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Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph Hardcover – June 10, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jennifer Pharr Davis grew up in the North Carolina Mountains, where she developed a love for hiking at a young age. At age twenty-one, Jennifer hiked the entire Appalachian Trail as a solo female and fell in love with long-distance backpacking. Since then, Jennifer has hiked more than 11,000 miles on six different continents, with North American hikes including the Pacific Crest Trail, Vermont's Long Trail, and the Colorado Trail, and completed three thru-hikes on the Appalachian Trail. She has hiked and traveled on six continents; some of the highlights include Mount Kilimanjaro, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and the 600-mile Bibbulmun Track in Australia. In the summer of 2011, Jennifer topped her own 2008 Women's Endurance Record for the fastest thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, making her the overall record holder for both women and men. Jennifer is the first woman to hold the overall title. Jennifer hiked from Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. Her goal was to hike the entire 2,180-mile faster than the current overall speed record of 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes, which she did in 46 days. To break the record, Jennifer hiked an average of 47 miles a day, camping along the trail. She had trail support from legendary ultra-runner and former AT and Pacific Crest Trail speed record holder David Horton, as well as veteran AT expert Warren Doyle and Davis' husband, Brew Davis. Her hiking and backpacking accomplishments, as well as her influence as an outdoor role model, are remarkable and momentous. Jennifer is a 2012 National Geographic Top Adventurer of the Year nominee for her record-breaking thru-hike, has been on CNN, The Early Show, NPR numerous times, and was featured in Fitness Magazine and Shape magazine, among others. Jennifer has also written for Trail Runner magazine, Away.com, is a frequent contributor to Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, and has written three guidebooks. Jennifer lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, and is the owner and founder of Blue Ridge Hiking Co.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Beaufort Books; 1 edition (June 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825306930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825306938
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #830,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read 16 other books about the Appalachian Trail. Most authors talk about their adventure with wonder, humor and overall appreciation. In this book, the author talks about her pain and suffering as though she should be proud of it. It is a choice she makes to walk in record time and ignore the beauty of the trail, treat her husband and friends with disrespect and unkindness and expect people to support her. I don't see this as an accomplishment. She has help every bit of the way with food being handed to her, tents set up, encouraging words from her husband and friends she "can't take anymore of". How can this be a record when she isn't carrying a full pack and not cooking her own food and relying on others to take care of her? It is not an enjoyable read. I can't recommend it. If you want to read about a self absorbed person, read it. If you want to read about others who hike for the adventure, beauty and encounters with others on the trail and in the towns, pick up another book. There are many stories to tell about the uniqueness and wonder of a thru hiker; this isn't one of them. Karen D.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jennifer Pharr Davis is an incredible athlete. As an endurance athlete she is surely world-class. This book is about her attempt to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. Her trip would entail every single foot of the 2181 mile national pathway, no short cuts, no detours or days off and when she missed even the smallest portion of the course she backtracked to ensure she hiked the official designated trail because this was an official record attempt.

If you are thinking about getting this book for the equipment reviews and recommendations, don't do it, there aren't any in this book. If you are looking for hiking techniques, tips you can use, secrets about completing the trail that a record holder would hopefully know, Jennifer doesn't share any of those in this book either, maybe the next one. And lastly, if you think you are going to gain some sound practical backpacking knowledge or profound insight that would surely be part of supreme test of endurance, you would be mistaken again.

What clearly comes out in this book is how hard the hike was for Jennifer. If you aren't familiar with the Appalachian Trail then Jennifer's description of her perseverance adds gravitas to her achievement. There are a couple things that her storytelling doesn't do. It doesn't inspire me and it doesn't portray Jennifer in a positive light. Her husband is a saint and her friends make incredible sacrifices to support her but she doesn't really treat them with equal generosity, so this book is disappointing in that regard.

I have a library of hiking and backpacking books that goes back over 40 years to the first edition of Colin Fletcher's Complete Walker and I am proud of each and every book. I was initially going to toss this book when I finished it, but I thought better. Maybe I'll read it again in a couple years and discover something useful the second time around. For now, I can't recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Called Again" is the memoir of the author's record-setting, second thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. It is, as expected, mostly a story of emotional and spiritual endurance, even though she certainly pushed her body to its physical limits as well. I suspect most thru-hikers have similar internal ups and downs, although most certainly to a significantly lesser degree and over a longer period of time. The Appalachian Trail is, when all is said and done, just a long walk, but each hiker brings something different to it.

The athletic achievement certainly deserves accolades but overall, what would make a wonderfully fascinating trail journal makes just an okay book. The writing is, at best, serviceable, and at times it was difficult to get through it. It also seemed a little too personal and specific sometimes and after a while, I simply didn't care what she was thinking or how she felt because a lot of it had nothing to do with hiking and would be more suitable for a diary. Furthermore, the illustrations would be more appropriate for a shelter log than a published book—although they did make me chuckle at times, as with the bear family peeking around the tree or the close-up of the kangaroo.

I would definitely recommend this book for endurance athletes to gain an understanding of the internal struggle to succeed. For average hikers and Appalachian Trail aficionados, there are more informative and entertaining books available.

*** = "it's okay"
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A remarkable adventure story and a mind-boggling athletic feat. Having hiked the Trail myself, I can appreciate the author's accomplishment: I got out my trail journal and discovered that each day that she describes generally corresponds to about four days of "normal" hiking. Some people look askance at attempts at speed records on the trail; Warren Doyle, the author's mentor, is a rather controversial figure. But (for many of us, at least) the AT is an opportunity for challenge. For me, just completing it was challenge enough; for the author, the challenge took the form of a record-setting time.

This isn't a book just for people interested in the Appalachian Trail. The author's description of her spiritual and emotional feelings will resonate with anyone. And she doesn't present herself as a plaster saint: she gets grouchy at times (as who wouldn't, after hiking a sixty-mile day, or when being confronted by an importunate paparazzo!) My partner (an occasional hiker and frequent one-man support crew) clipped out a cartoon from The New Yorker a while back and it's on our refrigerator door: two hikers are in the woods and one says to the other "It's a good thing this is a leisure-time activity, because you couldn't pay me to do it." Yes, indeed! As Ms. Davis says (p. 177): "I may not be having fun, but I feel a sense of joy and purpose. When things are this difficult it causes you to change and grow."

People hike the trail for various reasons: to get in touch with nature, for a 2000-mile party, or for a personal challenge.
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