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Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship [Hardcover]

Tom Ryan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 12 2011
Following Atticus is the remarkable true story of a man and a dog embarking on the challenge of a lifetime. This is author Tom Ryan’s inspiring tale of how he and his miniature schnauzer companion, the “Little Buddha” Atticus M. Finch, attempted to scale all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four thousand foot White Mountains twice in the dead of winter. It is a story of love, loss, and the resilience of the human and animal spirit that’s as thrilling as Into Thin Air and featuring the most endearing and unforgettable canine protagonist since Marley and Me.

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“Exceptionally evocative writing and [an] engaging story . . . this is a book that can be read more than once. Inspirational and heart-warming.” (Library Journal)

“Lyrical. . . . rivetingly portrayed . . . [a] touching chronicle.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Heartwarming, surprisingly suspenseful. . . . Part adventure story, part memoir, but most important, a love story . . . [an] entertaining and joyous book.” (Publishers Weekly)

“How can you go wrong with a cute little dog who braved the White Mountains’ highest peaks time and again…over the ice, snow and sometimes deadly uncertainty of wild winter altitude in New Hampshire? Far more than just a typical man–and–his–dog account…Ryan and Atticus have delivered on all counts.” (Manchester Union Leader)

“Need your faith in humanity restored? Read this book. It’s lovely to learn about our higher selves from an unlikely source like Atticus M. Finch.” (The Day (Connecticut))

“Not your standard mountain adventure book. . . . Reading Following Atticus can feel like taking a long walk, or a series of walks, with a great storyteller. Why ‘follow Atticus?’ Because, [Ryan says], ‘Dogs, like mountains, bring you back to yourself.’” (AMC Outdoors)

#2 New England Bestseller List (NEIBA)

“Ryan . . . is an engaging storyteller whose humorous, self-deprecating descriptions evoke Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering American on the Appalachian Trail and John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America.” (Appalachia)

#5 Boston Globe bestseller (Boston Globe)

From the Back Cover

“In the mountains Atticus became more of what he’d always been, and I became less—less frantic, less stressed, less worried, and less harried. I felt comfortable letting him lead, and he seemed to know what I needed. He always chose the best route, if ever there was a question, and my only job was to follow.”

Middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. In a rare test of endurance, Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home. . . .

At the heart of this remarkable journey is an extraordinary relationship that blurs the line between man and dog, an indelible bond that began when Tom, following the advice of Atticus’s breeder, carried the pup wherever he went for the first month of their life together. Following Atticus is ultimately a story of transformation: how a five-pound puppy pierced the heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman, opening his eyes to the world’s beauty and its possibilities. It was a change that led to a new life among the mountains; an unforgettable saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family; and an inspiring tale of finding love and discovering your true self.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Oct. 7 2011
By Ella
Not knowing what to expect when I picked up this book to read on the beach last week, it didn't disappoint. I found myself crying and laughing, it was truly inspirational.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Suhail Zubaid AHMAD TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book because it combines my love for adventures, dogs, and humanitarian work and it does so at a very personal and emotional level.

I loved reading about the adventures of a team of 2 most unusual partners who conquered 48 four-thousanders (peaks taller than 4,000 feet) of New Hampshire not only in summers, but, most of them, twice in winters. This included Mount Washington where winter conditions are harsher than Antarctic, Arctic, Himalayas, and Karakorums. First of all, I did not know that New Hampshire has so many tall mountains. Second of all, I did not realize that hiking and trekking with dogs is an addictive hobby. Tom describes all his mountain climbing adventures at a personal and emotional level that keeps yu totally engrossed. He described his excursions in such a livid way that I imagined myself becoming an uninvited partner over and over again.

Tom has also covered his inter-personal relationships with all friendly and not so friendly inhabitants of Newburyport in a personal and emotional manner. On top of all this, he continually talked about relationship with his estranged father. I liked the way he described personalities and characters. This made it easier to understand people as Tom continuously introduced throughout the book. Most of these relationships brought tears of joy and of sorrow.

I have read about Bill Bryson's walk through the Appalachian Trail, Ed Viesturs' climb to K2, Tom Avery's dog sledding expedition to Arctic, Alastaire Humphrey's bicycling across four continents, Sarfraz Khan's walk through Kashmir for humanitarian work in Greg Mortenson's account of establishing schools in that region, and I have loved them all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely human interest story July 21 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are a dog lover who also loves nature, you will love this book! I normally read British mysteries but occasionally will read an autobiography or historical novel. This caught my eye after a friend sent me an invite on Facebook to 'Like' "Following Atticus". A beautiful human interest story about a gentle, kindly man and his little dog and their travels up and down various mountains.

I would definitely recommend it and besides the copy I purchased on my Kindle, I have purchased it as gifts for 2 friends who are also dog lovers!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Following Atticus March 3 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was just kind of boring from the start, couldn't get into it! I only read about the 1st 3 chapters and gave up!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Atticus and Tom Jan. 1 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An amazing inspirational coverage of the adventures of Atticus. I even purchased Muttluks for my pups to wear in our cold winters.
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