The Thoreau You Don't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant

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9780061710315: The Thoreau You Don't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant
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Robert Sullivan, the New York Times bestselling author of Rats and Cross Country, delivers a revolutionary reconsideration of Henry David Thoreau for modern readers of the seminal transcendentalist. Dispelling common notions of Thoreau as a lonely eccentric cloistered at Walden Pond, Sullivan (whom the New York Times Book Review calls “an urban Thoreau”) paints a dynamic picture of Thoreau as the naturalist who founded our American ideal of “the Great Outdoors;” the rugged individual who honed friendships with Ralph Waldo Emerson and other writers; and the political activist who inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and other influential leaders of progressive change. You know Thoreau is one of America’s legendary writers...but the Thoreau you don’t know may be one of America’s greatest heroes.

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Henry David Thoreau is one of those authors that readers think they know, even if they don't. He's the solitary curmudgeon with the shack out in the woods, the mystic worshipping solemnly in the quiet church of nature. He's our national Natural Man, the prophet of environmentalism. But here Robert Sullivan—who himself has been called an "urban Thoreau" (New York Times Book Review)—presents the Thoreau you don't know: the activist, the organizer, the gregarious adventurer, the guy who likes to go camping with friends (even if they sometimes accidentally burn the woods down). Sullivan argues that Walden was a book intended to revive America, a communal work forever pigeonholed as a reclusive one, and this misreading is at the heart of our troubled relationship with the environment today. Sullivan shows us not a lonely eccentric but a man in his growing village: a man who danced and sang, who worked throughout his short life at the family pencil-making business, and moved into his parents' house after leaving Walden, but always paid his father rent. Passionate yet whimsical, The Thoreau You Don't Know asks us to re-examine our everyday relationship with the natural world, and one another.

About the Author:

Robert Sullivan is the author of The Meadowlands, A Whale Hunt, Rats, and Cross Country. A contributing editor to Vogue, his writing has also appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Dwell magazine. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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9780061710322: The Thoreau You Don't Know: The Father of Nature Writers on the Importance of Cities, Finance, and Fooling Around

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ISBN 10:  0061710326 ISBN 13:  9780061710322
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2011
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