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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,959 ratings  ·  148 reviews
The philosophies of HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817-1862)-hero to environmentalists and ecologists, profound thinker on humanity's happiness-have greatly influenced the American character, and his writings on human nature, materialism, and the natural world continue to be of profound import today. In this essay, first published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1862 and vital to any ap ...more
Paperback, 60 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Cosimo Classics (first published 1862)
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J Dride
"When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them -- as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon -- I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago."

I usually read from this at least a few times a month. One of my all time favorite Thoreau pieces. His wit and critiques are spot on; as per usual with Thoreau
I picked this little book up the other day with reason. Recently I read Gros' A Philosophy of Walking which associated walking with creative thinking and returning to nature. Living in the outskirts of Dallas I figured I should give it a try. I usually travel by bicycle, but recently had my doubts about of its value over my life and limb. Last month a car, which was behind me, ran a stop sign and ran over the rear end of my bike, with me on it. A few weeks later an angry driver ran a stop sign, ...more
Riku Sayuj
Could jogging count, perchance? I promise to keep my head facing west by south-west as I run in my daily circles...
May 18, 2014 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Bettie
Recommended to Laura by: Cheryl
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Opening lines:
wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school committee and every one of you will take care of that.


Page 2:
Jane Reye
Initially this really appealed to me but I was surprised to find Thoreau's attitude somewhat... extremist (from what I had gathered about the author, I was already expecting, at least, a great deal of zeal). Thoreau's passion for walking and the natural world are evident throughout, possibly a revision of the wording at certain points in the essay could have avoided or limited the superior and judgemental vibe I sensed, particularly in the first half of the book (this was quite unfortunate as Th ...more
This was my second reading of "Walking" and, this time, I chose to read it in nature. That really made all the difference. I found myself hating it this last fall when I read it in the confines of my tiny little room. Surrounding myself in nature and allowing myself to annotate in the margins made me feel like Thoreau and I were on our own walk, having a conversation. Just like any long conversation there were moments I began to zone out and think about other things but overall it is a wonderful ...more
John Martindale
I loved Thoreau's use of language and how his words smoothly flowed forth, carrying me like a stream to the end of this little book. Thoreau definitely made me look forward to moving to New Hampshire where I will be surrounded by endless miles of the wild and will have the opportunity to saunter for hours in the forest.

Nature is one of those things, that like Shakespeare I know I should appreciate more then I in fact do. Don't get me wrong, i love nature and I do stop and smell the roses to use
Vorrei spendere una parola in favore della Natura, dell'assoluta libertà e dello stato selvaggio, contrapposti a una libertà e a una cultura puramente civili
Il breve saggio di Thoreau è imperniato su un tema semplicissimo: il cammino come catarsi. L'uomo, afferma l'autore, ha dimenticato di essere originariamente un vagabondo e si è rinchiuso in luoghi non inclini alla sua vera natura.
Tuttavia, basta allontanarsi e lasciare alle proprie spalle i luoghi antropizzati per sentirsi veri.
La casa, la
I was terribly disappointed in this book, primarily because it just didn't flow or hold together. I have known Thoreau primarily from quotations, and indeed, the lyrical or descriptive beauty of random excerpts from this book were its only redeeming elements.


"For every walk is a sort of crusade..."

"When a traveler asked Wordsworth's servant to show him her master's study, she answered, 'Here is his library, but his study is out of doors.'"

"There is something in the mountain air that fe
Oh, Thoreau- sometimes I wish a man of this time period could live exclusively by your ideals. I shouldn't generalize, I am sure there are men that do.... I mean me. I wish I could. Anyways, this little gem is a great essay on the topic of walking. The premise is that walking is good for the body, mind and soul. I do not believe many people would refute this, but Thoreau is eloquent and assertive on the subject and I believe makes a great case for this great alternative to anything else one does ...more
For me, this was just a little too unfocused. At sixty pages it is a long essay, something that, to be successful, should be tightly focused. On the flip side, it IS about walking - not to anywhere in particular, not at a purposeful pace - but as in wandering, meandering. As in partaking of an existential experience. And, what does Thoreau's mind do? It wanders, it meanders, it ruminates and produces profound thoughts. If you like quotes, there's many to be found here.

