Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery

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Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. And in September 1955, having survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with Harlem gangsters, she stood atop Maine's Mt. Katahdin. Driven by a painful marriage to an oppressive husband, Gatewood became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person--man or woman--to walk it twice and three times. Gatewood became a hiking celebrity, and appeared on TV and on the pages of Sports Illustrated. The public attention she brought to the footpath, and her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches, led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction. The story of Grandma Gatewood will inspire readers of all ages by illustrating the full power of human spirit and determination. Even those who know of Gatewood don't know the full story--a story of triumph from pain, rebellion from brutality, hope from suffering.

"Go, Granny, Go! . . . This astonishing tale will send you looking for your hiking boots. A wonderful story, wonderfully told." --CHARLES MCNAIR, BOOKS EDITOR AT PASTE MAGAZINE AND AUTHOR OF PICKETT'S CHARGE

"Grandma Gatewood's Walk is sure to fuel not only the dreams of would-be hikers, but debates on the limits of endurance, the power of determination, and the nature of myth." --EARL SWIFT, AUTHOR OF THE BIG ROADS

"A quiet delight of a book." --KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Grandma Gatewood's Walk is a brilliant look at an America--both good and bad--that has slipped away, seen through the eyes and feet of one of America's
most unlikely heroines. Gatewood's story suggests anything is possible; no matter your age, gender, or quality of your walking shoes." --STEPHEN RODRICK, AUTHOR OF THE MAGICAL STRANGER

Ben Montgomery is a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times and cofounder of the Auburn Chautauqua, a Southern writers' collective. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 and has won many other national writing awards. He lives in Florida.

Chicago Review Press

Pub Date: April 01, 2016

0.9" H x 8.8" L x 6.0" W

288 pages