In the early spring of 1845, Henry David Thoreau built and lived in a cabin near the shore of Walden Pond in rural Massachusetts. For the next two years, he enacted his own Transcendentalist experiment, living a simple life based on self-reliance, individualism, and harmony with nature. The journal he kept at that time evolved into his masterwork, Walden, an eloquent expression of a uniquely American philosophy. During the same period, Thoreau endured a one-day imprisonment for his refusal to pay a poll tax, an act of protest against the government for supporting the Mexican War, to which he was morally opposed. In his essay 'On the Duty of Civil Disobedience' he defends the principles of such nonviolent protest, setting an example that has influenced such figures as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and that endures to this day.
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HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817-1862) was an American essayist, naturalist, philosopher, and poet. Born at Concord, Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard, he began his career as a teacher. Through his older friend and neighbor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, he became a part of the Transcendentalist circle and one of that group's most eloquent spokespersons. He is best known for his book Walden, and his essay, 'On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.'.From AudioFile:
Thoreau's famous book about two years in a Massachusetts cabin, while partly a nature study, is primarily about how to live and a critique of how most people go about it. Narrator Robin Field's expressiveness is excellent, his pacing fine, his understanding of the text clear. His reading of the famous, and still radical, essay on civil disobedience is direct and down-to-earth, keeping all Thoreau's good qualities. However, in his reading of WALDEN, his Thoreau sounds alternately self-righteous and whiny or pompously elevated and "poetic." Field intones, as if lecturing or preaching, in an affectedly rhetorical manner. It's true that Thoreau can be preachy and priggish, but in WALDEN, Field makes him seem so even when he isn't. W.M. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
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