Henry David Thoreau: A Life
"Laura Dassow Walls has written a grand, big-hearted biography, as compulsively readable as a great nineteenth century novel, chock-full of new and fascinating detail about Thoreau, his family, his friends, and his town. Walls's magnificent--landmark--achievement is the best all around biography of Thoreau ever written. It not only brings Thoreau vividly back to life, it will fundamentally change how we see him. We will hear no more about the 'hermit of Walden Pond.' Walls has given us a new socially engaged Thoreau for a new era, a freedom fighter for John Brown and America, and a necessary prophet and spokesman for Concord Mass. and Planet Earth."--Robert D. Richardson, author of Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind"I've always been slightly skeptical of biography doorstops. . . . I read the book in two sittings. It will not be used as a doorstop--ever. . . . Walls, scouring his published and unpublished writings, gives her readers hundreds of these fleeting chances to catch sight of a beautifully untamed but distinctly American existence. . . . Walls comes as close as any biographer has to giving us the wild Thoreau--disorienting and bewildering." --John Kaag "Chronicle of Higher Education ""Superb. . . . Exuberant. . . . Walls paints a moving portrait of a brilliant, complex man." --Fen Montaigne "New York Times ""As Lauren Dassow Walls makes clear in her excellent Henry David Thoreau: A Life, he was a man of obsessively high principles, self-contained, a stickler for details who insisted on his own way of seeing the world, however quirky. . . . Walls earns her keep, digging into Thoreau's aphoristic letters and journals, finding acute reflections by his contemporaries, and drawing a wonderfully brisk and satisfying portrait. . ." --Jay Parini "Times Literary Supplement ""This new biography is the masterpiece that the gadfly of youthful America deserves. I have been reading Henry David Thoreau and reading about him for 40 years; I've written a book about him myself. Yet often I responded to Laura Dassow Walls's compelling narrative with mutterings such as 'I never knew that' and 'I hadn't thought of it that way.' I found myself caught up in these New England lives all over again. . . . On a foundation of rigorous scholarship, Walls resurrects Thoreau's life with a novelist's sympathy and pacing."--Michael Sims "Washington Post ""Beautifully written, this is a substantial volume in which every page feels essential. You won't want to put it down."--Dianne Timblin "American Scientist ""Not only does the biographer capture the breadth and depth of Thoreau's relations and work, she leaves us tantalized, wanting more."--Barbara Lloyd McMichael "Seattle Times ""Splendid . . . offers a multifaceted view of the many contradictions of his personality."--Robert Pogue Harrison "New York Review of Books " --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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