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The Ghosts of Walden: Three Concord Stories [Paperback]

Jack Hussey
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 21 2009
These riveting and intensely human stories describe the turbulent history of 19th century Concord, Massachusetts. Staying close to the historical record, Jack Hussey creates a vivid tapestry of the conflicts, dreams and fears that animated Concord's famous writers Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott as well as local doctors, teachers, shopkeepers and many others. They struggle with their own demons and with the conflicts of their times: slavery, temperance, Irish immigrants, the status of women and the new railroads. In the first story, young Henry Thoreau, scorned by his neighbors, flees town in order to decide where and how he must live, and with whom. The second story describes the night when an abolitionist couple shelter a fugitive slave, uncover an enemy and are shocked to see the vulnerability of the town's anti-slavery leader. In the final story, Concordians gather at Walden Pond to celebrate their storied past, but all goes awry when an Irish boy gets lost in the woods and the Judge who has organized the celebration realizes he might lose the woman he loves. Jack Hussey has taught, written and lectured on film and American literature for four decades. In 1992, he produced a video documentary, Neighbors in Eden, about Emerson, Hawthorne, Dickinson and Thoreau. The Ghosts of Walden is his first work of fiction. He and his wife Nancy live in Fairmont WV.

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
While the three stories in this volume are not brilliantly written, they are certainly intriguing and they allow readers to learn about the lives of such famous citizens of Concord as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa Alcott and their neighbors in an entertaining way. The final story is particularly good.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hail to The Ghosts of Walden March 31 2009
By LWB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Making for a fascinating and delightful read, these three well-crafted stories reminded me of the political and cultural strife that Americans faced before and after the Civil War. They combine historical facts with compelling accounts how life was lived on a personal level by the famous authors of Concord and their families and friends. The stories bring a sense of the idyllic side of Concord that inspired much of the literature, and the drama that surrounded the problems of slavery and immigration in the young nation. Mr. Hussey's writing style succeeds in combining fast-moving action with well-drawn characterizations, and this makes the book well worth reading. Five stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take up thy bed and Read! June 11 2009
By Jonathan Pollock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An Outstanding Read!! You can call me biased, you can call me green, you
can even call me Al, but it doesn't matter. 'The Ghosts of Walden' is one of the most engaging reads I have ever committed myself to. Where do I start? First, historical purists take note, this is a beautiful work of fiction based on historical events. Loosen up, and let the words move on their own. I couldn't put it down. I put off all manner of daily chores and responsibilities to steal a little time to read.

In the first story, The Wilderness of This World, the characterization of Thoreau is, in my estimation, perfect. Hussey neither deifies nor vilifies Walden's hero; he is what he is, and that's the beauty of Henry David. I knew, as a result of his 'Walden' that he was destined to return to Concord, but I held my breath with the rest of the world, as he slowly realized his true place. And to boot, there is a well crafted, communally shared epistolary retelling of his climactic homecoming that even Thoreauvian naysayers will find agreeable.

The entire book is filled with easy dialogue, heart wrenching tragedies, triumphs of the spirit, and unanticipated glimpses of humor, with a few side splitters too. But even more captivating is the imagery produced by this work. 'Ghosts' is brilliant in the sense that the scenes and action, which we visualize while reading come effortlessly, involuntarily.

With the prologue and first two stories in tow, the completion of the third and final tale will have you convinced of this novel's necessity.

It hit me about half way through that these three intertwining stories about generations of 'Concordians' are something that fans of Faulkner, and Alice Munro will find very appealing.

I've already begun my second read.

Thanks for doing it, much respect sir.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling stories of 19th-century Concord, Massachusetts March 23 2009
By Gordon Neufeld - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While the three stories in this volume are not brilliantly written, they are certainly intriguing and they allow readers to learn about the lives of such famous citizens of Concord as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa Alcott and their neighbors in an entertaining way. The final story is particularly good.
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