Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Henry David Thoreau: Una vida” as Want to Read:
Henry David Thoreau: Una vida
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Henry David Thoreau: Una vida

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  426 ratings  ·  84 reviews
¿Es posible compaginar una "vida sin principios" con el compromiso de escribir la biografía de Thoreau? Thoreau dejó Walden para que leyéramos "Walden" . Sin embargo, la redacción final de "Walden" , los dos grandes libros elegíacos sobre los bosques de Maine y el cabo Cod, las polémicas piezas sobre el capitán Brown o las postreras descripciones naturales están teñidas de ...more
Paperback, 664 pages
Expected publication: October 31st 2019 by Cátedra (first published July 7th 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Henry David Thoreau, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Henry David Thoreau

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  426 ratings  ·  84 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Diane S ☔
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019, lor-2019
For the last several months I have spent time in Thoreau's world. His and the other Concord notables. After finishing Walden, I had an impression of this man, as one who thought himself above others, high minded and a bit of a snob. I did, however, think highly of his love for nature, and his non materialism, minimalist stance on life. After reading this biography of him, my feelings have completely changed, to one of deep admiration. The author does a fantastic job of taking us through this man ...more
Ken
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The thing about biography is, if it's well-written, you feel as if you've lost a friend at the end. And why not? After keeping the man company for 500 pages, from youth to bitter end, he begins to seep into your pores a bit. You sweat the subject, begin to feel indignant when he does, elated when he is, worried about this thing there's never enough of -- time.

I knew a thing or two about H. D. Thoreau going in, mostly by dint of Walden, a book I've read straight through once and dabbled in m
...more
Sher
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Will be one of my top 10 reads for 2019. A detailed account of all Thoreau's major works and a cultural history of Concord during the 19th C. All the big theme of 19th C American cultural life are covered in this book with the big events too such as the John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, The Civil War, slavery, Native American views, Darwin, and the coming ravages of industrialization and capitalism. In addition Thoreau's complex personality and a tracing of his friendships with Emerson, Channi ...more
James Murphy
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those who admire Thoreau and his intimacy with nature around Concord and New England may have a sense of a legendary man equal to it, one who walked around in it confident it held few mysteries for him. The strength of Walls's portrait of Thoreau is that she writes him as a man who knew some things about how water flows and about birds, who understood the leaf and the way of squirrels, but who was still humbled by the natural world. Her book is the biography of a rather unaffected man who spent ...more
Carl Safina
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished reading the superb Thoreau biography by Laura Walls. One of those books I savored because I did not want it to end.

Every paragraph was excellent. It was like opening up the drapes and windows on a man I’d long considered a hero but knew nothing, really, about. What an incredible person and absolutely excellent book!
David Guy
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. Right at the moment I can’t think of a better one. And it comes at an ideal moment for me.

The official occasion is the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth, in 1817. There is a whole wave of writing coming out about him now. Thoreau’s life speaks to me because I’ve retired from my job at the university, and have a new opportunity to live my life deliberately, as he advocated (though I’ve tried always to do that). It also—rather unexpecte
...more
Rick
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Who is the real Henry David Thoreau? Is it Thoreau the writer? Thoreau the the philosopher? Thoreau the naturalist? The businessman? The adventurer? The political activist? The very complicated personality who finds a way to balance the multiple aspects of his life? Laura Dassow Walls finds a way to find balance too in this very well researched and composed biography. The day she signed my copy we talked about our mutual admiration of this great American philosopher/poet, evidenced by our long t ...more
Kristi
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The greatest strength of Walls' biography of the Thoreau is her well-rounded approach to his life. Thoreau was a complex individual, whose career and character is often segmented into a partial focus. Walls writes a Thoreau, whose aspects are reunited into a whole man. Like all books, this work is not without its inconsistencies, authorial overstatements, and perhaps even errors. However, Walls' narrative is comprehensively researched, well-written, insightful, and a compassionately constructed ...more
Marianne Meyers
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read many a biography, but this is one of the best I've ever read. Often in a definitive biography, the author will recite all the things that happened in the subject's life, it is dry or has the strong markings of the author's opinions. Laura Dassow Walls takes us on Thoreau's life journey in a way that makes things new and offers perspectives that make Thoreau a complete person rather than the a one-dimensional loner/naturalist/On Walden Pond man of Concord, MA. I found Thoreau's life com ...more
Christopher
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Detailed and moving autobiography of the Transcendentalist writer, philosopher and pioneering ecologist—an inspiring look at someone far ahead of his time.
Steven Peck
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful life well lived.
Joshua Buhs
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magnificent biography.

