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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)
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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail) [Kindle Edition]

Bill Bryson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (657 customer reviews)

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From Amazon

Your initial reaction to Bill Bryson's reading of A Walk in the Woods may well be "Egads! What a bore!" But by sentence three or four, his clearly articulated, slightly adenoidal, British/American-accented speech pattern begins to grow on you and becomes quite engaging. You immediately get a hint of the humor that lies ahead, such as one of the innumerable reasons he longed to walk as many of the 2,100 miles of the Appalachian Trail as he could. "It would get me fit after years of waddlesome sloth" is delivered with glorious deadpan flair. By the time our storyteller recounts his trip to the Dartmouth Co-op, suffering serious sticker shock over equipment prices, you'll be hooked.

When Bryson speaks for the many Americans he encounters along the way--in various shops, restaurants, airports, and along the trail--he launches into his American accent, which is whiny and full of hard r's. And his southern intonations are a hoot. He's even got a special voice used exclusively when speaking for his somewhat surprising trail partner, Katz. In the 25 years since their school days together, Katz has put on quite a bit of weight. In fact, "he brought to mind Orson Welles after a very bad night. He was limping a little and breathing harder than one ought to after a walk of 20 yards." Katz often speaks in monosyllables, and Bryson brings his limited vocabulary humorously to life. One of Katz's more memorable utterings is "flung," as in flung most of his provisions over the cliff because they were too heavy to carry any farther.

The author has thoroughly researched the history and the making of the Appalachian Trail. Bryson describes the destruction of many parts of the forest and warns of the continuing perils (both natural and man-made) the Trail faces. He speaks of the natural beauty and splendor as he and Katz pass through, and he recalls clearly the serious dangers the two face during their time together on the trail. So, A Walk in the Woods is not simply an out-of-shape, middle-aged man's desire to prove that he can still accomplish a major physical task; it's also a plea for the conservation of America's last wilderness. Bryson's telling is a knee-slapping, laugh-out-loud funny trek through the woods, with a touch of science and history thrown in for good measure. (Running time: 360 minutes, four cassettes) --Colleen Preston

From Publishers Weekly

Returning to the U.S. after 20 years in England, Iowa native Bryson decided to reconnect with his mother country by hiking the length of the 2100-mile Appalachian Trail. Awed by merely the camping section of his local sporting goods store, he nevertheless plunges into the wilderness and emerges with a consistently comical account of a neophyte woodsman learning hard lessons about self-reliance. Bryson (The Lost Continent) carries himself in an irresistibly bewildered manner, accepting each new calamity with wonder and hilarity. He reviews the characters of the AT (as the trail is called), from a pack of incompetent Boy Scouts to a perpetually lost geezer named Chicken John. Most amusing is his cranky, crude and inestimable companion, Katz, a reformed substance abuser who once had single-handedly "become, in effect, Iowa's drug culture." The uneasy but always entertaining relationship between Bryson and Katz keeps their walk interesting, even during the flat stretches. Bryson completes the trail as planned, and he records the misadventure with insight and elegance. He is a popular author in Britain and his impeccably graceful and witty style deserves a large American audience as well.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1917 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 8 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000S1LSAM
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (657 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Dec 27 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
good reading.very well done as are all his books should be a must read fro anybody with a sense of adventure
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great adventure story but so much more..., Jan. 22 2012
By Cynthia Danute Cekauskas, LCSW TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book is SO GOOD you feel compelled to comment about it and encourage others (especially those who like to take long walks in the woods) to READ it. I bought my copy at the Unicoi State Park gift shop in Helen, Georgia during a recent trip there. It is great to know that the book is also available on

As you may already know, the book is about the author's trek through the woods on the Appalachian Trail with a male friend in the mid-1990's. This famous trail, the author informs us in Chapter 1, is over 2100 miles long stretching from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. It is also NO walk in the park as walking the trail holds very potential dangers of not only being seriously injured but also possibly being killed. In the early chapters of the book the author describes these dangers in very specific ways including, but not being limited to, the possibility of being eaten by bears, bitten by poisonous snakes, struck by lightning, getting lost and dying from hypothermia or even being murdered by someone of the human species. At this early juncture you begin to wonder, under those circumstances, why anyone, in their right mind, would choose to walk this perilous trail.

