1962 marks the Thoreau centennial; to commemorate that event August Derleth has penned a thoughtful and tender work, a clear, chronological assessment and an obvious labor of love. Here the sage of Concord often speaks for himself: out of the Journals, out of Walden, the Civil Disobedience tract, the Merrimack River book and the little known letters; the Thoreauvianisms ring forth with an honesty, a hearty poetry, a natural nobility of soul hard to come by elsewhere. A member of a close-knit family, Thoreau was also a woodland solitary; after he loved and lost his only lass, he went off to spend two famous years in a hut on the shore of a pond. With the Transcendentalists he preached pantheism, yet organized religion he decried. Though a social critic, he never cottoned to reform, but he supported John Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry, condemned the West Coast gold rush, and as the gentle rebel with guts, be defied both government and state over the payment of a poll tax. He was the liberator of a humanity victimized by the humdrum; he scorned materialism (""One should work only enough to be independent""), championed the individual (""When you knock ask to see God- none of the servants""). He died relatively unknown, but he ultimately influenced and inspired a whole new world, form Tolstoy and Yeats to the British Labor Party and Gandhi. A charming biography.