walden (also known as life in the woods) by henry david thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an american. published in 1854, it details thoreau's life for two years and two months in second-growth forest around the shores of walden pond, not far from his friends and family in concord, massachusetts. walden was written so that the stay appears to be a year, with expressed seasonal divisions. thoreau called it an experiment in simple living.
walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of the western world, with each chapter heralding some aspect of humanity that needed to be either renounced or praised.