- Paperback: 376 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Canada (June 12 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385259417
- ISBN-13: 978-0385259415
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 1,089 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
In a Sunburned Country Paperback – Jun 12 2001
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"Bill Bryson is...an artist who needs a big canvas. Australia has provided this. He's painted a masterpiece in travel literature." — The Globe and Mail
From the Back Cover
"Bill Bryson is...an artist who needs a big canvas. Australia has provided this. He's painted a masterpiece in travel literature." — The Globe and MailSee all Product description
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The book is made entertaining through the portrayal of its two main characters. Take two old guys who couldn't be any more different and watch them to hike, voluntarily, hundreds and hundreds of miles through the American wilderness, and you have a recipe for a great read. The interactions between Bryson and his bumbling compatriot Katz reflect the very real camaraderie that emerges from shared toil and punishment. These guys bicker, fight, disagree, and ultimately find their peace between one another through comical scenario after comical scenario.
This is truly where the book shines the most. Bryson, caring deeply about the history and long-term survivability of the Appalachian Trail, veers off from the two character's main story towards long side-rants detailing his admiration for the trail and how it came to be. These sections seem to fill in fairly long chapters, and anyone not so much interested in the history of the trail could find their interest waning as they try to get through those sections, much like Bryson and Katz as they climbed over numerous hills.
Personally I found them well researched, if a bit dry. I always hoped to come back to the sections depicting the two men's efforts, and their interactions between themselves and the cast of interesting characters they'd encountered along the way. The thing is, you can't have a book full of these interactions when your book is based around walking through the forest. Only so many things can happy when you're with the same person, day in, day out, and surrounded by trees. This makes the historical sections tend to feel like filler, necessary chapters to help add heft to an otherwise interesting, if sparse, tale about two companions facing off against nature (and occasionally each other).
I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys hiking or is interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail. There are a lot of great, in direct tips and pieces of advice that could help the less experienced better prepare for their own buddy adventures in the great American wilderness. Just be prepared to have to trudge along a few chapters in order to get to the good stuff.
Also he is a through researcher and gives you a different angel of looking at things, I can buy all sorts of travel books that keeps praising a destination and telling you how great it is, but I think Bill is not trying to convince you to go somewhere, he says it as it is
Having hiked on and near Appalachian Trail myself in North Carolina, Shenandoah National Park, and Berkshires in Massachusetts, I could relate to the ordeal of our two adventurers. Being a day or section hiker, I am not able to comprehend the amount of courage and determination it takes for 'through hikers' for being that. So I can rise up on my feet and salute Bill Bryson and all those 'through hikers' any time.
This book will make you laugh and will make you weep at least in your heart. It was published in mid-90s, but is still useful and an excellent read.
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