A biography that concentrates on Thoreau's earlier years, before his writing reached much of an audience, when he was just young man trying to find his way through life. It offers a fascinating look into the forces that shaped his character but also offers a portrait of Concord and New England in the Nineteenth Century.
From Mahatma Gandhi and John F. Kennedy to Martin Luther King and Leo Tolstoy, the works of Henry David Thoreau - author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, surveyor, schoolteacher, engineer - have long been an inspiration to many. But who was the unsophisticated young man who in 1837 became a protege of Ralph Waldo Emerson? The Adventures of Henry Thoreau tells the colourful story of a complex man seeking a meaningful life in a tempestuous era. In rich, evocative prose Michael Sims brings to life the insecure, youthful Henry, as he embarks on the path to becoming the literary icon Thoreau. Using the letters and diaries of Thoreau's family, friends and students, Michael Sims charts his coming of age within a family struggling to rise above poverty in 1830s America. From skating and boating with Nathaniel Hawthorne, to travels with his brother, John Thoreau, and the launching of their progressive school, Sims paints a vivid portrait of the young writer struggling to find his voice through communing with nature, whether mountain climbing in Maine or building his life-changing cabin at Walden Pond. He explores Thoreau's infatuation with the beautiful young woman who rejected his proposal of marriage, the influence of his mother and sisters - who were passionate abolitionists - and that of the powerful cultural currents of the day. With emotion and texture, The Adventures of Henry Thoreau sheds fresh light on one of the most iconic figures in American history.