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A Walk in the Woods [Hardcover]

Bill Bryson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 1997
From the author of "Notes from a Small Island" and "The Lost Continent" comes this humorous report on his walk along the Appalachian Trail. The Trail covers 14 states and over 2000 miles, and stretches along the east coast of America from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. It is famous for being the longest continuous footpath in the world. It snakes through some of the wildest and most specactular landscapes in America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (1 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038560050X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385600507
  • ASIN: 0385408161
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 301,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. Settled in England for many years, he moved to America with his wife and four children for a few years ,but has since returned to live in the UK. His bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods and Down Under. His acclaimed work of popular science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize, and was the biggest selling non-fiction book of the decade in the UK.

Photography © Julian J

Product Description

Amazon Review

Bill Bryson has made a living out of travelling and then writing about it. In The Lost Continent he re-created the road trips of his childhood; in Neither Here nor There he retraced the route he followed as a young backpacker traversing Europe. When this American transplant to Britain decided to return home, he made a farewell walking tour of the British countryside and produced Notes from a Small Island. Once back on American soil and safely settled in New Hampshire, Bryson again hears the siren call of the open road--only this time it's a trail. The Appalachian Trail, to be exact. In A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson tackles what is, for him, an entirely new subject: the American wilderness. Accompanied only by his old college buddy Stephen Katz, Bryson starts out one March morning in north Georgia, intending to walk the entire 2,100 miles to trail's end atop Maine's Mount Katahdin.

If nothing else, A Walk in the Woods is proof positive that the journey is the destination. As Bryson and Katz haul their out-of-shape, middle-aged butts over hill and dale, the reader is treated to both a very funny personal memoir and a delightful chronicle of the trail, the people who created it, and the places it passes through. Whether you plan to make a trip like this one yourself one day or only care to read about it, A Walk in the Woods is a great way to spend an afternoon. --Alix Wilber, Amazon.com


"'Entertaining and often illuminating'" (Paul Johnson Sunday Telegraph)

"'This is a seriously funny book'" (Sue Townsend The Sunday Times)

"'Irreverent, wildly funny, crowded with anecdotes and observation'" (Fanny Blake Ideal Home) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At his absolute best... for a while! 16 May 2001
By A Customer
Having read all of Bill Bryson's travel books, this was the last one left. I hadn't read this because I had been told it was one of his weaker novels but I decided, through no other reason that I needed a hit of Bryson, to read it. People couldn't have been more wrong. From the very initiation of assesing the feasibility, to arranging for Katz to accompany him to the purchasing of his equipment (the careful selection process and how easy it is for us to get blinded by science - ie ripped off) and the purchase of 'a large knife for killing bears and hillibillies.' Bryson is at his absolute best. His encounters along the trail and Katz anti-social, childish antics make the first 150 pages more than laugh out loud funny. I couldn't have been more suprised. The encounter with the, erm... 'bear' and Katz' reaction compared to the wimpy Bryson is simply classic.
And then halfway through it stops.
They leave the trail to take some time off and from then on, I tried hard but it never seemed to pick up again, it was funny but you no longer felt you were joining you old mate Bill on this adventure, but just reading a somewhat disjointed collection of tales. Also, after they leave the trail, the book becomes bogged down in history which some may like, but personally, I was more interested in the humor which in the second half is often lacking. However, halfway through this book, I can guarantee theat you will have contemplated at least once, trying to walk the trail - even just a part of it! If flabby, smoking, unhealthy eating Billy boy can do it, I'll bet you I can!
Still, Bryson is and always will be in my mind, a pure genius and this book is well worth the money even just for the first 150 pages and maybe it was just me, no-one else seems to have found this a problem - maybe I'm just thick!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Walk in the Woods 22 Aug 2005
Stupendously funny! My wife hates it when I laugh out loud when reading a book, and I had to keep apologising. I tried to stifle a laugh, but the next line makes it burst out. Probably the funniest book I have ever read. Not only makes you want to be there but also forces you to buy every book he has ever written. I read his 'Short History of Nearly Everything' and 'Dictionary of Troublesome Words' almost immediately.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bryson's Hilarious Hike 16 July 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
This book made me chuckle within the first ten minutes (and that is an unusual sight believe me as I'm usually a miserable person). Bryson bares all of himself for the world to see. His attitude, sense of humour, determination and stamina accompanies his every step across the longest continuous footpath in the world. His honesty is breath of fresh air which many forty somethings who want to be fitter and younger will identify with.
I listened to this on a long train journey, shut my eyes and I was there.... in his sleeping bag, itching at the thought of the insects.... smiling at the thought of his mad travel companion and chuckling at his sarcastic comments, which are sharp, witty and ones you would want to remember. The characters he meets on his journey are just great. A real insight into other people's alternative lifestyles. I enjoyed this more than the Australian 'Down Under' one which has put me off ever visititng the place. Bryson seems to be at his best when stressed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect holiday reading 11 Sep 2004
This Bryson tome differs from earlier outings in that he drags along a reluctant companion with him, as he embarks on the epic Appalachian Trail through rural wooded America. The relationship with the grumpy Katz is one of the best things in the book as they form an unusual bond despite the latter's evident dislike of physical exercise.
Unfortunately Katz's co-starring role doesn't last all the way through and the bits were he's absent are not quite so compelling although meetings with a group of posh hikers and an incompetent but know-it-all teenager provide highlights. Bryson and Katz's glee when they return to comfort-laden civilization is hilarious.
Overall, I liked this as much as the other Brysons especially as it isn't overloaded with facts and figures, which I thought unbalanced "Down Under".
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully funny 4 Sep 2006
By Hugh Sutherland VINE VOICE
Two chracteristics that are fantastic to have are humour and wit and Bill Bryson has them in abundance. To write humour with such a comanding voice is an admirable quality indeed. The book is well written, planned, informative and funny.

