- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 47 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: September 25, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009GBVCAG
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
I wonder how Bill plans these things. He had a big bold and also naive plan to maybe hike the whole trail, announced it, spends tons of money on equipment, studies up . . . and then is happy to have a complete non hiker and wild card (Katz) go with him. Maybe he was planning for comedy all along . . .
Well he got it. And adventure. And although yes I did feel like they were wimping out the first shortcut they took – They both became hikers, walkers – going hundreds of miles that I never have.
I was personally insulted that he skipped Maryland – since I grew up about a mile from the trail there. He could have seen our mayonnaise jar shaped stone monument to George Washington (the first one we claim) and that might have put him in a better mood for Pennsylvania!! Being that this book is now 20 years old, I wonder if the PA Trail has improved, or if AT use has increased just because of this book. I hope the trees aren't all dead. Jeesh I need to get out more.
Despite some of the reviewers here labeling Bryson as a “liberal” I didn’t get that. Vulgar? Yes, got that. He comments in passing that the national dialog on the outdoors seems to be so polarized that the only two official positions seem to be over deification of nature or outright hostility to nature. That is so true. Has our discussion improved? No but hey our maps are better!! And we have cel phones and Fit Bits!
For me the sad/funny highlight of the book is when Bill is reading the park information sign in Shenandoah National Forest pointing out that the nearby hemlock trees are all dying from aphids that the park service can’t do anything about it - but “The good news, according to the board, was that the National Park Service hoped that some of the trees would stage a natural recovery over time. Well, whew! for that.”
Whew for that! I’m still laughing at that phrase! Whew for this book!
And yet he embarked on one of the most grueling, challenging endeavors known to man. Furthermore, the happily-married paterfamilias and college professor was accompanied by a childhood friend who was his polar opposite. I don't know how much is real and how much exaggerated, but Katz is one of the most entertaining, exasperating, and endearing characters of all time.
This is NOT one of those day-by-day accounts of mileage covered and blisters gained. There's a lot of history - natural, social, and political. There are side trips to explore places that hiking purists would scorn. The son of two journalists, Bryson is incorrigibly curious and he assumes that his reader is, too. When you read Bryson, you feel your mind expanding and you find yourself being drawn into areas in which you never before felt any interest. That's what sets him apart from the herd. That and the fact that his writing is so hilarious that you can't read it in public without embarrassing yourself and everyone around you.
I read this book when it was published almost 20 years ago and remembered it fondly. Since then (thanks to the miracles of epublishing and my beloved Kindle) I've read at least a dozen books about walking the AT. I enjoyed them, but didn't learn as much from all of them put together as I did from Bryson's take. Nor were any of them as funny. The AT is a uniquely American phenomenon and it's existence and history both say a great deal about us and our strengths and weaknesses. You'll never find a better introduction to it than this one. I enjoyed it even more the second time around.
I've loved all of Bryson's books, but I think this one is particularly memorable. If you're just discovering this fine writer, this is a great place to start.
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