Walden Pond by W. Barksdale Maynard
A History

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Perhaps no other natural setting has as much literary, spiritual, and environmental significance for Americans as Walden Pond. Some 700,000 people visit the pond annually, and countless others journey to Walden in their mind, to contemplate the man who lived there and what the place means to us today.
Here is the first history of the Massachusetts pond Thoreau made famous 150 years ago. W. Barksdale Maynard offers a lively and comprehensive account of Walden Pond from the early nineteenth century to the present. From Thoreau's first visit at age 4 in 1821--"That woodland vision for a long time made the drapery of my dreams"--to present day efforts both to conserve the pond and allow public access, Maynard captures Walden Pond's history and the role it has played in social, cultural, literary, and environmental movements in America. Along the way Maynard details the geography of the pond; Thoreau's and Emerson's experiences of Walden over their lifetimes; the development of the cult of Thoreau and the growth of the pond as a site of literary and spiritual pilgrimages; rock star Don Henley's Walden Woods Project and the much publicized battle to protect the pond from developers in the 1980s; and the vitally important ecological symbol Walden Pond has become today.
Exhaustively researched, vividly written, and illustrated with historical photographs and the most detailed maps of Thoreau country yet created, Walden Pond: A History reveals the many ways an ordinary pond has come to be such an extraordinarily inspiring symbol.

About W. Barksdale Maynard

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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.
Published February 12, 2004 by Oxford University Press. 416 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Later portions deal with the encroachments of “civilization” over the last 150 years and the ferocious defense of the pond by assorted groups, most successfully the Walden Woods Project (for whom the author has worked), which raised millions of dollars under the leadership of Eagles rocker Don He...

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Publishers Weekly

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As Maynard dismayingly shows, since the death of Henry David Thoreau, hundreds of thousands of visitors have flocked to Walden Woods each year;

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Emerson supported Thoreau's endeavor but wasn't interested in year-round rustic living himself, preferring "a comfortable study in town."Using old photographs, maps and illustrations, Maynard creates a vivid picture of the house and its environs that will enrich any reader's appreciation of Walden.

Jan 14 2017 | Read Full Review of Walden Pond: A History


"But if Walden is disappointing," says Blanding, "that is because Walden is true.

May 01 2014 | Read Full Review of Walden Pond: A History


Even Thoreau admitted that “the scenery of Walden is on a humble scale.” As for any uniqueness, he wrote that nearby White Pond was “just like” it—and, in fact, “since the woodcutters, and the railroad, and I myself have profaned Walden, perhaps the most attractive, if not the most beautiful, of ...

Jun 08 2007 | Read Full Review of Walden Pond: A History

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