My only comment is that towards the end the geographical, historical and geological information became a bit repetitive and I did find my interest waning. Aside from this it is another solid effort from a fantastic author.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It 11 Jan 2005
By A Customer
I am a great Bill Bryson fan, and I loved reading this book.
Although, to tell the truth, it was so realistic that I felt I was camping out with him. I felt so relieved when he finally reached a decent place to spend the night, or when he found a supermarket where he stocked up on mostly junk food.
My heart went out to Katz, who stoically brought up the rear (and sometimes the front).
I tell you, I felt as if I walked every inch of that way with them and I was very happy when it finally got to the end. I was exhausted.
I felt I had to go the whole way with him, otherwise he might never make it!
If you don't want to get exhausted, worried about being attacked by bears, poisoned by mice dung or just plain lose your way or starve, go for some lighter Bryson reading where he gets in a car and travels somewhere relatively safe (like Britain).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WALKING IN THE WOODS
Published 11 days ago by Mr. Kevin W. Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably his best book
I've not read all of Bryson's books but I've read a fair few and this is easily the most entertaining one! Read more
Published 13 days ago by alfa_brk
2.0 out of 5 stars becomes a slog
This book starts fun. Becomes a slog. I doubt I'll finnish it... a bit like hiking the Apalacian Trail I expect.
Published 16 days ago by J M J Robertson
Considering it covers over 2,000 miles of wilderness hiking it carries you along with Bryson's added info. The language is a bit Hollywood Fxxxx etc A good read if read n stages
Published 1 month ago by Rev. Thomas G. Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Bill Bryson does not disappoint with this one. His usual chatty style belies the in depth historical and factual research which makes the book an interesting read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by ozzysheila
5.0 out of 5 stars A great trek
My Bryson never disappoints and I was exhausted just letting him do all the walking (and talking)! Highly recommended to armchair travellers.
Published 1 month ago by Bibliophile Books
5.0 out of 5 stars Travelling with a Walker who became a Hiker.
I chose this enjoyable book after my son recommended it. I am walker and he had read this book some time ago and thought it would be something I would enjoy ,as I am embarking on... Read more
Published 2 months ago by christine collins
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
Very enjoyable read - had read it years ago, revisited it last week - nice escapism through the travelling - maybe I'll take up hiking!
Published 2 months ago by Ken Reno
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud in parts!
Love this book. Laugh out loud in parts, slow in others, but a good repeat read. Interesting info on the Appalachian Trail.
Published 2 months ago by Lucy
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner
Loved the book. Have read Bill Bryson before and this one did not disappoint.
Funny and easy read.
Very good.
Promptly delivered after ordering.
Published 3 months ago by gillian Parkin
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