Henry David Thoreau 1817—1862

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, polymath, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. Thoreau’s books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and “Yankee” love of practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life’s true essential needs. (source: Wikipedia)

Available eBooks


A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849)

Based on a trip with his brother in 1839, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers is an excellent example of Thoreau’s talent for naturalistic writin...read more »


Canoeing in the Wilderness (1916)

At the time Thoreau made this wilderness canoe trip he was forty years old. The record of the journey is the latter half of his The Maine Woods, which i...read more »


Cape Cod (1865)

Based on several trips to the Cape and originally published as a series of articles, Henry David Thoreau’s Cape Cod is a remarkable work that depicts th...read more »


Excursions (1863)

Excursions contains the complete texts of nine of Thoreau’s most popular essays. These include Natural History of Massachusetts, his first essay to appe...read more »


Walden (1854)

In 1845 Henry David Thoreau left his pencil-manufacturing business and began building a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. T...read more »


Walking (1862)

In this essay, first published in 1862 and vital to any appreciation of the great man’s work, Thoreau explores: the joys and necessities of long afterno...read more »