Continuing on, however, the book evolves into a real adventure story. Like his friend, the author admits to being middle-aged, somewhat overweight, even rather shamed by a similar aged, overweight but very annoying woman they encounter early on. At first he doesn't appear to much like his own walking companion either but then realizes, despite his faults, he, like the author, holds a spirit of adventure in him that keeps propelling the two forward.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly disappointing Sept. 8 2010
By C. J. Thompson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A brief history of my acquaintance with this book is in order, I think ...

I read two of Bryson's books (Mother Tongue and A Short History of Nearly Everything, Illustrated Edition) and decided I wanted to read more of this author. I ordered from Amazon, and this was one of the four Bryson titles I selected. Eventually, and for no other reason than I expected that this book would be the best, I decided to save 'A Walk in the Woods' for last. Well, as it happened, the books I ended up reading before it are now favorites, while this book is still reckoned as a disappointment. It may possibly be that, by saving this book for last I had invested it with unwarranted expectations, but, it in the end I could only conclude that this book is not Bryson at his best...

There is lots of typical Bryson humor here (I love the gadget buying stuff, for example) but the fact remains that when I saw that this was about an Appalachian Trail book, I assumed we would get an account of a trail traversal. Not so. Bill and his companion last only a few weeks on the trail and then quit about a quarter way through. That shouldn't matter perhaps, if journalistic truth is the ultimate goal, but the fact is that an 'adventure' book like this needed a good story with closure; The style, I felt, demanded that there be a successful finish somewhere... As it stands the book disappoints fundamentally.... after the failure to conclude the trail, the chapters that discuss subsequent hikes are just superfluous.

Bill .... walk the trail. Get back to us after-wards.....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read June 1 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good read. I read this book after reading 1927 which I loved. I will knock off all of Bryson's having just discovered him
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5.0 out of 5 stars memories of times past Jan. 16 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Several decades ago I met a wonderful young lady from Maine and we hiked the AT near Katahdin Iron Works and Mt. Katahdin on many occasions. As we approach 44 years of marriage, I stumbled across "A Walk In the Woods "and all those great memories came rushing back thanks to a great storyteller. Thanks Bill!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My boyfriend love it Dec 24 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I gave it to my boyfriend for his birthday and he laughed a lot throughout the reading. Didn't even had to ask if he liked it. :D
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3.0 out of 5 stars Long Book Sept. 12 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have not quite finished it. I got tired of reading it but will finish is at some point. I enjoyed the humourous parts and also found the history parts quite interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great vacation read July 15 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As we travelled to another hiking area, the adirondacks, I purchased this book. We have hiked one small portion of the Appalachians, and bill mentions sunfish lake specifically.
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Popular Highlights

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If there is one thing the AT teaches, it is low-level ecstasysomething we could all do with more of in our lives. &quote;
Highlighted by 100 Kindle users
What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die, of course. Literally shit myself lifeless. I would blow my sphincter out my backside like one of those unrolling paper streamers you get at childrens partiesI daresay it would even give a merry tootand bleed to a messy death in my sleeping bag. &quote;
Highlighted by 95 Kindle users
Every twenty minutes on the Appalachian Trail, Katz and I walked farther than the average American walks in a week. For 93 percent of all trips outside the home, for whatever distance or whatever purpose, Americans now get in a car. On average the total walking of an American these daysthats walking of all types: from car to office, from office to car, around the supermarket and shopping mallsadds up to 1.4 miles a week, barely 350 yards a day. Thats ridiculous. &quote;
Highlighted by 90 Kindle users

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