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The Tracker

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,098 ratings  ·  111 reviews
In what promises to be the most acclaimed new voice of spirit, man and nature since Castaneda, the famous "Pine Barrens" tracker reveals how he acquired the skill that has saved dozens of lives - including his own. His story begins with the chance meeting between an ancient Apache and a New Jersey boy. It tells of an incredible apprenticeship in the Wild, learning all that ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 15th 1986 by Berkley (first published 1978)
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No series of books has impacted my life and worldview more than Brown's. This book was givin to me by a teacher in high school and it changed me forever. I have read this book more times than any other. It will forever be a part of me. I have attended Tom's school in New Jersey and learned more in that space of time than in any course I have taken in college or university. I cannot recomend this book too much. If you love the outdoors and believe in the Spirit-that-moves-through-all-things this ...more
Jan 04, 2008 Caroline rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one.
I did not care for this book at all. I have a hard time believing this book is non-fiction, as most of the situations Mr. Brown discusses seem extremely far fetched. I do not recommend.
Nathan Shepard
This novel really spoke to me, it took me back to my own childhood. I felt that lost connection, the timeless embrace of that real adventure. Though my life is vastly different from the life Tom Brown describes, I feel much the same about the forest. Though I cannot navigate or read the forest as acutely does Tom, I find that I value my time spent there the same. As a Biologist I see the forest differently than Tom, however, he allowed me into his view, this world of cohesiveness, 'the spirit th ...more
60 pages into The Tracker I didn't think that I would ever pick it up again to finish it. The premise was initially interesting to me, yet the writing and/or story through 6 chapters caused me to debate whether I was willing to plod joylessly through to the end. However the narrative and the writing subtly changed and the book was alive. From the moment that he was treed by the wild dogs, I felt, observed and shared the vibrancy of life with him. I fell into his rhythm and the pace of the writin ...more
Susan Klinke
Just as one reads words to glean information, Tom Brown reads tracks and the patterns of nature. He gained much of his ability and sensitivity to nature as a boy under the tutelage of an old Apache named Stalking Wolf in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

I envy the opportunity Tom Brown had to get such a feel for nature in his blood when he was just a boy. I would love to have had a mentor like Stalking Wolf when I was a girl. What lessons I could have learned, like "feel tracking" (tracking in the d
I liked this book more than I thought I would, but I read it because a friend lent it to me. A lot of reviews found the story far-fetched, but I believe the truth of it. I think people find it far-fetched because the experiences are so far from what is typical for the majority of us. As modern city and town dwellers, most of us have no idea what is possible anymore, and we have become a society so incredibly overprotective of our children that we have no idea what they might accomplish. I will r ...more
Richard Reese
Tom Brown fascinates me. He grew up in the sparsely populated Pine Barrens region of southern New Jersey. When he was eight years old, he met Rick in the woods, and the two boys became the best of friends. Rick’s father was stationed at a nearby base, and his grandfather was Stalking Wolf, an old Apache tracker. The Tracker was the first of Tom’s many books, and it introduced us to the amazing world that he was blessed to experience.

Stalking Wolf was one of the last Apaches to be trained in the
This book is labeled as the true story of Tom Brown, Jr. Is it really true? I’m sure there were embellishments, some larger than others. But since it’s a given that I love most anything that has to do with kids spending time outdoors in nature, it didn’t matter to me that it might not be 100% true. Do grizzly bears smile at you when they think they’ve got you? Maybe. Can a 17-year-old boy go through a concrete wall in a bezerker rage to get to poachers? Uh… no. I loved all of the stories from hi ...more
This is a rich and gripping bildungsroman that has served as the inspiration for many people to study nature. It's a short, quick, entertaining read. It has elements of tall-tales that may deter some readers, and delight others. I am of the latter group. One vignette that had me incredulous was later the subject of a conversation with Leon Hammer, and he verified that he had similar experiences, and that it was not too far beyond the pale.
Gary Mcgee
Some people worship Tom Brown as a god. Some people think he is a complete fraud. I have no opinion on him either way, and I read this book as such. Some of the adventures are a stretch. However, everything is told in a fashion that kept me reading. Fiction or non-fiction? I don't care. I found the book entertaining. If you go into it with no preconceived notions about Tom Brown, I think you will enjoy the book.
I just read this book, and I thought it was terrible. It was an unbelievably conceited, self-serving work. The whole book could have been edited into one introductory chapter. While the material covered could be interesting, the voice is nauseating. I understand he's written several books. They probably could all have been edited into one.
Alison Van Arsdel
I love this big and say it is a must read. It really shows how lame we are in our modern world. We think we are smart but we are so stupid. How many people can even go for a walk in the woods with out bringing water and snacks... let alone survive indefinitely. We could all benefit from again learning to be one with nature.
The reason I put this under fiction as well as non fiction is because, well, it is somewhat questionable sometimes how much of this book is which.

This doesn't change the fact that I loved these books and am very glad to have read them when I did (young).
Vishnu 'vichu'
Tracker is actually the autobiography of the author where he shares his experience as how he became an expert tracker.The early years where he spent in the woods with his friend Rick and Stalking Wolf,Ricks grandfather.How Staling wolf made them overcome their inner fears and find their true potential.Some of the authors experiences tracking various animals and some interesting encounters with animals are described.On the later part how he started exploring other parts of the country and how he ...more
Kyle Keller
This book is a must read for anyone, yes anyone. If your a nature lover, or someone who enjoys reading, it matters not. Try not to over think Tom's words. Allow Tom to take you into his world and shortly after reading you to will share his passion for the natural world.

