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A Walk Across America

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  11,076 ratings  ·  652 reviews
A young New Englander celebrates a rarely seen and almost forgotten America as he recalls the people he met and the situations he experienced during a journey in search of his country and himself.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 12th 1982 by Fawcett Books (first published January 1st 1979)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  11,076 ratings  ·  652 reviews


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Mary
Feb 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So when i was at the Anchor Archive in Halifax this Fall, I was poring over old National Geogrpahics and found this article about a young man in the 1970's who decides to walk across the USA with his trusty dog Cooper, his "forever friend." A few things that really caught my eye were that he spent some time at The Farm in Tennessee (of the New Farm Cookbook fame) and that he, a white dude, lived with a black family in rural Tennessee for several months. And the intesne dog-companion-love, which ...more
Patrick Gibson
Mar 30, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: truth_sort-of
Chronicle of a 1973-1975 walk from New York to New Orleans. For the entire trip (west), you have to buy the sequel. Check your local library or buy from the quarter bin at a flea market. Any more time or money invested in this book is a waste.

I do envy the guy his journey—sort of. I was curious to learn about the logistics of undertaking such a long hike. Unfortunately he would rather write of his love affair with his "forever friend" and make up lame similes for every little thing he encounters
...more
Liz
Nov 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Looking for Alaska, I really wanted to love this book. What could possibly be more awesome and interesting than crossing America with nothing but your trusty dog and the contents of your pack? Jenkins was also going through some of the early-20s unease that I'm not done growing out of, so I figured the story of his first adventure would have a strong impact on me.

Unfortunately, I think the book is too dated: It doesn't stand the test of time well enough for me to identify with it.
...more
Katherine
Oct 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirish, travel
Unique book. A stunt memoir from before the days of stunt memoir and, therefore, stirringly earnest. A book that is, in some ways, badly written, but whose bad writing contributes to what is ultimately a very effective narrative presentation. (The sense I kept getting was that of reading a novel whose first-person narrator has, deliberately, not been given a slick way with words–because a slick narrator wouldn't work with this particular story.)

Peter Jenkins, 22, raised in comfort in NYC-metro C
...more
J.K. Grice
Portions of this book I really enjoyed, as far as the open road and adventure aspects of it all. However, I got a little bogged down in the religious and "church-y" segments of Jenkin's travels. It was not a book I would ever read again. ...more
Donna
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to start by saying this is a review from the 20-year old me, not the 47 year old me. That said, this book had a profound effect on me in college. It helped make me the person I am today, who has traveled by bike for months across the US, backpacked in Mexico, Central America and Europe, and visited three continents (and adding a fourth--Africa, this summer. I can't remember how well-written (or not)the book was, I just know that even looking at the cover still fills me with wanderlust. A ...more
Gala
Aug 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this story. The writing is passable, by which I mean that sometimes I cringe at the style, but am enough engaged in the drama and the cast of characters that I forgive it happily.
Madi
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had me contemplating what I wanna do with my life. Also restored my faith in people. Prejudice will always be part of society, but there will always be those few who turn those prejudices a full 180 degrees.
Bidisha
A man and his beloved dog walk across America (or, more precisely, from upstate NY to New Orleans). They live with black farmers, befriend white Southerners whom Gov. George Wallace addresses on TV as if they are family members, and moonlight at a farming commune in Tennessee. The book ends in New Orleans, where the author finds a wife, marries her, and convinces her to walk the remaining 3,000 miles across America.

In her book Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit has a perceptive pre
...more
Nolan Ahlgrim
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very good because it has the mood of being free in the woods, which is every person's dream at one point or another. This is shown when Jenkins says, "You know, there's no such thing as being lost! It's all in your mind. Right?" (Jenkins 92). The notion if being lost is impossible if you don't have a return point like Jenkins. To just wander through woods and mountain towns until you reach the Gulf of Mexico is what he means by not getting lost. The book also showcases the bond that ...more
Elizabeth
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah klapprodt
read this as a teenager (think it's the same book) and it really helped carve me into the quasi-hippie i am today...when the kids are older, we're getting a van, painting it with peace signs and setting off accross country to california...just for the experience...yeah,man.... ...more
Will
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was very good. It was a lot of fun to follow peter Jenkins on his journey across America. He provided great detail and literary devices to enhance the readers experience and make it feel like we were there with him. It's a great book if you enjoy adventures. ...more
Elizabeth Zink
Peter has a very easy-to-read style of writing and his story kept my attention almost the whole way through. There were moments when I felt stuck, I felt like the story was slow at points and lacked “something.” I’m not sure what it was, but it just felt like there was something was missing (the reason why I only gave it 3 stars). However, I was so intrigued by all of Peters story despite the slow parts and thoroughly enjoyed reading about his experiences with Cooper.
*I do wish it covered all o
...more
Carole Hardinge
I was surprised that I was captivated by this book at first. It reminded me of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, only more introspective. I loved his experiences with Homer and later Mary Elizabeth’s family and of course Cooper. Somewhere around his stay at the Farm and later the revival, I found some of his reactions inconsistent. I might just let this be the only book of his walking trips that I read.
Sangria
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We’re leaving in the morning to back country pack Yosemite for 2 weeks. Last time I read this book, I was 18 and working the Summer there at Curry Village. This time, I’m doing it with my man! So I’m bringing this book with me!

See you all in a couple weeks while I unplug and enjoy one of our amazing National Parks!

