Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail: A Story of War, Brotherhood, and the Pursuit of Truth by N. B. Hankes is a non-fiction account of the author’s hike on this national scenic landmark, along with his brother. Mr. Hankes is a US Army veteran, who has served overseas, this is his first book.
- 330 pages
- Publisher: Independently published
- Language: English
- ISBN-13: 979-8636271338
My rating for Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail — 4
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I enjoy good travelogues, they are difficult to write, and when they’re good, they’re very good. I did not know what to expect from Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail: A Story of War, Brotherhood, and the Pursuit of Truth by N. B. Hankes, but it sounded interesting and I thought I’d give it a shot.
The narrative follows the author and his brother, an Army veteran and a college graduate, who decided to hike the Appalachian Trail from north to south over five months. The pair goes through their own revelations while trudging through physical difficulties which the trail offers.
One of my favorite things about traveling and hiking, especially for long periods of time, is the people you meet. There are people who do not run in the same circles, geographical or social, as you which otherwise you’d never know. These people give you a different perspective on established views, or share their own life experience and how it shaped their opinions. I think there is a missed opportunity with books such as these, especially on an eBook where at no, or little, cost the author can either add or link passages to maps and/or pictures they took.
The author finds this experience of meeting people enlightening as well, especially with another “thru-hiker” who joined the pair of brothers for much of the hike. Having time to reflect, deflect, and the patience to listen to others helped the author deal with the trauma he got during his wartime service, as well as reconcile his spirit.
Mr. Hankes goes into a deep analysis of the “why” behind his service, his upbringing, and his understanding and philosophy of life. He manages to come to terms with his service, and get a better, more profound understanding of geopolitics, and national politics.
The book concentrates more on being an introspective, personal journey of a soldier coming home from war to a peaceful country. It is a daunting experience where everyone seems to be in a dream state, not known they’re dreaming and only you are aware of what’s real. This is where the book shines, as a travelogue it works somewhat, there aren’t many descriptions of the trail – but as I said before the really interesting aspects of every travelogue are personal growth and people you meet on the way.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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