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Bill Bryson

A walk in the woods : rediscovering america on the appalachian trail: 9780767902526

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<b><i>NEW YORK TIMES </i>BESTSELLER </b>- <b>The classic chronicle of a &quot;terribly misguided and terribly funny&quot; (<i>The Washington Post</i>) hike of the Appalachian Trail, from the author of<i>A Short History of Nearly Everything </i>and <i>The Body</i></b> <p></p> <b>&quot;The best way of escaping into nature.&quot;--<i>The New York Times </i></b> <p></p>Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings. <p></p>For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. But <i>A Walk in the Woods</i> is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, <i>A Walk in the Woods</i> is a modern classic of travel literature. <p></p> <b>NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE</b>

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The classic chronicle of a "terribly misguided and terribly funny" (The Washington Post) hike of the Appalachian Trail, from the author ofA Short History of Nearly Everything and The Body

"The best way of escaping into nature."--The New York Times

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.

For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is a modern classic of travel literature.

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTUREA classic from the New York Times bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything and The Body.

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.

For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.

Specifications

Series Title
Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail
Publisher
Broadway Books
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
304
Author
Bill Bryson
Title
A Walk in the Woods
ISBN-13
9780767902526
Publication Date
May, 1999
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.92 x 5.26 x 0.76 Inches
ISBN-10
0767902521

