut himself off from society; and for his refusal to pay taxes he spent only one night in the local lock-up before an aunt paid his debt. But to pick holes would be to risk missing several important points. First and foremost, he did succeed in sustaining himself at a basic level for fully two years. His diet was essentially, though not exclusively, vegetarian; he drank only water; kept no pets or other livestock; and seems never to have even thought of acquiring and maintaining a family.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By South Wales tech lover on 26 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
If you have any interest in anti-consumerism, anti-commercialism, or just simplistic living / downscaling you MUST read this book (and visit the pond in Concorde if you get the chance...)

Thoreau provides an exquisite window onto a world that more and more people in society today are hungering for. He articulates the principles behind a simpler way of life, and then goes that step further than most authors on the subject, and lives the life that he preaches (until US Taxation Laws force him to abandon the idyll that he creates...)

Don't buy it - in true Thoreau style, go and get a copy from your local library!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John D. Fleet on 11 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Walden is a masterpiece by Thoreau, about his years living in a cabin by a lake. He explains the advantages of a vegetarian way of life, saving money otherwise spent on meat, coffee and tobacco. It is the perfect book to take with you for that quiet retreat. I read it on Bardsey Island, living in a simple cottage in peace and tranquillity, and it has inspired me to simplify my life!Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift)
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Jimbob on 11 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
I find it hard to believe that the above reviewers are talking about the same book. This book is one of my personal treasures. Thoreau seems to embody the intelligence and wit of a great thinker with a childlike enthusiasm and excitement about the beauty of the natural world. When you combine that with his desire to live life and his respect for even the most humble of his fellow men you are in for some profound literature. This is not a book to be scan read or rushed through. Savour it, I don't see how you could be disappointed.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
And `Tis a shame that I cannot claim this is a re-read after 40 years or so. I can only cite the very well-worn cliché: Better late than never.

Walden is a pond, just outside Concord, Massachusetts, and for two years in the mid-1840's Henry David Thoreau lived a largely solitary existence there, in a simple wooden cabin which he constructed. This book is a collection of his mediations on the natural world, and a person's place in it. Thoreau also ruminates on an individual's place in society and certainly demurs about the hurly-burly existence led by so many, or, in an expression that I had always attributed to T. S. Eliot, but was first coined by him: "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

The first third of the book is on "economy," and the house that he built near Walden. He describes his labor, and provides a table indicating the total cost, and compares that with the annual rental cost of housing. Similarly, he covers his food, clothing and fuel expenses (the "essentials"), and the underlying theme remains the subject verse, taken from a Shaker song, "Simple Gifts," written about the same time: if you simplify your life, and rid yourself of the bondage of so much self-imposed clutter, you really are much freer, and that includes having the opportunity to take a ramble in the woods, which was a major aspect of his two years at Walden. As Thoreau phrased it: "Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.
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