Concord Journal article for Emerson’s 212th Birthday.
His name is well-known, but who really was the man, Ralph Waldo Emerson? What made him famous—a celebrity in his own town, country, and beyond? And why is Emerson still quoted today?
If you considered Emerson stodgy, you will be be surprised that this biography is meant to share with children, 5th grade and up. Afterwards, stroll leisurely through the site’s many blog posts which provide additional insight into Emerson’s life and relationships.
Enjoy this 78-page book, Concord Sage, available in print or ebook at:
OR buy 6×9 softcover print copy here with PayPal. For volume discount, contact the author.
Link to Mr. Emerson’s Relationships blog:
About the Author
Donna Ford thought Ralph Waldo Emerson was a relative until research for this book proved her wrong. A maternal relative of the author, born an Emerson in 1785 in Massachusetts, gave many of her children Emerson as a middle-name; another female ancestor was kidnapped and escaped from Indians in 1657. With a unique perspective on the lives of early New Englanders, Ford also has twenty-plus years experience as a technical writer.
She has nine grandchildren and enjoys giving them historical biographies as gifts.
Concord Sage: R.W. Emerson Life and Times
by Donna A. Ford
Amazon Digital Services
reviewed by John E. Roper
“At three years old, Ralph Waldo was a slow reader and didn’t enjoy learning. Perhaps he didn’t like reciting facts from memory. He did like blowing bubbles from soap and water with a pipe.”
Most American high school students are required to read a few pithy selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Usually they are paired with works by his young protégé Henry Thoreau, and often readers come away with the impression that while the mentor was rather aloof and stodgy his more free-spirited disciple was “pretty cool.” But there was much more to Emerson than what is revealed in his writings, a fact which the author aptly illustrates in her new biography of one of the nation’s most famous thinkers.
Ford begins her book with a brief look backward at Emerson’s ancestors in Concord to help describe the environment he was growing up in. She then goes on to detail in a few short chapters the life, loves, friendships, and painful losses he experienced as he journeys from relative obscurity to national prominence. One of the more interesting parts deals with his interaction with Abraham Lincoln and how Emerson’s own hatred of slavery possibly helped influence the President to take a stand with the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.
The author has geared her book for young adults but it should also appeal to older audiences. Her prose is straightforward and informative yet engaging enough to keep the reader’s interest. Possibly the greatest gift this book brings to the study of Emerson is that it doesn’t so much focus on his writings, as so many other studies about him do, but instead shows us the man. She has taken the cold statue of the philosopher from the ivory tower contemporary thinking has placed him in and transformed him into flesh and blood.
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