The adventures of Henry Thoreau : a young man's unlikely path to Walden Pond

by Sims, Michael, 1958-

Format: Print Book 2014
Availability: Available at 7 Libraries 7 of 7 copies
Available (7)
Location Collection Call #
Brentwood Library Biography 92 Thoreau, Henry
Location  Brentwood Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  92 Thoreau, Henry
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction PS3053.S58 2014
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  PS3053.S58 2014
CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection PS3053.S58 2014
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  PS3053.S58 2014
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 818 THOREAU Henry Sim
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  818 THOREAU Henry Sim
Northland Public Library Biography B THOREAU
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  B THOREAU
Pleasant Hills Public Library Nonfiction 818.3 S61
Location  Pleasant Hills Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  818.3 S61
Sewickley Public Library Biography B THOREAU 2014
Location  Sewickley Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  B THOREAU 2014

Henry David Thoreau has long been an intellectual icon and folk hero. In this strikingly original profile, Michael Sims reveals how the bookish, quirky young man who kept quitting jobs evolved into the patron saint of environmentalism and nonviolent activism.

Working from nineteenth-century letters and diaries by Thoreau's family, friends, and students, Sims charts Henry's course from his time at Harvard through the years he spent living in a cabin beside Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

Sims uncovers a previously hidden Thoreau-the rowdy boy reminiscent of Tom Sawyer, the sarcastic college iconoclast, the devoted son who kept imitating his beloved older brother's choices in life. Thoreau was deeply influenced by his parents-his father owned a pencil factory in Concord, his mother was an abolitionist and social activist-and by Ralph Waldo Emerson, his frequent mentor. Sims relates intimate, telling moments in Thoreau's daily life-in Emerson's library; teaching his neighbor and friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne, to row a boat; exploring the natural world and Native American culture; tutoring Emerson's nephew on Staten Island and walking the streets of New York in the hope of launching a writing career.

Returned from New York, Thoreau approached Emerson to ask if he could build a cabin on his mentor's land on the shores of Walden Pond, anticipating the isolation would galvanize his thoughts and actions. That it did. While at the cabin, he wrote his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers , and refined the journal entries that formed the core of Walden . Resisting what he felt were unfair taxes, he spent the night in jail that led to his celebrated essay "Civil Disobedience," which would inspire the likes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Chronicling Thoreau's youthful transformation, Sims reveals how this decade would resonate over the rest of his life, and thereafter throughout American literature and history.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "It's the boy who loved to walk in the woods, ice skate, and sing, and the ardent reader who studied the classics at Harvard and nature's wonders with equal diligence that Sims (The Story of Charlotte's Web, 2011) brings forward in this surpassingly vivid and vital chronicle of Thoreau's formative years. Exceptionally smart, peculiar looking, imaginative, and upright, Thoreau, who craved both solitude and conversation, was surrounded by people, including his mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, who, like him, chronicled their daily lives, providing Sims with a great bounty of primary sources. As Sims portrays a solemn boy nicknamed the Judge, we gain fresh understanding of Thoreau's choices and convictions on his way to becoming a seminal environmentalist and civil-disobedience guru. We see Thoreau quit a teaching job in protest against corporal punishment and go to jail rather than pay his poll tax, suffer heartbreak and tragedy, accidentally burn down the woods near his beloved Walden Pond, experience an epiphany in Maine, build his famous cabin, and turn himself into a world-altering writer who continues to enlighten and astonish us.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this uneven biography of Henry David Thoreau, Sims (The Story of Charlotte's Web) succeeds in his ambition "to find Henry" rather than "admire the marble bust of an icon," though the portrait that emerges is far from flattering. Focusing primarily on Thoreau's life before he earned renown with Walden, Sims depicts his subject as a spirited young man with a keen eye for observing nature; a devoted brother to his older sibling, John; a freethinker who defiantly rejected religious orthodoxy; and a teacher appreciated by his students because he refused to dole out corporal punishment. At the same time, Thoreau comes across as feckless, unambitious, irresponsible, and incapable of living the life of an independent adult but for the charity of his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Sims has culled scholarly sources to recreate the early 19th-century landscape of Concord, Mass., and its active social and literary scene, but Thoreau is not always at the center, and in some chapters, not present at all. Consequently, the portrait he paints of the young Thoreau seems sketchy in places. Though he writes with great sympathy for the Bard of Walden Pond, readers may finds themselves agreeing with Nathaniel Hawthorne's assessment of Thoreau as "the most unmalleable fellow alive-the most tedious, tiresome, and intolerable-the narrowest and most notional." Agent: Heide Lange, Greenburger Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Thoreau, Henry David, -- 1817-1862.
Authors, American -- 19th century -- Biography.
Naturalists -- United States -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Bloomsbury,2014
Edition First U.S. edition.
Language English
Description x, 372 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 325-360) and index.
ISBN 9781620401958 (hardback)
1620401959 (hardback)
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