A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

67%

23 Critic Reviews

...liked the first half of the book better than the second half. But overall I still look back on A Walk in the Woods with fond memories, and I'd still recommend it to hiking/camping people (of which I am not one at all), Bryson fans, and travelogue-lovers.
-The Blue Bookcase

Synopsis


Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT 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 witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.

For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. 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 beautiful but fragile 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, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Bill Bryson

See more books from this Author
BILL BRYSON's best-selling books include A Walk in the Woods, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, In a Sunburned Country, A Short History of Nearly Everything (which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize), The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and At Home. He lives in England with his wife and children.































Author Residence: Norfolk, England































Author Hometown: Des Moines, IA
 
Published September 8, 2010 by Broadway Books. 305 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Travel, History, Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 27 2015
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for A Walk in the Woods
All: 23 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

...for the most part the humor is bright sarcasm, flashing with drollery and intelligence, even when it’s a far yodel from political sensitivity. Then Bryson will take your breath away with a trenchant critique of the irredeemably vulgar vernacular strip that characterizes many American downtowns...

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on May 04 1998

Bryson completes the trail as planned, and he records the misadventure with insight and elegance. He is a popular author in Britain and his impeccably graceful and witty style deserves a large American audience as well.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT on May 21 1998

He was often exhausted, his "brain like a balloon tethered with string, accompanying but not actually part of the body below." The reader, by contrast, is rarely anything but exhilarated. And you don't have to take a step.

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Examiner

Below average
Reviewed by Merlyn Seeley on Mar 07 2011

It would make an excellent book if it weren't buried under all the garbage with which Bryson has filled A Walk in the Woods.

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Entertainment Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by Vanessa V. Friedman on Jun 19 1998

The book is subtitled “Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail,” but Bryson doesn’t seem to have discovered very much at all.

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Daily Kos

Above average
Reviewed by onanyes on Jul 18 2010

I am glad that I read the book; it is well written, engaging, and talks about many topics (nature, social, political, human nature, and yes, hiking). It is funny too. But there will probably be parts that offend different people (me: the littering and smoking).

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Journey With Jesus

Good
on Sep 04 2015

Bryson's Walk enjoyed a run on the bestseller list of the New York Times a few years ago, and I found myself resonating with one reviewer who compared Bryson to a combination of John Muir and Dave Berry. The AT is a hike of five million steps, says Bryson, but you can enjoy this wonderful book without ever leaving the house.

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Scholars And Rogues

Above average
on Jan 16 2012

He doesn’t help his case by psyching himself out with horror stories about bear attacks...Bryson finds miracles all along the way, too. His sense of wonder never shuts off even when his body winds down and his spirit flags.

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Rambles

Good
on Mar 07 2015

The book is very well written, well paced and witty from page one to the end. If you love good writing, you will love this book. If you love good writing and the great outdoors, you'll love it even more.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT on May 21 1998

He was often exhausted, his "brain like a balloon tethered with string, accompanying but not actually part of the body below." The reader, by contrast, is rarely anything but exhilarated. And you don't have to take a step.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Williamatsandcreek on Aug 22 2015

I found that this book suited my interests nicely. I think anyone who is at all interested in outdoor activities will find this to be well suited for them.

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The Blue Bookcase

Above average
Reviewed by Christina on Jan 23 2013

...liked the first half of the book better than the second half. But overall I still look back on A Walk in the Woods with fond memories, and I'd still recommend it to hiking/camping people (of which I am not one at all), Bryson fans, and travelogue-lovers.

Read Full Review of A Walk in the Woods: Rediscov...

Write Meg

Good
Reviewed by Meg on Jul 31 2014

I breezed through this book in a few hours, wanting so much to stretch my time with two friends on the A.T. Though I’m not outdoorsy in the least, I couldn’t help but finish wanting to dive into the woods myself.

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Confessions of a Bibliophile

Above average
Reviewed by Jaime on Oct 22 2007

I’m starting to become a real Bryson fan. I enjoy his tone and sometimes dry humor, and I enjoy that he sneaks in informative tidbits without you hardly realizing it.

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Words to Read By

Good
Reviewed by sbk on Aug 03 2015

In the end, Bryson and Katz only manage to complete 870 miles of the trail, although they did walk a portion in each state. I did feel cheated to not get a complete experience of the trail, yet 870 miles is certainly still an accomplishment. An interesting and entertaining overview about the AT from somewho who actually attempted to hike it.

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Books in the City

Good
Reviewed by Colleen on Sep 06 2013

I had a lot of laughs along the way an enjoyed seeing how the experience changed Bryson and Katz. Whether or not you are a hiker, you will find a lot to like in A Walk in the Woods.

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Joy's Book Blog

Good
Reviewed by Joy Weese Moll on Feb 18 2011

So, read A Walk in the Woods for the humor, the American history and geography, and an inspiration to do something that challenges yourself.

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https://vulpeslibris.wordpress.com

Above average
on Apr 21 2008

Any of Bryson’s books, with their mix of fun facts, experiences and humor, provide a treat for the armchair traveler. In this particular instance, that would be granola, or perhaps a Snicker’s candy bar.

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IRBRATB

Below average
on Dec 31 2015

While this book was interesting, it isn’t all that I was hoping for. I though it was about them hiking the whole trail in a year, but they didn’t, and they took a few side trips also. The story is entertaining, but there are some things I don’t like, like making fun of people.

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https://fyreflybooks.wordpress.com

Above average
on May 16 2012

Highly recommended for anyone who likes hiking, or who doesn’t like hiking and would like to read about someone else suffering through it in order to re-affirm that dislike. This would also make a great road-trip audiobook...

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Book Line And Sinker

Good
Reviewed by Natalie on Oct 21 2009

A Walk in the Woods is an entertaining read for anyone who likes to hike or for anyone who has a sense of humor (or a pulse). Maybe after reading A Walk in the Woods, you’ll be inspired to pack a bag and hit the trail!

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Wandering Librarians

Below average
Reviewed by Arianna on May 11 2011

I was annoyed how condescending Bryson was to almost every single person he mentioned...So anyway, I am less than impressed with my first try at Bill Bryson. Now I am questioning why this book is on our summer reading list.

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Trageser.com

Above average
Reviewed by Jim Trageser on Aug 22 2015

The only passages that are flat are when Bryson indulges his prejudices...But, c'mon, if Bryson were perfect he'd be boring – and not very funny. So what if everything doesn't work, if Bryson has a mean streak to him; enough of it does work that your guffaw-to-smirk ratio will still be pretty darn high.

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admin 24 Sep 2015

amazing read

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