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A Walk in the Woods | [Bill Bryson]

A Walk in the Woods

After 20 years in Britain, Bryson returned to the U.S. and decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. This is his humorous, inspiring account.
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Publisher's Summary

"Not long after I moved with my family to a small town in New Hampshire, I happened upon a path that vanished into a wood on the edge of town." So begins Bill Bryson's hilarious book, A Walk in the Woods. Following his return to America after 20 years in Britain, Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The AT, as it's affectionately known to thousands of hikers, 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 test his own powers of ineptitude, and to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings. 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 fragile and beautiful 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, a lament, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is destined to become a modern classic of travel literature.

©1998 Bill Bryson; (P)1998 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (2430 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Angeline Reno, NV, USA 04-30-03
    Angeline Reno, NV, USA 04-30-03
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    "Very descriptive and enjoyable."

    The next best thing to getting to go yourself! You got to experience the trail for yourself just by listening. A good listen for those that love hiking and camping.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carrlane Quackenbush Chicago 10-07-08
    Carrlane Quackenbush Chicago 10-07-08 Member Since 2013

    Carr Lane

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    "Get the unabridged version"

    Don't get this abridged version; it leaves out too many good parts

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anders Omel GreveDenmark 09-24-04
    Anders Omel GreveDenmark 09-24-04 Member Since 2013
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    "Just for Americans"

    It is not a bad book, but i did not find it that funny. I think you have to be a American to fully appreciate it.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill North Potomac, MD, United States 06-10-04
    Jill North Potomac, MD, United States 06-10-04 Member Since 2014
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    "Overrated and unfunny"

    Why is this book considered a comedy? There are a few mildly amusing moments, but it's not a particularly funny or endearing book in my view. Also, Mr. Bryson - please don't narrate again. The whining of your prose is only magnified by the nasality of your voice.

    For funny stuff about the outdoors, try Pat McManus. For whining and pedantry, by all means: Bryson's your man.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer New York, NY, USA 04-16-03
    Jennifer New York, NY, USA 04-16-03
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    "NOT THAT FUNNY"

    No offense to the other people that left reviews, but I didn't find this humorous in the least. Mostly it was boring. I listened to about half of it before I lost interest. Unless you're actually planning on hiking the Appalachian trail, you'd be better served listening to something more interesting.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Carthage, NC, USA 04-19-05
    Patrick Carthage, NC, USA 04-19-05
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    "Egotistical hogwash"

    Like David from Raleigh said below, his humor is used at the expense of everyone he meets on the trail. I suppose that when compared to "the great" Bill Bryson himself, they are all fault-ridden and shallow. It feels like a book hell-bent on the self-importance of the author.

    5 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 09-03-13
    Aaron 09-03-13
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    "An Englishman in America"

    I have looked at "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson for a few years now, and despite my love for the outdoors, have been slow getting to finally read it.

    I cannot say what my reservations were, other than that I generally choose not to read the work of celebrated Atheists, of which Bill Bryson is among those counted. Why? Because I have found that, being a Christian myself, 'Atheist authors' tend to disparage my point of view in favor of their own. Yes, this is their right, just as it is my right not to choose to read their work. thank you.

    As I started listening to A Walk in the Woods, something dawned on me like the lifting of a thick fog over a soupy valley. The more I listened, the clearer the writing appeared to me... in the way words becomes clear from a book you had read long ago, but had forgotten that you read, then accidentally read it again "thinking" that you had not read it in the first place! That is exactly how it felt, because it dawned on me that I had already read this book! when? how? why? I asked myself, but at any rate, the day was uneventful, so I listened to it again.

    I have done a lot of camping and hiking in the past similar to what Bryson did, so I found the reminiscences interesting, but mostly because it reminded me of when I went hiking.

    It was hard to say now why this book was so popular. ? It was a lot of story about hiking the trail, but almost as much was a history of the trail itself, which was interesting, but somewhat removed from the light feel of the camping. The science discourses where expectantly offensive to my Christian outlook, but I am sure Bill Bryson would find my POV equally offensive (as he undeniably and emphatically states in a chapter dedicated to smearing Christians). Other than that brief rant, and a prevalent secularist viewpoint however, it was rather mild in that regard. And, in the spirit fairness, Bryson was equally cantankerous towards the US Park System and Government regulations.

    All in all, this might a good book for one listen, but the second listen made me think it was just alright. 3 sold stars.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. S. Cohen New York, NY USA 05-06-12
    M. S. Cohen New York, NY USA 05-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Classic Bryson"
    What did you love best about A Walk in the Woods?

    The interaction between Bryson and Katz reminds me of Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The times the two hikers screw up or can't walk as far as they had planned.


    What does Bill Bryson bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Inflection. When he reads what he actually said you get a real feeling of how it sounded.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not really


    Any additional comments?

    I have almost all of Bryson's books and enjoy them very much.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Lake Oswego, OR, USA 06-27-09
    John Lake Oswego, OR, USA 06-27-09
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    "Nature Faking"

    This book is well written and enjoyable. I happen to dislike the fact that he presents the walk as a true story but in fact, he made up many parts. This makes me not trust the author and question everything in the book. For example, you can't find beautiful orb spider webs in the early spring and a bear doesn't drink from a stream for a half hour. There were at least a dozen such nature faking moments in the book, so if that bothers you, avoid this author. It bothered me so much that I refuse to read any more books by Bryson, but I am probably more sensitive to this than most people.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 03-19-08
    Kevin Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 03-19-08
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    "Twas okay"

    I persevered and finished this book hoping any minute it would become the humorous treat others had written off but that point never came for me. I think I have a pretty good sense of humour but the books continual reference to the trails history, its neglect by so many individuals and government departments, and the diseases that affect it could not raise a smile here. I really was disappointed having read the earlier reviews.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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