One of the most influential books in early American literature
Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1817, and attended Concord Academy and Harvard. After a short time spent as a teacher, he worked as a surveyor and a handyman, sometimes employed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. From 1845-1847 Thoreau lived in a house he had made himself on Emerson's property near Walden Pond. During this period he completed A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and wrote the first draft of Walden, the book that is generally judged to be his masterpiece. He died of tuberculosis in 1862, and much of his writing was published posthumously.
"Each [volume] is preceded by a substantive, lively and idiosyncratic essay. . . . Together, the essays are a mini-course in Thoreau and the trends he launched in American thought."--Nancy Szokan, "Washington Post Book World" "Walden is a self-help book, perhaps the ultimate self-help book, urging us to show up for our own lives, to have the courage to find our own convictions and to try to live them out. . . . [Thoreau is] a writer of immense humanity, vitality and humor. . . . One hundred fifty years after its publication, Walden also remains a practical, usable manual on how to lead a good, and just life. . . . At its core, Walden is about the project of personal freedom, self-emancipation, which is where all pursuits of freedom must start."--Robert D. Richardson, "Smithsonian Magazine"