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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail) Paperback – 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 681 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1999
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767902521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767902526
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 681 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #425,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Paperback
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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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 www.amazon.ca.

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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was written in the style of John McPhee and even quoting him once in a while. It includes facts and people like "The Perfect Storm." Then Bill Bryson adds first hand personal experiences. You can identify with his comments that do not have to be funny to be familiar.

This book recounts Bill Bryson's experiences on the Appalachian Trail. The dry facts can be picked up through other material. However the personal experiences are just that, personal. If you have never been hiking then you still get a feel for what you have missed. However if you have hiked then you can really appreciate the people he met, and circumstances that he went through. There are hikers and then there are hikers. In the Boy Scouts you are usually in a well-organized group, in the military you have to be more cautious of objects and terrain, Sierra Club and Outward Bound have their unique points of view. So if his experience is different, it still makes for fun reading.

I even liked the sections on selecting and using the equipment. I am afraid if I had met Bill Bryson on the trail; I would have been one of those "equipment comparing" people.

Anyway do not expect an epic and you will enjoy the time you spend reading this book. Oh, and it does make me want to go hiking.
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