Walking Towards Walden

A Pilgrimage in Search of Place

John Hanson Mitchell

Walking Towards Walden is an exploration of the sense of place, what it means, how it developed, and why it matters. Based on an eighteenth-century literary device in which a group of friends undertake a walking tour and discuss a certain subject, this wide-ranging story emerges from the author’s fifteen-mile bushwhack through woods, backyards, and marshes—from a hilltop in Westford, Massachusetts, to the town of Concord, Massachusetts—trespassing all along the way. A mock epic, complete with encounters with armed mercenaries and vicious dogs, the book covers all the aspects of place—art, literature, myth, and even music.

Paper: $22.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781611687217
Pages: 320 | Size: 5.5 in. x 8.5 in.
Date Published: April 22, 2015


  • Mitchell, naturalist and author of Living at the End of Time, decided to hike to the grave of Thoreau from Concord, Massachusetts, burial site of a member of the party of Sir Henry Sinclair, a 16th-century Scottish explorer, in an attempt to learn more about that famous landscape. Avoiding most roads and accompanied by two eccentric friends on the 15-mile walk, the author investigates a wide variety of related topics, including natural history of the area, mythology, and related literature. One of the most interesting aspects of this pilgrimage is the variety of personal histories related by local residents encountered on the trek. Recommended for local and larger natural-history collections.

    Library Journal
  • This is surely John Mitchell’s best book, and he is one of the most intriguing, original nature writers alive. It’s a jaunt through history and ecology, a spirited personal memoir, a saunter in Thoreau’s richly diverse sense of the word. Top-notch.

    Edward Hoagland
    author of Compass Points: How I Lived

About the Author

John Hanson Mitchell

John Hanson Mitchell is the author of five books based on a single square mile known as Scratch Flat, as well as two travel books and the biography of the early African American landscape photographer Robert A. Gilbert. A winner of the John Burroughs Award for his nature essays, Mitchell was founder and editor of Sanctuary magazine, published by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. In 2000 he won the New England Book Award in nonfiction for his Scratch Flat series. He lives in …

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