It takes an irreverent, original writer and thinker like Bill McKibben to reveal to a new generation of readers how intensely practical Thoreau's vision in Walden is for those of us living our lives at the cusp of the new millennium.
Recent Thoreau scholarship has concentrated on Thoreau as
prescient forest ecologist; McKibben--author of The End of Nature and one of our best-read social and environmental critics--places him firmly back in his role as cultural and spiritual seer. McKibben identifies two questions asked by Thoreau as central to a late-twentieth-century reading of Walden: "How much is enough?" and "How do I know what I want?" Questions, McKibben reminds us, that must come to dominate the end of the twentieth century if we are to live well into the twenty-first.
McKibben's relevant and lively introduction and annotations to the 1854 edition make us see Walden as, among other things, a way to think about how we use our time, how we spend our money --and how to live essential lives.