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Average Rating:(4.1)out of 5 stars
5 stars
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3 stars
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Most helpful positive review
4 customers found this helpful
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
This is my first sojou...
This is my first sojourn into the delightful world as seen from Bill Bryson's eyes. Well, maybe "delightful" is too pretty of a word. Anyway, this is a memoir, thus making it nonfiction, thus making it a piece of the written letters I normally do not tread. Regardless, his approach here is very narrative in spirit and makes you feel as though you really want to see this first-person (and his companion) through his journey. What we have here is a story about a man who decided, somewhat out of the blue, that he wants to hike the Appalachian Trail. This is, of course, quite an undertaking, therefore, he does not wish to do it himself. So, he writes to all of his friends and gets one person to respond much to his surprise. His name is Katz. He is well overweight and has recently stopped drinking due to the fact he is an alcoholic. Plus, as I am sure you, gentlereaders, have guessed, quite out of shape. Bill Bryson takes note of their journey in a manner that is both hilarious and melancholic. Bryson successfully mixes narration with factoids about the trail, the environment, animals, plants, history all without causing any discomfort. If there were more writers like Bryson retelling aspects of their lives, I would be more thrilled to read them. ...And, I sort of feel like taking a bit of a walk.
Most helpful negative review
1 customers found this helpful
Average Rating:(1.0)out of 5 stars
First, a disclaimer: I...
First, a disclaimer: I have hiked a considerable portion of the Appalachian trail in the South, I am a volunteer with the my local Appalachian Trail Club, and I live in north Georgia. I also belong to and support the Appalachian Trail Conference. If you are going to read my opinion of this book, I may as well be honest with you - I love hiking the Appalachian Trail, and I spend time and money supporting it. Bill Bryson is a man who sees his glass half-empty. In this book he trashes the U. S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Appalachian Trail Conference. He denigrates every locale that he hikes: North Georgia, Gatlinburg, Hiawassee, the Great Smoky Mountains, Pennsylvania, and his own adopted hometown. He dwells on the dangers of bears, panthers, weather, and attacks on hikers. Does he ever say anything good about anybody or any institution? In the character of Katz, Bryson describes some of the worst behavior you see on the trail: he routinely litters, with aluminum cans, cigarette butts, and discarded food and equipment, yet Bryson makes no effort to correct him or point out how he is wrong. I am sure Bryson went into this project knowing that he wanted to write a book, with the intention of gathering material for the book, and yet he did not finish his hike. So he has the effrontery to present himself as some sort of authority, someone qualified to write a travel memoir about the AT, even though he gives up his hike every time the challenge is too much for him. So if you are looking for a memoir about a successful hike of the AT, don't bother with this pseudo memoir by a great pretender. Instead, go to the ATC website, where you will find a large number of excellent hiking memoirs for sale.
Most helpful positive review
4 customers found this helpful
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
This is my first sojou...
This is my first sojourn into the delightful world as seen from Bill Bryson's eyes. Well, maybe "delightful" is too pretty of a word. Anyway, this is a memoir, thus making it nonfiction, thus making it a piece of the written letters I normally do not tread. Regardless, his approach here is very narrative in spirit and makes you feel as though you really want to see this first-person (and his companion) through his journey. What we have here is a story about a man who decided, somewhat out of the blue, that he wants to hike the Appalachian Trail. This is, of course, quite an undertaking, therefore, he does not wish to do it himself. So, he writes to all of his friends and gets one person to respond much to his surprise. His name is Katz. He is well overweight and has recently stopped drinking due to the fact he is an alcoholic. Plus, as I am sure you, gentlereaders, have guessed, quite out of shape. Bill Bryson takes note of their journey in a manner that is both hilarious and melancholic. Bryson successfully mixes narration with factoids about the trail, the environment, animals, plants, history all without causing any discomfort. If there were more writers like Bryson retelling aspects of their lives, I would be more thrilled to read them. ...And, I sort of feel like taking a bit of a walk.
Most helpful negative review
1 customers found this helpful
Average Rating:(1.0)out of 5 stars
First, a disclaimer: I...
First, a disclaimer: I have hiked a considerable portion of the Appalachian trail in the South, I am a volunteer with the my local Appalachian Trail Club, and I live in north Georgia. I also belong to and support the Appalachian Trail Conference. If you are going to read my opinion of this book, I may as well be honest with you - I love hiking the Appalachian Trail, and I spend time and money supporting it. Bill Bryson is a man who sees his glass half-empty. In this book he trashes the U. S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Appalachian Trail Conference. He denigrates every locale that he hikes: North Georgia, Gatlinburg, Hiawassee, the Great Smoky Mountains, Pennsylvania, and his own adopted hometown. He dwells on the dangers of bears, panthers, weather, and attacks on hikers. Does he ever say anything good about anybody or any institution? In the character of Katz, Bryson describes some of the worst behavior you see on the trail: he routinely litters, with aluminum cans, cigarette butts, and discarded food and equipment, yet Bryson makes no effort to correct him or point out how he is wrong. I am sure Bryson went into this project knowing that he wanted to write a book, with the intention of gathering material for the book, and yet he did not finish his hike. So he has the effrontery to present himself as some sort of authority, someone qualified to write a travel memoir about the AT, even though he gives up his hike every time the challenge is too much for him. So if you are looking for a memoir about a successful hike of the AT, don't bother with this pseudo memoir by a great pretender. Instead, go to the ATC website, where you will find a large number of excellent hiking memoirs for sale.
This is my first sojourn into the delightful world as seen from Bill Bryson's eyes. Well, maybe "delightful" is too pretty of a word. Anyway, this is a memoir, thus making it nonfiction, thus making it a piece of the written letters I normally do not tread. Regardless, his approach here is very narrative in spirit and makes you feel as though you really want to see this first-person (and his companion) through his journey. What we have here is a story about a man who decided, somewhat out of the blue, that he wants to hike the Appalachian Trail. This is, of course, quite an undertaking, therefore, he does not wish to do it himself. So, he writes to all of his friends and gets one person to respond much to his surprise. His name is Katz. He is well overweight and has recently stopped drinking due to the fact he is an alcoholic. Plus, as I am sure you, gentlereaders, have guessed, quite out of shape. Bill Bryson takes note of their journey in a manner that is both hilarious and melancholic. Bryson successfully mixes narration with factoids about the trail, the environment, animals, plants, history all without causing any discomfort. If there were more writers like Bryson retelling aspects of their lives, I would be more thrilled to read them. ...And, I sort of feel like taking a bit of a walk.
First, a disclaimer: I have hiked a considerable portion of the Appalachian trail in the South, I am a volunteer with the my local Appalachian Trail Club, and I live in north Georgia. I also belong to and support the Appalachian Trail Conference. If you are going to read my opinion of this book, I may as well be honest with you - I love hiking the Appalachian Trail, and I spend time and money supporting it. Bill Bryson is a man who sees his glass half-empty. In this book he trashes the U. S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Appalachian Trail Conference. He denigrates every locale that he hikes: North Georgia, Gatlinburg, Hiawassee, the Great Smoky Mountains, Pennsylvania, and his own adopted hometown. He dwells on the dangers of bears, panthers, weather, and attacks on hikers. Does he ever say anything good about anybody or any institution? In the character of Katz, Bryson describes some of the worst behavior you see on the trail: he routinely litters, with aluminum cans, cigarette butts, and discarded food and equipment, yet Bryson makes no effort to correct him or point out how he is wrong. I am sure Bryson went into this project knowing that he wanted to write a book, with the intention of gathering material for the book, and yet he did not finish his hike. So he has the effrontery to present himself as some sort of authority, someone qualified to write a travel memoir about the AT, even though he gives up his hike every time the challenge is too much for him. So if you are looking for a memoir about a successful hike of the AT, don't bother with this pseudo memoir by a great pretender. Instead, go to the ATC website, where you will find a large number of excellent hiking memoirs for sale.

