Henry David Thoreau (1817-1872) certainly deserves the accolade of being America's first environmentalist. He was a lover of nature and of the wilderness, a position that put him in disagreement with others in his time who saw the wilderness as a scary and worthless place that needed to be tamed and subdued, much like a bucking bronco in a rodeo. Thoreau's famous statement on this matter is: "In wilderness is the preservation of the world."

This paperback is part of Orbis Books's Modern Spiritual Masters Series. Tim Flinders serves as editor of this anthology and wrote the introduction where he offers a brief survey of this remarkable American man's life and writings. Thoreau was a good friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a reader of the Bhagavad Gita, a surveyor, a failure as a lecturer, a lifelong celibate who cherished his bachelorship, a receiver of ecstatic visions, and a talented essay writer.

Flinders gives readers an impressive crosscut of Thoreau's spiritual and prophetic writings. Among our favorites are "Solitude and Silence," "All Good Things Are Wild," "Simple Living," "God Culminates in the Present Moment," and "Nature Never Makes Haste."

Three of Thoreau's major essays are included in this paperback: "Life without Principle," "Civil Disobedience," and "Walking."