One of the most famous non-fiction American books, Walden by Henry David Thoreau is the history of Thoreau's visit to Ralph Waldo Emerson's woodland retreat near Walden Pond. Thoreau, stirred by the philosophy of the transcendentalists, used the sojourn as an experiment in self reliance and minimalism… "so as to "live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." Walden stresses the significance of self-reliance, solitude, meditation, and nature in rising above the the life of quiet desperation lived by most people. that, he argues, is the lot of most people. Part autobiography, part manifesto Walden is a moving treatise on the importance distancing oneself from the consumerism of modern Western society and embracing nature in its place.