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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2006
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“Bryson is a very funny writer who could wring humor from a clammy sleeping bag.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Short of doing it yourself, the best way of escaping into nature is to read a book like A Walk in the Woods.”–The New York Times
“A terribly misguided, and terribly funny tale of adventure.... The yarn is choke-on-your-coffee funny.” –The Washington Post
“Bill Bryson could write an essay about dryer lint or fever reducers and still make us laugh out loud.” –Chicago Sun-Times
“Delightful.” –The Plain Dealer
“It’s great adventure, on a human scale, with survivable discomforts, and, happily, everybody goes home afterwards.” –Times Picayune
From the Inside Flap
God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath--The Appalachian Trail.
The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.
With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey.
An instant classic, riotously funny, "A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.
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But Bryson's 1996 AT trek(s) is filled with incredible factual history and hilarious paranoia along with the realities of attempting a 'thru hike' (or an attenuated one) of this iconic trail. Rather than purchasing the full set of questionable maps, anyone thinking of attempting a serious AT hike should read this. If only 10% ever complete the whole 2,000+ hike, it's good to have a humorous roadmap for whatever might come up. Also good for discouraging those of us who really shouldn't even consider it except for the occasional day hike!
This book was inspiring and a truly fun read. Unlike most of the other "lost in the wild" books I've read in recent years, the tone of this was more lighthearted and informative. There are some very nice asides as Bryson explores not only the AT but its history, and the history of some of the sites that can be found along the way. There's some light invective about environmental impact man-made extinctions of certain flora and fauna, but Bryson doesn't browbeat you with it. The guilt-level is low, while the point that we do have an impact on the world around us is still well made.
I loved this book, and place it among Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild," Cheryl Strayed's "Wild," and Elizabeth Gilbert's "The Last American Man" in terms of well-written essays that explore our yearning to return to a simpler, untethered way of life. Well done, and very enjoyable.