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Summary

In the early spring of 1845, Henry David Thoreau built and lived in a cabin near the shore of Walden Pond in rural Massachusetts. For the next two years, he enacted his own Transcendentalist experiment, living a simple life based on self-reliance, individualism, and harmony with nature. The journal he kept at that time evolved into his masterwork, Walden, an eloquent expression of a uniquely American philosophy.

During the same period, Thoreau endured a one-day imprisonment for his refusal to pay a poll tax, an act of protest against the government for supporting the Mexican War, to which he was morally opposed. In his essay, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," Thoreau defends the principles of such nonviolent protest, setting an example that has influenced such figures as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and endures to this day.

Public Domain (P)1997 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Walden is a major philosophical statement on the American character....as readable and perhaps even more timely than when it was written." ( Masterpieces of World Literature)

What listeners say about Walden and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

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Two Classics Very Well Read

Another brilliant narration by Robin Field. He excels at American non-fiction works of the nineteenth century, and I must explore his range further.

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Preachy, judgemental ponderings

I'll be honest, the guy isn't clueless and knows a lot of stuff. And I sometimes find myself agreeing with him. But, in the end, it still feels like the ponderings of a teenager who judges people for things like buying a house instead of building it itself or living in a tent.

It doesn't help that it is read by an old guy with the cadence of a churchpreach.

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6 STARS

This is a great narration of my favourite book ever. The voice fits Thoreau very well. Definitely listen while this is in the audible library, and definitely pay for it if not.

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chapters in the wrong order

i got to chapter 4, then after looking up the book to discover the chapter titles (as they are not given on audible), I came across the chapters in summary with quotations given. at this point i realised that this audibook is in the wrong order. chapter 4 on the audiobook is in fact chapter 2 of the book. what a waste of time! returning immediately.

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  • Leukloki
  • 22-01-17

Exceptional Narration

The quality of the narration is excellent, particularly in tones and emotions imparted.
Some negatively comment on the slower pace of the reading.
I think the tempo is appropriate, if you are the type that require faster digestion of information then I would recommend some other topic entirely.

I will not review the author or the content, you know what you have searched for.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Rtsquirrel
  • 21-02-17

Better Than I Remember

I first read (forcibly) these books as a sophomore in high school, and enjoyed it as much as a tooth extraction sans novacaine.
My return to these works is spawned by a curiosity of what I failed to grasp in my youth. Grateful for that curiosity, am I.
Thoreau was a brilliant observer of human kind and its behaviors, as well as a student of great minds. His words would be well referenced in today's political storm, both by our leaders and those abroad.
Robin Field delivers these words in a manner that I often thought Thoreau was reading to me, his own works. I occasionally wondered at the pronunciations of words, considering that when this was written, perhaps those words were newly contrived in the world which Thoreau resided.
I truly enjoyed these books.

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  • pamtish
  • 08-08-16

Outstanding Reading of a Classic

I really felt as if it was being spoken by Thoreau himself. The cadence of the reading is oddly soothing, as Thoreau walks us through his daily life at Walden Pond. Listening to his essay on Civil Disobedience was an easy way to approach this classic, and I found it inspirational and ironically relevant to our current political climate.

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  • Luis
  • 11-04-17

Needs a double listen

When Thoreau discusses philosophy his concepts are very enlightening. I may not have as good a grasp on his material as more learned people, but a large portion of Walden is dedicated to his observations of the pond and wildlife there. If your interests are in his observations then you will be content. However, for myself, I did not come to this book for that. I also put the narrator's speed at about 1.55x because it was too slow for me, especially for listening to descriptions of nature.

Again, Thoreaus' philosophical principals are very intriguing, but I do need to listen to it again as they are deep with meaning. Good listen, highly recommend the beginning and end of this audio book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-07-18

This book is my bible

I have grown up with this book playing. Robin Field is the voice of it, and no one could read it better. This has really shaped the way I live my life and see my place in the world. It's audio format is the way to go and enables you to listen to it while working and walking and being in nature. I built a cabin while listening to this and have heard it many times since. This is american philosophy.

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  • James C. Poland
  • 05-10-21

Weak performance

The voice talent sounded like a an old preacher chiding a congregation. As for the content, it's an interesting picture of life at the time but it was a tad bit tedious.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-05-21

Couldn't even finish it

It's like a philosophy written by a grumpy teenager that hates everything, and simultaneously thinks he knows the best way to live life and won't shut up about it. Thoreau would fit in perfectly with the hipsters in Brooklyn telling you how you're buying the wrong coffee beans. If you're over 30 or even mildly well-read or well-lived you probably won't get much out of this.

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  • jdk
  • 30-10-20

Life Affirming

As I sometimes struggle to find hope reasonable Thoreau's words describing his experiment in necessity and strident libertarianism lift my flagging spirits.

Sure, he's a simple, privileged, educated white man, who may overuse proof by allegory to justify his many faiths, but perhaps that's the very moral inkling our troubled times need?

If you want me I can be found among the strawberries practising husbandry.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Acbangela
  • 19-01-18

Mandatory reading\listeng

All time classic a must read/listen. Be prepared to take your time as the author intends for you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alison Yates
  • 30-01-10

ya' can't get here from there...

This is a book that should be listened too. The narrator pace however is quite slow and I was able to listen to the audio on double speed and still have a firm grasp on the words. The irony of it all is that Walden is about slowing down, being still and using basic resources. Yea, still not giving up my ipod!

2 people found this helpful