When Henry David Thoreau died at the age of forty-four in 1862, he had written a forest of articles and essays that eventually earned him a reputation as a first-rate naturalist, conservationist, and social critic. His gravesite in Concord, Massachusetts, is a pilgrimage site for readers who still turn to Walden, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Maine Woods, ''Civil Disobedience,'' and ''Walking'' for inspiration. Thoreau was a supreme articulator of America's conscience when the country was industrializing, facing battle over slavery, and developing its public education system. His thoughts are brook-clear and strangely prescient today.
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