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Concord's gang of five

Posted by Jan Gardner  February 16, 2007 09:52 PM

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Today I finished Susan Cheever's "American Bloomsbury.'' It does a wonderful job of carrying you back in time to Concord in the mid-1800s and offering up engaging and intersecting portraits of the lives and loves (unrequited and otherwise) of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Then I walked around Walden Pond, up and through the woods, stopping at the site of Thoreau's experiment in living simply. Cheever brings him alive -- as an imaginative teacher, a rabid vegetarian, a cranky critic of materialism, and a tireless re-writer of what eventually became a masterpiece of nature writing and memoir.

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