I spent the summer in North Carolina with friends and they lent me this book. I loved it. I've never read any of Bill Bryson's books before but now I have an urge to go out and buy all of them.
This book tells the story of how Bryson and his friend Katz hike the Appalachian Trail (AT. Or at least attempt to do so. It also tells the history of the AT and the surrounding areas. It is a story of the loss of biodiversity, the stupidity and remarkableness of mankind and a bit of a buddy movie. It is also absolutely hilarious. Bryson has a great deal of dry wit and his observations regarding life in America are laugh out loud funny (yes I laughed out loud in airports and on airplanes reading this and I will not apologies) .
While reading this book I kept getting urges to pull out my hiking boots and set of on an adventure. Then I remembered that I consider the day trip up Ben Nevis to be one of my greatest accomplishments but that my friend James will tell you I complained the whole way up and whined the whole way down (he resorted to trickery, we were halfway to the summit for a very long time). I am not a thru-hiker by any stretch of the imagination, but one day I would like to hike at least part of it.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a passing interest in hiking, the outdoors, buddy stories or history. It truly is a book for anyone.