Steve's Reviews > A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
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's review
Jan 04, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: nonfiction-adventure

At the dawn of the twentieth-century, journalists, travel writers, social workers, and adventure seekers descended on the Appalachian Mountains in droves, expecting to find a land of violent, uneducated "hillbillies" whose primary occupations were distilling illegal alcohol and killing one another. That they were mistaken in their assumptions has been demonstrated time and again, in both popular and academic literature.

Almost 100 years later, writer Bill Bryson took a walk on the Appalachian trail, and expected to find the exact same thing. That he DID NOT walk into a scene out of the movie Deliverance seems to genuinely surprise him, but not to the point that he refrains from insulting Appalachian mountain people over and over again, as if the stereotypes of the ultra-violent hillbilly are utterly true and representative of the entire Appalachian population.

The book is amusing on some levels, if only because I have hiked on the A.T. and identify with some of the hardships he faces. That and he rightly criticizes the National Park Service for its poor stewardship of the lands it forcibly seized from Appalachian farmers. Otherwise, this book is of scant value -- unless, of course, one needs paper to aid in starting a fire, or to make a nice set of paper dolls.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
January 4, 2008 – Shelved as: nonfiction-adventure
January 4, 2008 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Tim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tim Lepczyk Definitely overrated. Most people that read this seem to have never been out in the woods in their lives.

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