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The Tracker

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,541 ratings  ·  136 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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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  1,541 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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Jun 03, 2009 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
Gary Mcgee
Jun 03, 2011 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.
Nov 12, 2007 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 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. Ricks father was stationed at a nearby base, and his grandfather was Stalking Wolf, an old Apache tracker. The Tracker was the first of Toms 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
Apr 23, 2008 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.
Audra Harley
Incredible. Based on the true events of his boyhood, growing up with a fascination and passion for the woods and tracking.
Peter Harrington
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Out of the thousands of books I have read over the last 40+ years, this book is not only my favorite, but it is the book that has made me who I am today. I was given this book to read while in 7th grade and it not only got me into the outdoors but taught me what life is really all about. A must read for anyone who needs direction.
Nathan Shepard
Dec 02, 2012 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 ...more
Jan 11, 2015 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 ...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
Jan 24, 2014 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 ...more
Alison Van Arsdel
Aug 04, 2012 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.
Dec 10, 2008 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.
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).
Brian Raz
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Similar to the Castaneda controversy, without proof that Stalking Wolf and Rick ever existed there will always be doubts about authenticity.

I also can't believe he jumped from a tree and killed a buck. Why use a knife to kill a deer? Seems cruel and unusual and at odds with "the spirit that moves all things". I think the truth was stretched in this book to make it more interesting.

M.E. Smith
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I first read The Tracker in the late 70's as an abridged summary in Reader's Digest. It is a story of a young man who learns woodcraft from an Apache tracker in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. This boy later became one of the foremost experts of wilderness survival and tracking.
With all of the distractions of the time (radio, television and video games), it still managed to capture the attention of a twelve-year-old boy. It also imparts a series of life lessons that anyone of any age could find
Michael Adamchuk
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tom Brown and his friend Rich are taught the ways of the wild in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey by Stalking Wolf, an old Apache. Rick and Stalking Wolf move away. Tom enters the Barrens in separation despair and sets up the "Good Medicine Cabin" where he begins to lose himself, chases off poachers, teenage drinkers and anyone else that comes near the cabin.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Embellished as it may be (probably is), this had quite the impression on a younger teenage version of myself.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Its an interesting book but the fact that it took me two years to finish is a sign it isnt totally for me. ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
On my nightstand, permanently. I read it to myself like my mother would read to me.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Fascinating story of living in harmony with nature and learning to read its signs. Does anyone have this skill anymore?
Trey Killingsworth
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
True or not, this was an exciting read with all the feels of the outdoors that any backpacker/camper would understand and love.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
There were some really great parts of this book. I loved the overall theme of the book: becoming one with nature. But I am quite skeptical of some of the adventures the author writes about.
Cecilie Hjort
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Must-read about getting (back) in touch with nature and one's own body.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not my usual read, but my husband is fascinated by this man, his life, and writings. A combination of biography, tracking advice, and adventure, this book was an exciting read.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
I struggled to get through this book. It's rambling, and unrealistic. I suspect that most of the stories are greatly embellished, if not outright fabrications, which is fine, but don't present it as nonfiction. I also didn't feel like this book had much to say, other than being a stream of stories. It kind of felt like listening to the drunk guy at the bar boasting about all his accomplishments, but in book form.
Apr 07, 2008 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
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is labeled as the true story of Tom Brown, Jr. Is it really true? Im sure there were embellishments, some larger than others. But since its a given that I love most anything that has to do with kids spending time outdoors in nature, it didnt matter to me that it might not be 100% true. Do grizzly bears smile at you when they think theyve 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 his ...more
Andrew Bourne
Jan 19, 2008 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!

Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is kind of a kids story,ie: easy reading. The thing about this story is that it is also an autobiography. New jersey kid grows up exploring in his "back yard" the New Jersey pine barrens and befriends a native american kid whose grandfather decides to teach them both Apache indian ways for survival, tracking wildlife, but also being present in the woods and part of the spirit-who-moves-through-all-things. Way cool.

This last time that I re-read the book I was struck by the effortless way
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SSG: Spy/Spec-Ops...: wilderness survival 8 12 May 24, 2016 11:08PM  

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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

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