The Adventures of Henry Thoreau: A Young Man’s Unlikely Path to Walden Pond

Written by Michael Sims
Review by Tim Smith

Michael Sims’ well researched biography of one of 19th century America’s most influential writers is a solid, highly informative and detailed book. Tracing David Henry Thoreau’s life from birth to his time at Walden Pond and beyond, it is a book that tells us a lot about the man and his environment but not much about the writing he produced there. For readers familiar with his work this may suffice though personally I could not help but wish for a little more about his books and essays. Sims is a talented writer and beautifully evokes Concord and Massachusetts in the mid-1800s. This sense of place is enhanced by an excellent account of the history of the time, both national and quotidian. My main complaint comes with regard to the subtitle; it is clear from the very beginning that never was there any man more likely to live in a hut by Walden Pond than David Henry Thoreau.