Magazine article American Forests

Thoreau's Country; Journey through a Transformed Landscape

Magazine article American Forests

Thoreau's Country; Journey through a Transformed Landscape

Article excerpt

Thoreau's Country; Journey through a Transformed Landscape by David R. Foster.

$29.so. Ha University Press, 1999.

David Foster, director of the Harvard Forest, draws on his personal experiences in the woodlands of New England and his skills as an ecologist and landscape historian to offer new interpretations of Henry David Thoreau's writings. His insights are remarkable both in revealing an intimate understanding of Thoreau and his times and in showing the relevance of his writings to the present.

Foster's primary sources were the 39 volumes of Thoreau's journals, an almost daily record of his observations from 1837 until his death in 1862. Foster assembled excerpts by themes to reflect Thoreau's insights into the culture and landscapes of his day. Accounts of the daily life of farmers, stone walls, wildfires, and hunting are a few topics Foster explores to explain Thoreau's remarkable understanding of humans' role in shaping the landscape. The result is a captivating story of a time when seasons set the schedule of life, all was local, and details were important. A dozen or so line drawings enhance the text.

Anyone who has been inspired by Thoreau's Walden will be thrilled by Thoreau's Country. …

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