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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (74 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Henry David Thoreau Narrator: Jefferson Mays Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2015 ISBN: 9781440797989
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American author, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau was a passionate abolitionist. Inspired by his opposition to slavery, his illuminating essay “Civil Disobedience” presents the theory that “the government is best that governs least.” A powerful testament that remains as important today as it was during its conception, this theory argues that citizens should not allow their government to overrule through taxes and unjust laws.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melmo | 2/20/2014

    " It took me a while to read because I tend to have comprehension issues with older books and often need a dictionary next to me to fully understand what is being said, that would be the only reason for 4 stars instead of 5. I thouroughly enjoyed this book as I often share many of th eview points on the Government and the role they play versus the role I feel they should in my life. Wish I had read this sooner! Perfect for anyone who is anti big government "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anthony Robertson | 2/18/2014

    " I love how Thoreau takes the film from off the world's eyes on how society really is and gives it to you plainly! Some may want to deny it, but he was right on! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Comicstrip | 2/15/2014

    " About the same as Emerson, only different writing style. Emerson likes to talk in circles and dancing around his subjects. Thoreau is quick and to the point. Easier to read, and more great ideas "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Edith Hope Bishop | 2/15/2014

    " I mean, I have to give it 5 stars. Come on now. I just wish he had considered that teenagers would be reading this in 2011 and, you know, lightened it up a bit. For their sakes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon Martin | 2/14/2014

    " Fantastic and written in language even I can understand. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan's Obsessions | 2/8/2014

    " dusting up this old book. Checking out a few side-lines aspects "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 2/4/2014

    " His ideas give me a lot to think about; though I can't help but wonder how his writing would differ in current times. I appreciated the ideas that urge people back to nature and self - depending less on industry and government. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Morgan2708 Ramsay | 2/1/2014

    " Thoreau has such an intellectual mind and I love books that are thought-provoking. If you like history, this is definitely worth your time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Travis | 1/29/2014

    " This is the best thing I've read. This moved me more than any other secular book ever has. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 ♫♥LEXI♥♫ | 1/28/2014

    " We read "Walking" and "Civil Disobedience" in school from this collection. I liked "Walking" more than "Civil Disobedience," but I don't feel like either really left that great of an impact on me. Thoreau certainly has some great ideas, but the way he presents them is very difficult to connect to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rushay Booysen | 1/26/2014

    " I really enjoyed this well written short piece.Timeless,it will remain a testament to reasoning and justice over a misguided and patronizing submision to the law.Who is the government is it not suppose to be us? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chad Sluder | 1/21/2014

    " I really enjoyed Civil Disobediance. It's not light reading but thought provoking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 austin | 1/14/2014

    " Thoreau is a badass; he went to prison in the late 1840's for refusing to pay a tax that was funding what he thought was an unjust war against Mexico ... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Balint Erdi | 1/10/2014

    " Read it on a sleepy morning and really liked it but to fully grasp the ideas I'll have to read it once more. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 ♫♥LEXI♥♫ | 1/9/2014

    " We read "Walking" and "Civil Disobedience" in school from this collection. I liked "Walking" more than "Civil Disobedience," but I don't feel like either really left that great of an impact on me. Thoreau certainly has some great ideas, but the way he presents them is very difficult to connect to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 1/5/2014

    " Loved this in high school. The transcendalists rock! It seems radical to refuse to pay taxes since you don't believe in war that is being fought even if it means going to jail. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sebastian Westermayer | 1/4/2014

    " ganz guter Einstieg um sich in liberale Denkmuster reinzudenken "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 12/31/2013

    " of course I loved this. and its nice to re-read every one in a while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Penny | 12/31/2013

    " Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? (HDT) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 KM | 12/26/2013

    " If only he could see our government today. I'm pretty sure he would be horrified. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 12/18/2013

    " "I did not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster (...)" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pete | 12/15/2013

    " A must-read. I'll have to read again in order to truly understand and internalize what Thoreau is discussing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Garcia Queen | 12/14/2013

    " I read this in college and it really helped me open my mind to critical thought about government and authority in general. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chess via Email | 12/12/2013

    " If only I had the guts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen Sim | 11/8/2013

    " This essay is simply one of the best among the Thoreau's work.. It has inspired so many civil movement in the world such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meghan | 11/5/2013

    " I like his ideas yet some of them where a little extreme for my taste. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beulah | 11/4/2013

    " I read this in high school and was down from day one with the rebellious leanings of Thoreau. I was all, "Yeah! Fight the power!!" Anyway, I still think Thoreau is pretty awesome thirteen years later. He was definitely gangsta. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jillian | 10/29/2013

    " I did an essay on this in high school and have a special love for it. It probably had a bit to do with the tattoo I got when I was 18, lol... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marisa Peck | 10/17/2013

    " walden puts the w in rowdy "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Garcia Queen | 9/29/2013

    " I read this in college and it really helped me open my mind to critical thought about government and authority in general. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine Woodman | 8/15/2013

