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A Walk in the Woods: Abridged [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Bill Bryson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 May 2004

The Appalachian Trail covers 14 states, and over 2,000 miles. It stretches along the East Coast of the United States, from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. It is famous for being the longest continuous footpath in the world. (Compare this with the Pennine Way, which is a mere 250 miles long.) It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas - Redneck country - Moonshine, Lil' Abner, there's bears in them thar hills. Remember the film Deliverance?

God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake this gruelling hike. Perhaps it was just a long-held ambition to lose weight: he has lost two stone so far. As he recently wrote from the trail to his publisher:

'Speaking of vigorous exercise, boy have I just had some. Maine was a bitch. I want you to come back and walk it with me so that when you die if you go to hell you will be able to say: "Call this hell? Try walking across Maine in August."'

Reared in the tradition of Mark Twain, James Thurber and S.J. Perelman, Bryson used his many years in Britain to soak up a peculiarly English sense of irony and humour and to hone a laugh-out-loud style that is uniquely, hilariously, his own.

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A Walk in the Woods: Abridged + Notes from a Small Island (Audiobook) + Neither Here, Nor There: Travels in Europe
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Corgi Audio; Abridged edition edition (17 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552152153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552152150
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 12.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,457 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"'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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 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 Five Stars
genius writing, funniest book I've ever read!
Published 1 day ago by scribling ink
4.0 out of 5 stars good but not riverting
Forgot I actually have read this in the past....good but not riverting....
Published 7 days ago by Mich
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book classic Bryson. Very inspiring.
Published 10 days ago by HP DV9705ea
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 19 days ago by gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars A heroically funny walk
Wondful hilarious book that gives an insight to Bill's endearing personality and the rigours of the trail. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Quality was ok for price
The quality of the book was not as described. For very good I would have expected a very clean book with no marks and unfortunately this copy was very yellow and only of good... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Michael S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every step of the way
I really cannot say how many times I have read this book. I can however, recall the thrill, the total absorption rediscovered every time I pick it up. Read more
Published 1 month ago by James Cordner
5.0 out of 5 stars great author
this is one of the best books i have ever read ! its addictive reading i would recommend it to everyone , i am seeking out more of Bill Brysons work based on this book ,its funny... Read more
Published 1 month ago by MS LEIGH BEEBY
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the trail, this starts well, then just becomes duty-bound effort...
Starts well, straight into the ambitious effort of the long-haul trek, a good mixture of funny moments, interesting facts etc but towards the mid point it just becomes an... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Over the hills and far away...
I've only known of Bryson for about five years and boy, what I'd been missing.
This is generally up to his usual engaging and in places painfully funny standard and is... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ivan Bradley
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