Walls has lived with Thoreau for decades now, and her intimacy with the man and his times shows. She has digested a truly remarkable amount of detail and presents it here in a well-structured biography that reads easily even as it does justice to the richness of his times, his ideas, and his life: it's novelistic in detail while academically rigorous biography.

The axis out of which the story radiates is, of course, the time Thoreau spent at Walden,
...more
Jon M.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Henry David Thoreau: A Life
Laura Dassow Walls
(University of Chicago Press, 640 PP)

Since schooldays, I have been drawn to the author of Walden and Civil Disobedience – and so has Laura Dassow Walls. She brilliantly frames the concerns of the most enduring transcendentalist, demonstrating why Thoreau remains important today: his concerns feel nearly as present as they must have felt in the 1840s. “[I]t was clear to him that the American Revolution was incomplete: inequality was
...more
Jim Cherry
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best biography on Thoreau I've read (and that's a lot) the only book that gives you the feeling of "knowing" Thoreau.
Andy Miller
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This biography of Henry David Thoreau does a wonderful job of not only discussing Thoreau's many writings, but also of describing his full, complex life.
The author, Laura Dassow Walls, shows how history has misunderstood Thoreau. Much has been made about Thoreau not being truly isolated when he lived at Walden pond and wrote in his journals. However, Thoreau himself never claimed total isolation, never hid the fact that he often went to town to visit friends and have dinner with his family
...more
Denny
I enjoyed this dense, detailed biography of Henry David Thoreau. As with other outstanding biographies I've read, it's much more than just the story of one person's life. It's a thorough history of a provincial and literary era and contains many historical and biographical accounts & anecdotes about a wide range of Thoreau's peers and the prevailing cultural and political issues of America in the mid-19th century. I shudder to think of how thoroughly Laura Dassow Walls had to immerse herself ...more
Adam
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I wasn't charmed by Thoreau before reading this biography, I certainly am now.

Having read Walden, unearthing more of his biographical details and investigating more of his political context deepened my appreciation for his work and perspective. His keen sense of nature as an all-encompassing cycle sets him apart as a 19th century thinker - his ideas wonderfully blending the poetic, philosophic, and scientific.

What this read did for me perhaps more than anything else was to situate and clari
...more
Geoff
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just when you think you know enough about a favorite author, along comes a brilliant author to reveal to you a new Henry David Thoreau. Walls' biography flows. Her insights, her command of language and of Thoreau's life and works deserves the highest praise and awards. A delight to read, a new resource, and opened my eyes to parts of Thoreau I suspected but know now.

I highly recommend this biography of Thoreau to any who have read Thoreau
Sara Van Dyck
A fabulous book. Walls’s prose is energetic, weaving many short quotes with background material that give them meaning. She can be lyrical, passionate, and enjoyably colloquial at points, as when she comments that Thoreau's talk on Wild Apples “was a good lecture, a lecture with legs…”

Mike
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book, and Walden is rather a small part of Thoreau’s life. Iconoclastic, brilliant, man of letters, surveyor, woods man, teacher, scientist, abolitionist, a writer and a friend.
Died at a young age of 44, and a life fully lived.

