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Autobiography, Philosophy In 1845 Henry David Thoreau left his pencil-manufacturing business and began building a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. This lyrical yet practical-minded book is at once a record of the 26 months Thoreau spent in withdrawal from society – an account of the daily minutiae of building, planting, hunting, cooking, and, always, observing nature – and a declaration of independence from the oppressive mores of the world he left behind. Elegant, witty, and quietly searching, Walden remains the most persuasive American argument for simplicity of life clarity of conscience.