Frequent mentions

1-5 of 216 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

This is my first sojou...

This is my first sojourn into the delightful world as seen from Bill Bryson's eyes. Well, maybe "delightful" is too pretty of a word. Anyway, this is a memoir, thus making it nonfiction, thus making it a piece of the written letters I normally do not tread. Regardless, his approach here is very narrative in spirit and makes you feel as though you really want to see this first-person (and his companion) through his journey. What we have here is a story about a man who decided, somewhat out of the blue, that he wants to hike the Appalachian Trail. This is, of course, quite an undertaking, therefore, he does not wish to do it himself. So, he writes to all of his friends and gets one person to respond much to his surprise. His name is Katz. He is well overweight and has recently stopped drinking due to the fact he is an alcoholic. Plus, as I am sure you, gentlereaders, have guessed, quite out of shape. Bill Bryson takes note of their journey in a manner that is both hilarious and melancholic. Bryson successfully mixes narration with factoids about the trail, the environment, animals, plants, history all without causing any discomfort. If there were more writers like Bryson retelling aspects of their lives, I would be more thrilled to read them. ...And, I sort of feel like taking a bit of a walk.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

This is my first sojou...

This is my first sojourn into the delightful world as seen from Bill Bryson's eyes. Well, maybe "delightful" is too pretty of a word. Anyway, this is a memoir, thus making it nonfiction, thus making it a piece of the written letters I normally do not tread. Regardless, his approach here is very narrative in spirit and makes you feel as though you really want to see this first-person (and his companion) through his journey. What we have here is a story about a man who decided, somewhat out of the blue, that he wants to hike the Appalachian Trail. This is, of course, quite an undertaking, therefore, he does not wish to do it himself. So, he writes to all of his friends and gets one person to respond much to his surprise. His name is Katz. He is well overweight and has recently stopped drinking due to the fact he is an alcoholic. Plus, as I am sure you, gentlereaders, have guessed, quite out of shape. Bill Bryson takes note of their journey in a manner that is both hilarious and melancholic. Bryson successfully mixes narration with factoids about the trail, the environment, animals, plants, history all without causing any discomfort. If there were more writers like Bryson retelling aspects of their lives, I would be more thrilled to read them. ...And, I sort of feel like taking a bit of a walk.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Having grown up in New...

