Henry David Thoreau’s Best Books 📚

Henry David Thoreau was a man to which several great books and philosophies are attributed – and his best books carry some of the most provocative but rational social ideals.

Henry David Thoreau

American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher

At the core of his pool of literary contributions lies Henry David Thoreau’s masterwork ‘Walden,’ a book whose strange, yet psychologically stimulating, ideas continue to have a tremendous impact on society and readership. The prolific author has some of the best impactful write-ups and they will be overviewed here. 


Walden by Henry David Thoreau Book Artwork
Walden Book Artwork

Also called ‘Life in the Woods,’ ‘Walden’ is a book written more than one-and-the-half centuries ago by Henry David Thoreau. The book is a celebrated work of classic literature and was originally written in eighteen separate essays initially published as a lecture meant for an esoteric group. 

In ‘Walden,’ Henry David Thoreau talks about his encounter surviving outside of society for two years. Thoreau was a stout believer in individuality and personal freedom and greatly criticized society and government, blaming them for being too controlling and unnecessarily dictating human and individual lives to the extent that it became detrimental. 

Thoreau embarked on a social experiment and moral and spiritual awakening in Walden Pond, a place where he didn’t have to live by social expectations and conventions. A place where sought to discover the absolute minimalistic necessity of life. Henry David Thoreau’s ‘Walden’ continues to be a profound reference material for student readers and social researchers across the globe to date.


Henry David Thoreau, aside from his strong opinions on individualism, was also a nature writer and lover of the wild, and his accomplishments in ‘Walking’ was so profound that it became pure gold in terms of ideas for nature activists and environmentalists. 

Published in the mid-1800s, ‘Walking’ is a book that argues that the best things in life are free and natural – with the book also proffering how people can make the most of these natural things for a better life. 

There’s a variety of aspects touched by Henry David Thoreau in ‘Walking,’ and a few of them includes the benefits of casual walking, and how to spend time in the woods and wild for a transformative life, among other things. Despite being more than a hundred years old, ‘Walking’ is still a go-to book for nature activists and individuals hoping to make good time in their surrounding environment. 

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

This piece is remembered for being the maiden book of Henry David Thoreau and offers a delightful experience for readers, hardly indicative that the author was a novice writer. ‘A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers’ follows Henry David Thoreau’s writing about a cruise trip he and his brother embark across the Concords of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. 

Thoreau, in this book, once again shows the quality of his ideas and writing, as he included poems and journals, buttressing his ideals of fervent individuality and transcendentalism. 

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

This is a fine collection of essays and word plays by Henry David Thoreau. The collection includes stories such as ‘Wild Apple,’ and ‘Herald of Freedom’ – with ‘Civil Disobedience,’ which follows his critiquing of government attacks on civil liberty, being the collection’s frontal story. 


What book is Henry David Thoreau best know for?

Thoreau published a lot of popular books and essays with socially compelling ideas. However, his best-known work remains ‘Walden,’ also called ‘Life in the Woods.’ 

Is ‘Walden’ fiction?

Walden’ is typically nonfiction as it follows a real-life account of Thoreau’s two years hiatus in Walden Pond – where he sought to find the most minimalistic essence of life.

What kind of writing did Henry David Thoreau do?

Thoreau mostly did nonfiction – mostly in the forms of memoirs, straight essays, and journals. He was a well-enlightened man of his age who promoted his ideas of individualism and self-hood. 

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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