Walden - Henry David Thoreau

So, Walden.

 

There's some nice, flowery prose here.  Also some overly discursive and recursive prose that I found tedious.

 

But overall, and I'm writing this as someone who's happiest living out in the woods where I can't see my neighbors, the book drove me bonkers.  His privilege is suffocating.  He talks against things he was a huge subscriber and user of (Post Office, railroad, etc), writing about how we'd be better off without them, how he has no need of them, etc.  He portrays himself as a common man supporting himself on his own labor... but he's on this property with express permission, certainly was not destitute going into this, and should things go very poorly he had plenty of reasonably wealthy friends who could help him get back on his feet.  He likes to educate folks who come from lesser means about how his way is so much better and fulfilling, but at the same time ignoring the situational elements that allow his way of life.

 

There are definitely sentiments I enjoy here, but they're wrapped in so much of the above that it was frustrating.  Land and resource management are almost moot when you're one person living in the woods.  Once you start facing large congregations and communities things aren't as simple as his hybrid farmer/hunter-gatherer lifestyle enjoins, and for all that he speaks against it, he too enjoys the products of commerce and industrialization.