    " This is still meaningful today, and certainly pertains to modern heroes, such a Martin Luther King, and Ghandi--thought-provoking "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 8/8/2013

    " great read. our own american anarchist. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harold Franks | 6/14/2013

    " The primer for any LGBT person living in America today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dishank | 4/26/2013

    " "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron | 4/3/2013

    " One of my deserted island books... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zinger | 3/26/2013

    " Most of what Thoreau says I agree with. Those things that I didn't agree with, might be because the way he said it was not the way I would have said it. A short read that will get you thinking and a book that would be fun to discuss with a group of patriots. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mina | 3/23/2013

    " I enjoyed his points, and when I have time I will write what I liked the most... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ben Phillip | 2/22/2013

    " I read this to better understand what inspired Dr. Martin Luther King. I saw similarities. Outside of that, I was fairly bored by this read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Morgan2708 Ramsay | 11/24/2012

    " Thoreau has such an intellectual mind and I love books that are thought-provoking. If you like history, this is definitely worth your time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ikiryo | 11/12/2012

    " A very interesting essay on the duties of ordinary men in times of a failing government. Henry Thoreau makes a lot of interesting arguments, most of which I can agree with. I will re-read this lots of times to come! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Latwoia | 9/10/2012

    " I can absolutely see why MLK Jr. was inspired by this work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 8/28/2012

    " "The rich man...is always sold to the institution which makes him rich." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dianne | 6/23/2012

    " I love the message of C.D. It was one of my favorite things that I read in HS and I guess that alone should stand out enough...it'll always have a place in my brain. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike DaRonco | 6/15/2012

    " Another favorite from college. This is anarchy 101. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 5/9/2012

    " Good. I like Emerson better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 3/25/2012

    " Should be required to have both been read and understood before one can vote. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 1/3/2012

    " His ideas give me a lot to think about; though I can't help but wonder how his writing would differ in current times. I appreciated the ideas that urge people back to nature and self - depending less on industry and government. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicholas | 12/4/2011

    " Some great insights plus plenty of fodder for American Libertarians. Surprisingly still applicable to the modern day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 11/14/2011

    " Every essay that I have read by Thoreau is fantastic. He is always a hit with my honors 11th graders who think that they are going to be the next social revolutionary. Heck, I might be the next social revolutionary! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron | 11/14/2011

    " One of my deserted island books... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brent | 10/9/2011

    " eloquent. "for every 999 patrons of virtues there is one virtuous man." "rule by justice not by the majority" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crystal | 9/11/2011

    " An excellent and timeless discourse on the role the person, the role of the citizen, and the role of the government. Partly inspired by Thoreau's hatred for slavery and the Mexican-American War. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 8/24/2011

    " great read. our own american anarchist. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marts (Thinker) | 6/16/2011

    " Thoreau's views on political theory and expositions on issues of that time... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jolene | 5/7/2011

    " Do not go another day of your life without reading this book if you haven't read it. If you have and it's been awhile, read it again! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ayana Mishelle | 4/10/2011

    " This book is great for social studies plus I believe students need to be introduced to
    Thoreau at an early age. He talk about being " anti slavery" and about other important social issues great for 4th or 5th grade/ "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ke | 4/8/2011

    " I preferred Walden to CD. I was surprised that he knew of some Chinese writers.

    Maybe some of his acts were somewhat anti-social, but he expressed his views well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 3/20/2011

    " This is one of those books I didn't get in high school when it was on the reading list. But I'm glad something made me pick it up now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 3/9/2011

    " The reason I became an Educator. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 2/26/2011

    " Read "Civil Disobedience" for school, but I love Thoreau's writing and want to read more! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krisitn | 2/24/2011

    " Thoreau and Emerson have it all figured out. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steven | 2/24/2011

    " Yes, I'll say it: Thoreau is overrated, both as a stylist and a thinker. There's much of value in these essays, but also a lot of racial and economic myopia. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kelly | 2/14/2011

    " I really liked Civil Disobedience, but try as I might, I could not get into Walden. I eventually gave up about a third of the way in. I'm surprised because the whole premise interested me. Maybe I'll try again in some other life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anthony | 1/19/2011

    " Convoluted and heavy BUT, filled with gems. You should read it. "

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About the Author
Author Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was an American essayist, naturalist, philosopher, and poet. Born at Concord, Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard, he began his career as a teacher. Through his older friend and neighbor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, he became a part of the Transcendentalist circle and one of that group’s most eloquent spokespersons. He is best known for his book, Walden, and his essay, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.”

About the Narrator

Jefferson Mays has won two AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audio narrations. He is also an award-winning theater and film actor. In 2004 he won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Obie Award, and a Theatre World Award for his solo Broadway performance in I Am My Own Wife, a Pulitzer Prize–winning play by Doug Wright. He holds a BA from Yale College and an MFA from University of California–San Diego.