After a one day Walden reading marathon(a full day of Thoreau-ian seclusion in the house!), I can say Walking was a disappointment. I could not find equally lyrical descriptions of nature, I could not feel the "joys and necessities of long afternoon walks". I was not moved...

Reading Walden and you imagine being alone in that forest next to the lake, you imagine walking and seeing the plants, you hear the sound of birds, you learn to distinguish the species of fish visible through the clear water
Henry David Thoreau, in his essay “Walking”, demonstrates both a deep connection to the natural world as well as an obvious notion about his own superiority in appreciating it. This pretension does not diminish his likability as a narrator, but it does call into question some of his romanticized notions of simple and rugged lifestyles. Thoreau's ruminations on the value and power of walking to distinguish true appreciators of nature from common travelers are tinged with a sense of nobility which ...more

A eulogy to the wilderness and the wild man with the usual opinionated, sometimes contradictory lamentation for the shallowness and leanness of modern society en route. I must say I tend to empathise with half of what he says and that in a different country 200 years later!;

A quote or 2 to surmise;

The weapons with which we have gained our most important victories, which should be handed down from father to son, are not the sword and the lance but the bush-whacker, the turf-cutter, the spade and
Douglas Cootey
Aug 25, 2013 Douglas Cootey rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Douglas by: Twitter
Shelves: ebook, non-fiction
One day Henry David Thoreau started following me on Twitter and I thought to myself that I had never read any of his works. I realize Thoreau is not auto-tweeting from beyond, but I enjoyed enough of his namesake's abbreviated tweets to pique my curiosity to read the original less abbreviated works.

I've been to Concord, Massachusetts. It's lovely country, even still. There I saw Louis May Alcott's home where she wrote Little Women, and I believe I've been to Walden Pond. None of it had any appe
Timothy Sikes
The influence of European Romanticism on American Transcendentalism is difficult to overstate. The influence is so strong scholars often call American Transcendentalism “American Romanticism.” During this time, a central issue of American literature was its identity as a distinct, national American literature. Throughout “Walking,” Thoreau draws heavily on the influence of European Romanticism while balancing and arguing for the distinctiveness of an American literature.
Throughout “Walking,” Tho
Philippe Billé
Balades, d’Henry D Thoreau (La Table Ronde, 1995, 101 p, d’après Walking). Ce charmant petit volume est un peu alourdi par l’idéologie pro-nature et anti-civilisation, mais Thoreau sait distribuer çà et là les paroles qui retiennent. J’ai aimé sa conception de la marche (p 16-17) : pour lui la promenade, l’errance dans la campagne est une activité à part entière, pas un simple exercice d’hygiène. Et au contraire de ce que professent beaucoup de sportifs d’aujourd’hui, il n’a pas pour but de se v ...more
Arthur Lahey
Despite my love of hiking and camping, "Walking" is the first bit of writing by Thoreau that I've read. I plan on (at some point) tackling Walden, but I have little other knowledge of Thoreau and his mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I'll be honest, I found the majority of the essay to be meandering and somewhat convoluted, although given the nature of the subject this was likely a stylistic choice on the part of the author to simulate the exploratory nature of walking as he describes it. However, the
Lovely! I adore this writer. I think I like this essay nearly as much as I like Walden. Now I have a yearning to read Leaves of Grass. I'll definitely revisit this. I think it's a spring book. :)
Rachelle Urist
A soothing read about the consoling nature of the woods. Thoreau itemizes the benefits silence and solitude. Many followed in his footsteps, seeking the same solace and comforts of nature. It is a brief, fine read.
Innes Ferguson
I really enjoyed this essay from Thoreau. Insightful, poignant and yet surprisingly easy to read due to his style of writing. It wouldn't be out of place in a current issue of the Atlantic. In fact as our lives get busier and more hectic this essay remains as relevant today as it was in mid 1800's.
Lily OnTheLam
I read this book while on a very rainy day on a tropical island (Palau Selingnaan)- it reminded me how important it is to value nature and live in the moment.
Benjamin Siegel
Best thing he ever wrote; probably the greatest essay by any of the Transcendentalists. Its greatest paragraph: "My desire for knowledge is intermittent, but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we call ...more
I'm savoring this one. So many lovely turns of phrase that speak to me as a trail runner!
David Eppenstein
This was hardly a book, more like a long essay in which Thoreau extols the virtues of a walk in the woods. During this essay Thoreau meanders as he would have us do in forests of our homelands. His meandering is obviously a product of his walks in his forests and swamps and he covers a good amount of subject matter loosely related to his observations in nature and their correlation to man's society. Had he spent more time detailing his observations of nature I be more inspired to go hiking. As i ...more
I believe I read this many years ago but revisited it this week as I attend the AVA convention in Orlando. I love to walk (it's right up there with reading) and this is a nice short essay basically that promotes walking not only for our soul but as a reflection of society and foreward yearning during the time this was written. I loved the quote regarding merchants who sit in their stores or offices all afternoon rather than taking a walk as Thoreau believes. He wonders why they haven't all commi ...more

