The University of Notre Dame Press is delighted to announce that Lessons from Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy by Bob Pepperman Taylor won the American Political Science Association 2020 Section Award for Best Book in American Political Thought. The award will be presented during the APSA annual meeting September 30–October 3, 2021, in Seattle.
Bob Pepperman Taylor is the Elliott A. Brown Green and Gold Professor of Law, Politics, and Political Behavior at the University of Vermont. In his book, he presents a wide-ranging inquiry into the nature and implications of Henry David Thoreau’s thought in Walden and Civil Disobedience. Taylor considers Thoreau’s philosophy, and the philosophical problems he raises, from the perspective of thinkers and commentators drawn from history, philosophy, the social sciences, and popular media, breathing new life into Walden and asking how it is alive for us today. Taylor allows all sides to have their say, even as he persistently steers the discussion back to a nuanced reading of Thoreau’s actual position.
Here is what the award committee had to say about the book:
“Bob Pepperman Taylor’s Lessons from Walden combines incisive interpretations of Henry David Thoreau’s major work with thought-provoking discussions of its contemporary implications. On three key themes—simplicity, the individual conscience, and learning from nature—Taylor puts Thoreau into conversation with a wide variety of thinkers from across the political spectrum and explores what democratic citizens can learn from him today. It is a beautifully written book that both highlights the strengths and probes the weaknesses of Thoreau’s political vision.”
You can learn more about the book in the book trailer below. Lessons from Walden was reviewed in Law and Liberty, and Perspectives on Politics said, “Lessons from Walden [is] an extraordinary book. . . . It offers a compelling, well-thought out argument about the relevance of Thoreau in our political time.”