Cometh the hour…cometh the man

February 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Posted in Biography, Great for Book Clubs | 1 Comment

Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘Last American Man’, Penguin 2002

Who is your hero? I thought I knew the answer to this question before I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s  ‘Last American Man’.  This story is pure inspiration. It is the bountiful biography of a man called Eustace Conway who hails from a typical middle class background in America but after turning seventeen leaves polite society and his comfortable suburban home behind to begin living off the land in the Appalachian Mountains. Amidst the array of celebrity heroes America produces Eustace Conway really is an unsung hero. Eustace hikes two thousand miles down the Appalachian Trail and rides horseback across America all in an attempt to live a more fulfilled life away from the materialism of the society he left. Word soon spreads about Eustace and he becomes a high profile figure in America with Time Magazine doing an article on him. He is an enigmatic character to whom people flock. He is charismatic and falls in love about twenty times in the duration of the book. His upbringing was tumultuous and his personality is enigmatic. It sounds like a heavy going story but it’s not at all because of the author Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert’s two other books, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and ‘Committed’, are bursting with humanity, psychology, honesty and humor. She applies all of these qualities to Eustace’s biography so you understand the decisions he makes and feel the humanity in his mistakes and triumphs. Fans of John Krakauer’s ‘Into the Wild’ will love this. Anyone who loves human interest stories will also love this. Still to this day Eustace lives off the land in North Carolina on a nature reserve he built. Read it to be moved and intrigued.

Haiku; Handsome naturalist, will make you want to leave town, and live off the land

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1 Comment »

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  1. This sounds like a fantastic book, I really must read it. Thanks for the great review!

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