53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2010
This slim volume of Thoreau's thoughts is delightful. Unfortunately the book doesn't give the original publication date. He's a 19th century American author and unlike many of his time, Thoreau writes clearly and satirically. His first and second paragraphs grab you as he explains his love of walking or 'sauntering'. His thoughts were radical for the time as he saw humans as part of nature, not above it. He valued freedom and wildness above all else.
He made me want to get up and just walk - in any direction, with no purpose except that of walking. It's not about taking excercise. It's about wandering for two or three hours and observing nature, the sky, trees, walking past villas, down road, across fields and being excited by a new vista. It's a refreshing simple book to read that reminds you that when life gets too complex and hurried, all you have to do is put on your jacket, open the front door and go for a walk.
79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 1999
It is a perfect little book to carry with you for inspiration. It makes me want to take a walk... and the beautiful thing about this book is that it allows me to take a walk in my mind without ever leaving my office or room. I have and will continue to read it over and over.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2011
This is a quirky little lecture that, like Thoreau's ideal walk - just setting out with no idea of where he might end up, but generally heading South-West - meanders about, at times with spectacular views. Thoreau's big central idea about societies heading West is the most interesting part, but it's always rewarding to spend time with him, even when he's slightly outspoken and annoying, and this lecture gives you a good dose of his style and personality. It doesn't have the structure of his more well-known works but a nice diversion nonetheless. Read Walden, then come back to this, maybe.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a classic book by a highly regarded American author.In this book the text has been well edited, and the editor also supplies a good introduction about Thoreau and his context and evolution.
Thoreau writes well, and has many interesting observations. Whether his observations and conclusions add up to a coherent philosophy of life is more debateable. And whether others should make the time/space/leisure to follow in his footsteps is far from clear. Is Thoreau taking a walk out beyond himself? Or is he walking away from conventional responsibilities?
Whatever view you take of Thoreau he's an interesting character and interesting author, and you'll enjoy the time you spend in his company.