Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Tracker” as Want to Read:
The Tracker
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Tracker

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,191 Ratings  ·  115 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Tracker, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Tracker

Discipline and Punish by Michel FoucaultSalt by Mark KurlanskyThe Glass Bead Game by Hermann HesseAnathem by Neal StephensonCancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Books That Should be Assigned Reading
56th out of 92 books — 1 voter
The Man Without Qualities by Robert MusilSteppenwolf by Hermann HesseReveries of the Solitary Walker by Jean-Jacques RousseauThe Concept of the Political by Carl SchmittThe Human Condition by Hannah Arendt
The Thinker's Bookshelf
50th out of 98 books — 55 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,892)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 03, 2009 Matthew rated it it was amazing
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 did not like it
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.
Richard Reese
Mar 23, 2015 Richard Reese rated it it was amazing
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
Nathan Shepard
Dec 03, 2012 Nathan Shepard rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 19, 2015 Charlie rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 26, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecology
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
Mar 26, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
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
Jun 11, 2008 Brandt rated it really liked it
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
Jun 03, 2011 Gary Mcgee rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 10, 2008 Cynthia rated it did not like it
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
Aug 04, 2012 Alison Van Arsdel rated it it was amazing
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'
Jul 22, 2014 Vishnu 'vichu' rated it really liked it
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
Aug 23, 2015 Kyle Keller rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 06, 2009 Abram rated it did not like it
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 did not like it
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
May 27, 2013 Christine rated it liked it
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
Chris Darling
Oct 01, 2015 Chris Darling rated it it was amazing
Love this book. His boyhood exploits and all of his adventures come with lessons on self-reliance and survival. I like his writing style as well. No hubris or self-importance. I learned a lot from this book the first time I read it and I continue to do so today.
Owen Curtsinger
Aug 23, 2010 Owen Curtsinger rated it liked it
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
Jan 20, 2016 Christine559 rated it it was amazing
I own two copies of this book, because I like to loan one to various friends. I'll loan a copy to my Good Read friends; just ask.

I've read the book several times. Loved it!
Sep 17, 2012 Kerry rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 28, 2014 Ben Bederson rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 10, 2014 Kara rated it liked it
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
Jun 09, 2014 Daniel Carroll rated it did not like it
Basically a childhood reminiscing. ..a little bit too far fetched for my taste
Jul 07, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it
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
Paul Rack
Feb 25, 2016 Paul Rack rated it really liked it
Wonderful book that can change the way you see the world.
Alex M
Aug 30, 2015 Alex M rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 28, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
really fascinating book
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 63 64 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Secrets of the Talking Jaguar
  • Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardine's Guide to Lightweight Hiking
  • A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America
  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians
  • What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
  • Wildwood Wisdom
  • Maps and Dreams: Indians and the British Columbia Frontier
  • Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpel's Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families
  • The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures
  • Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and Water, Food and Fire, Tools and Medicine, Navigation and Signaling, Survival Psychology and Getting Out Alive!
  • Walking the Gobi: A 1,600-Mile Trek Across a Desert of Hope and Despair
  • Be Expert with Map and Compass: The Complete Orienteering Handbook
  • Walking It Off: A Veteran's Chronicle of War and Wilderness
  • Earth Quest - Earth Medicine: Revealing Hidden Treasures of the Native American Medicine Wheel - a Shamanic Way to Self-discovery
  • Desert Notes/River Notes
  • On the Wild Edge: In Search of a Natural Life
  • The Reenchantment of the World
  • Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics
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....

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

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