©1998 Bill Bryson; (P)1998 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.
Bryson as always paints a picture in your mind that is complete down to the shape of the bootprints left on the trail. I felt as if I was hiking along with them. It was a great companion on my every day long drives.
Being an avid outdoorsman and survivalist, I found this book to be the story of a man who had no business being on the AT. If you a planning to hike the AT this would be a good book to read so you know what not to do while on the trail. Bryson was lucky to have made it through as much of the trail as he did. This is the kind of individual that wastes our tax dollars being rescued every year.
Having read some of Bryson's other books, frankly I expected a bit more out of this book.
Although humorous at times, I found the author to be a know-it-all and a snob. He seemed to find fault in everyone he came across on the trail and appeared to think himself a master of trail-hiking. Some of the topics he went into in regards to the education of hiking were interesting, but tended to go on a bit too long. Overall, I found it hard to enjoy the book due to my dislike of the author and his ever evolving snobbish undertones.
Perry Mason Fan
This isn't as good as The Sunburned Country (Australia) or Notes from a Small Island (the U.K.) or A Short History of Nearly Everything (The Universe, Time, Science, Biology, History, Physics, and almost everything else). It isn't even as good as The Lost Continent (Bryson's other book about returning to America after a 20 year sojourn in England). But as they say about sex, even the worst is still wonderful. The same can be said about this book. It is funny. It is insightful. It is well-written. It is a joy to read and a joy to hear. I've listen to it five times, which is five times less than the number of times I listened to his other audio books.
So when is MOTHER TONGUE coming out as a audiobook?
Enjoyable book. Author does good job on keeping book interesting with history on the AT and other information helpful to those thinking about hiking the trail someday. All will enjoy hiking the AT from their recliners while listening to this book.
I chuckled several times while reading this book, but it did not inspire me at all to hike the Appalachian Trail. If anything, I felt turned off from hiking. Luckily however, there were many more trail journals and other information sources online that were more inspirational, and I just completed an 856.2 mile section hike. Which brings me to another point: Bryson complains about the National Park Service (NPS) doing nothing to combat the gypsy moth, however I personally walked through areas where they had sprayed, and saw many other notices posted about past/future spraying. A small point, I know, however for me it was indicative of a overall sensationalistic writing style and a negative attitude towards the NPS and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
After reading the reviews I was excited to hear the book and downloaded it. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! No excitement and the reading was just plain boring. My eleven year old grandson puts more into his oral reading. I am not opposed to setting background for reading with facts as James Mitchner had a talent for doing, but Bryson comes off as environmental preaching. Sorry I wasted my choice.
I like authors with self deprecating humor. Unfortunatley much of Bryson's humor is at the expense of those unlucky enough to cross his path. The driver who takes him to the trailhead, his hiking partner, or the inhabitants of Gatlinburg Tn. Neither funny nor illuminating.
This book portrays the natives as ignorant, unintelligent, simple, and a backward group of people. Offensive. Not to be mocked. Not to belittle. Not to underestimate.
Only a fool would believe himself superior due to formal education. Some knowledge is not taught in school.
This book toots the author's own horn. The dangers in the Appalachians are real. Dramatized dangers of the author was under-rated.
I enjoyed the book and picked it because I have done some AT hiking and plan to do more, but partners really make a difference so . . .Sandy
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