Walden and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Listen to a sample

What to expect

In the early spring of 1845, Henry David Thoreau built and lived in a cabin near the shore of Walden Pond in rural Massachusetts. For the next two years, he enacted his own Transcendentalist experiment, living a simple life based on self-reliance, individualism, and harmony with nature. The journal he kept at that time evolved into his masterwork,Walden, an eloquent expression of a uniquely American philosophy.

During the same period, Thoreau endured a one-day imprisonment for his refusal to pay a poll tax, an act of protest against the government for supporting the Mexican War, to which he was morally opposed. In his essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” he defends the principles of such nonviolent protest, setting an example that has influenced such figures as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and that endures to this day.

Henry David Thoreau is today considered one of the most influential figures in American thought and literature.

Critics Review

  • “Here, in [‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’] I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance…I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times…No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau.”

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “[Thoreau’s] ideas influenced me greatly…I actually took the name of my movement from Thoreau’s essay ‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’…”

    Mahatma Gandhi
  • Walden is a major philosophical statement on the American character, the uses of a life of simple toil, and the values of rugged independence…a work that today…is as readable and perhaps even more timely than when it was written.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature
  • “Narrator Robin Field’s expressiveness is excellent, his pacing fine, his understanding of the text clear. His reading of the famous, and still radical, essay on civil disobedience is direct and down-to-earth, keeping all Thoreau’s good qualities.”


Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to get tailored content recommendations, product updates and info on new releases. Your data is your own: we commit to protect your data and respect your privacy.