Without a doubt, this book will change the way you view the world and will lead you to becoming a warrior for Earth Mother. As Tom puts it, we are all children of the Earth and a simple walk through the woods will remind us all w
I read this book when I was young lad and enjoyed it very much. I ran across it in the library the other day and decided to read it for old time sake. The fond memories and excitement I felt as a adventurous impressionable youth were soon dissipated and I was left with feeling of disappointment and skepticism. Much of the authors stories and claims would be hard to prove and seem to be highly embellished.
The section about the author's trip through the woods in the cold of winter with no protecti
Andrew Bourne
Jun 28, 2008 Andrew Bourne rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Andrew by: Maryam Tabibbi

Semi-famous survival guru cum forensics show-off Tom Brown Jr has the adventures of his youth ghostwritten so that we might peak into the origins of his genius. He's the Karate Kid blindfolded, nude, lost, scrabbling for meaning in the cryptic stunts his mentor hazes upon him. He's Jason and the Argonauts; he's Tom Sawyer; he thinks he is a Native American. At seventeen, he walks through a concrete wall to bring poachers to justice; he is violent: he is a hero with a heart!

Randomly glan
I have mixed feelings about this book. As the mother of a Boy Scout, I've done more than my fair share of camping, hiking, and just generally spending time in the woods. So it was interesting to read about wildlife, tracking, and more. However, I wondered just how embellished these stories actually were. Most of the book seems to take place while the author is under the age of 14, maybe even 12. While he does state that his parents didn't know much of what happened while he was out tracking and ...more
Owen Curtsinger
reviews seem to be REALLY polar here. People seem to regard Tom Brown Jr. as either a modern Natty Bumppo or totally full of it. My take on him is somewhere in between. I enjoyed reading about his exploits in the Pine Barrens, but read about his self-described extreme-survival feats with a grain of salt. I don't think any of those feats are impossible, and I agree with the overall message that we as a species have lost touch with many such skills, leaving us clueless about the workings of our na ...more
I was disapointed.
I admire Tom Brown, Jr. He is an amazing tracker and has done much to teach others the art. In doing so he is doing his part to bring American Society back in touch with our wilderness.
Unfortunately this book often reads like a fourteen year old doing his best to make you believe he is a modern day Davey Crockett. Having never met Mr. Brown, I'm not sure how much of this is due to mediocre writing and how much is a reflection of his personality.
There are some interesting stor
Sep 17, 2012 Kerry rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kerry by: my dad
This is a book that my dad read to me when I was younger. My friend Tesa mentioned something from it and I excitedly mentioned some other stuff from it and then she gave it to me. Because Tesa is the best.

So I remembered some scenes vividly, though not the fact that it takes place in the Pine Barrens. I'm pretty sure that reading this book affected my adult personality in a very real way. I mean I read all sorts of nature-y sort of stuff when I was young, but this one really takes the cake, you
Ben Bederson
Amazing - opened my eyes to the patience of someone literally watching mud dry to learn how animal tracks in the pine barrens of new jersey change over time.
I found this book fascinating, but just a little too slow for my taste for much of it. But there were some exciting moments and I was impressed by this guy's devotion to his talent. The last chapter of the book was particularly exciting and had me in tears.
Daniel Carroll
Basically a childhood reminiscing. ..a little bit too far fetched for my taste
I read this as a young man and was inspired by the intimacy that Tom Brown Jr. was able to develop with the natural world. I also purchased the first edition paperbacks of all his field guides.

Just a quick note that I've registered this book at, so that I can keep up on where it goes, who reads it, and what they thought of it. Please visit to make a quick journal entry, then pass the book along to someone else who will appreciate it. We can all t
Alex M
This guy is as full of himself as he is full of shit. The stories were interesting, but most of them were very obviously imbellished if not completely made up. But even if the stories are true (which any amount of research will reveal they probably aren't), Tom Brown's writing tone is infuriatingly pretentious.
Emily H
This book really changed the way I look at the world, and particularly the wild. I know I could never do what they do because it takes a lifetime to master, but it teaches the art of observation, and the native american philosophies of survival and appreciation for the wilderness. It's a beautiful book. And although it is short, I would read a small chapter and then let it sit for a couple days while reflecting on it. This is a book I am adding to my library because I will revisit it over time. ...more
Good story
I found this book very fascinating as Tom Brown learns to live off the land from a very young age. This book looks at this great tracker's early life and how he learned to follow the trail of anything (animal or human) and do so without being caught. I think it would be truly fascinating to learn some of the skills that Tom has and it would clearly save a lot of lives if those who go out into the wild had more of his abilities. The book was a little slow at times and I wished it had moved a litt ...more
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Tom Brown, Jr. is an American naturalist, wilderness tracker and the author of numerous books, including a series of Field Guides. Brown attributes his tracking skills and his spiritual philosophy to the teachings of a Lipan Apache elder named Stalking Wolf, who instructed Brown during his childhood. Brown refers to Stalking Wolf as "Grandfather" in his writings.


Tom Brown (n
More about Tom Brown Jr....
Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival Grandfather Tom Brown's Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking The Search Way of the Scout

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“I don't see how anybody could have a passion for nature without having an equally developed tolerance for the cold.” 7 likes
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