Walden Pond: A History

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Product Details
Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.08 X 1.08 X 9.68 inches | 1.85 pounds

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About the Author
W. Barksdale Maynard teaches architectural history at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Delaware and is the author of Architecture in the United States, 1800-1850. He has served as a consultant for The Walden Woods Project and was a visiting scholar at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods. He lives in Newark, Delaware.

"Important, illuminating, and of great narrative appeal."--Natural History

"A painstakingly researched, reportorial history that begins with Thoreau's first glimpse of the pond in 1821 and carries through to the present day. It's a classic tale of Americans loving their national treasures to death...This book will surely appeal to Thoreau buffs and to those concerned with natural and historic preservation. It provides a comprehensive history of the landscape that inspired one of America's most important authors."--Publishers Weekly

"Delightful and engaging...A clear, evenhanded rendering of a complex human drama."--Philadelphia Inquirer

"Maynard has delivered what will be the enduring chronicle, from Thoreau's first dream to our time, of one of America's and the world's most important historical sites."--Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

"Essential for readers of Thoreau."--Kirkus Reviews

"Fresh and original. This book is going to be a standard work for anyone interested in the legacy of Thoreau and transcendentalism in America."--Donald Worster, author of Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas

"Maynard's move to disengage Walden the idea--the shrine of the environmental movement--from Walden the place, one that 'has long been a beloved swimming hole for greater Boston, ' has helped him to construct a scholarly study of an iconic, if less than idyllic place."--John Motyka, The New York Times Book Review

"An eminently readable, deeply informed account of the tangled history of one of this country's most sacred--and contested--places."--Lawrence Buell, author of Emerson

"A tour de force...I stand in awe of what Mr. Maynard has been able to do."--Edmund Schofield, Thoreau Society Bulletin

"This is a book we have long needed, and Maynard is clearly the person to have written it. Painstakingly researched, delightfully written--Maynard tells a fascinating story that's a joy to read."--Bradley P. Dean, editor of Thoreau's Faith in a Seed

"Whether Thoreau himself, his biographers, an early 1900s photographer, or dirt-on-the-hands naturalists, each such person's affinity for a special spot at Walden will resonate with Maynard's readers. The intimacy this generates in Maynard's history only strengthens its vitally important contribution to Thoreauvian studies."--Booklist

"W. Barksdale Maynard picks up where Henry David Thoreau left off. In the pond that Thoreau transformed into a symbol of spirituality, the birthplace of environmentalism, and a classic of American literature, Maynard discerns a fascinating mirror of a changing American culture. Combining environmental, social, and literary history, Maynard surveys the clashing interests at the pond and plumbs the conflicts of American life. As his thorough study makes plain, lovers of Walden have at once helped to preserve and to endanger their sanctuary. If that special place is to survive for new generations, it requires sensitivity to the many purposes it has served. Walden Pond bears a complex past. Thanks to Maynard, it may continue to enjoy an inspiring future."--Robert A. Gross, University of Connecticut

"Maynard's superb social, cultural, and environmental history of Walden Pond brings alive its history, from geological times through Thoreau's stay there to the trailer park and town dump of the present. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Thoreau, Walden, or the American environmental movement."--Joel Myerson, editor of Transcendentalism: A Reader