This is an exceptionally well researched biography.
John Kissell
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I add my praise for Laura Dassow Walls' biography of Henry David Thoreau ... well written, deeply researched, insightful ... If you like Americana, good biographies, American philosophy this is well worth picking up ...
James
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This biography of Thoreau has been a revelation and has lit a thousand new fires for me. Walls does a fine job of covering the entire Thoreau story from beginning to end — no small feat — and drilling significantly deeply into the more radicalized facets of Thoreau that seem to go missing elsewhere. His family’s activity in the Underground Railroad, for instance, and their energetic efforts on behalf of abolition, and, if course, John Brown and everything that entails.

This book has set off a ca
...more
Christina Karvounis
Simply outstanding. Excellent writing and research and truly a story of emerging social and political
life in the 19th c. I found myself comparing and considering social and political discourse as it contrasts with our present day. #whyIread
Robin Cicchetti
A masterpiece. Scholarship, research, and exquisite writing. Finished it today and am left quaking.
Kit
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recentlyread
A delightful book, a compelling story. Walls is an extraordinary writer.
Andrew Lamb
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the best biography and study of Thoreau that I have read to date. The only exception would be E.B. White's wonderful essay entitled "Walden-1954." But that was a tribute essay and not a full-fledged biography.

The writing is very good, the author brings in what brought her to Thoreau, and the book traces the life quite well. Some of the other biographies that I have read got lost a bit in Transcendentalism and thus lost me along the way. This work took a more straightforw
...more
William Graham
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Great Biography

This well written and impeccably researched book is a must read for any Thoreau lover. Highly recommended. You will admire Thoreau even more.
Mark Hawthorne
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only the best biography I've ever read, but one of the best books I've ever read. I feel like I actually walked alongside Thoreau. I was sorry to reach the final paragraph. Highly recommended!
Bill Newell
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of Laura Dassow Walls' 500 pp. Henry David Thoreau: A Life (University of Chicago Press, 2017). Turns out the book is focused on Thoreau as a writer, but nonetheless it provides wonderful insights into Thoreau's thought and personality as well. From his childhood through his two years at Walden Pond, Thoreau was a gifted eccentric radical in search of not just of his voice as a writer, but more importantly in search of a cause and the principles to guide his actions on its behalf. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Thoreau You Don't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant
  • The Adventures of Henry Thoreau: A Young Man's Unlikely Path to Walden Pond
  • Thoreau and the Language of Trees
  • The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography
  • Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane
  • Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus
  • Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind
  • Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi
  • Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey
  • A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (Writings of Henry D. Thoreau)
  • Tales From The Underground: A Natural History Of Subterranean Life
  • Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country
  • Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor
  • Attracting Native Pollinators; Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies
  • On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, Author of Silent Spring
  • Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition
  • Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life
  • Nelson: The Sword of Albion
See similar books…
“Thoreau could speculate that even a slight shift in natural processes—a little colder winter, a little higher flood—might put an end to humanity, so dependent are we on a wild nature that gives us no guarantees. Hence he emphasized living "deliberately"; that is, living so as to perceive and weigh the moral consequence of our choices. "Civil Disobedience" insists that the choices we make create our environment, both political and natural—all the choices, even the least and most seemingly trivial. The sum of those choices is weighed on the scales of the planet itself, a planet that is, like Walden Pond, sensitive and alive, quick to measure the least change and register it in sound and form. To Thoreau this was cause for tremendous optimism: as the village expanded and the old trees fell, he planted new ones and reveled in the young forest. If the English settlers had wiped out many of New England's animals—beaver, wolf, bear and cougar, moose and deer, wild turkey—still there was much remaining, enough to assure him the wild was everywhere, ready to reseed and reclaim what it had lost. His last, unfinished works, Wild Fruits and The Dispersion of Seeds, emphasize how the smallest of seeds, let loose on the winds or carried by the least of beings, could transform the world. All humans need to do is learn to work with instead of against the vital currents of life. The Books Thoreau didn't live to finish are about building a community of life, and he died in the faith his words, like seeds, would take root and grow. Exactly insofar as we, today, share his belief in the future of life and act on it, will he continue to speak to us.” 0 likes
More quotes…