Although there is no question that the author knows and loves his subject deeply, there is some question as to whether or not Thoreau has been well served here. Longstreth in choosing to use in conversational situations things Thoreau had said in print or by letter, causes the stylist of the essay form to seem stilted in his recreated life and talk, -- this over and above the conventions that obtained during Thoreau's youth and manhood. Without a firm foundation in the cross currents of Concord society and in the forces that produced American culture during the mid-nineteenth century, a younger reader might be excused in confusing Thoreau's basic rebellion as a series of minor obstinacies, for the clarification of issues is not made. It is even hard to find the necessary dates. The spark of life comes in various excerpts from Thoreau's works, indicating that it would be best for readers to wait a bit and take him whole. Selected reading list.