Reviews

Wait! Before you get serious about starting off on your own next odyssey, read David Hiscoe’s coming-of-age quest as he searches for meaning in a world splintered senseless by the Vietnam War and racial inequality. David assuages his discontent by taking a long walk, sometimes painful, at times euphoric, in equal measure lonely, pointless, and hilarious, yet always (except in Pennsylvania!) awash in beauty. Hiscoe leads us into an Alice-in-Wonderland world where the pilgrim learns on the job that what might appear strange and contrary can be transformed into lessons to live by long after he emerges from the woods.  An inspiring read for all walkers on the path to anywhere.

 —Laura Waterman, author of Losing the Garden: The Story of a Marriage

 

Emerging from a burgeoning pile of mediocre Appalachian Trail memoirs, Hiscoe’s remembrance of his 1973 Maine-to-Georgia trek is finally that “something different” readers long for. It contains soaring prose detailing the triumphs and ordeals of a young man reconciling his anger with the turbulent era in which he resides while thrilling to the literal ups and downs of trail life. It’s a book for serious hikers as well as a cross section of a man’s soul to be savored by anyone who craves great writing. Gritty, hilarious, poignant, and authentic. Don’t pass this up.

—Richard Judy, author of Thru: An Appalachian Trail Love Story

 

Like many other young Americans, David Hiscoe responded to the bitter divisions of the Vietnam era by heeding the call to head on up to the country.  But he wasn’t interested in a weekend of peace and love. Hiscoe joined what was then just a handful of people hiking the 2000 miles between Maine and Georgia on the Appalachian Trail.

Presented in perfectly paced vignettes, The Path of Most Resistance is Hiscoe’s account of his 1973 thru-hike.  Some of his memories are funny, some are wistful and romantic, and some even unsettling. Taken together, they give us a vivid picture of what the iconic AT adventure was like back when the country was falling apart and hiking the trail was a most unusual thing to do. But The Path of Most Resistance is more than a simple wilderness tale from the Nixon-era. Through a long career in higher education and in corporate communications, Hiscoe’s memories kept popping into his consciousness in office meetings and midway through PowerPoints. He uses these flashbacks to draw consistently illuminating and often hilarious parallels between what he saw in the woods and what he saw in the offices and classrooms of America.

As entertaining and enlightening as his stories are, what readers are most likely to remember is the singular impression Hiscoe gives of himself. Self-effacing but always observant and thoughtful, he comes across as part Whitman, part Thoreau, and part Gimpel the Fool. No one else has ever made a bad case of giardia in the backwoods so illuminating.

At the end of his trail, a child crossed a field of grass to ask Hiscoe a question.  “What is the …?”  No, not that question.  Something simpler. “Hiking from Georgia to Maine….  Was it fun?” Ask the same question to anyone who reads this wonderful book. That person is bound to answer the same way Hiscoe did:  “Yes, it was fun. Absolutely.”

—David G. Allen, Head of the English Department, The Citadel

 

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