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Demystifying the life, and legacy, of Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau
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Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau 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.

Henry David Thoreau is a bit of a polarizing figure. He has been both celebrated and criticized for his writing. He’s considered an inspirational figure for retreating to the woods, but mocked for his reliance on his mother during that same period.

This hour, we look at the life and legacy of Henry David Thoreau, and ask what his example can teach us about who is remembered and celebrated.


  • Laura Dassow Walls: Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Notre Dame, and author of Henry David Thoreau: A Life, among other books.
  • Alex Beam: Author, journalist, former columnist, and a current contributor to The Boston Globe. 
  • Tracy Fullerton: Professor and Director of the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, and the designer and director of “Walden, A Game.” 

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

The Colin McEnroe Show is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode!

Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Lily is the senior producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show'. She first worked at Connecticut Public as an intern, in 2014. She has previously worked for WBUR, KUNC, and as a producer for the New England News Collaborative's weekly show 'Next.'
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