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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

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  • Overall
  • Debra
  • Houston, TX, USA
  • 06-30-09

Great Book

This is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read it once, listened to it on audio 8 years ago and am now going to listen to it again.

  • Overall
  • Jerod
  • austin, TX, USA
  • 06-05-09

This guy is good

If you want to get a little information about the wilderness as well as a great story, get it. I got this book after listening to A Short History of Nearly Everything and am pleased. Bill Bryson is funny and smart and keeps your attention easily. I will definitely look for more of his books in the future.

  • Overall
  • Don Lance
  • Murfreesboro, TN United States
  • 12-31-08

Good story, but not for kids

The book was very entertaining, and a good introduction to what things you could expect for hiking on the AT. The author's account was both humorous and informative.

Two observations that you should know:

First, someone commented that you should get the unabridged rather than the abridged version. Unfortunately it is not available as far as I could check. The original recording was apparently made in the 20th century when audiobooks had to fit on a certain number of CDs or cassettes. Don't look for an unabridged version to become available unless the publisher decides to re-record the missing parts (or entire book) and re-release it.

Second: An earlier review implied it was a good story to listen with the kids. However, I would disagree strongly. Profanity is laced throughout the story, and some of it is not the "mild" kind. To me this really detracts from the story's quality and so I had to lower my rating. The author's hiking buddy also has a history and a lifestyle that is not for kids, and it is mentioned a few times. I understand you want to be accurate in storytelling, but you can be accurate without the use of "gutter language." That's one of the challenges of really great writing. To me it's what separates "good books" from "great books".

If the book were a movie, I would rate it as "PG-13".

Other than this, I would say the book is enjoyable. Would I buy it again? Yes. But it's probably not one I would listen to again for some time due to the language.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Perry
  • Fort Worth, TX, USA
  • 10-01-08

A Walk in the Woods

A very good book.

  • Overall

Gotta love Bryson

I can't imagine anyone narrating his books other than him. The book is great, the narration is great. When you see someone laughing at the stop light, they're probably listening to Bill Bryson.

  • Overall
  • John
  • White Salmon, WA United States
  • 11-16-07

Laugh Outloud

If you want a book that will make you laugh outloud, this is the one. Listening to this book was a fun experience and the descriptions of Bill Bryson's journey were so vivid I really could picture what his journey entailed. His sense of humor is wonderful and I look forward to listening to another of his books.

  • Overall

A Walk In The Woods

This is a great book. We heard part of it on XM and had to have a copy. Bill Bryson is a great author and the book is informative and great entertainment. It makes me want to grab a back pack and hit the trail.

  • Overall
  • Gael
  • Boulder, CO, USA
  • 07-29-07

Laugh - travel-learn

I love Bill Bryson- so glad he reads his own material because it adds that element of real time and place - he is funny as a reader-writer; yet as often as I listen, he never fails to cause one to think, or if you are a world traveler, to remember!

  • Overall


i really enjoyed this book. Bryson has unique but funny sense of humor and there's always a good story behind anyone willing to challenge themselves to a new and uncertain experience. People evolve through journeys like these - so be open to it!

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Aptos, CA, United States
  • 06-22-07

The book is a five star/ narration is a one star

I have listened to numerous audio books in this last year. Most of the time, I have also purchased the book form in order to enjoy certain passages or to revisit ideas at a slower pace. This is a book that I have taken on backpack trips and found to be very funny and insightful. The author's voice comes right through his words.

Unfortunately, the narrator of this abridged version sounds very depressed, like Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide. He lacks the positive and self-effacing humor of the author.

I would like to see this book rerecorded unabridged by a great narrator and released. The printed version is fantastic.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful