The Adventures of Henry Thoreau by Michael Sims

The Adventures of Henry ThoreauWe know the iconic Thoreau, sitting alone in his cabin, philosophizing, engaged in civil disobedience. Sims adds a warmer, more complex, physical man, involved with his community. Thoreau loved teaching children about the nature around them, enjoyed outings and ice skating with friends, and sometimes – but not always! – welcomed visitors to his cabin. And he was a dedicated and caring family man, stepping in to assist in times of illness and helping his father develop their successful pencil business.

A keen observer, Thoreau was one of the first people to note the way in which there is a predictable succession of trees in a forest over the years.

Sims excels in showing the early influences on Thoreau. One surprising story is how as a young man Thoreau and a friend accidentally started a fire that burned 300 acres of the local woods. Neighbors rightly blamed Thoreau for the fire, and their reactions may have led Thoreau to distance himself.

Reviewed by Sarav

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