Having grown up in New England, my childhood was marked by periodic visits to sites along the New England Appalachian Trail. Because my brother and I were still young in those years, our hiking was limited to about four hours--first there was the drive from Boston to our destination, then 2 hours up a trail, 2 hours back down the trail to the parking lot, and the return trip home. These trips remain, however, amongst the highlight memories of my childhood, and as a later parent, I understood the amount of work and patience they required of our parents--the long car ride, the need to pack small 'motivational' snacks, the lack of toilet facilities for shy 8-year-old girls, my younger brother's demand to be carried on our father's shoulders for most of the trip back down. Later, as a young newlywed, my husband and I would often go hiking and camping around Moosehead Lake in Maine (where you saw not only moose but also way more snakes than I ever want to see again). So Bryson's book brought back all those memories in addition to putting the trail, which I really hadn't given much thought to, into context. Like many other readers, I loved the details--the salamanders, the fear of bears and cougars, the chance encounter with a shy moose, the history, and even the statistics. Today, I turn over rocks looking for small salamanders for my grandchildren, and point out which side of a tree moss grows on, as my father did for me as we learned about forests. As Bryce notes, the trail was quite empty in the 50s and 60s; we rarely encountered other families and only an occasional 'hiker' on our weekend walks...even though they were all well within range of a road or parking lot. I suspect the same pattern holds true today. The forest in many parts of America is still thick and relatively unexplored. When, as young marrieds, we chanced upon the crash site of a small private plane dense in the Maine forest and reported it to the local authorities, we were waved off with a "Too much trouble to clean out" (and no one seemed to know or remember if there had been survivors or not). This is a lovely book, a joy to read--a story enhanced by the author's brio and wildly unsuitable walking companion. My daughter, who loves to run in the woods, recommended it to me, for which I will be forever grateful. If you, too, like to walk in forests, I heartily recommend A Walk in the Woods.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

I am sure there are bo...

I am sure there are books about the Appalachian Trail that are jam-packed with facts, figures, topographical maps, photos, and so on. A Walk in the Woods is not such a book; rather, it is a humorous memoir of one person's effort to hike the trail from beginning to end. And along the way, the reader picks up an astonishing amount of information about the Appalachian Trail (AT)'s history, flora & fauna, weather, etc. The trail is over 2,000 miles long, and runs from Georgia to Maine. There are entry/exit points along the way, and shelters about every 10 miles. It's possible to hike pieces of the trail, but the mother of all hikes is "thru-hiking" from end to end. This endeavor takes several months and requires careful planning to accommodate the harshest weather conditions at each endpoint. In the mid-1990s, Bill Bryson recruited a friend from his hometown to join him in "thru-hiking" the AT. His book, A Walk in the Woods, recounts their journey. Bryson and Stephen Katz were an unlikely pair. They were friends in their youth but their adult paths diverged. Neither man was in great physical condition. Bryson, at least, was an experienced hiker. Katz's top priority was pursuit of a hot meal and a real bed. But off they went. They met some interesting characters along the way, which Bryson recounted with great humor. He also used this memoir as a platform for giving the National Park Service a performance review for their preservation efforts, and conveying his disappointment in humankind's lack of respect & appreciation for the world around them. Bryson clearly thrived on the natural beauty found on the trail, and the hike itself had a profound personal impact on him, which he managed to communicate without getting overly philosophical. He also wove in a lot of trail history, and useful details for anyone considering an AT hike, such as the best and worst states for trail maintenance, the condition of shelters, and even amenities in some towns near the trail. I'm unlikely to attempt such a hike myself, but I do enjoy nature writing and stories about taking on a challenge or overcoming adversity. Bryson's memoir was a very enjoyable read in all of these respects.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

I wasnt sure what to ...

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I read it during a period in which I was really into the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail (still am, but not as much), which is something I'll probably never be physically able to do but which is fun to read about. This book was so much better than I thought it would be. Bryson had me screaming with laughter and pounding the arm of my chair when he described his imagined reaction to hearing a bear outside of his tent. I loved his honesty and the realism of the story (of course, it's a true story, but such things often get embellished). Bryson's point is not to brag about how far he and a friend got on the trail, nor is it to try to persuade others to take on the hike. He simply describes his often funny experiences on the trail, from the people he saw to the food he ate and the wildlife he encountered (or, really, that encountered him). I also liked the tidbits of information about how the trail came to be and how it is managed. People often overlook these important facts, and reading about them made me appreciate how hard people work to keep the trail open for generations to come. It made me want to at least hike a little bit of it someday, even though I'd have to get on an international flight to get there. Great, funny read. Highly recommended.

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