Henry David Thoreau: A Life. By Laura Dassow Walls. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. 2017. xx, 615 pp. Cloth, $35.00; paper, $20.00; e-book, $21.00.
Published more than three decades after the last major Thoreau biography, this book updates our understanding of the author of Walden (1854) by placing renewed emphasis on his engagement with science and the environment. Thoreau saw his world transformed by the Industrial Revolution, as deforestation, railroad expansion, economic uncertainty, and river flooding impacted his life. Starting with the author’s ancestors and ending with his own death, the book comprises three sections: the making of Thoreau, the making of Walden, and successions.
Crash and Burn: Danger and Vulnerability in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. By Jennifer Travis. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 2018. xii, 161 pp. Cloth, $90.00; e-book, $85.50.
Analyzing fiction and legal, medical, and public policy debates,...