Bruce's Reviews > A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1207684
's review
Sep 06, 10

Read in September, 2010

At times this work seems a leisurely pastoral, at times a zoological exploration. Of most interest to me, however, are the times when Thoreau uses his travels as a framework on which to construct philosophical musings only tangentially related to the trip itself; for example, he has a fascinating long discussion about religion, the church, and Christianity that sheds light on his own beliefs in the context of his times. I personally find Thoreau’s iconoclastic perspectives refreshing and his rejection of institutional religion, specifically Christianity, perceptive and congenial, although all readers clearly would not agree. It is satisfying to see that the current stream of freethinking anti-religionists is not a new phenomenon but rather has a long, solid, and intellectually honest heritage.

How much Thoreau has to teach, not least about how to educate ourselves and live fully. He has comments, memorable comments, on many subjects. Here are some of his thoughts about books and reading: “It would be worth the while to select our reading, for books are the society we keep; to read only the serenely true…Read the best books first, or you may not have the chance to read them at all…Books, not which afford us a cowering enjoyment, but in which each thought is of unusual daring; such as an idle man cannot read, and a timid one would not be entertained by, which even make us dangerous to existing institutions - such call I good books.”

At the very end, he has moving and wise thoughts about Solitude. Thoreau is a marvel, a gifted writer and a wise and prescient thinker, well worth reading and pondering.
3 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Christine Having read your review just as I prepared to open this book, I am eager to plunge ahead! I count myself, at this point, as one if those people who has come forth from a background of fundamentalist Christianity into the light of faith in God, but divorced from the dogma. If Thoreau waxes eloquent upon religion, Christianity, science, faith, solitude herein, it seems an adventure worthy of my time.


back to top