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Walking

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  5,646 ratings  ·  461 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 1861)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Cheri
”I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks—who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering: which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and I asked charity, under pretense of going à la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, ‘There goes a Sainte Terre,’ a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they ...more
Debbie Zapata
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: gutenberg
I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.

Moreover, you must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking.

Nowadays almost all man's improvements, so called, as the building of houses and the cutting down of the forest and of all large trees, simply deform the landscape
...more
Riku Sayuj
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could jogging count, perchance? I promise to keep my head facing west by south-west as I run in my daily circles...
Jim
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays, nonfiction, nature
This essay by Henry David Thoreau is about the author's joy in living in nature and in the present. Walking is a short read and nicely encapsulates many of Thoreau's themes from Walden Pond and his other works.
Nowadays almost all man's improvements, so called, as the building of houses and the cutting down of the forest and of all large trees, simply deform the landscape, and make it more and more tame and cheap. A people who would begin by burning the fences and let the forest stand! I saw th
...more
Cyndi
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I recently read an article that said Thoreau lived about a mile and a half from his family home for his hermitage. So he wasn't far from civilization during his time in Walden woods. He also had lots of visitors. So here's my point, the beginning of this book says that Henry David Thoreau walked 30 miles a day. And I think to myself, "Hmmm. Men never make good shopping lists. Otherwise he would not have had to make so many trips because he forgot to buy milk, eggs, bread, etc." I know. I'm brill ...more
Jane Reye
May 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 Thoreau made many valid points).

I had plan
...more
J Dride
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"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
...more
julieta
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoreau finds nature a reflection of how we think. Leaving nature for civilisation is the first mistake we make.
I love everything he writes, and of course, this is more about nature than it is about walking, and more of who we are in nature.
Paul Stevenson
Where do you come from? where do you go? Where do you come from, Henry Thoreau?
Elizabeth
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.

Examples:

"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
...more
Laura
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie
Recommended to Laura by: Cheryl Kennedy
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.


Quotations:

Page 2:
If
...more
Douglas Cootey
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Ellen
Dec 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Saunter (at a clip!) far away from this one. You know there'll be trouble by page two when Thoreau, speculating on the etymology of the word "saunter," declares that he "prefer[s]" a derivation from "Sainte-Terrer," a "Holy-lander," rather than "sans terre," a wanderer "without land or a home." "For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels." Ugh. Malarkey.

"You must be born into the family of
...more
Lorna
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I wouldn't want to meet Thoreau in real life.
"Which is the best man to deal with—he who knows nothing about a subject, and, what is extremely rare, knows that he knows nothing, or he who really knows something about it, but thinks that he knows all?"
Thoreau is the latter. But this little book has several enjoyable, ranty, insights.

"He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, whic
...more
Emma M.
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Rachel Nicole Wagner
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS PIECE BY THOREAU! Wow, it just really spoke to me. The opening line, "I wish to speak a word for Nature." Wow. It had me captivated from the first line. I really love this message of looking around at the beauty around you and appreciating all of the "real-life," that surrounds us. It pays omage to "stop and smell the roses," I just love it so much!

xo,
Rach
Nicola
Jul 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
7 in 7 readathon book #4. A big meh. Starts well, then he goes off on one about civilisation and society. Doesn't really stick to the topic of walking at all. Too bad.
Judy
I've never read Walden, although I've picked it up several times and flipped through the pages. It was just too much, too voluminous, too daunting. This book proved to be a gentle introduction to a man I would have liked to have met. I admire his dedication to the natural world. Not needing to travel to some distant location, he appreciated the woods around his own home. He wanted to understand the plants and birds, the weather and ever-changing environment. Kullberg has selected passages that g ...more
Donna
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was interesting....I'm still thinking about it. Henry David Thoreau put such thought and care into this. He made the time to write about "walking" which was a beloved past time of his. Granted this was back in the mid 1800's where traveling (of any kind) was either a luxury or a necessity, let alone having spare time to do it. When I look at the lives of my ancestors in the mid-west during that time, it was a hard life. After a day in the fields, I think the last thing they wanted was to go ...more
Stephen
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
Mmars
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
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.

Adeline
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Gary
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Being an avid, daily walker, I enjoy thinking about Thoreau’s thoughts as I walk.
Dustyloup
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think I could return to this essay time and time again. I took eleven pages of notes with quotes as I was reading. So many things to like about this and more digestible than Walden. I tried reading that once and got bogged down by it. Thoreau is not perfect by any means and his ignorance of women and Native Americans seems quite clear, but he was a product of his time and manifest destiny was in full swing. It’s fascinating to read and see, really feel an America at the bridge between the past ...more
The Minireads
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Walkingis a transcendental essay, which Henry David Thoreau also considered as one of his seminal works. He even quoted it as, "an introduction to all his coming works." So, reading Walking is one the most essential aspect, if we want to understand the philosophy of Thoreau in an efficient manner.

When it comes to reviewing this essay it's an equally difficult task, because of the contemplative style of writing that changes its course quite often. I have tried to write down the main aspects of th
...more
Mitchell Dietrich
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Not bad.
Detach. Go outside. Enjoy life a little.
What bothers me is that I don’t hate Thoreau in this book.
John Martindale
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
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
...more
Marios
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
...more
George Love
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
More of an essay than a book, but a brilliant essay. The closing section of Walking is amazing, one stunning insight crashing down on top of the next and reaching a crescendo on the final line which I would rank as my second favorite closing line ever after The Great Gatsby. Thoreau begins with walking and dives into innovation, creativity, domesticated spirits, freedom and plenty more. He suggests that in walking - away from the village, into nature - we are reminded of who we truly are. We str ...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.

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