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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 (670 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Amazon

Bill Bryson has made a living out of traveling and then writing about it. In The Lost Continent he re-created the road trips of his childhood; in Neither Here nor There he retraced the route he followed as a young backpacker traversing Europe. When this American transplant to Britain decided to return home, he made a farewell walking tour of the British countryside and produced Notes from a Small Island. Once back on American soil and safely settled in New Hampshire, Bryson once again hears the siren call of the open road--only this time it's a trail. The Appalachian Trail, to be exact. In A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson tackles what is, for him, an entirely new subject: the American wilderness. Accompanied only by his old college buddy Stephen Katz, Bryson starts out one March morning in north Georgia, intending to walk the entire 2,100 miles to trail's end atop Maine's Mount Katahdin.

If nothing else, A Walk in the Woods is proof positive that the journey is the destination. As Bryson and Katz haul their out-of-shape, middle-aged butts over hill and dale, the reader is treated to both a very funny personal memoir and a delightful chronicle of the trail, the people who created it, and the places it passes through. Whether you plan to make a trip like this one yourself one day or only care to read about it, A Walk in the Woods is a great way to spend an afternoon. --Alix Wilber

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: 3027 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 8 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000S1LSAM
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (670 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but not what you expect... Nov. 20 2002
By cahhmc
This book is not a guidebook. Nor is it an instructional book. If you hiked the AT and want to re-live memories, you probably won't like this book. If you want to see another perspective on backpacking, you won't learn a thing from this book. If you're looking for just a really funny book, this one will let you down after chapter 5. All in all, its not the book you think it is, or at least, it was not what I thought it was.
But, if you love the outdoors, if current threats to wilderness get you up in arms, and if you've ever had a *bad* experience with food, getting lost, or your partner being annoying, you may like this book as much as I did -- which was an extraordinary and suprised amount. It is not always funny, not always historical, and not always a sheer and grand disgrace to the art of backpacking. But I enjoyed the mix so much that after I read it, I took it with me and read it aloud to my hiking partners over the 90 miles of the Wonderland trail. Go figure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nature writing and a travelogue with "oomph"! Aug. 26 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps it was a fit of angst dealing with his own personal version of a mid-life crisis that led Bill Bryson to tackle the challenge of hiking the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail! It was certainly a solid understanding of his own personality and clear recognition of his own physical and mental limitations that prompted him to invite his friend, Stephen Katz, an overweight and out of shape recovering alcoholic with an inordinate fondness for snack foods and cream soda to accompany him on this daunting challenge. The demands of the AT ultimately proved too much for Bryson and Katz who sensibly (and with an almost relieved sense of philosophical acceptance) decided to abandon the notion of a complete through hike. But the resulting story, drawn from Bryson's daily journal of the summer's efforts, is an overwhelming success and pure joy in the reading.

"A Walk in the Woods" is an extraordinary, entertaining travelogue on both the AT - the Appalachian Trail - and the people and places of small town America that dot the trail's path along the eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine. At the same time, it is much, much more. Bryson is scathing in his political commentary and almost enraged criticism of the ongoing state of mismanagement and the sadly misguided policies of both the Parks and Forest Services of the US government. "A Walk in the Woods" is also a deeply moving introspective examination on the nature of friendship, family, perseverance, joy and despondency.
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2 of 2 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly disappointing Sept. 8 2010
By C. J. Thompson TOP 1000 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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great friends. Great adventure!
I purchased this book for my husband. He couldn't put it down. As with all other Bill Bryson books--if you like adventure with humor you will enjoy this book. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Courtney
3.0 out of 5 stars Beginning strong, but, in the middle it get ...
Beginning strong, but, in the middle it get slow, going nowhere, and it seems at the end a last small burst of inspiration; overall, ok , but not the book you would read from the... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read. Funny and enjoyable.
Good read. Funny and enjoyable.

I read this while camping, it was the perfect compliment to my trip.
Published 29 days ago by Chad Lambert
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book
A great adventure, went to see the movie and loved it also, usually the movie does a book no justice but this was well done. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maryann Mccoy
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It started off ok, but I found the last halk of the book underwhelming with an ant-climatic ending.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars and you have a recipe for a great read. The interactions between...
I'm going to keep this review brief and get to the important bits.

The book is made entertaining through the portrayal of its two main characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nick
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Entertaining
Very much enjoyed this story. It was inspiring, educational, and really funny - I laughed out loud a bunch of times, and loved the author's voice. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lynne Spreen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Es ist eine wunderbar humorvolle Geschichte.
Published 4 months ago by Globetrotterin
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's Go Hiking
I was there with him. I love hiking and his descriptions were very vivid.
Published 5 months ago by judy bierma
3.0 out of 5 stars from re: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Dried noodles! That’s basically what the hikers Bill Bryson, and his friend Steven Katz, had left to eat after their first full day of their hike on the Appalachian Trail. Read more
Published 8 months ago by D. Coto
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