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A Walk in the Woods : Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

by Bill Bryson



Buy the book: Bill Bryson. A Walk in the Woods : Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Release Date: 04 May, 1999

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Bill Bryson. A Walk in the Woods : Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail


Preachy and supercilious

Bill Bryson rarely has anything positive to say, whether he is pontificating on the Forest Service's weaknesses, or making rude and disparaging judgments about every small town "fortunate" enough to host him as a visitor. (Except for precious Hanover, NH) He is at best condescending, at worst an elitist snob.
He didn't have that much to teach about the woods, beyond his obsession with bears and government mismanagement, and I found his pages of spouting to be so slanted and subjective that I didn't even trust his factual writing.
Then, to cap it off, after dabbling in parts of the AT, he and his buddy declare at the end: "I don't care what anyone says, we have hiked the Appalachian Trail." Pshaa! Tell that to someone who has truly done the trail, with respect, from beginning to end~ the nerve.
I read this book cover to cover, sometimes enjoying the humor, but found Bryson's tone and attitude so irritating that even the humor was like nasty and relentless teasing... who, in good conscience, can laugh at that?

From Amazon.com

Interesting in Parts but Misanthropic & Suspect

Though I found the subject matter interesting, I don't trust the author, his motives, his methods, his integrity (even though I agree with a number of his opinions on environmental matters and found interesting many of his nature observations).

The turning point for me was the end of the first stage of the hike in Virginia. If it wasn't going to be a thru hike, he should have said so up front. When they skip up by rental car to Virginia, I was able to come to terms with that, but its only a good number of pages later that he obliquely describes that all along they were only going to hike for 6 & 1/2 weeks and Katz had a job lined up for summmer, etc. And when he finally says good bye at that point to Katz, he states that he doesn't think of Katz again for weeks. Apart from being very cold, could that possibly be true? (e.g. you mean he never mentioned Katz in trail stories he relates to his family during those weeks?) After that part of the book, my feel for it was not the same.

The humor was comprised way too much of putdowns, and he seems to dislike (and in a very juvenile way call "stupid" -- the scene with the cab drivers was particularly offending) almost everyone he encounters ( I would have really hated this book if I was a Southerner). Why be a travel writer if you don't like people? My guess - for the money.

From Amazon.com



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