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38 Reviews
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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Jewel
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...
Published on 11 Dec 2003 by Neil P

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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard work
Not the spiritually ascendant promotion of natural living that some seem to believe, Walden is an account of the time Thoreau lived on his own at Walden Pond. At times introspective yet deep, at other times tedious and slow, the book contains moments wherein the author seems to read aloud from the collective human soul; for these moments, which will strike a chord in...
Published on 22 Oct 2002 by Mr. Andrew C. Patrick


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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars real life, 24 May 2010
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This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Few if any other books have impressed and influenced me as this one has. It is not a 'nature' book, although his observations of life in the woods are wonderful, but rather a reflection on the meaning and purposes of life. Amidst the heroic materialism of the modern era Thoreau's thoughts seem particularly valuable. When I see adverts for fancy cars or watches or others promoting aspirations that we 'should' have, I think: do we own our possessions or do they possess us? Reading Walden has really changed my outlook on life and the contemporary world. This book is justly celebrated and it will remain as a testimony of honest thought for future generations lucky enough and wise enough to learn from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the whole book, 15 April 2013
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This review is from: Walden (Hardcover)
The book contains only parts. So if you want to read the whole book, don't buy this edition. Reallyn annoying
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful account of a simple life., 22 Feb 2012
This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
If I could only recommend one book to somebody, it would be this. A beautifully written account of 'Life in the Woods', and subsequent musings on a myriad of topics. Thoreau left behind the daily grind, built a log cabin, and the insights gained thereof are the sort of wisdom that this grumpy plastic bureaucracy we live in would do well to learn from.
On one page, a poetic description of the surrounding wildlife, on the next a scathing critique of materialism. I would never have expected that somebody could write beautifully about growing beans in a field, and indeed use it as a metaphor for life as a whole.
I can't help but think, if everybody read this book and took heed of it's message of simple living, we would all be happier for it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Man of Strong Opinions, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
....about everything. Barmy, verbose, erudite &, at times, extraordinarily moving. A study in self-imposed solitude & about 100 years ahead of the pack in terms of concern for the environment & ethical behaviour. But if I`d have been his neighbour I`d have probably drowned him in the lake.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Observing Nature. Philosophical and insightful., 7 Sep 2013
This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Walden continues with the same theme and exploration set out by other influential nineteenth century transcendental philosophers, most notably, Thoreau's great mentor and friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is broadly, and perhaps loosely, termed as an experimental investigation about living in nature, for a period of two years, removed from society, and people, in general. Thoreau accounts for his time living amongst the delectable and sumptuous wonders of the forest. Birds, mammals, fish, the seasonal weather, and of course, Walden pond itself, all enchant, capture and dazzle Thoreau's imagination, providing the central plinth for his philosophical enquires.

Split into chapters, Thoreau investigates and questions how we live, under various headings, including society and economies. He portrays a clear aversion towards materialism, and all its shallow underpinnings; and ardently encourages a simplicity of living and outlook. There are many moments of magic in the book, particularly phrases and insights that are rich, more for their timelessness and breadth of thought. He says, "Things do not change; we change" (on p.292) and "love your life, poor as it is".

Whilst Walden is meant to be about finding one's self and connecting with Nature, it should be mentioned that with the development of new transportation during this period, a train line, built near Walden pond, preoccupies Thoreau for large parts of the book, and through this, he meets people en route, and has visitors, as well as various forays out of the forest, to see friends and family members; hence, Walden is not a people-less book, and it is not an experimental exploration into total solitude with nature, which is what some are led to believe. This does create some feelings of hypocrisy, and Thoreau's credibility is at times questioned, especially when he remarks, "do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends". This is documented in the introductory part of the book (in the Oxford World's Classics version), which gladly, I only referred to, once I had finished reading Walden itself. Other areas that floundered were the final third of the book, where mysteriously, almost incredulously, Thoreau stopped, or abandoned, his philosophical insights, and instead documented mere observations of detailed encounters with the indigenous red squirrels, and loops. There was a sense of hollowness, when his philosophy disappeared.

Walden is an insight into a theoretical mode of living. I say `theoretical', for some of the reasons outlined above. If you are someone who has an interest in nature, in philosophy, especially the transcendental type, and society, then this a must-read for you. It has influenced some towering, canonical figures in History; and whilst tangental at times, and periodically loses a sense of objectivity, it is a rewarding and important read, especially for the wit, irony and observations. Here are two quotes Thoreau conveys, with both artistry and beauty.

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them" and then, and so lucidly, "....if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 21 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Bought as a gift. The reciepent is delighted with the book. I am delighted with the price and the quick service.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 3 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Excellent condition my friend will love his present. The book has arrived and it looks amazing if I say so myself
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 24 April 2013
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This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Interesting, and worthwhile, but quite hard going at times. The description he gives of the countryside and animals, human and otherwise, are often poetically beautiful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read that challenges linguistically, 14 April 2013
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This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
A very interesting and methodically written book. Had to keep reaching for Roget's and the O.E.D. every other page. Extremely stimulating and thought provoking work about being one with nature. It was a pleasure to read something completely away from the technological hustle and bustle of our modern world. Great, great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation, 5 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
I bought this book because I have developed an interest in meditation.
Thoreau was years ahead of his time in his ideas about issues which are so relevant today.
Can't summarise in a few words, but definitely of interest to anyone looking for a different approach to modern life.
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Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions)
Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) by Henry David Thoreau (Paperback - 1 Aug 1995)
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