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The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
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Oct 21, 08

Read in October, 2008

Elizabeth Gilbert has an ideal voice for this subject... though she obviously respects her subject, she displays the necessary healthy amount of skepticism needed to make palatable the biography a die-hard naturalist who feels he is destined to educate Americans about the evils of consumer culture. No one wants to be lectured, and Gilbert makes it clear that Eustace Conway -though he's arguably right- has spent his life alternately enamoring and alienating people doing just that.

On the other hand, Conway undeniably walks the talk, having both lived off the land and prospered in a uniquely American fashion. Her title "The Last American Man" threw me at first, but he does seem to be the last of that Daniel Boone variety of buckskin-wearing, hardworking, enterprising American frontiersmen. (At least as far as I know, anyway - I don't spend a lot of time in Montana and Appalachia). The bottom line for readers is this: even though his path may be lonely, it's certainly interesting.
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