... Cramer helps readers understand why Thoreau sought consolation from Emerson alone ... the abiding strength of the tie between the two writers emerges as an animating presence in both men’s journals and correspondence, which Cramer mines for quotations that allow each writer to give his own unmediated account of their friendship. That strength shines forth especially in the laments of a grieving Emerson assessing a world made narrower and darker by the premature death of his dear friend. An illuminating history of an exceptional friendship.
... an engaging account of the friendship between Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson ... Mr. Cramer hints that Thoreau’s iconoclasm, while frequently off-putting, reconnected the comfortably established Emerson with his rebel roots. That aspect of their relationship doesn’t quite come into focus here, since Mr. Cramer, not aspiring to a complete biography, says little about Emerson’s career before Thoreau.
Editor of many works by Emerson and Thoreau and curator of collections at the Walden Woods Project’s Thoreau Institute, Cramer brings both authority and sensitivity to his biographical overview and to a judicious selection of excerpts from the men’s prolific writings ... A deeply sympathetic dual biography.