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.
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APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson—author of A Short History of Nearly Everything and One Summer—turns his trademark wit, intellect and enthusiasm for discovering new places to the Appalachian trail. Bryson vividly catalogues the deprivations, physical challenges, and threats—wildlife, hypothermia, and even the odd creepy murderer—encountered along his demanding 870-mile journey, offering intriguing reflections on history, ecology, and manmade destruction. He takes us on a hugely entertaining journey, making us laugh out loud with his delicious portraits of larger-than-life locals, self-obsessed hikers, and his traveling companion, Katz.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Can’t stop till the end, and start to do it again.
Enjoyable and funny
My favorite book of all time. I could read it again and again. After reading, I made a trip to the AT from Florida and walked a small portion in NC.
Laugh out loud reading
The only other author who I have read who makes me laugh out loud is the late great political satirist Art Buchwald. Bill Bryson is a great storyteller. His interweaving of fact fantasy and fiction makes for truly enjoyable times. I find his and Katzs' quips to repeatedly cause bouts of gut busting laughter. Read this book near people who need cheering up. Do not read this book while drinking beverages unless you want to spray a mouthful or worse a nose full at your nearby surroundings.