Books: Civil Disobedience

THE DAYS OF HENRY THOREAU by Walter Harding. 472 pages. Knopf. $7.95.

Henry David Thoreau has been buried in Concord, Mass. for a century. The stubborn, contradictory spirit laid to rest there did not loom large over his own times. He was considered an eccentric loafer, a consecrated crank with queer ideas. Since then Thoreau's ideas have had their seasons. In this excellent biography by a Thoreau scholar who has written and edited 18 earlier books on his chosen subject, Walter Harding argues that Thoreau's spirit is more pervasive now than ever before.

Fishing. Thoreau was the completely unmalleable man—and boy. When...

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