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Walden/Civil Disobedience [Audiobook, Classical] [Audio CD]

Henry David Thoreau , Rupert Degas
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2010 9626342706 978-9626342701 Unabridged
Philosopher, spiritualist, social activist, and free spirit - Henry David Thoreau was one of the most significant thinkers of C19th America. Walden and On Civil Disobedience are two of Thoreau's most influential works and are presented here alongside each other on audiobook. In Walden, Thoreau urges us to renegotiate our relationship with society, to reject its inhibitive conventions and expectations and to reconnect with nature in order to live a more vital and purposeful life. On Civil Disobedience berates the 'machine' of C19th American government that sanctions evil policies such as slavery and argues that the public should refuse to cooperate by not paying taxes. Thoreau's expose of his society's misguided dogmas is uncompromising and is presented with startling clarity and conviction. Today, Thoreau's ideas are still as bold, refreshing and inspiring as they ever were and call on us to live a life less ordinary.

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Economy. Where I Lived, And What I lived For. Reading. Sounds. Solitude. Visitors. The Bean-Field. The Village. The Ponds. Baker Farm. Higher Laws. Brute Neighbors. House-Warming. Former Inhabitants; And Winter Visitors. Winter Animals. The Pond in Winter. Spring. Conclusion. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He graduated from Harvard in 1837, the same year he began his lifelong Journal. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau became a key member of the Transcendentalist movement that included Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott. The Transcendentalists' faith in nature was tested by Thoreau between 1845 and 1847 when he lived for twenty-six months in a homemade hut at Walden Pond. While living at Walden, Thoreau worked on the two books published during his lifetime: Walden (1854) and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849). Several of his other works, including The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, and Excursions, were published posthumously. Thoreau died in Concord, at the age of forty-four, in 1862.
W.S. Merwin has published many highly regarded books of poems, for which he has received a number of distinguished awards—the Pulitzer Prize, Bollingen Award, Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets and the Governor's Award for Literature of the state of Hawaii among them. He has translated widely from many languages, and his versions of classics such as The Poem of the Cid and The Song of Roland are standards.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Thoreau's collected works in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau (Boston, 1906) will eventually be superseded by The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau (Princeton, 1971- ), a more complete edition that incorporates modern textual principles in its editing. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Isolate, Nonconformist Oct. 13 2003
Format:Paperback
Thoreau lived for two years and two months at Walden Pond. He said the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation. Henry Thoreau asked hard questions.
He related that when the Masschusetts Bay Colony was founded, earthen houses were built. They were convenient and suitable and they had the advantage of putting everyone in a position of equality and not making the poorer inhabitants feel discouraged. It distressed Thoreau that a good deal of the money spent for shelter and dress was for show, uneconomical.
He farmed organically because he was only a squatter. He found that by working for about six weeks he could meet all of the annual expenses of living. He claimed that memorable events transpired in the morning.
Thoreau went to the woods because he wished to live deliberately. The sounds of the railroad penetrated the woods. Visitors were frequent during three seasons. In the wintertime basically he had only himself for company and some of the animals.
In any season, the woods were surprisingly dark at night. Because he had no helpers or animals to assist him in cultivating the fields he felt that he ws more intimate with the beans in his beanfield. Songs have suggested that husbandry is a sacred art.
The scenery of Walden was on a humble scale. The first ice was especially interesting. He reported seeing fox, jays, chickadees, and red squirrels in the the winter.
In CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE he asserts that in a government that imprisons unjustly, the place of a just man is in prison. Thoreau underwent an overnight jail stay when he failed to pay a poll tax.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book that started it all? Nov. 17 2001
By Christo
Format:Paperback
Compared to books such as "Voluntary Simplicity" by Duane Elgin and similar books, one realises that many of these ideas are nothing new when one reads Walden by Thoreau. In fact, what strikes me is that we as a Western society have not overcome many of the issues pointed out by Thoreau 150 years ago. Thoreau left Concord MA "disdainful of America's growing commercialism and industrialism", the slavish materialism of that society then. One wonders what he'll say if he would see the extend today - in the post Coca-Cola society. But then Thoreau was a man who clearly stepped to his own drum. Becuase of slavery, he refused to support the state on moral grounds. How would his views have been tolerated today?
I am not luddite, but my favourite quote from the book is this: "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing to communicate". Does this say something about the Internet, newsmedia and our contemporary information overload, or what?
I liked the introduction and footnotes of Meyer. Just enough to provide context and explanation, but never intrusive. This book is as relevant today as it was during Thoreau's lifetime. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Manifesto of U.S. Radicalism June 1 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
H.D. Thoreau is the first and most important figure in U.S. Radicalism. This collection provides the essential background for the latent radicalism inherent in American politics, especially as it was vocalized in the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements of the 1960's.
Disobedience is the shorter of the texts, but probably more important. It is an attempt to justify moral anarchism and a call to act on individual judgements about justice.
Walden can be interpreted as an important treatise against consumerism and the dangers of specialization, as well as an appreciation of the natural environment. Those interested in anti-globalization/anti-free trade movements would do well to read Walden to gain an understanding of where anti-consumerism came from and an examination of its ethical implications. However, it also pays to remember that Walden is a failed experiment and, in the end, Thoreau returns to Cambridge.
Thoreau, as political philosophy, has certain problems. Moral anarchy and denial of the social contract is difficult to replace in civil society--Thoreau makes no more than the most vague references as to what could replace it, seeming to rely on the fact that his personal sense of justice is universal.
Nevertheless, Thoreau's conscience has resonance and is as relevant today as ever. His rejection of consumerism as the basis for society and its stratification also teaches important lessons.
Thoreau represents that first step in understanding the other part of American political thought--extremely different from that of the Constitution and Federalist Papers--but with profound connections to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Transcendentalist Savage March 12 2001
Format:Paperback
Scorning the mass slavery of modern industrial society, Thoreau conducted his most famous experiment in life: to live in solitude in a shack he builds himself on the edge of Walden Pond, on the land of Emerson, with whom he lived as a handyman and pupil. Thoreau, clearly, was no less radical than his mentor, Emerson, though he differs at least in the fact that he was not merely content with preaching, but actually strove to put his ideals into practice. The book is a profound statement of Transcendentalist individualism and self-reliance and a hymn to nature, contentment and joy. He recounts, at one point, the episode in 1845, during which he was imprisoned for one night for defying the local government and not paying his poll-tax. He mentions, in passing, how he allowed a runaway black slave to have safe passage through the region. His retreat into solitude was partly impelled by his disgust with the war with Mexico, and partly because he could not accept that he could live under a governemnt that was also a slave's government. Thoreau, a neo-Cynic, a modern stoic, emphasises a return to the basic, uncomplicated life, free from the cares and fetters of what he calls "odd-fellow society" and celebrates, above all, simplicity, magnanimity and trust. Glorying in the animal vitality of his body (though he was singularly unable to appreciate women) his ruminations encompass the most prosaic details of life in the woods, such as the migrations of birds, fishing, his own bean-farm, along with powerful insights into self-improvement, learning, generosity and other topics, interspersed with allusions to his favourite literature, the "Iliad" of Homer and the texts of ancient Hindu philosophy and religion. A refreshing and inspiring encounter with a fascinating individual in the history of letters.
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