Grandma Gatewood's Walk

Grandma Gatewood's Walk
Grandma Gatewood's Walk

Grandma Gatewood's Walk

The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail
By Ben Montgomery


288 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket, Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $17.99 (US $17.99) (CA $21.99)

ISBN 9781613734995

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Apr 2016)


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How a 67-year-old great-grandmother walked the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail, survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem

Emma Gatewood was 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 and she did it all after the age of 65. This is the first and only biography of Grandma Gatewood, as the reporters called her, who became a hiking celebrity in the 1950s and ’60s. She appeared on TV with Groucho Marx and Art Linkletter, and on the pages of Sports Illustrated. The public attention she brought to the little-known footpath was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction. Author Ben Montgomery was given unprecedented access to Gatewood’s own diaries, trail journals, and correspondence. He also unearthed historic newspaper and magazine articles and interviewed surviving family members and hikers Gatewood met along the trail. The inspiring story of Emma Gatewood illustrates the full power of human spirit and determination.


"The whole saga of Grandma Gatewood, from her years in an abusive marriage to her triumph as a hiking superstar, is a great story, beautifully told." —Tampa Bay Times

"Ben Montgomery adds his name to those famous Americans—from Henry David Thoreau to Rosa Parks to Fats Domino to Forrest Gump—who have celebrated the revolutionary power of walking." —Roy Peter Clark, author of The Glamour of Grammar:  A Guide to the Mystery and Magic of Practical English

“Go, Granny, Go! . . . This astonishing tale will send you looking for your hiking boots. A wonderful story, wonderfully told.” — Charles McNair, author of Pickett’s Charge

“In a perfect world, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk will hit the shelves with high praise and great acclaim. Readers deserve to have gems like this presented with fanfare.” —Paste Magazine

“Details on Emma's hike, health, and reflections on the times make this book a compelling, fast read.” —National Parks Traveler

"a powerful tale about finding solace not only in nature, but also in the generosity of strangers—an ethic that still exists on the trail today." —America

“Before Cheryl Strayed, there was Grandma Gatewood. Ben Montgomery lets us walk with her—tattered sneakers, swollen ankles, and not an ounce of self-pity—and with each step experience our conflicted relationship with nature, the meanness and generosity of humanity, and the imperative to keep moving. This book makes me long for my backpacking days, and grateful for writers who keep history and spirit alive.” —Jacqui Banaszynski, Knight Chair in Editing, Missouri School of Journalism

"A quiet delight of a book." —Kirkus Reviews

Author Biography

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 has worked at newspapers in Arkansas, Texas, New York, and Florida. He currently lives in Tampa, Florida.