Be good. :-)
Rob McFarren
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So intriguing and simply written. It was hopeful, on both individual and cultural levels. Even now, decades later, I found myself drawn into the communities and lives depicted. Just a great memoir and story.
Diana Rogava
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the pace of the story and ambiguity that followed Peter's journey, however the language of the book was not really appealing to me as well as he focused on certain locations while not displaying any details from certain locations! ...more
Macall
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not very strong writing, but a nice story and intriguing read!
Bibliobites  Veronica
Both more and less readable than I expected. Choosing to hope for the best for Mr. Jenkins. Assigned as a geography title to go with Ambleside Online year 11.
Jermain Hawver
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the book. I walk to my future mother in laws house listened to it every day.
Jim Kulhawy
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In early 1973 a young college graduate named Peter Jenkins realized that he was unhappy with the United States and the direction it, was headed. One day, while talking to a security guard at the college, he voiced his displeasure with the state of the country and suggested he was going to chuck it all and move somewhere else. This gentleman challenged him to get out and see the country and meet the people before he followed through with his idea to leave, so Jenkins did. He decided that he and h ...more
Nathan Eaton
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: outdoors, animals, 2014
They say it's not really about the destination, but the journey that gets you there. Peter Jenkins should be thankful that the saying's true, otherwise I would have felt like I wasted a lot of time.

His journey was interesting. He met a lot of actual unique people. It's pretty neat to see him work through his prejudices and get to know people. There were times I really loved this book while reading it, followed by a lot of groans.

Peter Jenkins sets off to walk across America (see title of book).
...more
Jenni
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hike-trek
What a great adventure story! It's interesting to read this now, in the year 2016, given the author's walk took place in 1973-1975, without the benefit of GPS, mobile phones, credit and debit cards, etc. How much has changed since then, yet I suspect many of the places he visited and people he encountered might remain as similar. Therefore, although this book is very dated, I believe it stands the test of time and much relevance can still be found in it.

In response to his disillusionment with A
...more
Frances
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in a tiny library in Maine for 50 cents. I had not traveled in awhile and did not want to stop (had a return flight to catch unfortunately). So, I decided to live through Peter Jenkins and his epic tale of his walk across America. As a recent college graduate, Peter is a young man disillusioned with his country. He contemplates leaving it before settling on seeing it on foot.

Peter Jenkins'writing is simplistic and clichéd. One would think he is getting paid $100 every time he u
...more
Susan
May 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book definitely shows its age...in attitude, language, and self-congratulatory and self-aware hippie liberalism that is beyond patronizing and painful to read. (I'm assuming the author is trying to capture local and individual lingual styles but when he writes the patriarch of a black family as saying things like "Das fo sho", etc, it just feels so inappropriate. Like your bigoted old auntie who swears she isn't, talking about and mimicking other races and ethnicities.)

And don't even get m
...more
Andrea Elkins
*** SPOILER ALERT ***











My dad gave me this book to read. While I 100% appreciate that he was thinking of me, it wasn't until I was 2/3 of the way through the book that I realized I had picked up and put down this book before. Why? THE DOG DIES.

Aside from this tragedy (yes, I know it's a real-life story and this is how it happened. I still don't want to read about beloved companions that are tragically killed!), the book was just ok. The little burst on the front of the book claims that this spen
...more
Candice
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love this book. I love the authentic voice of Peter Jenkins. He has amazing stories to tell, and the focus is less on writing style than content, which is one of my favorite things about this book. Jenkins shares his experience about learning of and loving his neighbors - all across America. This book makes me think of a word so often used in yoga practice - connectedness. We are all connected, and this book celebrates that. Of course the fact that Kenkins travels with his best, forever friend ...more
Cheryl
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, except that I had to read it on paper since I couldn't find it in electronic form 8-)

It's one of those books that makes you realize there still are good people out there willing to help a stranger. It is about events that took place starting in 1973 and ending in 1975. In spite of it being a different era from today, I would like to hope that there still are good people in the country that would help a person like the people Peter Jenkins met on his trek.

I won't tell yo
...more
Jen
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! I finished it in a day and even stayed up past my bedtime. What a great story, what a great adventure! These books, the good ones anyway, always make me want to go off on an adventure somewhere. I felt like I was there, transported back in time to an era before I was born, the country in turmoil... not dissimilar from what is happening here today, which is what drew me to read it in the first place. Apparently he wrote some other books; I will be looking for them!
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Born July 8th, 1951 in Greenwich, Connecticut,

Peter is the eldest of the six children of Frederick and Mary Jenkins.

Graduated from Greenwich High School in 1969.

Attended Woodstock in summer of 1969.

Graduated from Alfred University in 1973 with a BFA, majoring in Sculptor/ Ceramics.
Began his Walk Across America on October 15, 1973 in Alfred, New York. It ended in mid-January of 1979 in Florence, Or
...more

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28 likes · 5 comments
“Mileage craziness is a serious condition that exists in many forms. It can hit unsuspecting travelers while driving cars, motorcycles, riding in planes, crossing the country on bicycles or on foot. The symptoms may lead to obsessively placing more importance on how many miles are traveled than on the real reason for the traveling...On foot, in a van, on a fleet motorcycle or on a bicycle, a person must be very careful not to become overly concerned with arriving.” 13 likes
“Cooper's tremendous love and energy and unchained freedom had captured life itself. Now, as the last shovelful covered him forever, I knew I would always carry a big piece of Cooper Half Malamute with me until I too was covered by the earth.” 4 likes
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