I am ashamed to admit that up unto this past weekend, I had never read anything (besides a few happened-upon quotes I wrote in my journal) by Thoreau. I have long intended to read "Walden" and have felt that deep in my backpacking, alpine, and forest-loving soul I was destined to fandom of Thoreau...and that it was some sort of sin to not have already read several of his works already. In short, I felt a phony Thoreau fan. So, this past Saturday, I had a d
Erwin Maack
"The Old Marlboro Road

Where they once dug for money
But never found any;
Where sometimes Martial Miles
Singly files,
And Elijah Wood,
I fear for no good.
No other man
Save Elisha Dugan —
O man of wild habits,
Partridges and rabbits,
Who hast no cares
Only to set snares,
Who liv’st all alone,
Close to the bone;
And where life is sweetest
Constantly eatest.
When the spring stirs my blood
With the instinct to travel,
I can get enough gravel
On the Old Marlboro Road.
Nobody repairs it,
For nobody wears it;
It is a living
Sarah Hamilton
Thoreau’s essay “Walking” is a collection of his writings regarding nature and the wilderness. He spends a great deal of time walking around appreciating the world. To me, his essay makes complete sense. You just have to get out there and soak in your surroundings. You have to take back the land and get back to your roots, so to speak. For Thoreau walking is a way to clear his mind; a way to silence all of the thoughts of everyday life and simplify your existence.
Thoreau thinks so highly of wa
"Aunque casi todos los hombres se sienten atraídos por la sociedad, a pocos les ocurre lo propio con la naturaleza. Dada su reacción frente a ella, la mayoría de los hombres me parecen, a pesar de sus artes, inferiores a los animales. [...] ¡Qué poco aprecio por la belleza del paisaje se da entre nosotros! Tienen que decirnos que los griegos llamaban al mundo κόσμος (que significa belleza, orden), y aún no vemos con claridad por qué lo hacían; como mucho, lo consideramos un curioso dato filológi ...more
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Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau)was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books,
More about Henry David Thoreau...
Walden Walden & Civil Disobedience Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Collected Essays) Thoughts from Walden Pond A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers/Walden/The Maine Woods/Cape Cod (Library of America #28)

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“A truly good book is something as natural, and as unexpectedly and unaccountably fair and perfect, as a wild-flower discovered on the prairies of the West or in the jungles of the East. Genius is a light which makes the darkness visible, like the lightning’s flash, which perchance shatters the temple of knowledge itself--and not a taper lighted at the hearthstone of the race, which pales before the light of common day.” 10 likes
“Every sunset which I witness inspires me with the desire to go to a west as distant and as fair as that into which the Sun goes down. He appears to migrate westward daily and tempt us to follow him. He is the Great Western Pioneer whom the nations follow. We dream all night of those mountain ridges in the horizon, though they may be of vapor only, which were last gilded by his rays.” 9 likes
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