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To the Best of Our Knowledge: Henry David Thoreau Radio/TV Program

To the Best of Our Knowledge: Henry David Thoreau

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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, how does a suburban dad with three kids find meaning in Thoreau's Walden? Writer Tom Fate says Thoreau is an antidote to modern consumer society. He helps us examine a basic question: How much is enough? His book Cabin Fever is a meditation on why Thoreau still matters.

Next, have you every actually read Thoreau's Walden? If not, you've really missed something. We give you the next best thing: excerpts from the book, set to music.

Then, who was the real Henry David Thoreau? By today's standards, he wasn't an environmentalist or someone who celebrated nature without humans in it. And Walden didn't simply describe his time living by the pond. He wrote and re-wrote the book over nine years. Yet his nature writing - and his political essays - have inspired people around the world, from nature lovers to political dissidents.

After that, Davyd Betchkal, a soundscape engineer in Alaska's Denali National Park, is trying to create an aural archive of the entire park. We hear some of his recordings - from wood frogs and bear cubs to an avalanche - and how Thoreau has inspired his work.

Following that, if you had to pick a modern heir to Henry David Thoreau, Terry Tempest Williams might be at the top of the list. A celebrated nature writer and environmental acitviist, she's also a huge admirer of Thoreau. She tells us what she still learns from reading Thoreau.

And finally, read the books of Terry Tempest Williams and you'll keep circling back to a common theme: the mystery at the heart of our love for the natural world and the people closest to us. When Women Were Birds is Terry's lifelong quest to understand her mother, who was a very private woman and a bit of a trickster. It's also an exploration of silence and finding one's voice. [Broadcast Date: May 10, 2013]

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