A Walk in the Woods

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Doubleday Canada, May 15, 2012 - Travel - 416 pages
God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail.

The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey.

An instant classic, riotously funny, A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.

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What's appealing about Bryson's book is the perspective he brings as an everyman hiking the The Appalachian Trail. This is an ambitious goal that poses a challenge to even skilled outdoorsman. He further adds to his handicap by choosing his similarly inexperienced but woefully more out of shape buddy, Stephen Katz, as his companion on this journey. Bryson is funny and has a talent for observation while on the trail. Some of my favorites were his description of hypothermia, the historical context of Harpers Ferry and his three examples where man has improved the face of nature: Hoover Dam, Mt Rushmore and Shenandoah National Park. The book lost some points with me with his his harsh assessment of the National Park Service of which I'm a big fan. He also has a lot of mean-spirited fun at the expense of the Southerners he encounters on and off the AT. The book feels a little bit like a cheat because he doesn't thru-hike the Trail. There was too much written about his time off the AT which broke the flow of the book. 5/2014  

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A great adventure book

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About the author (2012)

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He settled in England in 1977 and lived for many years with his wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He recently returned to the US and now lives in New Hampshire. Bryson's first bestseller was The Lost Continent, a journey through the USA by car. Notes from a Small Island was a #1 bestseller in Canada and spent 43 weeks on the trade paperback list in the UK.

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